16 Tasting Notes


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Been a garbage week, so one half of my tea haul arriving in the mail today was a welcome respite. This has translated into oversteeping this cup by about 20 minutes, but fortunately I don’t think it suffered much…

Not gonna lie, this stuff smells dank and not at all like vanilla or orange. When I stick my nose in the gravity pot, it’s all cardamom and some herbaly whiffs in spite of seeing almost nothing but apple pieces and orange peels. What kind of dark sorcery is happening with this tea? It’s like Whole Foods distilled into a perfume.

Fortunately, this tastes smoother than it smells. Somehow, it’s managed to capture a vanilla-y smoothness with no vanilla in the blend. The orange half is is a little dicey, since I’m mostly just seeing apple in the pot, but I think I can’t judge this fairly until I do a more-lucid, not-forgotten second steep later.

Flavors: Apple, Cardamom, Vanilla

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Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint

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The destashening continues. I’ve been missing my usual apple pie blend from a local shop, and I’ve been hunting the platonic apple pie ideal online to no avail. Who would have thought it’s so difficult to find what should be a relatively simple and straight-forward drink? But alas, that leads me to come crawling back to good ol’ Cinnamon Apple Spice. I knew this day was coming.

This one wasn’t quite as bad as I recall, but it also helps that I was more conservative in my steep this time around. They’re still not f-ing around with the cinnamon, but the hibiscus and apple are, dare I say, juicy?

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drank Masala Chai by Traveling Tea
16 tasting notes

Summer has gone on too long, folks, because here I am drinking (and craving) spicy teas and thinking about red, crunchy leaves. It helps that I’m working on destashing before bringing in a new haul, and forgot that I had this treat waiting in the wings.

I don’t get a lot of vanilla flavor in this, but the cinnamon and ginger are the big hitters with a little astringency from the cardamom riding the back end. Bless the folks at TT for putting ‘NO PEPPER’ on the label for the benefit of weaklings like myself. I like that this is pleasantly spicy without being too biting and lends itself nicely for tea lattes. Wish I would have steeped this one a little longer – I find it’s tough for me to overdo it with chais, but I make them so infrequently that I keep forgetting. I mixed mine with a little toasted coconut-almond milk because it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and I’m not sure that it added anything significant, but I ain’t mad at it, either.

Best of luck in the heatwave this week – it’s finally reached St. Louis.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Ginger

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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A nice, soft smell out of the tin that’s true to its namesake, but primes you for disappointment once you discover that it’s mostly just dusty, dry rooibos once steeped. I kept coming back to this one thinking the next cup would be different, and it’s passable with a splash of milk, but why waste perfectly good dairy? I struggled through the tin and was relieved when this was finally gone.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Came back to this one after a few months of destashing less-loved teas and while this was better than I remember it being, it really just left an empty space in my bleak little heart for a more potent earl grey creme and now I’m off to the races to look for something to scratch the itch. This really is the ugly sister of Earl Greyer Vanilla.

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When RoT describes this as ‘Cuppa Cake’, believe that it’s really leaning into the bakery vibes of still-warm, squishy cupcake crumb. The taste and scent alike are both very buttery and soft with a hint of lemon rather than this being a lemon-forward tea with buttery notes. I can definitely get where some reviewers caught a little grassiness. In my humble opinion, this one tastes better as it cools off, if you can wait that long.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Lemon

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I received this one for Christmas from a friend and I know I loved it the first time I had it, but the poor tin keeps getting pushed to the back of the line by newer, sexier teas. I’m sorry, Lemon Cream Green; it’s not you, it’s me.

Smells a bit like lemony Froot Loops on a fresh pour, which I’m 100% into. I know apple is a filler for a lot of tea blends out there and can feel like sort of a rip when it comes to flavor, but this one doesn’t give the same vibe.

The tea is light and sunny, the sort of thing that makes me wish I had petits-fours or cute little tea sandwiches. The green tea tastes fresh and delicate, mildly vegetal on the back half. Because this is a lemon cream, there’s no real zinginess — it’s more like a sweet lemon dessert. I like to mix in a half teaspoon of Raspberry Cream Green when I’m feeling sassy, and the result is also very solid.

I think the defining trait of this cup is simply that it’s mild in the best of ways, easy drinking for sleepy days where you need a little lift. There’s no tug-of-war of flavors going on here, nothing fighting to stand above the rest.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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30-something dead-eyed designer


90+: Holy grail teas, fight me on it
80-89: Very good, will probably keep on rotation
70-79: Good teas that I won’t go out of my way to restock
60-69: Ehhhh…the kind of tea I only reach for when all the better ones are gone
50-59: Tea purgatory, whereupon I toil simply to finish the box
-50: The reject pile


St. Louis, MO

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