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Recent Tasting Notes
This morning I had to decide which of my new teas to have with breakfast, so why not one that already sounds like breakfast itself?
The dry blend smells like maple syrup, cinnamon, and sugar. It does remind me of a slice of French toast with all the trimmings! After brewing, I could already smell a strong, clear black tea base, which was a good sign. The flavor of the tea leans more heavily toward cinnamon and brown sugar, more like a snickerdoodle cookie than French toast, but I’m not complaining. The tea base is quite nice—with a bit of peachy sweetness and a strong, malty-bready undertone, giving it more of a toast-like quality. Thanks beelicious for the opportunity to sample some of 52teas’ creative blends!
I think I need to try some of these teas, particularly black blends, with milk…I’m not a big milk drinker but maybe almond milk could be nice!
Sigh. It has taken me too long to try this one! This looks to be a Fujian oolong with the flavors of strawberry, champagne and watermelon. It sounds like a lovely combination — some flavors that should meld together well there. The dry scent of the leaves is certainly sweet and appetizing. It seems like it has been two months of gray days with only a couple days the sun showed up, so I NEED to imagine a picnic right now. The flavor certainly has strawberry and once in a while I get hints of watermelon. Nothing screams champagne, but it could easily be mixing with the strawberry. The second steep still had a bit of the flavoring, and the last gulp left in the mug the next morning had quite an enjoyable mingling of all the flavors… maybe that means it would be better iced? I think a nice buttery green oolong might have worked better with these flavors, but the Fuijian isn’t too strong or has too much charcoal (I’ve had other Fujian oolongs that were not to my taste at all). This seems like a pleasant picnic on a volcano, rather than the park. I realized I just had two alcohol inspired teas side by side. I’m only tea drunk!
Steep #1 // 1 heaping tsp. // few min after boiling // 1 1/2 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2-3 min
This is tasty – it really does taste like dessert-y raspberries. The smell of the dry leaves is heavenly – makes me want to just start eating it. I LOVE raspberry – it is tart and juicy and probably the perfect fruit for me next to peaches. The chocolate was a mild and minor note, but I preferred it that way. I find chocolate teas to be a bit too oily and just make me want the real thing. Overall, this was a win.
A 12 days of Christmas tea from the box.
I bought a vintage (roughly 60’s) Italian Cyclo commuter bike today as my means of transport, my new house had lots of fields surrounding me and the nearest shops are some distance away. With a bit of tlc my new bike will get me to the shops and back in ease, it can also take me to my craft club and to visit my parents. Looks like it will be my new hobby next year.
This tea smells very sweet but more like apple than pear, it has an unnaturalness about it. Behind that there is a hint of cinnamon and spice, enough to be warming. As a whole it smells like an apple pie/tart but without the crust.
In flavour the black tea is thick and malty which over rides some of the sweetness, though again I still say it’s more apple like than pear though granted they are very similar anyway. The cinnamon is very gentle against the thick black base.
In essence it’s a black tea with a bit of flavour rather than a flavoured tea with some black. I think it would have been nicer with a lighter base such as a baked/dark Oolong.
It’s ok but nothing special, the black base prevents any greatness from this blend, it’s as though it was just a rushed creation made for cheapness sake. Despite that it is drinkable at least.
I enjoyed this one. I won’t say it was my favorite iced tea from SBT, but it’s a good one and one I had no trouble finishing the pitcher and one I wouldn’t mind having again on occasion.
This does not taste like those holiday, spicy-hot, cinnamon red-hot candies with orange flavoring type of teas. This is sweet with notes of savory from the cinnamon, but it’s not overly spicy. The orange is bright, and the honeybush has its natural nutty tones which brings out some of the natural earthy notes of the cinnamon. It’s a harmonious, refreshing glass of iced tea.
I bought this to try as a hot tea, so I must confess I just cut the bag open and have been brewing it by the teaspoon. The dry leaf is cut very fine and dusty! I don’t know if that’s the usual thing with SBTs. It smells great through, the marshmallow is heavier than the maple.
I wasn’t super wild about the first steep of this. I did it for three minutes and I think this one might fare better with two or two and a half as the tea got more astringent than I’d like. The flavors were present but dominated by the taste of the black tea. It was drinkable but not wonderful.
I resteeped it for three minutes though and I must say I love this second cup! The flavors really shine through on the second steep, both the maple and marshmallow elements are clear and the maple in particular is a very good quality flavoring.
I think next time I’ll try a shorter steep the first go and definitely remember to resteep this one! Yummy.
Flavors: Maple, Marshmallow
Wow does this one smell good. It smells like the holidays with a rich creamy eggnog/light spice aroma.
I have brewed this one a few times and each time I’ve brewed it hot. My first sip is a let down because it just doesn’t live up to the aroma. The black tea is just more dominant than I’d like. But, by the middle of the mug my opinion has completely changed. This really starts to taste delicious as it cools. The eggnoggy creaminess just dominates with the light spiciness and black tea flavors more balanced. The aftertaste is also creamy good. I suspect this would be really delicious if cold brewed, but then I’d miss the aroma – and the aroma is so good.
Flavors: Creamy, Eggnog, Spices
I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as I hoped I would. I like Darjeeling tea. I like blueberry flavored teas. I love Earl Grey. So this should be a win, but it just wasn’t for me. I’m not fond of the bergamot flavoring that 52Teas uses. Too perfume-y, especially when the tea is hot.
This does taste better as it cools and that’s what I’ll use the rest of the pouch for is iced tea brewing. When it’s hot, the bergamot tastes too perfume-y. When it cools, this perfume-ish flavor begins to taper and I get more blueberry notes and these are nice. The Darjeeling is pleasant.
It’s alright. Not great. Not the best 52Teas has ever produced. But I guess they can’t all be wins.
Today’s Christmas tea from the box.
Boy this is strong! It smells so sweet and strawberry, like gummy sweets.
Steeped scent smells much like black tea, strong malt scent with some berry sweetness in the background, albeit more subtle than the malt tones.
Flavour is sweet, very sweet in-fact….it reminds me of those syrups you get for coffee only it’s in tea. It tastes chemical, sure it’s sweet but that chemical flavour is just strange…plastic like. On top of that it’s a very rich and malted black tea base with some sourness and astringency.
It’s drinkable but not pleasant. Such a shame since I noticed it’s organic ingredients. What’s more the plastic flavour lingers in the mouth during the after taste which is not very nice. Oh well, still drinkable and at least it’s a new one for me to try.
Flavors: Malt, Strawberry
This was yesterdays tea ie 4th day of Christmas tea from the box. I decided to have a smelly food day which meant I couldn’t taste much of anything past garlic, onion, chilli and spices hence why I didn’t review this until today.
The raw blend smells amazingly sweet apple like, very potent and strong.
The steeped tea smells sweet apple like though toned down from it’s raw form.
In flavour this is very mild compared to it’s scent. The apple comes through in the after taste while the white tea is the main flavour. It’s dry, floral and slightly astringent before the apple kicks in which adds a crisp sweetness. It doesn’t linger for long in the after taste.
It’s not as appley as it appears I mean the tea has apple twice in it’s name. The astringency of the white tea reduces what the apple could be, though saying that it is still a fairly nice tea. Perhaps if I try it again it will be iced.
Overboard Traveling tea box
This one isn’t as tasty as the banana unsweetened, but once you add sweetener, I am definitely getting apple and caramel. Almost reminds me of the Celestial seasonal tea I love Caramel Apple Dream, which of course, I can’t find anymore. This will be a good substitute. Keeping it.
Overboard Traveling tea box
I love banana flavored things and Frank uses a banana flavor that is so good; I was hoping it would be similar in this blend. I also tend to like his honey bush blends, so I had high hopes for this and I am pretty darned happy with the results! Even unsweetened, I taste the banana and a hint of something sweet, likely the caramel. I think I’ll be keeping the rest of this which is probably a good thing as I have been loading up the box with wishlist items of the next participants all evening.
(On a side note, I’ve seriously had 4 cups of the Pomegranate Oolong and its still going strong, but I figured I needed a break to try some other things since I have another traveling tea box on its way to me right now!)
Thanks muchly to Lala for sending some my way! I love root beer, and haven’t had a root beer float in ages (the picture on the pouch makes me want to experience that again sometime) so in order to try to emulate root beer in a cold, frosty mug, I decided to cold steep this.
And it’s truly yummy, like root beer with a stronger black tea background. Kind of wish I saved a bit for a hot cup to compare but this is an excellent alternative to actual root beer.
Speaking of experiences, I went to a movie at the theatre for the first time since 2010. Mockingjay broke my four-year streak. Not as captivating as the first two but I still can’t wait for the next to come out!
From hot to warm, this tea has a good flavor profile. The white tea is nice and light. The raspberry provides the much-needed contrast, and the white chocolate provides another sweet flavor for the white tea. I think anytime you put white chocolate in tea, it feels a little oily, and so does this one, but it is not to ‘oil slick in the mouth’ feeling…just a little bit of it.
A nice overall dessert-type tea for my first cuppa.
52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 12! (Drank Dec. 12)
Well, unfortunately my guessing game was ruined for this one, because I read what it was in the list of December teas. Which kind of sucked. Anyways, it was clearly a genmaicha, and smelled like ginger once the packet was open, so kind of a no-brainer.
Anyways, I completely flubbed the steeping of this one, so may have to give it a second shot before rating. The first time, I let the water cool to 126C before I noticed I hadn’t put the leaves in; the second time, the water cooled to 170C but I just put the basket in anyways… and then proceeded to leave it for 10 minutes. Whoops. Sipping… and yes, this will constitute a failed attempt. Tons of toasty rice flavour, some ginger, and BITTER. Which, really… 10 minutes? If it hadn’t gone bitter, I would have been concerned that there was no actual tea in there.
The aroma is definitely nicer than the flavour, being kind of creamy-gingery, so here’s hoping all the badness is 100% user error. Follow-up note probably coming within the next… two months. Haha.
(Note: I couldn’t add any info about this tea, and the name may be slightly off, because the 52teas’ website is currently appearing to be infected by malware.)
52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 11! (Drank Dec. 11)
A green tea (not sencha!), with obvious strawberry bits… I don’t know what exactly this could be, but I’m hoping for good things. The aroma is a bit smoky and fruity, which actually seems to work; the flavour is accordingly smoky and fruity strawberry, which is actually pretty tasty. I am definitely a fan of 52teas blends using green bases other than sencha (e.g. Sun & Cloud Mist. Yums.)
Scratching off the label, this is apparently Strawberry Zabaglione Chun Mee. Interesting – I really don’t think it comes off as ‘zabaglione’ at all, but it’s certainly an interesting and fairly tasty tea. A good selection for the 12 Teas.
I had to look up what Yunan was, and I have to say, I’m still not sure (except the tea comes from the Yunan area of China).
I like this tea…I keep thinking I’ve put milk in it, but I haven’t. It tastes mellow with some little kick in it (that must be the pepper-like undertone I read about). It has a mouthfeel like I put milk it it, but I know that I didn’t.
I’m not buying eggnog because it is horribly bad for you (but oh, so good tasting!). This is a nice holiday-type tea, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be in the mood for it in the summer. I don’t know that it is a SUBSTITUTE for eggnog, but it does have a lot of the eggnog flavor in it, and it’ll do nicely.
Day 3 of the 52 Teas 12 days of Christmas box.
Is there anything more Christmas-y than peppermint when it comes to festive teas? This was a welcome find this morning. Monday morning is the start of my house wifely duties, and let me mention that I hate cleaning and tidying. I’m a messy person by nature though my clutter is almost always organized. Job list for today: cat litters, scrub toilets, sweep and hoover downstairs, put clothes away, try and find boxes to unpack etc etc etc. So far I’ve washed up, done the cat litters and put bleach down the toilet to go back to later. Tea break while watching Buffy sounds splendid.
So back to the tea, peppermint bark, it does smell very sweet and pure in terms of peppermint. The black tea was a little malty and cocoa like though very subtle in comparison to the dominating peppermint.
In flavour the black tea becomes a lot stronger than it was in scent, which I wouldn’t mind though the peppermint is actually in the background of it now. So it’s a black tea with a mild peppermint after taste. Usually I like my mint teas to be large and in charge, I drink mint tea for the mint aspect above all else.
Through the sip: It starts with a sour malt black base that gradually lightens to reveal a hint of peppermint amongst a now sweet and sour malt base.
It’s nice though not a new favourite, and it’s not peppermint enough to be Christmas like for me :(
Flavors: Malt, Peppermint, Sour
My second day of Christmas tea from the 52 Teas Christmas Box.
Today’s tea sounds very interesting! I’m not a huge fan of tiramisu since it’s coffee related but I do like it on a rare occasion and I’ve been thinking about it for the last year. So this was a nice surprise, and in Oolong form too, very cheeky.
I open the packet and I am met with a milky/creamy and slightly spiced scent with mild sweetness. It reminded me of eggnog.
Once steeped this tastes as creamy as it smells along with a gentle baked cake/bread taste with a touch of spice. It still reminds me of eggnog though compared to Butiki’s eggnog it’s not as creamy nor sweet. It’s flavour as a whole is rather mild and most flavours come through in the after taste, otherwise it’s very much a simple plain milk Oolong. It contains cocoa nib which at a stretch adds some sourness though sometimes I find milk Oolong to be slightly sour anyway.
Does it taste like tiramisu? No, sorry Frank but it does not. Instead it’s a lightly spicy Oolong which is actually rather tasty. Eggnog like enough to be Christmas themed and a joyous atmospheric tea. I’m happy enough with this blend and shall have no issue finishing this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Eggnog, Spices
My first day of Christmas tea from the 52 Teas Christmas Box.
This should have been logged yesterday but I forgot the in-laws were coming by to see our new house. It’s the first time they have been down to see us as they don’t drive and live in another city. That meant major cleaning and clearing on my part, trying to make a 2 week lived in house perfect. That didn’t happen but I tried my best. So yes this was yesterdays tea but I’m tasting it today to make up for yesterday.
The raw blend has a strong clove and cinnamon scent, very spice mix and perhaps a little like pumpkin though nothing sweet nor toffee like. The dragonwell was rather a dark green with large yellow discolouration, so low quality though I suppose that compromises on it being a unique blend. I only mention the quality as Long Jing is not a favourite of mine unless the quality is crystal, otherwise I find it much too harsh to drink.
After a guess-timated steeping time I pour the tea. The same clove spice mix fills the air, though while nice and Christmas like it’s starting to remind me less and less of pumpkin or toffee.
The flavour is of a good strength though I am getting a lot of dryness in the after taste, I always do with low grade Long Jing. It is highly spice flavoured with clove dominating with a touch of cinnamon in the background, though as mentioned they are rather dry. It tastes of synthetic pumpkin, in other words it meets my expectations as what to expect from a substitute. If you’ve tasted Franks other pumpkin flavoured teas then you know what I’m talking about. All said and done there is no toffee, nothing remotely sweet or candied. Also the green tea aside from it’s dryness is not noticeable in taste, the spice dominates over it rather strongly.
So you get synthetic pumpkin which is hit or miss and no toffee to speak of. Nice try but this is not what it claims, at least to me. However, it is a fairly nice Christmas like blend, clove may not be my personal choice to mix it with Long Jing but this does pair together well. Albeit not perfect for me (as a hater of low grade Long Jing and of clove) but it is pleasant enough to drink and mildly enjoy. So this is more of a Christmas Clove Dragonwell than a Pumpkin Toffee Dragonwell.
But oh well, a nice start to the box. Plus I’m in a pleasant mood after my faith in humanity has been restored a little, before I went to make this tea I passed by the front door and found a small business card sized envelope on the floor. I picked it up and saw it had no name, so I went into the living room and opened it to find a small Christmas tree card which is addressed inside to my house number from a neighbouring house. A neighbour that I have never met nor seen but one that is definitely getting a card back tomorrow. All these years since I moved out and in none of my previous three homes did any neighbour give us a card, or even a thought. Considering that we bought this house and intend to be in it for potentially the rest of our lives it’s very comforting to know we have at least one friendly neighbour. :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Drying
SBT 12 Teas of Christmas Day 1! (Drank Dec. 13)
So it appears I shouldn’t play the guessing game with these, because I will ruin them… since I can’t tell what type of tea it is even if I do open up the teabag to brew an individual cup, like I did last night. I thought this was a rooibos/honeybush, because that’s kind of what it looked like in the bag (very chopped)… so it got boiling water. Oops – it was a white… and that probably caused some unnecessary bitterness. But yes – I didn’t want to brew the whole teabag, so I just cut it open and took out 1.5 tsp, and brewed it as a hot tea. The flavour/aroma were familiar (in an “I don’t believe I was fond of this” way), but I couldn’t place them… once I scratched off the label, it made sense – I wasn’t overly fond of the Black Currant Bai Mu Dan to begin with, and since this tastes much the same… same deal. I believe, though, that I cold brewed the last of my BCBMD and drank it that way, so maybe that’s what will happen with the rest of this. Not a fan.
52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 10! (Drank Dec. 10)
Uh…. another minty black? O.o There sure are a lot of near-repeats in these 12 teas… and I’m getting more disappointed as I go along. Two chais in a row, one of which was pretty bad, 3 pumpkin teas (the base being the only differentiating factor), and now a second minty black. I see there’s coconut here, so I’m guessing it’s Coconut Peppermint Patty (I believe that was one of this year’s blends). I suspect I’ll enjoy it, and although it may get a reasonably high rating, big minus points to the 12 Teas of Christmas overall :(
(Turns out the label just says ‘Peppermint Patty’, but I assume it’s this tea.)
52teas’ 12 Teas of Christmas Day 9! (Drank Dec. 9)
A black tea with identifiable cloves and cinnamon – even before I opened the package, I guessed it was Pumpkin Pie Black, or some variant thereof. Aroma confirms my suspicion. I’m not displeased with that, but I this is now 3/9 teas that are pumpkin, and have that same flavouring. Sure, it’s seasonal, but…. 3? I think Pumpkin Toffee Dragonwell was a good choice, but these other two (particularly the honeybush) should have been substituted with something a bit different.