I ordered some tea from Teavana and they threw in a free sample, so I get to do a teavana review. Yay!
Description: Reinvigorate your skin and add vitamins and antioxidants to your diet with this delicious blend of white and herbal teas. This blend combines Youthberry white tea with Wild Orange Blossom herbal tea for an explosion of flavor. The combination is also very low in caffeine.
For some reason, the sample came with rock sugar already in it. Rock sugar is described as: These beautiful unrefined sugar crystals are the best way to enhance the natural flavor of tea without changing it. Sweet with caramel undertones
Preparation: This time, we boiled water, then stuck a thermometer and some ice cubes in it to encourage it to cool faster. We steeped the tea at 175F for 2.5 minutes, timed by the Teavana android app.
Review: The smell is deliciously fruity and sweet, very much like fruity bubble gum. It didn’t taste nearly as strong as it smelled, at least not on the first sip. Very mild, no bitterness at all; “definitely a little weak”, added Kae. He was the first to try milk and sugar in his cup, “to try to get the full range of flavor” (since white tea rarely takes milk). His final thoughts: “Good taste, but not enough taste. Not nearly as much taste as smell. Sugar’s good, but don’t put milk in it for the love of god. It did weird things. Like, I need an adult things.” Yami adds, “It tastes like flowers. But not really in a good way? I’m not sure. It reminds me of that one spring-flavored hard cider. Too mild, I prefer something with more flavor.” Chaos’ usual reticence was only breached with effort, but he managed to quote Avatar: The Last Airbender: “It tastes like water with leaves in it.” None of us could taste the German rock sugar, though Kae says his needed only one cube instead of two when he sugared it.
Would Buy? Yami and Chaos vote no, Kae votes a negative shrug.
The next two samples are from Enjoyingtea.com, and came with one of my new teapots I got for Christmas.
Sample: Lemon Ginger black tea
Description: This tea is made from top grade orange pekoe Ceylon with natural lemon and ginger flavoring. The Ceylon tea is grown at the altitude of 7000 feet above sea level from the Sri Lanka region. When brewed this tea produces a bright coppery color liquid with a fruity spicy flavor and with touches of mild astringency. A fantastic fruit tea.
Preparation: Straightforward: boiled water, prepared in cast-iron teapot, steeped for 5 minutes.
Review: Another early-morning tasting session. It smelled vaguely like Lipton or Theraflu, but with a hint of spice. Kae tried it first, reporting “it’s got a nice lemon taste to it but it’s very bitter without sugar.” He subsequently added his normal two sugars, tasted it, then added two more. Apprehensive, Yami tried it herself: the first sip seemed fairly bland, mostly water-tasting, so she stirred and tried again. Sure enough, BITTER and astringent, drowning out the lemon taste. Sugar and a bit of milk were immediately added to her cup. She still found it undrinkable. Chaos agreed that it was “really bitter”, and Kae replied “This is black tea that does not mess around.”
Would Buy? A resounding no from Yami and Chaos; Kae would drink it with plenty of milk and sugar since “it probably has a lot of caffeine”.
Sample: Raspberry Black Tea
Description: This tea is made from top grade orange pekoe Ceylon with natural raspberry flavoring. The Ceylon tea is grown at the altitude of 7000 feet above sea level from the Sri Lanka region. When brewed this tea produces a bright coppery color liquid with fresh raspberry flavor and with touches of mild astringency. A fantastic fruit tea.
Preparation: The same as above. We did get a little distracted, so it may have steeped a bit longer than intended.
Review: The following account was recovered from Yami’s notes:
Kae took one sip and exclaimed, “OH MY GOD.” I blinked. He urged me, “Take a sip of this.” I glanced at Chaos. He took a sip. “Jesus tapdancing christ!” Knowing what lay ahead of me, I steeled my nerves, took a deep breath, and….
Yami was unfortunately unable to complete this review due to the extreme bitterness of the tea overwhelming her feeble taste buds. She is expected to make a full recovery.
Kae and Chaos bravely continued on, trying to add milk and sugar — LOTS of milk and sugar — in the hopes something could be salvaged of this. With six lumps of sugar and a healthy dollop of vanilla soymilk, Kae declared it drinkable, but he could still feel the bitter astringency coating his tongue and teeth. Quoth he, “My TEETH are bitter!” Chaos proceeded to go about burning everything that had ever touched that tea.
Would Buy? No fucking way.
Moral of the story: we do not enjoy Ceylon tea. Kae points out we’ve so far struck out each week; it’s just bad luck, as before we started typing up the reviews we found several teas we liked.