I’ve been on a little bit of a 52Teas kick lately — since they come up with a new flavour every week, every new visit feels like a treasure hunt. First, I reviewed their Christmas teas. Then, I took a look at a few of their reblends from the fall. Now, I’m looking at even more teas I bought from them as a result of a sale they had around Christmas time. I took advantage of their sale to get some more of that amazing Cranberry Orange Cider rooibos, plus a few other random flavours that caught my eye.
Mulled Cider Green Tea
This was an additional holiday-themed tea that Anne, the owner and blender, did not include in last year’s Kickstarter campaign. I bought it on the strength of the Cranberry Orange Cider rooibos that I liked so much, and let’s just say this: the Mulled Cider Green Tea did not disappoint. I mean, look at this:
In that spoonful you can see apple chunks, green tea, dried orange wedges, and possibly some cinnamon chips. I love the fact that you can see so much fruit in Anne’s blends. The whole thing smells like apple pie, or like an apple-cinnamon colour: in addition to the obvious fruit and spice notes, I also sense a sweet pastry note like dough or pie crust.
Give the whole thing a quick 2-minute steep in 80°C water, followed by a 15-minute rest, and you get a cup of golden liquid ready for tasting. Voila:
I gave it a little bit of agave nectar to sweeten things up once I was ready to drink and damn, it’s tasty. It tastes like apple pie! Or like I’m having a really nice deep-fried apple pastry dusted with cinnamon sugar. There’s just this really interesting sweet, powdery note like baked goods creeping in there, and I like it.
Ordinarily I’m not a huge fan of green tea mixed in with cinnamon/chai spices, but adding the extra orange and apple in to balance things out does the trick — it’s very harmonious, neither too sweet nor too vegetal or sharp. This is pretty yummy.
Cranberry Creme Black Tea
I bought this because I was still smitten with memories of the Cranberry Orange Cider tea from before. Once I saw that this tea had whole cranberries in it, I went gimme and added it to the cart. Moar cranberries!
The ingredients for this include black tea, vanilla pieces, freeze-dried cranberries, and cinnamon chips. And yup, the dry leaf delivers; the spoonful that I took a huge cranberry inside it. Behold!
The dry tea smells sweet but muted: although I can smell the fruitiness of the cranberry and the sweetness of the vanilla and cinnamon, it doesn’t have the vibrant bounce I expected. The smell was a cross between cough syrup (unfortunate, I know) and those Campino fruit-and-cream candies.
Luckily, the tea seemed more promising after brewing it up. I took 1.5 teaspoons, let it steep in just-boiled water for 3 minutes, let it sit for 10 minutes to cool, added some agave nectar, and was greeted with a tall dark cup of gorgeousness:
I smelled cranberry juice and vanilla, but underneath all of that, like a big beautiful mattress of deliciousness, was CHOCOLATE. It smelled like dark chocolate covered cranberries!
And it TASTED like dark chocolate coverered cranberries too! The base tea comes through rich and thick, like dark chocolate, and the vanilla pieces here give it an amazing depth and fullness of flavour; this tea has such a thick, full mouthfeel that I felt like a chipmunk with big, fat, pinchy cheeks crammed with tea.
Seriously. Chocolate covered cranberries. I was not expecting that.
Rainbow Sherbet Black Tea
Rainbow Sherbet sounded like a can’t-miss flavour to try: I was really wondering how the cool, creamy flavour would translate into tea form. Plus, I couldn’t resist the idea of a tea that contained oranges, raspberry and lime.
When you open the package up, it really does smell like rainbow sherbet! It’s tangy, it’s fruity, and it’s in your face — it totally smells the bright neon, multicoloured sorbet you’d get at a Baskin Robbins, with that obnoxious, kid-friendly sugariness intact. The addition of vanilla adds a softness and powderiness to the flavour that also makes the whole thing reminiscent of fruit-flavoured marshmallow.
And yup, the label does not disappoint once you actually scoop some of this stuff out and check the dry leaf for yourself: pieces of orange and raspberry are vibrant flecks against the black leaf.
I did the same drill as with the Cranberry Creme tea: same measurements, steeping time, resting time, and same level of agave nectar. In the end, I got a dark umber-coloured tea with cool undertones, smelling richly of lime, raspberry and vanilla.
However, unlike what I was expecting given the strong smell of the dry leaf, this tea does not knock you over with fruit flavour upon the first sip. I got some fruit, but the two strongest flavours were the vanilla and the dark chocolate notes of the base tea itself (like the Cranberry Creme tea above).
Further sips give a bit more clarity on the situation: the vanilla flavour shows up mostly at the back of the mouth, while the fruit flavours show up the most strongly when I exhale after taking a sip: once I breathed out, I could smell it richly and feel the flavours dancing around my hard palate. Overall, though, the base tea is the strongest flavour here. Considering that the base itself is so rich and chocolate-flavoured, I still consider it a win.
Honestly, all 3 of these teas were winners, though I think the Cranberry Creme beats the Mulled Cider tea by a hair for the gold medal, with the Rainbow Sherbet getting the bronze.