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drank Bananas Foster by 52teas
878 tasting notes

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83

Well, my huge order for the month showed up today and, Surprise Surprise, this is the first tea I reached for! We’ve established that I am keen on trying all the earl grey I can, so when I saw this one, I had to get a few pouches!

Ok, so smell in the pouch… well, it’s very sweet. You can smell the sweetness just in the pouch! However, there’s something very strange about it. The combination of flavors – the bergamot, the sprinkles, the vanilla – it all combines to what I swear smells like licorice! I have no idea why, but all those elements combined, that’s what it smells of.

Upon tasting it without sweetener, I’m happy to say it doesn’t translate into the flavor. Instead, you get a subtle sweetness, combined with the usual floral flavor of the earl grey. It isn’t bitter at all, which is a plus. However, you all know I love my sweets, so here we go Splenda!

So, here’s the thing. When you add sweetener, on the first cup, you do get that licorice combination. But, despite the fact that I hate licorice, it is perfectly pleasing. It’s like… the essence of licorice, without the full pungent flavor. It’s really really pleasant! It does taste like a cupcake, and I love it!

However, with subsequent steepings (I’m on my third now), the licorice/cupcake disappears and it just turns into a simple earl grey. The floral sticks around, as does the vanilla, leaving a nice earl grey cream flavor that I love so much! It’s soft and smooth, and thankfully, the bergamot doesn’t overpower the vanilla and vice versa. Just a lovely cuppa!

So I can heartily recommend this. Don’t be turned off by my “licorice” commentary. I am pretty sure there is no actual licorice in it, and the flavor, as I said, lacks any sign of the pungant-ness that I hate about licorice. Instead, it’s just pure cupcake sweetness all around, which turns into a gentle cup of earl grey cream as you steep it out.

Good stuff. Can recommend.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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70
drank S'mores Genmaicha by 52teas
2932 tasting notes

Both of Frank’s S’mores teas get the same score: 68.  That’s too bad!  I’d love to see Anne reblend one of the S’mores because S’mores deserves a good blend.  It seems simple enough: marshmallow treat genmaicha with chocolate (cocoa shells) and some sort of graham cracker element.  This blend is from StarFevre a while back. Thank you!  I always wanted to try this!  The blend looks mostly like genmaicha.  I can’t see much marshmallow root here which is a shame.  I’m sure the problem most people had back when these blends were fresh was that the chocolate had that gasoline chocolate flavor.  Like Browncoat had. Well surprise! now there is no chocolate element at all.  It NOW tastes like plain genmaicha which is fine with me!  It’s certainly no fault of the ancient tea (seven years old).

52Teas

I reblended this one within the first year – one of our supporters requested this tea be reblended as part of their Kickstarter contribution reward.

tea-sipper

Oh cool. Too bad I missed it! It’s hard to keep track of what you actually reblended.

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64
drank Apple Gingerbread by 52teas
4624 tasting notes

This had an odd almost minty flavour, combined with gingerbread flavours and some fruity apple – and the characteristic rooibos woodiness. Can’t say I’m a fan, but I didn’t really expect to be. This was a special blend for the December Amoda box (I think it was in both the herbal and regular boxes).

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This is an old Frank era 52Teas blend – I got in a stash sale a while back from Starfevre I believe, and the bag was still sealed. I cracked it open today to transfer into a tin, and the smell was still pretty fresh and strong so I decided to make a cup of it.

It’s certainly not a pretty tea – this grade of Shou Mei is ROUGH to look at. However, it doesn’t taste too shabby – especially for being probably like five years old!? It’s all kinds of artificial though; like if someone mixed a grape and a banana scented Mr. Sketch marker. They would have used like twice as much of the banana, though. If you get past the intense artificial quality of the fruit notes, though, I think the banana is still quite delicious.

52Teas banana flavours have always been brilliant, regardless of whether or not Anne or Frank was the one blending…

52Teas

I wrote my review for this in August 2013 so I would guess that it was a tea of the week sometime in either June or July of that year? I don’t think Frank reblended it – he might have, but I don’t think he did.

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drank It's Snowing! by 52teas
324 tasting notes

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90

TTB #24

Oh wow, this is good! My whole kitchen smelled like lime while it was brewing and the flavor did not disappoint. It has a STRONG lemon-lime flavor with just a touch of marshmallow sweetness. I enjoyed it hot, but I bet it would be amazing iced!

Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Lemon, Lime, Marshmallow, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80
drank Sparkle Pony Oolong Tea by 52teas
624 tasting notes

TTB #23

Such a fun blend! It brews up to a warm golden color with a subtle sparkle from the glitter. The flavor is a nice balance of sweet plum and spicy ginger with a smooth finish. A pleasant warming tea for a cold January day!

Flavors: Ginger, Plums, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

Sipdown (807)!

It’s interesting that this is inspired by a “Dark and Stormy” – I had my sample, from Kittenna, today without looking up the ingredients prior and I found it had a very strong cola type of flavour. I actually enjoyed it a lot but I spent most of my team drinking it trying to wrack my brain and figure out why a GoT themed tea might be cola flavoured. Now knowing what the blend is, my interpretation of cola in the flavour makes sense to me; cola is basically a combination of spice and citrus and this tea blend is a mix of ginger and lime – AKA spice and citrus.

If I have the chance to try this tea in the future again, I’d be interested to see how my brain interprets the flavours now that I do know what they are.

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72

For some reason this wasn’t added to my cupboard but I’ve had it since December 2018. It’s a nice tea. Mostly similar to the plain marshmallow treat genmaicha, with a touch more sweetness. I’m pretty happy with it and love the cute sprinkles, even if the colour of them have filled with age.

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drank Red, White and Blue by 52teas
878 tasting notes

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Sipdown (808)!

I’m not really a GoT person, but even I understand the reference behind this one. For a tea that’s supposed to be a sort of spiced wine kind of vibe, I’m really only tasting the spice. It is a really nicely composed chai profile though, even without the wine. My cup was pretty cardamom forward, but still had some kick from the other spices and the black tea base was really rich and malty too.

It’s not the type of thing I’d want around in a large amount, but as a one off cup it was pretty delightful! Thanks for sharing Kittenna!

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drank Cherry Lime Cola by 52teas
8947 tasting notes

Sipdown (809)!

This was a Kittenna share – a flavour I was skeptical about, not in concept but just in how hard it would be to nail those three very distinct flavours in execution. I also wasn’t thrilled about the green tea base choice, though it does make sense with the higher/brighter notes like the lime, and as something to play off the citrus elements in cola. I needn’t have been concerned though, it tastes exactly like lime, cherries, and cola – emphasis on the cola. I enjoyed the cup a lot, and much to my own surprise it’s a flavour that I would actually drink again!!

Shanie O Maniac

Cherry Lime has become one of my favorite flavor profiles as of late, so I am nursing my lone taster of this. If it ever pops up again, I am buying more. Very tasty!

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20
drank Crème Brûlée Beignet by 52teas
624 tasting notes

TTB #20

Not sure if it’s the age of the sample or my steeping parameters or something else, but this tea tastes like a straight-up rooibos…not getting even a hint of creme brulee. :(

Flavors: Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Shae

Same! I only ever tasted rooibos with this one.

52Teas

I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but may I suggest that instead of boiling water, use a slightly lower temperature with Rooibos. I find that with a slightly lower temperature, less of what I call the rooibos ‘funk’ comes out. I enjoy rooibos but I don’t enjoy that weird, off taste that comes from rooibos and I find that it doesn’t find its way into my teacup when I use a slightly lower temperature.

Also, use a longer steep time. I usually recommend at least 8 minutes, and you can go longer without bitterness. (no tannins in rooibos!) This may result in a better flavor for you.

Kittenna

I second the reduced temp. My rooibos/honey bush experiences have been better with more like 200/190F water.

52Teas

I generally go with 190 degrees F for green rooibos and 195 for the red. It may not seem like a big deal – just a few degrees less – but it really does make a difference. At least … to my palate it does!

Inkling

Thanks for the tip! I will try that next time. :)

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70
drank Northwest Chai by 52teas
624 tasting notes

TTB #18

I don’t think I’ve ever had a chai with fruit in it before. I don’t specifically get blackberry from this one, but there’s definitely a sweet, fruity note that adds an interesting twist to what’s otherwise a pretty traditional chai blend.

Flavors: Fruity, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I love a chocolate orange tea! This one definitely didn’t disappoint. Nic creamy vanilla/orange, with mild chocolate notes to balance out the citrus. Very well-balanced, and super tasty.

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This tea is what I had always hoped DavidsTea’s Maple Syrup Oolong tasted like. The maple flavor is distinct without being too intense, and there’s a bit of creaminess from cheesecake flavor.

Flavors: Cream, Maple

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drank Fig Cheesecake by 52teas
8947 tasting notes

Sipdown (812)!

Had this cup tonight and I’m finding myself a little bit perplexed by it. I liked the overall flavour, but it didn’t really remind me very much of fig or cheesecake. So that begs the question, what did it taste like!? Well, there was a cream flavour but not in the way that cheesecake should be. It was also pretty malty, and there was an undertone that I can only describe as pleasantly waxy…

Definitely something I’d have to revisit again to really put my finger on, but given that I likely wont have the chance I think I just need to accept this cup as a weird but decent cuppa. Thanks for the share Kittenna!

Kittenna

It tasted more floral than I expected, IIRC. Odd, not sure how I felt.

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70

TTB #15

I love discovering new favorite teas in traveling tea boxes, but I also love the opportunity to sample blends that I never would have found or purchased on my own. Even if I don’t love everything I try, it’s super fun to experience new flavor combinations! On that note…I grew up eating fresh mulberries every summer off the mulberry tree in my best friend’s backyard, but I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a mulberry tea. I was also intrigued by the fact that this one was a genmaicha…not a combination I ever would have thought of. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get much mulberry flavor from this blend, but it was a nice sweet, nutty genmaicha!

Flavors: Sweet, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Winter Mint Oolong by 52teas
151 tasting notes

This tea was our 8th Tea of Christmas for 2019. A fairly simple recipe: Wintergreen essence, vanilla extract & spearmint leaves with a lovely green TieGuanYin. I had originally obtained this TieGuanYin to reblend the Maple Cheesecake TieGuanYin. However, after I tasted the TieGuanYin on its own as well as another Oolong I ordered at the same time (Qilan), I determined that the Qilan would taste better with the Maple Cheesecake flavors so I did a slight alteration to the Maple Cheesecake recipe which left me with some TieGuanYin that I didn’t have plans for – so I created this recipe to include in our 12 Teas of Christmas box.

I love the way it all turned out. The Maple Cheesecake Oolong is really good with the Qilan Oolong (I think I prefer it with the Qilan – it has a darker, roasted flavor that just works better with the maple notes) & this tastes simply amazing: it’s sweet, it’s creamy & there’s just enough crisp mint to it to give it a lovely winter-y kind of flavor.

I found myself wondering why I didn’t keep more of this tea to myself – but then, I remembered that I have a whole tea studio filled with tea.

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