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!

Pomegranate Passion White Tea from Simpson and Vail

Whenever I try out a Simpson & Vail blend, I know that I’m in for a treat. With the last days of summer upon us, I wanted to try Pomegranate Passion White Tea as an iced tea.

Scooped a few heap fulls into my pitcher, poured in fresh cold water, and a cup full of ice. Placed the pitcher into the fridge and allowed the tea to cold brew overnight. It was fun to see all of the gorgeous colors swirling around in the pitcher while it steeped. The pops of yellow and purple made this tea just holler “Summertime!”

The next morning I poured this cold brew tea into a tumbler with fresh ice. First sip in and this is the way this tea is supposed to be brewed!

Fresh vibrant complimentary flavors of white floral tea notes, hibiscus, and pomegranate said hello as I tried the tea. Each sip finished off with a sweet almost tropical feel that I’m assuming is coming from the passion fruit. Lovely, elegant, and the perfect tea to enjoy poolside or at the park.

Overall, I don’t think this is heavy on the tropical flavors like the description says but there are definitely notes and tones throughout each sip that make you like tropical and sunshine.  To me this tea is blended perfectly and with just the right amount of tartness to keep the sweetness in check. White floral sweet notes and the passion fruit just kick this tea to the next level.

One of those teas that you are sad when your tea spoon hits the bottom of the pouch.  Truly a tea that I could have pounds of and I still wouldn’t be sick of it.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White

Where to buy: Simpson & Vail


Sweet and delicious! This blend of natural pomegranate and passion fruit flavors has a heady, tropical aroma that transforms perfectly into the taste in the cup. This extraordinary pink brew can be enjoyed either hot or iced.

Ingredients: White tea, organic hibiscus flowers, marigold petals, malva flowers and natural pomegranate and natural passion fruit flavors.

Brew: 2 tsp tea in 8 oz. water (at 175°), steep for 4 minutes.

Learn more about this tea and tea company  here!

Cranberry Creme Black from 52Teas

CranberryCremeSSTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: 52Teas

Tea Description:

I wanted to create a cranberry flavored black tea – but I didn’t want to go for a straightforward cranberry black tea because that’s been done. At first, I was going to go with a cranberry custard pie flavor but my initial taste tests of that blend proved to be underwhelming. So instead, I went with a cranberry tea with a creamy custard-y flavor. It has a tangy cranberry note but the edgier, tartier flavors of the cranberry are softened by the sweet, vanilla creme notes. It’s tasty!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about subscribing to 52Teas’ Tea of the Week program here.

Taster’s Review:

This is one of Anne’s 52Teas creations, and one I was really excited about when I saw it because I absolutely ADORE cranberry tea! This is a pretty good, simpler cranberry black tea. I really, really get a good amount of natural semi-sweet cranberry notes and that flavour gets a bit more depth from the flavour of warming cinnamon and the brisk black base, which is also just slightly malty. It’s a good, medium body and well rounded flavour. However, I when I drank this I definitely did feel like the “creme” aspect of the tea was lacking. Sure, this was SUPER tasty as a simple cranberry black tea but nothing about it was necessarily soft or silky in the way that you’d expect cream/custard/vanilla to be – and that’s definitely what Anne seems to have been trying to achieve here.

To be perfectly honest though, as someone who really likes cranberry teas I’ve tried a lot of them so the range of blends I can compare this one too is pretty large. My personal favourite is Harney & Son’s Boston Blend which _really_ nails the creamy cranberry component. However, this one does a much better job conveying the natural, realistic flavour of cranberry.

Totally worth tasting, but for the cranberry notes over the ‘creme’.

Cranberry Orange Muffin Tisane from DAVIDsTEA

cranberrymuffinTea Information:

Leaf Type: Tisane

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

We don’t care who you are or where you’re coming from. No one can say no to a muffin. There’s no cuter – or more delicious – way to start your day. Even the name is a delight. And with cranberries, orange slices and cinnamon, this warm and comforting blend has all the taste of a freshly baked muffin…at next to no calories. Meaning you can get that warm, fuzzy feeling every time you steep a cup. Does it get any better? Muffin can compare.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I feel like DAVIDsTEA actually came up with some really interesting flavours this fall – this one in particular is very strange and I don’t know how on board I am with a muffin flavoured tea. Actually, in fact I know I’m not totally on board with a muffin tea. I know people were weirded out by a peanut butter tea, but this is so much stranger to me. For whatever reason.

Again, this appears to be another really heavy herbal blend. There are a lot of big cranberry chunks in the leaf that look as impressive in size as the ones in DT’s black Cranberry Pear blend that I’m accustomed to seeing. The smell of the dry leaf is really weird though: it’s got a really strong orange flavour, but in an off-‘orange peel’ kind of way rather than a sweet, juicy orange. I also smell cinnamon, oat, and something… else. Dandelion I guess? Whatever it is does NOT appeal to me. I mean, the smell isn’t gross but there’s just really no appeal. I cold brewed my sample; the liquor is pretty foggy and this weird orange/brown colour. The smell is quite fruity, with more orange/citrus notes than anything else. I also smell a lot of cinnamon, and a whiff of bran.

The first, most noticeable thing about the flavour is the fruity top notes. The cranberry is very piercing, and this lovely balance of sweet and tart. Somewhere in the mix, I can taste mango too. The orange follows quickly behind, but I can’t say I’m a fan of the flavour. It’s very semi-sweet bordering on not sweet at all and the combination of sourness/tartness and slight bitterness makes me image I’m chewing on an orange peel. Yuck! Unfortunately, those orange notes are really long lingering, well into the aftertaste. I’d love to swap out the intensity of the orange for cranberry.

The muffin taste is alright; I’d say it’s more of a weird starchy oat flavour and bran than a complete “muffin” taste, and there’s cinnamon peppered in there as well. Similar to the orange, the cinnamon is also very lingering. Once the initial fruit flavour subsides you can really taste the “muffin” element of the tisane quite well. I actually don’t mind the overall flavour, but it is strange to be tasting it in chilled, liquid form. Something else comes into play – probably the dandelion, and it’s putting a damper on the flavour too though. If anything I think that it (the ‘muffin’ and dandelion) would work better hot. However, with the unpleasant orange flavour I don’t know whether I want to experience a hot mug to test that theory out.

For me, this is a big mug of nope. Despite how accurate I think it is to the name, this is definitely NOT the tea for me. However, I do encourage people to give at least one cup a shot because it’s a unique flavour.

Toasted Apple Green from Bluebird Tea Co.

toasted_appleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Bluebird Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This blend of roasted green tea, popped rice and toasty apples is a bit of a tea Marmite. Some are addicted to its grassy, savoury taste but it’s not for those with a sweet tooth. Don’t worry though, Genmaicha fans will absolutely love Bluebird’s unique twist on the classic Japanese ‘popcorn’ tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Calling this blend ‘tea marmite’ is, I think, a pretty big stretch and probably not the best selling tactic if Bluebird Tea Co. wants to get North Americans buying their blends. I’ve had marmite and I certainly was not a fan, nor are most North Americans; that’s one food from across the ocean that I can’t see catching on here. However, this tea? It’s got the potential to, if done correctly.

Genmaicha is one of those teas that I consider a cupboard staple; it makes a very soothing, calming cup of toasted brown rice goodness and it also a great blend for sharing a pot with among friends – and for people truly new to tea who haven’t even come across Genmaicha it’s a good conversation piece as well; explaining the origin of adding brown rice to tea to stretch it out among the lower class in ‘old Japan’ in a fascinating thing to here and gives insight to some just how important tea is in some cultures. I, for one, remember that fact/’origin story’ being one of the most interesting to me when I was first getting really into tea outside of the flavored stuff offered at local chains such as DAVIDsTEA.

Of course, “Genmaicha with a twist” is a fantastic thing too; one a think more companies should run with. Some of my particular flavourites are Nina Paris’ Japon, Verdant’s Minnesota Blend, and Ette Tea’s Mango Sticky Rice. Apple seemed like an obvious, but untapped route – until now.

The initial wave of flavours was a very roasty brown rice and almost barley flavor; this is by far the best part of Genmaicha to me. If the level of roasty/toasty notes isn’t strong enough I’m going to be disappointed and if it’s too concentrated or has a “burnt” taste, like burnt toast, then I’m probably not going to be able to make it through the cup. However, this strikes a really nice balance between the two and has a lovely robust roasty flavour without overwhelming some of the other things going on.

Underneath that first, and most important flavour, was a mild vegetal note – there was some grassiness but mostly it was very marine with a bit of a seaweed flavour. This part of genmaicha is less important to me personally; as long as I can taste the green tea and it isn’t bitter I’m usually a happy consumer and both of those criterion were definitely checked off in this case. Now we get into the most important part of this particular blend: the apple! I’ll admit I didn’t taste it at first; but once the liquor had cooled I started to notice this very bright, slightly tart apple note at the finish of the sip that was lingering into the aftertaste. It’s definitely a greener apple; think Granny Smith or Sundance apples. However, the tartness and slight sweetness provides a really nice contrast between the flavour and whilst fairly simple I think this would be really enjoyable as a flavoured Genmaicha year round, but particularly in the fall.

Definitely worth trying, if you get the chance!