55
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
698 tasting notes

Well, I finished lunch and wanted something to take up to switchboard with me. My new 52Teas were calling to me, so I broke the seal on this baby. As soon as I ripped the top of the packet off, I got a big cloud of vanilla caramel smell. It was very intense, almost sharp. Occasionally I got a whiff of something reminiscent of coconut, but I tend to think of strong vanilla smells as coconutty. It’s not hurting me at all. When I unzipped the seal the smell increased (holy vanilla!) but I also got to see the little cornflower heads hanging out. Cute!

As always, this tea was made under imperfect conditions at work, but I gave it about 5 minutes to steep, and the water was definitely not boiling. The smell in the cup is a slightly muted version of the pouch aroma, still very strong. Unfortunately my travel mug smells strongly of the Wellness I had this morning so that is clouding the aroma, but the strong caramelly vanilla scent is still there. There is some childhood smell this is reminding me of…I think it’s reminiscent of butterscotch ripple ice cream. The creamy vanilla aroma, Mmm…The liquor itself is a deep amber colour, exactly what you would expect of a vanilla black tea!

First sips are hot. But that’s the water. Grr at my impatience! I get a strong in your face vanilla flavour. Exactly what I would expect from the smell. The vanilla really lingers on my tongue for a while, I find it to be quite a rich, creamy flavour. I don’t know what assam tastes like because I’ve never drank plain black tea, but there’s no taste I would identify as strongly tea-like. No bitterness or astringency, nothing I would really associate with black tea. There might be something there underneath the vanilla, but the weird scent of Wellness (darn this travel mug for holding smells!) is clouding my taste buds. I can’t wait to try it again at home with a bit more control over the process.

The spent leaves still have a strong vanilla smell…I suspect they would be a strong candidate for a re-steep. I might give that a go later if I have time. For now, this is an ejoyable and in your face vanilla black. Not a bedtime snack, but a tea to wake you up in the morning or after lunch.

Edit: As I sip, I start to get a hint more of the tea flavour. It’s at the very front of the sip though, and soon overcome by the bold vanilla. Wowza!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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Well, this needed refreshing. I have been drinking loose leaf for many years, and have fairly well nailed down my tastes. I love Chinese blacks and some other unflavoured teas. I occasionally drink flavoured teas, or herbals, but the bulk of my tea is unflavoured with no additives. I stock regularly from Teavivre with the occasional Verdant purchase and the odd re-stock at Davids. I love mint, am learning about the wide world of puerh, and prefer ripe to raw, so far. I don’t like green or green oolongs very much, white is okay and roasted oolongs are pretty good. Coconut and chamomile are awful, and I wish they weren’t in so many blends!

At home, I live with my husband and cat in a house built by my grandfather, which we love. We share many interests – books, tea, video games, board games, tv/movies. On top of that, I love crosswords and recently took up knitting again, so I’m having a hard time balancing all my passions at the moment. I’m a big fan of Doctor Who, as is my entire immediate family. I love spreading the Who love!

We also spend a lot of time with family, when we can. I’ve got a gaggle of younger brothers, and we like to spend time with them. The wonders of the internet allow us to spend time together even though some of them live a few hours away.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: These are great teas, I love them, regularly stock them or savour them as unique treats.
71 – 80: These are solid. I drink them, I like them, I may or may not keep them on hand regularly. This is still good stuff.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. Might be lower quality, not to my taste, or outside my comfort zone.
41 – 60: Not likely to keep drinking…hoping hubby will enjoy!
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.

Location

Canada

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