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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks to gmathis for this sample and the lovely handmade card that came with it! Very fancy.
Been sitting on this for a couple weeks because I haven’t had the time to properly enjoy it, but it got cracked open today. The smell of the dry tea is delightful—strong and dark like European coffee with hints of bittersweet chocolate and Chinese black tea. Didn’t expect that to carry over to the actual taste, but it did! Sipping on this while I cleaned out all of my external aquarium filters made the whole process much more pleasant. Probably the best execution of a mocha tea that I’ve had so far.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Mocha, Smooth
This isn’t currently appearing on the TeaMaze website, and that’s a shame because the leaves are long and lacy. You’d like the way it looks.
Though “Breakfast” is in the title, this really isn’t the brash and bold thing I require to get my eyes open. “Brunch” or “afternooner” would be a better time-of-day recommendation. The first sensation is on the back of the tongue: sweet—almost brown sugary, with a very subtle malt-and-cocoa sensation that tickles the tip of the tongue as you swallow.
With that said, this is a fine, elegant tea. Just be alert enough to appreciate it.
Ooh! Thanks for this one, gmathis. Had just enough to make a little pot of it before bed.
After a day of approximately 5 other pots of pure oolongs and blacks, this was a much-appreciated reprieve. It’s a calm, unfussy black base with a heavy helping of rich strawberry and cream flavors. Doesn’t even taste artificial, and I appreciate that they didn’t try to make it sweet. This was an excellent one to sip on while starting a new book. Think I’ll be getting an ounce or two of it for when I want a flavored black—my usual Lady Londonberry is good, but sometimes the lemon mixed in with that strawberry can be a bit much!
Flavors: Cream, Strawberry
Sipdown, hopefully temporary. TeaMaze is open again and this one’s on the top of the list when we get there. It’s my current favorite no-fail strawberry and cream black tea. Needs no sugar or milk; all the goodness is thoughtfully provided for you.
The last note I wrote for this was six very long months ago—the last time I got to go on an “Impact Day” adventure with my fifth and sixth grade church kids. Appropriate that I have picked it back up to fortify me for my first Sunday back with them after a long dry spell. They’re my weekly joy break, and my tank was well past empty. Counting the minutes till I get some (properly sterilized and sanitized) air hugs.
You don’t know what you have until you miss it … normally at this time, I’d be in a room we’ve dubbed the Warehouse with 11-year-olds pecking at me like chickens, showing off their phones and dumb photos, telling me about their pets, and asking me if I’ll play a game with them. Our church staff has been fabulous—sending videos and video challenges to our kids; we’re getting ready to connect virtually in a few minutes; our kids’ pastor did several neighborhood drive-by’s, and I’m keeping a steady stream of snail mail headed their way. But, oh, how I am counting the days until they’re driving me nuts again!
However, virtual church has its benefits—like its proximity to a whole pot of this gentle strawberries-and-cream blend. The black tea base is really nothing but a base, the flavors are so pronounced. Authentic sweet strawberry pie flavor; doesn’t taste artificial at all.
It could be the sheer delight of putting my feet up in the sunshine after a high-intensity adventure with kids (more on that in a minute), but my first sip of this novel tea made me go “ah-h-h-h-h!” with eye-rolling pleasure. Sweet strawberries and cream, even without adding milk. Separately, I’m not getting the rum or coconut, but together, this is sweet, creamy, fruity magic. Flavor holds up reasonably for a second steep as well. I’m putting this on my “next trip” list in a larger quantity.
End of tea review. Adventure time:
Eleven kids, four adults, five breakfast casseroles, one coffee cake, 35 dirty dishes, three boxes of plastic gloves entirely used because “these are getting slimy,” one dead battery on the church van and an accidental triggering of the burglar alarm at the homeless shelter. My little team was on sausage-browning patrol. Your heart would grow three sizes like the grinch watching these kids doing grown-up sized acts of service. Mine’s about to bust.
Enjoying an absolutely delicious Sunday break, bathing in a sunbeam aimed directly on my rocking chair (although Tazo is glaring at me because he claims to be the rightful owner of any and all winter sunshine spots).
Close to hand is this nice, silky, buttery oolong from our new favorite shop in the Ozarks. Its fruit flavor and scent is not far from peach cobbler, and while I don’t generally choose oolongs first, I’m glad hubby talked me into bringing this home. Little pricey, so I hope it holds up well in subsequent steeps.
You would have laughed at my Sunday church kids—10 and 11 year olds. They asked me for another tea and cocoa day, and it was fun watching them paw through my chest of random bags and man the electric kettle like grown-ups. Shiloh loves Good Earth Sweet and Spicy with enough sugar to fill a hummingbird feeder; David insists he only likes “sweet tea,” and Jonathan, on a dare, tried a cup of Lapsang Souchong: “Hey, that’s not so bad!”
Just when we laid in supplies for all things winter—fuzzy socks, plenty of cold-weather comfort food, Christmas-y tea…we got a string of 65F sunshiny days that will carry us well past Boxing Day. Mind you, I am not complaining! Just having to rearrange my sipping pattern a little.
Whatever the weather, we gave this one a try…husband loves TeaMaze’s Irish Whiskey flavored black tea and hoped this would be its spicy counterpart. Truthfully, I’m not getting any of the bourbon-y flavor at all, but the cinnamon-clove-orange trio goes well with a rooibos base. It resembles Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice, but less sweet, which is OK by me.
Using a 3 a.m. thunderstorm wake-up as the excuse for finishing off my packet of this strong stuff this morning. No new thoughts about it—still malty and brash—but for the price, next time around, I’ll default back to good ol’ PG Tips and use my TeaMaze allowance for what they do best—unique flavored blends.
Second run-through of this CTC…at its hottest, just off the steep, it is strong (I’m sticking with the dark pumpernickel descriptor I used previously) and smooth; as it cools, it starts acting like those stupid alarm clocks that get LOUDER AND LOUDER IF YOU DON’T SHUT THEM OFF. Sharp and brash. Which is OK. sometimes I need brash to get moving in the morning.
Realistically, this would be best toned down with a bit of milk and sugar. Builders’ tea.
Oh…British tea…(rabbit warning)! If you are a historical mystery fan, have you discovered Maisie Dobbs? Spans post WWI to (currently) early WWII and the London blitz. Delicious storytelling. At any rate, I’m reading the blitz installment and it mentioned a wartime tea ration of 2 ounces per person per week. So today’s tea chat topic…how would you manage?
Our Christmas run to Branson and the Ozarks is steeped in tradition…right down to which booth we occupy at Godfather’s Pizza in Nixa, MO (balcony area, left side in the middle) and precisely which seats we grab at Silver Dollar City’s Courthouse Theater for the “A Christmas Carol” musical (center auditorium, 2/3 of the way back, exactly in front of the sound booth). When Tiny Tim starts to sing, I’m like Pavlov’s dog…it’s the automatic emotional trigger for me to start blubbering. The run was extra misty this year; I’m missing my parents and sister, and when (again, according to tradition) we stopped to smooch in front of the building façade where I met my husband circa 1980, it was GONE. Bulldozed in favor of a water ride. They did not ask my permission.
Sorry, just had to get that out. The tea part’s coming. Day 2 of the tradition involves Christmas shopping at favorite venues, and some of that shopping was embarrassingly self-indulgent at this fun, colorful little tea shop on the strip.
We asked the TeaMaze owner to guide us to her strongest stuff, and this was on her recommended list. It’s a clobber-you-upside-the-jaw Assam CTC. A teaspoon and a four-minute steep was incredibly stout…malty pumpernickel in 10-pound Doc Martens. Second steep at 5:30 was still strong enough for an a.m. tea for most of you, and took milk extremely well. They’re calling for a hard winter in these parts. This will be useful.
I have dearly missed Celestial Seasonings’ Sweet Apple Chamomile, so I just homebrewed my own. This is (truthfully, a little pricey) packet of dried apple cubes that steeps up somewhere between Granny Smith and Fuji. I threw in an equal amount of bulk chamomile and let the whole mess go for about 15 minutes. Bingo!
Once I’ve used up this apple blend, I think I’ll try to hunt down some plain old dried apple bits at our bulk Natural Grocers for a slightly less expensive combination.
I went overboard. We were in our happy place (the Ozarks) and stopped at our happy place in our happy place (TeaMaze) and, well, I was so happy that I just over-happified and pretty much blew my tea budget until spring.
I was persuaded by the sample that the purveyors had all cozied up in a hot pot. It was fruity and sweet with just a tiny bit of tang in the sip. I just finished my first cup at home and concluded that they must have sugared the sample a bit to up the apple-tude. I’ll have to do that next time. However, even straight up, I think the natural sweetness will make this a good and gentle nightcap.
Welcome to just over 18 hours in southwest Missouri: 65 degrees F, severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings, flash flooding, areal flooding, winter storm advisories, freezing rain, and sleet/snow that goes “snick” against the window. Weather that goes “snick” isn’t much fun. Temps in the teens anticipated for tonight.
But as it was a great day to stay in, I made a full pot of this lovely, mocha-y, chocolatey pu-erh. The scent is as good as sniffing the liner of a Whitman’s chocolate sampler :)
One of the chief reasons I choose tea over coffee is that the civilized nudge of morning tea is much kinder than the jolt of morning coffee. With that said, strong coffee scent makes me melt into a happy sensory puddle. I think we’ve landed on a beautiful friendship here with this pu-erh-coffee bean blend. Just enough bean and flavor to add aroma and personality to a very good tea base. The pu-erh is gentle and sweet, and there’s a little creaminess going on here, even without milk. I wish I could attach the smell to this note. You’d love it, too.
Family is beginning to warn me that I repeat myself…so pardon if I’ve used this analogy before. But you know those annoying alarm clocks that get louder and louder the longer you ignore them? That’s a fair description of this morning tea. The first few sips are sweet and wheaty, but as you progress, the toast turns from seven-grain to dark pumpernickel. If you aren’t awake when you take the first sip, you should be by the bottom of the cup.
Continuing to enjoy this one—it’s not often you can find a plain black morning tea that can give you two good unleaded, caffeinated steeps. Just a tiny bite to it, but this morning I need bit. (Prepping to teach my high octane 10 and 11 year olds.) If you don’t need teeth in yours, this is great with milk.
I didn’t add a picture, because the photo on the TeaMaze website looks like a full-leaf tea, and the contents of my package are little nubblins and granules, like my old faithful PG Tips.
Which is the best comparison I can provide for this strong breakfast tea. The fresh cup was deep ebony, and at first, I thought it was milder and gentler in flavor than the usual British builders’ tea. However, it strengthens as it sits, and now that it has cooled, it’s downright sharp and puckery. Not for the faint of heart.
I anticipate a perfectly acceptable second steep, and next time around, I believe this one will welcome a splash of millk.
Based on my previous notes, I must have subconsciously dubbed this one as a holiday tea (Thanksgiving, Christmas)… it just seemed like the perfect Easter morning accompaniment to the basket of gratuitous sugar the Xmas Bunny (long-standing family joke) left for us this morning. No, we have not grown up yet.
I want my chocolate teas to taste like hot fudge straight out of the dispenser (a throwback to first Dairy Queen job in high school). Unfortunately, few of them do. However, the orange peel in this nice blend complements the tea-flavored chocolate—a really nice balance.
We took the long way to a favorite mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant today for carry out—down weaving county lanes that make “tree tunnels” as you drive through them. Dogwood and redbuds in full bloom and fresh, moist, green vegetation of every flavor. Just a lovely nature-y reminder that hope still abounds. ..y’all be joyful, in spite of everything.
Merry Thanksgiving! Normally, I am a stickler about keeping holidays distinct and separate, but we’re making a mashed-up exception today; toodling around in jammies and putting up a tree … after all, December is essentially upon us. How did that happen?
It’s raw and rainy outside, so something a little festive is in order. Not much new to say about this Chocolate Orange blend, other than that the flavors are spot on with no artificiality or chemical-osity.
Lots of blessings to count today: faith and family memories, friends I’ve met, and those I haven’t (that would be you all). Hope you find a few moments today to ponder on what matters most.