251 Tasting Notes

I got super excited about this blend after scratching off the label for today’s tea. The name Holiday Marmalade just sounded so promising. I hadn’t looked up the ingredients, but I was expecting mostly fruit with maybe a hint of spice. I think I imagined it would be heavy on the citrus fruits (lemons and oranges), have a bit of cherry or cranberry (possibly teetering into relish territory), and be kissed with some warming spices (ginger popped into my head first). I was wrong, very wrong.

Given the name, I was expecting a completely different flavor profile. Consequently, I’m a bit bummed that the tea isn’t fruitier.

Truthfully, I don’t mind the tea. It’s a nice blend. It’s just that it’s very reminiscent of last year’s Hot Buttered Spiced Rum (which I adored and stocked up on). I don’t have any left or I’d compare the two. I’ll use the rest of my sample bag to make eggnog lattes.

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The 12 Teas of Christmas is back, and we’re off to a great start! I’m so happy the first tea is a flavored black tea blend. I’m even happier that the maple isn’t a predominant flavor to my taste buds because I’m just not big on maple-flavored beverages. That said, I really enjoyed this tea. Cardamom isn’t normally a flavor I’m drawn to in teas, but it really compliments the coconut in this particular blend. Again, the gals at 52Teas have really nailed the base of this tea; it’s smooth and mild but it has a nice bit of depth/weight. It’s really quite a tasty tea – sugar and spice and everything nice.

I’m so jazzed that caffeine doesn’t keep me awake! After a very hectic and stressful day, this cuppa was the comforting beverage I needed to help me decompress. The 12 Teas of Christmas could not have started on a better day or in a better way.

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drank Caribe by Harney & Sons
251 tasting notes

The first time I tried this I burned the leaves because I’d forgotten it was a blend of both black and green teas. Whoops. Needless to say, the green tea had turned quite bitter and there was a horrible aftertaste that I couldn’t quite place. It was very vegetal and reminded me a bit of something like asparagus (which I loathe).

It was only then that I even thought to refer back to the website to see what type of tea it was. That’d be my one criticism of Harney’s packaging, at least for the sample bags. There’s absolutely no indication as to what type of tea is inside the bag.

The second time around I prepared it properly and thoroughly enjoyed it over ice. I didn’t see or taste any hibiscus, but the combination of tropical flavors was very different from many other “tropical” blends I’ve tried. I’m so happy to send a tropical blend that isn’t a variation on the piña colada. I love coconut in black tea blends, and I’m pleased that they’ve been fairly light-handed with it (at least in my sample bag). The coconut blends really well with the guava and strawberry. I’ll finish off my sample bag before making a final decision, but I may end up adding this to my warm-weather rotation. Very nice indeed.

Flavors: Coconut, Guava, Strawberry, Tropical

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It’s not the best vanilla black tea I’ve had in recent memory, but it’s not a bad cuppa. It’s got pleasant vanilla (bean) flavor, and the black tea base is really quite nice and mild. As with most vanilla black teas, it’s comforting and reminds you of baked goods. It takes sweetener and milk quite nicely too. I don’t know that this is one I’d be racing out to add to my collection, but it’s certainly a nice option (especially for the price).

Flavors: Vanilla

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drank Strawberry Sensation by T2
251 tasting notes

Let me preface this review by saying that strawberry is not a flavor I gravitate toward in teas. It’s a very finicky ingredient for me. It either has to be the star of the show or an almost overlooked note hidden in the background. It’s basically all or nothing.

As I sit here huffing the tea through the box, I can’t quite place the smell of the dry leaf. It sort of smells like a strawberry fruit strip, but less like a fruit roll-up and more like the kind of no-sugar-added variety you’d find at Whole Foods.

Hibiscus is the first ingredient, so the first unsweetened sip did make me pucker a bit – a bit like tasting one of those awful unripe strawberries that are completely white inside. The addition of sweetener mellowed the tart hibiscus enough to really enjoy the strawberry flavor. It made a very nice glass of iced tea.

I was fully expecting to prefer Fruitalicious, but Strawberry Sensation was the more impressive of the two blends sampled tonight. Is it a tea I need to have in my collection at all times? No. Is it a nice strawberry tea? Absolutely. I’ll enjoy sipping down the rest of my 100g. It’d probably make a nice base for a tea cocktail too. I can imagine it’d go quite nicely with some tequila and fresh lime. #lush

Flavors: Strawberry, Tart

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drank Fruitalicious by T2
251 tasting notes

Thanks to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, et al., I’ve had the opportunity to try new brands this past week. It snowed yesterday (in Texas!) and it’s currently 40-something degrees, but I’m craving fruity iced tea. I don’t think I steeped this long enough to extract all the lovely flavors from the dried fruit, but my (large) glass of iced tea still went down a treat. It’s a muddled melange of fruits. Apart from the cranberry, I can’t quite discern any of the other fruits, but that’s fine by me. I think this would work really well cold-steeped or steeped for much longer than the suggested 3-5 minutes. I steeped for closer to 10 minutes and it still was quite light. That may just be the way it is, especially given the lack of hibiscus, rosehips, etc. Perhaps it’s just meant to be a lightly flavored fruit tea. I’m not mad at it.

Now that DT’s discontinued/retired Goji Pop and Melon Drop, I’ll need to find some nice flavorful tisanes for spring/summer. I’ll give it a longer steep next time and see how I fare.

Flavors: Cranberry, Fruity

Evol Ving Ness

And we in Canada have so far had no snow.


Thankfully, there wasn’t much of it. That said, people around here don’t know how to drive in the rain, much less any sort of wintry precipitation. Yesterday’s commute to work (by bus) took an hour longer than it normally does. Fun times. What a crazy couple of months in Houston!

Evol Ving Ness

Oh dear. I guess the light dusting in Texas is on par with a snow storm we had some time ago when our then mayor called in the army to deal with it. lol.


Yeah, they were telling folks to stay at home if they could. LOL

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This may be my favorite Harney tea of the samples I’ve ordered (and tried).

I was planning to have this hot. I mean, c’mon, it’s called Cranberry Autumn. Doesn’t that just make you want to get into your waffle knit jammies, pull on some thick socks, and cozy up underneath a blanket? No? Well, that’s what I thought when I saw the name.

However, upon inspecting the ingredients and realizing there was hibiscus in the blend and no spices at all, I changed my mind. Iced tea it is. The first sip reminded me of a tea I loved from DT a few years ago, Pom Diggety. The two have a similar flavor profile – black and hibiscus teas and berry/pomegranate with a hint of citrus.

This is a simple tea. There’s no frills here, and that’s the beauty of it as far as I’m concerned. The combination of hibiscus and cranberry is just wonderful. Since there’s black tea as well, it’s a bit too tart and astringent for me without a touch of sweetener. With a few drops of liquid stevia, it’s lovely. I may give this a go hot, but I really love (strong word after just one, albeit tall, glass!) it over ice. This is definitely one to add to the list of teas to repurchase.

Flavors: Cranberry, Hibiscus, Orange, Tart

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Holy stone fruits, Batman.

When I was selecting samples, I nearly overlooked this one. When I read Fruits d’Alsace I automatically thought of cherries, so I figured this would be a bit like a Black Forest gateau minus the chocolate. As such, I nearly didn’t add it to my cart.

The apricot and plum sold me. I love stone fruits. When I was little, we had a plum tree right outside the back door. It was, to put it plainly, heaven. This is one of the few times I’ve seen plum in a tea. It’s often paired with ginger, and I don’t mind that. Many of those blends are nice (enough). I digress.

I tried this hot and straight, and, to be fair, I didn’t love it. I could taste all the fruits featured in the blend. The cherry flavor really lingers, and I’m not the biggest fan of cherries. Thankfully, it’s not that artificial cherry flavor that gives you cough syrup vibes. Cringe.

I enjoyed my cuppa, but this tea is begging to be iced or cold-steeped. I’ll see how I get on with that another day.

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Plums

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Oh dear, I was hoping to love this tea (primarily because the tin is so beautiful). Sadly, the vanilla and almond aren’t very discernible to my taste buds. I’m tasting mostly orange and cinnamon. It’s reminding me a lot of Bigelow’s Constant Comfort, and I’m not overly impressed.

I do have a sample of Harney’s Vanilla. I might try a mix of the two after I’ve sampled it on its own.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Orange Zest

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Chocolate and coconut is one of my favorite flavor pairings for black tea. The addition of vanilla gives this tea a bit of warmth and depth. It tempers the coconut just a tad, and I can appreciate that. Coconut can be quite overwhelming in tea. I’m getting a bit of almond as well. It sort of reminds me of Rocky Road ice cream with coconut thrown into the mix.

It’s nice black, but I can imagine it’d be awesome as a latte. This is one of my favorite flavored blends from Harney thus far.

Flavors: Almond, Chocolate, Coconut, Vanilla

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I’m a 30-something Texan and wannabe globetrotter. I like my tea sweet and over ice.

I prefer: tisanes/fruit infusions, breakfast teas, (flavored) black teas, maté blends, dessert teas

Yes: hibiscus, goji berries, sea buckthorn, cantaloupe/rock melon, honeydew melon, berries (particularly cranberry, blackberry, and raspberry), mango, coconut, peach, plum, apricot, citrus, vanilla

No: cherry (on its own), watermelon, carrot, (overwhelming) warming spices, mint (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), most florals, eucalyptus


Houston, TX



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