633 Tasting Notes
EDIT: I originally thought this tea had Keemun in it, which I don’t particularly like. As it turns out, it doesn’t have any Keemun in it! But this blend does contain something that tastes like Keemun to me. However, to keep from confusing people, I’ve edited my original review. Where it used to say Keemun, it now says T3LK (tea that tastes like Keemun).
This has T3LK in it. Drat! I really despise T3LK. I can detect even a hint of it, sort of like how I can always detect a tiny piece of cilantro in an entire plate of Thai noodles. Bahh, cilantro is nasty. Probably worse than T3LK. Anyway…I’m really sad about this blend.
But more than sad, I’m extremely surprised to read the reviews here! Everyone thinks this has a Ceylon base?? Well, maybe it does. But see, I love Ceylon and I despise T3LK. So, any Ceylon in this is masked by the smoky, dirty T3LK taste.
On the other hand, it has the cutest packaging I’ve ever seen! I love the Christmas Elf themed wittiness. Lucky for me, this is a blend of T3LK and other teas (emphasis on the other teas). If it were pure T3LK, I couldn’t drink it. But somehow, I am able to stomach this, despite the nasty aftertaste that lingers on my tongue.
Still, I’m very sad over this blend. I’m afraid I overspent on a tin I’m likely not to touch again. I missed the sale others have mentioned. So I paid full price, which I think was around $25. More than I usually spend on one little tin of tea. But I’m sure I can find others to share it with. Hey, any excuse to throw a tea party, right? :)
But oh, how I wish that I had more of the Damn Fine Holiday Blend. Now that was delicious tea! Maybe the most delicious!!
The dry “leaves” smell amazing! Just like blueberries and raisins in a berry trail mix! Eight minutes later and the brewed liquor is a deep purple. The aroma is more subdued now than before.
I ate a bunch of fresh blueberries before I brewed this tea so I could compare the tastes. My first tiny sip of this tea was tarter than the entire bowl of fresh blueberries! It does taste like blueberries, but that’s more of a secondary note. When it first hit my mouth, it was pure tart hibiscus.
I know this doesn’t actually have any hibiscus in it. But it might as well. Still, this is waaaaay better than the herbal teas I’ve had that do have hibiscus in them. It’s a significant improvement. If you like tart, you’ll love this! But it’s not the blueberry tea I’ve been searching for.
I’ve been spending way too much money on tea lately. My cupboard is so full of tea that it’s overflowing. Literally. I can’t even fit it all in the cupboard, and there are three (I kid you not, THREE) boxes of tea sitting on top of the refrigerator. And when I say boxes, I don’t mean one little tin. I mean a box with five or six pouches of teas in it. From my calculations, it could take at least 6-8 months to drink this much tea! Phew! I guess I’d better get started!
I am super excited for this tea. Why? One word: oatmeal. I don’t know why, but I’ve been craving some kind of oatmeal tea. I’ve been playing around with combinations to suggest to Frank, and oatmeal something was at the top of my list! I’m thinking…maple pecan granola!! Yeah!!
But seeing that Frank had never done oatmeal, I thought maybe it can’t be done. Or maybe that means it needed to be done! Either way, I was ecstatic to see a blend with oatmeal from 52teas. The second I read the e-mail, I promptly bought a pouch thinking it would sell out in less than 24 hours (which is known to happen with Frank’s blends).
The dry leaf aroma is tantalizing! It smells remarkably like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Finally, it’s time to have some of this tea! First sip…hmmm. Second sip…hmmmm. I’m not getting the overwhelming grape flavor that others have complained about. It’s definitely not grape lollipop, although I can detect grape in the brewed tea aroma.
But honestly, this does taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie to me (or at least as close to it as tea can get). What others identify as grape, I definitely identify as raisin. They’re similar smells and tastes, but not quite the same. I like it a lot without additions, which is rare for me and black teas. With milk and sugar, its flavor is enhanced. Now I really like this tea!
I’m not quite at love. I wish the oatmeal were stronger and more discernible. But this is definitely a very enjoyable tea from 52teas. I’m a happy customer!
I tried this in the store on my last pass through the local mall. It’s a fairly standard tasting green tea. Mild and grassy. Nothing jumps out at me as good or bad. It’s just normal.
Thus, it’s getting a middle of the ground rating, only slightly above average (average being 50). If you like green tea, you’ll probably like this. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy some. A hot free sample in the store suits me just fine. :)
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 12
A month after Christmas and I’m finally getting around to finishing off this sampler. I haven’t even logged into Steepster for two weeks! I kind of cheated on tea a bit of late. The fiancé and I bought a really nice espresso maker, so my morning tea has been subsumed by coffee. I’m sorry tea! But I’m back now!
Anyway, on to the much anticipated Milk & Cookies! (I say “much anticipated” because I saw it on their site a couple weeks back and deduced that this must be the 12th day of Christmas tea). The pouches have already sold out, so this is my one and only chance to try it.
I’d say it’s mildly disappointing without additions. It tastes like a tannic chocolate black tea. But with some added milk and sugar, BAM! I’m drinking milk and cookies! Now it could be entirely my imagination, but I think I’m detecting some notes of butter and dough. Yum! I like this tea a lot, and I’m really glad I got to try it.
This has been one excellent tea adventure! Thanks, Frank, for creating such a wonderful and fun sampler!!
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 11
Yay! Cinnamon Roll Honeybush! I mean, I’m not excited about the Honeybush part. But I LOVE cinnamon rolls!!!
And this tea pretty much just tastes exactly like cinnamon. I get a hint of cloyingly sweet Honeybush, but mostly I just taste delicious cinnamon. This is probably the best Honeybush tea I’ve ever had. I’m not getting anything resembling a hot buttery roll, but it’s still good.
I have to give this a lower rating because it is Honeybush, and pure cinnamon tea isn’t all that special. That being said, it’s not an overabundance of cinnamon. It’s executed well.
The bottom line: I usually absolutely detest Honeybush, so that should be a huge tip off how great this tea is. Buy this up, people!
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 10
Caramel Vanilla Chai…I LOVE Chai!!! I quickly brewed this up, added a little Truvia and skim milk, and took a sip. Hmm, there’s something weird going on in this cup. It might be the balance of spices, the black tea base, or the added flavorings. I can’t really tell.
At first, the after taste is pleasant. I get equally strong caramel and vanilla notes. But then once those fade, the after taste is kind of funky. I would probably like this better as a chai tea latte. It tastes kind of weak when it’s largely water with only a little bit of milk. Oh, I just read the description, and it says it’s an Assam tea base. That must be it. Don’t mind me and my dislike of Assam.
The more I sip on it, the better it tastes actually. This is kind of a weird tea morning. There has just been soooo much drama over this wedding. My brother is getting married in 2012 as well, and he seems to have taken it as a personal affront that I got engaged. I have yet to figure out why he’s so upset let alone how to make him feel better.
It’s created an awful situation for everyone. My fiancé’s parents seem to be really mad at my brother, my fiancé just doesn’t care about his feelings at all, my dad is trying not to pick sides, and I’m left in the middle trying to appease everyone and getting nowhere fast. I haven’t been able to sleep or concentrate in days. It’s kind of ruining the whole experience. I’ve only been engaged for two weeks, and we haven’t even set a date yet. All this drama seems a little premature.
Anyway, I just have to get this off my chest. I don’t know how I’m going to feel better if my brother keeps acting the way he is now. It’s such an unfair situation. I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t win. I’m sorry for making this a rather gloomy, despondent tea post. I think I’m going to go make more of that Ginger Ale Tea from yesterday. It was really great. This chai just isn’t hitting the spot. I need something calmer. If you like chai, this is a good one. It’s definitely unique from the other chais I’ve had.
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 9
Ginger ale tea!!! What a surprise! I took a whiff of the dry leaves and got a recognizable ginger ale scent. Amazing! I’m even getting a bubbly, fizzy aspect like when you inhale a carbonated beverage before taking a sip. And this is a white tea? Wow!
The brewed tea aroma smells just like ginger ale too. It’s a little early in the morning to be drinking a white tea. I think black tea would be more appropriate. But I’ve got to get through this Christmas sampler box!
Well, this tea does not disappoint! I don’t know how you did it, Frank. But this truly does taste exactly like ginger ale. I’m really loving this! White tea was the perfect base. I can’t think of a single improvement to be made. How come I keep getting a slightly carbonated taste? How is this possible?!
Sooo good, and it has a wonderful aftertaste too. I take a sip and then enjoy the flavor for 10-15 seconds before I take another sip. If you like ginger ale, buy a pouch of this immediately!! I’m so impressed with this tea!
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 8
My days have been filled with wedding planning, Google searches for venues, and e-mails to vendors. EEEEK!! I’m so excited!! I’ve done a complete makeover. I dyed my hair dark brown almost black, have practiced curling and styling it, ate lettuce and carrots for about two weeks, and consequently lost eight pounds over a month.
As for this tea, I think I used too little leaf. It’s a bit watery. I’m not getting a whole lot of flavor, let alone vanilla flavor. Hopefully there’s enough leaf leftover for a re-brew. I’ll be right back!
As soon as I poured the boiling water over the leaves, two giant cornflowers rose right to the top fully open. I added almond milk and Truvia. I’m definitely getting a LOT more vanilla in this second cup.
However, something in the aroma and taste is a little off. I can’t describe it any other way. I’m guessing it’s the black tea base. I’ve never really been a fan of Assam.
I’ve already had a lot of caffeine today, and it’s 6:00pm. So, I think I’ll call it quits for tonight. This tea is just mediocre for me. Although I’m sure if you love vanilla and assam, you’d love this!
Finishing off the sample, and it still tastes weird. This time around I used hotter water and a little longer steeping time. But I could barely finish the cup and didn’t go for a re-steep. The fiancé concurred that it tasted weird.
Dried fake baby food is not my cup of tea. Lowering the rating from 70 to 66. I guess I’m not a fan of Osmanthus. :-/