Vices and Spices

Recent Tasting Notes

100

I actually don’t know how long you’re supposed to steep this tea, but I saw someone else write 3-5 minutes, and it did taste quite good in that range. I love love love the rich blackberry taste and smell that lingers after I’m finished. Definitely a fantastic fruity black tea :]

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

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86
drank Russian Caravan by Vices and Spices
382 tasting notes

Cloudy day. Giant pot of Russian Caravan.

You know you are jealous!

This is the first Russian Caravan that I’ve tried, although it is not my first time having it, I’ve just been busy. Ugh school. Ugh masters thesis. Ugh life. It’s very nice, not as smoky as I thought it would be, but since I don’t have a basis for comparison, I have no idea if what I thought is what a Russian caravan is supposed to taste like. If that makes any sense. Still! I like it. Great afternoon tea.

In other news, have managed to break my teapot’s lid. Yes, the same teapot for which I already had to go out and buy a replacement lid for. Which turned out to be the lid of a little Vaguely Asian™ tea cup. I am now using the saucer from the same cup as a replacement lid. When that inevitably breaks because I am clumsy liek woah, I will probably attempt to use the cup as a lid, because dammit I am getting my money’s worth!

~lauren.

Oh no! The trials and tribulations continue on that teapot lid! LOL I recall your original hunt-for-lid stories ….

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88
drank Kashmir by Vices and Spices
382 tasting notes

So I was feeling tea ennui earlier this week and decided to go grab a bunch of 1 oz samples from the tea shop I have a gift certificate to. (I can’t help it! I just LOVE samples…) The chais they had that were actually labeled as such were somewhat disappointing, as they had NO CARDAMON and that is just unacceptable to me, but I saw this instead and decided to grab it, despite the fact that it smelled kind of like seaweed. That scent has since faded so I’m just going to chalk it up to the container they were storing it in…

This tea is cardamon city. I am serious, I swear a good half of the ounce I got is composed of little green cardamon pods. It is, in fact, verging on the excessive.

On the other hand, it tastes really nice – like a very mild chai. It’s definitely got cinnamon in it as well. And doubtless some other spices, but they are somehow all mellow so that this is good both with milk and without. Made myself a giant pot and have been drinking it all day.

Tabby

Samples are the best! It enables my tea ADD, haha.

Ewa

tea ADD is SO exactly the name of what I have.

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89
drank Coconut Pouchong by Vices and Spices
382 tasting notes

Teapot tea for the day. Ivan has a little stand that you can put a tea light in and it will keep your tea nice and warm for a couple of hours. This appeals to both my laziness and my utter wussiness when it comes to being cold.

On consideration, I find that this lacks the character that I recall from the GM coconut pouchong. That may be memory playing silly buggers with me though, I don’t know. One day I will get the GM stuff again and know for sure. In the meantime, this is still a perfectly acceptable substitute.

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89
drank Coconut Pouchong by Vices and Spices
382 tasting notes

I have been pining for Golden Moon Tea’s Coconut Pouchong for a long time now, but they are SO far down on my “to buy from” list (it’s just in order of stuff I have tried samples from – but between various samplers, promotions, and being distracted by 52teas /shakes fist at Frank, I keep putting it off)

Also, I am cheap. And poor.

So of course when I saw that Vices and Spices (to which, if you recall I had a $50 gift certificate courtesy of the BEST MUM IN THE WORLD) had a coconut pouchong, I decided to try it, knowing full well of course that it will probably not be as delicious (unless they are secretly sourcing from Golden Moon, but…I don’t know!)

I actually brewed up a bunch in my teapot rather than a single serving in my ingenuitea. Sadly, the water I used was too hot. I have recently switched over to a stovetop kettle as the wiring at my new place is…not that great and I have so far managed to blow a fuse twice – both times using my electric kettle. Anyway, I still have not figured out the new kettle’s “moods” regarding water temperature so I just let it boil. I could really tell that the water was too hot, because the leaves tasted kind of burnt and vegetal at first. As the tea steeped longer and cooled, it finally settled on that nice borderline oolong taste. Hurray!

Now, at this point, I do not really remember how Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong tasted, although I do recall being very pleased with it. I was very pleased with this as well. (well once it cooled) The coconut milk is not overpowering and goes well with the oolongish taste. I got three (giant doom coffee) mugs out of Ivan last night and was very satisfied – especially since each mug seemed better than the last. I love a nice forgiving tea that doesn’t mind how long it steeps!

I think I shall go grab some tea lights so that I can activate Ivan’s “pretend samovar” mode and keep this nice and warm for afternoon drinking.

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76

The main problem with the whole orange/matcha thing is the fact that since I moved, I now have a 40 minute bus ride to school. This means I have to wake up earlier. Which ACTUALLY means that I wake up 20 minutes before I need to leave the house and rush around trying to get ready and forget things and spaz out. What that means for my morning drink is that I am usually drinking it VERY soon after having brushed my teeth. (I could drink it before, but then what would I drink on my way to the bus?)

This is not optimal. Clearly the solution is to stop brushing my teeth.

Cofftea

… or use a neutral toothpaste lol

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76

Continue to drink matcha and orange juice in the mornings – think I’ve got the proportions right because it is not unpalatable.

I still worry about scurvy though.

What do you think would happen if I mixed matcha with emergenC?

Cofftea

hmmm… try it!

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76

I live!

Lack of structure does terrible things to my productivity and makes me too lazy to write tea notes. But that is done now! For I…have CLASSES.

Specifically, I have Chinese every day at 9 am which means I have to wake up at stupid o’clock so I can catch the bus/get a parking spot. UGH. This is DEFINITELY a job for matcha.

I have also begun to worry that I am going to get scurvy since lack of structure/productivity is also not conducive to eating healthy, so I decided to take a page from Cofftea’s book and get my orange juice + matcha on. Now, the major problem with me and my constant battle to not get scurvy is that I think orange juice is gross, so I am stuck with vitamin enhanced other juice of some kind or grapefruit juice, which for some reason is NEVER ON SALE. Since orange juice was on sale and matcha makes everything better, though, I decided to give it another chance.

The result: matcha makes orange juice drinkable, but only just. Assuming that orange juice continues to be on sale, I will probably stick with it.

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76

Morning smoothie! Man, my local grocery needs to stop selling strawberries at $1.50/pack. I want to try other fruit dammit, but I can’t pass up a deal like THAT. Surely, you understand.

Added a bit more matcha today. Nice and green tea-y.

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76

Morning banana strawberry matcha smoothie. The color combination of strawberries and matcha makes for an odd result. Kind of…flesh colored. Ew. Ok, now I have to wash that mental image out of my brain.

Cofftea

Yeah… matcha smoothies and milk shakes are NOT pretty. Just try visualizing a chocolate matcha shake… blech! Matcha OJ isn’t attractive either.

mpierce87

Just matcha is a strange color also for those not familiar with it. I took an iced matcha latte from Starbucks to school the other day and my students were like “ooh, what IS that…?” They were a bit grossed out by it I think, but it was delicious!

Ewa

Very true, at least you’re sort of expecting it when it’s just matcha by itself though.

mpierce87

True. I remember I ordered a strawberry banana smoothie with matcha once and the color was horrible. At least plain matcha doesn’t look dirty.

Cofftea

The color of straight matcha doesn’t bother me, but matcha lattes do as well as green tea ice cream… go figure since I LOVE mint chip ice cream and am not bothered by the color lol.

Ewa

You know, that is EXACTLY it, mrawlins2, mixing matcha with other stuff makes it look dirty!

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76

Second smoothie try today, used less matcha in general and also sifted it before blending. Much better this time around – and the color is much more appetizing as well! The taste is still much more GREEN TEA RAR than either of the other two matchas I’ve tried, so it makes for quite a different smoothie, but it’s also tasty this way, so I’m good. I will even be magnanimous and inch the rating up a bit.

Cofftea

Hmmm… sifting for smoothie making… does it really make that much of a differeince? I’d think the blender would be powerful enough to blend it well enough…

Cofftea

lol *difference… the trash button disappeared so I can’t retype my comment.

Ewa

Well, I didn’t need to with the ceremonial DoMatcha or the 52teas matcha, but this stuff seems to enjoy clumping up on the sides. Also, I’ve taken to omitting milk so that my smoothies come out thicker, which means that the most liquid thing there is the yoghurt.

Ewa

(I totally didn’t even notice the typo :P)

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76

Tried sifting the matcha in order to have it plain today. Dissolved very nicely so it looks like sifting is the way to go with it. It’s interesting because the color was darker than i expected it to be, more towards olive than other matchas I’ve seen. I may have added too much water though, I am out of practice with plain matcha.

Plain, this matcha seems to have a much lighter taste than either the DoMatcha or the strawberry matcha, but once again, I may have diluted it a bit too much. As expected it doesn’t have the smoothness that the DoMatcha has, but I mentioned before that it is pretty cheap stuff. HOLY shit I just saw a frickin HUGE squirrel. I thought it was a cat at first, and it’s tail was, like…SO FLUFFY. ahem back to the matcha! (note to self: matcha does not help short attention spans) Anyway, clearly this is a matcha for mixing with stuff – not as awesome for mixing as the strawberry matcha, of course, but not something I’ll be falling over myself to drink plain unless I REALLY need a quick energy boost.

LiberTEAS

When I first started drinking matcha, I never thought that sifting would make that big of a difference but it really does. I don’t sift the flavored matchas though – I did so the first time I tried the Mandarin Matcha from 52teas, but, I realized quickly that what I was doing was sifting out a lot of the orange flavor!

Cofftea

Haha! Awesome tasting note… although the fact that you just got back from Japan and are out of practice w/ matcha is so wrong on so many levels. Interesting… DoMatcha just posted on FB that matcha helps ADHD.

Ewa

Yeah, I read in someone else’s tasting note that the flavored ones (especially from 52teas) don’t really need it. (This sort of knowledge base building is a big part of why steepster is so awesome :D) But I’m guessing as far as plain matcha goes, the vast majority of them need it.

Ewa

@Cofftea: ahahahaha, CLEARLY THAT IS LIES. My anecdotal evidence obviously outweighs whatever studies they are drawing on :P
Yeah it is a little silly, but I didn’t have matcha at all when I was in Japan, unless it happened to be mixed into a bottled iced tea. I DID have a lot more oolong then I usually do, so…I’m not sure what that means!

Cofftea

Yeah I agree flavored matchas don’t need to be sifted- infact due to the flavoring some can’t. My apple is really clumpy. I normally am too lazy to sift, I just whisk the heck outta it lol.

LiberTEAS

When the clumps in flavored tea are large enough, I try to break them up with my chashaku before I add water… then, add just enough water to make a paste – whisking it to dissolve the clumps before I add more water and do the final whisk.

Cofftea

I do the same LiberTEAS, but I have no luck breaking them. (I got hit in the eye w/ a huge piece of matcha coated apple once lol.) Luckily, I’ve found these clumps dissolve completely when water is added.

Jaime

Cofftea, the mental image that the matcha coated apple brought to my mind is hilarious. I’ll have to wear goggles if I ever try matcha, because I’m sure that my klutzy self would do something exactly like that.

Cofftea

Just don’t try to split a clump up and you’ll be fine:)

Ewa

Man, who knew that drinking matcha had such dangers!
@LiberTEAS: I do the paste thing too, unless I am feeling lazy (which, to be fair, is most of the time)

Jaime

Noted! Now to be brave and find some matcha!

Cofftea

Yes… do it! Since they’re in limited quantities, I suggest 52teas 1st- they’re all great!:)

Ewa

(but then they will run out and you will be sad ;_; or your brother will steal it and will SAY that he is going to send it to you but you know that he is secretly drinking it)

Cofftea

“Better to loved and lost than never to have loved at all” That applies so well to 52teas, Frank should put that quote on their website LOL!:)

Jaime

Well, I’m loving all of his teas that I’ve tried so far. Got a list to order…might as well add a match while I’m at it, right?

Cofftea

YES! Definitely worth the sticker shock… remember these are 2oz, the last 2 were only 1oz.

Jaime

I’ve spent more than that on a tea before. Leaning towards banana right now. Have any of you had that one?

Cofftea

I have. I’ve bought and tried every matcha Frank’s come out w/. It tastes exactly like Banana Runts candy.

Jaime

Oh, my. Adding it to the list now.

Cofftea

Yes, they are all very good. If your wallet can afford it, your tongue and stomach will thank you a million times over:)

Stephanie

lol! Love the squirrel blurb! :)

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76

First trial of the matcha I bought from the coffee shop yesterday. Again, I have no idea where they get it from, so I just wrote what it said on the label.

This is from a strawberry banana smoothie, so it’s not a straight taste, I’ll probably try it by itself later, maybe tomorrow. My impression is that it is much stronger than the other matcha’s I’ve had. I’m getting less subtle smoothness and more rar I am concentrated powdered green teaaaaaa rar out of it. Also, it doesn’t seem to have blended as well, so I should probably try sifting it, or possibly even dissolving it in water prior to putting it in the blender. I’m not overly disappointed or anything, since I wasn’t really expecting much for $5/oz; it’s still tasty enough, it’ll just require a bit more tweaking to figure out how to get it to work for me.

No rating pending trying out the stuff I mentioned above and trying it by itself.

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86

So, while exploring the neighborhood I moved too, I came upon a coffee/tea/bulk spices/random knickknack shop called “Vices and Spices” where you can buy tea both in bulk and to drink right then. My mom was with me at the time, and, as it was coming close to my birthday she got me a 50 dollar gifts certificate (isn’t my mum the best?), which today I went to use so that I could have interim matcha while I try and convince my brother to mail me the strawberry matcha I left at his place. Since I was there, I thought I might as well try some tea as well and I went with this.

Now, I asked the person working there if she knew where/who they got their teas from, but unfortunately she had no clue, so I’m just going to be writing these up under the shop name. Such is life!

Weirdly, despite the fact that I have both lived in Japan and study it, I have never actually tried green tea with sakura before. Which is a shame, because it is SUPER tasty. I really like the combination of green tea and sakura/cherry flavoring, apparently! It tastes like pudding! I seem to get pudding association with teas fairly often. Oh well. And this tastiness was accomplished with boiling water! Imagine how tasty it (hopefully) is when prepared with water at the right temperature! I know I sound pretty enthusiastic, but I’m happy to have found a green tea that I actually like.

Anyway, this tea is only 2.00 an ounce, so I will definitely be going back for some to add to my cupboard once I clear out what’s currently in there a bit…

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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