631 Tasting Notes
52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2013 – Day 12
Yes, it is 2015. Yes, I have waited to try this sampler for a year and a half. I bought it before I was even pregnant and now I have a 4-month-old daughter. That should tell you how old this is.
Why didn’t I drink it earlier you ask? I don’t know. I think it got lost in my cupboard and I’ve only just now found it. Of course, with a new baby, I hardly have time to make a cup of tea, let alone drink it, LET ALONE blog about it! In fact, I’ve had to start and stop this note multiple times so I could take care of her. I love her more than anything in this world but man, she is a needy baby!
I’m also sick right now. I have an ear infection and it’s caused my nose to run like mad crazy. I’m super congested, so probably not the best time to start drinking a new tea. I thought the dry leaf aroma was still pretty potent though. I think I’ll work my way through this sampler backwards. I’m starting with #12! I have another minute or two before her fussing becomes crying so I’m going to make the most of it! Ooh, hubby just agreed to give her a bottle for me. :D Now I have at least 5-10 minutes. :)
This tea has held up pretty well given its age. I probably should have steeped it longer. It has a white tea taste with a slight sugary sweetness. I added a little Truvia and now it has an even sweeter flavor. I have no idea what a sugar plum is supposed to taste like (or if it even exists) so I can’t say for sure if this tastes like sugar plum or not. It does taste good! Kind of like grape but different. Not so grapey. LOL! Can you tell it’s been a while since I blogged about tea? I think my writing skills have run off with my slim physique.
Anyway, this is a good tea. I have always loved white teas, especially Frank’s blends. I’m sad that he’s closing shop but interested to see what LiberTEAS does with the company. I tell you, I leave the tea community to start a family and all my favorite tea vendors close! If I had a more inflated ego, I’d think it was because I stopped buying their tea and it’s my fault they’re going out of business. But of course, that’s ridiculous…right? :P I jest. But in all seriousness, I am sad about 52teas and Butiki Teas closing. At least with 52teas it will live on in some form or another. I was able to make a large purchase of Butiki Teas before they closed and I did the same with 52teas. I got a much better deal with 52teas though because of the 50% off sale AND I had a couple hundred rewards points. So I got about $44 worth of tea for $14! :D
But I digress. Again.
This tea is yummy. I’m enjoying the cup. Sadly, subsequent infusions will have to wait because my time is up! Back to mommy duty!
I’m working from home today, the baby’s at daycare, and I finally have a moment to myself to brew a cup of tea. I swore to myself I wasn’t going to order a bunch of Butiki teas and then let them sit around for months untried. But then I had a baby and all Hell broke loose! The only tea I’ve had in the past 3+ months is Mother’s Milk teabags. I hardly remember what it’s like to have time to enjoy my old ritual of brewing tea: heating water on the stove in my kettle, using a thermometer to get just the right temperature before adding the leaves, waiting for it to steep and then enjoying multiple infusions while musing about what to write in a tea note. Those days of abundant time are gone! I’m lucky if I find time to shower once every couple days. Don’t get me wrong; being a mother is the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my life to date. But I do miss some aspects of life before motherhood, and brewing tea is definitely one of them.
So today I am making some tea and taking the time to enjoy it! I’m so sad Butiki Teas has closed. I managed to place a large order of my favorites (sans Almond Indulgence because it was already sold out) as well as some new-to-me ones before Stacy closed for good. The brewed tea aroma of this one smells amazing! I’m definitely getting cinnamon and a hint of vanilla. The flavor is WOW! So nuanced and delicious. The flavor seems to evolve throughout the sip, first being cinnamon and vanilla and ending in a lovely, hay-like Bai Mu Dan. Yum! White tea is the perfect base for these flavors. This is good!
I added a tiny bit of Truvia to see how sweetener affects the flavors. Hmm, it really seems to have brought the squash to the forefront. I was missing that before. I’d say the most downplayed element in this tea is the cinnamon. It’s there, but only a quiet whisper complementing the other flavors. This is a really lovely tea. I’d say that I recommend it, but sadly you can no longer buy it. :( But if you’ve been hoarding it like me and have yet to try it, you definitely should!
For those of you who are interested, I’ll write more about the birth of my daughter in another note. For now, here’s some pictures of my Olivia. :)
I’m 40 weeks pregnant today! Come on, baby! Mama wants to meet you!
I woke up to weird pelvic pain at 6:29am. Contractions feel like waves, right? This was not wavelike…luckily it went away once I got up and walked around. You usually only have a 3-4% chance of delivering on your actual due date, but since I haven’t had the baby yet…my chances of delivering today are around 15%. Still not great. :/ But I have a 61% chance that the baby will come within a week! :)
I polished this tea off last night during a game of Go with my 4 kyu husband. The score was 104.5 to 72…I got massacred. LOL! But it was a lot of fun since it was a teaching game. I’m really going to miss this tea (and Butiki Teas in general). Although I did notice that apparently Red Leaf Tea sells something called Golden Dragon Feelers that looks exactly like this. I’ll have to try that one out sometime.
Well, now that the pain has subsided, I think I’ll try and go back to sleep. I’m gonna’ need energy if I do go into labor today. Wish me luck, everyone! I’m hoping to have a medication/intervention free birth, which also means the baby needs to decide to come on his/her own so I don’t have to face an induction. An induction can start a cascade of unnecessary interventions. Since I’m GBS negative, I don’t even want an IV. Inductions mean pitocin, which means an IV. :/ But I still have 2 weeks before they’ll start talking induction. OMG, I pray I don’t have 2 more weeks of being pregnant! I don’t know if my body (or mind) can take it!
This was a free sample with my latest order, which I think was back in October. The brewed tea aroma is heavenly! It smells like warm monkey bread fresh from the oven. Mmmm! The flavor is very similar to the aroma. I taste cinnamon and bread, vanilla and cream, and some other wonderful mixture of complementing flavors. This is so delicious!
Even though cinnamon bread is the predominant flavor I keep coming back to, this doesn’t strike me as a heavily cinnamon spiced tea. It truly blends with the other ingredients to make a whole new taste. The slower you drink it, the easier it is to identify the other flavors. I also detect a hint of something citrus-y in the aftertaste. Mmm, but I’m enjoying this so much it’s kind of hard to drink it slowly. I keep gulping it down, haha!
I don’t know why, but I was kind of put off by the name. I expected smoke and strong, harsh flavors. This is delicately balanced and very nuanced. It’s soft and potent at the same time. I really really love this! I think I may have to place an order…I know, I know! I’m really not supposed to! But this is too good to be true. I am so in love. It loses just one point for the name; I’d rename this blend “Monkey Bread.” It tastes exactly like the monkey bread my mother-in-law makes except in tea form. Yum!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Citrusy, Cream, Vanilla
I’m 1.5 weeks from my due date! I’m sooooo ready to meet this baby and also to get my body back. I had the easiest pregnancy up until the last couple months. I’ve gained more weight than I should have and I’m not all that tall. I think my body wasn’t built to handle this much weight, so I’m pretty much in constant pain. Sleeping is the worst. Any time I’m laying down, I hurt everywhere: hips, thighs, abdomen, back. It’s obnoxious! I get about an hour of sleep and then I wake up in so much pain that the only way to get rid of it is to stand up and walk around, which obviously means I’m exhausted and fatigued. This is much harder than I had anticipated. I walk at the speed of a 95-year-old lady. I constantly feel like I have to pee even when there’s no pee in me. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night because I vomit in my sleep. Yuck. I feel helpless. It’s rather pitiful. I can’t wait to be normal again. And of course, it’s all worth it. But that doesn’t make the pain any less at this moment. At least I’m not afraid of labor anymore! The number one word to describe how I feel about labor is excited! Bring it on! Well, that was a huge digression but at least an on topic one. :)
ON TO THE TEA!
I tend to steep this once for 5 minutes and then again for 15. That way I get two cups out of one teabag. Today I kind of forgot about it and steeped it for 20 minutes out of the gate. Whoops! Anyway, this tea is a surprise. I guess I always assumed red raspberry leaf would be red and taste like raspberries. But it’s the color of your average herbal (a dark amber) and tastes like mint. Watered down mint; it’s not super strong.
Overall, it’s an enjoyable tea. It’s obviously not something I would drink if I wasn’t pregnant, but I can recommend it to other women in their third trimester. Now I have no idea if this will bring on labor any faster, but it’s supposed to be good for me. So I plan on drinking two cups a day until I run out of tea or the baby arrives, whichever comes first. Let’s hope it’s the latter. :) Come on, baby! We want to meet you!
Uh oh. Looks like Steepster is having problems again. Before posting this note, the tea page said there are 5 tasting notes for it, yet only 3 are visible. :/ Look out, Jason! It’s the case of the disappearing notes again!
The dry leaf aroma of this is stirring something in my childhood memory bank, but I can’t pinpoint what it is. For a moment, I thought it was Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape. Anyone else remember this stuff? http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lgo6dfDbRe1qdnc7ho1_500.jpg But this tea is definitely berry flavored and that gum wasn’t from what I can recall.
Unfortunately, this tea’s flavor isn’t nearly as strong or delicious as the aroma. I’m surprised. Usually hibiscus is quite strong, and I steeped this for 5 minutes. Hibiscus is the dominant flavor at the beginning and end of the sip, with the yumberry sneaking in in the middle. The end of the sip is also really tart, which I am confident can be attributed to the hibiscus as well. Yumberry Hibiscus would be a more appropriate name.
Overall, this is only mildly disappointing. I feel like it could be amazing if the yumberry was punched up to be more prominent than the hibiscus. I got this as a free sample at work, so I have no idea how old it is. Maybe a fresher batch would have more oomph. Regardless, I really like the yumberry flavor. I just wish I could remember what it reminds me of…
The cupboard sorting feature is back!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!! Oh, how I’ve missed you!! This is probably the best feature of the entire site (IMO), and I have sorely missed it these past few months. Thank goodness it’s fixed!
The aroma of this one is a little lighter and weirder than the Earl Grey Black by Boston Tea Company. The flavor is equally weird. Have I ever had an Earl Grey Green? I don’t know. I’m not sure about this combo. The grassiness of the base doesn’t seem to mesh well with the bergamot flavoring. It’s not terrible but it’s not yummy either. I don’t think I’m a fan.
I haven’t had Earl Grey in over a year. It’s funny how the aroma of bergamot is immediately transporting. Too bad the flavor here is pretty weak. Although if I’m being honest, I’ve left this stringless teabag exposed to air for about two weeks. Whoops! I’ve been a little busy and thought if I laid it out on the counter I’d remember to drink it. But that strategy didn’t really work.
So although I’m most likely to blame for the poor state of this tea, I still have to rate it rather low. It needs a lot more punch in flavoring to be an Earl that I’d reach for over others. At least the flavoring isn’t harsh and the base isn’t bitter. It’s not bad.
“Office is busy.” Umm, what? Since when does Microsoft control when I open Word on my computer? That’s incredibly creepy. So, I’m drafting this note in Notepad before posting it. Ugh. Notepad sucks. This is one looooooooooong horizontal line. Makes proofreading pretty difficult and kind of defeats the purpose of drafting the note before posting it in the first place.
Anyway, this tea is super weak. The aroma smells like a Ceylon, but the flavor is nearly tasteless. Maybe it would be better if it was fresher and brewed longer. Currently, it’s like drinking warm water with a tablespoon of tea in it. So, this is a bust all around. Stupid Microsoft and stupid tea. :(