987 Tasting Notes

100

On the tenth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Boo Berry Cotton Candy!

This is another of the teas I’ve been wanting to try for what feels like forever. I’m so glad I finally got the chance! The dry leaves smell very sweet and quite strongly of blueberries, with an undertone of of sweetness that does make me think of cotton candy. It also reminds me of blue raspberry slush puppy, another fondly remembered childhood memory.

I was a bit surprised to read that the base tea is gunpowder. In my experience, this is a tea which is usually bitter, sometimes undrinkably so. While brewing, I can smell the green tea base a lot more strongly than I can the flavouring, although that’s still there in the background. I’m a little troubled.

It turns out I needn’t have been. To taste, this is as sweet as I could want it to be. I can clearly taste blueberries and the sweetness of cotton candy. It’s delightfully sugary, and just perfect! I’m glad I was patient and let the water cool sufficiently before I added the tea. If I hadn’t, I know I’d be having a very different experience right now, and my hopes and expectations for this tea would have been destroyed. As it stands, I’m seriously enjoying this.

I’ll say again that I don’t know how Frank manages it. I pretty much hated green tea before now, but his blends have really made me reconsider what I thought I knew. None of them are bitter, and this one is no exception in being an absolute knockout. I seriously hope he keeps up the good work. I’m officially an addict.

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

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65

On the ninth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Lemon Cardamom Chun Mee!

On first sniff, this doesn’t seem all that different from Sun and Cloud Mist. It has the same creamy lemon scent, and they’re both green teas albeit with different varieties for their bases. I’ve sniffed the two side by side, and this one is a little stronger/sharper smelling. I can also see whole cardamom pods in the dry mix, so I’m hopeful that this could be an interesting experience. The cardamom certainly intrigues me!

First impressions can be deceiving. The liquor is darker than I expected. I’ve never come across Chun Mee before, though, so I really had no idea what I was going to get. I’ll have to find out some more about it, since it’s certainly one I could come to like. Any non-bitter green I can get my hands on is fine by me.

The initial taste is, as I suspected, very similar to Sun and Cloud Mist. It’s slightly less sweet, but the same flavours are there. What’s different is that the cardamom comes through quite strongly in the aftertaste, which I like a lot. The middle of the sip is a bit flat, though, with almost no taste. I found that a bit odd. I think I might need to brew this one a touch longer than 2 minutes to try and counteract this, but it’s one of the reasons I want to research Chun Mee a little more. If I understood its characteristics, I’d feel better able to brew is properly.

Ultimately, this is a potentially nice lemon and cardamom flavoured green tea. I could happily drink it any time of the day. If I can counteract the flatness in the middle, it’ll be another easy winner with me.

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

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85

On the eighth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Double Chocolate Decadence!

I’ve tried three or four chocolate teas in my existence, but I’m still looking for one that’s really amazing rather than lacklustre. My experiences with 52Teas so far this sampler have been good, so I’m hoping this might be the one.

The dry leaves smell strongly of chocolate, and of something rather like wine. It’s quite a dark, bitter smell, so I’m hoping for a nice, deep chocolate taste when brewed. If it tastes anything like a bar of dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content, which is what the scent is leading me to believe, then I’ll be a happy girl.

I was sort of expecting this to be thin tasting, but it’s not at all. It has a deep, dark, distinctly chocolate taste, but it’s not so strong that it disguises or overpowers the “tea” taste. As far as I’m concerned, that makes it a perfect chocolate tea — both elements are accounted for and have an equal part in the overall taste. A few of my friends don’t really like chocolate tea to taste overmuch of tea, but to me that’s half the point. If it wasn’t, I’d drink hot chocolate.

In summary, this is just what I wanted — dark chocolate, a nice solid flavour from the tea base, no astringency, and not artificial tasting or cloyingly over sweet. Love at first sip!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

On the seventh day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Lime Jello Salad!

I could tell I was going to like this one even as I was opening the packet. The scent of lime nerds hit me in the nose — fresh, zingy, sweet and yet slightly sour at the same time. Taking a deeper sniff, I can detect pineapple and lime in equal measure. It’s just like a tropical dessert!

Opening these little packets have become the highlight of my day. I love getting to try something new every evening, and it’s really shaking up (and making me question) my tea drinking habits. I think it’s safe to say I’ve never tried a tea quite like this before, and it’s extremely fun!

I left this to cool a little before trying it, as that’s when I’ve generally had the best experiences with green tea. The taste was sweeter and more delicate than I was expecting; I can definetly taste lime, but the pineapple is pretty lost. I’m not sure I can really detect a “salad” element either.

What I’m getting from this, then, is a very pleasant lime-flavoured green tea, but not much else. I like the way it tastes both sweet and slightly tangy at the same time, like sour lime candy. It lacked some of the complexity I was expecting, though, and didn’t rock my world in quite the way I thought it would. Nevertheless, this was a more pleasant green tea than most I’ve tried, and one I’ll happily drink again.

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

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65

Drank this again at work today. I gave it slightly longer this time, almost 5 minutes while I went upstairs to put a bit of post in a pigeon hole. It was all the better for it — this time I can clearly taste both the chocolate and raspberry, which is exactly what I wanted from this tea but felt I was missing last time.

Much improved, and great for a cold day!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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95
drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
987 tasting notes

On the sixth day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Graveyard Mist!

This is one of the teas I’ve been wanting to try desperately, but which I only found out about after it was sold out. Cue much excitement, then, as I opened the sachet and discovered what it was!

I LOVE the smell. It’s cool and fresh, and it does make me think of a graveyard, strangely, either in the early morning or very late at night. Spearmint is the dominant scent, but there’s also a delicate sweetness from the marshmallow root.

To taste, much the same applies. The dominant note is again spearmint, but there’s a definite sweetness, stronger than I was expecting, from the marshmallow root. There’s also a hint of bitterness from the green tea base, but I have a feeling that might be my fault. I think the water was perhaps a bit too hot still when I added the tea. I don’t mind it at all, though; I actually think it complements the other flavours a little, and cuts through the sweetness of the mint and marshmallow root. I’ll be a little more careful next time, though, because I’d like to know whether that’s really the case or not.

I’m finding this an interesting tea, with an imaginative selection of ingredients. It’s very atmospheric, to say the least — perfect for this time of year!

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

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30
drank Wuyi Ensemble by Adagio Teas
987 tasting notes

I’ve never been much of a fan of oolong teas – they’re just not my kind of thing. I got this sample free with my last Adagio order, though, so I thought I’d give it a try. The leaves are kind of impressive. They’re the second biggest tea leaves I’ve seen so far, twisted, and black-brown with a faint green tinge. I don’t like the smell of the dry leaves much , or the scent of the tea as it brews. I’m not sure what it is, but I find it bitter and a little coppery, and not very inspiring.

Brewed, the liquor is a fairly pale golden yellow. I find the taste more tolerable than the smell, although similar in some respects. There’s still a slight coppery taste that I dislike intensely. I can’t really get very excited about this tea, probably because it’s not the kind of thing I like to drink. I know there’s a lot I’m failing to appreciate, but I guess I’m just going to have to mark this one up to experience. If I ever find an oolong I can more or less stand to drink, I’ll be as surprised as anyone. And I’ll be sure to let you know.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

I am with you on the oolongs – you likely need to try dark oolongs instead of the vegetal green ones (someone suggested this to me and it’s worked so far given that i’m more of a black tea drinker than anything). If you are ok with maple as a flavour – butiki teas has a maple pecan oolong that is super tasty. It’s one of the few oolongs i’ve found that i enjoy…though it’s not a straight oolong :)

Scheherazade

That sounds really nice. I like maple rather a lot, so I’ll have to have a look at that.

Sil

(also…and maybe i’m biased but i pretty much dislike every adagio tea that i’ve tried….)

Scheherazade

I haven’t liked all that many either. I notice it more with black and oolong teas, but I thought it was probably just me. I’m thinking of trying Jing’s oolong explorer sampler, just to try and work out whether I actually don’t like oolong, or whether I’m just trying the wrong ones for me. I like the sound of flavoured ones, too. That might be an easier way in.

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80

On the fifth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Another one that smells divine straight from the envelope. It’s actually reminding me more of a caramel latte than anything at the moment, so I’m interested to see how it develops. I can definetly smell caramel and a hint of something that might be pumpkin, so it’s looking good thus far.

Speaking of pumpkin, my last experience with a pumpkin tea wasn’t a good one. This is already shaping up to be infinetly better, though. Brewed, this tea takes on a sweet, slightly biscuitty note, and smells disconcertingly like cheesecake. I have to keep reminding myself it’s a cup of liquid when my nose is telling me otherwise.

Upon tasting, the name proves itself accurate. I can indeed taste caramel, pumpkin, and the same biscuitty note I detected while it was still brewing. It’s probably an indication of how new I am to this whole tea busienss that I’m still surprised when something actually tastes like it smells. It’s a revelation to me, though, and this is developing into a really nice tea, more so as it cools.

On balance, I think it’s the caramel that makes this tea truly delicious. It adds a smooth sweetness that rounds out the savoury spiciness of the pumpkin. It’s a 100% improvement on the last pumpkin tea I tried, and, although it’s not my favourite of the 12 Teas of Christmas so far, it certainly holds its own in terms of flavour. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters to me.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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80
drank Earl Black by 52teas
987 tasting notes

On the fourth day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Earl Black!

Once again, I’m struck by the smell as I open the envelope. It’s gorgeous! I can smell fresh, juicy blackcurrants, a hint of citrus from the bergamot, and the floral sweetness of the Shou Mei white tea base. I’m a huge white tea fan, so my expectations are high. I don’t think I’m going to be disappointed, though.

Brewed, this tea takes on a slightly deeper, less sweet aroma than the dry leaves possess. The blackcurrants, which are abundantly present among the white tea base, seem to take more prominence and contribute more of their flavour.

To taste, this is much the same. The blackcurrants are the star, and add a slightly tart and tangy note to the delicate sweetness of the white tea. The bergamot is very slightly present in the aftertaste, but isn’t all that noticable.

This is a fabulous white tea…one of the best I’ve tasted in a while. I don’t think the bergamot is quite strong enough to merit the “earl” tag, but it’s nevertheless a very pleasant blackcurrant white. Another winner!

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

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100
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
987 tasting notes

On the third day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Sun and Cloud Mist!

I’d actually been looking at this on here earlier today, wishing I’d had the chance to try some. So you’ll understand exactly how delighted I was to open the sachet and find this.

It smells, as I’m coming to discover is normal for 52Teas, A-MA-ZING. Sweetly lemony, and so fresh. I can tell this is going to be a good one.

I’m not disappointed. Ohh, this is nice. It’s no secret that I’ve never been the biggest green tea fan, but this tea is perfect. I can’t imagine it working as well with any other base, and I could happily sit and drink it all day. Most green tea makes me wrinkle my nose a bit, but not this one. It’s not at all bitter or astringent, it just tastes of pure, sweet lemon cream.

I have no idea how Frank does it, but the man is clearly a genius and this tea is simply divine. Love at first sip.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 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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