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McQuarries Tea & Coffee Merchants

Recent Tasting Notes

77

So, I’ve spent most of the day drinking good tea and eating delicious food which I’ve mentioned in some tasting notes today; a wonderful, lazy Monday. On top of that, since House is on Netflix now, I’ve been rewatching my favourite season (Season 4 – with the “Intern/Fellowship” Competition). It’d be pretty perfect if it weren’t for the mild, continuous tooth/gum pain. I think I need to go down some more Aspirin…

But anyway, now I’m drinking this as a cold brew! It’s been steeping in the fridge since I got up; so close to ten hours, but now it’s been strained and man is this refreshing. It’s a little more tart than it was the first time around (but it also had a longer steep time for the hibiscus to stew in), but still overall nice and mellow full of plump, juicy berry flavour! I feel like this is going to be gone before I know it.

Add in a touch of sugar, and you’d never know this wasn’t some new, “Berry Kool-Aid” type drink. It also perfectly contrasts the cheese/pineapple Quesadilla that I’m dipping into some red wine infused pasta sauce. Mmm!

CK

That quesadilla sounds really good!

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77

Cold Brewed for a total of, umm, 14 hours? Right around there, anyway.

Because I stuck it in a timolino, I couldn’t fit it all in so some of it was drank this morning before getting to work. I was really worried that this would be super hibiscus heavy because visually it looks like there’s a bunch of it, and this got a pretty decently strong steep time too. However, really it wasn’t bad at all!

There’s a bit of a hibiscus tart edge on the front of the sip but it’s really brief and then it quickly mellows out into the nice, rounded off red fruit kind of medley of flavour. Think Strawberry, Raspberry, Red Currants, and Rhubarb – though mostly I taste the raspberries over anything else. I also get notes of the blackberries/elderberries right on the end of the sip/in the after taste.

This was really good, at home and at work, down to the last drop! Definitely refreshing; and surprisingly low key for hibiscus. I’m happy to finish off what I have, and I think I made a good pick (better than Rum Cream from last time, anyway). I think VariaTEA might also like it – so I’m making a note for myself to save a sample of it for her!

Flavors: Berries

VariaTEA

Yay for getting to try all the things!

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80

Sipdown!! (209)

OH NO!!! I forgot about this in the fridge this morning and so it steeped for waaaaaay too long. Now my beloved Rum Cream is a hibiscus disaster. Thank you Roswell Strange for sending this my way because I really do enjoy it. Alas this cup was just bad :(

Anna

Nooo. Hibby overload!

VariaTEA

I really liked this despite the leaf being prominently hibiscus but this cup was just too much :(

VariaTEA

I was so sad.

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84

Sipdown (191/193)!

Cold brewed for twenty(ish) hours and then brought to work for its “final hoorah!” as the tea I had with while doing stock: definitely need something flavourful and thirst quenching like a cold brewed tisane for long shifts.

I think I may need to pick this one up again; it surprised me with how consistently good it is each time I had it (I think all were cold brews). Plus, it really captures the fig flavour but pairs it with such a sweet/sour fruityness (think peach/rhubarb/light hibiscus notes) and just a touch of floral rose that there are so many fun layers to this that keep it from being “just” a fig tea. It’s interesting!

Mmm!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 25 OZ / 739 ML

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80

Evening Genmaicha.

This time my McQuarrie’s instead of something new, in an attempt to use up some of my older leaf. It was good. Roasty, toasty and good!

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65

Sipdown!!

I did it! I finally did it!! It took two mason jars and a couple a cups but I have gotten through the large sample Roswell Strange so generously shared.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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65

Roswell Strange, you sent me SOO much of this tea! I made a mason jar full and I don’t even think I made a dent in the stash. On the plus side though, I am actually getting ice wine today which is making for a very light and fruity cup. It is quite enjoyable :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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This one came my way from Lala.

Lots of big pieces of fruits here, and it smells tasty. Not really like cheesecake, but tasty. The strawberry and apple are quite prominent with a lingering cake-ness in the background. This tea is really yummy for a herbal, but I’m not so sure the name suits it.

Thanks Lala!

P.S. I just sent in some more flavours, but the ones I sent in a few days ago still haven’t been input.

Preparation
2 tsp 15 OZ / 443 ML
Lala

Happy that you liked this one. I think it is pretty good too.

Courtney

Thanks!

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65

Sipdown (197/201)!

Again, only sort of a sipdown technically – because there’s still a little left, but I’m going to be sending it to VariaTEA because she appreciates it a lot more than I do. I wanted to get one last cup worth in though, just in case my opinion has changed.

I did severely under leaf this cup because I’ve found it to be way too strong/sour in the past – so I used less than 1 tsp. for my 8 oz. mug of it. This did affect the flavour, and I found it was more creamy with a lighter touch of strawberry/hibiscus, but I still didn’t enjoy it a whole lot so I’m happy with my decision to send what little is left to someone who will fully appreciate it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
VariaTEA

I do like this tea quite a bit :)

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65

Thank you Roswell Strange for sharing. It is good but I don;t know how I will ever get through the surplus you sent me. I will wait for my mason jar and that should help put a dent in it :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Roswell Strange

Mwahahaha! I’m taking that to mean you put in a DT order though!? I think you’ll love the mason jar!

VariaTEA

I may have placed an order. And that order might have included a mason jar…and a perfect mug…and some tea

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Sipdown #42. Thanks to Lala for this sample :)

One of the best parts of Steepster is all the fun friends here, & all the trades, cuz we get to sample each others teas, teas I might never actually buy, but am curious about.
You guys are the best ‘pen pals’ ever!
This is a very tart lemon!!

Roswell Strange

I agree wholeheartedly with you about Steepster being the best way for finding great penpals :) Not sure how I’d have kept sane without you all. Also, this one was amazing! :)

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84

First thing I’ve prepared as a cold brew in my mason jar, and I think it was a fantastic success! It’s the perfect cold brew amount and clean up/straining was incredibly easy! Much better than the crappy pitcher/strain through a fine mesh brew basket (my normal straining device was accidentally left in Regina) method I was using this month.

Anyway, I’ve had this cold brewed before and I really liked it (I’ve yet to try it hot) and it seemed like a good tea to test this out with! So, it sat cold brewing for 11 hours, and then I took the basket out last night but am just drinking it now with breakfast.

Taste wise, this is definitely strongly fig/rose like the name implies it should be, and then has some sweet peach notes and a little (just a small touch) of hibiscus tartness. It’s really refreshing and yummy, and I think this is something I’m going to want lots of come summer time. Thankfully it’s super affordable ($4/50g). If I was worried that my love of the last cold brew was a fluke, I don’t have that concern anymore.

Flavors: Peach

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 25 OZ / 739 ML

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80

I thought I was done with tea and tasting notes for the night but then I remembered I had half a bottle left of my cold brew from last night and I could not resist.

I was sort of worried last night was a fluke. I thought perhaps I may be too tired to be thinking clearly or maybe I was simply excited for a new tea but as I finish off the bottle I realize I actually just really enjoy this blend. I am actually sad it is gone. So long Rum Cream! I shall miss your creamy goodness and your smooth and fruity taste with the perfect touch of tart.

On another note, I just realized that sometime over the last few hours I gained 5 followers! I am now over 100! I feel so loved :) Thanks everyone!! And I hope my tasting notes are not too boring.

Pandeme

Don’t worry, your tasting notes are never boring! :)

VariaTEA

Aww. Thanks Pandeme! I try :)

noyadefleur

Congrats! :)

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80

Sipdown! (204)

I think I prefer this cold brewed but honestly it is not bad hot either. I had no idea what steeping parameters to use so I just brewed the 1 tsp I had in boiling water for around 3 minutes. I figured keeping the steep time low would keep the hibiscus (that I am not 100% but pretty sure is in this blend) calm and luckily that worked. There is a slight tartness but that is overpowered by the smooth creaminess. Hot I get a lot more of the rum flavor which provides an interesting to the creaminess as there is a dry quality in this that is reminiscent of actual rum. All in all a pretty good cup so thanks again Roswell Strange and hopefully Rum Cream and I meet again in the future :)

ETA: Added a splash of milk and that really enhanced the creamy quality. Plus it is a very pretty shade of purplish-pink.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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65

This is yet another tea from Roswell Strange. I am actually really surprised it is a white tea. In fact, I took a sip and searched up the tea and when I saw “Ontario Ice Wine White”, I looked up the company because I was so sure this was a green tea. Then when I saw the page was edited by Roswell Strange I accepted that this is a white tea that simply is pretending to be a green.

Why was I so sure it was a green tea? Because I found it to be almost buttery. Actually, come to think of it, I have had buttery whites before. Plus this is not nearly as vegetal as many greens I have had.

Oh well. Now that I got that off my chest, I suppose I should mention my thoughts on the taste given this is a TASTING note. I will say that being from Ontario, I have had Ontario Ice Wine before and this is not Ontario Ice Wine. It lacks the fruitiness that is associated with that particular drink. However, it is a fairly pleasant cup nonetheless. As previously mentioned, it is impressively buttery. Tastewise, it is simple and a little nondescript but if someone held a gun to my head I would say it is somewhere between fruity and nutty. Does that make sense? I hope so because in the scenario of someone holding a gun to my head, I would be shot if it does not. Anyways, I am having a difficult time really describing what it is I am tasting (in case you have not noticed that on your own) but I will say that I would not mind drinking this again. Would I stock it in my stash? No. Would I ask for it in a swap? Probably not. Can I get through the fairly large sample I was sent? Yep. So thank you Roswell Strange for this unique cup!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
keychange

In any event, glad there’s no gun :)

VariaTEA

As am I, keychange! As am I.

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80

This tea came to me via Roswell Strange. I was not quite sure how to prep it but I recalled reading one of her tasting notes in which she cold brewed it and it sounded tasty. So, I used 2 out of 3 tsps I received and threw it into a 500 mL water bottle and let it cold brew for about 15 hours. I figured the last tsp I can hot brew and compare the two.

Anyways, as for this method, the end result is not bad. I was worried that this would get tart as I believe there is hibiscus in this but rather it is a pleasant drink. Actually, this might be one of my favorite cold brews to date (with the exception of the SBT I had earlier). This is sweet and very refreshing. The sip ends with just a mere hint of tart but I find that is really enhancing everything. Would I have guessed this was “Rum Cream” if I didn’t know? No, probably not. Although there is a smoothness that is most definitely reminiscent of cream. Tbh, given Roswell Strange’s tasting notes and my major dislike of sneaky hibiscus, I did not have high hopes for this blend but I think I hit the sweet spot because this is definitely very tasty. It is like fruit punch or vitamin water. If I had access, I would actually seriously consider buying this because I imagine it would become a staple as a cold brew in the summer months. Yay for delicious tea surprises and thank you Roswell Strange for sharing!

And now, at 5 am, I can go to bed happily knowing my swaps are all packed up and ready to be mailed and I am 4 tasting notes ahead of Roswell Strange in our tasting note competition :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

So close to making this a sipdown. There’s enough leaf for a small pitcher or possibly two(ish) mugs worth. I’d love to use this up, but at the same time it feels like I’ve been drinking this pretty frequently as of late, so I’ll likely wait a while.

My brother picked this out to cold brew and then set everything up all on his own after getting instructions from me. It was a really big step for him. That being said, I feel like he must have got the proportion of leaf all wrong because this is insanely sour and even a little bitter: it’s like a hibiscus puree – which is not what it tasted like the last time I cold brewed it.

Long story short, no one wants to drink it. We basically all had like a shot glass worth and then couldn’t finish the cups we’d strained; likely the rest of the pitcher is getting dumped.

It does feel like a little bit of a waste…

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65

Ok, this is the cold brewed batch that I made for me and my brother to try! Formula was 2 tbsp. of leaf for about 6 cups of water, cold steeped for a good 18(ish) hours. The steeped colour is a dark red/purple that kind of reminds me of some darker red wines? It looks kinda scary and really concentrated, though.

I’ve actually had two cups today, which I suppose in itself says that this wasn’t so bad I wouldn’t drink it again. That’s a plus.

My second cup, I was suffering from some pretty horrible toothache so I wasn’t really so focused on the taste. But my overall impression on the taste from both cups is that this is a much nicer way to drink this tea. The tart and sour initial flavour is much more mellowed out but still retains the taste of hibiscus in a not completely overwhelming way. The rest of the taste is juicy strawberry and maybe raspberry, with a creaminess to it in the end sip accompanied by a sort of fermented fruit/borderline rum taste. Really, the “rum” flavour the name implies is just kind of barely present in the weirdest possible way.

So yeah – this is much more enjoyable cold brewed and I think that’s probably how I’ll end up finishing off what’s left of my 50g of it. I’ve definitely used at least 25g worth at this point, so that’s good.

VariaTEA

I will try the sample you have me cold brewed then as this sounds tasty.

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65

My brother and I practically just peed ourselves watching Birdemic! I’ve seen it many times because it’s one of my favourite poorly done horror movies, but it was the first time he’d ever seen it and he found it so horribly done in the best way possible; just like I do! Seriously, if you love poorly done horror movies or just bad movies in general you need to check this out! It’s up there with the likes of The Room, Trolls 2, and Sharknado.

This is what I made to drink with the movie. Last time I had it hot, it was incredibly sour and tart and sort of a pure hibiscus taste, but I wanted to give it another shot with less leaf and a shorter steep time to see if that improved things. So, this time I used 1/2 tbsp. for my 12 oz. timolino steeped for just two minutes.

Taste wise, it was still pretty sharp and sour though certainly not as much. That part of the tea is really unenjoyable, to be honest. However, the aftertaste (similar to what I remember from last time) is nice and creamy and just the right amount of sweet and sour strawberry with a sort of rum feel to compliment the creaminess. So – it’s kind of hard to fairly judge it because you have two major extremes: super shrill kind of sour that overwhelms you at the start of each sip, and a nice creamy and fruity taste that lingers after the sip, letting things end nicely.

Ugh.

I still need to try this cold brewed to see how that changes things, but this is just so fickle, so unless it’s amazing cold brewed there’s no way I’m getting it again…

VariaTEA

omg Sharknado. If you want another movie like that, you really need to check out Titanic 2 on Netflix. I watched it with friends and we talked about its ridiculousness all weekend.

Shadowfall

You should also check out a movie called Sharktopus. Which is absolutely just as hilariously awful as it sounds. Not sure if it’s on Netflix since I don’t have Netflix to check. Lol.

Roswell Strange

I’ve seen so many bad shark movies! Sharktopus, Two Headed Shark Attack, Land Shark, Sharks in Venice, Sand Sharks, Megashark vs. Crocosaurus, Ice Sharks… A lot of those are on Netflix, and definitely worth checking out!

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85

This is more of a tasting note for me to rant and complain, so feel free to skip on by if you don’t want to read about it.

So I do not get at all why companies think that when you are sick you want yellow dye # whatever and massive doses of sugar to help you feel better. I would figure the all natural route would be the way to go. By the way, all you “all natural ingredients” companies, any type of colour dye # whatever is not a natural ingredient. Just saying.

I made basic noodle soup (powder and noodles from a packet), full of dye and sugar. I don’t think neon yellow soup broth is why I want to eat this right now. Same with the neocitron I rarely drink but am giving a chance today, I don’t need my mouth to pucker from the amount of sugar in it. Let’s be clear, no one drinks this because it tastes good. Anyway, jeez!!!

So I am drinking a cup of neocitron at the same time I am drinking this tea. The lemon flavoured aftertaste of the neocitron actually tastes pretty good with the oolong. I may have to try to add some lemon next time I brew this tea. I am finding the oolong to be not too bold, there is just a slight orange blossom flavour. Not too chemical tasting which I find some orange blossom teas taste so that is a plus today.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

I don’t get that either. Slightly off-topic, but that reminds me of a conversation I had the other day with my mom about bought soups. Packed full of sodium and chemicals. I feel sad for people whose only idea of soup is that kind of stuff.

I only tried Neocitron once and it didn’t seem to do anything. But I hope you’ll nevertheless feel better soon!

Lala

I really wanted to make homemade chicken soup but didn’t have the ingredients and wasn’t in any shape to go out. So I had to settle for what in the cupboard. Ha ha. I am feeling better today than I was yesterday. I just have to watch how fast I move.

Fjellrev

Haha yeah, that is the thing. Homemade soup requires ingredients, time, and energy. When I used to live near my family, my grandma would load me up on containers of her homemade turkey vegetable soup and borscht, so whenever I needed some healthy hearty food, I’d just fetch one out of the freezer and warm it on the stove. That seems to be the only way to get good soup when you’re sick!

yyz

My aunt used to brew a earl grey tea bag in neocitron. I onlynhad it once and I was so sick I could barely walk but I remember it making the neocitron taste a little less sweet and medicinal. I prefer to avoid the dyes and additives when possible too! I love either having soup or daal in my fridge in winter. Easy and comforting.

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74

Received a surprise ninja sample from this from Roswell Strange!

This one is interesting. I do not know what the ingredients are. The dry tea smells like figs and rose. It almost has a champagne type smell to it.

The brewed tea, there is definitely some hibiscus in here. You tried to hide from me but I found you! Thankfully the hib is not overpowering. I am getting strong fig, and some light rose. I feel like I am getting rhubarb tastes, almost like rhubarb pie. It is kind of tart but also sweet at the same time. I am getting the same yeasty alcohol taste that I got in the smell. This one is pretty good. Next time I would brew for less time just to make sure the hibiscus stays in the shadows. This one gets better as it cools.

I would describe this one a fig-rhubarb pie with rose water and champagne. Ha ha.

Thanks Ros.

Edit: This seems to be one of those teas that has a “fine line”. It was ok hot, great as it cooled, but as it cooled too much the hibiscus drop kicked me in the back of the throat. I had to throw out the bottom of my cup. Which is ok, at least now I know there is a time frame for when this tea needs to be drank.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Roswell Strange

I can see the rhubarb comparison! I haven’t had any hot yet – just cold brewed, but I found it a little peachy too.

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80

Decided that I needed to have this tonight so I could do a comparison of it and DAVIDsTEA’s Genmaicha while the taste of DT’s blend was still fresh in my memory. I’m even drinking this while eating the same vegetable stir fry that I was munching on last night!

Dry, this one smells significantly more “seaweedy” than DT’s version, and this appears to have more green tea in comparison to the amount of brown rice. For preparation, I used 1 tsp. of leaf steeping in 8 oz, of water at about 80 degrees celsius for 1 min. 30 seconds. The colour of the liquor is more green than the DT one from last night was (that one was more of a pale yellow). Brewed, they give off a nearly identical smell.

As far as taste goes, this is still very toasty and roasty and comforting, with a clear “puffed wheat” type of taste – though it’s not quite as distinct as DT’s version, mostly because the taste of the green tea in this one is stronger and masks the rice just a little bit. I do enjoy the DT version just slightly more and I would be content with stocking either, though definitely not both.

So keeping that in mind, both are just as accessible to me, but this one is a fair bit cheaper so I’d probably stock this over the DT version.

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84

The other work tea I had today was this one! Since I had enjoyed it a lot yesterday, I took the last of what was cold brewed in my fridge to work with me again today. Of course, I didn’t have time to drink it at work so it made a return trip with me and I’m drinking it now.

Today, I’m getting slightly stronger fig notes and rose notes, and the peach notes seem to be just slightly more mild. Still quite good though! Not much else to add since this is the exact same brew as yesterday’s…

Lala

This one sounds interesting. I don’t recall seeing it last time I was at McQ’s but I will have to pick some up to try. Is it a straight “fruit” blend or is there some kind of rooibos, chammomile, etc, in the blend?

Roswell Strange

So, it was gonna be a surprise – but I actually sent a sample of this back to Regina when my family left on Sunday. It should be getting “ninja’d” into your mailbox any day now… It’s straight fruit, though :)

Lala

Ha ha ha ha. That is awesome. It still would have been a surprise if you never said anything and just told me it was a fruit blend.

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84

So I bought this from Mcquarrie’s about a week or so ago? I went in with the intention of finding something that I could cold brew to make a nice, fruity drink. Somehow I settled on this even though it didn’t particularly scream “cold brew me!”. I think, mostly, I wanted to see if I could find a fog tea better than the Spiced Fig at DAVIDsTEA (the only other fig tea I’ve tried) that was so disappointing and neither smell nor tasted like fig. This one had a very strong smell of fig (very, VERY strong) so I thought it was worth a try.

I did end up cold brewing it though – for Christmas (well, my early Christmas) because I thought it might be neat having a fig drink around (I associate figs as Christmas fruit, for some reason). I set up 2 and a half tablespoons of leaf in about 5 cups of water which cold brewed in my fridge for around 12 hours. I didn’t end up drinking any of it on Christmas though because there was just so much around to eat and drink.

So I’m having it now at work, the day after. The strained colour is a very nice sunset kind of pink and smells strongly of fig and peaches? McQuarrie’s doesn’t post ingredient lists (they have an ingredient booklets in store, but I didn’t check it) so I’m not one hundred percent sure what was in the mix. I remember seeing LARGE chunks of fig, whole rose buds, a little bit of hibiscus, but nothing quite resembling peach.

Taste wise, this is uber refreshing and actually way fruitier than I thought it would be. The first thing I notice is the fig, which I’m super happy about! That was the whole point. There is also a considerable amount of peach type flavour to me but I’m all for that – it pairs quite nicely with the fig and gives this a little more dimension. I’m finding the rose most noticeable in the aftertaste (along with a milder fig flavour), and it’s a nice kind of way to end the sip.

As far as the hibiscus goes (because I know it’s dreaded by many a people) – to ME I’m finding it’s present but not overwhelmingly so. Mostly, I think it’s contributing a sort of sharpness to the peach that cuts through what might otherwise be a sort of overwhelming amount of straight fig and rose.

I have enough leaf left to maybe maybe one hot cup and another pitcher of this cold, but once I’m out I think I’ll strongly consider repurchasing this! It was very nice to have as a cold drink.

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