635 Tasting Notes

drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 8

My days have been filled with wedding planning, Google searches for venues, and e-mails to vendors. EEEEK!! I’m so excited!! I’ve done a complete makeover. I dyed my hair dark brown almost black, have practiced curling and styling it, ate lettuce and carrots for about two weeks, and consequently lost eight pounds over a month.

As for this tea, I think I used too little leaf. It’s a bit watery. I’m not getting a whole lot of flavor, let alone vanilla flavor. Hopefully there’s enough leaf leftover for a re-brew. I’ll be right back!

As soon as I poured the boiling water over the leaves, two giant cornflowers rose right to the top fully open. I added almond milk and Truvia. I’m definitely getting a LOT more vanilla in this second cup.

However, something in the aroma and taste is a little off. I can’t describe it any other way. I’m guessing it’s the black tea base. I’ve never really been a fan of Assam.

I’ve already had a lot of caffeine today, and it’s 6:00pm. So, I think I’ll call it quits for tonight. This tea is just mediocre for me. Although I’m sure if you love vanilla and assam, you’d love this!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Finishing off the sample, and it still tastes weird. This time around I used hotter water and a little longer steeping time. But I could barely finish the cup and didn’t go for a re-steep. The fiancé concurred that it tasted weird.

Dried fake baby food is not my cup of tea. Lowering the rating from 70 to 66. I guess I’m not a fan of Osmanthus. :-/

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I was just given a large bag of Osmanthus flower petals as a gift from my Dad (he bought it from the tea store in China).

It smelled delicious. A lot like honey. The taste, alone, not so much. It took will power to finish that cup… Since then I have been mixing it with other teas and it does better that way.

Baby food as a tea does not sound appetizing…


I think it is only me that connects the taste to fake baby food. See my other note for the story there. Most people enjoy the floral flavor, so don’t be deterred by me! :)

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drank Downy Sprout by Samovar
635 tasting notes

This is a gentle, soft, flavorful, white tea. I’m watching An Affair to Remember, and I’m astonished how much I like it since the main hero is kind of despicable in the beginning. But what a classic Hollywood film. It’s a shame most people in my generation don’t know who Cary Grant even is. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. You can watch it instantly on Netflix.

Anyway, this is a tea review not a film review. This is a lovely, delicate white tea. I’m detecting sweet honeysuckle notes and the hay-like quality I find in all white teas. The liquor is the palest of yellows, and the aroma is subtle and sweet. No bitterness or astringency.

First steep at 175 degrees for 1.5 mins. Second steed at 185 for 2 mins. Third steed at 195 for 3 mins, and this tea is still going strong. I’m not gonna’ lie; every cup tasted exactly the same as the last. This tea is quite good.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Over the holidays, I went to Connecticut to spend Christmas with my boyfriend and his family. I didn’t take any of my tea, and I haven’t had many cups since my return. Work is dead. There’s no one there.

I came home and wanted a nice cup of tea, and I’ve found that this is often my choice for such occasions. There’s not much left now unfortunately, probably only enough for a cup or two. I sure will miss it when it’s gone.

I haven’t even finished my 52teas 12 Teas of Christmas sampler, let alone written notes about them. I will promptly return to writing regular tasting notes after New Years.

I apologize that I’ve been M.I.A. from Steepster for a while, but I have the best excuse. My boyfriend of five years proposed on Christmas Eve, so we’re engaged!!! :D

This is the perfect tea to sip and break the news as I return to my tea blogging routine. Happy Holidays, everyone!




Congrats!!! Enjoy this time and don’t freak out about wedding stuff!!! I just got married in Sept and it is a FUN time if you can enjoy it.


Congratulations! How wonderful for you!


Congrats on the engagement! : ) A great way to start the new year!




Thank you, everyone!! I’m sure most of my posts going forward will reference the wedding in one way or another. So, thanks for all the well wishes. I’m so very excited and couldn’t be happier! :)

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52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 7

Uh oh. A honeybush blend. I knew this was coming, but I’m still not very prepared. It’s not one of my favorites. In fact, it’s probably my second to last least favorite. Rooibos claims the gold medal though.

Anyway, this is pretty honeybush-y. I’m getting strong, sweet cough syrup. There might be a little coconut in there, but mostly it’s just unpleasant to me.

I’m not a very good commentator for this blend. If you’re deciding whether or not to buy this particular tea, don’t base your decision off my review. I can’t really say anything nice about honeybush. It’s not for me. So, look to other Steepsterites for descriptions of how this really tastes because they’ll be more reliable sources.

Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

At least you managed to try it! My issue is the coconut, not the honeybush but I still can’t bring myself to try it.


You only live once! :D

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52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 5

Woot! I love this tea! I actually have 1.5 pouches of it in my cupboard, so I’m just going to add this sample to that stock. Since it’s a black tea, I often make it first thing in the morning. It’s a little late to drink it right now.

But all you other Steepsterites with this sampler are lucky ducks! This is one of the most fantastic teas Frank has ever blended! Enjoy it while it lasts, which definitely won’t be long!

My tip to get the most pancake out of this blend is steeping it for a short period of time and adding sweetener (and a little skim milk if you like it).

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 6

YESSS!!!!!! I’m super excited that I get to try this one! It went out of stock before I even discovered 52teas. Just looking at the picture makes my mouth water.

The dominant flavor is buttery sencha. I’m not getting a genmaicha flavor. The toasted rice would have to be a lot stronger, and for that there would have to be a lot more rice.

The sencha does give a sweet, sugary, buttery, baked confection taste. If I try really hard, I can connect the taste to marshmallow Rice Krispie treats. But I’m not sure how much of that is actually in the tea versus what I want to be in the tea.

Regardless, it’s definitely yummy!! A sweet green tea to calm my nerves after a stressful work day. This is so good, I even forgot what bitter tastes like. It’s nowhere to be found here. The more I sip this, the more I love it! I just might have to buy a pouch of this too. :)

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

Second steep for 3 minutes is where it tasted like genmaicha. There’s the rice I was missing! But the marshmallow part is gone now. Still, I really like this tea! Definitely buying it right now since there’s only 2 pouches left!!!


Great review! I feel the exact same way and agree with everything you say about this tea :D


ps unless someone cancels their order, I def grabbed the last bag. eep!

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drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
635 tasting notes

52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 4

This is probably the most spot on 52teas blend I’ve tried. The dry leaves smell so sugary and fruity that I can’t possibly wait to brew this!

All three flavors are distinctly present in both the dry leaf aroma and the brewed tea taste. I’m in love with the orange, and the raspberry is a nice compliment. My least favorite is the lime. It’s not that it’s badly flavored. I think limes are probably just my least favorite of these fruits.

Anyway, I added a little sweetener and skim milk and now I am definitely drinking rainbow sherbet!!! Incredible! Everyone needs to go buy a pouch of this because it’s a miracle Frank re-blended it for Christmas. You do not want to miss out on this one!

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

I think I opened this and put it in a zip bag, but never made a cup. Thanks for the reminder!


Glad to help! :)

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drank Tsugaru Green by Lupicia
635 tasting notes

So much tea, so little time! I’ve been the lucky recipient of tons of tea samples from generous Steepsterites. In addition, the boyfriend finally gave the sign off that tea can be part of the food budget!! SQUEEEE!!!!

So of course I had to stockpile some tea (as if I needed any more)! I ordered some tea from Lupicia about two months ago when my tea stock was running low and only just now received it.

Lupicia’s customer service kept calling me to say the tea I wanted was out of stock. So, I’d pick a new one, and then get a phone call the next day that that one was out of stock too. Eventually, I just asked for my money back on the one that we couldn’t seem to replace, and they said they’d ship the rest out right away.

Then the package wasn’t delivered by Fedex and got lost in limbo in some warehouse in Maryland for another month. I FINALLY received the package last week and it was chock FULL of free tea samples!! Now I kind of feel bad that I was silently cursing them in my head for two months. They really are a great company.

Thus we are in my current predicament. Which tea to drink first? I opted for a long time favorite: this Tsugaru Green. I specifically bought these as tea bags for ease of use at the office.

The dry leaf aroma is strong, sour, green apple! It’s even more ambrosial than I remember. I can’t wait to brew this! The brewed liquor is a yellow-ish green, and the aroma is now more like tea.

And the taste? Heavenly! I get a very easy-going apple flavor with a fantastic green tea aftertaste. I wonder if they improved the quality of the base? ‘Cause this has much less green apple jolly rancher flavor and more vegetal green tea taste. The apple is calmer and more natural.

This is to die for!!! It still remains one of my favorite flavored greens, but you do have to drink it all up while it’s still fresh. Otherwise, the flavor fades fast.

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec

And Maryland tries to claim another victim! Glad you received your goodies…finally!

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52teas 12 Days of Christmas Sampler 2011 – Day 3

Mmm, much softer and lighter than I expected. This tastes great! I was worried it was going to taste like the Kiwi Strawberry Margarita Bai Mu Dan. It must have been the tequila flavoring in that one that was so weird and not to my liking. This is much better.

The dry leaf smells really appetizing! Pure strawberry delight! The brewed aroma is where the lemon showed up for the first time. The white tea base lends a nectar-like sweetness. This is a very nice balance of flavors. It reminds me of when I first discovered 52teas. This is every bit as worth the money and more!

I agree with others that it’s not very tart. I get lemon, just not lemonade. The second steep was 100% lemon and 0% strawberry. But I’m used to 52teas blends only having one good steep in them. Actually, the lemon in the second steep tastes almost like lemon-flavored icing on a lemon cake. It’s quite tasty. I’ll use the second half of the sampler to make it iced later.

I think this might be my second flavored white tea. Overall, I like unflavored whites better, so that’s why I’m rating this one a little lower than it may seem like I should from the glowing review. Don’t get me wrong; this is a really pleasant cup of tea! So, if you’d like to enjoy a flavored white tea, this would be a safe bet.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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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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