If you’ve been a loose-leaf tea drinker for any amount of time, you’re familiar with 52 Teas. And if you’re familiar with 52 Teas, you know that their constantly-rotating blends are in high demand– due to their limited-edition status, sure, but first and foremost thanks to their delicious sip-a-bility and seriously crave-able flavors. (Raise your hand if you’ve got a hoarded stash of 52 Teas somewhere in your tea cabinet. *raises hand*)
All of this to say: to know 52 Teas is to love 52 Teas. And also to be kind of sad that once your favorites are gone, they are ne’er to be reblended.
… until NOW! Anne and her team at 52 Teas have heard the cries of thirsty tea lovers everywhere and started to offer a permanent line of some of the very, very best sellers– Marshamallow Treat Genmaicha (yum), Pancake Breakfast (yumm), and Graveyard Mist (yuuuuuummmm). You’ll find these three under the special 52 Teas delineation, D’s Teas.
I’ve been sipping on these three for the past few weeks, and friends: they are worthy of not only a permanent spot in Anne’s offerings, but also in your tea cabinet. Keep your eyes peeled for a separate review post to come highlighting tasting notes and other tea musings, but first, I wanted to share some of Anne’s perspectives on why she brought these three back in particular. I had a chat with Anne the other day (all while sipping a fresh, creamy, minty cuppa Graveyard Mist)– read on to hear what she had to say about this new permanent offering from 52 Teas.
Mary: Hi, Anne! Thanks for chatting with me. We all know and love 52 Teas’ ever-changing stock of delicious tea blends. What inspired you to add these three in particular to a permanent rotation?
Anne: When Amethyst and I decided to take over 52Teas, we talked about creating a permanent line of teas because I knew that there were some teas that people would want in stock all the time based on reading other people’s reviews and tasting notes of certain teas. The three that most often came up when favorites were discussed were these three. Then when we took the reigns, I found that I the thing I was asked about most often was reblending teas. I get at least one or two requests per day. The three teas that are requested most often are these three teas, so when we decided it was time to start the permanent collection, I knew I wanted to start small and grow from there – so I chose the three teas that were most often requested knowing that having these teas available permanently would make most of the regular customers happy.
M: What, if anything, is different about the D’s Teas teas as compared to your rotating 52 Teas blends?
A: The biggest difference is that when one of the D’s Teas sells out, it will be reblended as soon as possible and available again soon. Another difference is that there are more large pouches available of these teas – they’re tried and true and most of the customers love them – so when I’m packaging D’s Teas, I package more large pouches and when packaging the rotating blends, I package more taster pouches. Eventually, we’ll have different labels for the D’s Teas.
M: What kind of feedback have you gotten from tea lovers about these three over time that encouraged you to keep them as permanent offerings?
A: We’ve only been doing this for 2 years (we took over 52Teas in June 2015) but when we first started talking about taking over, we did a poll of sorts on Steepster, asking people what reblends they’d want in the start-up Kickstarter. These three got the highest number of votes in that poll. And over the course of these 2 years, when we’d reblend these teas and as soon as they sold out, we’d have people asking for more. I even had one customer order a full pound of the Graveyard Mist at one point. These teas are big fan favorites. I decided that if the people really want these, that I should make them available to them when they want them. I can’t do that for every tea that we’ve made (we’d definitely have a storage space problem if we tried!) but for a few favorites like these three, we can make room for them to be a permanent part of our collection.
M: Which of the three is your personal favorite?
A: I like all three for different reasons, so I think it would really depend upon my mood. Pancake Breakfast is the only black tea of the bunch and I usually personally prefer black teas – especially earlier in the day when I need a caffeine boost. I love the balance between starchy/savory and sweet in this tea – and maple is one of my favorite flavor profiles so this tea has a big place in my tea-loving heart.
When I want something cool and minty, Graveyard Mist is nice. The mint is not overbearing because of the soft, sweet note of marshmallow. I think that this tea, in particular, helped me gain an appreciation for Spearmint. Before really working with this tea quite a bit (since the 52Teas take-over), I would always lean more toward either Peppermint or Wintergreen over Spearmint, but working with this tea helped me to appreciate the subtle nuances of Spearmint – it’s actually a much nicer herb to work with than Peppermint: far less assertive and much more amenable when paired with other flavors.
When I want something sweet and dessert-y, Marshmallow Treat is a tea that I’ll reach for again and again. Marshmallow Treat actually has a little bit of history – when Frank originally crafted the tea, he did so using Matcha infused Genmaicha and mini marshmallows. I fell in love with that blend. The subsequent reblends from Frank were not as good, in my opinion, because he didn’t use the Matcha infused Genmaicha and he switched from mini marshmallows to marshmallow root. I actually prefer the mini marshmallows – I’m not vegan – but now that I’m doing the blending – I also recognize the need to be inclusive and not shut out my vegan customers. I want everyone to feel welcome at 52Teas and not excluded from something we offer which is why we strive to keep all our teas vegan, gluten-free and allergen free (except for coconut). However, now that I’m doing the blending, I do use a Matcha infused Genmaicha. It’s more expensive, but I love the difference it makes to the cup so it’s worth it to me.
M: What types of teas or flavors of blends do you most enjoy creating?
A: Banana is a favorite flavor of mine. I find it kind of funny, I’m not a huge fan of bananas on their own, I’ll eat a banana now and then – I like them but I don’t love them. However, when it comes to banana flavored things, I’m usually a big fan except for Banana Runts, I don’t like them but I’ve been told that sometimes the banana flavored teas that 52Teas creates (before I took over) taste like Banana Runts. I don’t get that – it doesn’t translate to my palate like that, but to each their own, I guess! Other flavors I enjoy working with are marshmallow and maple. The truth is that I really enjoy what I do, so most flavors excite me, especially when I get to taste test the finished product. It’s a pleasure to find out if the flavor worked or not – a bit sad when it doesn’t but it’s kind of fun to find a way to (as Tim Gunn would say) make it work!
M: And finally, I’ll admit– I’ve just always wanted to know this next one. How do you find inspiration for your endless, deliciously-flavored blends?
A: I’m inspired by so many things. I find most of my inspiration from recipes that I happen across on the internet. I’ll see a recipe for a cookie or a cocktail or something and I find myself wondering how that would work in a tea. Shopping also provides inspiration. I get inspiration from customers too – they will often write me with ideas. When I read the tasting notes or reviews from customers, they let me know the things that I’m doing right and the things I’m doing wrong and I find that information invaluable and I try to apply that feedback to my future blends so that I’m continually learning. I love tea – and ultimately, the tea blend needs to pass my own taste test – if I don’t like something, I won’t sell it – but I greatly value the input from others too – because not all palates are the same.
Thanks, Anne, for your abundant tea-knowledge, and sharing your delicious talent with us all! Check in soon for a thorough review of these three fan fave teas.