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When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal.

Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I just ran water through the infuser basket, and am not sure this is appropriate. I still haven’t looked up how to rinse a tea properly. Anyhow, I’m getting a bit of a fishy smell from it. Which oddly works with the ginger/galangal, but is weird to smell from tea. Hopefully I haven’t ruined it by a lack of rinsing!

Tasty and spicy, I can taste both the ginger and galangal, but neither is overwhelming – I have to say that this is probably the best use of ginger in a tea I’ve ever encountered. There’s also a berry note, which must be elderberry. A lingering savoury flavour remains on the tongue after one swallows, which is quite nice. I can’t pick out the pu’er in here, but it’s obviously tying everything together. Once I have a better idea of what straight pu’er tastes like I might be able to say a bit more as to that aspect.

Overall, I’m finding this to be a very savoury, interesting tea. The spicing is very well done, with everything blending together perfectly and nothing sticking out or overwhelming the rest. Definitely would help with a craving for thai food, imo. Probably not something I’ll keep in stock, but a fabulous tea to have tried!

ETA: Second infusion (same parameters): A little weaker perhaps, but the spices are all present and I can pick up the pu’er now (possibly because of a bit of an oversteep – it may have had more like 3.5-4 minutes as I got confused when the timer went off and thought I had water in the microwave… yeaahhhh). Still smells a little fishy, but it doesn’t carry over to the flavour. Just makes me think of fish sauce here though (as I said above, it works with this flavour combo).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

It never occurred to me to rinse an alchemy blend. I Don ‘t rinse that type. It tastes pretty good as a latte and iced also. You’re right about having this with Thai food! Really good!

Kittenna

I only rinsed it because the instructions on the Verdant website told me to :) I was dicey about it though, and maybe won’t try it next time. Is it bad to not rinse pu’er? Health-wise, I mean. I understand that at least part of the purpose is to “awaken” the tea.

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Bonnie

It never occurred to me to rinse an alchemy blend. I Don ‘t rinse that type. It tastes pretty good as a latte and iced also. You’re right about having this with Thai food! Really good!

Kittenna

I only rinsed it because the instructions on the Verdant website told me to :) I was dicey about it though, and maybe won’t try it next time. Is it bad to not rinse pu’er? Health-wise, I mean. I understand that at least part of the purpose is to “awaken” the tea.

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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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