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Recent Tasting Notes
I made my chai again, this time with less honey..it is definitely much stronger. The tea base is very prominent haha, I also used 1/3 of a cup of milk instead of 1/4 by accident, but I don’t mind. I might try less cloves next time though, because I think that’s my least favorite spice of the bunch. It is so cozy and warm tonight though, with the snow falling outside. I still might have my nightly matcha later too haha, we will see how caffeinated I am!
I made myself a homemade chai blend tonight! We went to the Little Italy market in the city, and I conveniently happened to end up in the spice isle..and the jar of star anise caught my eye. I didn’t get any for my chai, but I did get coriander, cardamom, ground cinnamon, black peppercorns, fennel, cloves and fresh ginger root. I blended according to Verdant’s blending recommendations on their site – blend until no one scent overpowers the others. I reached this point after adding a lot more pepper and cardamom and ginger when I put a bit too much cinnamon lol. I am not sure the individual amounts (darn it, will probably end up different every time now) but I ended up with ~1.5 tablespoons of chai mix.
For my base tea..I picked Tiger Assam by Andrews & Dunham..I know people might be thinking gasp, why would you put such a good tea in a chai?! But I wanted an Assam in it, and I am out of LB, which would have been the first choice lol. So I put in 3 tsps, after simmering the spices in 1.5 cups of water for 10 mins. Simmered another 2 mins and then took off and let sit and steep for 4 mins.
Then I strained it, and added a large dollop of honey (homemade too, my parents have bees!), probably a bit over a tablespoon. Mixed that around, and added 1/4 cup of milk. Brought to a low boil again then poured it in my cup.
The verdict? HOLY GOODNESS. SO MUCH HONEY. LOL. Maybe a bit less next time..I was a bit worried it’d be too clove-y, as that was the predominant scent when it was simmering, but it actually is pretty well balanced! I definitely taste the fresh ginger, and the cloves and maybe a bit of fennel. The honey brings out everything sweet in it, next time I will probably put less in haha. But it is sweet, cozy and soothing! Ah! And the base is there too, providing a bit of astringency I think, which goes well here. A bit of a burnt clove note too. Overall it’s sweet, smooth, and surprisingly well balanced, for my first attempt lol. Next time, less sweet things though! But I won’t have trouble sleeping after this, and will gladly slurp it down and head to bed! I think it was a good success, and I will definitely make more chai in the future! Excited that I’ve blended my first tea blend!
I’ve been too lazy to log the teas I’ve been drinking lately but not everyday do I grab a bubble tea. I had to go buy new toner after the union meeting (zzz…) and figured that since I was in the area, it’s Friday, and I need some excitement in my life, I skipped over to the nearby tea house and ordered one of their new flavours: chocolate banana. Crazy, right? I usually go for coconut or taro, or some random fruit, but chocolate banana sounded mightily intriguing. And it is!
It tastes more chocolatey than I had imagined. Almost like chocolate pudding, which makes sense since this tea house has other pudding flavours like strawberry pudding, which was a close second. This reminds me of Booster Juice’s funky monkey, only with more chocolate, plus tapioca pearls.
I promised myself that I will go to the library to work on my proposal revision today, so I’ll do that after I’m finished my bubble tea. Translation: I’m going to try to saviour this like crazy.
Back to the backlog! We pick up at the mall, right after my DT trip prior to seeing Hedda Gabler. My friend Robyn, who I went to the play with, had just arrived at the mall!
First things first we stopped at the food court because I was starving; and I loaded up on assorted food from the different places. I got a Veggie Poutine, Pumpkin Pie Blizzard, Pizza, and a Passion Fruit Bubble Tea. I’d never noticed the Asian restaurant (I can’t remember the name) in this mall had bubble tea; so I pounced on the chance to have some. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed at all though; the passion fruit flavour was spot on but it kept separating way too fast for me to drink it, and the “bubbles” were really mushy.
Nellie’s Bubble tea has spoiled me; I fear nothing will compare.
After the food court we did some shopping around the mall; I bought this cute wool sweater thing that I normally would have stayed away from (it’s from a store that typically does not sell clothing in my size/cuts that flatter my body type) but Robyn talked me into it, and then we went to the bigger clothing place that carries all the super fancy designer/big brand name fashion-y clothing and cried over the pretty things and expensive prices. I ended up buying this GORGEOUS but EXPENSIVE scarf with this detailed design over the whole thing of an ancient world map, in French. It is now easily the most expensive accessory I own.
After that, the play! It was at my city’s version of a Broadway theatre, and the majority of people there were definite theatre snobs (which I say in a mostly loving way). Very fancy, somewhat over the top dressy attire – and very not my “look”. I mean, I was wearing Cargo pants and a Spiderman hoodie. Still; I felt justified in being there and didn’t let their staring hinder my enjoyment one bit – especially since we had front row, dead center tickets! Cost a ton, but so worth it. It also helped knowing how in depth Robyn and I had both studied this play; and that we knew it inside and out, unlike probably most of the patrons. We were there for a reason.
Before the play started we enjoyed sipping fancy alcoholic beverages in the lobby with everyone else; ‘cause I guess that’s a thing you do at live theatre. They had a really cool featured drinks menu with selections inspired by the play; lots of German wines and mixed drinks inspired by the characters. We each got one that was Vodka, Pear Puree, and cranberry juice – it was very sweet, but delicious!
The acting was phenomenal, the set well done, and all in all it was a really, really perfect night and performance!
I ordered lunch to be delivered to my house today; and I got a really big meal so now I have a ton of leftovers and wont have to do any cooking for a while.I ended up getting stuff from the same restaurant as last time; Nellie’s Kitchen. I had been less than impressed with their food, but their bubble tea was the best bubble tea I’ve ever had so even though the meal wasn’t super awesome, it still wound up being worth ordering just to get another bubble tea. Man; if their delivery fee wasn’t so steep I’d order bubble tea ALL THE DAMN TIME.
This time I got Strawberry because, even though Honeydew was awesome, I wanted to try something else. Watermelon was a high contender – but I did a melon tea last time, so I switched things up. I’d have loved to have gone with Pineapple but I think my expectations for pineapple bubble tea would just be impossibly high.
This was delicious though! It was exactly like a Strawberry Milkshake in taste (actually Red Leaf’s Strawberry & Cream Matcha tasted exactly like this) but without a milkshake texture – and probably slightly healthier. I’d totally drink it again, but overall Honeydew was better because it just seemed more “unusual” and uncommon. Strawberry, while amazing tasting, almost seemed like the most plain/average choice. The “vanilla ice cream” of bubble tea, if you will.
And totally getting used to the weird gelatin balls/cubes!
I ordered lunch from another new restaurant today called Nellie’s Kitchen (hooray for broadening my food horizons) because I realized the only things I had at home to cook called for milk, and I’m actually all out for the moment.
Today’s meal was relatively simple; Fries, Garlic Bread, French Toast w. Maple Syrup, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Honeydew Bubble Tea! It’s so cool that Skip The Dishes (the site I’ve been using) is partnered with so many restaurants in the city; I mean how else are you gonna order French Toast and Bubble Tea to your door?
I think, overall, the food from today was not as impressive as yesterdays which just seemed so fancy. There was nothing special about these restaurant fries or whatever. Although, the pie was really really good. It had the perfect crust and the meringue to lemon pie filling ratio was excellent.
But now on to the “tea portion”; the bubble tea. Firstly, they’ve got a lot of cool flavours to choose from; I had a hard time deciding on one. Here’s the options:
Like, c’mon! All the melon flavours!? And lychee and pineapple? You’re gonna kill me – thats’s basically like the summation of my favourite fruits less pears. Not fair. But eventually I settled on Honeydew because I figured it was maybe more uncommon than the others I was tempted by. It was really, really good! Definitely the best part of the meal by far.
The honeydew flavour was so strong and sweet – and the drink itself was frothy and icy and the perfect balance of thick ice and juicy liquid. Does that make sense? Yeah; I think it does. Also – my biggest problem with bubble tea is actually the “bubbles”. Usually I can’t get over the gross little gelatin balls but this one actually had little teeny tiny gelatin cubes in it, and unlike anything I’ve experienced in other bubble teas they were actually honeydew flavoured as well. They were still sorta gross, but much better than anything else I’ve ever had in bubble tea.
It’s a shame the rest of the meal was so mediocre; ‘cause I’d love to try the other flavours of bubble tea this restaurant serves but with the delivery fee it’s just so not cost effective to only order bubble tea and now a whole meal.
And now, I think it’s time for a power nap?
I wasn’t really sure if “Bubble Tea” counted as tea and whether or not people logged it on Steepster regularly, but after a quick search I guess it does have a place so I might as well log what I had today.
In the mall I work at, there’s an Asian food restaurant (the name is escaping me – it’s not really a place I often eat) that sells bubble tea. They come in about 30 different flavours, and I’ve been curious about them since I started working there. I have had bubble tea in the past, but not often and I don’t really remember much of my experience having it other than I didn’t like the ‘bubbles’ (gelatin balls) themselves in the same way I liked the drink.
Today I had a lychee flavoured bubble tea. Lychee is one of my favourite flavours and this popped out of the list of choices for me; maybe that was because it was spelled incorrectly (‘lichee’), but still…
I really liked it initially: it was sweet and frosty. But, the more I drank the nastier it taste. It got TOO sweet and sugary, and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of flavour. Plus, the gelatin balls were disgusting and I couldn’t stand eating (drinking?) any of them. Eventually I just threw out the rest of my drink (about a third was left).
Maybe I’ll try a different flavour before I totally make my mind up, though. Anyway, since this is an amalgamation of teas under one heading I wont make an ‘official’ rating – but for the Lychee Bubble Tea I had today, I think I’d rate it somewhere between 45 to 55.
Mmmmmmmmmmm! I got jasmine pearls from Stephanie from an unknown source. I am a sucker for jasmine tea. This one was very light. But not bitter what so ever. The jasmine strength was perfect! Watching these little guys steep was so amazing. They were so pretty as they opened. Not only is this a tasty tea but an entertaining one too ha ha.
Thank you for this sample!
Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha (Verdant) + Special Dark (Mandala)
I wanted puer blend this AM, but all my blends are cinnamon ones and that didn’t sound like what I wanted. So I looked through my cupboard and saw the most obvious of pairings in the whole wide world.
So dark and rich and chocolaty with some earthiness to balance it out. I didn’t get the proportions quite right, but I don’t think I could really go wrong either. If you have both and want a rich treat, this is for you!
School hasn’t even started yet and our house has come down with a minor cold. Nothing too bad, just annoying that its the last day before school starts and we’re all sick. So I mixed a few teas together to make an ideal healing tea in my opinion. I started with After Dinner Ginger from sTEAp shoppe. It’s got ginger, lemon, and chamomile. Then I added winter fire guarusa from butiki to get some spiciness and clear headedness. Once steeped, I added mazuka honey. It is so tasty! This will be my go to cold season tea.
This morning I had coffee, and there’s not really any place to brew tea in the area I work (no really, it’s a 5 minute walk to the filtered water and nice kettle), so I went for bubble tea.
Lemon “red” tea with lemon jelly.
Yummers. I usually get stuff 1/2 sweet when I get jelly or tapioca, as the additives tend to be rather sweet. I didn’t, but it’s still good. Super strong tea, fresh lemon juice, chewy lemon jelly, yay!
I need to find a recipe for the flavoured jellies so I can make them and add them to my iced teas at home. So good.
Wouldn’t you know it…threw together a second steep of last night’s tulsi, some chamomile, and a spoonish of dried apple mint from the back porch, ended up with a cup of evening nirvana (I’d swear there was some vanilla voodoo going on in the background)…and paid absolutely no attention to the proportions or steep time so I may never be able to replicate it again!
Apple mint is much better dried than it is fresh, but the leaves are fuzzy instead of smooth like regular mint, so it looks almost a little moldy in the jar. In case you need to know.
Have any of you tried pineapple mint? It’s the prettiest one growing by the back door; ruffly green leaves with creamy white edges. But I still can’t decide what it really tastes like. Stuffed a jar full in the fridge with one decaf Red Rose bag to make it tea-y, left it overnight. It’s gentle and satisfying, but I can’t determine if it’s “pineapple” or “unclassified somewhat citrusy” mint. Ah well, it was lovely to come home to a gentle, quiet cup of anything after a mind-blowingly plate-juggling workday.
Too many cookies and student helpers that sneak me chocolate when I can’t leave my little charges. (I pick ‘em well!) Plus, hubby taking advantages of my afternoons off for ice cream dates. Who am I to refuse? But I’m starting to feel the effects of sugar bloat, so I’ve made myself a little calendula-orange mint after-dinner steep. Orange mint is pretty mild, but does add a little freshness to the calendula. This would probably be more refreshing chilled.
Of all the plants in our back porch mint-speriment, the chocolate mint has flourished the most. It’s put out more tentacles than a kraken, so we’re trying a (Little Shop of )Horror-ticultural mutation: Set a pot next to it, anchored a couple of tentacles under an inch or so of soil, and are waiting for it to take root before cutting it loose and separating the pots. We’ll see…
Also, of the varieties of mint we’ve cultivated, this one makes the best stand-alone tisane—the chocolate flavor is truly and noticeably present, and though it’s mild, it does taste like mint tea instead of minty water. Come on over and I’ll cut you some sprigs.
OK, this is the last of the homegrowns I had not yet tried—pineapple mint. It’s interesting: leaves are thick and a little fuzzy, long olive-green ovals with cream-colored edges.
Again, using a bag of Red Rose decaf as the backdrop—I think it’s a winner because there are no strong tea flavors to compete with the mint so I can get a fair impression of the flavor profile. I’m not entirely sure I’m getting pineapple out of it, but there is a fruity-something happening along with the mint.
Wish y’all were here to share with. The applemint has gone bananas; almost growing faster than I can prune. I have several large clumps drying upside down in the garage. It’s beginning to look like a tobacco barn.
Whoops, forgot this category existed, and with all our recent homegrown experiments, I could be filling it up. We bought two chocolate mint plants from local nursery; one for a bed in front, the other in a back porch pot. Now that they are flourishing, it is clear there are two varieties. One has long, pointed leaves; the other has leaves that are more spade shaped.
We’re drinking long and pointy tonight, with a bag of Red Rose decaf tossed in to give the cup a little density. If you’ve never tried chocolate mint, it is well worth the $3.49 experiment—steeped straight up, you can detect the essence of chocolate. With some tea to give it a little heft, you can almost taste an Andes mint.
Weary, worried day left my neck and back crunkled like a wad of aluminum foil.
Thoughtful husband welcomed me home with a Yankee Candle Macintosh candle already burning and encouragement to sit, stare, drool, and relax. After all of the above, I combined a teaspoon of the no-name cut-leaf green tea Fox Farm sells in bulk and a touch less of the wonderful chocolate mint that k s recently shared. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I think chocolate mint could make grass clippings taste special. The Hershey-bar goodness that is highly noticeable when you try it solo is muffled by the green tea, but still a wonderfully refreshing, un-crumpling treat.
Thought some of you might like to post to this generic category, something like the Chance Combinations that gets a fair amount of traffic.
Feel free to edit the description as you see fit.
In this case, courtesy of k s and company, we’re enjoying homegrown chocolate mint. You’ll have to ask him for the particulars of the variety, but you better believe this is pleasant! Cold steeped a couple of teaspoons in the fridge on a hot afternoon. There is definitely something in the baseline of this tisane that has a Hershey bar aftertaste. So I ate a Hershey bar with it. It just had to be.
Had to reach for this old friend again tonight. I meet the endocrinologist for the first time in the morning, and get my first dose of testosterone (intra-muscular injection, and I’m needle phobic! well, better get over it asap, i’ve got weekly IM injections from now til I’m dead. Worth it though!), so needless to say I’m SUPER anxious.
My heart is beating out of my chest, my hands are shaking so much I had to fill my cup barely halfway to prevent spilling it all over myself. I’m excited to finally be getting what I’ve wanted for so many years, but terrified that it’s going to turn friends and family against me.
Topped up my cup and the shaking is slowly calming down. It’s crazy how emotions can affect you physically, and so dramatically at that!
This is my “emergency kit” tea, the one I keep tucked away in my “emergency kit”, a box with a number of different things that I pull out when I’m having issues with depression, or anxiety.
Had a pretty nasty anxiety attack before bed, but calmed down enough to get into bed. Had some nightmares and woke up in hysterics, which then turned into a full blown panic attack. Running on auto pilot and in one quick motion I leaped out of bed, pressed the button on my kettle, pulled out a pre-filled sachet of tea, and tossed it into a cup, inhaling deeply while the water heated. Poured the hot water, took a sip, and instantly everything that had been on my mind melted away.
Still can’t quite calm down enough to sleep, but at least I can breathe again!