635 Tasting Notes

drank Strawberry Zabaglione by 52teas
635 tasting notes

This is my first from 52teas’ permanent collection, and I can’t wait to try it! Although it looks like Cinnamon Roll Honeybush and Pancake Breakfast finally made it into the permanent collection! WOOT WOOT!!!!! HIP HIP HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!! GO 52TEAS!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!

Ahem. Excuse me. I’m just really excited about Pancake Breakfast being around indefinitely. But on to this tea…

The dry leaves smell strongly of strawberry. Like insanely strong strawberry! The brewed tea has the same aroma. Okay, I think it’s cool enough to try now. ((Takes a huge swig & splutters.)) Ugh! This is the bitterest black tea I’ve ever had! Blech!

I rushed off to the kitchen and added milk and sugar. Thank goodness, that took away the overwhelming tannic bitterness. Hmm, now it’s just a cup of really sweet, really strawberry tea. I think I need to use less leaf next time. This is quite strong, and I’m afraid not in a good way.

Overall, it’s definitely a strawberry tea. There’s no mistaking it for something else. If you’re in the mood for strawberry, this is the way to go. But I think I like the green tea version better (and by that I mean Strawberry Pancake Green Tea).

I’ll try this again later and let you know what happens then. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. I just didn’t do a very good job of preparing this first cup, and now I’m a little scarred.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

What temp water did you use? I see other reviews stating a slightly lower temp and a quick steep time. I, myself, from a reccommendation from Starfevre used water between 175 and 180 and steeped for about 2.5 min…it’s yummy goodness!


I’ve tried it a lot of different ways. It’s best for my tastes with just a splash of skim milk, no sugar, and steeped for 2.5 minutes in roughly 8 oz. of water with 2 tsp of leaves. It’s been a while since I tried it with a low water temp though, so I may try that again. Thanks!


My pleasure!

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It’s been a long time since my last tasting note. Life has been hectic to say the least. But now it’s the weekend, and I can relax and play video games! I guess I just needed a break from tea and blogging about it. It’s been almost a second job with as much time as I put into it. I woke up not feeling very rested and with a queasy stomach. So, I decided a green tea would be a nice start to the day.

I know, I know, I have way too much tea. I probably shouldn’t have bought this (along with the four other pouches of 52teas I recently acquired). But I just can’t help myself!! Cherry cheesecake genmaicha!!! How can you say no to that??

This smells a lot like the Strawberry Pancake Green Tea from a few months back. Except the strawberry aroma is now cherry. Actually 52teas’ strawberry flavor is very similar to their cherry flavor, and quite frankly almost indistinguishable. I never did find much pancake or maple syrup in that tea, but it sure was delicious anyway! I’m hoping this will be a similar (or better) experience.

Mmmm!! That’s the closest to creamy that a 52teas blend has gotten for me! My tongue is being assaulted with flavors! Assaulted! There’s an overwhelming creaminess, with a touch of saltiness too. Butter and cherry are there. I’m not sure about the toasted rice aspect. But maybe that will come out more on the second steeping as it did with the Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha.

Oh yum! This is just fantastic!! Even better than I expected and completely worth the impulse buy! I have to admit, the flavor almost fades the more you drink it. Or maybe that’s because I’m getting used to the way it tastes now so it’s not as much of a surprise. Either way, I’m a fan! What a fantastic way to welcome me back to the world of tea. Why did I ever stop drinking you?

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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EDIT: I originally thought this tea had Keemun in it, which I don’t particularly like. As it turns out, it doesn’t have any Keemun in it! But this blend does contain something that tastes like Keemun to me. However, to keep from confusing people, I’ve edited my original review. Where it used to say Keemun, it now says T3LK (tea that tastes like Keemun).

This has T3LK in it. Drat! I really despise T3LK. I can detect even a hint of it, sort of like how I can always detect a tiny piece of cilantro in an entire plate of Thai noodles. Bahh, cilantro is nasty. Probably worse than T3LK. Anyway…I’m really sad about this blend.

But more than sad, I’m extremely surprised to read the reviews here! Everyone thinks this has a Ceylon base?? Well, maybe it does. But see, I love Ceylon and I despise T3LK. So, any Ceylon in this is masked by the smoky, dirty T3LK taste.

On the other hand, it has the cutest packaging I’ve ever seen! I love the Christmas Elf themed wittiness. Lucky for me, this is a blend of T3LK and other teas (emphasis on the other teas). If it were pure T3LK, I couldn’t drink it. But somehow, I am able to stomach this, despite the nasty aftertaste that lingers on my tongue.

Still, I’m very sad over this blend. I’m afraid I overspent on a tin I’m likely not to touch again. I missed the sale others have mentioned. So I paid full price, which I think was around $25. More than I usually spend on one little tin of tea. But I’m sure I can find others to share it with. Hey, any excuse to throw a tea party, right? :)

But oh, how I wish that I had more of the Damn Fine Holiday Blend. Now that was delicious tea! Maybe the most delicious!!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea

Hi CHAroma, sorry the Elf isn’t your “cup of tea” (did I just write that?). I’d like to make it up to you. Please contact us via our web site so I can get a refund to you. For the record, there isn’t any Keemun in the Elf, but not all blends agree with everyone. Thanks!


Although I appreciate the offer, I can’t possibly accept a refund. You all didn’t do anything wrong. This is all part of the tea adventure! But honestly, thank you. :)

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drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
635 tasting notes

The dry “leaves” smell amazing! Just like blueberries and raisins in a berry trail mix! Eight minutes later and the brewed liquor is a deep purple. The aroma is more subdued now than before.

I ate a bunch of fresh blueberries before I brewed this tea so I could compare the tastes. My first tiny sip of this tea was tarter than the entire bowl of fresh blueberries! It does taste like blueberries, but that’s more of a secondary note. When it first hit my mouth, it was pure tart hibiscus.

I know this doesn’t actually have any hibiscus in it. But it might as well. Still, this is waaaaay better than the herbal teas I’ve had that do have hibiscus in them. It’s a significant improvement. If you like tart, you’ll love this! But it’s not the blueberry tea I’ve been searching for.

Boiling 8 min or more

Roselle is hibiscus….. I am not a fan of it, either.


It’s so tart it’s almost salty!

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drank Oatmeal Raisin Cookie by 52teas
635 tasting notes

I’ve been spending way too much money on tea lately. My cupboard is so full of tea that it’s overflowing. Literally. I can’t even fit it all in the cupboard, and there are three (I kid you not, THREE) boxes of tea sitting on top of the refrigerator. And when I say boxes, I don’t mean one little tin. I mean a box with five or six pouches of teas in it. From my calculations, it could take at least 6-8 months to drink this much tea! Phew! I guess I’d better get started!

I am super excited for this tea. Why? One word: oatmeal. I don’t know why, but I’ve been craving some kind of oatmeal tea. I’ve been playing around with combinations to suggest to Frank, and oatmeal something was at the top of my list! I’m thinking…maple pecan granola!! Yeah!!

But seeing that Frank had never done oatmeal, I thought maybe it can’t be done. Or maybe that means it needed to be done! Either way, I was ecstatic to see a blend with oatmeal from 52teas. The second I read the e-mail, I promptly bought a pouch thinking it would sell out in less than 24 hours (which is known to happen with Frank’s blends).

The dry leaf aroma is tantalizing! It smells remarkably like an oatmeal raisin cookie. Finally, it’s time to have some of this tea! First sip…hmmm. Second sip…hmmmm. I’m not getting the overwhelming grape flavor that others have complained about. It’s definitely not grape lollipop, although I can detect grape in the brewed tea aroma.

But honestly, this does taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie to me (or at least as close to it as tea can get). What others identify as grape, I definitely identify as raisin. They’re similar smells and tastes, but not quite the same. I like it a lot without additions, which is rare for me and black teas. With milk and sugar, its flavor is enhanced. Now I really like this tea!

I’m not quite at love. I wish the oatmeal were stronger and more discernible. But this is definitely a very enjoyable tea from 52teas. I’m a happy customer!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

I’m glad you liked it! : ) I was hoping to have the same experience you did, but I guess that since tastes differ, a tea can’t make everyone happy!

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drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
635 tasting notes

I tried this in the store on my last pass through the local mall. It’s a fairly standard tasting green tea. Mild and grassy. Nothing jumps out at me as good or bad. It’s just normal.

Thus, it’s getting a middle of the ground rating, only slightly above average (average being 50). If you like green tea, you’ll probably like this. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy some. A hot free sample in the store suits me just fine. :)

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drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 12

A month after Christmas and I’m finally getting around to finishing off this sampler. I haven’t even logged into Steepster for two weeks! I kind of cheated on tea a bit of late. The fiancé and I bought a really nice espresso maker, so my morning tea has been subsumed by coffee. I’m sorry tea! But I’m back now!

Anyway, on to the much anticipated Milk & Cookies! (I say “much anticipated” because I saw it on their site a couple weeks back and deduced that this must be the 12th day of Christmas tea). The pouches have already sold out, so this is my one and only chance to try it.

I’d say it’s mildly disappointing without additions. It tastes like a tannic chocolate black tea. But with some added milk and sugar, BAM! I’m drinking milk and cookies! Now it could be entirely my imagination, but I think I’m detecting some notes of butter and dough. Yum! I like this tea a lot, and I’m really glad I got to try it.

This has been one excellent tea adventure! Thanks, Frank, for creating such a wonderful and fun sampler!!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Cinnamon Roll Honeybush by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 11

Yay! Cinnamon Roll Honeybush! I mean, I’m not excited about the Honeybush part. But I LOVE cinnamon rolls!!!

And this tea pretty much just tastes exactly like cinnamon. I get a hint of cloyingly sweet Honeybush, but mostly I just taste delicious cinnamon. This is probably the best Honeybush tea I’ve ever had. I’m not getting anything resembling a hot buttery roll, but it’s still good.

I have to give this a lower rating because it is Honeybush, and pure cinnamon tea isn’t all that special. That being said, it’s not an overabundance of cinnamon. It’s executed well.

The bottom line: I usually absolutely detest Honeybush, so that should be a huge tip off how great this tea is. Buy this up, people!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Caramel Vanilla Chai by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 10

Caramel Vanilla Chai…I LOVE Chai!!! I quickly brewed this up, added a little Truvia and skim milk, and took a sip. Hmm, there’s something weird going on in this cup. It might be the balance of spices, the black tea base, or the added flavorings. I can’t really tell.

At first, the after taste is pleasant. I get equally strong caramel and vanilla notes. But then once those fade, the after taste is kind of funky. I would probably like this better as a chai tea latte. It tastes kind of weak when it’s largely water with only a little bit of milk. Oh, I just read the description, and it says it’s an Assam tea base. That must be it. Don’t mind me and my dislike of Assam.

The more I sip on it, the better it tastes actually. This is kind of a weird tea morning. There has just been soooo much drama over this wedding. My brother is getting married in 2012 as well, and he seems to have taken it as a personal affront that I got engaged. I have yet to figure out why he’s so upset let alone how to make him feel better.

It’s created an awful situation for everyone. My fiancé’s parents seem to be really mad at my brother, my fiancé just doesn’t care about his feelings at all, my dad is trying not to pick sides, and I’m left in the middle trying to appease everyone and getting nowhere fast. I haven’t been able to sleep or concentrate in days. It’s kind of ruining the whole experience. I’ve only been engaged for two weeks, and we haven’t even set a date yet. All this drama seems a little premature.

Anyway, I just have to get this off my chest. I don’t know how I’m going to feel better if my brother keeps acting the way he is now. It’s such an unfair situation. I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t win. I’m sorry for making this a rather gloomy, despondent tea post. I think I’m going to go make more of that Ginger Ale Tea from yesterday. It was really great. This chai just isn’t hitting the spot. I need something calmer. If you like chai, this is a good one. It’s definitely unique from the other chais I’ve had.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

: ( My beau’s cousin got engaged last year and is getting married this July. There is a slight possibility that the beau and I will get married this year (though likely next instead) and his cousin has essentially warned us that it won’t go over well if we get married in the same year as them. I don’t understand how/why people get so tetchy about this – I hope all works out for you!


Thanks. I don’t understand the monopoly on an entire year either. It’s just one day out of 365. Get over it!


I am sorry that you’re experiencing such difficulty … it should be a happy time, not one of stress like this. Yes, there is stress involved with a wedding, but it shouldn’t be because of rifts between family members who are also having weddings in the same year! I hope things get better soon for you.


I don’t get how people got so possessive about their wedding. Share the joy. If my sister got married the same year as me, I’d be excited to have someone to plan with and discuss ideas and try dresses on and complain about how the fiancé isn’t pulling his weight, etc. I guess you could consider doing a 2013 wedding if you’re feeling generous. Good luck and stay cheerful. :$


I am sorry to hear about having problems while wedding planning… I feel family should be support not more troubles on top of everything. Hopefully your brother will get over it once he realizes that your getting married in no way was related with belittling his getting married… Most importantly, do your best to enjoy your wedding planning and wedding! So exciting! : ) Congrats again!


Thanks for all the support. I don’t want to encourage his petty actions, but I think we will ultimately move the wedding to early Spring 2013. It will be easier for multiple reasons.

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drank Ginger Ale Bai Mu Dan by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 9

Ginger ale tea!!! What a surprise! I took a whiff of the dry leaves and got a recognizable ginger ale scent. Amazing! I’m even getting a bubbly, fizzy aspect like when you inhale a carbonated beverage before taking a sip. And this is a white tea? Wow!

The brewed tea aroma smells just like ginger ale too. It’s a little early in the morning to be drinking a white tea. I think black tea would be more appropriate. But I’ve got to get through this Christmas sampler box!

Well, this tea does not disappoint! I don’t know how you did it, Frank. But this truly does taste exactly like ginger ale. I’m really loving this! White tea was the perfect base. I can’t think of a single improvement to be made. How come I keep getting a slightly carbonated taste? How is this possible?!

Sooo good, and it has a wonderful aftertaste too. I take a sip and then enjoy the flavor for 10-15 seconds before I take another sip. If you like ginger ale, buy a pouch of this immediately!! I’m so impressed with this tea!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I was thinking of buying a pouch of this. I think you just sold me on it!

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Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!

My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.

I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).


Maryland, USA

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