Around the same time that I backed the 52Teas holiday Kickstarter last year, I made an order on the 52Teas website to try some random samples and see what caught my eye. So here’s a look at that order.
Unfortunately, only two of the teas I’m tasting are still available on the 52Teas website; the third has sold out.
Strawberry Tea Cake Black Tea
I’ve never had a strawberry tea cake myself, but when I smell the dry leaf of this, I definitely get the sweet note that Anne (the new owner of 52Teas) was aiming for. Delicate hints of strawberry, vanilla, and pastry play out in the leaf. In fact, the whole thing smelled like a strawberry wafer – you know, the kind of little pink crispy wafer things with fake strawberry filling? It’s completely spot on.
Plus, it looks delectable – there are big, noticeable slices of freeze-dried strawberry mixed throughout:
I took a teaspoon of dried leaf and steeped it in boiling water for just over 3 minutes, then let the whole thing cool for 5 or so minutes to bring out the flavour.
However, the flavour was muted, and while I got a hint of vanilla in the back of my mouth, I mostly got the black base leaf. I bet the tea would taste more true to its scent if I added some sugar or honey to it.
Sun Cloud & Mist Green Tea
Cloud and Mist is a variety of green tea grown at a high elevation, hence the name. This flavoured version puts a twist on things by adding lemon peel, lemongrass, lemon balm and lemon myrtle to the base, plus what I think may be dried marshmallow root. The resulting tea smells lemony and soft. In fact, it reminds me of Lucky Charms cereal — the smell of the dry leaf is exactly like those freeze-dried, generically sweet marshmallows I remember from childhood.
The name is also visible in the dry leaf, which features sunny specks of orange peel nestled among the green leaf, while the other dried herbs provide greyish undertones.
However, the lemon and marshmallow flavours aren’t bold enough when I brew the tea. Heeding a lesson from the Strawberry Tea Cake tea above, I thought I’d boost the flavour by adding some honey, but even less than a spoonful of honey drowned out the lemon notes. I originally steeped the tea for only 2 minutes, though (as per the instructions) so I think that the flavours might be more prominent if you let the leaf steep longer.
This tea is currently sold out on the 52Teas website. I have no idea if it will be reinstated at some point.
Graveyard Mist Green Tea
Don’t let the name creep you out — this is a 52Teas fan-favourite, and when Anne bought the company from the original owner in 2015, this was one of the flavours she reintroduced to celebrate. It’s a mix of both Cloud and Mist and sencha green tea, along with spearmint and marshmallow root.
The mint is definitely the strongest smell in the package; it’s sharp and refreshing, but not in-your-face overpowering. The marshmallow root adds an interesting undertone that makes the whole thing smell rounded, soft, and fluffy, like a pillow. The dry leaf looks very similar to that of the Sun, Cloud and Mist tea above, though the leaves look slightly darker and more gnarled:
I took a teaspoon and a half and brewed it in 80°C water for about 3 minutes. The resulting tea was a medium yellow green, and the mint smell was very strong.
Out of all 3 teas I tried for this review, Graveyard Mist is the one whose taste most closely matches that of its dried leaf. The marshmallow and mint are both showing up on my tongue, and the two flavours are well-balanced even without sweetener. As a whole, the thing kind of reminds me of a wintergreen-flavoured Life Saver. Tasty!