Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Design a Tea, A Tea Review

I spent today designing a tea taster's 'guide' with charts and diagrams, because I am a sucker for that kind of thing. Just a nice reference to have on my desk for those moments when I cannot place a taste 'I know that, it is a leafy and sharp, kinda tastes like a plant out of the backyard...ah yes, Sorrel' those kinds of moments. I feel productive.

Today I am doing something a little different on the blog, I am reviewing two samples I purchased from Design a Tea, a fun tea company that allows you to select a base tea and blend it with your selected flavors for a fun and exciting experiment in tea tasting.

The first one is Zabaglione and Amaretto with a base of Black tea, the aroma is very mild with notes of sugar, almonds, citrus, and a tiny hint of liqueur aroma as an after thought. Once brewed you can really smell the bright quality of the Ceylon black tea base, it takes center stage. There are also notes of pepper and vanilla cake with a slight hint of almond.

The aroma of the liquid is quite nutty and sweet with an undertone of brightness. The taste is not much of a taste, the Ceylon base is brisk and quite tasty with oaky and slightly citrus quality, but the flavors of the tea are only a ghost. Adding some cream and sugar brings out the nutty and liqueur flavor of the amaretto, but sadly I am not getting much of the creamy sweet Zabaglione taste. Overall I can say this one is just kinda 'meh'. 

The second blend is Maple and Plum with a base of Oolong tea. The aroma is kinda boozy, like mulled wine with aftertones of maple sweetness. There is a slight hint of plum that is so faint it took several sniffs before I noticed it hiding. Once brewed I can certainly tell it is an Oolong, it has a slightly nutty and toasted aroma that fades to maple sweetness and a touch of plum. There is still an underlying note of mulled wine as well. 

The aroma of the liquid is warm, mild, and sweet. It is a very welcoming aroma. The first thing you notice when sipping the tea is the sweetness of maple with a hint of nuttiness. There is an aftertaste of plum that becomes more of a midtaste as the tea cools. Not bad, but not outstanding. 

I was not 'wowed' by the two teas that I tried from Design a Tea, but I am curious to try some of their other selections and their 'signature blends' that look quite yummy. I hope that the loose leaf tea they offer (in samples it is only teabags and quite the pile of dust and fannings, as it typical with teabags) has a more intense flavor.


  1. Hi Amanda
    THANKS for taking the time to give us a try! Looks like we didn't knock your socks off - maybe next time. And you are correct loose is always better. It can be QUITE A CHALLENGE to nail a flavor profile in one 2 gram tea bag (can be done though). So drop me a note with another concoction you would like to try and we'll send it loose you way... a little more than 2 grams ;) Hope you have a great 2014- Brian @ Design a Tea

    1. I can imagine that it is a challenge, I wouldn't even know where to start! Thank you for the offer, I will see what I come up with and send you a note. Hope you have a great 2014 as well!