2 Tasting Notes
After trying my first sampling from 52teas today (their wonderful Neapolitan Honeybush blend, which I love dearly already!) I just couldn’t wait to try another. The Cucumber Kiwi Honeybush was the very first thing that caught my eye when I was deciding what to purchase in my first order from them, so I’m really excited to give it a try. :D
Much like with the Neapolitan blend, I could see the bits of dried kiwi among all the honeybush before I even opened the bag. I love that their teas are appealing to the senses before they’re even opened. I couldn’t smell a whole lot before I opened the bag, but wow, as soon as the seal was broken the scent of kiwi was like a smack upside the head to my senses. It’s not just kiwi either; it’s like kiwi distilled and boiled down and then maybe left in the sun for a while. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it smells really strong! My mom even remarked that she could smell it from across the room. There’s also a bit of an overpowering, nearly cloying sweetness to the scent that I wouldn’t usually associate with kiwi. I don’t want to call it artificial, but it’s not exactly a fresh, fruity sweetness either. Maybe it’s just something that goes along with super-strong-kiwi scent though, which is a scent I’m hardly accustomed to, after all. I should also mention that while the kiwi component was most definitely there, I didn’t get a whole lot of cucumber, but we’ll see what happens after it’s steeped.
The color of the liquid after steeping is a bit surprising to me. It’s pretty dark for a honeybush blend; more like what you’d expect from a black tea, I think. The scent has mellowed quite a bit though, and cucumber is certainly coming through nicely now. I want to say I’m enjoying it more, but it’s actually coming across with a bit of a medicinal undertone, which is slightly dampening my initial enthusiasm about this tea.
…And now that I’ve tasted it, I think I’m officially disappointed. My first sip started off nicely, with a refreshing blast of cucumber, but it was downhill from there. That medicinal undertone has turned into a medicinal aftertaste that is decidedly unpleasant. All of my subsequent tastes are a blend of that cloying “is this kiwi or not?” sweetness, the medicinal taste, and… cucumber, though the more I drink, the less fresh and natural it seems. I’m kind of starting to wonder if this is what that overpowering cucumber-scented body splash that was so popular when I was in high school must taste like. (Just in case you were wondering, that’s not a good thing.)
While I’m definitely not going to give up on 52teas after this – they have so many whimsical, fun blends that I’m still dying to try, and the Neapolitan Honeybush alone would make me buy from them again – saying that their Cucumber Kiwi Honeybush will not be a keeper for me is a bit of an understatement. I’m not even sure if I want to finish this cup, honestly. :-( I will give it another try, maybe with sugar and a shorting steeping time, or perhaps iced, but as of right now I’m not holding my breath.
This is my first time ever drinking something from 52teas. I’m halfway through my first cup of Neapolitan Honeybush and I can hardly imagine a better welcome to their teas than this.
Even before I opened the bag, I was grinning like an idiot at all the cacao nibs and huge strawberry chunks I could spot among the sea of tiny honeybush particles. The aroma after I tore it open was far more rich and heady than I was expecting; almost like the top notes of a decadent perfume rather than a favorite dessert (albeit not in an unpleasant way at all – as a fan of vanilla notes in my perfume, I rather wish I could bottle the scent :-P).
Once I started steeping, the richness of the scent began to mellow somewhat, but even as I drink it now it’s still there; a deep, potent vanilla tempered with a sweet and fruity finish. After a six-minute infusion, I tried a bit before deciding whether or not to add anything. I was already very impressed with the flavor, but knowing my own tastebuds, I immediately knew I would like it even more with a touch of sugar. And oh my, did I ever like it better. While I often drink my teas plain, I think the sweetener in this case really elevates the flavors to another level entirely. For me, this tea starts off with a beautiful synthesis of all three featured flavors, before shifting to a brief but robust influx of fresh strawberries, and finally finishing with that same luscious vanilla I so loved upon first catching a whiff of this lovely blend. I think the last part is my favorite part of this tea. The vanilla is so delicious and almost candylike, really; reminiscent of toffee, caramel or brittle.
If I had to criticize anything, I suppose it would be that the chocolate notes are not as noticeable to me as the strawberry or vanilla. But this tea is so delicious that I don’t find myself missing it all of that much anyway.
Bottom line: I’m tempted to go and prepare myself another cup, and as I’m typing this, I’ve only just finished the first one! It’s been quite a long time since a flavored blend has impressed me quite like this. :-)