English Tea StoreEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
The most noticeable flavors in this blend—very efficacious on a frosty morning—are orange peel and star anise, rather than the ginger. I’m not an anise fan, but a little milk beats it into submission.
Any authentic German food fans out there? This cuppa made me remember how Mom and Grandma would make pfefferneusse right after Thanksgiving. Hard little cookies, also with an unusual spice profile, including black pepper (anise shows up in a lot of recipe searches as well). The little “pepper nuts” come out of the oven hard as rocks, then get tucked into a stoneware crock with an apple to soften until just before Christmas. I was never a huge fan of the flavors, but the process fascinated me.
When you envision gingerbread, do you think chewy cookie, soft cake, or crunchy cookie? I usually go chewy, unless there’s a fruity element, then it’s cake.
So the addition of orange peel to this blend has me craving gingerbread quick bread baked in a loaf plan with glaze. The ginger’s not too sharp, and the anise (not a favorite with me) isn’t obnoxious. It’s very drinkable on its own—my tumbler’s empty already—and I bet a little milk or sweet vanilla creamer would be lovely.
To actually taste like pecan pie, this would have to be much darker with a caramelly, syrupy vibe. So “nope” on the flavor accuracy.
That said, this roo blend has a nice sprinkling of calendula leaves in it and has an extremely mild nutty flavor that’s pleasant with milk. Still autumnal, just not pie. I know pie when I see it.
I know there’s a pretty hefty anti-roo contingent out there, but I’ve always liked it. (rocking chair creaks…or maybe my knees) Why, I remember back in the day, the only rooibos you could find was just unflavored…and we drank it while walking uphill six miles on the way back from the tea shop…
So when folks started adding flavors, I thought that was pretty uptown. My favorite blend-ins were (and are) ice creamy flavors—chocolate, vanilla, and the like. So pecan makes sense, flavor-wise. The marked absence of actual pecans from this blend does not make sense, but it’s a fair replica, scent-wise. It’s more fruity than it is nutty, but I’m thinking the addition of some milk might “pie” it up a little. Plenty left in the pouch to play with.
This blend is nice; it’s not a favorite but I’ll drink it. It vaguely reminds me of Paris by Harney and Sons because I didn’t pomegranate at all. It’s a shame, I like pomegranates. Though it has that touch of vanilla that Paris has but its just tannic and bitter, unlike Paris which is smooth and creamy.
Flavors: Artificial, Berry, Bitter, Burnt, Tannic, Vanilla
This blend is definitely wine-y, let’s be clear… I’m not a merlot or red wine drinker, I’m more of a White Russian kinda gal. However, this is a great “mocktail” blend to drink with friends so I don’t feel left out! I do like this one, it reminds me of flat kombucha maybe?
Flavors: Alcohol, Berry, Black Currant, Hibiscus, Red Currant, Red Wine, Sour, Tangy, Tannic, Tart
This one is really growing on me. Enough real apple bits for the fruit to stand out nicely, though I’m still trying to land on exactly what apple variety. The rooibos in the background is a reasonable substitute for pie crust. While something in the air is making me yearn for Big R’s Barbecue two-crust apple pie (a local eatery as famous for its dessert and curly fries as for the meat), this beats the craving into submission, at least temporarily.
An anniversary surprise from my Beloved Enabler. I love a good apple tea, and I wondered if the fruit might be overpowered by the rooibos. Happy surprise—it’s a nice pairing. Though I didn’t see any apple bits as large as the ones in the picture, it’s in there somewhere—very fresh and cidery. Not tart like a Granny Smith; more like a Fuji or fresh Red Delicious.
Family needs took us to Haysville, Kansas, which is not what we’d recommend for an anniversary getaway; however, on the way home, we grabbed a pizza from a favorite local establishment and ate it al fresco at a rest stop picnic table near Beaumont, on a blissfully silent little hillock in the Flint Hills. You could see 20 miles in every direction and we watched dragonflies do touch-and-go’s among the Black-eyed Susans. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be where you are. Sometimes it’s just who you’re with.
I feel like English Tea Store generally has a few excellent picks for its more expensive loose leaf teas, but unfortunately there is not a broader selection of higher-quality teas. This particular one, however, is a rare case where I purchased a premium tea from ETS that I really regret.
This tea does have some rosey floral notes, which is usually a plus for me. Apart from that, not much to find that I like. The taste is sharp and disagreeable, and this one only seems to brew up quite bitter. I tried adjusting the temperature and steep time every which-way, and this one is a stinker through and through. Glad I only purchased the smaller quantity!
Wow, this one is new favorite for me! Very delicate tea, but great for a afternoon tea. Typical breakfast foods or heavier meals will overpower. Tea brews very light golden-yellow, which was worrying at first, but the flavors really deliver in this lighter-bodied tea. It has a complex bouquet of flavors, but most prominently I find hints of cherry (unusual for green tea to be so fruity!), osmanthus flowers, and greener nuts. Kind of on the pricier side, but delivers better than most teas I’ve tried in this price range.
This tea is a steal for $21.56/lb. I need to purchase this one more often. Pretty much has everything I want from a Keemun black tea – winey, deep, and has strong “orchid” notes. Both simple and complex at the same time, a good representation of what I consider to be the best variety of black tea. Definitely punching above it’s price range. I find that this is perhaps only slightly less enjoyable than some of the pricier varieties I’ve tried, such as Hao Ya “A”, Hao Ya “B”, or Imperial Grade.
Fragrances and flavors of flowers and melon, as described. This is a really nice tea. I could definitely repurchase this one occasionally, but don’t think it would be my everyday tea. It is a nice change of pace. Like a very rich and flowery green tea with unusual notes of melon.
OH looks like I have to make a note for this one as I sip it down. I thought I already did. Thanks very much for the sample, AJRimmer! I like that the description for this tea mentions popsicles, as that is what this definitely tastes like – but without sugar. But maybe I only WANT it to taste like popsicles and really it’s mostly tart. But today is so hot I was craving a tart hibiscus tea. So a “popsicle” tea is perfect right now. Every time I steeped this up, it had the perfect balanced flavor for tartness. So if I were looking to stock up on a hibiscus tea, I probably wouldn’t mind stocking up on this one. So I must like it!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 24 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep?
Steep #2 // just boiled // few minute steep
2022 Sipdowns: 83
Sipdown! (19 | 508)
This one is a swap sample from an Instagram friend! I used slightly more leaf than I probably would have, just because I didn’t want to have a comically small amount left over. :P
It’s very tasty though, and doesn’t seem to have suffered from the overleafing. Surprisingly smooth for an Assam, with only a little touch of astringency. Very rich, malty, and bready, and there’s also an unusual oatmeal-like flavor to it that I’m really enjoying. There isn’t much in terms of brown sugar or raisin however, which I am missing a bit. I would love to add some oatmilk here, but sadly I haven’t gone to the store yet after being away for about a week.
I will say, I probably shouldn’t be drinking this without having eaten, as I can already feel my empty stomach objecting to such a strong and acidic tea heh… :P
Flavors: Astringent, Bread, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Oatmeal, Oats, Smooth, Tannic
So I bought this a while ago now… I have had it a couple times…. This is one of those teas that were raved about on Steepster, and I was looking for a good Earl Cream, so it was time to buy it and try it. However, I feel like it must have had a drastic flavor change from the supplier since so many loved it years ago… this is what happened with Zen’s Earl Grey Cream years ago too (it might even be the same now?). Suddenly a blend changes. The bergamot just isn’t my favorite and has that slight bug spray tang to it, the cream is hardly there, and the black tea isn’t as dark as I’d like it to be. So I wish I could try the blend everyone raved about back then… well, now I know this isn’t the one for me and I have finally written my opinion on it. I think I might be the pickiest with EGCs!
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoons // 27 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 1/2 min steep
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge – April Tea #5: A tea with the flavor of your favorite jelly bean
About halfway through the month, halfway through prompts. I thought this would be the appropriate prompt for today while enjoying some other Easter teas today: Hot Cross Buns & Easter Egg Nests. THIS ONE…. it’s a blend of fruits to me that is supposed to be certain fruits, but I’m tasting other fruits…. kind of like how jelly beans sometimes are… confusing at interpreting the flavors. I generally like ALL the jelly bean flavors…except for licorice. So a jumbled flavor tea also works for this challenge.
2022 sipdowns: 51
Does it seem like AJRimmer sent me endless samples yet?! Thanks again, AJRimmer! But WHAT am I doing steeping up another cup of hibiscus. I needed at least a week. It probably hasn’t been a week. This will be a boring note as YES this is heavily hibiscus, but there is also a sweet note of strawberry flavoring to balance the tart out, so it wasn’t overwhelmingly tart. So thanks, strawberry! However, the description for this tea never mentions strawberry, rather orange and pineapple, which I’m not tasting at all. I think the second steep was a bit too weak, but that’s my fault. A bit boring, but not hibiscus overload.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // many minutes after boiling? // 4-5 min steep
I was very dubious about this. It does not look great, and it comes from a merchant who specializes in neither green teas nor Japanese teas, which worried me because of how important freshness and storage can be to these sorts of teas in particular.
After trying it – it could be worse. The roasting is a bit odd. It tastes almost more like kukicha than sencha, and sort of stale. But it could be much worse!
Flavors: Grass, Metallic, Roasted
This tea was a pleasant surprise. Based on its finely chopped appearance, I expected it to be somewhat bland and simple in flavour, but it isn’t; it has a nice smoky note overlaying a rich, slightly astringent malty taste.
The leaf processing style does mean that brewing this in a gaiwan without pouring all the leaves into one’s cup really puts the gongfu in gongfu cha, but it’s worthwhile for the detailed picture of the flavours this presents. It works very well Western-style too, as you’d expect. For being so finely chopped, it re-steeps relatively well. I was able to get four solid steeps out of it in a gaiwan.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Round, Smoke
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge – Tuesday, March 30th: National Virtual Vacation Day Tea #2
Another fun vacation choice: Scotland of course. I had to pick at least one tea with the country in the name of the tea. I stocked up on this one a while ago. I’ve had variations of it from other tea shops, which is why I haven’t written a note for this particular one until now! It’s a little less like “toffee” than past variations but I still enjoy this one. Deep tasty puerh with a bit of sweetness. No off-putting puerh flavors here. I’m glad I bought more!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 15 minutes after boiling // 2-3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // ? min
I forgot to take some notes for this one, but I made a cup in honor of our Valentine’s Day sipdown prompt. Lime gelato is not a typical Valentine’s dessert, but if my husband were to choose he would absolutely pick something with lime (most likely key lime pie). This steeped up a serious red color (thanks, hibiscus), but the lime flavor definitely stood out. I’m not a fan, but my husband would probably call this one a favorite.
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Thursday, June 17th: National Eat Your Vegetables Day Tea #2
additional notes: Now as I steep this up… I’m realizing it’s very similar to the other tea today. Just without the green tea and probably some other veggies thrown in there. It’s an okay blend but gone now!
2021 sipdowns: 84
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge Tuesday, February 9th: National Pizza Day –Tea #3
Thanks very much for the sample, AJRimmer! I had a second steep of this tonight and the other last night, so it counts for Pizza Day. I figured there was a fair amount of vegetables in this blend, so it COULD count for Pizza Day. I was trying not to look at the list of ingredients before sipping, to try to blind taste test it… it both smells and tastes like mostly cantaloupe with a hint of tanginess, like maybe a single piece of hibiscus made it into the infuser. I did notice cucumbers in the blend, so this is almost like a no caffeine version of their cantaloupe cucumber green tea. Other than that tartness replacing any flavor that might have been from green tea, I can’t really tell a difference. Not as much citrus as I would think from the ingredients, when I finally look at the list. I’m just VERY happy this wasn’t heavily noticeable on the loathed tomatoes. But the cantaloupe flavor is fine with me. This is actually very cheap right now!
Steep #1 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // very long steep