131 Tasting Notes

drank Cinnamon Pear by 52teas
131 tasting notes

Day 7 of the 12 Teas of Christmas. I am reviewing these so late!

This was one of my favourites from the box. I tend to drink my black teas with milk, which mutes the astringency, but I did try it plain first and this tea was a little on the astringent side. I mostly tasted cinnamon when drinking it plain, too, but the sweet pear tones really come out when milk is added. The balance between the flavours of cinnamon and pear is spot on, and as other reviewers have mentioned it reminded me very much of a poached pear. I think I will drink this while the weather is still rotten, because it makes a lovely warming winter drink.

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank SBT: Orange Creamsicle by 52teas
131 tasting notes

Sipdown! (23/288)

I will make it to 100 notes before my 1st Steepster-versary if it kills me.

I had this a while back, and hadn’t realised it was still in my cupboard unreviewed, so please forgive the patchy note. Luckily, these teabags make a beastly amount of tea, so I’ve drank it enough times to remember what it tasted like!

Being a poor little English girl, I had no idea what a creamsicle was, and therefore no frame of reference towards the accuracy of the flavours. However, my dad’s favourite ice lolly is one which is plain orange on the outside, and with ice cream in the middle. I take it that this is a similar deal? So that’s what I’m going with. If that it what it’s supposed to taste like, then it’s not too bad a job. The tea base is definitely dominant, and the Orange and vanilla flavours kind of play around in the background. I added four spoons of brown sugar to this while it was still hot, but the tea still ended up tasting bitter to me. Maybe I put too much hot water in, or left the teabag too long? I think I will cold steep the next time I make a batch of iced tea.

I have a bit of a confession to make – I drank most of this hot. My flat is a basement flat, so it’s pretty cold most of the time, and especially in winter in the north of England, it’s not the best time to drink iced tea. Apart from that, though, each time I poured myself a glass, the bitterness made me want to add milk. I tried doing that iced at first, but to me, iced tea with milk in it is just weird! So I almost always ended up warming it up in the microwave… So I know I didn’t drink it properly, but honestly, the milk brought out the vanilla more and somehow the flavours shone through a lot more when hot than when cold.

Currently, there’s a large batch of Lime Cola SBT in my fridge, which I’m much happier to drink cold. I was also fine with the butterbeer SBT iced. I don’t know what it is, but something about this tea just screams to me “I should be hot!!”

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Sipdown! (22/288)

This was a sample from the lovely VariaTEA, and a very sad sipdown which has gone straight back on my wish list.

I will start it this review by saying that I am biased – I LOVE oatmeal raisin cookies. They are my absolute favourite kind of cookie. I’m getting hungry even writing about them. This tea is a near-perfect replication of an oatmeal raisin cookie in tea form. I don’t know how they did it, but it’s all there. The smell of the tea steeping is as if I’m baking a batch of fresh cookies right there, all warm cinnamon and buttery sugary goodness.

Flavour-wise, the cinnamon comes through first and foremost, just like it would in the real cookie, but it’s mild and not ‘spicy’, but actually quite sweet in the way cinnamon often is in baked goods. There’s a brown sugar flavour which goes with it wonderfully. Next I get the butteriness, which gives it a definite cookie ‘feel’, followed at the end of the sip by sweet and fruity raisin tones. I have drank this plain, with sugar and with milk, and my favourite way seems to be with a splash of milk. To me, it adds the ‘oatmeal’ part of the cookie and makes it pretty much spot on. It’s sweet enough to stand on its own without sugar, and that’s coming from someone who sweetens 99% of her black teas!

Thanks for the sample, VariaTEA! I have a feeling that Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and I will meet again.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

I loved this one, too. It’s liquid cookie!


I was also a huge fan of this tea. It appears us Brits agree :)

Red Fennekin

It certainly sounds delicious :O


It is very delicious (:

We certainly seem to! I may have to justify a DT order in the (sadly distant) future.

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Sipdown 21/287!

I got a generous sample of this in a mystery box I nabbed a while back from Janelle, and have finally worked my way through it.

This is definitely a subtle tea. When I first tried it, I thought it was a little plain, but I’m afraid that was just my untrained tastebuds talking. Now I’ve grown to appreciate a good tea, I wish I’d been able to appreciate this one when the flavours were still good. It’s getting on a bit now and the sample has lost a lot of flavour, although I can still tell it was a good tea. I taste no alcoholic-type notes, but I do get the plum. It’s an impressively natural tasting plum, and it pairs well with the nilgiri frost. In fact, I couldn’t remember what a plum tasted like (poor, I know) until I had my first sip and there it was! The plum is followed up by mild spicing, as I suppose would be found in a plum pudding, with the dominant spice suggesting itself to me as cinnamon. This spice fades after the sip, and the aftertaste goes full circle back to plum again. I have a big ol’ bag of Stacy’s Plum Brandy Cheesecake, so this one won’t be too sorely missed. Still, I am very happy to have had it.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Rooibos Creme Caramel by Teapigs
131 tasting notes

Sipdown! (20/287) still a long way to go.

Honestly I’ve had better. Not bad, but not great either. It’s a good quality rooibos, smooth and without that weird chemical taste you sometimes get from the poorer quality varieties. The flavour is sweet, and a little creamy, but I think I would sooner call this vanilla rooibos than creme caramel. It is good without sweetener or milk, though, which is a plus. In fact, when I did add both they did very little for the tea so I would probably recommend this one plain. The flavours blend together well, and it could almost pass as unflavoured.

Red Fennekin

I’ve had the same experience with that tea – it’s nice, but it doesn’t quite live up to its name…!

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drank Chestnut by Adagio Teas
131 tasting notes

A sample from MissB from a while back. Thank you!

I actually meant for this to be a sipdown, but I went to edit my spreadsheet and discovered that I have a couple of bags of this somewhere. This makes me incredibly happy because I love this tea. It is, however, the end of my loose leaf ):

It probably would have been harder to get rid of, but I’ve hoarded for too long and sadly, the flavours are fading. Luckily I caught it in time and though the tea base was weak, and a little astringent from the long steep I gave it, the chestnut flavour is just as delicious as I remember it. Warm, comforting and roasty, with a creamy nuttiness and an almost maple syrup-like aftertaste without the sweetness. Reminds me so much of baking! Just like some kind of muffin. Yummy.

Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML
adagio breeze

oooh, I gotta get me some of this.


I would definitely recommend it (:

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drank Frankenberry by 52teas
131 tasting notes

Tea no. 5 from the 12 Teas of Christmas set.

I wish these teas came with brewing instructions. Each cup I’ve had from the box has been guesswork, so I’m not sure I’ve gotten the best out of them that I could have. I had no idea what Frankenberry was until I read some of the other tasting notes on this tea – we are deprived of so much here in England, cereal-wise. Regardless, it was obvious from the smell (and of course the little bits of freeze-dried strawberries) that this was a strawberry tea. At first I though there were bits of ginger in the blend, and was super happy to find out that it was marshmallow root instead. Flavour-wise, this tea is 100% strawberry marshmallow fluff to me. The malty black base has a strong presence in the initial sip, so I initially wished for a more mellow base to allow the yummy fruity sweetness to shine more. However, after learning that this tea is based on a cereal, I think the combination is inspired. It might dominate at the front of the sip, but the other flavours do come through towards the back, and then the maltiness lingers in the aftertaste with the creamy marshmallow and strong strawberry, much more reminiscent of cereal. I am now satisfied with the base Frank has used, but I still can’t help imagining what these flavours might be like with a milk oolong base. I bet it would be delicious.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

A milk oolong base would have been delicious with this, strawberry and oolong go together very well. More so than a black tea base anyway.


I agree. I’m hoping Frank will do a reblend with an oolong base at some point.

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drank Popcorn Tea by Teapigs
131 tasting notes

Recently sipped down, and now back in my cupboard thanks to my aunt and uncle! They bought me four Teapigs teas for Christmas, of which this was one.

The instructions on the packaging say to brew at boiling, but I ignored that and went for 80 as I have grown less fond of green teas recently, and higher temperatures usually lead to unwanted astringency. For the second time tonight, lowering the temperature of a tea was a good call! The popped rice is the focus of the flavour this way, with the mellow green tea present mainly in the background. And I don’t mind it! My mam, who actively dislikes the majority of my teas, agreed to try this after smelling it and even seemed open to me leaving her a couple of bags! Big success. I think this was my favourite way having this tea too, and I will likely follow these steeping parameters in the future.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Red Fennekin

80-85 is normally my preference for these teas, particularly for Teapigs greens. It really brings out the best in them :-)


That’s what I’m going to stick to, too. (:

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Holy pony this is one tasty tea!

I am really glad that Frank included this as day four of the 12 Teas of Christmas box, because I considered adding this to my last 52teas order and in the end decided against it. I would definitely have missed out!

The last time I had 52teas Shou Mei, it was quite astringent. To avoid inflicting similar damage on this one, I brewed it at a lower temperature and left it a little longer to allow the flavours to develop without burning the tea. It seems to have worked, and I think that this will be my method with all 52teas Shou Meis in future. The colour when brewed is a deep golden colour, which surprised me since I had lowered the temperature and was half expecting the tea to be weak. The initial taste is of the beautiful white tea, and then the most amazing apple flavouring comes through in the aftertaste. I had no idea how sorely I was missing this from my collection until I tried it.

150 °F / 65 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Peppermint Bark by 52teas
131 tasting notes

Day 3 of the 12 Teas of Christmas 2014 set.

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed in this one. I have never tried, came across or even heard of peppermint bark prior to this tea, so maybe I just lack the understanding, but from what I can gather from google it seems to pretty much be a combination of candy cane and chocolate? I have had many candy cane flavoured teas over the holiday period, and some just seemed minty whilst others captured the essence of a candy cane, vanilla sweetness and all. This, unfortunately, seems to capture peppermint and not much else. It is dominant in the sip and aftertaste, with the malty black base becoming prominent for a fleeting second in the middle, and possibly a very slight suggestion of chocolate at some point along the way. It is definitely not what I pictured when I searched peppermint bark online. That having been said, it is still a nice, and perfectly drinkable cup of tea! I actually would have been a lot happier with it if I hadn’t attempted to figure out what peppermint bark is between brewing the tea and drinking it. Maybe it tastes exactly like peppermint bark. I will never know.

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

Peppermint bark is usually dark chocolate covered with white chocolate topped with peppermint pieces. It’s quite yummy.


Thanks (:
It sounds it!

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a couple of years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: a lot of different things, but my absolute favourites are caramel, chestnut, raspberry, coconut, blueberry and pumpkin

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice and pineapple

I am a 20 year old student, studying English Literature and hoping to go into publishing one day. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV quiz shows (about the only things I watch regularly, unless Sherlock or Doctor Who is on), basketball (NBA, both the video game and actual sport – Chicago Bulls fan, and playing with my university girls’ team. I also watch my parter play, as he’s on the men’s team) and football/soccer (just watching – a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


Huddersfield, UK

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