95 Tasting Notes
On the 10th Day of Christmas – I’m still amazed that it’s already the 10th day!
This was one of the more popular teas on the poll. I did take a few LiberTEAS with this blend and changed the recipe a little bit. First of all and probably the most obvious of changes is the change to the base since I’ve made it pretty clear that i’m using different sources for my teas. I used a blend of Fujian, Assam and Laoshan black teas to create the base of this blend. Second, I used essence of wintergreen rather than peppermint or spearmint because – I just happen to like wintergreen and hey, the word “wintergreen” seems to work with the idea of a “White Christmas” better, doesn’t it. OK, now I’m just making stuff up.
Third, for the minty leaves, I used more spearmint than peppermint. I personally prefer peppermint – I like that zingy flavor of the peppermint! – but for this particular blend, I wanted the softer, smoother flavor of the spearmint rather than the invigorating zing from the peppermint so that the black teas in the base – particularly the hint of cacao flavor in those black teas – to be noticed and not overwhelmed by the peppermint.
I think that the marshmallow root works better with spearmint than peppermint for the same reasons that I mentioned above. Peppermint is one of those herbs that can just dominate a tea so I wanted to go light on the peppermint so it wouldn’t throw off the balance of this blend and I think it worked.
On the 9th Day of Christmas – I’m not surprised that this tea was voted in as one of the teas for this box but I certainly was happy! Coconut Cream Pie was one of my favorites from Frank’s era and I was happy to be able to have it in my pantry again – if only for a little while!
I did stray a little bit from the original recipe because, first, I use different black teas. Second, I decided that the blend needed vanilla beans in it because – why not? I mean, really? What isn’t better with a little vanilla? I also added some calendula petals for some visual interest.
This is so yummy! Rich and sweet and coconut-y! The black tea base is strong (it would make a great breakfast tea and who wouldn’t want some coconut cream pie for breakfast?)
On the 8th Day of Christmas – today’s tea is one of the four original blends and: Oh wow! I don’t remember LOVING this as much when I first tested the tea as I’m loving it now. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had much of a chance to sit down with a cuppa all day until now and I’m appreciating and savoring the moment? Maybe it’s just because it brewed up absolutely perfect this time around.
This is really good – a nice balance between butter rum, sweetness and warmth from the spices. The smooth, creamy flavor from the Chinese Sencha enhances the buttery flavor from the butter rum.
On the 7th Day of Christmas – This tea was in very big demand to be reblended! The recipe is incredibly simple (especially for a 52Teas blend) so I stuck to it although there may be those that detect differences here from the original, if for no other reason than I utilize a different supplier. I like the Assam I use better than what was used in the original blend – I hope you guys do too!
A beautifully rich, malty Assam blended with Marshmallow root – fluffy and sweet and deliciously marshmallow-y. This would be a great morning blend and as I type this – it’s technically morning (12:16 am) but I’m a night owl anyway so if tea caffeine doesn’t affect you and keep you awake all night, then it’s perfectly fine to be sipping at 12:16 am. If you try to avoid caffeine (tea or otherwise) later at night, you should probably stick to the earlier hours for this because it has some gusto to it!
On the 6th Day of Christmas – This tea is also our Tea of the Week!
I decided to go latte with this cuppa and I’m oh-so-happy that I did. It’s so good. I’ve made a few chai blends since I’ve been doing the 52Teas thing, and I’m thinking that this one might be my favorite thus far.
As I’ve said in my tasting notes on my blog – http://52teas.com/blog/on-the-6th-day-of-christmas-and-our-tea-of-the-week/ – my inspiration behind this blend is a holiday card photo – you know the one – it’s a woodsy area covered in snow and in the middle of the scene is a little cabin with smoke wafting out of the chimney. What kind of tea would I want if I were tucked inside that cabin? Chai of course! And as I’m snuggled up by the warmth of the fire, I might roast a marshmallow or two (or three or four!)
So this tea is created around that idea – a chai tea with the flavor of toasted marshmallow mingling amid the warm ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and black pepper. There’s some (just a pinch!) of Lapsang Souchong to represent the smell of smoky pine and the charred taste from the roasted marshmallows.
This is really good straight up – I recommend adding a little bit of sugar (I prefer raw sugar) or honey to bring out the flavor of the spices. A splash of milk to make it a latte will add an irresistible creaminess to the cup.
On the 5th Day of Christmas – I gotta tell you, I really wasn’t expecting this tea to do as well in the poll as it did. I mean – I really like this tea (a lot more than I remember liking it from the original batch) but maybe because it’s not quite as – unusual? – as say a pancake breakfast tea, I really didn’t expect it to be one of the winners of the poll.
But I’m glad it was because I love this reblend. This reblend definitely has a bit more coconut than I remember from the original blend – but I love how the coconut melds with the pudding notes. The black tea is robust and flavorful and there’s a lovely banana note.
On the 4th Day of Christmas – I’m running a bit behind on all my posts yesterday/today because yesterday was our ‘Thanksmas’ – which is the holiday we’ve created to combine Thanksgiving and Christmas since Amethyst is grown with a family of her own – I wanted a day when everybody could get together and celebrate the season. We take a look at everyone’s calendar and determine what day would work best for everyone’s schedule and that day ended up being yesterday. So yesterday was the day we have the turkey feast and open presents. Yay!
So today’s tea – the 4th tea of the countdown – was one that won quite an extraordinary number of votes: Coconut Flan Genmaicha! Yum! I was happy to reblend this because it was one of my favorites from this past year.
Creamy and decadent with lots of coconut. I’ve never actually had a coconut flan before – but this is what I’d imagine coconut flan would taste a lot like. Sweet and the toasted rice melds beautifully with the custard-y flan notes. Really yummy!
On the 3rd Day of Christmas – I was a little surprised that this tea did so well in the poll we ran to determine which teas we’d reblend for the 12 Teas of Christmas – happily surprised because I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to work more on the blend. I was very happy with my first ‘reblend’ of this tea last year but I also feel like there was room for improvement and I saw this as an opportunity to do that.
I wanted more vanilla this time and more cookie-like flavor and I do think I managed to achieve that. It’s still got cinnamon – a sweet, non-candy cinnamon (not that hot tamale kind of cinnamon but more like the kind of cinnamon you’d sprinkle on your toast) and the cinnamon is a dominant flavor profile here but I am also getting a nice amount of vanilla.
Really nice for the moment because we have had a bit of a snowstorm up here in the Pacific Northwest (as you may have heard) and this is really nice and comforting to cozy up to when it’s so chilly!
On the 2nd Day of Christmas – here’s our second tea of our Holiday countdown/Advent calendar box. This is the only caffeine-free tea/tisane in our box this year and it’s one of four original teas (rather than a reblend).
I didn’t expect it would be one of my favorite teas that I’ve created thus far – but it definitely has become just that. It’s so good and tastes so much like what I wanted it to taste like. It’s sweet and crisp and light and distinctly cranberry without tasting overly tart.
I admit that most of what I’ve consumed of this tea has been hot – but I really love this one iced – preferably cold-brewed. It’s good without sugar but a little teensy bit of sugar will enhance the ‘soda-ish’ experience. http://52teas.com/blog/on-the-2nd-day-of-christmas-/
On the first day of Christmas – this is the first tea of our Holiday countdown/advent calendar of tea! I was really happy that this tea won a fair number of votes in our poll from a few months ago because I thought it would be the perfect tea to include in our 12 Teas of Christmas box – as the first tea of course!
I used organic Chinese Sencha and freeze-dried pears along with some dried lingonberries. When I googled partridgeberries, I saw that there seem to be two different berries that are referred to as “partridgeberries” – the first are Michella repens and I couldn’t find anyone out there that sold them which didn’t really surprise me since from what I could tell, the berries are pretty flavorless. Who wants to buy flavorless berries?
A little bit more looking into my google search turned up another berry that is known as “partridgeberry” and that is the lingonberry. And HEY – I know that berry! I mean, I’ve been to IKEA. I figured it’d be easier for me to find a Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) than it’d be for me to find the Michella repens.
The berries are actually really small, so if you get something that looks kind of big (like the size of the cranberry) that’s actually a cluster of the berries. I tried to separate as many of the berries from each other as I could but these things are tiny and it became quite a task.
But they are certainly very festive looking amid the rich, green spears of Chinese Sencha and chunks of freeze-dried pear.
I really love this tea – I loved it back when Frank first blended it, and I am enjoying it immensely now. Sweet pear flavor with a hint of tart from the berry. Lovely!