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.
Here’s the scoop!
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Learn even more about this permanent line of teas and more about 52Teas in general here!
Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my life as a tea aficionado. For the last six plus years, I’ve been writing tea reviews and I’ve loved this “occupation”. It offered me the unique opportunity to sample teas from all around the world – teas I might not have otherwise had the opportunity to get to know.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might be aware of the fact that I recently ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and the purpose of the campaign was so that I could take over 52Teas brand from its creator, Frank Horbelt.
Frank has had several different tea ventures over the years. Recently, Frank realized that he wanted to devote his full efforts to his iced tea business, Southern Boy Teas so he asked me if I would take over the brand 52Teas.
I was excited by the prospect. Some of you may be aware that I used to operate another tea business: Life, LiberTEA & the Pursuit of Happiness, which was later simplified to LiberTEAS. I closed that business about 7 years ago because I realized that I’m much better at creating teas but not so great at running a business. So when Frank offered me 52Teas, I was – like I said – excited but I was also a little nervous. (OK, a lot nervous!)
So I talked to my oldest daughter who is incredibly sensible and smart hoping she’d tell me what I should do. I was surprised – happily so! – when she offered to help me with this undertaking! So we became a team!
Now, I don’t have to worry about the running the business part of the business. I can just do what I do best – creating teas. And with a brand like 52Teas – what an amazing platform! I get to create a unique and unusual tea blend every single week!
But because I’m back in the tea business, I won’t feel right about reviewing other people’s teas. I don’t think it will be an ethical thing for me to do. And it certainly wouldn’t be ethical for me to review my own teas. So, I’m saying goodbye to the SororiTea Sisters Tea Review Blog.
But, I’m not riding off into the sunset. I’ll still be very actively involved in SororiTea Sisters. I did, after all – co-found this blog with TeaEqualsBliss! This blog is still my baby!
As you are probably aware, we’ve brought on a few more sisters over the last few months, and you can get to know them here. They – along with TeaEqualsBliss – will do the writing, and I’ll act as administrator of the blog.
I’ll still be posting the reviews to Twitter. I’ll still be occasionally posting them to our Facebook page. I’ll still be around – I just won’t be writing anymore. At least – not here. But I’ll have my own little blog space on the all new 52Teas website.
So, don’t be a stranger! Please feel free to stop by and drop me a comment on my new website. Or better yet: buy some tea! Or buy a lot of tea! More tea = more happiness!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: 52Teas
With marshmallow root, orange peel and a touch of peppermint blended into our Japanese Genmaicha, we tried to infuse a whole gingerbread house (gingerbread, orange gumdrops and spice drops, creamy frosting and all) into one tea. I think we did pretty well, but you’ll just have to find out for yourself.
Learn more about this blend here.
Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.
Please check out my campaign to take over 52Teas here! Please help me keep 52Teas alive and kicking out those teas every week!
I really liked that when I opened the pouch – I could smell GINGER! I like my gingerbread to be heavy on the ginger flavor, I like that punch of ginger flavor, but all too often when it comes to gingerbread, I’m of the opinion that there just isn’t enough ginger to call it gingerbread.
So I was happy that I could smell ginger here. The brewed tea smells a bit less like ginger (or gingerbread) and a bit more like brewed genmaicha with it’s nutty, toasty essence. There are some warm notes of ginger, the fragrance of the ginger is just not as strong as it was with the dry leaf. I’m also picking up on some sweet, cakey notes in the scent too. It smells quite yummy.
Even though I like to let the tea cool a bit before I start writing a lot about it, I couldn’t stop myself from taking a little sip while it was still quite hot. Mmm! I have a really good feeling about this tea. It’s going to be a cupful of yum!
And it is! I like that the ginger is dominate, but it isn’t overpowering the other flavors. This tastes the way I want my gingerbread to taste – with a strong ginger note. I can also taste notes of creamy, marshmallow-y icing and notes of orange.
These flavors don’t overwhelm the genmaicha tea which is sweet and nutty with a really nice pleasant roasty-toasty flavor. I like the way these flavor of the genmaicha taste with the gingerbread house flavors. It’s sweet but not too sweet because the nutty flavors add some dimension to it to make it not so candy or cake-y that it ends up tasting cloying.
It’s a really fun flavor.
This one resteeps well too. The flavors are less distinctly “Gingerbread House” and more like a gently spiced cookie. It’s still quite tasty though and definitely worth the effort to resteep it, so hang on to those leaves!
I see that this tea has sold out, so I am hoping that other customers have enjoyed this tea as much as I did so that when it comes time to vote for reblends – this one will eventually get reblended!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
When our good friend, LiberTEAs asked us to create this blend, I have to admit that I tabled the idea for a few days, thinking she would forget about it. We’ve created some unusual blends, but tomato, basil and black pepper? Really?
Well, she didn’t forget about it and though it took me a while, here we are.
We’ve blended our premium Indian black teas with just a tiny touch of lapsang souchoung, sun-dried tomatoes, black peppercorns, basil and natural flavors.
How cool is this? Frank (the Chief Zoomdweebie at 52Teas) created this blend for me. And, as weird as the combination may sound to you, it actually tastes amazing.
When I originally requested this blend, I requested it as a green tea. My thought was “tomato salad in a teacup” – but then, when Frank contacted me, he suggested making it a black tea and adding just a touch of Lapsang Souchong (which is NOT a favorite tea of mine) to the blend for a smoky note. My first reaction was “eww, no” because that is my reaction when it comes to Lapsang Souchong. But, after thinking about it for a few minutes, I thought that as long as the Lapsang Souchong was added at just the right amount, the smoky note would be very complimentary to the flavors of tomato, basil and black pepper. So, I decided that the black tea would be a better choice… and now I have the most delicious “tomato soup in a teacup.”
The black tea base does not overwhelm here. One taster of this tea stated that the Lapsang Souchong overpowers the flavors of black pepper and basil, but, I don’t think this is true. I steeped my cup for just 2 1/2 minutes, added a pinch of sea salt (because you’ve gotta salt your tomatoes!) and the flavors are all represented well in the taste. And I must admit that the Lapsang Souchong does add a pleasing smoky note to the cup.
But you’re probably still thinking to yourself … what on earth possessed this person to request a tomato flavored tea? Am I right? Well, tomato is my favorite fruit. Yes, I know that it is used more like a vegetable than a fruit, but it is still – technically – a fruit. And I love tomatoes. Especially those just picked, sun-ripened, grown in the backyard tomatoes. YUM!
The tomato here is the strongest flavor. It doesn’t taste quite like the aforementioned fresh tomato, instead, it tastes like a cross between a fire-roasted tomato and a sun-dried tomato. But that’s OK, because I happen to love them too. And the flavor is so vibrant! The basil is quite a bit softer, but it lends a fresh note to the cup, and the pepper adds a kick of spice.
Together these flavors make up a delicious tea that, when paired with some crackers, make for a light and yummy lunch! THIS is the way tomato soup should taste!
Where To Buy: LiberTEAS
A bold yet smooth blend of black teas (Ceylon, Assam, Yunnan & Nilgiri) and just a touch of vanilla and honeybush. The result is a deliciously rich, robust tea that will get you going and put a spring in your step.
This is a brilliant blend of black teas and honeybush called Breakfast Blend from LiberTEAS and I just LOVE it! Keep reading for a chance to win this tea, too!
The black teas are very bold and are what you seek for a morning tea! The honeybush gives it the natural sweetness and pairs wonderfully with the hint of vanilla. The pairing of honeybush and vanilla also gives this blend a great smoothness to the tea as well.
This is NOT your run-of-the-mill Breakfast Blend…it is so much more. One I would certainly say is on the top of my list of not only Morning Teas or Bold Teas but also Creative Blends and pure joy in a cup! A great start to any day!
NOW…WHO WANTS TO WIN THIS TEA???
Contest Announcement: Win a 2 oz Tin of LiberTEAS Breakfast Blend and a 2 oz tin of the tea of your choice from LiberTEAS (limited to stock on hand). To enter, you simply need to comment on this review post. That’s it! We will select the winner via random selection on Saturday, July 24.
Want to increase your odds of winning? Here are some ways to earn extra entries:
1. Become a fan on our Facebook page. Check out our sidebar widget to link to our Facebook page, and when you become a fan, come back here and comment on this post to let us know that you’ve become a fan so that you’ll get the extra entry. Already a fan? Then announce this contest on your facebook page to earn an extra entry! Please include a link of our blog on your facebook announcement so that your friends can check out the contest too.
2. Got a blog? Blog about this contest and earn an extra entry to this contest. Please include a link of our blog in your blog post so that your readers can check out the contest.
3. Twitter about the contest and include a link to our blog in your twitter.
Be sure to let us know that you’ve facebooked, twittered, or blogged about the contest by posting the information here.
GOOD LUCK to all of you!
This contest is over – and the Winner is: Meghann M.! CONGRATULATIONS MEGHANN!