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Recent Tasting Notes
Last T Kettle blend for now – may explore some of the flavours I missed in the future, but I think I ended up sipping through around 90 of their teas so I do feel like I got a really good sense of what the company is about/their direction and blend style/and their strong suits…
For a Serenity Now recreation, which is honestly a tea with a lot of layered flavours that probably shouldn’t work because of how all over the place it is (and yet, it does), this is actually a pretty good version of the profile. It feels thinner overall in terms of body, and is missing some of the “low” fruit notes and density of flavour that Serenity Now has – but the overall flavours are here: a bright “top note” strawberry, soft lavender, and a hint of spearmint in the finish. It’s sharper/more high notes and less cooling in the end sip – also a little more noticeable apple flavour. But overall? Good and enjoyable.
No surprises that I left the Sencha to (second) last. I typically hate Sencha.
This actually isn’t as unpleasant to me as most Sencha is – like, I got through the whole mug with very minimal fuss. However, that’s for two key reasons I think – the first being that the tea is just pretty flat/dull. It tastes like maybe it’s not the freshest!? The second, though, is that I’m not entirely convinced it’s actually a Sencha – looking at the tea leaves, both dry and steeped, it just looks so much more consistent with a bancha green tea…
A less good Headache Halo…
This one makes me about as sad the the Bee The Change dupe made me – I watched my coworker put so much effort and research into creating Headache Halo. That blend was deeply personal to her, with origins reaching back to her childhood. Seeing it recreated so blatantly (and poorly) just feels gross.
The taste on this is just very unbalanced – it’s a whole lot of spearmint and nettle in a way that comes off as a little skunky/too herbaceous and also cloyingly sweet and coating. If they had dialed back some of the ingredient ratios, maybe this would taste alright. But I just find this to be a messy blend overall.
Just a few more T Kettle blends to write notes for – I didn’t try all of their teas but a very significant chunk of their website, and now I just have tasting notes for the last few stragglers from that initial sampling…
This is very clearly modeled after Caribbean Crush from DT – it’s one of the most overt of the T Kettle “dupes”. As a stand alone tea, it’s not bad at all – sweet tropical pineapple and red berry with some vanilla undertones. The finish is a smidge soapy to me, and I can’t place exactly what that’s coming from. As a side by side against Caribbean Crush, I find this doesn’t make as strong of an impression – it just lacks a lot of the juiciness of Caribbean Crush and overall the taste/mouthfeel is just thinner. There’s also a much more overt vanilla/cream flavouring in this blend – and while there is cream flavouring in Caribbean Crush it’s not really there to make the blend taste creamy – y’know!? So it feels a touch out of place here.
So this is the T Kettle “dupe” for DT’s Valerian Nights…
When I steeped this up my first sip really caught me off guard because the steeped tea is actually very fruity – both from the apple in the blend but greater than that. I swear it tasted like pineapple. Sweet, tropical pineapple flavouring style pineapple – like what you might find in a “Pina Colada” inspired tea blend. The result, because this tea DOES have a lot of coconut in it, was that it did indeed taste a bit like a Pina Colada. For that reason alone, it’s a terrible flavour match – Valerian Nights is a very sweet caramel/coconut kind of taste and not at all fruity.
…however, I do like pineapple a lot so this bright and sweet Pina Colada adjacent type of profile was actually pretty tasty to me.
I am certainly not a matcha expert and, in full transparency, I don’t drink a lot of straight matcha either – but I thought this was actually pretty good! It’s very smooth and froths up pretty nicely/thickly with a light vegetal snow pea note and a little unctuous umami creaminess. The texture could be a little smoother/softer, especially for a “Ceremonial Grade” but the taste didn’t disappoint – which is good, because the mint matcha from T Kettle was rough…
That said – I find the price point a little high for the quality.
Very, very standard Earl Grey and not much to write about here. Heavy on the bergamot for my tastes, but probably normal for most – the cup has body and a decent amount of tannin to it, indicating to me this would be great with milk and/or sugar. The finish is a little metallic/brassy, but not enough to bother.
Thankfully not skunky, unlike that truly gnarly Grapefruit Earl Grey (it might have been called something else – it’s been a while since I had it) that I tried a while back from T Kettle…
Clearly T Kettle’s take on DT’s Mother’s Little Helper – chamomile, mint, hibby, and Valerian.
It’s not a great recreation, but the reason it fails at recreating the DT blend are actually the reasons why I think I prefer it more. Mother’s Little Helper has such strong and sharp/bold flavours. The mint is crisp and menthol heavy, the hibiscus saturated and berry like, and the chamomile thick on its distinct floral character. Personally, I find all those distinct flavours cacophonous and disconnected. In this case, it’s the same main set of flavours but they’re all much milder and weaker – it creates a gentler blend overall and while I still don’t find them necessarily complimentary it’s just easier for my palate to accept overall.
Arguably the nicest straight tea/tisane I’ve tried from T Kettle thus far, and that doesn’t surprise me since I’ve found it pretty enjoyable in the majority of the rooibos blends I’ve tried from them thus far – they seem to be using this same standard through their blends…
It’s sweet and honeyed with bits of graham and hazelnut and a little pinch of minerality as well. I know red rooibos is not for everyone, and this is pretty “standard” red rooibos profile so that would probably hold true for this tea. However, I quite like red rooibos so this works for me as a simple, enjoyable caffeine free option.
Last T Kettle blend of the night! I’m excited to be ending on one that looks to actually be more of a unique to T Kettle creation…
There’s a catalog blend from MTC called “Bourbon St. Vanilla” and I feel like this probably started as that tea, but it’s definitely a bit different – especially in the very gorgeous visual of the tea. I really love how they incorporated all the colours of Mardis Gras into the visual of the blend; it’s such stunning story telling and tie in to the name. The Bourbon St. Vanilla blend, while not the most exciting flavour, does kind of feel exciting in a similar way – it’s named after Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but the name is also a riff on that “bourbon vanilla” profile that was quite commercial and popular at one point. This takes that wordplay to the next level, and I respect it.
The taste is similar to the fondant-like or “doughy” vanilla flavour that I experienced in their Birthday Party blend – it may even be the same flavouring. I personally do not like that style of vanilla type flavour, but I know there’s a large amount of people who respond really well to it so it makes sense I guess to keep it consistent. Not an unpleasant tea overall, and preferable to me over Birthday Party – but not something I’d feel compelled to have again.
But, again, I just think this is a super fun interpretation of that classic MTC blend. If more of T Kettle’s blends were in this vein, I think I’d have a lot more fun with their approach to tea…
…this is basically just like a less intensely sweet version of T Kettle’s True North blend, which is their other maple rooibos blend. Because, y’know, they needed two of them!? I honestly prefer this one, the other way cloying. However, it’s a bit of a sad maple flavour. Not a half bad tea overall though.
This is clearly meant to be Cold 911, but it’s a very weird take on it. Definitely does not have anywhere close to the same level of Vick’s Vapor Rub “punch” to it and I suppose for some people that would be good in terms of taste, but it definitely isn’t as effective in terms of the wellness benefits, y’know? Like I don’t drink Cold 911 for the taste typically – I taste it because I want to feel face fucked by the eucalyptus.
The issue I have with this tea though isn’t primarily the lack of intensity. It’s that it seems to have a cream note/flavour in it!? And I just don’t understand why you would want a peppermint/eucalyptus tea to taste creamy!? It’s like straight up toothpaste and I just cannot handle it.
My mind is elsewhere tonight, so apologies if tasting notes are… jumbled…
This isn’t anything exciting, but dang if it doesn’t taste like 90s nostalgia! It’s got that distinct hibiscus tartness that it sort of trying to replicate the taste of berry, but in this case it mostly succeeds in conveying the flavour of a very tart and juicy strawberry. I want more kiwi, but I do get some and that’s just enough to poke my in the nostalgia bone. More body would be nice, I’m skeptical if this could hold up to being iced – but overall I did enjoy the blend.
In today’s episode of “What the hell is up with T Kettle’s copy writing!?” I’m both trying to figure out what their obsession with comparing things to tasting like toast is while also trying to mentally digest the phrase “full frontal lavender”…
The tea itself was pretty nice though – I think the lavender tastes pretty nice quality. It’s clear and pretty strong, but not soapy or too much like perfume, and it works nicely with the honeyed notes of the rooibos. It’s pretty straight forward – I did not taste much in the way of coconut. I didn’t mind the simple and well executed single flavour note. I’m not a massive lover of lavender, but if I was in the mood for it I think this would definitely satisfy that craving!
Noticing a trend with some of the straight teas from T Kettle in that so far the overwhelming majority of them have been inoffensive but incredibly flat/bland without much life to them. This is definitely true here – no off notes to speak of, but the tea was so unremarkable that I just cannot remember what it tasted like. It’s almost as if they’re all just super old and stale…
Honestly not much to say here because this flavour combo is so classic and so overdone that I feel like I’ve tasted practically every variation of it under the sun. This tasted just fine, and not offensive like some of the other teas with bergamot that I’ve tried from T Kettle thus far. It’s not really a tea type that I personally seek, and if I was feeling a EG Cream like this I think I would want one with a much stronger cream flavour – this was fairly mild. However, I have no complaints aside from the intensity of the cream which honestly not a complaint. Just a personal preference.
Soooo much ginger!
So this is clearly the T Kettle take on “Super Ginger” and, let me tell you, it shows. I can’t drink Super Ginger because it’s too much hot/spicy ginger for me and the same is definitely true of this blend – it’s got the same almost volatile hot and spicy ginger note that feels like static on your tongue, but this time boosted with the addition of chili pepper. There’s totally a customer for this level of ginger, but damn is it not me!
The thing that I find weird about the blend, though, is that it’s pretty similar to T Kettle’s “Gingerbread Cookie” blend – like, definitely the same style of ginger flavour. So, I’m not totally sure I understand the point of having both!? I guess my assumption was that they were going for sweeter and more seasonal with the Gingerbread Cookie but I just read the copy writing for this tea on their website and they also are describing this one as a ginger cookie with a slight holiday spin to it.
It’s a bit confusing to me, but honestly the tea is fine – it’s just SO MUCH ginger and that’s a flavour I’m not into…
Yes, I’m still working my way through T Kettle blends – just trying to keep a balance with everything else in my stash…
I’m not big on chocolate teas – I don’t have a big hate for them but I rarely seek them out, especially when it comes to plain chocolate teas. I thought this one was pretty fine tasting but not exciting at all, but I guess that didn’t surprise me. It has the sort of chocolate flavouring that tastes more like a chocolate liqueur – just alcohol based, sweet and sticky on the palate/tongue. Not off putting, but not “authentic” chocolate either. It’s medium-ish bodied which makes it kind of neutral in my mind; find to have plain if this is your flavour jam, but would take milk or other additions relatively well too. There is also stevia in the blend, but in all honesty I didn’t taste it at all.
Not my favourite, but I think it is what it’s supposed to be.
This Orange Pekoe is an abomination.
Like, I’m sorry because that’s not a very nice thing to say – but it’s what I feel in my heart.
I mean, do you know how much it killed me making the Steepster page for this tea and having to check off that it was a blend of black and green tea!? More than that, which is already a crime in my books, it has cornflowers blended into it!? I’m usually all for colouring just outside the lines when it comes to the “rules” of tea, but this is just so far off the page that when I first saw the tea photo on the T Kettle website I thought they had made a mistake and used the photo from one of their other teas.
This is just not what an Orange Pekoe should be. Why does this exist!?
And more over, it’s not even good. Like, if it tasted okay I could maybe excuse the mess that is this tea – but it was just soooooo stale/flat and lifeless tasting. Just, very very sad tea. I have tried to be reaaalllyyyy conscious of not just roasting some of T Kettles blends because I can. However, I don’t feel bad for this one. Just…
What. Were. They. Thinking.
I actually sipped this one last night, but wasn’t somewhere I could jot down tasting notes. So this’ my second cup. The smell is classic vanilla frosting, creamy and buttery. Nothing chocolatey about it. In fact, I also bought Cozy Cocoa, which has a very distinct alcohol-based chocolate flavouring in its scent, and there’s not a whiff of that here, so I’m doubting they added any chocolate flavouring at all.
Taste-wise… I just finished eating dinner, so I can’t say I’m going to give the best description. Vanilla, a sort of tonka flavour? An alcoholic flavouring-oil like taste, that leaves a mouthfeel that does sort of add to the ‘vanilla frosting’ bit. I can’t say I’m getting any chocolate, still… Although a lot of liquid chocolate flavourings do have a largely ‘boozy chocolates’ taste to them. There’s an astringency at the back of my throat that’s also probably from the flavouring oil.
I AM a sucker for any cakey vanilla sweet flavouring in tea. This is fairly generic but pleasant, minus the bitter note. Maybe four minutes for these teas in the future. I’ll probably do a second note when I’ve got a clearer palate.
Dry, this smells strongly of scented markers I used to play with growing up. I couldn’t say which scent—vanilla or popcorn or some baked good ones. Sweet and a bit plasticy, but good.
Brewed, this smells… Honestly, like how cookie and biscotti smell after you’ve dipped them into tea and they’ve gone soft. It’s very distinct. And very fitting. So it smells good, like biscotti, like tea and milk and honey.
Taste wise… Surprisingly a bit astringent, even though I was very careful with my five minutes this time, and the tea itself looked at first glance like the small curled leaves of a Chinese black tea (the glossyness, in retrospect, might have been flavouring oil). But taste-wise, Sri Lankan. Maybe blended with a Chinese black, and/or some Assam. I always have difficulty picking out bases under flavouring. It’s faintly astringent but not enough to turn you away; there’s a faintly oily mouthfeel of almonds, like a sweet almond oil of some sort, that trails into the aftertaste as I breath out. Unfortunately the baked goods in the smell don’t translate much into the taste. Mostly just almond. Not something I’d reach for in the future, as the astringency is verging on bitterness. I’m sure this would be very nostalgic and pleasant with milk, though.
I’m slowly working my way through a bunch of ounce teas I picked up in-store. I came in knowing exactly what I wanted beforehand. Saves you time, energy, social interaction. I’m typing this while working on a blog post about upcoming tea-book releases. There’s a couple of books I’m excited for in 2021. It’s a nice, lazy Sunday.
So, I finally picked up a few blends. I’ll make a review of the physical location itself once the Places tab is usable again.
This was… The smell was downright familiar, in a "I’ve smelt this exact profile of ‘Pumpkin Tea’ somewhere before’. Stash’s? Republic of Tea’s? Metropolitan’s? I don’t know. Not DAVIDs’, not Murchie’s. It’s something like a ‘liquid chocolate flavour’ kind of scent. Still there while brewed.
This tastes thin, but fine. Rosehip I picked up. Clove and cinnamon, followed by ginger for a warmth. It’s thin, not really creamy and full. I’m surprised I get nothing, or very little, from the stevia. It’s unobtrusive, whereas usually it dominates any blend that has the misfortune of containing it? If it wasn’t listed in the ingredients, I probably would have guessed any sweetness was from the fruit or the candy. The more I sip, the more the ginger sticks and lingers, which is pleasant.
No pumpkin, just the barest watery fruit, overtopped with the usual spices, although no creamyness or heft to it. I picked myself up some vintage mugs, and the taste and look at least fits the aesthetic of the fall-harvest mug I’m drinking it out of.
I hate this name… I can’t explain why, but something about it squicks me out.
The tea itself was alright, but a bit simple. For a recreation of Hibiscus Splash, which is a pretty sweet/juicy cherry profile, this leans rather hard on the tartness of the hibiscus and cranberry in the blend. What I did like though was that, for a tart profile, it wasn’t really sharp – and that’s a fine nuance/distinction to me, but I appreciate a fuller and more thick feeling and tasting tartness. I wish there wasn’t stevia here, because I really tasted it in the finish – but overall it was a pretty good general hibiscus fruit tisane. There’s just so many of those out there that I doubt it’ll be a memorable one.
No complaints about this Sunny C dupe.
It’s straight forward, but very pleasant with a rich and robust full bodied citrus flavour that reminds me of fresh squeezed orange juice. I imagine it would be lovely cold brewed or iced, but it was also just a generally nice time as a hot cup.
Also the short copy on the website for this tea uses the phrase “Squeeze the day” and that might legitimately be my favourite bit of copy writing on the entire T Kettle website. 10/10 – that’s just a great pun.