Nina's Paris

Recent Tasting Notes

drank The des Muses by Nina's Paris
460 tasting notes

It’s Sunday Tea and Books time, people! Here we go.

The Tea

I got this as a sample from Laurent back at the end of February/ beginning of March, and have been holding onto it then – it’s been almost 6 months, and tonight was the first time I tried it.

I was expecting a blast of citrus and flowers, but the flavour in this is very subdued. I’m getting a little bit of citrus, and I can sense that it’s grapefruit, but it’s not knocking my socks off here.

I brewed this at 87C for about 2-3 minutes, using 2 tsp for 16 oz of liquid. I’ve found that those parameters have worked out pretty well for my other green tea from Nina’s, Demain, but the leaf between the two looks quite different. The leaf in The Des Muses is much longer and spindlier, looking more like a sencha.

The Book

Well, this is probably a bit of a cheat, but what can I say? If this tea is called “The Des Muses”, then I’m definitely going to compare it to one of the Greek Muses, the nine women seen as the embodiment of culture and artistic achievement in Ancient Greece. So which one will it be?

Well, since it appears that I’m not too fond of this tea, I’m going to go with Erato, the muse of lyric/love poetry. I’ve got a bit of a grudge against Erato, so why not?

Let me explain.

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Greek myths. I read about the stories of Perseus and Theseus and Atalanta, and I was old enough to watch the “Hercules” and “Xena” shows when they were on TV, but young enough to watch them and take them at face value – I had no inkling of their camp value at the time.

As a result, I became a trove of trivia about figures in Greek mythology.

Now, fast-forward to an event about 4.5 years ago. At that point, I was part of a trivia league that met in pubs across the city every week on Monday nights. The scoring worked like this: each round of trivia questions had a theme, and during a round, every person on both teams had the chance to answer a single question. If the person who was asked the question answered it correctly, their team scored 2 points. If they couldn’t answer it correctly but their teammates could, the team scored 1 point. However, if nobody on one team could answer the question, the opposing team had the chance to get a “steal” and earn 1 point for themselves if they could answer the question correctly instead.

(Does this make any sense? I hope it does.)

Anyways, this one night, the round of trivia in question was about….the muses! And it appeared that among all of the people on BOTH teams, I was the only one who knew the names of the muses. So I continually saved my team by earning 1 point when each individual lost the chance to earn 2, and kept stealing points from the other team when they couldn’t answer their questions.

However, I didn’t remember the names of ALL 9 muses – I could only remember 8: Calliope, Urania, Polyhymnia, Terpischore, Melpomene, Thalia, Clio, and Euterpe. I was struggling and struggling to remember the name of the 9th muse.

And guess what happened? The ONE muse I couldn’t name was the answer of the ONE question that was posed to me specifically, thus the ONE opportunity I had to score 2 points for my team instead of a succession of 1-pointers.

That one muse I couldn’t name? You guessed it: fuckin’ Erato.

So I couldn’t answer that particular question, and NO ONE ELSE could either. Thus, that question earned a big round goose egg for all involved.

You know what the kicker was?

I gave the correct answer to every other trivia question that was posed specifically to me that night. Out of 10 rounds, I got 9 2-point questions right – my highest result ever in that particular trivia league – and the only one I got wrong was that damned question about Erato.

(Can you tell I still haven’t gotten over it yet? Fuck you, Erato. Seriously.)

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Sami Kelsh

Yeah, Erato’s a total bastard.

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First sample from the GCTTB3!

I have read so many positive reviews on this tea, so I was excited to try it! At first sip, I found it quite bitter. The tea looked black to me, so I used boiling water which I think might have burnt it. I immediately thought, okay, this is a pina colada flavoured gen mai cha, so I went strait on the computer to read what it’s actually supposed to taste like. Hmmmm. Caramel and vanilla, nope, not getting either of those. Not sure where that pineapple flavour I am getting is coming from.

I’m not loving this right now, but I think it is totally my fault. I am going to pull this from the box and steep it differently next time. I think I will leave it unrated for now.

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78
drank Pour Maman by Nina's Paris
512 tasting notes

Strawberries, vanilla, and rose? What could go wrong? :D
Apparently nothing, except for my steeping the tea until it’s astringent. Bleh.
I don’t get much rose, but I do get floral. Besides that, this is very tasty. Soft vanilla and fun fruitiness. A very and tasty accessible tea. :)

Which reminds me, a work friend asked me to help her stop relying on sweet drinks so I showed up in her office with a bunch of tea samples. Her eyes got all big when she saw the various packets and brew basket. “Omg, you’re serious about tea!” Umm… Yeah. :)
She really enjoyed the genmaicha we started with. That’s another very accessible tea.

Thanks for sharing this precious tea with me Ashmanra!

ashmanra

All Nina’s get just three minutes from me! This one is really good when it isn’t oversteeped. I hope you have enough to try it again! :)

Mercuryhime

Oh I do. No worries. I just got distracted is all. Next time will be perfect!

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80
drank Taurus by Nina's Paris
581 tasting notes

Lazy day so it’s this tea in my DT cup shaped filter tonight!
Thank you VariaTEA for sending this tea to me! I love rooibos so much, and this definitely had that woodsy smell to it. Don’t really smell the strawberries and cream so much dry, but once I poured the water in, the other non woodsy flavours came out :)
Right now it just tastes like water but SOOOON, I had a slight hint of strawberry so I’m excited for this tea!

Mmmm a very lovely tea. I can definitely taste the strawberries and cream, with a slight hint of wood coming from the rooibos!

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I bought this from someone’s stash sale (VariaTEA I think?). I’ve been sitting on it for a while now. The first time I tried to make some, it came out inexplicably bitter, and I was sort of afraid to try it again. So I tried it today with the same parameters and it came out with only a tiny bit of bitterness. Go figure. Anyway, the leaves are rather small and dark, and there are rose petals mixed in with them. It smells very strong and perfumey, with a sweet fruit element. I added some sugar to help tone done that little bit of bitterness.

This tea isn’t bad, considering I’m not the biggest fan of rose. The rose is definitely the most present flavor here, unfortunately. There’s some apple there too, and it’s a kind of tart green apple flavor. And there’s a bit of black tea taste, but it’s overall very submissive and mellow in the background. I thought this would be more similar to Fauchon’s apple tea, but this is more of a rose tea with a bit of apple, while that one is all apple.

Not going to rate this since I don’t like rose, but I would definitely recommend it for people who do. Into the rehoming box it goes.

Flavors: Floral, Green Apple, Rose, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

I like rose, so this one at three minutes and 200F is great for me. At four minutes I get almost no rose but a lot of sour apple, which a few others have really loved. It amazes me how much the steep time alters this tea. Could the bitterness be the sour apple flavor rather than leaf bitterness? Or is it astringency?

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83
drank Jasmin by Nina's Paris
581 tasting notes

A lovely Jasmine tea from VariaTEA!
This lasted me through two steepings, and one for my roommate. This is a great jasmine, and not at all bitter :)

VariaTEA

I’m glad you enjoyed it. Knowing how you feel about jasmine teas, I thought you’d appreciate it.

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80
drank Gemini by Nina's Paris
4366 tasting notes

Backlog:

So, I’m gemini so I wanted to try this. I’m not sure exactly what grapefruit, strawberries and vanilla have to do with the sign of the twins, but … I still liked this.

Nutty, woody, notes of fruit, the grapefruit is uplifting and bright, the strawberries are sweet and tart and the vanilla softens it with a beautiful creamy note. Very enjoyable.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/24/gemini-rooibos-blend-from-ninas-paris/

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80
drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
697 tasting notes

From the Round 3 Here’s Hoping Tea Box

Tea of the morning. I have to admit that this tea caught me off guard. I didn’t read about it before I steeped it, but for some reason I thought it was a cherry flavored tea. Needless to say, the first sip was quite a surprise. It was a good surprise though! This tea is full of caramel and vanilla flavors along with some yummy roasty, toasty notes from the rice. This would make a better evening/dessert tea than a morning tea, but it was still very tasty.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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65
drank Jamais Vu by Nina's Paris
13 tasting notes

Dry leaf aroma: Strong and pleasant orange scent.

Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/rv49b7FcKV

Preparation: Brewed in an infuser mug.

First/only steeping: 3 minutes at 210 degrees. The aroma is fruity with hints of blackcurrant; as the cup cools I detect a bit of orange. While the tea is still quite hot the fruit flavors are muddled together with a subtle bitterness and I get a slightly tart aftertaste. After the cup cools I can pick out the orange but I do not taste the pineapple at all; the bitterness remains.

I have to confess that I dumped out my first cup as I thought I messed up the steep due to the bitterness. Unfortunately, the second cup was still bitter, though less so (I used less leaf for the second brewing).

I might try this iced to see if it makes a difference in the flavor and bitterness.

Flavors: Bitter, Fruity, Orange

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Cheri

I hate when I screw up a cup of tea and it’s just not drinkable.

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83
drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
906 tasting notes

Second Nina’s sample of the day! Thank you again Laurent for the opportunity to try your teas! So far they have not disappointed!

The dry smell of this was caramelly and good, with a hint of toast. I steeped for 3 mins with 175 degree water, the whole sample again, and the steeped scent is caramel genmaicha. I love genmaicha and haven’t had any in AGES, so this is a nice change and now I want to order some plain genmaicha too lol.

As for the flavor, this is quite good, although I admit, my expectations were VERY high after reading the reviews. It mostly tastes like genmaicha, a good quality one, and then the caramel flavor comes in at the end of the sip. YUM! It’s roasty, popcorn like, nutty and caramel. Probably closest in flavor to a toffee, good stuff.

Overall, this is a tasty toffee like tea, but it is fairly sweet, and I do find it interesting that genmaicha, generally a savory tea to me, is paired with the sweet flavors of caramel and vanilla. It is tasty and good, but I am still a bit undecided on whether I would order more of it in the future. It definitely is sweet and delicious, but not an everyday tea, more of a treat one haha. Caramel popcorn reminiscent! Thanks again Laurent and everyone at Nina’s Tea for the free sample of this tea!

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85
drank Pour Maman by Nina's Paris
906 tasting notes

First of all, a big thank you to Laurent at Nina’s Tea for the free samples! I am finally getting to them :) this is the first one I had to try due to the great reviews and the fact I have a migraine today and thought some caffeine would help. The dry smell is very fruity, definitely a red fruit scent, slightly tart, with some strawberries in there too. I steeped the entire sample (not sure how much tea, probably a TBSP, give or take) with 175 degree water for 3 minutes. The resulting scent is lovely strawberries, fruit and creamy vanilla. Yum!

As for the flavor, this is very similar to the strawberry cream black tea from Zen Tea, but with a stronger vanilla aftertaste and it’s a much smoother tea. The red fruit flavor also adds a punch of fruity flavor. First taste is strawberry, and the aftertaste of sweet, soft vanilla lingers on the palate in a wonderful way. This is a soothing and delicious tea!

Overall, this is a very nicely flavored tea. The fruits and vanilla meld together in a lovely way. As the cup cools a bit of a floral flavor comes out. I like how the cup has changed but has stayed very smooth. Brewing at the low temperature definitely was a good choice! Ooh, a tiny touch of green tea flavor coming out in the far aftertaste as well. I am very pleased that I chose this as a free sample, and once again, thanks to Laurent at Nina’s Tea for the opportunity to sample his teas! :D great start to the day!

Flavors: Red Fruits, Strawberry, Vanilla

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73
drank Etoile du Nord by Nina's Paris
1333 tasting notes

Thank you Nina’s for the samples! This one sounded very intriguing – rhubarb and violet with a keemun base. For some reason this sample was an individually wrapped pyramid tea bag. Nina’s suggests 1-2 minutes for this one, so I went with about 70 seconds. I probably should have steeped for two minutes, as the base wasn’t tough enough for me. The flavor is good but I wouldn’t say it was rhubarb. The something extra reminds me more of lychee. There is something sweet and floral to it as well, but I’m not sure what violet tastes like! I’ve tried the keemun base on its own and it’s a standard delicious keemun but I could swear this is the other base that they have. This doesn’t taste like the keemun to me. I would have liked the rhubarb to be more rhubarb-like but this is an interesting and unique idea for a blend. The same keemun that I tried before would have made this blend better though.
Steep #1 // 7 min after boiling // 70 second steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min

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80
drank Magicienne by Nina's Paris
384 tasting notes

Another sample from Stephanie! I generally like to jump on any chance I get to try one of the famous French brands (Nina’s, Mariage Freres, Fauchon, etc) because they tend to be a pain in the ass to get ahold of. Although this is not true with Nina’s anymore, since they have a lovely new store website (http://www.ninasteastore.com). Flavored green teas aren’t generally something I ever consider when purchasing tea, just because I usually only drink green tea as a digestive or palate cleanser. But I love pina colada, so I had to try this one! The leaf appears to be sencha. It smells quite sweet and vaguely coconutty.

Brewed aroma is mostly coconut. I added a little bit of sugar (and noticed there was still golden Yunnan fairy dust on my teaspoon, cute!) just because I almost always end up adding it anything with flavored teas. Hmm… I’m finding the flavoring to be fairly light, which I suppose I should expect from French teas. The coconut is very present at the front of the sip, and then I start to get pineapple near the end. The base tea itself tastes grassy and has a slight autumn leaf element.

Overall, quite lovely and light for a coconut tea, and I do enjoy that little hint of pineapple near the end, but I wish there was more pineapple in general!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Coconut, Grass, Pineapple, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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96
drank Je t'aime by Nina's Paris
414 tasting notes

I got a sample of this from NayLynn the other day, and since I’m feeling under the weather I thought it would be a good time to have a tea called “I love you”! This is a deep, rich caramel, almost like the burnt sugar on top of a creme brulee. It’s not actually as sweet as I was expecting from the smell, but it’s delicious. Definitely a great pick-me-up for today!

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83
drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
1819 tasting notes

Thank you again VariaTEA for the sample of this! The cute little tin has been hanging out in my kitchen most of the week while I’ve been trying this one out; and I have to say that I actually really liked it, not that I didn’t expect to. It just feel’s like there’s a little “extra” to this EG over others.

This note specifically is for a batch I made in my timolino with milk. It was very smooth with a really nice black base, with strong notes of lavendar and jasmine in addition to a somewhat milder bergamot flavour and a sort of plum-y fruitiness to it. Honestly, it was just so good and it had some many unexpected flavours in it.

I enjoyed sipping on it at home while curled up on the couch munching out on pizza and stuff. I also met a new person; Tre’s friend Kaitlyn (I may have spelled it wrong; there are so many variations) came over to watch movies with him and stuff and it was the first time I’ve actually met her, though I’ve heard a lot about her. The two of them have a weird relationship; he was (maybe still is sorta?) super infatuated with her but she has a boyfriend – still they’re super flirty with each other. They had a bit of a falling out when he called her out on it and said he couldn’t just be friends with her if she was going to continue to treat him like she does Nigel (her boyfriend), but they’re working past it now and are back on track to being friends again.

It’s complicated, and a source of great entertainment for me – but I honestly feel bad for them both too. He’s right; she can be sorta aggressively flirty with him, but on the other hand he can also be one of those guys who does the whole “friend zoned” thing where he acts super charming/like an awesome friend, but has sorta “ulterior motives”. Bleck.

Flavors: Bergamot, Jasmine, Lavender, Plums, Stewed Fruits

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73
drank Thé sur la Lune by Nina's Paris
1678 tasting notes

(174)
Yes. I still like this one! It’s fruity and sweet and delicious, but not quite as magical as I remembered it. Perhaps I didn’t steep it in exactly the same way. Perhaps it’s a tea for sipping in the light of the moon.

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drank Eve by Nina's Paris
186 tasting notes

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drank 4 Fruits Rouges by Nina's Paris
186 tasting notes

Before today I had not been enjoying this as much as I would have liked. It reminds me of strawberry/cherry chapstick. Today it is wonderfully uplifting iced in this hot humid weather with a wonky AC. I added a little sugar today hoping it would be more pleasant. So perfect I’m about to make another glass and sadly it will be gone.

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78
drank Grand Amour by Nina's Paris
156 tasting notes

Thank you to Laurent/Nina’s for this sample!

Dry: Small tightly rolled black tea leaves. The dry leaves smell divine to me- I was really excited to try it! A touch of caramel, stone fruits, vanilla, and almost a cocoa note as well in the little ziploc baggie. I didn’t have enough for a full teapot, but I was still in great anticipation.

Steeped: Clear brown liquor. This reminds me a LOT of Harney’s Paris and the scent is very similar. I think the aroma on this one is more raspberry though- very fruity and pleasant.

Taste: I wanted to have a true love forever affair with this one from the dry scent, but the taste is a little bit less than I hoped for. It is still a good cup of tea, but I didn’t really get any caramel notes from it as described. Red fruits are the most prominent along with a nice maltiness, a touch of vanilla, and a somewhat unusual perfume aftertaste. The samples arrived in an opened enveloped that USPS had taped back together and one of the 3 was missing entirely. Maybe the tea was in the truck next to perfume samples? I don’t really know what to make of the perfume aspect, but I am glad I was able to try it. I have one other tea from the company to try another time, so I will keep my fingers crossed!

Flavors: Malt, Perfume, Raspberry, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82
drank Hepburn by Nina's Paris
1885 tasting notes

So I never really liked chocolate and orange which is why I passed on asking for a sample of this while I was at Nina’s. However, the combination of positive reviews and the fact that I enjoyed Three Friends piqued my interest enough that I asked Cavocorax for a sample. Now that I have tried it for myself, I think I agree with Cavo in saying this is the best chocolate orange tea out there. Really. It is good. Very good. Smooth, creamy, chocolatey and with a bright citrus flavor. Yum! Thank you Cavo!!

Cavocorax

Yes! #highfives

VariaTEA

It’s funny because even after trying a few chocolate orange teas I like, I am still hesitant about trying them. Your tasting note the other day made me stop putting it off and thank goodness I did because it was really good. Thank you!!

Cavocorax

You’re welcome. It’s been a long search for me, so I’m happy I can stop and just order all the Hepburn!

VariaTEA

A wonderful plan. I wonder how this would be iced…Hmmmm…ooooh or maybe Creme Brulee/Divine Temptation would be good iced. Or both. Can you tell I am excited about having a gravity steeper to make iced teas?

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drank The des Anges by Nina's Paris
501 tasting notes

Received samples of this from Nina’s Tea and Courtney.

I checked Steepster ahead of time to determine the best temperature, rather, to see what everyone else did. I went with boiling for 2-3 min.

I found this pretty astringent. Not as smooth nor as creamy as I’d hoped, I found the strawberry taste seemed a bit artificial to me, but the main issue was the bitterness. Perhaps at a lesser temperature it would be softer and creamier, but as I prepared it, this tea was not particularly angelic!

Happy to have tried it out, thanks to Nina’s and Courtney!

Preparation
8 min or more
Courtney

Aw! Yes, I wasn’t a huge fan the first time around. I waited ~5 minutes after boiling the next time and it worked much better.

whatshesaid I think I have enough left to try again! :)

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drank Je t'aime by Nina's Paris
207 tasting notes

I received a surprise package from JustJames quite some time ago, and I’ve been remiss in posting any notes on the lovely tea’s that were generously sent my way. Partly because I’ve been turning away from flavoured tea’s in favour of straight up tea’s. But once in a while I indulge and reach for flavoured.

On opening the sample packet I could immediately detect the sweetness and vanilla. I used to be fanatical about vanilla tea’s, and this just reawakened my love for all things vanilla.

Sweet, delicious caramel and vanilla. Mmmm.

Thanks JustJames!

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80
drank Sencha Yame by Nina's Paris
764 tasting notes

Made this one again, used a bit more tea and a bit longer steep. It actually turned out really good. Definitely has that smooth sencha taste. But it was kind of weird. My initial thought was that this tastes like a light black tea. But it wasn’t oolong’y tasting, not a roasted oolong. More like a black tea. Kind of hard to explain. But it is good.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Sencha Yame by Nina's Paris
764 tasting notes

This is a pretty good sencha. I quite like sencha and I find it hard to find a good one. This one is not as buttery as I would like. But it is smooth. There is definitely a bit more spinachy, slightly woody flavour to this sencha, but it is still good.

I had brewed this one up hot and then put it in the fridge after to make it “iced” for a recipe. Iced it is ok. I have never been a huge fan of iced greens. It is just slightly bitter as iced. But it still maintains that nice sencha flavour.

Ok to the recipe. I found the best recipe for home made Bubble Tea. YES!!!!!
So here is the recipe for 4-6 servings:
1/2cup tapioca pearls
2 TBSP honey
1/3 cup Marscapone
1 1/2 cup green or black tea, iced
2 cups juice
1 cup milk.

You are supposed to cook the tapioca as per the package. Whisk honey and marscapone together, and slowly add tea, milk, and juice. Add tapioca and serve over ice.

Well of course I could not find tapioca pearls anywhere. The only thing I could find was the tapioca that is mixed up with starch so it makes the pudding or is used as a thickener. So my bubble tea had no bubbles, but that is ok. I also used this green tea and I used strawberry-kiwi juice. I served it with fresh farmers market strawberries.

It is so good. The liquor actually has minimal colour, which I think is good. Kind of goes to show how the mass produced type bubble teas have some sort of ridiculous dye in them. It is smooth and milky. The green tea is very light underneath the milky flavour. I think next time I would use a bit more green tea. The juice adds a very light fruity flavour, mostly strawberry. The marscapone makes it thick and luxurious and the honey adds just a bit of natural tasting sweetness.

I think next time I would like to try this with a fruit flavoured tea and omit the juice part.

Enjoying the day :)

Mercuryhime

Marscapone? Really? I never would have thought to add that to bubble tea!

Lala

I would have never thought to add it either. But it does make a good bubble tea. I bet it would be good in smoothies and stuff too. It just adds some thickness and creaminess.

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