After discovering loose leaf, I decided I had to learn as much about in as quick an amount of time as humanely possible; that led me here!
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 cranberry, banana, pear, red currants, lychee, melon, and especially pineapple (pineapple is my favourite fruit). I am also always excited to try anything with Saskatoon Berries, which are delicious and also my city’s namesake. I also 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. I want to try all the Rootbeer teas!
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. I also have mixed feelings about peaches, mangoes, lemongrass, and chamomile.
In regard to straight teas, I haven’t been nearly as adventurous. I’ve yet to really explore any straight oolongs, except Milk Oolongs which weren’t really for me. In general, I really like straight black teas, especially when they have strong baked bread or malt notes. I like most straight whites, but I especially adore silver needle teas. Green teas, with the exception of Genmaicha and some Hojicha, make me feel a bit sick and I can’t finish the cup. I can handle flavoured matcha like Red Leaf Tea sells – but straight matcha is a definite “no go”. I recently survived my first Pu’erh, and it was an alright, maybe borderline enjoyable, experience.
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 do a daily 25 oz. cold brew which I either have first thing with breakfast or take in a thermos to drink at work, in addition to the hot Timolino(s) I also bring with every work shift. On average, I have six cups of tea a day.
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. The exception is Matcha; I always have my matcha whisked either into cold milk or club soda as “tea soda” depending on which way the flavour will be best suited. 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 I can’t really afford to send things outside of North America on a regular basis :(
If you’re from North America and want to organize a swap, just give me a shout and I’m sure we can work something out! Many 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).
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).
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, and now Doctor Who as well. He knows next to nothing about tea, and he doesn’t really care to learn.
The other important people in my life, within my new city, are my friends Robyn and Kristina.
I’ve known Robyn since we were in the eighth 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 in tea knowledge, consumption, and quantity possessed). 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).
Kristina is also a friend from highschool, though not nearly as close. We’ve become much closer since she moved here a few months after I did and we both realized we knew hardly anyone.
She lives less than 10 minutes from my house, and is over here a fairly large amount of time. Recently, she’s also undertaken the huge task of introducing me to Metal music and slowly getting my involved in the metal community here in Saskatoon. It’s a work in progress.
She’s not a tea drinker, but thankfully she’s always excited to hear me ramble and is often really amused by the teas I take with me different places.
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