drank Cran-Grape Shou Mei by 52teas
619 tasting notes

I don’t know what it is, but today is turning out to be a really great tea day! By that I mean that I’m getting through quite a few teas and tasting notes rather than drinking the best teas I’ve ever had. I was supposed to be heading to the hospital right about now to visit my grandad (knee operation, nothing serious), but got a phonecall not long ago letting me know that he was coming out this afternoon! I shall drink more tea in celebration.

I chose this one in part because I remember it having strong, fairly simple flavours and I’ve just eaten chicken with sriracha for my lunch so didn’t want to go for something delicately flavoured, and partly because I wanted to give another 52teas shou mei a chance, having just drank the Apple Jack’s Apple Harvest tea and brewing it at too high a temperature and with too short a steep for my liking. I can safely say that this method of brewing brought out the flavours much better! The shou mei still comes through but quite delicately, and the cranberry and grape are big flavours. I was quite amazed to see several whole dried cranberries and grapes in my scoop, which is always fun. I like my flavoured tea with additives, especially if I’m using my IngenuiTEA (which I wasn’t today, but that’s besides the point…). This was another tea that gave me ‘hot juice’ feels, but also tasted artificial and reminded me of sweets/candy. I really should stress that grape flavoured things give me this impression all the time, and it’s nothing to do with how well the tea itself is flavoured. Even straight up grape juice tastes like artificial flavouring to me, but it’s a flavour that I really do like. Maybe it’s to do with grape juice not really being readily available over here, but when I was younger most of the grape flavour I had was in sweets, excluding actual grapes, which I had a mildly unhealthy obsession with as a child. Anyway, it’s a flavour I like a lot, and while I’m not the biggest fan of cranberry juice it’s a nice flavour here and goes well with the grape. I also think the cranberry flavouring is pretty authentic. Weirdly, I’m getting canteloupe-y notes every now and again which is throwing me a bit, and the scent of the brewed liquor also reminds me of melon. I have no idea where this is coming from, and my only guess is cross-contamination (even though it’s stored in an air-tight container?) because I don’t see it mentioned in anyone else’s notes. The tea ends on a surprisingly floral note, which could be down to the shou mei though I’m not entirely sure. Either way, it goes nicely with the other flavours. This is a tea I definitely want to cold-brew in the summer.

150 °F / 65 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


South Shields, UK

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