987 Tasting Notes

45

On the second day of Christmas, Della Terra gave to me…Fireside Spice!

This one is so much sweeter than I thought it was going to be. I guess it’s the vanilla. I brewed this as a chai latte as an afternoon treat, with plenty of warmed milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon. I can taste ginger, clove, and cinnamon, which are wonderfully Christmassy and warming. I just wasn’t expecting there to be so much sweetness from the vanilla – after a couple of sips it almost becomes a bit cloying. I think next time I’ll brew this as I would black tea; quite strong, with just a little milk. I think I’ll prefer it like that. Otherwise, I’ll just have to use a smaller cup! A nice afternoon treat for the second day of Christmas, anyway!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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45

This was probably the Bluebird Christmas tea I was looking forward to the most. I like mint, in general, and I really like milk oolong. In practice, though, it was a bit of a let down. It certainly smells like a peppermint cream, and it tastes like one too. Fry’s, to be exact, and just as I remember from…too long ago. It’s actually the oolong I have the problem with, because it’s rather bitter and not a little astringent. Surprisingly, because I couldn’t actually see much oolong in the dry mix. It’s mostly chopped mint leaves. Anyway, I was expecting a base tea that was milky, creamy and sweet, based on previous experiences with milk oolong, but that’s not what I got. It’s a shame, because the flavour is otherwise spot on. I’ll check my parameters and try again, but I have a feeling this is actually going to be my least favourite of the three, based purely on the bitterness and astringency of the base tea. Still, can’t win them all.

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

I wasn’t too impressed with this tea either.

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60

I think Bluebird really came up trumps with their Christmas teas. This is the second I’ve tried, and I’m as equally impressed with this one as I was with Christmas Cake. Largely because this does taste almost exactly like Mulled Wine. The fruit and mulling spices are the strongest flavours, but I’m also convinced that there’s a wine-like flavour lurking in the background. Something grapey and deeply fruity, with a slight tannin-like astringency, anyway.

Clove is probably the strongest flavour here, followed by cinnamon. I’m beginning to discover that they’re Christmas tea stalwarts. I think there’s a fair bit of hibi here, too. Probably most of the red fruit/wine flavour is coming from that, now I think about it. It’s pleasant, though, and a change from the usual run of fruit teas. It’s insanely Christmassy, too. Just the thing to drink while wrapping presents!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Mike Turner

Hiya, just wandered what brought the score down on this one compared to the Christmas Cake? (useful for future creations!)

Scheherazade

Am I not being very consistent? It wouldn’t surprise me — I do things in such a hurry these days!

I think it’s probably my preference for black tea, and the fact that hibiscus is not really my friend. I like both a lot, but Christmas Cake was more up my street. I’ve yet to find a fruit tea where hibiscus doesn’t dominate the flavour to a greater or lesser extent. It’s not so bad here, but enough to ensure that I definitely prefer Christmas Cake!

Mike Turner

Ah, fair enough!

People definitely aren’t loving hibiscus on here!

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100

A sample from KittyLovesTea.

This is gorgeous! Of the few candy cane teas I’ve tried so far, this one is hands down the best. The main flavour is sweet creamy vanilla sugar, and then the mint comes through gently in the aftertaste. It’s more a cooling sensation than an actual flavour at first, but it does build in intensity with successive sips. It’s never overpowering, though.

This is a black tea, so I added a splash of milk which I think helped to bring out some of the creamy vanilla flavouring. There are actual fragments of candy cane in the dry mix, so it’s not too surprising that this tea captures the flavour so accurately. A really great pre-christmas tea! Many thanks to KittyLovesTea for sharing some with me!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
KittyLovesTea

Glad you liked this one :)

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90

I actually think this is far and away the best of the Twinings Sensations range. It’s the one that tastes most like it promises, and no hibiscus in sight! There’s a bonus if ever there was one. Mint and vanilla is a good combination, though — the flavours complement each other perfectly. It really does taste like a butter mint, and I think it would be great iced. One to remember for the summer.

The bag is primarily chopped mint leaves, and it heralds a very dark brown, murky liquor, as bagged mint teas generally do. There’s enough vanilla to add a wonderful creamy sweetness, though, and it actually makes a pretty perfect winter tea. This is possibly one of the few bagged teas I’d consider keeping around. Definitely worth a try.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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70
drank French Toast by 52teas
987 tasting notes

If Pankcake Breakfast has been my morning tea this week, French Toast has become my afternoon pick me up. The two are relatively similar, I think, but the cinnamon in this one sets it apart. It’s a little sweeter, too. I’ve almost given up on trying to fit much tea in between arriving at work and getting back from lunch — that just resulted in too many cold, abandoned cups. Hopefully things will find a more even keel soon, but for now I don’t feel I’m doing too badly. These two teas are keeping me pretty much sane, anyway!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

This has been my default morning tea of late. Making a cup of this is the first thing I do when I get to work, and it makes everything that much more bearable. I love the sturdy black base, and the deeply sweet maple flavour. I’m even starting to get a hint of pancake, so I must be getting better at brewing this. Possibly next week I’ll try some sugar, if I remember to take any with me on Monday. Wonderfully tasty, soothing stuff. Fabulous!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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55

I quite like this one. It definitely tastes of raspberry, and it’s quite a natural flavour, too. There’s a juiciness, and a fruitiness, and just the slightest tang of sharpness — much like eating a real raspberry. There’s also a whole lot of hibi. I’ve found that the key with this one is not to brew it overlong. That seems to strike the best balance between screamingly-tart-and-sour hibiscus tea with a hint of raspberry, and actually-quite pleasant raspberry tea with a hint of sourness provided by the hibiscus. It’s a crucial difference.

I’m not getting dragonfruit at all. Not that I’ve tried many real dragonfruit in my time, so I guess I can’t really comment. Maybe one, at primary school? Anyway, the raspberry is nice enough. As bagged fruit teas go, this is okay. Not earth shattering, but pleasant enough to drink when time is of the essence.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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60

I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea these days, but it does come in handy when I’m feeling as exhausted as I am at the moment. Last Friday the entirety of my new job got dumped in my lap, and I ended up working Saturday and most of last week to try and at least get things back on track. That means I’ll have to spend this week catching up on everything I should have been doing last week, with the expectation that things be in some sort of reasonable shape before the christmas break. Which I’ll be glad to have. I’ve hardly had time to drink tea, let alone keep up with my steepster notes, but still. I can only do my best.

Anyway, the tea. This really does taste remarkably like crumble, for some crushed up fruit in a bag. There’s a buttery, bakey kind of taste to it that’s quite exceptional, and tempered beautifully by the tart blackcurrant and tangy rhubarb flavours. For a supermarket bagged fruit tea, it’s not at all bad. Good strong flavour, not over hibiscussed, and blessedly caffiene and fuss free. Pretty okay, in my book.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

I’ve been drinking this on an evening for a couple of nights now. I’ve found that since I’ve been working full time, December doesn’t feel as Christmassy as it used to, at least not until I’m off work a day or so before. I guess that’s why I haven’t really looked at my Christmas teas as yet, with the exception of this one.

Anyway, the scent of the dry leaves is remarkably reminiscent of christmas cake. The strongest scent is almond — putting me very much in mind of marzipan — followed by a deeply curranty, dried fruit scent. I can see cloves and dried orange peel in the mix too, although they remain very firmly in the background in terms of scent. One of the cutest things about this tea is the little snowflake sprinkles, which are dusted with tiny particles of blueish irridescent glitter. It sparkles really prettily on the surface once brewed, almost like an icy film…

On to the tasting. Again, almond is the prominent flavour, followed by a slight sweetness. I wonder where that comes from? This is then replaced by a rich fruitiness, with the slightest of spicy aftertastes. It is rather like biting into a piece of cake, taasting the icing and the marzipan, and then encountering the fruit cake underneath. It’s a really good approximation of christmas cake, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to try it. It’s one I’d definitely keep on hand during christmasses to come!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norwich, UK

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