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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

Tonight’s blend: pineapple mint and basil. Works well, but it’s very mild…loooooooong steep time and keep those leaves in.

TheTeaFairy

Mmmmmm…..

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

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.

TheTeaFairy

Please do!!!!

gmathis

Need to refine my drying technique so it’ll be mailable. I’d like it to be finer and crumblier than my first few attempts.

OMGsrsly

Oh geez, the images! :D

ashmanra

Should work! That is how my azaleas and Fairy Roses get propagated! (Can we say that here? LOL!)

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

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.

TheTeaFairy

Haha! I wish I was closer to get my hands on that applemint of yours ;-)

gmathis

We’ve had an odd spell of weather…a 5-20 minute shower daily between 3-ish and 6-ish for close to two weeks. The plants are in happyland.

Mercuryhime

Can’t wait for my own mint plants to do as well as yours!

ashmanra

Oh my! I just replanted my peppermint and bought some spearmint, but it isn’t doing as well as yours! Also, I have failed at growing lavender here. The tag always says, full sun, well drained soil. We have plenty of both. It dies. This time I planted it in a pot, in the shade, and it is thriving and blooming. Hurray! I want to get a whole trail of lavender pots going along that side of the house! It is even blooming. A first! (Where I live, the nurseries tell you that if it says full sun, it means at least partial shade for us.)

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

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.

Nicole

Sounds interesting.

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

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.

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

OK, k s, you have done it now: created a chocolate mint addict. I had a quart steeping in the fridge to relax with this afternoon and am already trying to figure out where we can grow us a patch on the homestead. This from someone who kills marigolds.

K S

Happy to feed the addiction.

We have had it come back up in the spring. We bury it under leaves in the winter. You have grown mint before so I guess you know it will spread like crazy if you don’t keep it under control.

Terri HarpLady

All of my mints are in large pots, which doesn’t guarantee that they won’t spread, but at least helps. I made the mistake of planting my lemon balm in the ground though, now it’s cropping up all over the place, including clear across the yard.

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drank Backyard Botanicals by Custom
1855 tasting notes

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.

K S

It came in a white package with black letters and read chocolate mint. (I guess now a days it would be blue letters) Actually I got it at the local greenhouse this spring.

I have never tried this on its own. I always add it to something, usually puerh. However, the Hershey bar and this idea I must try. I always have a stash of Hershey dark chocolate bars around.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Terri HarpLady

I have some chocolate mint growing in my herb garden this year. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s getting bushy enough now that I will have to start using it.

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drank Bedtime Story by Custom
87 tasting notes

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!

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drank Bedtime Story by Custom
87 tasting notes

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!

Shadowfall

I also think the idea of having tea in an emergency kit is awesome.
Is this a blend you mix yourself or do you buy it somewhere? If it helps with anxiety, I might suggest it to a friend of mine that has them now and then.

Bear With Me

I blend it myself, with things I grow or that I get from friends’ gardens. A lot of natural food/health stores also carry some of the ingredients (best place to find St John’s Wort if you don’t know someone who grows it) so that’s another option if you don’t grow them yourself. It definitely helps, and I discovered today that it’s actually quite tasty iced with a bit of honey as a bit of an antidepressant cuppa.

Shadowfall

What’re your ratios? If you don’t mind me asking that is? And do you just do a tsp/8oz or a different amount? I’m thinking of mixing some up to give to her.

Bear With Me

I usually do up a big batch and then make individual bags (using the DAVIDs cinch-close bags) to keep in a smaller tin in my emergency kit. I tend to eyeball it but here’s an approximation:
1 part St John’s Wort
2 parts lavender
1/2 part chamomile flowers
1/2 part chrysanthemum flowers

If you can only find one or the other of the chamomile/chrysanthemum, then just do 1 whole part of whatever you find. I personally like the flavour of chrysanthemum, but I know a lot of people who don’t.

I usually end up using closer to 1 Tbsp for a 12oz cup, but that’s just my tastes vs the size of the mug I usually use for it (a nice, solid one I got as a gift, it’s brown and has the white silhouette of a bear on it

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drank Queen of Suburbia by Custom
984 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

I have had this for several mornings of late. As I drink it, I just keep calculating in my head how much I can blend up before all my ingredients are gone. I’d say that is a pretty obvious indication that it is one of my favorites. (And I think I will run out of the Assam first, but I am hoping not to buy any tea for a few months.)

What this packs is a morning touch of briskness with a roasty chocolate and smooth finish. I completely feel like the queen of something or other while drinking it, even if it is just ’Mom’s taxi service’.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Queen of Suburbia by Custom
984 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

I did it. I blended it. My last Franken Breakfast blend has been reblended, making it a favorite of mine. Now to design a label….

Notes of malt, slight briskness yet still smooth, with a punch of cocoa at the end. A great way to wake up!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

1 tsp Vanilla Cream Earl Grey (California Tea House)
1 tsp Blood Orange (Adagio)
10 oz water

This is my second time making this concoction and it’s been cold steeped each time. The first time it sat in the fridge for probably 36 hours because it got hidden behind something and I am the master of forgetfulness-fu. I only steeped this one for 8 hours, and it really didn’t seem like the extra time made much difference.

The orange rind/hibiscus combo latches onto the bergamot in the EG and makes this a really bright vibrant cup. The vanilla and cream aspects seem to temper the hibiscus to a degree, so while it is still quite tart, it’s not metallic or overly hibiscusy. I’m actually a bit enamored with this combination and once I have a manageable inventory of tea (so never, really), I would pick up both again to drink this. Especially in the summer.

Rating: 84/100

music27note

I want to try this so bad.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

Aaaand I’m back for more experimental fun!

In my 10 oz mug of cold steeped goodness:

1 tsp Vanilla Cream (Culinary Teas)
1 tsp Blood Orange (Adagio)

It made a surprisingly clean, dessert like cup. Very creamsicle tasting, with a bit of creamy mouthfeel from Vanilla Cream tea. It needed a touch of sweetener (1/2 tsp or so) to cut the dissonant notes of hibiscus that would pop up infrequently. If it weren’t for that, this would be pretty close to ideal.

Rating: 81/100

music27note

That sounds so good.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

Operation Cococaramel

I ran another Cococaramel Sea Salt experiment today.

1 tsp Cococaramel Sea Salt (Teavana)
2 tsp Ceylon Star (DAVIDsTEA)
6 oz milk
6 oz water

Then cold steeped for 6 hours.

And while this might not be the best thing I’ve ever had, it’s the best tasting Cococaramel Sea Salt has ever tasted to me.

Overall, this cup is anise-y and just a little naturally sweet, but in a way that actually works. There’s a little bit of chocolate flavor that leads into the caramel at the tail of the sip. The milk seems to have the body that the Cococaramel needs (otherwise it’s just too, too much).

I think I can definitely finish off what’s left of my bag like this.

Rating: 79/100

JustJames

you always have such creative ideas =0)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

That is an intriguing combination!

moraiwe

Wow! Um, thanks! I mostly just find it fun to experiment, especially when I don’t necessarily care for something but think it might have potential. :)

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

Things that wound up in my 12 oz cup this morning:

3/4 tsp Darjeeling Sungma Summer (Adagio)
3/4 tsp Ceylon Sonata (Adagio)
1/2 tsp Tulsi Signature (LaJava)
1/2 tsp fennel & anise seed

I didn’t have enough Summer Sungma for an 8 oz cup, so I needed to get creative. I brewed at 200 and steeped for 3 minutes, and maybe wish just a little that I had gone a little shorter. Something in here got mildly astringent. Maybe even just a smidge bitter, but I mostly notice the drying feel on my tongue.

The anise adds a sweet licorice-like flavor that pairs all right with the base combination and fennel. The fennel itself is sweet and a little savory. The tulsi adds a little bit of cooling mouthfeel, but also contributes to the savory feeling of the cup. It becomes more prominent as the cup cools. Sugar and milk/creamer probably would have benefited this cup too, but it was fine without any add-ins as well.

Rating: 78/100

Also, I’m on dogsitting duty so here’s Tango:
http://imgur.com/338ECNg

__Morgana__

Tango is pretty!

Bonnie

Sometimes darjeeling tea prefers a bit less than 200 degrees which may have caused the bitter. Or, a shorter steep…but…figures the temp.

moraiwe

She’s kind of a diva. But I love dogsitting the greyhounds, they’re awesome :)

moraiwe

This one has been okay at the 200-205 point before, and seemed to mellow after the cup got cold (I’m notorious for walking away from the last sip or two and then they get cold), but it was an angry hot cup this morning.

TheTeaFairy

Aww, love Tango, so cute!

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

Operation Cococaramel

1 tsp Caramel Apple Explosion (Blue Raven Tea)
2 tsp Cococaramel Sea Salt (Teavana)
12 oz water

The hope here was to find a method of drinking the Cococaramel Sea Salt that I enjoy, because I still have just over an ounce of it left. This wasn’t my answer. I might try again switching the Caramel Apple to be the larger leaf amount, but the licorice root and anise in the Cococaramel seem to be incredibly dissonant with everything ever (including the original tea itself), so I’m not holding out hope. It might end up getting tossed into the swap pile yet.

Rating: 44/100

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

Backlog

1 tsp Hibiscus (Jamestown Teas)
3/4 tsp Pomegranate (Dori’s Tea Cottage)
12 oz water

I used the last teaspoons of each of these together in a cold steep.

The result was very tart and hibiscus-y with a sweet-tart pomegranate aftertaste. There wasn’t much in the way of the coppery flavor I associate with large amount of hibiscus, so that was refreshing. Sugar helps this along, but it was still on the far too tart side for me. It was definitely drinkable, and probably a good way to jump start your mouth in the morning, but it’s not something I’d do again.

Rating: 66/100

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

6 tsp Risheehat Golden Musk Second Flush (Thunderbolt Teas)
6 tsp Blueberry Syrup (California Tea House)
2 quarts water

So, right now there’s a pitcher of this in the fridge. Fiance insisted he was getting sick of iced Darjeeling, so I doctored it up a bit.

It’s a decent blueberry flavor (a little tart maybe) but it pairs well enough with the sweet, earthiness and delicate florals of the Darjeeling. It’s not something I’d choose for myself as I think plain Darjeeling is perfect thankyouverymuch, but it’s nice to have someone to share my tea with.

Rating: 78/100

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

1.5 tsp Coconut (Adagio)
1 tsp Lemon Soleil (Adagio)
12 oz water

I didn’t have enough for a full cup of either, so the bits at the bottom of the tins ended up in a thermos in my fridge together.

After it was done, I added a little milk, a little brown sugar, and the tea into a shaker and hoped for the best.

It’s surprisingly good like this, which I find strange because I’m not big on either of these alone. The lemon flavor is subtle, with coconut reigning as the king flavor. There’s a nice creaminess supplied by adding milk, as well. Are lemon coconut macaroons a thing? Because I’m pretty sure this is what they taste like.

Rating: 71/100

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

1 tsp Cinnamon Fig (Art of Tea)
1 tsp Vanilla Cream (Culinary Teas)
8 oz water

These are both teas that I’m kind of meh about in hopes of making something I was less meh about.

The result? Still meh.

The initial sip comes with the vanilla flavor, but that’s brutally quashed by the fig and cinnamon flavors, which are overpowering. The cinnamon just seems so out of place, in both the original blend and this. Also, there’s some semi-serious astringency going on here.

The aftertaste is actually pretty tasty. It’s vanilla and fig, which pair well together. If I could get more of those two flavors in the tea, this would actually be a pretty good mash-up. I’ll probably try again with a 1:2 of Cinnamon Fig to Vanilla Cream.

Also, the overall flavor improves the cooler it gets.

Rating: 52/100

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

5 tsp Vanilla Rooibos (Adagio)
6 tsp White Melon Yogurt (California Tea House)
2 quarts water

I’be been trying really hard to get creative with the teas I have in large quantities that I feel like I’ll never get through because I either a) burned myself out of them or b) think they’re overwhelmingly meh.

So, I made a pitcher of this cold steeped.

Aaaaaand. It’s really rooibos-y. Not terrible cedar chip levels of rooibos, but still definitely earthy and a little woody. It pretty much drowns out any subtleties from the white tea. I absolutely still pick up the fruity flavors and the vanilla complements them well, though! It makes a really smooth, almost-desserty fruit cup. It’s a little like eating melted melon ice cream out of an unsealed wood bowl, so you pick up just a little bit of woody earthy flavor with every bit.

I think I’d rather find something else to mix with each of them though.

Rating: 56/100

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
616 tasting notes

6 tsp Jasmine Pearls (Adagio)
4 tsp Silver Needle (Adagio)
2 quarts water

So, last night when I was making up my pitcher of jasmine for milk tea, I realized I didn’t have enough of my Jasmine Pearls for the amount of water I wanted to use. Oops.

So, I just went super boring (but practical!) here and mixed it 60:40 with some Silver Needle and made a pretty normal Jasmine Silver Needle. Problem solved!

I might have to do it this way again, because it added a really nice vegetal note and made the whole thing less perfumey. Also, once I added the sugar syrup, milk and boba there was a sweet honeysuckle note from the Silver Needle too. I cold steeped overnight as opposed to normal steeping and serving over ice, and Fiance said it was the best milk tea I’d ever made. So yay!

Rating: 84/100

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drank Catnip by Custom
757 tasting notes

i made House Party 3 some catnip tea. but despite what this pic looks like, she didn’t actually taste it. cats. sheesh.
http://instagram.com/p/Zrasqsoc8X/

Lala

Love your cup

Shadowfall

Lol. I’m not surprised she didn’t drink any. Cats are more interested in smelling stuff like that rather than tasting.

canadianadia

House Party 3 – Best cat name I’ve ever heard

CHAroma

LOL! Silly cats. Mr. Frodo did the same thing for a while. Kept sniffing it but not licking it. So I kept picking him up and putting him in front of the cup, and eventually he licked it. :P Then he liked it ’cause he kept licking it! LOL!

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
43 tasting notes

Experiment Number 31: Berry Blue Jello Popsicles made with super-concentrated (3 tsps per cup) Tardis Blend Tea instead of water.

Initially all seems to be going well. I figured that the sugar in the jello would sweeten out the tea enough.(Note, this proved to be incorrect. Adding some stevia or so to the blend before chilling will probably take care of that.) The Tardis blend balances nicely with the berry blue, which was encouraging, even if it made a weird green color. In the future I will probably use a cheap bagged earl grey instead, as the berry blue over powers most of the berry from the Tardis blend, maybe even add a touch or two of vanilla extract. The earl grey however, is very much there. I believe I made the tea a bit too strong, as there’s a sort of lingering bitterness to the popsicles that probably makes it unsuitable for friend sharing. I’m not sure how long these will last in the freezer, but they seem tasty enough for a first experiment.

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