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Recent Tasting Notes
Hmm. I’m a sucker for cheesecake, so I was excited about this flavor. It disappoints on that front. Ignoring the name though, it’s a pretty tasty blend. The tart lemon flavor and roasty houjicha flavor balance each other out. There’s a hint of creamy vanilla that softens the tartness of the lemon and makes the flavor more evocative of dessert than fresh fruit. It’s also quite pleasant cold. Think more lemon meringue than lemon cheesecake. This was a nice enough blend, but I’m not heartbroken to say it’s a sipdown.
My final kickstarted reward arrived in the post this week, the breakfast blends add on, and therefore this review is for the new 52 Teas version of this tea.
Opening the bag I’m immediately hit with the overpowering scent of cinnamon which concerns me a little bit as I’m not a huge cinnamon fan… Huge juicy looking raisins greet me as I pull my spoon out of the bag and dump it into my cup. I probably over leafed, using closer to a teaspoon and a half of dry leaf but I do like my tea strong. Brewed for three minutes, I then added milk and took a sip… Lots of cinnamon… I let it sit for 10 minutes to cool as the packet advises and took another sip… Ok, still plenty of cinnamon but now I can taste the raisin, butter, and bread notes! Definitely a tea that tastes better once it’s cooled down than when it’s piping hot which is how I feel abt a lot of 52 teas blends.
If your a fan of cinnamon don’t let this one get away without sampling it.
Another of my older 52 Teas blends, but one I’ve been looking forward to a lot. Today is turning out to be a pretty horrible day for various reasons, so I figured I deserved a treat. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and it’s pretty impressive even dry. The scent is great – sweet and caramelly, and there are huge chunks of dried apple scattered amongst the Fuijan oolong base. I gave the leaf approximately 2.5 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown – rather like caramel, in fact!
To taste, I’m really enjoying this one. I’m not usually a fan of roasted oolong in general, but I’m more than happy to make an exception here. I suspect that’s largely because it’s overpowered by the flavouring, and is only really discernable in terms of a mild honey and wood flavour in the background. There’s none of the metallic notes that I’m so leery of. The caramel flavour is the strongest, and it’s beautifully sweet and a touch creamy. It’s also perfectly paired with the apple, which is softer but still identifiable. The apple adds just the tiniest hint of sharpness, which really takes this one away from merely “sweet” and into genuine “caramel apple” territory. It’s pretty spot on in terms of flavour!
I know I’m going to enjoy finishing off this pouch. It’s a treat in tea form.
The dry leaf smells just great, but of course steeping the leaves releases all the spice and the flavours pop. Plentiful cardamon and ginger and a bit of cinnamon. To my mind, this is the perfect chai balance, give or take some pepper, black or chili. When I first tasted the tea, I thought hmm, needs caramel. As the tea cools a bit, the flavours mellow with the tea base and it is just lovely as is. The black and honeybush base blend here work rather well with the spices.
That said, it will be a very happy day for me when 52teas does a caramel series. A long caramel series of teas.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of pineapple in general, but I wanted to see if the marshmallow in this made any difference to me (after all, I do seem to enjoy pina coladas despite the pineappleyness – so apparently I don’t mind it in certain combinations).
I can taste the pineapple, and I can taste the marshmallow. I do particularly like the marshmallow flavor – it reminds me of cereal marshmallows, still crisp and dry, though soaking in milk. Very nice. I don’t mind the pineapple, either. But somewhere between the two, I’m getting a very soapy flavor (I’ve gotten that from one other tea before, though at the moment, I’m blanking out on the brand – it was a coconut rum tea, I think – though the soap flavor was a lot stronger on that one).
I get the feeling that this particular tea may just not be for me. I definitely appreciate the marshmallow flavor when I get it, but that’s the main draw of this one for me, and there’s so many others I like better. I’m not going to make a recommendation on this one, though, since someone who does like pineapple might have a very different experience.
Flavors: Marshmallow, Pineapple, Soap
So, I’m taste-testing this at the moment before packaging it up tomorrow.
So good. Even if I do say so myself.
After I blended this tea, I worried because I thought – what if the roasty-toasty, somwhat smoky notes of the Houjicha just don’t meld well with the gingerbread. But it works – and it works wonderfully.
I’ll be one very happy tea sipper if all my holiday teas turn out as good as this one did.
I hadn’t been overly enthusiastic about adding yet another apple tea in my stash. That said…
I welcomed the abundant apple bits in the dry leaf and its promising scent of apple and bit of spice.
I steeped quickly to ensure that the black tea base doesn’t overpower the flavourings.
The flavour is beautiful: apple, in the sense of homemade apple pie filling. A bit cinnamon. Possibly the teeniest bit of clove and allspice. Even the vaguest sense of the butteriness of pastry and cream followed up by the slightest citrusy tang of fresh apple.
A delicious beautifully balanced tea.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Pastries
I am currently sipping on a cup of this – a reblend. This tea was requested as a reblend as part of a “You Choose the Reblend” incentive tier from the start-up Kickstarter campaign and I am taste testing it now. (It will be added on the website – in limited quantities – on Monday, November 23 after it’s been first offered to the person who ordered the reblend and to those that contributed at a certain level on our Kickstarter campaign.)
This is really good. I changed the recipe a bit because first of all, my black tea base is different. Second, I used cacao shells in the blend in addition to roasted cacao nibs and mini VEGAN chocolate chips. Third, I used crushed chili pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper powder because it’s easier to distribute the pepper flakes throughout the chai than it is to ensure that the powder remains properly distributed.
This is really good. Spicy! Lots of chocolate flavor. It starts out more chocolate-y than spicy, with just a really warm yet gentle heat on the back of the throat. Then as i continue to sip, the heat develops, becoming spicier and warmer. By the time I finished the cup, my tongue was tingly with heat (but not so much that I felt like I needed to eat or drink something to cancel out the heat) and I could feel a burn on the throat, but not uncomfortably so.
I find this to have a perfect balance between spicy heat and sweet chocolate flavors.
I like chai teas, but I’m not really that discriminating. For me they typically fall into two categories: [can be drunk without milk and sugar], [too strong to drink without milk and sugar]. Sometimes I can tell apart other differences such as anise or vanilla, but mostly I just can’t. I prefer chais that can be enjoyed without milk and sugar.
This chai clearly falls into the first category and can be enjoyed without adding milk and sugar. It is on the mild side when it comes to spiciness and maybe has a hint of caramel if I’m looking to find it. I like it, and I am finding that the flavor is improving as it cools slightly.
This one is better now it’s been open a few days. The odd alcoholic tang has dissipated, and it’s possible to taste the chocolate/mint combination to full effect. I’d say the mint is stronger than the chocolate here (and the chocolate is definitely milk), but it’s still a deliciously creamy, flavourful cup. I’m going to enjoy my pouch of this one!
This is one of my oldest 52 Teas, so I figured it was time to finally try it. Plus I was in the mood for a mint chocolate tea anyway, so it’s a win-win. The scent upon opening the pouch was pretty strongly alcoholic, and I’m guessing this one will need to air a bit before it’s at its best. I used 1 tsp for my cup, and gave it approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s pretty good. The base is a bit more pre-eminent than I’d have liked it to be. I’d forgotten what 52 Teas old black base used to taste like, but this was a clear reminder. It’s malty, but somehow also a little dusty tasting? Not the greatest, it has to be said. Then there’s the slightly alcoholic tang, which experience tells me will fade in time now the pouch is open. Underneath those flavours lurk the chocolate and peppermint. They’re pretty strong, which is good, and they come over better as the cup cools. The mint is cooling and refreshing, the chocolate sweet and creamy. It’s hard to go wrong with such a classic combination, really. I wish I could taste a bit less of the base, but that’s a relatively minor complaint because the flavourings still come over really well. Once the alcohol tang fades, this’ll be a pretty nice winter cup.
This was one of five in my November box- a very ordinary selection that included the scourge of boring winter tagalongs, apple goddamned spice. I’d prefer a million iterations of pumpkin (also included) over another apple spice, but that’s neither here nor there.
Regardless, this seemed like a more exciting flavor- it wasn’t marshmallow krispy matcha, peanut butter toast, or boo-berry cotton candy, but it looked decent and has large whole pieces of dried, reconstituted blackberry. Very fresh! The flavor leaves lots to the imagination, though, as it succeeds as a blackberry and lime tea- more on the citrus-heavy, aggressively clean, acidic scent versus murky, dark berry flavors, but fails to deliver as a twee turnover or dessert tea. I say this having experienced and enjoyed teas that have been solid dessert homages rather than mere implications and feel that 52teas can do better both in selection, curation, and iteration.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Cream, Lemon, Lime
Backlog from October 8th:
This is my first time to try houjicha. It’s definitely an interesting looking tea. The majority of the blend looks like broken twigs. I let this cool 6 minutes per the instructions. I can taste the pumpkin and am certainly picking up on the roasted quality of the tea. This might be good with some agave nectar or maple syrup in place of the honey I’m using. It’s hard to tell if I’m tasting pumpkin or spices since they often go hand in hand. I think it’s the spices I taste most of all. This is kind of strange but I actually prefer this now that it has cooled to room temperature. There is a caramel flavor that I didn’t taste before.
8 ounces water + 180 degrees + 4 minutes
I’m getting more of the spices in this second cup.
Flavors: Caramel, Pumpkin, Roasted, Spices
I have a large pouch of this to tinker with, so that’s good. Because my first cup of this hasn’t been a success, but I know I may have ruined it somehow, as word on the street is that this tea is notoriously finicky. The flavouring in here is rather faint and artificial, although that can be forgiven because cotton candy isn’t exactly a naturally occurring taste, but somehow it just doesn’t all come together for me. I added in a bit of rock sugar, which may have been an accident because this tea already seems quite overwhelmable. I do tend to like teas that can withstand a bit of a beating because I can’t always ensure perfection in every aspect of brewing, plus I like to be able to consistently expect the same thing. That said, I am going to try this again and not in a travel mug that can mute flavours at the best of times. I am also coming to the slow realization that is very rare for me to really enjoy a green tea, so there’s that.