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242 Tasting Notes

70
drank Sugar Plum Shou Mei by 52teas
242 tasting notes

I purchased the 52Teas 12 Days of Christmas sampler for two reasons: First, I can’t afford to buy large quantities of all their teas I’d like to try, and this was a more affordable option. Second, I am trying desperately to finish up the Pageant of Winter Teas for my blog project, and I wanted to be able to get my hands on whatever holiday-themed teas may have been included.

Well, it turned out that this was the one and only holiday tea. When I didn’t receive an email response, I guess I should have read the description a little more closely, because I was a little shocked to find the Halloween tea in there!

It’s been interesting, and the maker’s refusal to post any kind of steeping suggestions has been a consistent and rather aggravating headache. It’s like a homework assignment any time you want to make a new cup of their tea.

I imagine when you buy larger quantities of their teas, you have more tea to waste trying to dial in the best cup. With the small size of the samples, however, it’s more of a roll of the dice. I’ve got hints from other Steepsterites about how they generally approach the 52Teas guessing game, and I try to pick up hints from the notes of other people’s reviews on here, but sometimes it’s just not enough.

Like tonight. I dragged myself through all the homework, but the cup came out too weak and I just have to try to make the most of it. Joy.

Teaware: 16oz glass mug with ForLife infuser
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Temperature: 175º F
Steeping Time: 2-1/2min
Additives: 4tsp raw sugar

The dry blend did smell intriguing. Smooth and fruity with a delightful sparkle of lavender. It’s starting to perk up a little as the tea cools, and the lavender is getting stronger, but at first I couldn’t taste much at all.

Unfortunately, it’s not doing anything for the headache caused by the 52Teas guessing game, and I’m having a difficult time finding my way around it to actually try to gain some enjoyment from this tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Tea Sipper

I agree.. 52Teas should have SOME idea how to steep the teas, since they are creating it. They have to test the flavors while making it, so it would be helpful to have steep instructions, especially when you only have a sample to try.

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55

This is a little bit of a catch up, but I’ve been bad lately about writing up my teas. I’ve been going through a costuming craze, and my writing has fallen by the wayside a bit.

Teaware: 16oz glass mug with ForLife infuser
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3-1/2min
Additives: 4tsp raw sugar

This came in the 52Teas 12 Days of Christmas set, but we didn’t come close to following the suggested order. At this point we’re just making our way through some of the ones that didn’t spark with us originally.

Jake chose this one yesterday morning, and I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have is that I just don’t like the idea of soda in my tea. I think it’s just a personal preference thing, as this did taste a lot like a flat root beer. I didn’t get the creamy aspect as much, but the soda part came through very distinctly.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
242 tasting notes

Sipdown. I’m sad to see this one go – it’s wonderful to add it to Verdant’s blends and I’ve been really enjoying it. For our Christmas morning tea I used up the last of this with their Peppermint Bark Herbal. Simply fabulous. This is totally going to be part of my next Verdant order.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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75

Last school day before winter break!!!

This morning I decided to celebrate, and mix things up a bit. I used 1tsp of this with 1-1/4tsp of Verdant’s Laoshan Black. I’ve mixed things with the Laoshan Black before and adored them, but this… wow. It takes the cake!

The maltiness of the LB with the cheerful kick of peppermint… oh, it’s so very, very good!

I think I should just mix the rest of them together, because I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy this tea without the LB as much again!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Cha Yen Thai by Teavana
242 tasting notes

Sipdown! Actually, this is one of the few sipdowns I could actually see myself replacing. I really love this tea!

I was in a hurry this morning (which is kind of usual) and didn’t take the time to add a dash of milk. It would have been better with, but on its own this is nice in a sweet, mildly spicy way. Sweet spicy, not hot spicy, that is.

So I’m going to take a moment and savor it while it lasts. Only two more school days left!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

Whew… in these crazy last couple days before the winter break, all my non-school projects have crashed and fallen by the wayside! I wanted something easy, sweet, and uncomplicated this evening. This was the ticket.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75

I’m working on sipping this one down. It’s a fairly close thing. Preparing tea samplers for Christmas did wonderful things for the numbers of tea in my cupboard… and allowed me to find new homes for some of the wonderful apple teas my husband hadn’t yet finished!

This is pretty much as I remember it – a little light, with a bright little burst of bergamot. It’s not going to be a hardship to finish, but I’m also not going to be ordering more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

This sat on my desk while the water was boiling, and I have to say the smell – of just the dry tea – completely filled my area. I kept wanting to look around to see who was enjoying some very fresh and juicy-smelling fruit!

I was a little hesitant about the idea of oolong in a teabag, but it seems to have room to expand nicely. While the smell is still very present, the fruitiness is toned down in the actual cup, allowing more of the oolong’s butteriness to come through.

This is a fantastic change to the Teavana sample I grabbed this morning – it’s washing away the melted cinnamon candy flavor of that earlier poor choice and replacing it with something much, much more enjoyable.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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40

Sipdown! This sample came with my last order from Teavana. I may not like them, but I do like their tins, and when I can get them inexpensively (i.e. their Cyber Monday deal of free tin, free sample, and free shipping with all orders) I do tend to snap them up.

I already knew I was in for some Red Hots flavor because of previous experience with their chai blends, and the fact that I have had both these teas in my cupboard before. But this? Wow. I have a horrible sweet tooth, but that being said, this too sweet even for me!

This is like drinking hard candy, and while it may be nice and warm on a cold morning, it’s just too artificial and insanely sweet to handle.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
VariaTEA

Do you find the tea itself too sweet or was the sample overly sweet because Teavana insists on loading it up with rock sugar? I know I have had this tea and if you steep it just a little too long the cinnamon can get cloyingly sweet. Stupid finicky teas!

OMGsrsly

I find the tea itself too sweet, which was disappointing as I love cinnamon. I can’t believe they load their samples with sugar!

wheezybee

I can’t tell – they don"t give you the opportunity to try it without!

VariaTEA

When I tried this in store, I really liked it. I also really liked it the first time I made it at home. Then I made it a second time and dumped it out because it was so cloying. Now I am so unmotivated to drink it because anything that unreliable is not worth the time.

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75

The morning is finally here! Because of the caffeine, I couldn’t try this last night, and had to wait until my commute to sample it. I wasn’t certain what to expect, but I love the Laoshan Black base so much that I knew I was probably going to be in for a treat.

Teaware: 16oz travel mug with ForLife infuser
Measured dry: 2 rounded teaspoons
Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3min
Additives: 4tsp raw sugar

Unlike last night, I’m a little more with it this morning. I followed the steeping directions regarding temperature and quantity, but extended the steep to match some Steepsterite suggestions. I think that was the right call, as this is still a little faint, and might benefit from an additional minute or even two.

Sipping this, there is no missing the Laoshan Black, but I am surprised with how subtle the spices and other notes are. It’s difficult for me to pick out the citrus notes, but I do get a little bit of the cinnamon and clove – primarily in the aftertaste. As the tea cools, they are becoming more pronounced, but I don’t think they’ve quite lived up to their potential yet. We’ll see if some additional steep time will buoy them.

This cup may need a little more fiddling with to absolutely dial it in, but for now it’s a wonderful way to ring in the morning.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Feel free to browse my cupboard if you’re interested in swapping, but all the mate and pu-erh in our household is my husband’s.

For swapping purposes, please note the apple allergy. Thank you!

I tried to limit my cupboard to teas that were 1oz or larger, but that was a gorgeous failure in terms of swap communication. It’s all going back up.


Okay, I just feel wrong trying to grade things without a rubric – it’s too inconsistent! So, here is the grading breakdown:

0-50: Dump it!
50-60: I might finish the cup
60-70: Possibly finish the pot
70-80: I may keep this on hand
80-90: Cupboard space guaranteed
90-100: Poetry may be involved!

Location

Dallas, TX

Website

http://www.wordsabouttea.blog...

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