514 Tasting Notes

28

Well, I’m sorry to say it, but 52teas has finally disappointed me. 1 ounce? Really? Sure, it’s a white tea, and white tea leaves tend to be big and long and take up a lot of room. But does that mean you use half as much to brew a cup? Nope. In fact, most people see how big the leaves are and put too few in their strainer, thus creating a weak cup and furthering the misconception that white tea is tasteless water.

I mean, I get 2 ounces of honeybush and even 1.5 ounces of the Very Important Tea that costs an extra $6. But for my regular $9/week tea I only get 1 ounce??! That’s not really acceptable to me, especially because these white tea leaves are diced into little tiny, unrecognizable pieces.

But maybe I’m being too critical. Hold on, what’s that funky smell in my kitchen? What did the boyfriend cook for dinner last night? I should take the trash out and clean the litter box. Oh wait, that aroma is coming from this tea!! Eeek! What could it be? The kiwi? The tequila flavor?

Okay, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining that I only got 1 ounce of this. It’s not so great. The strawberry tastes like overly sweetened strawberry puree. The kiwi doesn’t really taste like real kiwi to me. The white tea is indistinguishable from the other flavors, unless it’s that funk. But I think the funk is probably coming from the “tequila flavoring,” whatever that is.

I thought I was going to love this. Bai Mu Dan is one of my top favorite teas in the world. I know its flavor very well. But I don’t detect that lovely flavor anywhere near my cup. :( I’m sad. I wish I didn’t have to write about such disappointment, especially since it’s the first review of this tea.

Don’t let my pessimism deter you! I gave it to my boyfriend to try and he said, “Mmm, it’s very good. First thing I noticed was how good it smells. Fruity. I really like it.” So clearly, this just isn’t my cup of tea. But it could be yours!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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33

Wow, this is definitely a mint tea! And that’s pretty much it. The mint obliterates any flavor of green tea.

It’s not that this is a bad tea per say. It’s kind of like Lipton black tea. It’s great when you think that’s all there is. But once you taste some high quality loose leaf teas, there’s just no going back.

What is this? A full 60-90 seconds after the sip, I get a faint, vegetal, green tea aftertaste. So strange.

If you were dying for tea, this might tide you over. But it’s not something I’d stock up on.

EDIT: I drank the bagged version by the way. It was a sample from an awesome co-worker! :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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92

This pretty much tastes exactly like all the other White Peony teas I’ve tried. And that’s a very good thing, because I’ve loved all the other White Peony teas I’ve tried.

This is fantastic and remains one of my top favorites. But the best part is, it’s the cheapest iteration of Bai Mu Dan I’ve found!!! Samovar is a whopping $12 per ounce. Adagio is $5 per ounce. But Teavivre? It’s less than $2 per ounce!!!!!!!!!!!

Simply amazing! I’m definitely a Teavivre convert.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Dorothy

Teavivre does have some amazing prices. :D

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51
drank Butter Pecan Black Tea by 52teas
514 tasting notes

The black tea base is very smooth, no bitterness or astringency in the least. But I’m not getting much else in the way of flavor. Perhaps that’s because this is a rather old blend. Still, it’s too bad the flavors didn’t last. It sounds like this was a good one.

Second steep yields a tiny hint of vanilla, but still no pecan. Pity.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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58

This tea has me a little frightened. It’s a honeybush, which I hear is very similar to rooibos. Rooibos and I don’t get along. I knew there was a probable chance of receiving a honeybush blend with my 52teas Tea of the Week Plan. But I also had heard so many good reviews of 52teas that I figured it was worth the risk.

And overall, I’m a very happy customer. All their blends are unique and delicious. And I’ve found while perusing my credit card statement that I’ve bought a lot more than just the 6 teas that came with my subscription.

But enough stalling. On to the honeybush tea! The dry leaves smell of raspberry and banana and slightly medicinal. The brewed tea aroma is still raspberry, but the medicinal quality has gotten stronger. I feel dread as I sniff the aroma. I want to like this; I do! But I’m not so sure…

Okay, time to sip it…Wow, actually I mostly just taste raspberry with an aftertaste of banana. Thank God! I really thought this was going to be awful (no offense to 52teas). With the second sip, I’m convinced that 52teas could blend just about anything and make it wonderful!

I mean really, I don’t even particularly like raspberry or banana-flavored things. And don’t get me wrong, the tea nails these flavors. Yet somehow, I find myself enjoying the cup. Insanity. Simply insanity. What is this world coming to?

That being said, if anyone would like a sample, I’m more than happy to share.

Did I mention that 52teas has done a popular tea revival? Check out their in stock blends to see a couple favorites return to your life. The world is a happier, brighter place with their rebirth.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Mercuryhime

I learned to like honeybush because of 52teas. I am wary of banana flavored things since they just taste weird to me. I would like to try this and see how Frank dies banana. Perhaps a swap?

Ninavampi

I am sooo happy about the revival! I put in a second order of pancake and ordered 2 cinnamon roll expecting to love it!

Also, I would love to try the raspberry banana. I would love to swap if there is anything I have that you might like! Also, if you are willing to deal with the whole me being so far away thing…

TeaBrat

@Ninavampi – I went to the 52 teas website and did not see any cinnamon roll. where are you finding yours?

CHAroma

You have to click the In Stock! button, not the Most Recent Creations button. Here’s a link: http://www.52teas.com/in-stock/

Ninavampi

@Amy oh – Yep! CHAroma is right. I found it there : ). Right now there are still 10 Cinnamon Roll and 7 Pancake.

TeaBrat

found it, thanks!

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59
drank Sweet Autumn Tea by Lupicia
514 tasting notes

It’s an amazing tea that can overcome my strong dislike of red rooibos. I’m impressed with this.

It’s super sweet even sans additions, and I usually like overly sweet concoctions. The flavor is strongly chestnut and sweet potato. I’m not getting much in the way of pumpkin, or at least not the way I’m used to tasting pumpkin in drinks.

In something like a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, it’s a lot of spice and milk and espresso. There’s very little actual pumpkin flavor, or maybe I should say authentic pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin that’s in this tea is more like slicing open a baked pumpkin and digging in. More natural and less processed.

The taste lingers long into the aftertaste too. This is a really nicely balanced cup of tea. The flavors mesh well together.

Yum! I’m liking this tea! It does still have a little bit of that red rooibos quality I don’t like. So, I won’t be placing an order. But I am enjoying my cup, and that’s saying a lot right there.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Spiced Apple Chai by Adagio Teas
514 tasting notes

I made this as a chai tea latte in the morning, and again as a regular brewed tea in the afternoon. No additions at first, then a little bit of sweetener.

It was still really good, but I definitely prefer it as a tea latte. Still couldn’t really taste the apple either. I suppose this should be upsetting or disappointing. After all, it is an apple chai. But I really enjoy it anyway, sans apple flavor.

I also recently put in an order to Lupicia that included their apple green tea called Tsugaru Green. That’s where I’ll get my apple tea kick!

So, I’m perfectly fine with enjoying this tea as a chai and nothing more. Call me silly. I don’t know. But I’m a happy camper, and that’s what matters most, right? :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
Ninavampi

I love this tea plain with sugar or sweetener. As long as you don’t over steep it it tastes a lot like apple cider (it’s just missing a bit of sourness). I will have to try it with milk at some point…

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86
drank Spiced Apple Chai by Adagio Teas
514 tasting notes

OOOOOH YUM!!!!!!!! This is GREAT!!! It’s sugary, sweet, spicy, and oh so yummy! I can’t believe how delicious this is!

I made a traditional chai tea latte, and it was so worth it! Honestly, I can’t taste the apple at all. It just tastes like chai. But I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.

I think I know where I messed up with the Samovar Masala Chai. With that one, I put all the spices in a small tea ball. I don’t think it allowed the spices to expand enough once they got wet. So, the flavor didn’t really permeate throughout the liquid.

With this one, I just let the spices roll around in the milk and water. That makes this brew a winner! Now I feel really bad that I basically wasted the Samovar Masala Chai. From the smell of those spices, I bet it would have knocked the socks off this Adagio chai.

Oh well, live and learn. At least I have a nice cup of chai to enjoy on Veteran’s Day!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Ninavampi

I haven’t tried it as a latte, but plain with sugar it reminds me a bit of apple cider : ). It is a happy tea!

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66

Okay, a little anecdote before I get to this tea.

When I was little, I had a baby doll that you could feed fake food and then it would “go” in its little diaper. It also came with a tiny potty you could sit it on. I know, kind of gross now that I’m typing it here. But I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I was growing up! It was like a real baby!

Haha, anyway. The fake food you gave it came freeze-dried in a package. You rip open the package, add water, and voila! Fake baby food! Well, now I’m getting to the point of why I’m telling this strange story. This tea (I think it’s the Osmanthus) smells like that baby food.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely a weird thing. I mean, I probably haven’t thought about that baby doll in 10 or 15 years. But with one whiff of the dry leaves, the memory came flooding back. Funny how aromas can do that, isn’t it?

So, on to the review! The dry tea leaves have tiny dried Osmanthus flower buds in between classic Silver Needles. The brewed aroma is basically nonexistent, which I found surprising. Usually Silver Needle has a nice brewed aroma.

The taste is also a little unexpected. I can definitely taste Silver Needle along with that same weird dried baby food from my childhood doll. I feel like I shouldn’t be drinking this…after all, my mother told me that I couldn’t eat the food I was giving to my doll!

But the overall flavor of the tea is very quiet and subtle. Maybe it needed to steep longer. I’m still surprised and a little bit disappointed that I’m not getting more of a floral Osmanthus note. I’ve tried an Osmanthus-flavored oolong by Lupicia in the past, and I recall that one being very floral without this strange baby food thing going on.

I’m going to have to try this one again later. For now, I think I’ll give it a medium rating. I don’t hate it. But I had high expectations for this tea, and it’s not living up to my hopes.

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

So…was the baby “food” edible? Just curious. :D

CHAroma

I don’t think so. My mom told me not to eat it. :)

Ninavampi

It is amazing how smells can pop up and bring back associations and memories years later… : )

KeenTeaThyme

I think I had that doll or one like it called “Real Baby” – that was the toy name, not the name I named it. But now I’m not sure if I want to try this one! ;)

CHAroma

Hahahahaa! I think that’s the same one I had! Hilarious. Actually, it’s a fairly subtle flavor. Overall, the tea is good.

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96

This sample is courtesy of Camiah! Thank you! :)

This tea is smooth and flavorful! A really nice blend of black teas. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew it would be wonderful from all the ecstatic tasting notes here.

Strong, full-bodied flavor with a tiny hint of smoke. I always drink black tea with milk and sugar because my sugar-loving tongue finds it bitter. I did add a little bit of sweetener, but this tea is delicious even without the milk, which is such a surprise and delight! Not even a trace of bitterness to be found!

Mmmm, it’s really hard to stop sipping this. I’m afraid my sips are turning into gulps, which are turning into chugs! Pretty soon, I’m staring into an empty cup and wishing there were more.

Damn Fine is the perfect description for this tea. I’m really impressed with the flavors and the way they play off one another. It’s just sooo good! It really brightened up my morning.

If only Andrews & Dunhams still made this tea, I would definitely buy up a couple tins. It’s fantastic, and I’m very grateful to Camiah for granting me this experience. It’s truly a magical one and reminds me why I love tea so much.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Camiah

I’m glad you like it! It is wonderful.

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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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