550 Tasting Notes

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
550 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
550 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
550 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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84

Revisiting this tea tonight. It took me forever to decide what tea to drink, but I’m really glad I chose this one. I decided to steep it at a little lower of a temperature. The result: I’m getting much sweeter and more recognizable maple syrup notes. Really yummy!

Still not getting much in the way of cheesecake though. But I’m raising the rating from 76 to 84 nonetheless.

I’m liking this a lot. Too bad it’s over halfway gone. I’m going to miss this one too. Why do you do it to me 52teas?! Make me fall in love with a tea and then take it away forever. It’s cruel and unusual punishment!

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

I liked it too…. :)

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86

Wow! Mmmm! Yum! This tea is so delicious! It’s the perfect exemplar for this type of tea. Hay and flowers!

I received this as a free sample from the company. So far, I’m really impressed. The packaging is very professional; it’s actually double packaged. The interior packaging is split into individual steeping samples. No measuring required!

This silver needle tea is sweet and lovely with no bitterness at all. The taste lingers long after the sip. Light and pleasant. It’s slightly astringent, but overall just a beautiful tea. Perfect for enjoying late before bed!

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

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76

Yes!!! I did it!!! This tea is perfect if steeped at 175 degrees for 2.5 minutes.

Now I’m getting that buttery pancake taste as in the black tea version. The pancake flavor really only persists for the first infusion, which is a little disappointing. But I’ve found the same is true of the black tea blend.

Subsequent steeps reveal a lovely strawberry-flavored green tea. Yum! I’m loving this! Raising the rating from 68 to 76.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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73
drank Masala Chai by Samovar
550 tasting notes

The entire time it was cooking, I couldn’t help but hover over the saucepan taking deep breaths. It smelled amazing!!!

I followed Samovar’s directions exactly. Two cups of water and one tablespoon of Truvia went into my saucepan. I brought it to a boil and added the entire Samovar Chai sample and one bag of Twining’s English Breakfast. It boiled for 10 minutes. I then removed the Twining’s bag because I was afraid it would become too bitter. But I left in the Samovar Chai sample and added one cup of whole milk. I brought the mixture to a boil and immediately removed it from heat (I have an electric stove) and covered it. I returned 10 minutes later and strained out the tea and spices.

Finally, it was time to taste it! Mmm, good but not what I expected. The aroma is MUCH stronger than the taste. It’s still delicious, but it also tastes kind of diluted. It’s missing that piquance I get in the Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.

I really thought this would be the perfect chai tea. The spices in the aroma are lovely, strong, and intoxicating. The spices in the taste are significantly lighter and more in the background.

The lacking black tea base didn’t bother me. Samovar gives you mostly spices, and I think that’s a pro. You can add whatever black tea you want to it, making an infinite number of chai tea possibilities.

But I wish the taste was as fantastic as the aroma. Truly, the aroma of these spices could not be better. I wonder why it doesn’t translate into the taste better. Maybe there’s a better way to cook it. Perhaps I did something wrong? Lots of other Steepster users describe this as spicy, strong, peppery, and almost chewy. But I’m getting a pretty light cup of spices myself.

For that reason, I’m giving this tea a little bit lower of a rating. But I would still recommend it because maybe someone else can figure out the best way to prepare it. Others definitely do seem to get more out of it than me.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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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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