I had high hopes for tea notes this evening but they were dashed. My kindergartener’s homework (!) was to write a story about his week with the class mascot (a stuffed Clifford the big red dog) and illustrate it with photographs of the two of them, and of course we left it till the last night. Partly this was because we barely have time to do his other homework as it is, what with both parents working and all, but mostly it was because I got a new camera and couldn’t get the printer to work with it. Ugh. Anyway, I finally figured it out, story is now done and child is in bed. Whew.

So I’m backtracking to another bagged hanger on that I haven’t yet written about.

This is a serviceable spiced rooibos, but I’m not sure it’s a very good chai. I haven’t had a lot of chai, so what do I know. All I can say is I’ve had a really good one. Part of what made it so good was the richness the milk imparted. This doesn’t stand up to milk. Another thing that made it really good was the black pepper kick. There’s no black pepper in this. And another thing that made it really good was a really luscious blend of spices that gave it a lot of character and depth. This has a sort of generic cinnamon-spicy thing going on.

I would have the Tazo Decaf Chai over this if I was looking for a caffeine free chai in a teabag. It stands up to milk, it has black pepper. Two out of three ain’t all bad.

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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