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Halt all the things! The Traveling Tea Box just arrived at Baker Street! (I know you’re jealous and I’m sorry) Put down that paint brush, don’t even think about cleaning that kitchen or doing laundry today (okay so I might still do laundry) must try all the teas! Also I’m sorry to the folks who sent me tea in these last two weeks, I’m going to have to put them on hold for two days. I totally wasn’t expecting this when the postman rang the bell, I thought it was my gaiwan, then I thought its a bit odd that my gaiwan is coming from a girl with such lovely handwriting, but my last one came from a person and not a company address. But no when I opened the box there was tea! Dozens of packets of tea! Do I have a surprise admirer on Steepster? I was not expecting a swap, oh and they included a notebook! Oh, duh! Ohh, oh, oh,oh! Traveling Tea Box!

So initially I sorted the teas into two piles, interested and not so interested. The interested pile consisted mostly of oolongs, a tea called December and a tea from Whispering Pines, must try! Tea immediately cast into the pass pile were rooibos, chocolate blends, fruity blends and well everything else. But once sorted was completed I picked up the teas from the pass pile and started to open them up. This was the first one I grabbed and well apparently once I smell something I must try it.

However I knew this would now probably be the case for all of them and with the exception of a couple of the teas in the must have pile that were of a low quantity I really just wanted to try a tiny bit and save the rest for everyone else. So how to brew such a small amount? I looked at my tea ware, grabbed my brew basket, remembered it wouldn’t fit down into my narrow 8oz mugs but it does fit into my little 4 oz tasting cups which meant I could brew with less than a teaspoon of tea, not get overwhelmed with so much liquid in the next two days and still have plenty for everyone to try! Win!

So into the basket went just over half a teaspoon of dark minty goodness. I set my variable temp kettle for 200 (after which it immediately drops a few degrees) and steeped it for just around a min. I wasn’t expecting to love it but did find it quite enjoyable. I have only tried two similar teas, Teavana’s Cacao Mint Black and their Slimful Chocolate Decadence. I also meant to take home some of the mint black to my dad as it reminded me a bit of thin mints, his favorite. This reminds me a bit more of a York Peppermint Patty smushed with a Chips Ahoy cookie, only smoother and less abbrasive than the York tends to be. It is a creamy and well balanced dessert cup (though I had it before breakfast) and I did contemplate taking it and brewing it for my dad, but we’ll see. I tried a second infusion, but it was thinner, less creamy and more minty, closer to the ice cream perhaps, so it probably could have benefited from a longer infusion.

Now of course this opened up the floodgates to try all the other chocolate teas so next up David’s Choco Rocket! Many thanks to Amanda for starting and coordinating the tea box and for including this particular tea and to Sare for contributing, the next one (that I am already drinking as I write this) is one of her’s. I probably won’t be rating most of these as I’m not spending enough time with them and they are not my normal cuppa. Also amused that this is the LochTea ;)

Autumn Hearth

Oh my, kitty likes this apparently. He batted the bag off of the table and onto the floor then started pawing it. He might have torn it open if I hadn’t stopped him. Hmm, maybe the mint?

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Autumn Hearth

Oh my, kitty likes this apparently. He batted the bag off of the table and onto the floor then started pawing it. He might have torn it open if I hadn’t stopped him. Hmm, maybe the mint?

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Bio

Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.

Location

Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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