531 Tasting Notes

91
drank Oatmeal Raisin Cookie by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I’m glad you liked it! : ) I was hoping to have the same experience you did, but I guess that since tastes differ, a tea can’t make everyone happy!

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54
drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
531 tasting notes

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. :)

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97
drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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67
drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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82
drank Caramel Vanilla Chai by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

: ( My beau’s cousin got engaged last year and is getting married this July. There is a slight possibility that the beau and I will get married this year (though likely next instead) and his cousin has essentially warned us that it won’t go over well if we get married in the same year as them. I don’t understand how/why people get so tetchy about this – I hope all works out for you!

CHAroma

Thanks. I don’t understand the monopoly on an entire year either. It’s just one day out of 365. Get over it!

LiberTEAS

I am sorry that you’re experiencing such difficulty … it should be a happy time, not one of stress like this. Yes, there is stress involved with a wedding, but it shouldn’t be because of rifts between family members who are also having weddings in the same year! I hope things get better soon for you.

Mercuryhime

I don’t get how people got so possessive about their wedding. Share the joy. If my sister got married the same year as me, I’d be excited to have someone to plan with and discuss ideas and try dresses on and complain about how the fiancé isn’t pulling his weight, etc. I guess you could consider doing a 2013 wedding if you’re feeling generous. Good luck and stay cheerful. :$

Ninavampi

I am sorry to hear about having problems while wedding planning… I feel family should be support not more troubles on top of everything. Hopefully your brother will get over it once he realizes that your getting married in no way was related with belittling his getting married… Most importantly, do your best to enjoy your wedding planning and wedding! So exciting! : ) Congrats again!

CHAroma

Thanks for all the support. I don’t want to encourage his petty actions, but I think we will ultimately move the wedding to early Spring 2013. It will be easier for multiple reasons.

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95
drank Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Janefan

I was thinking of buying a pouch of this. I think you just sold me on it!

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65
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
531 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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66

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. :-/

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Ninavampi

I was just given a large bag of Osmanthus flower petals as a gift from my Dad (he bought it from the tea store in China).

It smelled delicious. A lot like honey. The taste, alone, not so much. It took will power to finish that cup… Since then I have been mixing it with other teas and it does better that way.

Baby food as a tea does not sound appetizing…

CHAroma

I think it is only me that connects the taste to fake baby food. See my other note for the story there. Most people enjoy the floral flavor, so don’t be deterred by me! :)

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86
drank Downy Sprout by Samovar
531 tasting notes

This is a gentle, soft, flavorful, white tea. I’m watching An Affair to Remember, and I’m astonished how much I like it since the main hero is kind of despicable in the beginning. But what a classic Hollywood film. It’s a shame most people in my generation don’t know who Cary Grant even is. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. You can watch it instantly on Netflix.

Anyway, this is a tea review not a film review. This is a lovely, delicate white tea. I’m detecting sweet honeysuckle notes and the hay-like quality I find in all white teas. The liquor is the palest of yellows, and the aroma is subtle and sweet. No bitterness or astringency.

First steep at 175 degrees for 1.5 mins. Second steed at 185 for 2 mins. Third steed at 195 for 3 mins, and this tea is still going strong. I’m not gonna’ lie; every cup tasted exactly the same as the last. This tea is quite good.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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84

Over the holidays, I went to Connecticut to spend Christmas with my boyfriend and his family. I didn’t take any of my tea, and I haven’t had many cups since my return. Work is dead. There’s no one there.

I came home and wanted a nice cup of tea, and I’ve found that this is often my choice for such occasions. There’s not much left now unfortunately, probably only enough for a cup or two. I sure will miss it when it’s gone.

I haven’t even finished my 52teas 12 Teas of Christmas sampler, let alone written notes about them. I will promptly return to writing regular tasting notes after New Years.

I apologize that I’ve been M.I.A. from Steepster for a while, but I have the best excuse. My boyfriend of five years proposed on Christmas Eve, so we’re engaged!!! :D

This is the perfect tea to sip and break the news as I return to my tea blogging routine. Happy Holidays, everyone!

aisling of tea

Congrats!!!!!!

Ellyn

Congrats!!! Enjoy this time and don’t freak out about wedding stuff!!! I just got married in Sept and it is a FUN time if you can enjoy it.

Camiah

Congratulations! How wonderful for you!

Ninavampi

Congrats on the engagement! : ) A great way to start the new year!

Angrboda

Congratulations

CHAroma

Thank you, everyone!! I’m sure most of my posts going forward will reference the wedding in one way or another. So, thanks for all the well wishes. I’m so very excited and couldn’t be happier! :)

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Profile

Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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