52Teas’ the 12 Teas of Christmas – Day 5-Spoilers!

Day 5!

The 12 Teas of Christmas has had a nice variety of tea types and flavors so far, so I am never bored with the flavors in store for me. Today is a green tea with fruity, creamy tones: Blackberry Custard Tart Green. There nice purple dried blackberries in the dry leaf and plenty of juicy dark fruit scent in the bag.

Brewed, the creamy, vanilla pudding flavor of the custard comes through more strongly, adding a smooth mouthfeel alongside all the delectable dessert tastes. I appreciate that green tea was used as the base for this blend to give the blackberry and cream more room to shine. A black tea might have taken over with its own tartness and tannins. The green tea adds a gentle vegetal note that compliments the berries, and a bit of nuttiness that feels like the fruit tart cookie crust.

This is a nice blend for midway through your day, when you want something with a little pep but not too sweet or caffeinated. It is bright but decadent and the perfect way to treat yourself during the busy holiday season.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas

One afternoon as I was perusing through my Pinterest feed, I found a recipe for Blackberry Custard. It looked exceptionally good and whenever I see a dessert recipe that looks exceptionally good, I immediately think about how I’d translate that recipe to a tea flavor. Yep, I’m kind of nerdy like that. So I thought … hmmm, blackberry custard sounds like a winning idea for a tea. Then I remembered that there was already a Blackberries & Cream Shou Mei so how different could a blackberry custard really be?

So, I thought, what if it had a delightfully buttery pastry crust? Well, then it would be a Blackberry Custard Tart.

So that’s what inspired me to make this with my green tea base (a blend of organic Chun Mee and organic Gunpowder). I added blackberry, custard and pastry flavors. Then I tossed in some of those big, beautiful freeze-dried blackberries. This is really good!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

French Toast Dianhong Black Flowering Tea from Liquid Proust Teas

FrenchToastFloweringTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black/Flowering

Where to Buy:  Liquid Proust Teas

Tea Description:

As my first batch of French Toast Dian Hong, I decided to go lightly on the flavoring because the natural cocoa taste from the tea is pleasant enough to keep the flavoring at a low amount. This tea proves to pull out different taste from different steeps from my experience and I am hoping you find the same to be true.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Some of my favourite tea companies are the ones where you really get a feel for the owners as people; a hand picked sample, signed note added in to my order, and online interactions on sites such as Steepster are all touches that win me over quite a lot as a consumer; and something really cool about Liquid Proust Teas, a retailer which opened quite recently, is that I kind of got a feel for the owner, Andrew, before the company was even hatched since, first and foremost, he was a Steepster member himself and is a consumer as well as a seller too.

Recently, I did a swap with him and he generously included a few of his own blends. Personally, I thought this seemed the most interesting of what he sent me. A few other companies such as 52Teas, both under new and old management, have attempted French Toast teas but I’ve yet to be wowed by one and I think Andrew’s approach here is quite a bit different than the ones they’ve taken so I’m definitely excited!

I brewed this ‘Grandpa Style’ because that’s my typical approach with blooming/flowering teas. I knew that there was a possibility that it would get bitter because that’s a risk you always take when brewing Grandpa Style but this was unwaveringly smooth and silky. The entire time I spent drinking this (a few hours in total) there wasn’t even the slightest hint of bitterness OR astringency. I’m incredibly impressed by that.

The flavour was very fluffy and sweet, but reserved enough to not be cloying or make me feel like I was drinking syrup straight from the bottle. The rich notes of custard, cream, vanilla, cocoa, and, yes, egg hardly waned at all throughout the session. There were also lighter notes of cinnamon that I thought did fade towards the end of my session, and some pretty pronounced malt notes from the tea itself along with more muted floral notes. I likely could have continued to drink this for another hour or possibly longer with very little flavour deterioration. More than that, if it had not have been midnight I would have continued to drink this which is certainly high praise from me given that I dislike resteeping in general (drink as many teas as possible in one day is my philosophy).

My only criticism would be that the “toast” part of “French toast” was lacking; I’d have liked stronger bread notes contributed from the base tea to complete the illusion; but that’s just me getting hyper critical of one of the better flavoured teas I’ve had all month. If Andrew’s other teas are as tasty as this one I’m in for a real treat!

Rhubarb + Custard Rooibos Blend from Bluebird Tea Co.

rhubarb_custardTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.

Tisane Description:

Hardy British super fruit, much loved vintage cartoon characters, top boiled sweet and crumble of the gods… Rhubarb + Custard really is a pairing made in heaven. This naturally caffeine free, antioxidant rich rooibos tea blend will satisfy your sweet tooth with less than 1 calorie p/cup! Sounds like a super sweet deal to us!

Ingredients: Rooibos, Rhubarb pieces, Calendula, Stevia.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I am sure I’ve probably mentioned this before with previous “rhubarb” teas, but I have never actually eaten rhubarb.  At least, not that I can remember.  But I’ve had rhubarb flavor in a couple of different teas and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve tasted.

To brew this tisane, I put 1 bamboo scoop of tisane into the basket of my Kati Tumbler and then filled it (12 ounces) with water heated to 195°.  Then, because it’s a rooibos tisane (with no hibiscus in it, yay!) I steeped it for 10 minutes.

The aroma:  I definitely smell the custard!  As I’m not very familiar with rhubarb, I don’t know if I smell it or not.  I do smell vague notes of rooibos, but mostly what I smell is custard!

The taste:  I definitely taste rooibos.  I am tasting that honeyed, nutty flavor from the rooibos.  The stevia adds a little bit of sweetness and I’m finding that I am not minding the presence of the stevia as much as I normally do in teas/tisanes where stevia is an ingredient.  For those of you who read my reviews regularly, you’re probably aware that I don’t like it when tea companies add stevia or other sweetener to the tea because I like to decide how much – if any! – sweetener I’m going to add to my tea.  But here, I don’t taste a distinct stevia taste and the sweetness is gentle and seems to be curbing some of the rhubarb’s tartness so I’m not minding that the stevia is there.

I can taste the rhubarb here.  My first few sips, I didn’t really recognize the tartness of the rhubarb, but as I continued to sip, the flavor of the rhubarb developed.  It is especially noteworthy in the aftertaste where I’m experiencing that tingly, tarty sensation on my tongue.

And I can taste the custard!  It is sweet and creamy and it (together with the stevia) softens the rhubarb’s tart.

This is actually quite a tasty treat.  At first, (about my first 1/3 of the cup, really), I wasn’t really sure what I was tasting but I was enjoying it.  Now that the tartness of the rhubarb has become identifiable and the custard notes have become more noticeable, I’m really enjoying this custard-y, rhubarb-y tisane.

Another winner from Bluebird!

Shui Jin Gui Wuyi from Verdant Tea

Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong from Verdant Tea
Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong from Verdant Tea

Tea Information: 

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

NOTES: Caramel, Hazelnut, Elderberry, Custard, Honeydew, Orchid

Commandingly rich and creamy Wuyi oolong with lingering honey, orchid, and citrus caramel flavors. . . .

In opening the first bag of this tea, sealed in Wuyi, we were struck by the rich honey orchid smell of the dry leaves. Commanding and rich even before steeping, we knew we were in for a treat. As we poured boiling water over a pot of the long twisted Shui Jin Gui leaves, the steam carried the nostalgic aroma of tangy simmering orange caramel in a copper pot.

The first sip filled the whole palate in the same satisfying way as a bit of creme brulee complete with creamy custard and burnt caramel qualities. The burnt caramel depth transformed in the aftertaste to a lingering dark elderberry and earthy hazelnut profile.

Later steepings revealed the rocky mineral taste that tea cultivated on the rocky cliffs of Wuyi is known for. The mineral notes gave way to sweet cinnamon and the warmth of ginger without the spiciness. Towards the very end, the aftertaste transformed into an almost vegetal creamy green bean flavor with a lingering honeydew melon sweet orchid finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

What more can I say about Shui Jin Gui Wuyi from Verdant Tea that isn’t already in the description? Except perhaps that I personally want to order a huge supply of this so that I am never out of it! To me this tea is Legen…. wait for it….dary! Yes a How I Met Your Mother reference there. I apologize.

The first word that comes to mind while I sniff the dry leaf is sweet honey sugar succulent dripping with lust omgoodness! Okay that was more than one word, but seriously, I do love oolong, but some oolong are far superior to others and this is like the king of dessert-y oolong!

The caramel is perfection, the elderberry brightens the cup and makes it just a tiny bit “zippy” the honey note gives the tea its depth of character adding to the caramel aspect its like something sinful. There is even a spicy note within this tea. Then there is a wondrous floral note that just gracefully lingers all over the tongue, roof of mouth, back of mouth, its dancing around everywhere with sugar berries, caramelized honey, earthy elderberry, and the nuttiness of almond that also adds a slightly, but never bitter astringency, yet this tea remains so smooth all at the same time.

Oh yes the ever important and expected rock mineral is all over my palate as well as expected from a Wuyi Oolong. It blends completely with the floral aspect of this tea making me think of wildflowers blossoming along a creek bed. Wherever this creek bed is, I want to be right there!

This review is probably up at the top of Azzrian’s reviews that make no sense, but I stand by it, in all its confusing weirdness (the review not the tea). Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong from Verdant Tea is stunning, there is no cohesive way to put it. Yet this tea, is very cohesive, all elements of this tea make perfect sense.

Custard-Filled Maple Long John Honeybush from 52Teas

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Continuing our tradition of bringing you guilty-pleasure baked goods in tea form, here’s our take on a custard-filled maple long john (one of my personal guilty-pleasures). Sweet, caffeine-free honeybush blended with marigold petals and natural flavors. Sweet, maple-y, bake-y goodness in a guilt-free, caffeine-free and 100% vegan treat!

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

This is one that I’ve really been looking forward to.  I love maple bars, and while I’m sure that I’ve had a custard-filled maple long john before, it hasn’t been recently.   Maple bars are easy to find, I usually find them in my grocery store bakery.  But custard-filled maple long johns, are not quite so easy to find unless I happen to visit an actual donut shop, and I try to avoid those, as I cannot resist temptation when it’s right there in front of me, you know what I mean?

But, a Custard-Filled Maple Long John flavored tisane is another thing altogether.  This will – I hope! – allow me to enjoy the flavor of one those “irresistible temptations” without feeling guilty. Which is why I had been so looking forward to trying this!

Mmm!  This is really yummy.  My first couple of sips – while it was still quite hot – were a bit more like a “deconstructed” custard-filled maple long john more than the entirety of the treat:  I could taste each flavor but they didn’t really come together as seamlessly as I would have liked.  But after allowing this to cool for a few minutes (about five minutes or so … it’s still hot but not steaming hot) I notice the flavors start to come together in a lip-smacking, delicious way.


Frank, you did it again.  This is absolutely amazing.  Of course, I guess anyone COULD create this flavor.  All they’d need to do is drop a custard-filled maple long john into a blender, add some brewed honeybush and blend it until it’s completely liquid.  But then, why go through all that trouble (and mess), when you can just as easily brew a cup of this for that same goodness!