Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Republic of Tea Cranberry Blood Orange

I like that after the initial fruitiness, the black tea flavor comes through. I liked this it was tasty. But honestly Republic of Tea is simply too expensive for a fairly weak tea mixed with Kool-Aid. I really like Kool-Aid but I can buy it much cheaper and mix it myself. Your mileage may vary.

The Republic of Tea Blueberry Green

The smell of the leaf is really good. I can actually smell the tea for once. Brewed, the blueberry dominates but wonderfully so. The tea (which I can taste) blends well and changes the flavor to more blackberryish. It isn’t an in your face flavor, just pleasant. I would not want this every day but it is something I would enjoy on a regular basis. I know many of you won’t sweeten a green but I think you should try it once with this tea. Yum.

The Republic of Tea Ginger Peach (White)

Smells very peachy. So yummy. The color is a beautiful amber. The peach taste is way more subdued than the smell would have you expect. After the peach fades you are left with this cardboardy taste. This has been my experience with the three most recent RoT’s I have tried. I am not experiencing the tea. Maybe it isn’t cardboard so much as the taste of tea that has been steeped too many times, yet I only did each of these once. If you are going to use underfilled bags I would suggest Stash instead.

The Republic of Tea Pomegranate Green Tea

First the bad news – I could barely detect the green tea. Now the good news – this is a very pleasant drink. Hot it was soothing and fruity. Smells nice and looks pretty. I imagine this would make a great iced drink.

The Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage

Smells very strong of blackberry. Much more mellow taste but still the main flavor. Initial blast of berry quickly gives way to a rather bland tea/sage combo – not sure how that is possible. Then the the syrupy berry aftertaste kicks in and lingers and lingers.

The Republic of Tea Orange Blossom White Tea

This isn’t horrible. There just isn’t enough of it in the bag to make me care. The orange blossum and flavorings have a kind of candy taste to them and a lingering aftertaste. Rather bland at first but tasted far better as it cooled. The biggest problem with this brand is it is twice the cost and half the tea of other local available teas.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stash Decaf Vanilla Chai

Bagged tea. Smells nice. Wrapper says for best flavor add milk and sugar. I added only Splenda. I should have rinsed the oolong out of my mug before steeping this tea but I was lazy. The blend of spices in this are nice. Adding milk might really have helped. It seems to me all of the flavor is on top of the sip and then there is this big drop into nothingness. What I mean is the black tea does not grab hold and support the spices. Maybe because it is decaf, maybe because of the oolong taste remaining in the cup. I did notice the cooler the cup got the more balanced it seemed. That leads me to imagine this would make a really great frappachino on a hot steamy day.

Tazo Berryblossom White

A filterbag tea. Smells wonderfully fruity and candylike in the envelope. The brew is a light golden color. The aroma of the cup is much more subdued than the bag suggests. Tazo says this is a delicate tea with hints of blueberry and white cranberry. My initial reaction is it reminds me of Hawaiian shaved ice only hot. You can taste the white tea and it is ok, nothing special. I think all the flavors improve as the cup cools. It will get bitter if you steep too long and it does leave a bit of an aftertaste. I usually don’t care for Tazo teas, except Lotus which I drink often. Most seem to be way overdone. This tea I kind of like simply because it is light and understated.

Foojoy China Classic Oolong

I bought this because it was $2 a box. It is bagged tea. I also bought it because it claims on the box it can be steeped 2 – 3 times, something very few bag teas would even attempt to claim. The bags are sealed in paper envelopes :( The bag smells of generic black tea. Steeped for 3 minutes. The brew is very dark. I like the aroma but my friends who hate all smoky oolongs tell me it stinks. First sip is similar to Yamamotoyama Oolong but has a more earthy quality. It won’t blow your socks off, still this isn’t bad. I use a 12 oz mug and I did get a second cup out of the bag. It was lighter in flavor but it was possible. That pretty much makes this tea a bargain at a nickel a cup.

Ten Ren High Mountain Oolong

This came to me through my son via an exchange student. Very little English on the envelope. A quick web search of the company name led me to believe this was a whole leaf tea. Alas it is definitely not whole leaf. It is a 2g bag of tiny pieces. It is at least a fair amount of tea. Directions say to use boiling water and steep 3 minutes.

I got distracted at work and the first bag steeped more like 12 minutes. It was very strong and astringent. My main oolong is Yamamotoyama (YMY) it doesn’t care how long it is steeped. Obviously Ten Ren is a different animal.
The second bag was carefully timed at 3 minutes with boiling water. It was much improved and just a little harsh. I don’t drink coffee but that is what the flavor brought to mind. The aroma of the Ten Ren is very similar to YMY in that it has a distinct smokiness, yet the two teas taste quite a bit different. YMY is smooth. Ten Ren had a breakfast tea bite and attitude about it. Knowing what I like but not having the tea expertise to back it up, this could be an Assam based oolong.

The bag of tiny pieces plumped up so nicely I decided to attempt a second cup. The brew remained dark but the taste was slightly weak and lacking in the full depth of flavor. It was much smoother. If I had more of this I know I could find the sweet spot where this teas shines. I believe if on the first steep the water was cooled and the steep reduced to no more than 2 minutes, it would allow a second cup of equal taste and depth from one bag. A worthy, not too shabby tea.

Qiandao Yuye, Nannuoshan pu'erh

Update: I have written a newer review of this pu'erh as I discovered the distributor name is Starway. I am leaving this post for reference purposes as the change this tea makes with age is quite amazing.

Please read the whole review. Found this at the local international food market. It is an inexpensive loose leaf tea sold in a nice looking tin.

They say: This tea boasts a smooth and sweet flavor that is dry and has hints of a malty note. The aroma it offers is very clean and fresh. This tea is also called the old tree tea for all the ancient trees that exist in the area where it is harvested. The loose leaf option allows you to better control the potency of your tea, and offers an overall more fresh and aromatic experience.

Now how should I describe it? It is kind of like taking the outer sheet of newspaper that was wrapped around a fish and storing it in the damp dark basement until it is nice and moldy smelling.

I have tried a couple other market pu’erhs and enjoyed them. Yeah they taste like dirt but I liked them anyway. This is just not good. I am going to try adding some flavors and see if I can’t find a way to drink this. If not, well as I said, the tin is nice.

I added a sprig of fresh French Terragon. This helped a lot. It still smells bad but was easily drinkable. The tea is more than up to a second steep but the terragon was not up to the task.

This time I took 2 grams of leaf (1 tsp) and 5 fresh chocolate mint leaves steeped 3 minutes. Added sweetener (Splenda). Wow! This is really good. The stink is gone. The hint of chocolate in the mint really comes through. Tea and herb both are up to a second steep. The mint would not go a third, though the puerh was still ok but getting weak. I could drink this every day. Don’t throw away bad tea. Experiment with it. It might surprise you.

Mother Parkers Darjeeling

This is the bagged tea they bring you at the local Steak and Shake. I usually don’t order hot tea in a restaurant because I know I will be dissapointed. This is a pleasant surprise. Yeah, its bagged and the water in the tiny metal pitcher is not boiling but still this is a pleasant tea. It has a nice Dajeeling bite without being bitter. For what it is, it is very nice. I would (and will) order it again.

Tetley Orange Pekoe

Pretty sure this is what they are serving at Red Lobster when I order iced tea. I get it unsweetened without lemon. I am reviewing this because when a restaurant prepares tea well it should get noticed. The tea at our nearby RL is always fresh, and always has enough bite to be interesting. Maybe it is their water, or the temp, or the timing – maybe it is all of them. I have had so many sour or instant tasting bad teas at restaurants that this one stands out.

Twinings Lady Grey

Ok there is little new I can add to all the reviews of Lady Grey. I hadn’t sipped this in a long time. I forgot how good this is. The base is tasty. The bergamot just right. What really sets this apart is the orange and lemon zest. I needs me some more Lady Grey. You can get this in bags or in a loose leaf tin. I will always recommend loose leaf.

Bigelow English Teatime

Bigelow was my introduction to tea beyond Lipton. Back in the day, I lived on Constant Comment and Earl Grey. This started my Earl Grey addiction. Even liked Lemon Lift and Cinnamon Stick. When I was given a bag of English Teatime it took me back a few decades (even though I have never heard of this particular tea). So I put on appropriate music – BTO’s Sledgehammer and started brewing. First off this appears to be a 2g bag. Most Bigelow is a wimpy 1.6g anymore. Second I did not read the instructions – I steeped for 5 minutes. Should have steeped less. The pucker factor was pretty high. This was followed by a moment of blandness but surprisingly the aftertaste was very pleasant. I don’t drink a lot of unflavored blacks because of the aftertaste. I found this tea enjoyable. I would definitely add sweetener and maybe a bit of milk.

Lipton White Tea with Island Mango and Peach Flavor

Given to me at work. Made the mistake of looking at the date on the box. Good grief – amateurs… Even expired this was actually pretty good. It smells nice. The taste of the mango and peach can be easily separated and the flavorings don’t hide the tea flavor. The tea pieces are pretty small but a lot larger than usual tea fannings. Nicely done.

Tazo Joy

Got this from my son. Not as tasty as Stash Christmas Morning but I found it entertaining. My son warned me not to brew too long so I steeped about 4 minutes. The water temp was just under boiling. The Darjeeling is the predominate taste here with the green kind of hiding in the background. At first I couldn’t detect the oolong but as the cup cooled I began to catch it in the aftertaste then in the sip itself. I definitely would drink this again if it occurred to me but in reality it probably won’t very often.

Tazo Green Ginger

I want to like Tazo. I really do. I want Starbuck’s to do for tea what it did for coffee but I think Tazo is more concerned with appearing all hip and mystically rather than concentrating on the important stuff, the tea. My opinion – your image isn’t whimsical its just dumb.

As for this tea, it smells like medicine. Reading other reviews, I was unaware the natural flavors listed on the label meant pear. That probably explains my dislike of the smell. The taste reminds me of incense. Now in my incense burning days I might have liked that image. Today, not so much. The lemongrass, ginger, and ‘natural flavors’ blend together well enough but overwhelm the green tea base. It isn’t totally disgusting. It’s just not interesting enough for me to want again.

When I think of ginger I think of Vernors Ginger Ale. One of the oldest American soft drinks still in production. Barrel aged for three years. It used to be aged for longer but the company has traded hands a few times and changed some to remain competitive. It still is highly carbonated but nothing like it used to be when it came in glass bottles. I believe it was impossible to drink without the bubbles making you cough – in a glorious good way. Even in its present shadow of its former self it still stands miles above Canada Dry and Seven Up. Love it or hate it, this is a classic.

That’s what I want Starbuck’s to do for tea. Make it a fine vintage drink to be proud of and not some quirky unsatisfying half hearted attempt at tea. Make it worth my nearly $2/cup. Make the tea great and you won’t have to hide it in a gimmicky box.

Lipton Diet Green Tea With Citrus

I know I can’t even pronounce most of what is listed in the ingredients. I know this doesn’t taste much like tea. I know it is over sweetened. I know it is more soft drink than tea. I know there is probably no real citrus in it. I just can’t help myself. Dog gone it I like this stuff and I am not ashamed to admit it. It is cold and refreshing and especially handy when I am too lazy to accomplish more than twisting the cap off the bottle. Tea is listed as an ingredient, so I can almost convince myself this is better for me than the Dr. Pepper I almost grabbed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Twinings Vanilla

This tea was removed from the Twinings lineup but here is my review anyway. This reminds me of Vanilla Coke without the bubbles. Not that they taste the same but rather they suffer from the same problem. Both are way over done. This is simply too much of a good thing. Often I take a Coke and add a tiny portion of vanilla syrup to it and the result is quite tasty but the canned product I find nearly undrinkable. I think the same thing applies to Twinings Vanilla. Half the vanilla would have been more than adequate.

Twinings Pure White Tea

Another of their Origins teas. I have only seen it in a bagged tea version. I don't think I have ever met a white tea I didn't like. This tea I love. No bitterness. No aftertaste. Smooth and delicious.. Made from handpicked buds and air dried this tea rocks. If I weren't seriously addicted to Earl Grey I could easily drink this every day. Let me explain how you can get the most out of it. Not that long ago I would have steeped it for 4-5 minutes in boiling water. It always tasted like a mild mellow black tea and I was content with that. Today, I steeped for 1 ½ minutes in below boiling water. I think this is a pleasant cup. It does not have the depth of a loose leaf white but still, given that it is a bag, it is quite nice. Remember to use a short steep and cool temperature.

Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai

My son brewed a cup of this for me when I wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t really prepare this correctly. He used the microwave, which I am opposed to using for tea. The water was not boiling. I added a splash of milk and some artificial sweetener. I am certain this would be better under more controlled preparation. Even so, this was quite tasty. The spices were balanced and pleasant. I only want a pumpkin tea a couple times a year. I am glad my son thought to spring this one on me.

Twinings English Afternoon

A black tea blend of Ceylon and Keemun. I have seen this tea on the shelf before but was never tempted to try it. I am not a big fan of English breakfast teas as I find them uneventful. I expected Twinings English Afternoon to be a toned down version of the same. I was very wrong. The liquor is a beautiful deep reddish brown. The instructions say to add milk and sweetener. I added only sweetener. The first sip is clean and brisk. It has a natural sweetness that adding sweetener only amplifies. Next I notice a fruity flavor in the brew. Other reviews note Keemun tea has a lotus undertone. I did not get that impression to me it was almost a subtle apple, either way it is very good. The taste has an almost Darjeeling quality about it. Keemun is called the burgandy of teas for a reason. I continued to enjoy every sip as the cup cooled to room temperature. It left no unpleasant aftertaste. I feel comfortable highly recommending this tea.

Twinings Earl Grey Green

I really enjoyed this tea when I first discovered it. I had it hidden away everywhere. Then they discontinued sales in the United States for a time. I was sad but I moved on after a time of mourning. Now it is back (who knows for how long). I immediately grabbed a box to celebrate its return. Seems the time off was to reformulate the blend. It is a 3% bergamot flavored tea. I personally liked my memories of the old formula much better. There is enough actual tea in the bag (2g) that I can make a strong enough cup for my tastes but I prefer a slightly less amount of the citrus flavor. I am sure they have done their research. I hope they do well. It is not that it is bad, it isn’t. It is just not my, ahem, cup of tea. Oh, come on you knew I was eventually going to say it.

Twinings Earl Grey

I switched to this tea from Bigelow brand because this is a bergamot flavored tea rather than containing the actual oil of bergamot. That might sound strange to some but I made the change on purpose. The Bigelow oil has a more complex taste but it seemed to be harder on my system. Your mileage may vary. Twinings Earl Grey allowed me to continue to indulge. I am pretty sure Twinings recently reformulated this blend, (even if they say they didn't), and increased the bergamot flavoring. I liked the original better but maybe you will enjoy the change (they didn't make). It is still very good - just different. The citrus is brighter, and a little more tart, in the new fomulation. There is 2g of good quality black tea in the bag. Or use the loose leaf for more flavor.

Twinings China Oolong

This tea is one of Twinings Origins blends which according to the press release means it is made of the finest teas from the world's best tea growing regions. This particular tea is not for everyone. Unless you are the adventurous type you might want to avoid China Oolong. Don't get me wrong, I like this tea. I just don't want to mislead any one. This tea has a slightly sweet flavor. It has a earthy taste that reminds me of the smell of a forest floor. Oolong is partially oxidized and that may explain the taste. This is only my second Oolong and is very different from anything else I have tried. To really enjoy this tea I personally prefer to prepare it differently than per the instructions on the box of pouring fresh boiling water over the tea bag. Labeled to be a light flavor tea I find it is a little too bold for my tastes prepared by the directions. I pour near boiling water into the cup and let it cool a few degrees before adding the bag. This is similar to the way a white tea should be brewed. I like most teas strong but find this one works better if the brew is not so in your face. A cooler starting temperature mellows out this blend nicely. Still it is not a tea for everyone.

Twinings Chai

Ingredients listed are black tea, natural chai, cinnamon & ginger flavors, other natural flavors, cardamom, clove. This is kind of like Lady Grey meets Constant Comment. It is a very enjoyable cup of flavor. The black tea is bold and like other Twinings offerings is not bitter and leaves no nasty aftertaste to ruin the pleasure. My first cup I used only a little sweetener and it was good. The second cup I added a little French Vanilla creamer to the mix and it made a night and day difference. At first it seemed a little peppery tasting, which I wasn’t sure I liked but as it cooled it took on new life and became quite nice. If you enjoy Chai teas I highly recommend this blend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yamamotoyama Pu-erh Tea

Here it is called an Oolong tea, which is lightly oxidized. Pu-erh is generally considered a green tea. After drying and rolling, it is compressed into bricks and aged. High dollar tea is aged for years. This is not high dollar tea. During aging, microbes ferment the tea. Here that aging does give it a mild oolong taste. It makes a dark cup of tea. The leaf pieces in the bag look black after steeping. The taste is very mellow with a light earthiness. I have read other reviews that claim this tea, while not a great tea, captures the essence of pu-erh. It doesn’t taste exactly like ‘normal’ tea. It is mildly exotic. It is also a little bland in my opinion especially compared to loose or cake pu-erhs. I did get two cups from one bag and must admit the second was a much earthier tasting, which I did enjoy. If you have been curious about pu-erh tea, this is a relatively inexpensive opportunity to try it. They have reportedly been blending tea since 1690. Yamamotoyama of America has owned Stash Tea Company for several years now and distributes their Yamamotoyama tea under the Stash banner.

Yamamotoyama China Oolong

The only ingredient listed on the bag is pure China oolong. This is a dark oolong and they can take a little getting used to. The earthy damp forest floor taste may not appeal to everyone. The brew is clear and chocolately in color. The aroma is mildly earthy with a hint of smokiness that is not like ashes but more like a campfire. It is subtle but present. It is quite pleasing mellow but flavorful and complex. I don’t care that it is 2g of dust. It is just plain good. It is also very forgiving. I can use boiling water or much cooler water. I can steep two minutes or fifteen. Other grocery store blends don’t even come close. I have heard this tea comes from Brazil – I can’t verify it so maybe not but it does not taste like any other brand I have tried. It tastes great hot and at room temperature. Never tried iced but imagine I would like it. I have only seen it in bag form. This is a good choice for the curious. Yamamotoyama of America has owned Stash Tea Company for several years now and distributes their Yamamotoyama tea under the Stash banner. They have reportedly been blending tea since 1690.

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold

An English chap tried to convince me that when the British sit down to tea this is their drink. From an American point of view, I don’t think it makes a good iced tea, however as a hot tea it shines. This is especially suited in my opinion as a morning replacement to coffee. A blend of black teas, their oversized bags make for a strong brew that tastes stout. I suggest using a bigger cup. This is not a tea for wusses.

Tazo Zen

Ingredients: green tea, lemon verbena, spearmint leaves, lemongrass and natural flavors. I tend to avoid teas with cute names. I also tend to avoid teas with spearmint. Since I have come to respect and appreciate a couple Tazo blends recently, I thought I would violate both of my rules and try this blend. Hoping their idea of spearmint was like the invisible untasteable bergamot in their Earl Grey, I tore open the envelope. The smell is heavily spearmint. Brewed for 3 minutes. The aroma is spearmint. On the first sip, I tasted the spearmint followed by a hint of the lemon and then the green tea. The spearmint is much more subdued than it smells and is supported yet tempered by the other ingredients. I have to admit this is the first cup of spearmint tea I have ever finished, and more important, I actually enjoyed it.

Tazo Chai

Ingredients: black teas, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. Like other Tazo teas I have tried there is a generous portion of tea in each bag. The aroma of the brew is quite nice. The liquor is dark brown. At first the taste is not at all what I expected. It is far more tea like than the aroma suggests. After a few more sips the cinnamon and black pepper slowly begin to dominate. At this point I added some creamer. Big mistake. The tea taste completely disappeared and the pepper jumped out as the predominate flavor which is typical of the chai teas I have tried. While this seems to be a good quality tea, I am just not a big fan.

Tazo Orange Blossom

My wife wanted Starbuck’s. I thought sure I can have a nice cup of tea. Wrong. Wish I had read the reviews first. As a general rule I avoid tea with more than say 3 ingredients. This rule has served me well. Too bad I violated it. Another rule is tea shouldn’t be served in paper cups. The leaf looks interesting in the sachet. It smells interesting – kind of orangey. The taste at first was too bland. I can’t taste any tea. Put the bag in to steep longer. Now the fennel and licorice overwhelmed the brew causing my mouth to pucker and I still couldn’t taste tea.

Tazo Lotus

A blend of naturally decaffeinated green tea and natural lotus flower flavor. This is my second Lotus tea. The first was Ethnic Gourmet’s “Honey Lotus Oolong”. That tea was sheer heaven in a cup. This tea I like but, in my opinion, it is not a great tea when comparing the two. On my first attempt at brewing, I thought there was not enough tea in the bag to make a flavorful cup but at 2+ grams that should not be the case. I understand they were going for a light flavor but I thought this was simply too light. On the second attempt I heated the water as for black tea – boiling. This made a world of difference and released a lot more flavor. The green tea is a typical grassy blend. The redeeming factor of this blend is the lotus. It adds a wonderful delicate aroma and taste without overpowering. Adding honey to the cup really brings it to life. Other reviews say do not over brew or it will become bitter. That was not my experience. It required hotter water than other greens I have tried and close to 5 minutes steeping time. I will buy this again, at least until I find a lotus blend I like better.

Tazo Earl Grey

You should be able to tell by now that if I am out where tea is on the menu, I am going to go for the Earl Grey before anything else. So when my son forced me into going into a Starbucks against my will, I ordered my favorite blend. I was underwhelmed. If it said English Breakfast on the label I might consider it a passable cup of tea, but it doesn't. I detected no bergamot flavoring or oil at all. If it is in there it is in such small quantities as to be of no value. My first thought was the tea had been on the coffee shop shelf too long and lost its flavor but my son brought a box, he had bought elsewhere, home to try and the flavor was the same. It is strong black tea that leaves the standard black tea aftertaste but there is no citrus flavor to this blend. It might have made a pleasant iced tea but it is a not worthy of the name Earl Grey.

May 2012 update -
I just read on Tea for Today a similar experience with this tea. The author claims it is the result of stale tea. I am open to entertaining the idea that our Starbucks sells so little tea that it is stale. I wish you a better cup of tea than I have experienced.

September 2012 update -
A coworker went to a fancy smancy dinner party held by the company his wife works for, and Tazo is the tea they served. He grabbed some for me – I have a bit of a tea reputation at work :) I have tried this Earl Grey a half dozen times in the past, always to poor results. Apparently, our local Starbucks and Wal-Mart stores don’t sell enough for it to be fresh, as I have never, ever, and I mean never, smelled or tasted bergamot in this stuff. So, I open the envelope. It smells a bit peppery and of lavenderish bergamot. Hey, so far so good. I steep three minutes and added my sweetener (why put it off, I know I am going to do it eventually). Wait for it to cool. Waiting, Waiting. Take a sip and… flowery, lavender tasting bergamot! Hallelujah! Except, wait a minute… have I just crossed the line into tea snobbery? This tastes kind of like the paper bag. I mean it isn’t horrible, and its Earl Grey – with freakin’ bergamot flavor, but the tea base is paper flavored. It’s muffled like someone talking with their hand over their mouth. As the cup cools the bergamot pops even more but the base just never develops. This is the best cup of Tazo I have ever had, but sadly (or happily), I know this is just ok tea. I did like the bergamot. Glad I could finally taste it.

Tazo China Green Tips

A generous size bag of spring harvested green teas. This tea makes me wonder if I shouldn’t retry some of the greens I disliked in days past. I don’t know if my tastes are changing, possibly maturing (not likely), or if this is just an extra pleasant cup of green tea. It reminded me of Golden Moon Sencha which I thought was extremely good. This is a green tea, so yes there is a grassiness to the aroma and a bit of a grassy aftertaste. Somehow I found myself enjoying it anyway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

St. Dalfour Earl Grey

St. Dalfour is a French company. That is all I know about them. The box says this contains organic Ceylon tea with the all natural flavor of bergamot. The bags are individually wrapped in foil envelope. I don’t know if the box I tried was mislabeled or if it really is their take on Earl Grey tea. I enjoyed it but it tasted like a cinnamon flavored tea not Earl Grey. Much more subtle than the Bigelow cinnamon tea I drank years ago. Not bad but not what I was expecting.

Stash Yumberry Blackcurrant

Not tea but a caffeine free herbal infusion containing hibiscus, rosehips, lemongrass, yumberry flavor, chicory root, black currant flavor, blackcurrant powder, and licorice powder. Also noted that it contains soy. I am always leery when there is that many ingredients listed on the envelope. As I opened it my first thought was I hope it tastes better than the bag smells. This brews up a purple tinted light brown in the cup. The aroma brewed is kind of like a blackberry wine. The taste hot is a bit under-whelming. As it cools the flavor is a little more obvious but it is just not something I want to be sipping late in the evening or any time of day. I did not finish the cup.

Stash White Tea

I like this tea a lot. Similar in taste to a black tea but it is much more mellow. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It does not have that after bite that most hot black teas have.

Stash White Peach Oolong Tea

Contains Wuyi oolong tea, orange peel, lemongrass, and white peach flavor. When you tear open the envelope you are immediately surrounded by flowery, sweet, fruity goodness. The aroma in the cup is a little more subdued but wonderful. Upon sipping the white peach flavor is very obvious. Not in an overwhelming way but just right. The other ingredients support the peach to perfection. I think I have found a new favorite peach tea.

Stash Vanilla Nut Crème Decaf Tea

Ingredients are listed as naturally decaffeinated black teas, sarsaparilla and natural vanilla nut flavor. The brew is a beautiful chocolate brown in the cup. The aroma even hints at chocolate. The taste is smooth and the vanilla does not overpower the drink. The package says to add milk and sugar. It takes on a vanilla ice cream taste when you do this. I actually preferred it without the milk, though it was enjoyable either way. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Stash Pumpkin Spice

Naturally decaffeinated black tea, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin spice flavor, and clove. I wouldn’t want this all the time but it is a fun drink. The box says to add milk to compliment the luscious flavor.

Stash Peach Black Tea

Ingredients include blended black teas and peach flavoring. Out of the envelope it smells like peaches. When brewed you can taste the black tea, as the peach flavoring is not overwhelming. The taste is a little more complex than some peach teas I’ve tried. Overall this is a pleasant and nicely done cup of tea that only improves as it cools.

Stash Orange Spice Decaf Tea

A Blend of naturally decaffeinated black teas, cinnamon, orange peel, chicory, hibiscus flowers, and natural flavors of orange and clove. Not at all what I was expecting. I had tried a different orange spice and hated it. This is a pleasant little tea. It is spicy enough that I would not call it mellow. It is more comfortable. The cinnamon and clove taste dominate and I really could not distinguish the orange in the blend. It is not Lady Grey but it is not bad.

Stash Lemon & White Tea

White tea does not normally have less caffeine than other true teas but this one is decaffeinated making this a fine choice for late evening. What I really appreciate about this tea is how understated the flavoring of lemongrass and pure lemon oil is in the blend. For some peculiar reason most companies think that if a little is good a lot must be great. Stash did not follow that maxim with Lemon & White and I appreciate it. This is a very good tea.

Stash Kopili Assam Black

Sold under the Teas of India label. Assam is often used as the base for breakfast teas. If it seems familiar when tasting, that’s because it is. Upon first sip this had a smooth milky quality, but I found it too weak, as is often the case with Stash black tea. So, I left the bag in the cup a little too long and it became bitter. It was still weak. This just tastes like everyday run of the mill weak tea. It is just OK, nothing spectacular. I wouldn’t buy it again, Stash is too expensive for run of the mill tea, but if offered to me I would accept graciously, use a tiny cup, and enjoy.

Stash Green Tea

Ok, my tastes have changed since I first reviewed this tea. I really owe it to myself to try it again. Here is what I wrote back then:

This tea is just plain bad. It tastes – and I do not exaggerate here – like a cupful of dried grass clippings. If that appeals to you fine, otherwise look elsewhere.

Stash Fusion Red & White Tea

This is one of my favorite Stash teas. It is a blend of Red and White teas. White tea is similar to green tea in its processing as it is not fermented. The difference is white tea uses very young leaves giving it its unique taste, which I think has more in common with black tea. Rooibos or red tea is not a true tea. It is made from a small African shrub. It has a naturally sweet earthy taste to it. This is labeled as caffeine free so it is a perfect late evening drink. The taste of red tea is impossible to describe. If you are curious this is the one I would try first.

Stash Earl Grey

It’s Earl Grey so I give them an E for effort on this black tea. The problem for me is the brew is too weak to enjoy (1.6g). The taste is pleasant enough. There just isn’t enough of it.

Stash Cinnamon Vanilla

This caffeine free herbal infusion contains, cinnamon, chamomile, rooibos, sarsaparilla, and vanilla extract. Red tea (rooibos) is not tea but since Stash labels this as tea I will go ahead and review it here. This is in reality a herbal infusion. Even so, I have a bit of a fascination with red tea. This one makes a lovely light reddish brown drink that is sweet and flavorful. It kind of reminds me of a warm apple cider with a red tea twist. It is pleasant, dessert drink for times when you don’t want the caffeine or calories but need to satisfy the sweet tooth.