I only discovered the joy of loose leaf teas a few months ago (DAVIDsTEA, like many others it seems, was my introduction. Many thanks to Skylar for introducing me to them!), and, like anything else I’ve ever had a real interest in, I’ve put a great amount of effort into learning as much as I humanly can in as short a period as possible.
Growing up, the only teas I ever drank were bagged mint teas (especially peppermint), and mint still remains a staple flavour for me. My favourite teas are flavoured ones (doesn’t matter if they’re fruity, chocolate, sweet, savory, etc). And thus far in my tea journey, blacks are my favourite as far as flavoured blends go, but I’ve also developed a very strong liking towards mate and whites. For the most part, I really enjoy everything else as well. The exception is green tea – which I very much dislike. I have found a few heavily flavoured greens that I enjoy, but I’m always very wary in trying green blends.
My favourite fruit flavours in regard to tea blends are cherry, banana, pear, lychee, melon, and especially pineapple (pineapple is my favourite fruit). As far as other sweet tastes go, I have a huge weakness towards toffee/caramel teas and a bit of a soft spot in regard to black licorice. And I adore anything creamy. Since I’ve used flavoured teas as a way to cut out soda from my diet, I am always up for trying soda inspired blends.
Tastes I strongly dislike are ginger (I tend to avoid blends which mention ginger as an ingredient), and raisins (I’ll typically flat out refuse to try anything with raisins – I hate them that much). Really, those are the only two things I intentionally avoid.
In regard to straight teas, I haven’t been nearly as adventurous. I’ve yet to really explore straight oolongs. In general, I really like straight black teas but I’ve yet to explore enough so as to know what type of blacks specifically are the best to me. I like most straight whites, but especially silver needle teas. Green teas, with the exception of Genmaicha which has grown on me, typically leave me gagging, and I often can’t finish my cup. So far, flavoured black teas are my favourite tea, but I also really enjoy Earl Greys, dessert teas in general, and herbal blends(especially those that are largely fruit based). Recently I’ve done a lot of exploring with flavoured white teas and have really, REALLY enjoyed the different teas I’ve tried (almost as much as flavoured blacks) Although I haven’t tried many different kinds, I’ve had pleasant experiences Mate and Oolong teas as well. I have yet to ever try a Pu’erh tea, though I’m not really in a rush to.
As far as cold brewing goes, I do prefer to have my tea hot – but I always keep a selection of herbals and fruit blends to cold steep. I also have a cold thermos of tea every day at work in addition to the hot Timolino I also bring with.
I prefer to drink my tea without adding anything to it, and that’s always how I first try a tea. My belief is that milk, sugar or whatever else you add to your tea should be used to enhance an already good flavour: if the tea needs something added to it to taste good then it’s probably not good tea to begin with. My roommate, Tre, has a very different philosophy in regard to tea, and that’s to always drown out his cup in sugar – even before tasting to see if it needs any. That’s why I don’t let him drink the good stuff ;)
I’m always up for a swap, but because I have a very low income and will be unemployed come January I can’t really afford to send things outside of North America :(
If you’re from North America and want to organize something though, just give me a shout and I’m sure we can work something out! Most of my teas are in large quantity so I usually have enough to spare at least a small sample or so.
As far as ratings go, I try to rate things comparatively to other teas I’ve tried. If I like it less than something rated, say, a 90 then it wont be rated more than a 90. Instead I’ll try to find a rated tea I like about the same amount and then the tea I’m drinking gets rated that number. If I find I like it in between two rated teas then I’ll rate in a number in between those ratings. I also wont restock anything with a rating lower than 80, unless it’s a bagged tea (but bagged teas need to have a rating of at least 75 for me to consider stocking them).
Outside of the tea world, I’ve just moved to a new city and am trying to find my independence and answer that stomach churning question “what do I want to do with my life!?”.
I’m a vegetarian and have been for more than half my lifetime. I also have a severe allergy to mushrooms, though that isn’t something that has been an issue I’ve had to deal with in regard to tea (at this point, at least).
I have a pet fancy rat named Eloise, whom I love dearly. Sadly, my apartment here in the city didn’t allow pets so she’s back in my old city living with my mom, brother, and sister. As awful as it sounds, sometimes I miss her more than I ever miss them.
My roommate Tre is a huge part of my life since he’s one of the only people in town that I know. Currently, he’s taking courses at Siast to become a professional chef which means sometimes I get really nice home cooked meals. He’s a huge Whovian, which means I know way more about Doctor Who than someone who’s only watched a season or so should. Recently he’s got me into Supernatural (almost caught up!) and that’s taken up much of my time. He knows next to nothing about tea, and he doesn’t really care to learn.
The other important person in my life, within my new city, is my friend Robyn. I’ve known Robyn since we were in the eight grade – and she was in all my classes all through high school. For years she was my transportation, since I’m just plain awful at driving and haven’t acquired my license yet. She just so happened to start classes at the University of Saskatchewan the same time as Tre and I were moving here, which worked out excellently. Like Tre she’s a huge Whovian and also a fan of Supernatural (is there even a fandom term for people who like Supernatural?). She was a minor inspiration in regard to this tea obsession of mine (but now I’ve far surpassed her). Often times I have her over for tea or share my teas with her (and if it’s a tea I dislike she gets first dibs before I start trying to swap it all away here on Steepster).
Recently I was promoted to manager at the kiosk I work at (only a seasonal position though, so while I’m raking in the money right now soon I’ll be unemployed and broke again) – and I work long hours for many days in a row without break. It’s not a hard job, but a lot of my time is used up doing it.
I’m very much into clay and sculpture and, if I’m being honest and not modest, I’m really good at it. I also play way too much Pokemon for my own good, and watch more TV than one person should. I’m a huge sap and cry during TV and movies all the time, even if nothing terribly sad is happening.
I’m really wordy and have this tendency to write way more than is necessary or relevant, and that often carries into my tasting notes and reviews.I feel like that probably gets annoying for the people following me…
And, on that note I think I should maybe shut up a little bit now?
Saskatoon, SK, Canada