55
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
688 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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Bio

I am a lover of many things, but my passions include my records, tea and books (not necessarily in that order!) I embrace local food and good cooking as much as I can, and place great value on time with family and enjoying the bounty of nature. As of January 2014 my husband and I finally moved to the country to be closer to family and continue our journey in a family home. We have been wanting to do this for a couple years, so we are very excited to follow our hearts. We also have a wonderful kitty named Emma that is the princess of the house.

I am drawn toward good Chinese blacks, enjoy some herbals and the odd roasted oolong. Greens and whites can make me nauseous, but I will have flavoured ones on occasion. While I don’t yet adore puerh, I am giving it my best effort. Chamomile and coconut are the devil though, I wish they didn’t exist. Mint has been a particular favourite of mine since childhood, and I enjoy both flavoured and pure teas though unflavoured blacks are tops for me.

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: WOW. This is the cream of the crop.
71 – 80: This is a solid tea. I enjoy it, and would recommend it to others, but may not repurchase.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. May try again to improve.
41 – 60: Bleh. Might finish it, but it’s not to my taste OR just doesn’t impress me at all.
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.

Location

Canada

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