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hand blended tea

52Teas Sipdown -cuppageek

PhotoCredit: 52Teas

As some of you may know, I’ve taken a step back from my tea shop to get myself back on track health wise.  What some of you might not know- I literally stopped drinking tea all together.  I think between being such a huge tea fan and blending my own blends- my taste buds just weren’t feeling tea anymore.  So I sadly packed up what tea I had (which was a lot), knowing that one day I would be back at it. . . and I’m happy to say after taking a couple months off- my taste buds are back where they should be.

I wanted to greet my tastebuds with something amazing right from the start and knowing that I had a lot of 52Teas in my stash, I  knew Anne’s blends would be exactly where I needed to start my journey back into tea with.

If you aren’t familiar with Anne/52Teas, I implore to check her site out.  She literally makes some of the most amazing blends that I’ve ever had and beyond that, she is just an amazing person.  I’m quite honored to call her a personal friend as well, tho I never let that cloud my reviews of her blends and she knows that as well :).

Anyway, back to the tea goodness. . .

So over the last few days, I have enjoyed a TON of 52 Teas blends and was able to sipdown a few. Below are my thoughts on these blends that are sipdowns. . .

Blood Orange Butterscotch Black Tea– A blend with Black Tea, Blood Oranges, Calendula Petals & Natural Flavors- This blend, I have to say, was amazing however, I didn’t really pick up on the blood orange or the butterscotch.  What I loved was the black tea that Anne used in this blend. The flavor was rich and smooth and even tho I didn’t really pick up any of the flavors, the black tea notes were more than enough for me to call this blend a winner.

Boy! Oh! Boy! Black Tea– A blend with Black Teas, Watermelon and Natural Flavors- To me, watermelon is a flavor best enjoyed cold so I cold brewed this one.  That may have been a mistake. I didn’t love the blend and now I’m wondering if I would have enjoyed this one hot- would some of the flavors popped a bit more. . All I really could pick up was watermelon and being not one of my favorite flavors. . this one wasn’t my favorite. Still good.

Michola Chai Black Tea w/Honeybush– I would list the ingredients for this one but there is a laundry list of delights used to make this blend so I will some this one up with saying the normal chai ingredients with marshmallow root, vanilla bean, and honeybush.  Let’s just start this note by saying sorry, not sorry.  I literally gobbled up all the remaining inventory for this blend earlier this week (I believe and if there is more- I call dibs).  This blend is one if not the BEST chai blend I have ever had, and I am not a fan of chais.  Brewed up with hot- this blend had notes of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg. . but want I literally searched for in each and every sip was the awesome ginger notes that stole the show.  Not being a huge ginger fan- the amount of love I have for this blend is really interesting. So many flavors that normally I am not all about.   I greedily drank/gulped this tea down in no time flat and have to say it is simply amazing.  All the ingredients mingle so well.  If you have this one in your stash, check it out.  You won’t be sorry.

Gooey Butter Cake Black Tea– Black teas, lemon myrtle, calendula petals & natural flavors- Brewed up hot, this tea is literally like sipping on a cake.  The cake notes are perfect in the spotlight with the tail end of the sip reminding you this is a black tea.  Really delightful and one that I was happy to enjoy.  Where I went wrong with this blend was brewing this one cold.  Sadly the lemon myrtle took over and I didn’t enjoy the cold brew as much as the hot.  Was still good, just not as good as the hot brew.

Walking on Sunshine White Tea– White Tea, lemons, marshmallow root & natural flavor- This white tea blend calls my name over and over.  Marshmallow Root, white tea, and lemon are one of my favorite combinations and this tea was no exception.  I truly enjoyed this blend hot as well as cold.  This blend is currently available on the site and if I was enjoying white teas more, I would have gobbled up all of this blend too.

Ginger Lime Butterfly Tea– Butterfly Pea Flower, Lemongrass, ginger root, limes & natural flavors- Oh this blend.  I truly truly love this blend.  This blend has been my companion for a while since I cold brewed this delight and just keep adding water.  The blend reminds me of a slightly floral, slightly spiced, limeade with chunks of lemon.  I don’t really know how else to describe this one.  I still have to hot brew the remaining bit I have left over, but cold brewed, this one is a winner.

Grapefruit Creme Brulee Green Tea– Green tea grapefruit, calendula petals, vanilla bean & natural flavors- This one is another sorry not sorry.  I also nabbed the remaining inventory of this blend earlier this week because this is the blend that truly sang my name and prompted me to even buy a new tea kettle.  This blend has it all- the lovely sweet notes of the vanilla bean, the semi tartness of the grapefruit with the vegetal background of the green tea.  I can’t express how much I love this one and I have a feeling this one might be one I beg Anne to reblend for me as a custom order.  It truly is that good.

Sipdowns are amazing but can also be sad.  It is always nice to make room for new blends but sometimes it is sad to say goodbye. . .especially to blends from 52Teas because once some of these teas are gone. . .they are gone for good. Lucky for me, I have myself a pretty good sized 52Teas order on its way to me.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Herbal/Chai/Black/Green

Where to Buy: 52Teas

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

French Vanilla Marshmallow Assam Black Tea/52Teas – Ashmanra –

A good vanilla black tea is a shelf staple in my opinion. Sometimes you need black tea but you want something to soften it, or make it a little bit pampering or luxurious.

French Vanilla Marshmallow Assam is a blend of first and second flush Assam leaves. They are strong, malty, and brisk. While the tea is piping hot you don’t notice the briskness as much, but as it cools it becomes increasingly more drying.

I am loving it as a morning cup, but I could definitely see it as an afternoon pick-me-up as well. The vanilla softens the Assam a little and blooms roundly after the swallow. That’s when the briskness kicks in and makes you pick up your cup for another sip.

I take my tea plain, but this could definitely handle both milk and sugar if you like your tea that way. In fact, I can see this being turned into a decadent dessert drink as a sweet latte or with the addition of vanilla creamer.

As for me, I will continue to enjoy it just as it is! And since it is so good with snacks, I think it is time to grab a cookie or two!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Review: Lion’s Blend/Friday Afternoon

This afternoon I felt like getting woke — both energetically and politically — so I chose Lion’s Blend from Friday Afternoon Tea.

This tea is essentially an Earl Grey with added rooibos & orange. The rooibos in Lion’s Blend gives a nice vanilla/sweetness that balances out its citrus/bergamot flavors. (I’m a huge fan of red rooibos, which I think throws in creaminess and joy to any cup.) Despite the rooibos, I still find this blend a little astringent. I like it, but it’s not on my must-have re-buy list.

However, I’m super happy I bought this blend because the proceeds go to an important charity that assists trans people with getting their mental health needs met (https://seattle.eater.com/2020/6/8/21284453/seattle-cafe-friday-afternoon-tea-donates-trans-mental-health-funds-jk-rowling). All of Friday Afternoon’s Harry Potter themed (https://fridaytea.com/collections/j-k-rowling) teas’ proceeds go there.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with a children’s book writer from 20 years ago, Jo (J. K.) Rowling has been saying a lot of transphobic things. You can Google it if you want. It’s mean stuff.

Friday Afternoon Tea saw this and decided to use its teas and the fans of her work to show that the fandom is progressive and kind! I love this. It’s a win-win situation.

It’s possible to love someone’s work without loving them. I also feel this way about horror/fantasy author HP Lovecraft. (He was really, REALLY racist. He thought Hitler had some good ideas.) It’s possible for people to be geniuses in one way but very, very behind in others.

That’s where this tea comes in.

Thanks, tea. You always give me balance in a crazy world.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black/Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Friday Afternoon 

Description

Lions, tigers, and griffins, oh my! This tea is dedicated to our bold, righteous Gryffindor brethren. They can find courage and happiness in the darkest of places, especially when bolstered by the bright citrus notes in this tea!

Ingredients: Rooibos, Assam black tea, orange peel, marigold, natural flavorings

All of our teas available online are gluten-free and sourced from organically certified farms. Most are vegan, but some may include honey (indicated in ingredients).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Cupcake/52Teas

I am picky when it comes to my Earl Grey teas. I like them to be balanced. So often the bergamot is too strong, the cream flavors too artificial tasting or the black tea base is too weak.

Almost every tea manufacturer puts out their version of an Earl Grey and sadly I have a box full of Earl Grey teas that just didn’t make the cut. What is the point of drinking something that you don’t love?

When I saw that 52 Teas was again offering their Earl Grey Cupcake tea I really was interested. The tea itself is very pretty, full of star-shaped sprinkles. The smell of the dry leaf is very heavy on the bergamot so I was at first worried that the bergamot would be too overwhelming.

I steeped the tea for 3 minutes. The instructions on the packet indicate that the tea flavor develops as the tea cools, about 10 minutes. I am happy to report that this tea is lovely. The black tea base is solid, it is malty with very little astringency. The bergamot is perfect, not too strong at all, and the back end of the taste is a delightful vanilla flavor. The vanilla is not artificial tasting, it is a nice, natural flavor.

I did try the tea at the 10 minute mark and I do agree that the vanilla becomes much more prominent as the tea cools. I have been so pleased with all of the teas I have tired thus far from 52 teas and this tea is no exception. I highly recommend this tea if you love Earl Grey.

This probably would rank in my top 5 Earl Grey teas of all time and that is saying a lot as I have tried many!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: 52Teas

This tea is currently not available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Gingerbread Brulee/52Teas

I found a super simple recipe to make tea infused hot chocolates and I have been making them since. 10/10 would recommend this recipe by Savvy Eats which can be found here.

I have tried this with A Quarter to Tea’s Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding, Bird and Blend’s Monkey Chops and this time I am using 52 Tea’s Gingerbread Brulee. Each time has been delicious and distinctly flavored by the tea.

You start by cold brewing 1-1.5 teaspoons of tea in 1 cup of milk. The recipe says to do this for 20 minutes which I followed the first time and had a flavorful drink. Since then, I have set the cold brew up earlier so it steeps for longer just so I can get more flavor (usually I leave it cold brewing anywhere between an hour and 6 hours). It probably isn’t necessary for it to sit that long but it makes me happy. I also usually double the recipe, using 3 teaspoons of tea for 16 ounces of milk.

When the milk is done cold brewing I get to preparing the drink on the stove. If I doubled the milk, as I did with this hot chocolate, I also double the recommended cacao powder and chocolate chips, but still only use the one tablespoon of sugar. I tend to use either a 1:1 mixture of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips, or just milk chocolate chips. I have salted caramel chips that I think I will try one time just to change things up but this particular hot chocolate was made with all milk chocolate chips because that was what was most easily accessible.

Now that I am drinking this hot chocolate, I think all milk chocolate chips was the right way to go. This tea is so true to gingerbread but the kind you’d make at home that isn’t overly processed or sweet. That means it is heavy on the ginger and has a richness from the molasses. That depth is balanced nicely by the sweet and creamy milk chocolate, a balance that might have been tilted more to bitter if there was semi-sweet chocolate in the mix. Not that that would have been particularly bad, just more adult and sometimes you just like the nostalgia of a sweeter, creamier hot chocolate. And nostalgic this is because it essentially tastes like I made gingerbread cookies and then let one just melt into my hot chocolate. So. Good!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Description

This tea is not available but click below for blends that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!