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Recent Tasting Notes
Rich, chocolatey aroma. I dunno if there is chocolate flavoring in this or if it’s only cocoa beans but I get some of that coconutty smell from chocolate scratch-n-sniff stickers and maybe almond. It also smells like irish cream . Taste is about the same intensity as the aroma, brisk, a little oily, reminds me of an irish coffee. So what did I do for this cold, wet evening? I added a half shot of bourbon (no Irish whiskey in the house) and a dab of thiiiick Three Trees vanilla almond milk. The bourbon overpowered everything, but now I’m sufficiently wound down from an exciting day. A Kiki review will be incoming when she’s in the mood for a black tea. Thanks, gmathis :)
Flavors: Almond, Artificial, Chocolate, Coconut, Dark Wood, Irish Cream, Tannin, Whiskey
Taking a few minutes for an afternoon feet-up pondering why Mom, without benefit of Swiffers or microfiber dusters, had a house five times as clean as mine using nothing but old t-shirts and a wring-it-out-by-hand rag mop. (Couldn’t possibly be because she didn’t work 40 hours a week, plus a side gig, and wasn’t tempted to fritter away time online.)
SInce I can’t answer that one to my satisfaction ;) I’ll ponder this tea instead. One good barometer for me is, “Does it steep the same way every time, even with sloppy barbarian treatment?” It does! You smell the pineapple first, but you taste the cherry first, and the lemongrass/green tea combo cleanses your palate between sips.
Same conclusion. Very nice, very springy, and if you promise not to judge my hairy, dusty, baseboards, I’ll make you a cup.
After last week, I am need of all things spring. Pink. Blue sky. Normal clothing instead of polar bear wear. Flowers. Bunnies. Confetti. Lilacs.
Therefore, a light and fruity tea was in order yesterday as I enjoyed a little silence after a rowdy afternoon helping supervise a 14-kid service project.
The picture on the TeaMaze website is an accurate representation. Big hunks of dried cherry and pineapple. An as-prescribed steep of 4 minutes gets you a cup of light, sweet, fruity sunshine. The lemongrass brightens the mix without making it tart. TeaMaze’s description references “tangy” twice, but I think that’s a little overstated. All the same, it was a very pleasant change of pace on a mild but muddy afternoon.
After two weeks of staring at the same human and feline faces (we haven’t been 100% housebound, but it sure hasn’t been pleasant to go out) and a long, tedious work at home day, I needed a little change, so I broke into this little pouch which had found its way into my Valentine basket.
I like rooibos. I like cherry when it is done properly (which is, unfortunately, rarely). In the case of this blend, the cherry wasn’t cough-syrup cherry, but it wasn’t quite cherry-pie cherry, either. So the mildly fruity cherry butted up against the mildly fruity rooibos and my tired taste buds had a little trouble figuring out which one was which.
I didn’t dislike it and will give it further consideration, along with this perplexer: why is it so hard to make authentically cherry and authentically strawberry teas?
This Fe-BRRRRR-ary afternoon is making me shamelessly (or deliciously) lazy, depending on how you look at it. Husband helped me defrost and de-ice and wander in to play with my Sunday kids for a bit. Remember playing with the scratch paper in art class that had a black waxy coating over a swirly neon pattern? That was our early arriver activity: my crew scratched out a panda bear, a t-rex looking in the mirror, an arsenal of swords, and a “Julie and the Phantoms” tribute page.
So that made me tired. Yeah, that’s it. All the better to enjoy a cup of tea that deserves your full attention.
This is actually the second steep report. I first reported that it had ground cinnamon mixed in with the tieguanyin (I think) base. Inaccurate. Omit ground cinnamon; insert “little broken hunks of cinnamon stick that you can smell from three feet away while you are steeping.”
The second steep is amost equally as strong as the first, minus the floral lilt of the first steep. Smells good, the steam is lovely in your face.
This one warmed my cold bones all the way down to my toes after having to scrape my windshield in a thick freezing mist. The base tea appears to be a nice large-leafed tieguanyan with a liberal sprinkling of ground cinnamon that reached my nose first the minute hot water hit it. The cinnamon pairs perfectly with the fruity personality of the oolong to create a lovely little cup of mock apple pie.
I don’t care who or who else doesn’t like this one under my roof (see discussion of previous domestic oolong differences of opinion); it’s a lovely treat!
At first I thought this was just a re-labeling of the TeaMaze Dark Chocolate that I thought was decent, but not stellar. (Hubby grabbed the packet at the store, not me.) However, this has a little hazelnut brittle to sweeten the deal and it makes a very noticeable difference…a little more heft and body, and with milk, actually puts a small dent in the midwinter chocolate cravings.
Kiki’s evening tea tonight :)
“Black tea. It’s a little creamy when I smell it. Kinda like that African tea has that smell. she breathes it in for a good minute then finally sips It’s kind of a little fruity, like cantaloupe. I think it’s a… I think it’s a… one of those natural flavorings. It’s alright. What do you think?”
I steal a sip. I think it’s creamy and coconut.
“You mean like coconut flavoring?”
No, real coconut.
“Like grated coconut. Yeah I can see that. Like coconut water-y. I don’t think I’d buy this, though. What’s in it?”
Black tea, rum flavoring (which might be where you’re getting the fruitiness from)—
makes a double-take face, sips again “—Oh, yeah, uh-hm, I get that now.”
And strawberry leaves, coconut and orange safflower.
“I was gonna say orange!”
That’s probably the base tea. You know, like orange pekoe often has kind of an orange tone to it.
“Right. Thank you, gmathis. You’re very sweet :) You’re sweeter than the tea. And thank you very much!”
This one is growing on me (just as the packet is getting low, of course). Two teaspoons yesterday in a 16-oz tumbler with milk set me up with almost-hot-chocolate-but-not-quite. The spent leaves still smelled good this morning, so I added a little muscle with a spoonful of my beloved PG Tips and made myself builders’ tea with a Hershey-bar-sort-of foundation.
My general philosophy regarding chocolate tea is “when I want to drink chocolate, I want a packet of Swiss Miss with a scoop of marshmallow cream. Or a whole slab of fudge.” Hard to find a tea that replicates that.
However, this isn’t bad. The website description of “not-too-sweet-chocolate” is accurate. Chocolate hints with a little kick from the coriander. Plays nicely with milk.
(Tea review coming…travelogue first.)
Back in the 80’s, Precious Moments was a thing … little doe-eyed, childlike characters on posters and figurines. The artist, Sam Butcher, created a Sistine-Chapel-ish attraction in a remote rural area that in its heyday, was a tour bus mecca for collectors. It’s still open, on a much smaller scale, and a ten-minute drive from my front door.
There’s an Italian restaurant on the grounds that used to be the Precious Moments Convention Center—Chef Aleks is Albanian and puts a very non-Olive-Garden touch on his specialties. I could just order a cup of his chicken marsala sauce and drink it like soup.
Anyway, we trekked that direction for Sunday lunch and I came home full of carbonara and chilled to the bone because it’s a bit of a hike from the parking lot. (Crazy weather—snow Wednesday, 55 F yesterday a.m., tornado warnings in the evening, mid-30’s with wind like daggers today).
So, too full to eat dessert, I drank it. Now the tea. I have reviewed this a couple of times, and my experience continues to be good. Almond-y teas tend to be a little finicky for me, but so far, this one hasn’t been a bit bitter, even with inattentive steeping. It it is creamy and you know that moment when you’ve held a delicious almond sugar cookie in your mouth and it reaches the melting point? Yeah. That’s this tea.
The folks at TeaMaze have absolutely nailed the “cookie” flavor in this toothsome blend (that’s an adjective I use sparingly; I believe I also applied it to H&S Vanilla Comoro). I did not buy enough when I was at the shop, so I’m stretching each spoonful as much as possible. This morning I tossed in some generic bulk-shop Ceylon, a little milk, and it was nearly as good as new.
I broke into the good stuff from our Branson run for a morale boost. If you dessert tea fans like almond-y, cookie-y, marzipan flavors, this is absolutely spot on. Blissfully sweet to smell and taste, even straight up, even neglected and cold on my desk. Almond first, cream and sugar next. Can’t wait to try a proper cup with milk!
(Should you wish to research further, it’s spelled macaroon on teamazeshop.com website.)
Thanks to gmathis for this sample and the lovely handmade card that came with it! Very fancy.
Been sitting on this for a couple weeks because I haven’t had the time to properly enjoy it, but it got cracked open today. The smell of the dry tea is delightful—strong and dark like European coffee with hints of bittersweet chocolate and Chinese black tea. Didn’t expect that to carry over to the actual taste, but it did! Sipping on this while I cleaned out all of my external aquarium filters made the whole process much more pleasant. Probably the best execution of a mocha tea that I’ve had so far.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Mocha, Smooth
Since we can’t get our act together for a day trip to the Ozarks (although I am aching for some mountain air), last month, my thoughtful husband placed a birthday order to our favorite tea stop from that direction. This little Ceylon breakfast tea isn’t on my Teamaze “A” list, but it is still tasty. It has that smooth “just tea” profile with a nice little sugar sprinkle at the end of each sip. Better for spring afternooners than first thing in the morning in the dead of winter.
This isn’t currently appearing on the TeaMaze website, and that’s a shame because the leaves are long and lacy. You’d like the way it looks.
Though “Breakfast” is in the title, this really isn’t the brash and bold thing I require to get my eyes open. “Brunch” or “afternooner” would be a better time-of-day recommendation. The first sensation is on the back of the tongue: sweet—almost brown sugary, with a very subtle malt-and-cocoa sensation that tickles the tip of the tongue as you swallow.
With that said, this is a fine, elegant tea. Just be alert enough to appreciate it.
Ooh! Thanks for this one, gmathis. Had just enough to make a little pot of it before bed.
After a day of approximately 5 other pots of pure oolongs and blacks, this was a much-appreciated reprieve. It’s a calm, unfussy black base with a heavy helping of rich strawberry and cream flavors. Doesn’t even taste artificial, and I appreciate that they didn’t try to make it sweet. This was an excellent one to sip on while starting a new book. Think I’ll be getting an ounce or two of it for when I want a flavored black—my usual Lady Londonberry is good, but sometimes the lemon mixed in with that strawberry can be a bit much!
Flavors: Cream, Strawberry
This morning, the scent reminds me of a clear, sticky strawberry lip gloss that was in my stocking in fourth grade. Nothing chemically about the flavor, though; just strawberries and cream all the way.
Funny, this is a thematic tea, although I never intended it to be. Every review I’ve written for it refers to my Sunday kids. Today, too. This is my quiet rocking chair cup before I load up the goods for “Tea and Cocoa Day,” our Sunday-before-Christmas tradition. (And a good way to get rid of unwanted teabags ;) One of my sixth grade boys asked “Do you have any more of that bacon tea?” My husband thought it was so funny, he went out and bought an ounce of Lapsang Souchong for me to take him.
Sipdown, hopefully temporary. TeaMaze is open again and this one’s on the top of the list when we get there. It’s my current favorite no-fail strawberry and cream black tea. Needs no sugar or milk; all the goodness is thoughtfully provided for you.
The last note I wrote for this was six very long months ago—the last time I got to go on an “Impact Day” adventure with my fifth and sixth grade church kids. Appropriate that I have picked it back up to fortify me for my first Sunday back with them after a long dry spell. They’re my weekly joy break, and my tank was well past empty. Counting the minutes till I get some (properly sterilized and sanitized) air hugs.
You don’t know what you have until you miss it … normally at this time, I’d be in a room we’ve dubbed the Warehouse with 11-year-olds pecking at me like chickens, showing off their phones and dumb photos, telling me about their pets, and asking me if I’ll play a game with them. Our church staff has been fabulous—sending videos and video challenges to our kids; we’re getting ready to connect virtually in a few minutes; our kids’ pastor did several neighborhood drive-by’s, and I’m keeping a steady stream of snail mail headed their way. But, oh, how I am counting the days until they’re driving me nuts again!
However, virtual church has its benefits—like its proximity to a whole pot of this gentle strawberries-and-cream blend. The black tea base is really nothing but a base, the flavors are so pronounced. Authentic sweet strawberry pie flavor; doesn’t taste artificial at all.