drank Spiced Brandy Shou Mei by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Bleh. Unfortunately, another bust with this tea, this time due to the anise. When I opened the packet, I was hit with an overwhelming licorice smell. I guess I had interpreted “a little” anise seed to mean just that, and was expecting it to be very mild (say, like in Butterbeer, where it was nearly indistinguishable). I drank this cup quickly, so can’t really remember any nuances in flavours, except that behind the overly present licorice flavour, there was a nice light spiced chai that I actually quite liked. I admit that I definitely did find this one easier to drink than Graveyard Mist, and when the licorice faded (it was more of an initial flavour), the cardamom and other spices left quite a nice aftertaste. Can’t say I’ve ever had brandy, so I have no idea if it was true in flavour to that…

Also, there was a weird smell emanating from the bag when I opened it, and the tea when freshly brewed. It was a familiar non-food aroma, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. My roommate said it reminded her of play make-up she used to use as a child, but I don’t think that’s what I’m getting.

Anyways, do not pick this one up if you have an aversion to licoricey aromas/flavours or chais (stupid Autocorrect tried to correct that to “chaos” three times!) but for those of you who do like such flavours, I imagine it’s quite good! Rating withheld because of a hated ingredient and therefore heavy bias.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C
Invader Zim

I thought about getting this one and am now glad I didn’t considering my dislike for licorice.

CHAroma

Funny, autocorrect always tries to capitalize the word “chai” for me. It’s not chai, it’s Chai! Silly human! (At least, that’s what I imagine it saying). ;)

Kittenna

Hahaha, one of the biggest annoyances for me with autocorrect is when I’m trying to say I’m working in the lab, and it autocorrects to LAN. (Perhaps I’m actually typing lan to begin with, but…. it doesn’t need to capitalize it! i do know btw what LAN stands for, but still…)

CHAroma

Local Area Network. Basically, it just means WIFI, I think. Like when I was a gamer in college, we would have “LAN parties,” which meant that everyone would bring over their laptops and game in the same room.

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Comments

Invader Zim

I thought about getting this one and am now glad I didn’t considering my dislike for licorice.

CHAroma

Funny, autocorrect always tries to capitalize the word “chai” for me. It’s not chai, it’s Chai! Silly human! (At least, that’s what I imagine it saying). ;)

Kittenna

Hahaha, one of the biggest annoyances for me with autocorrect is when I’m trying to say I’m working in the lab, and it autocorrects to LAN. (Perhaps I’m actually typing lan to begin with, but…. it doesn’t need to capitalize it! i do know btw what LAN stands for, but still…)

CHAroma

Local Area Network. Basically, it just means WIFI, I think. Like when I was a gamer in college, we would have “LAN parties,” which meant that everyone would bring over their laptops and game in the same room.

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Bio

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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