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234 Tasting Notes
Things have finally settled a bit around here: the tot, newborn, & I are slowly finding a routine, the in-laws have gone back to Edmonton, and…
The weather has been on the plus side all weekend, which means that this dreadful snow is melting! It also means that there’s a bit of flooding in our basement, but nothing major, just soggy carpet in the one corner.
However, today I’m choosing to look on the positive side, which means juggling a rambunctious two-year-old plus her 2-week-old cluster-feeding brother and attempting to brew up some stove-top chai! This tea makes a lovely chai, plus the candies mean that I only need minimal sweetener (and am now wondering if I could’ve left the sweetener out completely). It’s delicious with milk, spicy, smooth, and warming. Yum, yum! Let’s hope I can maintain this positive outlook until my husband comes home late tonight!
I’m back! And boy, have I been busy since I last posted!
In baby news: a week after my son’s due date I finally went into real labour… after drinking gallons of raspberry leaf tea (to no avail) and going for a labour-inducing acupressure massage (which seemed to do the trick). Baby boy, Finntan, was born at 8am on April 12th. I won’t go into great detail about the labour, but it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Thankfully we were discharged that night since:
a) my mom is one of the delivery Doctors and I used that to my advantage…
b) the hospital was short on rooms already, why keep us there when we had no complications?
c) it’s hard to relax and/or sleep when it seems like every time you settle down someone must check on you or the baby for whatever reason.
Settling at home, with a toddler and newborn has been smoother than expected, but my husband went back to work today and the in-laws leave tomorrow… so we’ll see how much of my sanity remains at the end of the week.
On our first excursion out we went to the mall and I just had to stop by the DAVIDsTEA to refill my Creme Caramel Rooibos tin (the tot has been drinking this one like there’s no tomorrow!) and pick up some others: Pure Vanilla and Bollywood Chai. Yet, lately I’ve been craving straight, pure tea and since I haven’t drank this since last year it’s about time I had some (plus it’ll probably get stale soon).
It’s smooth, lightly vegetal, hints of cream or butter, with a fresh, sweet finish that lingers and exactly what I’ve been craving during this crazy week of newborn/in-laws/adjustments.
Sigh… I’m still here. Baby is now 5 days overdue and I’m on day 6 of pre-labour contractions, but nothing regular enough to send me to the hospital to deliver this kid! I’m exhausted. I’m weary. I’m ready to meet this little boy of mine!
I’ve tried everything: walking, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, climbing stairs 40x, walking some more, driving on bumpy roads (effects my bladder more than my uterus), more walking, shoveling snow, eating pineapple, and now… drinking mug after mug of this tea.
I’ll be honest. This tea tastes… like… leaves, but not in a vegetal, spinachy kind of way. It tastes like vegetation. Not the most pleasant taste, but if it advances my labour then I’ll drink as much as I can stomach! Let’s get this baby out, shall we?
Made this into a London Fog, since I was gifted an entire tin of the loose-leaf tea bags. It’s alright and it’ll satisfy the London Fog cravings I occasionally get, but there are definitely better Earl Greys out there.
I’ve had this tea in my possession for AGES, brewed it a couple times, but never got around to actually logging it here! Probably due to the pregnancy and that it just doesn’t ‘wow’ me in any way.
However, my tot was clamouring for tea and I thought this one might be one that pleases her. And I was right. I brewed it up, let her stir the leaves around in The Steeper, then waited for it to steep. Once steeped I poured 1/2 tea + 1/2 milk + pinch sweetener into her sippy cup and watched her chug it down barely pausing for breath!
Hmmmm… so while I won’t bother restocking it, Strawberry Shortcake has a fan in my daughter. And at least I’m serving her tea instead of a big ol’ plate of cake!
My 2-year-old is driving me bananas… time to break out a tea we can both drink that will distract her from pulling all the books off the bookshelf.
So, I brewed this according to the directions a couple days ago, poured it in a mug, then got distracted by something and forgot about it. Thus, it turned lukewarm and rather “special” tasting. Like a mix of iced tea + juice that’s been left out and turned room-temperature. To remedy this I poured the tea into a jar and left it in the fridge until now…
And my intuition is correct, it tastes much better ice cold. Like I brewed up some black tea and added pomegranate + mango juice to it! Yum, yum! And I haven’t even added any sweetener. I do taste slightly more mango than pomegranate, which is okay since I like mangoes more than I like pomegranates. That being said, I don’t think I’ll restock. My iced tea preferences tend towards the citrus or melon persuasion, but I have no qualms about using up the rest of this when the weather warms up (if it ever does).
Let me begin by saying that I am aware maté is not recommended for pregnancy… however, today was just one of those days.
Long story, short(ened): I’ve been working on a poetry chapbook with a friend, she wrote the poems, I make the chapbook. We send in prototype + proposal by April 15th and wait to see if we get the funding to make an edition of 75. Seems simple enough, right? WRONG! First, it’s taken until last week for her poems to be edited and finalised. It’s hard to come up with layouts and such when you don’t know how long the poems will be or how they are to be structured (poetry can be tricky like that, with all it’s lack of conventional structure, punctuation, and whathaveyou). Luckily, she figured out the layout for me, I just had to come up with the artwork (I’m carving stamps), binding, paper, and printing. Unfortunately the paper we fell in love with—a Japanese paper that’s very tempermental—can’t be printed on using ink-jet or laser printers, so I’ve spent this past week wracking my brain as to how to “make it work” (in the words of Tim Gunn). I decided to go with vellum, instead of the Japanese paper, breaks my heart to surrender like that, but we have no choice. So, I waddled my 39-weeks-pregnant self—accompanied by my toddler daughter—over to the printing place and got everything sorted.
Today, I picked up the printed vellum and everything looks awesome! BUT my 2-year-old accomplice was getting whiny (nap-time, you see) so I decide that instead of waiting for the bus, we’d walk to the children’s library… 1.5 km in the Saskatchewan snow. Bad idea. Neither my body nor hers were up to the task, but I didn’t know when the next bus would be, so we did it anyways. We arrived, she played for 30 min, then it was time to catch the bus home… which meant more walking since our bus stop is a couple blocks from the library. And of course, my girl got tired and wanted to be carried, but have you ever tried carrying a 25 pd toddler when you’re 39 weeks preggo?? Not. Happening. So, I had to be harsh and make her walk, promising her we’d be on the bus soon (she loooooves the bus!).
If you’re reading this, then you can guess that we made it onto the bus okay and are now home, but maaaaaan. I. Feel. Exhausted. So, I’m drinking the jar of this that I had chilling in the fridge and hoping for the magical maté boost that it promises. The tea itself is delicious, reminding me of Luscious Watermelon, but obviously more of the honeydew persuasion. And it is excellent iced. Haven’t tried it hot and not sure I want to considering the thought of drinking hot melon tea makes me shudder.
So, here’s to the most exhausting day of this pregnancy ending on a slightly better note, to delicious iced melon-y tea, and to getting this chapbook prototype completed before baby #2 arrives! Oi.
(Received this in a swap 5 months ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember who sent it! For that, I apologise, generous giver.)
I like to call this the “hippopotamus phase” of pregnancy—I’m 38.5 weeks pregnant which means that baby could arrive at any time… so they tell me, I’m not going to hold my breath though, considering my daughter was born 3 days after her due date (I was in false labour though for 2 days, fun times!)—since I’m very large and cumbersome and everything seems to annoy me, especially my 2-year-old. If I could, I would spend all my time at a swimming pool or spa, just floating my girth in weightlessness (I can see why it appeals to hippos). Instead, I’m stuck indoors with my tot, who is at the “Why, Mamma?” stage wherein everything I ask her to do requires an explanation. Also, here in Regina, SK, Canada we’ve received a record amount of snow… more than 6.5 feet. It’s supposed to be “spring” but the snow just keeps on falling and not melting, also not conducive to diminishing my grumpiness.
So, I drink tea… a) in order to appease my doctor and get more fluids in my system and b) because it’s still #$@*ing snowy outside and I crave comfort. Tea = liquid comfort.
This tea reminds me a lot of DAVIDsTEA’s Nepal Black, in almost every way: malty, easy-drinking without anything added, slight honey undertones. The only difference would be it seems to be slightly more astringent, but then again I brewed it with slightly too hot water, so that might have something to do with it! It’s delicious though. Delicious in a pure, unadulterated kind of way… plus, when I drink it without milk or sugar my daughter doesn’t feel the need to down my entire cup when I’m not looking. Because sometimes… you don’t want to share.
On my fourth steep of this while I work on this (http://worseforwear.blogspot.ca/2013/03/hippocampus-zebra.html) and still getting plenty of citrus-y goodness! I forgot how much I love this tea hot and it has the added bonus of lasting me well throughout the day! Yay for finding delicious ways to stay hydrated in this 37th week of my pregnancy!
Drinking up the last of this, since according to my tasting notes I haven’t logged this since August 2011!! Oi! Good thing I finished it too, the flavours are super stale… ugh. Maybe my toddler will enjoy this more than I…
I received this tea from Alphakitty months ago, but with moving house, plus pregnancy, plus being home with a toddler means I sometimes forget things. Today, though, I’ve been nursing a cup of this all day, thanks to being able to multi-steep. However, I can’t write a long note since my 26-month-old has decided that she wants to avoid napping in favour of throwing every blanket + plush toy out of the crib, THEN testing her mattress for weaknesses via repeated jumping. This nap = not happening.
This tea = getting me through it all! PLUS, since it’s an oolong and I can steep it multiple times I get to stay hydrated as well. Win/win. I’m loving the caramel paired with creamy oolong… interesting how with each consecutive steep the caramel slowly fades until all I’m left with is the oolong. Yum, yum.
Now, to check on this manic tot of mine… uuuuuuuurgh.
My 2-year-old daughter and I entered a local Valentine’s Day contest wherein we had to collaborate with another person on a Valentine’s card + poem. I let her colour the background with crayons, while I wrote a cheesy little love poem from a seahorse and then drew the seahorse on after she’d completed her part. We managed to win the “multi-age category”, which means I now have a $50 gift card to the downtown mall burning a hole in my pocket! Now, people have suggested that since my daughter helped with the Valentine, that she should get a little of the prize too… and I agree except she doesn’t really need anymore clothes, toys, or candy and I’d go with books, but there’s no bookstore in the mall.
There is, however, a DAVIDsTEA. And since my little girl seems to appreciate a good cuppa—especially if I’ve just made a tea latte—it seems like the perfect place to blow the money where we can both get something out of it.
Thus, we ventured in on Tuesday to peruse their selection and inquire about the upcoming Spring Collection (since I figured I might as well hold out til then if a bunch of new + exciting teas are on their way). The sales associate helping me didn’t divulge much other than there will be some fruity teas and then asked if she could help me with anything for now… and I ended up coming home with four small bags of Vanilla Orchid, Citron Oolong, Ginseng Oolong, and this tea… which I am drinking right now.
In an attempt to get the best out of this tea I am attempting a hybrid gaiwan/western style brewing… AKA: leaves in DAVIDsTEA steeper, 3 second wash, then short infusions thereafter…
First steep @ 92°C for 1 min: creamy, buttery greens, with the slightest hint of lingering sweetness. After the washing stage I wasn’t sure this had even brewed since the colour is so pale, but the flavour is definitely there, like a milk oolong without the milkiness.
Second steep @ 93°C for 80 sec: Slightly stronger in flavour, with more mineral-like notes coming through. Less vegetal.
Third steep @ 95°C for 1.5 min: Basically the same as the second and just as flavourful!
Fourth steep @ 96°C for 2 min: And… still flavourful! I could probably get a couple more steeps out of the leaves, but I’m starting to feel oolong-logged… so. much. tea.
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Can’t resist this combination as a latte… and neither can my 2-year-old!
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FINALLY finished off the last of this… and ended up having the entire tea latte guzzled by my 2-year-old when I wasn’t looking! Looks like I have a fellow tea-lover in my midst, one that’s barely 3 feet tall. It’s a good thing we finished this tea too since I could definitely taste some staleness happening…
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Ran out of Red Rose and this pregnancy makes me crave black tea at all hours of the day! Not exactly conducive to restful sleep at night… but I’ll drink it in the morning.
I actually kind of forgot about this tea! Dug it out from the back of my stash and brewed it up. Yum, yum. Makes me wish my 2-year-old daughter was old enough to appreciate tea parties… one day.
Drinking more of this, since it’s the only tea (besides straight rooibos) that my husband has mastered brewing. Hey, if he’s making the tea I won’t complain!
It’s been a while since I posted a proper review on here, but my excuses are valid! A new year means a new house and a new baby (in April), but due to the holidays + pregnancy, we’re still organising/unpacking/sorting through all of our stuff! Believe me, our living room looks like an episode of Hoarders and since I’m 29 weeks along and the belly is protruding more and more, I’m only
allowed busy moving/sorting smaller boxes. The pace is agonising!
I need a break. I need tea. Stat.
Now, I’m no white tea aficionado, usually preferring them to be ever-so-slightly-flavoured. I love that DAVIDsTEA mentions corn silk in the flavour profile, since I never would have thought of it as a flavour note, but can actually kind of taste it here. I also get hints of moss for some reason. Hmmm, interesting. Two steeps out of the leaves, with enough dry tea leftover for another brew on another day. Not bad for a tea sample that cost me $0.50 due to the Boxing Week sale!
I ventured out into the Boxing Week fray with my 2-year-old, to check out the deals and see if my local DAVIDsTEA still had anything left of their 50% off sale. My store was pretty scant, with all the good stuff like the Christmas crackers and ornaments gone, so I picked up a washi paper covered tin, some of those $1 tea samples (now 50 cents!) and 10g of Fantasy Island, just because.
I drink probably 2-4 cups of tea a day, starting with a straight black in the morning and working my way down the caffeine scale as the day wears on (this pregnancy has made me highly sensitive to caffeine, whereas my husband can drink coffee after 9pm and still sleep like a baby, go figure!). Pregnancy brain makes me forget things, though, like if I’ve already brewed a cup of tea or not. On occasion my husband has come home from work to find a half-drank cup on the counter and another on the window seat. I blame baby boy… he’s making me forget more than tea!
I digress. I brewed myself up a cuppa this, then actually sat down and drank most of it! Only to have my little girl descend upon me, decide that Fantasy Island is now her new favourite tea, and DRINK THE REST when I wasn’t looking! Little rascal. She then had the audacity to ask for more! So, I resteeped the leaves and shared that—very flavourful—cup with her too.
Looks like this tea (with the addition of a little milk + sugar) has the toddler stamp of approval, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
It’s been a year since I first tried this tea and I hadn’t really planned on giving it another chance, but it was free, so I can’t complain.
It’s kind of ridiculous to try and Christmas shop on the second Saturday before the big day, but I needed to pick up a couple of the “mug tails” mugs as Christmas gifts. It’s a good thing I did it today too since the ones I picked up were the last of their “species” in stock, a fox and a bear. I had to wait in line for a bit while they fetched the boxes (the only ones left were the display ones) but my reward was a piping hot cuppa Bubbly.
Now, I’ve never tasted Champagne and due to stomach issues and/or pregnancy I haven’t had any type of wine—sparkling or otherwise—in ages, so my perceptions of how alcohol should taste are wildly off. This, though, I would gladly drink as a safe alternative.