Brandied Apricot Upside Down Cake Honeybush

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Honeybush Tea
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Boiling 6 min, 45 sec

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27 Tasting Notes View all

From 52teas

Buttery yellow cake, sweet brandied apricots in caramelized brown sugar, all in a caffeine-free calorie-free African honeybush. Is this a dessert or a tea? Maybe it’s both. Only 52teas could bring you such a delicious and decadent treat.

Our Tea of the Week for the week of September 10, 2012

About 52teas View company

At, you will find unique, hand-blended artisan loose leaf teas: a new limited edition creation every week of the year. We pride ourselves on offering truly unique, one-of-a-kind tea blends that you won’t find anywhere else.

27 Tasting Notes

3262 tasting notes

I have to admit, this tea is pretty nice for a flavored rooibos blend. I was drinking all these straight black teas and Puehr, and suddenly really wanted something sweet to counterbalance all the savoriness, & also wanted something without caffeine to counterbalance all the…well, all the caffeine!

I steeped 1 T in a muslin tea bag (from Cheryl’s Herbs), which I placed in a brew basket, and there are no rooibos particles, thank you! I hate rooibos particles, they get stuck in my throat and make me want to never drink rooibos again. But that is not the case today, and this tea is a tasty treat!


For what it’s worth, neither one of my infusers has ever let rooibos particles through, and I drink a lot of rooibos since it’s my favourite. These are the two I have, in case you want to add them to your arsenal of tea tools:

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Nik!
I have a Finnum…
It’s not like it lets a lot through, but it seems like there’s always at least a particle or 2, which I can feel in my throat…aughgh.


That would totally drive me nuts, too. I get what I call a “food splinter” stuck in my throat on occasion, and spend my time sounding like a cat hacking up a hairball trying to get it out. And then it just gets irritated so I don’t even know if the splinter is still there or if I’ve just aggravated the area… It’s a whole ordeal.

Terri HarpLady

Exactly! I hate that!!!


I’m starting to see what you mean. Got the urge last time I brewed up some rooibos to pour it through a coffee filter—The darn stuff crumbles up and slips right through the strainer.


Aww, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re both experiencing this! I really have never had it happen to me even once with my infusers. Terri, I wonder if my finum uses a finer mesh or something? I dunno… =(

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1682 tasting notes

Methinks my packet needs to cure a little more. I’m not quite getting everything I should. Brandy? yep. Definitely. Apricot? mayyybe. Cake? nope, not even a smidge. Floral? yessir! Caramelized brown sugar? ehhh, not really.
Wait… floral? that isn’t in the description. Where did that come from?!?
Anyhow, I added some sugar and that made it a little more brandy like, while the rosey floral subsided.
Hopefully when it sits for awhile I can suss out some cakey notes

Terri HarpLady

I’ve enjoyed this tea, although I just enjoy it for what it is when I’m looking for something sweet & caffeine free.


heh, I can see that. How zen! :)

Terri HarpLady

I think I’ll have a cup right now… ;)


yum. enjoy!!


Oooh, this sounds lovely even if it didn’t fully meet your expectations.


Oh it was Heather!! I’ve been craving it often.
heh, somebody on LinkedIn accidentally sent me an email referring to me as Heather… lol

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357 tasting notes

I don’t know what this tea’s namesake cake tastes like, nor have I ever tried brandy, but I’m definitely getting apricots. As a hot tea the honeybush itself is the strongest flavor, with a hint of apricot mixed in. As it cools the apricot really starts to shine, particularly in the aftertaste.


Yep, I got apricot here… and that’s all I really wanted, honestly! Delicious apricot honeybush. I was quite satisfied :)


I definitely felt the brandy as well!!

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3134 tasting notes

Ok, from this tea, I was hoping for a delicious apricot-flavoured honeybush. Wish granted! That’s pretty much what this tastes like to me. Brandy? Possibly, but I don’t know what it tastes like. Upside-down cake? I don’t know, I’m not really getting any cakey flavours. Just sweet apricot, and honeybush. The honeybush is a liiiittle bit strong here IMO, but it is so much more bearable than rooibos.

Delicious delicious. Unfortunately less true to the name than some people liked, but I feel it will serve the purpose I bought it for!]

ETA: Second infusion is mildy fruity water. Surprisingly tasty, actually, but pales in comparison to the other teas I have brewed up, so I probably won’t finish the cup.

Boiling 8 min or more

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4846 tasting notes

I was excited to try this blend because I love apricots, and the idea of a brandied apricot upside down cake sounds positively drool worthy. But after reviewing the tasting notes on here, I was a little worried that my expectations might go unmet because while the ratings are not really LOW on this one, they aren’t exceptionally high either. That suggests to me that this might be average tasting, but, not super-duper (I have no idea why I felt the need to say super-duper there).

But you know, this isn’t bad at all. In fact, it’s actually quite yummy. For those of you who have tried this already, I suggest trying it again… while I realize I’m not you and don’t have your taste buds, I think that often people try the teas from 52Teas in an excited hurry as soon as they get them and don’t allow the blends to cure for a while. I think that this might have benefited from the curing time.

Because I’m liking what I taste. It’s not exceptional, but, it’s really really good. The apricot is sweet, and taste as though fresh apricots have been simmered in brandy and then caramelized in butter and brown sugar before being put into a baking pan and topped with cake batter. I taste all of the notes as suggested in the name: I taste the brandy, I taste the apricot, I taste the cake. I taste the caramelized brown sugar. I taste notes of butter. I even taste the faintest nutty note from the honeybush. And all of these flavors come together in a way that does not taste fake or overdone, it’s all very smooth and deliciously desserty.

I like this one quite a bit.


I think you’re right about the excitement of getting to try them. I do my best to leave the teas sit for a while before opening them, or I try them and then revisit them again at a later date.


Does sound good though…


I’m really good at ordering stuff, but not so good at following through. Mail and packages often sit by the door unopened for ages. This has gotten me into trouble more than once in the past, but for 52teas blends, it’s actually a good thing. =)

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8255 tasting notes

sample sipdown! While this is apricoty, i’m not getting that whole upside down cake vibe from it. However, i do find this to be fairly tasty and i’m happy that i’ve been able to try it. You never know what frank is going to reblend heh


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117 tasting notes

When I was little, I used to get these biscuits that had fruit in the centre. I don’t remember them exactly, but they were kind of flower-shaped, like these:

But I remember them being in a tin with other butter cookies, so these might be more accurate:

Anyway, that’s what this tea smells like to me. And that really surprises me, because to be honest, usually when people describe getting a kind of cakey fragrance and/or flavour from tea, I kind of roll my eyes, because I just know that my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to pick up such nuances. But I swear, it’s really here.

I’m not so sure about the brandy, but I believe it’s here, too. My only exposure to brandy was when I was really little. Parents, don’t cringe, but my father used to put a bit on a q-tip and use it to alleviate toothaches. It was weird, because that was the only reason this massive bottle of brandy was in the house, as neither one of my parents ever touched alcohol. Anyway, it’s not like I remember what it smells like or know what brandied fruit would smell like. That said, there is something here besides the smell of apricots that brought brandy to mind, but part of that could just be the power of suggestion and the process of elimination: “I smell the apricots, and I smell the cakey bits, so what’s that other thing? It must be brandy, because that’s all that’s left.”

I was really good this time. I always open a packet of tea and stick my nose in, and then wonder why the brewed fragrance/flavour isn’t as in-your-face as I’d like. Duh? This time, I actually held my breath (I’m nothing if not a study in extremes) until I’d put the tea in the infuser and closed the pouch again, making sure to only sniff the dry leaf in the infuser and then the brewed tea. I believe it really made a big difference re: my expectations and produced a happier result than usual.

The unsweetened tea is okay, but pretty unremarkable. No matter how much I try, I can’t get “dessert” from unsweetened tea. “Oh, it’s sweetened naturally by the fruit in it” just doesn’t cut it for me. So I took a few sips to be good, and then I was like okay, time to play. I decided to sweeten it with (vegan) ’nog.

Sorry. It happened again. A concoction so good, I just don’t have words. Suffice it to say that this addition didn’t overwhelm the tea; rather, it enhanced it in all the right ways and turned this into what I consider to be truly a dessert tea. My rating’s not really accurate, since I’m not always going to have ‘nog around. But since I know that works, it shouldn’t be hard to yummify the tea with other stuff, like vanilla soy milk and sugar or something.

So good. So, so good.

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: A “splash” of vegan (Silk soy) ’nog

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

The start of your tasting note caused me to reminisce about cookies that my gramma used to make. They weren’t thumbprint cookies like the ones you have links to, but, instead, they were enclosed cookies with a homemade apricot filling inside, like little, tiny, bite-sized apricot pies. OMG they were so good. sigh I miss my gramma so much.


Hmmmm this sounds good! Stop making me reconsider not picking up franks blends!


Oh man cookie memories…my grandma on my mom’s side was from Spain, and every Christmas she would make these amazing almond flavored butter cookies. I tried making them one year and of course they didn’t live up to my Grandma’s!
This tea sounds super tasty, I may have to get some for my brother-in-law since he loves dessert tea.


Awww, LiberTEAS, I miss my grandmother, too. =( Our home is five minutes away from the beach in Bombay, and she and I used to go for sunrise and sunset walks on the beach, stopping to get water coconuts. She was used to getting what she wanted, and she wouldn’t accept anything but the best, especially when it came to me. She used to make the poor chap cut open coconuts until she found the one that had the jelly just like I liked it, and only then would she pay him. She was awesome. Your gramma’s tiny apricot pies sound amaaaazing!

Sil, no way, do you know how many teas you’ve added to my shopping list?! =)

Claire, your abuelita’s cookies sounds yummy, too! I bet even if yours didn’t turn out just like hers, they were still delicious. =)


@Sil: why would we do something like that? I subscribe to his teas, and I think that everyone should!


@ liberteas lol don’t get me wrong I do enjoy franks teas but then I get sad that I can’t have them again!

@nik so we’ll have a fun swap haha


I love reading about people’s memories of their grandmothers!


That’s funny, I remember my Dad talking about using alcohol to alleviate tooth pain. Now, I’m curious if it was brandy also? I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.


I’m sure our fathers weren’t alone, but then, a lot of things were okay back then that aren’t now. =) (Nothing too crazy, I’m just talking about stuff like being able to stand in the back seat of the car, as a toddler, with my chin on the front bench seat.)


Nik, I like your style. I’ll bet that WOULD be good with eggnog.


nik is mia (

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704 tasting notes

I used 1.75 tablespoons of dry leaf for 375ml of water.

Cakey apricot flavour on the aftertaste.

Thanks to Kitenna for sharing this with me!

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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2816 tasting notes

I hate to be a bummer down in bumsville, but this tea is not what I was hoping for at all. I’m not getting a lot of brandy, though the apricot flavor does mix well with the honeybush. I guess it’s a bit cakey but I’m not really getting caramelized brown sugar either. I did feel that the flavors came to life a bit more when I added some turbinado sugar and a bit of soymilk.

Not terrible at all but it just didn’t live up to my hopes and dreams…. :)

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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2246 tasting notes

BrewTEAlly Sweet graciously sent her last teaspoon (and a half) of this one, even though she loves it! I really appreciate it! I really wanted to try this one! I was thinking of an apricot tea when I woke up this morning, so I went with this one. Like I said, 1&1/2 teaspoons!

Steep #1 // a few mins after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Sadly, I didn’t see any actual chunks of apricot in my small sample, but a bit of the flavor is still there! There is also a sweetness that adds to the cake or glaze icing that would be on this sort of treat. The usual awesome honeybush base. Really a nice balance to seem kind of like what this blend is actually supposed to be!

Steep #2 // just boiled // few minutes
Another nice cup! The flavor might be more muted this time around. Though I don’t think an extra half teaspoon makes a difference in flavor.

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