78

So thankfully my office mate a) has T-sacs in our office and b) was willing to lend me a couple, because I took my tea balls home for the weekend (hence the marathon tea sessions), and neglected to bring them back this morning! The horror! I do have bagged tea in my drawer, but I brought this tea and another along special cuz I wanted to try them as a treat.

Anyways, thank you LiberTEAS for this sample! Fruitcake is not my most favourite thing in the world, but in a tea… who knows! The dry tea doesn’t remind me of fruitcake; mostly I smell nutmeg. The tea is filled with big nut chunks, full pretty sunflower petals, and big, whole white tea leaves – looks delicious!

Fruitcake is definitely not the first association I’m making when I take a whiff of the aroma from the freshly brewed cup. However, the aroma is incredibly familiar. It reminds me of holidays (likely nutmeg), but most of all makes me think of a tropical greenhouse! You know, where it’s all humid and hot and filled with wonderful plants and blooming flowers? That is what I’m smelling. Since I’m a plant agriculture student, and I’m at work, there’s actually a tropical greenhouse downstairs that this reminds me of. Were I not so lazy, I’d head down there now just to confirm my thoughts.

Anyways, I love tropical greenhouses (I love plants…), so this is really kind of neat, not unpleasant at all! (Oh, a note – I dumbly let my water cool down too much so I know I steeped this one at too low of a temperature. I have lots left so will correct that in the future, but wanted tea now so just put the bag in anyhow)

Sipping the tea, I can taste nutmeg… and greenhouse. Oh – late in the sip I am definitely getting apricot! I think there’s some initial nuttiness too.

Oh man, I’m kind of loving that apricot. Why can’t you be more prominent?! Perhaps had I paid more attention, it would have come out more. I can’t say I’m really tasting any white tea either, but we’ll blame an absurdly low steeping temperature (yeah, that’s right, just under 70C) for that.

I’m finding this one very different and intriguing. Tentatively rating it now, but I expect an increase upon trying again with proper conditions. I may try a hotter re-steep shortly… I am drinking this one quite quickly! A sign of enjoyment :)

ETA: I lied, getting a hint of white tea aftertaste. Looking forward to cup #2!

ETA again: Well, the re-steep, which was at 163F (yeah whoops again), and for aaaages, was pretty meh. The tasty apricot flavour was gone, and it just tasted like greenhouse. That’s ok though – I wouldn’t have expected much after such a long initial steep anyhow. (I still drank it though! It wasn’t bad, just not terribly flavourful.)

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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