308 Tasting Notes

This tea tastes a lot like chocolate-covered/dipped gingerbread. It’s not a terrible blend. It’s just not for me. I think it’s the combination of ginger and chocolate that just doesn’t sit well on my taste buds. I don’t generally like spice with chocolate.

I finished off my cuppa by adding a heavy splash of milk. Needless to say, this was another miss for me.

The 12 Teas of Christmas have been rather underwhelming for me this year. I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone enough to sample all 12 teas, even if I couldn’t finish every cup. I’m saddened, however, that I only liked one new-to-me tea enough to purchase it. $35 is a fair chunk of change when you don’t actually enjoy at least half the teas.

That said, I need to update my list of teas to sell. My unwanted/unloved tea bin is overflowing.

Flavors: Chocolate, Ginger, Spicy

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This is one of those flavored black tea blends from 52Teas, like French Toast or Glazed Donut, that’s just so-so for me. The base is lovely but it’s a bit strong for the caramel cheesecake flavor IMHO. The caramel flavor translates nicely in my cuppa. However, the cheesecake note is basically indiscernible, and that’s quite a disappointment.

Flavors: Caramel

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I love a banana tea, but I prefer my banana flavor be that of ripened bananas. The banana flavor in this tea was a bit…erm…green. It wasn’t full-on unripened banana. It reminded me of those times when you buy a bunch of a bananas that don’t quite ripen fast enough…but you have a hankering for a banana so you eat it, even those it’s still a bit green.

I’m also a bit iffy when it comes to oolong teas. I can count, on one hand, the oolong blends that I’ve actually enjoyed enough to drink more than just one cuppa. The oolong base for this blend is a little bit too mineral for my tastes. That quality combined with the flavor of unripened bananas just did not work well for me.

Sad times.

Flavors: banana, Mineral

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Two genmaichas in the 12 Teas of Christmas box makes me one sad girl. What’s worse is this has maple in it, another flavor I don’t care in tea. I didn’t make it through the cup because I didn’t want to chug it. Quite frankly, that’s the only way I would’ve finished it.

It’s not for me, but the marshmallow treat genmaichas are quite popular. I would recommend it if you enjoy genmaichas, like a nice mellow marshmallow note, and are a fan of maple-flavored teas.

I wish there weren’t two of them in this particular sampler box. There were two in last year’s box as well, so maybe it’s just a thing…


It’s not really a ‘set’ thing to do 2 genmaicha blends – it just happened that way because the Maple Marshmallow and the Banana Marshmallow were the two green teas with the highest number of votes. The only thing that was kind of ‘set’ for me was that I was only going to do 1 Oolong because Oolong bases are considerably more expensive and I didn’t want to have to raise the price of the box to accommodate another Oolong. Other than that, I really went with the eight highest vote getters. Another exception: the highest vote getter for the Oolong was actually the Sparkle Pony tea, but when I went to the tea studio, I realized that I didn’t have the right base for that tea (I thought I did but apparently something went awry when I did inventory) so I needed to go with the second highest vote getter for the Oolong blends. For those who might be interested: I do plan on reblending the Sparkle Pony (sans sparkles, which proved to be a costly thing that was virtually impossible so it was an expense that was pretty useless) sometime this summer.


Fair enough. I’ll have to pay closer attention to the options for this year (if there’s another vote).


There will be! I’ll actually be starting the teas in September this year so that my international/Canadian customers get their boxes on time. I was very distraught over the time it took for them to get their packages – so I need to get those out at least 2 weeks earlier than I did this past year.

So I would expect the poll to be out around late June. :)

Evol Ving Ness

hahhahaha! June! That complaining about the 12 Days guy is going to lose his ***t completely :)


LOL! Yes, yes he will – and because we’re starting a month earlier, I will need to actually start pre-sales in August. hahaha!

Evol Ving Ness

hahhahaha! We can just start enjoying his irrational angst from now. The things one comes across in tea world, honestly!

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I love this tea.

Crisp Cranberry Soda – the name really says it all.

It’s obviously not as effervescent as soda, but it’s just as refreshing. Y’know that Sprite Cranberry that LBJ peddles? It’s like a wholesome, no frills, less sickeningly sweet version of that.

It’s nice hot, but I love it cold-steeped or iced. It makes a really delightful teapop too. I’m so glad it’s returned because I’ve sipped down my stash from last year.

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I’m trying this blend a day late because I just couldn’t manage to give it a go yesterday.

We have officially begun our descent into EOY fundraising chaos, and, since we’ve got the entire week off for Christmas, it’s been a frantic and frustrating week (and it’s only Wednesday!). In the past week, I’ve spent nearly $400 out-of-pocket for poorly planned and mismanaged work-related projects, and I pray to sweet baby Jesus I’m reimbursed at the end of the month.

That said, when I finally sat down long enough to even think about a cup of tea yesterday, I was craving something comforting. The steeping instructions had given me hope that I’d be enjoying a lovely black tea in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, after scratching off the label, I realized that I’d have to turn to some of the Harney samples in my desk drawer instead.

Again with the sunflower seeds…ugggggggggggh…

Needless to say, I powered through the cuppa today (day 7). My motivation was the tea intended for today, Crisp Cranberry Soda (one of my favorites from last year), waiting in the wings.

Hot and straight up, I smell, almost exclusively, black tea and sunflower seeds. That’s just about all I can taste as well. There’s a chocolate note there, but, unfortunately, it’s quite light. Since the chocolate flavor is easily overpowered by the sunflower seeds, this tastes less like an indulgent brownie batter and more like chocolate covered sunflower seeds.

Another miss for me.

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Genmaicha is not for me. To my taste buds, the combination of green tea and toasted rice is inherently savory. As such, any attempt to add sweet ingredients is going to be a stretch.

But, as I said before, I’ve resigned myself to at least trying to get through a cup of each day’s tea. The good news is that the tea tastes a lot better than it smells. The bad news is, despite the previous statement, it still isn’t something I enjoy. I got through about half a cuppa before I gave up the ghost.

I love the idea of a tea that tastes like banana-flavored marshmallow treats. I’ve had sweet black tea blends with toasted rice in them (ex. Bluebird Tea’s Easter Egg Nests) that I’ve really liked. I love a good banana tea. I love marshmallow notes in tea.

All the components are there. There’s decent, true banana flavor. There’s a light marshmallow note that compliments the banana very nicely. You just lose me at the genmaicha. Again, the grassiness of the green tea combined with the warm, earthy flavor of the toasted rice just leans a bit too strongly on the savory side of things for my taste. So, trying to mesh savory genmaicha with sweet marshmallow and banana just doesn’t work (for me).


I certainly do admire your willingness to try each one though – that’s awesome!


Thanks! I’m actively trying to avoid saying I don’t like something until I’ve tried it. Y’know – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it…that sort of thing. It’s certainly a challenge! :)

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Peach and blackberry is one of my absolute favorite flavor combinations. This tea is a wonderful, slightly sweet, comforting blend that reminds me of my childhood picking peaches and blackberries in the Hill Country with my grandparents. Peaches are one of my grandma’s favorite fruits, and blackberries were one of my granddad’s favorites. So, any time I see the flavor combination, I cannot help but think of the pair of them.

There’s definitely some brown sugar and pastry goodness, but the tea is mostly blackberries with a bit of peach flavor. Truthfully, I could do with more peach. The black tea base is quite robust, but, once cooled for the recommended 10 minutes, I don’t find that it overpowers the juicy, fruity notes. It’s really lovely, both hot and iced.

Considering the fact that I opened my sample bag about 4 hours ago and I’ve just got a teaspoon or two left, I think I’ll have to start my list of teas to purchase on Boxing Day.

Flavors: Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Pastries, Peach

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Last year I passed a few blends to friends and tea-pals after just sniffing them. This year, I’ve decided to at least try every tea in this year’s 12 Teas of Christmas box.

Honeybush AND sunflower seeds? Nope.

While I understand the use of sunflower seeds in a tea blend, I do think they have their own distinctive taste. So, instead of just contributing an ambiguous nutty flavor, they make the tea taste and smell like, well, sunflower seeds. The chocolate flavor is there but only just. I don’t really discern any hazelnut flavor, but my taste buds may be overwhelmed by the sunflower seeds. The strawberry is present at the tail end of every sip. Black, I don’t find it to be particularly sweet. It might’ve been sweeter had their been more strawberries and fewer sunflower seeds. A bit of raw sugar helped me finish my cuppa, but I won’t be finishing my sample bag.

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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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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), carrot, (overwhelming) warming spices, mint (peppermint, spearmint, etc.), most florals, eucalyptus, sunflower seeds, lapsang


Houston, TX



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