On the 12th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

Happy Holidays to everyone!

First of all, sorry this will end up posting a little late.  I was up LATE last night doing the final preparations for the holiday morning, and I had figured I’d be up earlier than this!  My youngest actually slept until about 9 am Pacific Time!  I couldn’t believe it!

Anyway… I was especially excited for today’s tea, because it was one that I hadn’t yet tried!  This was the one brand new blend from the box, and from what I understand it will soon be featured as a tea of the week.

Without further mumblings from me… The CHRISTMAS Tea of the Day is…

GINGERBREAD CHAI

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

Ingredients:  Premium black teas, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pink peppercorns, natural flavors.

Taster’s Review:

Well, as I said before, this was the tea I was most excited about because I knew it was a new blend.  Of the other 11 teas, there was only one of them that I hadn’t yet tried, but was definitely on my on-going list of teas to order when finances allow. (The one tea I hadn’t tried being the Chocolate Chai from Day 2)

Anyway, on to this NEW chai!  Wow!  It’s really tasty!  It really tastes like gingerbread and chai married in one teacup!   I can taste the baked cake-y taste in the cup, and I must say that in the time that I’ve gotten familiar with 52Teas blends, Frank (the head zoomdweebie at 52Teas) has improved with achieving the pastry and/or cake-y flavor for the tea.

Not surprisingly, the ginger is dominant in this cup.  But, it doesn’t taste over-ginger-y either.  That is to say, it doesn’t taste like Frank just got really happy with the ginger root.  It tastes like gingerbread, not an overpoweringly-ginger-flavored chai.

The other spices are very well balanced and they carry a full-flavored taste that fills the palate with warm spice.  The black tea base is a little understated here but not so much that it can’t be tasted.  That’s not a complaint!  I like that it doesn’t try to intrude upon the other flavors.  The tea is there, it just doesn’t overwhelm the cup.

Because what really makes this chai outstanding is the gingerbread flavor!  It really is yummy, I love the cake-y taste!  It adds such a delightful dimension to the already delicious chai.

When I had originally ordered this sampler box for myself, my initial thought was “great, I can just order the sampler, and since I will have a small sample of the new Christmas blend, that will be one tea from 52Teas that I won’t need to buy because I will have already tried it!”  But, as it turns out, this is one tea that I WILL have to order, because of all the chai teas that I’ve tried from 52Teas, this one is the BEST by far!  Gee, thanks Frank.  My wallet thanks you too.  Yeah.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope that Santa brought you LOTS of tea to enjoy!

 

On the 11th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

Today is Christmas Eve… and I still haven’t finished all the holiday preparations.  I still have presents to buy!

Yeah… I’m not the most organized individual you’re likely to meet.  That’s putting it mildly!

It may not appear so by just reading these words, but … I’m about to have a panic attack!  Good thing I have some tea to help soothe my nerves!

And the tea that I’m enjoying today is …

NEAPOLITAN HONEYBUSH

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

Our caffeine-free African Honeybush (If you are still not familiar with honeybush, it is very similar to Rooibos, but a bit sweeter and without the woody aftertaste that rooibos frequently has) blended with organic vanilla beans, organic cacao nibs, freeze-dried strawberry pieces and all natural flavors. This is a real treat hot or iced!

Taster’s Review:

I can’t believe that I haven’t yet written a review for this tea!

Well, no time like the present, eh?  This is a tea that I’ve had on hand for some time now.  I am not going to say its my favorite tisane from 52Teas, because it isn’t, but, I do like it quite a bit!  I think I like it even more now than I did when I first tasted it.

For those of you that have one, I recommend brewing this in a Libre Tea Glass (or similar type vessel).  I put the leaf into the main chamber of the glass, screw on the straining lid, and sip the tisane through the strainer.  This enables me to keep the honeybush in the liquid as I sip it, and the flavor continues to intensify.  This tea just keeps getting better and better the longer it steeps!

After steeping just six minutes, my first few sips were delicious.  I could taste a good combination of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, together with the somewhat nutty/honey sweet taste of the honeybush.  But now, after continuing to steep some additional 15 or 20 minutes after those first couple of sips, the flavor is even better.  The chocolate – RICH!  The strawberry – SWEET!  The vanilla – CREAMY!  I think I actually like this tisane better than the ice cream after which it was created!

The flavor is really smooth and creamy, just like ice cream.  The only real difference is the temperature and the slightly nutty taste that comes from the honeybush.  I have tasted this tea hot and iced, and it is really tasty either way.  I found it to be very refreshing this past summer when I iced it.  Right now, I’m finding it to be particularly soothing on the nervous tension I’m experiencing due to my shopping dilemma.

This tea is such a wonderful treat!

On the 10th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

Wow… just 3 more sample packages left.  I am going to miss this!

It’s been a lot of fun – these mystery samples, even though I’ve already tried all but one of them previously.  It’s a bit like visiting an old friend.

And when I think about it, I don’t know that I could have had enjoyed this experience with any other company.  Having tried so many offerings from 52Teas and having not yet found one that disappointed me, I knew that I would enjoy this package of 12 mystery teas.

So, thank you, 52Teas for being what you are!  A great company dedicated to creating the most interesting tea blends possible.  I wouldn’t want it any other way!

On the 10th Day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…

STRAWBERRY ZABAGLIONE

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

This was a suggestion from one of our customers, and I spent an hour digging through my email folders and searching our facebook page, but I couldn’t find the original suggestion anywhere, so I couldn’t put his or her name on the blend.

Anyway, when I first got the suggestion, I realized I was going to have to MAKE some Zabaglione to try, because not only had I not tried it before, but I had never HEARD of it before. Well after trying it (for those of you who never have, I would say it is something like a custardy (flavor, not texture) whipped cream with a hint of wine. After trying it, I was not at all sure that we would be able to make a tea that hinted of the complexity of Zabaglione, but after some trial and error, we now have… [Strawberry Zabaglione]

Taster’s Review:

Well, today, I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, mostly because I have an appointment this morning and time is ticking away!

I have previously reviewed this tea, and you can read that review here.   This is another favorite from 52Teas.  The flavor is amazing!  The strawberry tastes authentic – just like a fresh, juicy strawberry!  The creamy “zabaglione” tastes very custard-like (which is what I understand a zabaglione is supposed to taste like).

The black tea base is strong and supports these flavors well. Together, it is a delicious treat!  Drink it in the morning to enjoy dessert at the breakfast table!  Drink it in the afternoon for a delightful pick-me-up.  A splash of milk will bring out the creamy tones of the custard!

Yum!  I’m glad this tea was a part of this package because it definitely is one of the shining stars from 52Teas accomplishments this past year!

On the 9th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

This isn’t the only “12 Days” type of thing that I’ve chosen to become involved with this holiday season.  I am also in a 12 Days of Christmas art swap through a Yahoo! art group that I’m in.  You can learn more about that swap here and see some of the art pieces that I’ve received in that swap, as well as the art piece that I made for the swap.

Both of these 12 Days “thingies” have been a lot of fun for me … and there is a part of me that is just a little sad that they are both almost over.

But rather than think about when it will end… I think it is much better to focus on the here and now.  And right here and now, it is time to unveil the tea of the day for today!

BUTTERED CINNAMON RAISIN TOAST

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

So, a raisin flavored tea is pretty unique in and of itself; cinnamon-raisin tea: a bit cooler, but at 52teas, we don’t just push the envelope, we shove. So, I’m happy to present our tea of the week for the week of January 4, 2010: Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast flavored black tea.

We started with our premium Indian black teas base, added just a touch of smoked Assam teas for a tiny bit of toastiness, then we added real golden raisins, cinnamon stick bits and natural raisin and cinnamon flavors. We topped it all off with just a hint of natural butter flavoring. The result: Well, you will have to try it to believe it.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little surprised to find this tea in this 12 Teas of Christmas box.  Pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless; mostly because this tea is not one of 52Teas permanent collection teas.

However, I think it SHOULD be in their permanent collection, because it is so good.  I tried this tea when it was first introduced (and you can read my first review of this tea here), I mean, how could I resist?  It just sounded too unusual and interesting to pass up.

One thing that I really like about this tea is that it is a little different each time I brew it.  When I first reviewed it, the cinnamon flavor was a little subtle, this time, as I sip it, the cinnamon is front and center.  The butter is a little lighter this time around, but still present.  The raisin flavor is a little stronger, and I am getting a little more of a smoked/toasty taste too.  The overall cup is still sweet, but it is a little more spiced with a stronger cinnamon note.

One thing that I did say in the previous review that remains true today – this is definitely one of 52Teas most interesting blends!  I am so happy that I got to revisit it!

On the 8th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

Yep… you read that right.  Today is the 8th day.

I still can’t believe it’s Christmas already… this year seems to have flown by!

So much has happened this year… my first born graduated from high school, and she got engaged to a wonderful guy.  I’m thrilled he will be joining our family.  My youngest started 4th grade!  It’s been quite a year.

Anyway, enough of that, or I shall be writing this review with teary eyes.  To avoid the tears, lets get to the tea of the day, shall we?

MALTED CHOCOMATÉ

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

This is roasted yerba mate with organic cacao nibs and all natural chocolate and malt flavors. It is one delicious energy kick! If you missed our last yerba mate blend, you can read more about mate and it’s properties here. This is our first roasted mate blend. The previous mate blends were made with green yerba mate. The difference in flavor is similar to the difference between a black and a green tea, though the roasted mate still has tiny bit more of a vegetal taste than black tea.

Taster’s Review:

Another favorite from 52Teas, and for good reason.  With this one, it’s all about the chocolate, baby!  Of all the 52Teas I’ve tried thus far, this one is by far the most chocolate-y (although, if you are a chocoholic like I am, I also highly recommend the Chocolate Malt Honeybush from My Sweet Honeybush, which I would say is probably neck and neck when it comes to chocolate-y-ness).

I previously reviewed this tea for the Tea Review Blog, and really my feelings about this delicious tisane have not changed.  It is still just as rich and delicious as it was when I wrote the review.

The Yerba Maté does have a vegetative quality to it but I don’t find it distracting.  What is especially nice is how well the roasted aspect of the Yerba Maté enhances the flavor of the chocolate.  The flavor is sweet, pleasantly toasty, and decadent.

To be quite honest, I would prefer this to a chocolate ice cream malt any day, if for no other reason than that I find tea to be infinitely more soothing and comforting than ice cream.  Don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream (and malts!), but if given a choice between ice cream and tea… I’d choose tea every time.  And even though this is not technically a “tea” because it’s made from Yerba Maté leaves and not tea leaves, I still love how wonderful this really is.

And even though it is rather soothing and comforting, the Yerba Maté definitely is rather invigorating!  I wouldn’t recommend sipping on this just before bedtime.  I find the caffeine in Yerba Mate to be more stimulating than that in tea, but without the “jolt” that coffee delivers – and without the inevitable nausea (at least for me) that follows the coffee jolt.

This is truly a delicious blend – one that is definitely worthy of its place in 52Teas permanent collection, one I am glad was featured in this 12 Teas of Christmas box, and one that should definitely be on the shelf of every chocolate lover!  It’s so good!

On the 7th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

I have a confession to make… today was the one day that I had to “spoil the surprise” because I won’t be home most of the day tomorrow… and I probably won’t have time to post a review on the morning of the 20th, so I had to open this package late on the 19th.

But, since it is about 11:30 pm Pacific time as I write this, I guess I could argue that it IS the 20th somewhere.  Right?

Ah… the sacrifices one must make when they review teas!

The tea of the day for December 20th is …

BANANA PEACH

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

…like a banana peach flavored green tea with real no-sugar-added dried banana and peach pieces. Think of it like tea with a hint of cool refreshing fruit smoothie added in. Enjoy!

Taster’s Review:

I can’t believe that I haven’t yet written a review for this tea!  I’ve had this tea for quite a while now, and it just may be my favorite from 52Teas.  Before I tasted this tea, my favorite was Chelsea’s Chocolate Banana Rooibos, but, I do believe that this one has taken the number 1 spot.

In fact, shortly after I tried this tea (and instantly fell in love with it), I bought the rest of what 52Teas showed as in stock so that I wouldn’t run out of it.  I thought that like so many of their blends, this one would be a limited edition.  I still have plenty of this tea on hand, and now that it is part of 52Teas permanent collection, I guess I needn’t hoard it.  Life is short – we should enjoy the teas we love most more often!

The flavor of this tea is just perfect.  The Chinese Sencha green tea is lush and sweet.  It has a buttery essence to it that can be experienced both in the taste and the mouthfeel, and since there is very little astringency to this tea, I can enjoy that buttery essence well into the aftertaste.

The union of flavors works so well in this cup.  The fruit flavors are sweet and remind me a bit of fruit nectar sans the pulpy texture!  I can taste the banana flavor just a little stronger than the peach, but I think that both compliment each other very well.  When combined with the fresh green tea base, it becomes a delicious, fruity treat; it is very much like tea with a hint of smoothie!

This is absolutely delightful!

On the 6th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

I can’t believe that there is less than a week until Christmas!  Are you ready for it?  I’m not!

I still have TONS of shopping left to do.

But… ready or not, the holiday is coming.

One thing I am ready for is to find out what tea is waiting for me inside this pouch!

The sixth tea of Christmas is…

BLACK CURRANT BAI MU DAN

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

Sometimes I think white tea is not as much fun as the others. It’s such a delicate and subtle flavor to begin with that it doesn’t lend itself to things like chocolate peanut butter cup. What DOES pair well with it are nice sweet fruits, like black currant.

Chelsea, my faithful sidekick insists that our black currant papaya green tea is great for taking baths in. She says it makes her smell good and it leaves her skin feeling softer. Clearly, I’m not one to take a bath in our teas, but I have to admit that it’s pretty sexy to think of Chelsea taking a bath in them. (Sorry Sheri).

Anyway, (and before I get myself in too much trouble) whether you drink it or bathe in it, I think you are going to find this tea amazing. We actually doubled up on the amount of real black currants in this blend and it is delicious.

Taster’s Review:

This tea was released on “White Tea Week” (and maybe Frank should make White Tea Week an annual tradition!) during the week of February 22, 2010.  The reason it was White Tea Week is that three different white teas were released in the same week.  I ended up ordering all three teas, and this one ended up being one of my favorites, even though it was the one of which I was probably the most skeptical.

You can read my first review of this tea here, and even though I have tasted this one before, I am really glad to receive more in this 12 Days of Christmas package, because it really is an excellent tea.

The white tea tastes fresh and smooth.  The black currant has a sweet, wine-like flavor that melds perfectly with the Bai Mu Dan base.

Fruity and delicious!  I love this one!  Of all the teas that I’ve purchased from 52Teas, this is the one that I can remember disappearing the fastest.  That is… I couldn’t STOP drinking it until it was gone!  That’s how much I love this tea!

I only made a small amount to sip as a hot tea for this review, because I want to save the rest for iced tea… as good as this is hot, it’s even better iced!   This is definitely my favorite iced tea!

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