4 Tasting Notes
Note: This is an edited version of a review I made to one of my Tumblr blogs. (It will appear on Steepster before it is posted to my blog, since I’m using a queue.)
Note 2: This is the reblend version with the marshmallow root.
I added: Sugar.
Smell (dry): Slightly sweet marshmallow treats (left out awhile, maybe). (Sometimes you catch an edge of bitterness to the smell, but otherwise it smells nice. I left the packet open on the table as I wrote the review and the area smells nommy.)
Smell (brewed): Matcha with a dash of rice tea scent.
Color (brewed): Greenish-gold
Taste (plain): Green tea. I’m not sure how else to put it. It doesn’t taste at all like it smells (either dry or brewed). It’s a fairly mellow green tea (not too bitter). I don’t taste the toasted rice, marshmallow root, or anything else.
Taste (sugared): With the sugar, the green tea seems to oddly taste more bitter. (I wonder if that’s the matcha I taste? I could smell it for sure, but didn’t know it was in the mix until I went back to the 52 Teas website) I can taste a bit of the toasted rice and a faint marshmallow flavor now. I can better taste the sweet/marshmallow flavor if I “gulp” and let it roll over my tongue rather than letting it linger.
Actually – I got to the end of the cup where I suppose most of the sugar settled and suddenly it tastes quite like a marshmallow treat… and then is quickly overpowered by the bitterness of the green tea. It may be a flavoring issue on my end, rather than the tea itself.
Other comments: This was the tea that started it all, really. Or, at least, my tendency to order from 52 Teas specifically. I was reading reviews of a different tea (the one I’ll review next) on Steepster and looked at their Top Something list of teas where I saw “Marshmallow Treat” listed. I was fascinated – and then immediately disappointed when I realized it was a limited edition flavor. But it made me browse the site and sign up for their newsletter.
And then, one day near December, it happened: They re-released the flavor! Iee! I ordered three packets of tea (Pancake Breakfast, Cinnamon Roll Honeybush, and this) and prepared myself for the taste explosion to come!
Unfortunately, even fresh it never lived up to the hype – for me.
Would I buy it again?: Sadly, no. Maybe if it were paired with another base? I love the concept and it’s easy to tell from the smell that they came close. But I’m not sure I like green tea anymore. I know it’s meant to be very good for you and I certainly want to like it, but the bitterness I generally taste turns me off. It also smells like what I want it to taste like, but doesn’t taste like it.
Noting: It’s pretty good for a green tea. It’s one of the least bitter green teas I’ve had, actually.
Would I recommend it?: If you like green tea and you like marshmallow treats, why not? It’s a limited edition flavor, but I know for sure they’ve re-released it at least once. So you always have a shot if you keep your eyes open for it. Just be prepared to work with it until you get the right flavor balance. It may be something like, “Add cream!” or “Add half a tablespoon of sugar.” – I don’t know.
PS: I did try it with creamer for my third cup on a whim and it was… interesting. It may be just my imagination that it tasted more like marshmallow, though. But it certainly utterly negated the bitterness. I may try it like this again.
Note: This is an edited version of a review I wrote for one of my Tumblr blogs. After some thought, I changed my mind about my original review and have edited this review to reflect it.
I added: A small spoonful of sugar. (I’m not meant to have much and I couldn’t find the honey.)
Smell (dry): Awful and disgusting, with a flirty tint of something candy-nice. (Note: If you think “rootbeer and butter vapor” it does honestly smell much nicer – it smells quite “good”, actually. Perhaps having a “name” for the scents helps your brain rearrange the scent a bit better.) The scent clung to my hands somehow and smelled even better, which was a large part of what changed my mind about my review.
Smell (brewed): Muted licorice and subtly nasty. (Note: As above, if you smell it with “rootbeer and butter vapor” in mind, it does smell nicer – as long as the tea/water ratio is right. If you don’t smell the rootbeer even when thinking “rootbeer” you may have to add more water.)
Color (brewed): Deep mahogany red/brown.
Taste (plain): An awful lot of nothing, followed by a confusing mixture of licorice and “something else” that approaches nice, but doesn’t quite get there. (I didn’t try the “rootbeer and butter vapor” trick, so all I can give you is this not tricked-out review. Since every time I’ve tried it without “help”, I’ve seriously not liked it, I’m going to skip doing a re-taste on the plain version.) ((Note two: I probably didn’t add enough water to this version either. I don’t think it’s worth it – to me – to try it again without some sort of sweetener, though.))
Taste (sugared): Thinking I might have added too little water, I added a bit of water as well as the sugar. Now I can properly taste the flavors. I’m not sure if the water was what helped or the (really tiny amount of) sugar, but it gives it a bit of a hint of something I can only call “candy nice”. I originally started to label it as “butterscotch”, but I don’t think it smells or tastes anything like it. It does have the sort of creamy taste to the sweetness – perhaps vanilla-ish or cream-ish. I’m curious as to how much honey might add to the flavor.
(Again – the above was written without the “rootbeer and butter vapor” trick.)
Now that I’m on my second cup, I added a bit more sugar than last time. Obviously, just about any tea will taste nicer with sugar (especially more sugar than the last time you tried it), but I do honestly think that keeping the flavors you’re “supposed” to taste in mind will absolutely help the taste of this tea.
Other comments: Also, being a Harry Potter fan and finding the idea of butterbeer interesting, I had to take the shot at ordering the tea attempt.
I highly recommend that if you don’t like the scent of it, you don’t breathe in as you’re taking your sip. It helps avoid the smell tainting the taste, which is much better than it smells brewed and a million times better than it smells dry. (Or – as I later realize after reading a review on Steepster – if you keep in mind “rootbeer and butter flavor”… But I say that a lot in this review. It’s very interesting how much of a difference in flavor it actually makes to do this.)
Here’s a tip I’ve learned after cup number two (for this review – this is actually my 4th since I purchased it): If it smells really nasty and you’re having trouble with the “rootbeer and butter vapor” trick – add more water. It’s probably not the proper mixture. I think this particular flavor may need a bit less on the tea leaves than other flavors.
Would I buy it again?: I think I would. Initially I said “probably not” because I’d formed an opinion on it based on an incorrectly prepared cup and it not quite living up to what I imagined it would taste like, but I don’t think I really did it justice because I was disappointed.
I’m not a fan of licorice and it seems to require doctoring to make it taste its best. (The first time I had the tea I had to add sugar too. If I can find the honey, I’ll try it with honey. If I had butterscotch, I’d probably try that – just to see what it tasted like.) I don’t taste any of the “butter vapor” they talk about (though I suppose that might be the unidentifiable creamy taste) or the “rootbeer” flavor others on Steepster mention (though now that I’ve seen it mentioned, I do smell it in the steam). ((Even with the “rootbeer and butter vapor” trick I don’t taste either even though I can smell them.))
Would I recommend it?: My review is sort of all over the place, isn’t it? If you know to keep in mind “rootbeer and butter vapor” and the idea of it seems interesting (and I think it might help if you like licorice) – go for it, absolutely!
This is an awesome review! I love that you really agonized over this tea, because I kind of had a similar experience creating it. I wanted our butterbeer tea to be something that was totally unique and not really comparable to anything else. Initially it tasted too much like rootbeer. Ho hum. Then it was kind of rootbeer floatish, better, but too sickly sweet for a butterbeer. I imagined butterbeer to be an aquired taste of wizards. Granted the wizards drinking it are kids, but it’s supposed to be something of an adult beverage (at least in my mind), so I added some chicory root, which gave it a little depth and oomph. Finally, it still needing just a touch of zing, so I put the licorice root in it. I had a lot of fun creating this blend and when I was done, I felt like I had really created something that didn’t really have any equal. It’s very unique, and at first I wasn’t sure about it, but it grew on me, kind of like beer. LOL. Anyway, thanks for the review!
Oh yes, I can absolutely imagine the agony over getting the balance just right! And I do think it is an acquired taste too! Every time I try it, I like it a little better. :) I keep experimenting with it (and all the teas I’ve purchased from you), trying to get it the best it can be (to my tastes). :3
To make an odd sort of comparison, I think of tea blends like listening to music. You listen the first time just to hear the song. Then you pay more attention each time to something else. And the longer you listen to a song, the more you understand about it until either you approach understanding the song the same way as the artist, or on a different level from the artist because of different interpretations of the lyrics. :3
Note: This is an edited version of a review I posted to one of my Tumblr accounts.
I added: Sugar.
Smell (dry): Sweet cinnamon. Smells just like a cinnamon roll, right down to the warm bready-smell. Lovely.
Smell (brewed): Like Christmas. (Well… it does! It smells like a cinnamon Christmas candle.)
Color (brewed): Red-gold. (If it’s more red, add water. If it’s more gold, add a tiny bit more tea or perhaps steep longer.)
Taste (plain): A bit harshly-cinnamony with a touch of sweetness. Just sort of okay unless you like strong cinnamon taste. I sort of think it has a sort of “dry” aftertaste that makes me feel like I was licking a cinnamon stick.
Taste (sugared): Lovely cinnamon-sugar taste. Sugar seems to smooth out the flavors.
When I tried it first, it was a bit too hot, a bit too strong, and a bit too cinnamon-y, so I’m afraid I can’t wax eloquent about the taste – I simply am not able to do more than say, “This is very nice with the sugar!” Maybe I’ll re-review this tea in a few weeks. (I’m not sure how Steepster works yet – but I would likely edit this post to add it to the end.)
Other comments: This is another of the flavors I purchased a few months ago… my records say December. It seems to have held up very well in the last 5 months and some.
After I finished my first cup, I read the first page of reviews for this tea here on Steepster and saw that someone didn’t like it until they’d let it steep for much longer than you’re “supposed” to. I tried that trick, but it’s probably a bit “too late” for my tastebuds tonight to taste subtle flavors. But I can say that I think that the taste comes through better after it’s had a chance to cool down a bit, so it won’t hurt for me to recommend you let it steep for longer.
Bonus! It’s caffiene free! Maybe I’ll actually get some sleep tonight…
Would I buy it again?: If it tasted like it smelled, I’d buy it every time. As it stands, it’s a solid “maybe” (as I’ve said 52 Teas has a lot of very interesting flavors to try). I’d probably crave it more around the start of the Christmas season, because it’s one of those sorts of teas.
Would I recommend it?: Well, it’s one of those, “was originally Limited Edition and now is standard edition” teas, so I know a lot of people must have liked it. If you like cinnamon or things that taste like Christmas, I say you should give it a try. :) If nothing else, it smells amazing!
Note: This review is an edited version of a review that I posted previously in one of my Tumblr accounts.
I added: Nothing.
Smell (dry): A bit bitter and a touch of something sweet, like maple syrup.
Smell (brewed): Hint of something flowery.
Color (brewed): Almost a maple syrup golden-red color.
Taste: It tastes like a nice black tea to me, with hints of other flavors. When made properly, there is little to no bitterness to the taste.
I remember it as tasting like maple syrup the first few times I tried it, but I don’t taste any of that now. I’m not sure if my memory is at fault or if it’s just had a few months to be past its prime in flavor. I probably also added honey to it, which certainly would have given it a different body.
Since I’d already written about my current impressions of the taste, I went ahead and added a spoonful of honey to the cup and it brought out more of the flowery taste I could smell from the aroma. So I would certainly recommend adding honey to the tea if you just taste the black tea rather than the marigold and other flavors they added to this blend. Try it first without the honey and then add just a bit to bring out the other flavors.
Other comments: This isn’t the first time I’ve had this particular tea. I bought it a few months ago because the flavor sounded nothing short of wonderful. I mean, look at the photo on the package. Can’t you just taste the warm, buttery, bready pancake flavor? It honestly was not at all like I expected it to taste, which was a bit of a disappointment, but once I got over that, it was pretty nice for what it actually was. I’m just saying: do not expect it to taste like it looks as if it would.
Tonight when I made the tea, I added too much water to the first cup. You’ll still taste “something” more than just hot water if you add too much water (of course), but it’ll be a very bland sort of generic tea. You might taste the marigold or the maple as a note in the background, but more likely you’ll just have something bitter along with standard tea-ness. (When I say “standard tea-ness” I’m trying to describe something very generic and forgettable and sort of… well, to put it as I see it in my head, it’s sort of a desaturated brown taste.)
I’m a little disappointed I didn’t think to review teas earlier. I would have liked to have been able to describe the flavor as I originally tasted it rather than from memory of it.
Would I buy it again?: There are a lot of interesting flavors on 52Teas and at the moment, Pancake Breakfast isn’t a “favorite” enough to buy it on my next shipment after this packet runs out. It’s certainly a “maybe” though.
Would I recommend it?: As long as you’re perfectly aware that it will not taste like buttered pancakes and the thought of black tea with marigolds sounds nice to you, by all means try it! I recommend only opening the packet if you’re prepared to drink nothing but that tea until it’s all out, though – just in case the flavor goes “dead” like mine seems to have.