82
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
2388 tasting notes

This time, I’m using the sample from LiberTEAS to see how it compares to that from Amanda.

To start, the tea looks different. There are flower(?) pieces, and petals that were definitely not in the other sample. It smells similarly good though, both in dry and steeped form. This version may smell a touch better, but I did enjoy the scent of the not-so-nice tasting cup either.

Tasting this, I’m fairly certain that Amanda got a dud batch!! No soapy flavour whatsoever, but instead a malty black tea with vanilla. Yum! I did taste this flavour in the other sample, but it was masked by that soapiness. A little weak, but I realize that I brewed it in a larger mug than usual and neglected to compensate for that in terms of dry tea. There’s a touch of astringency, so I think that increasing infusion time would lead to Bad Things. I will have to try this again a bit stronger, but this definitely bumps up the rating a fair bit. It’s too weak to hit the list of favourites yet though.

LiberTEAS – was the sample you gave me from the Christmas Sampler or a separately purchased pouch? Did anyone else notice a soapy flavour in their tea from the Christmas Sampler? I’m just curious. Seems a shame that some people may not have experienced the true flavours of this tea.

ETA: Second infusion good as well, also for 3 minutes. Quick note – the cup I left sitting at the office overnight, from the weird batch, actually tasted much better the next day, completely cooled. (Yes, I probably shouldn’t have drank it, but I was curious.) No soapiness, and I could tell it was the same tea, but it definitely was lacking something in comparison to the other batch I have. Oh well!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I’m fairly certain that this is from my stash that I kept from the very first batch, as I didn’t buy extra from the Christmas Sampler batch. I did buy the Christmas Sampler though, and I did notice that the flavor was not the same that I remembered from the first tasting (as this is probably my favorite tea from 52Teas). I didn’t find it “soapy” but I just didn’t find it as amazing as the first batch.

Uniquity

I feel like there were flowers in the original batch of this – though I personally preferred the Christmas sampler, as I found the original too coconut-like.

Kittenna

Now that I’ve compared both batches, the first was definitely better, and did have cornflowers in it as the blend indicates, while the tea from the Christmas Sample just tasted off, and I don’t remember any petals/flower pieces. Ah well!!

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LiberTEAS

I’m fairly certain that this is from my stash that I kept from the very first batch, as I didn’t buy extra from the Christmas Sampler batch. I did buy the Christmas Sampler though, and I did notice that the flavor was not the same that I remembered from the first tasting (as this is probably my favorite tea from 52Teas). I didn’t find it “soapy” but I just didn’t find it as amazing as the first batch.

Uniquity

I feel like there were flowers in the original batch of this – though I personally preferred the Christmas sampler, as I found the original too coconut-like.

Kittenna

Now that I’ve compared both batches, the first was definitely better, and did have cornflowers in it as the blend indicates, while the tea from the Christmas Sample just tasted off, and I don’t remember any petals/flower pieces. Ah well!!

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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