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Tre left today for his Christmas trip with his Dad (although, not before they had both sat down for some tea first) this morning, so I now have the apartment all to myself until about the 30th. That’s kinda exciting!

He also left his bus card for me to use, so that’s almost equally exciting! Now I can take the bus to work and downtown without worrying about using up all my rides

However, as soon as I got to work things turned around really fast, and now I’m having a kinda crummy day. First off, my most incompetent employee (honestly, she’s so nice and hard working, bless her soul, but she just doesn’t understand how to do ANYTHING on the till and has the worst cash handling skills I’ve ever seen) screwed up a whole bunch of refunds and didn’t keep any of the receipts so I have NO CLUE what was and wasn’t supposed to be refunded and I have no way of fixing anything. It
s infuriating, really, because now out till is thirty dollars over which means I not only have to report all the stock/inventory/refund issues to head office (my boss) but have to fill out a giant stack of paperwork because are till is (significantly) off. I’ve explained how to do refunds to her at least six times and each time I tell her that if she doesn’t understand she needs to let me know so I can keep going through things with her, and each time she says she understands but then the very next refund she does she completely fucks up the very next refund she does! Urgggg!!!

And, someone also sprayed a WHOLE BUTT FUCKING TON of cheap, perfume right next to my stand and now I can’t stop sneezing and everything smells absolutely disgusting. Urghhh…

I received this tea in my very first swap with VariaTEA and I’m only just now having it. Ultimately I had wanted my first time drinking this to be as a direct comparison with Della Terra’s Cherry Cola and Cake but I kept putting off brewing them up at the same time and now I’ve swapped away all of the Cherry Cola and Cake so there was nothing preventing me from brewing this up other than my own procrastination.

So, for 8 oz. of boiling water I used 1 1/2 tsp. of leaf steeped for five minutes. That used up about half my sample. Smell wise, there was definitely a cola scent and some mild cherry notes too – but everything was very chemical smelling. Ultimately I’ve heard only bad things about this tea, so I’m only trying it to have tried it – I had low expectations well before brewing it and do not expect to love this.

Taste wise, I am very right to have kept my expectations super low. This tastes God awful. The words that comes to mind are “burnt” and “tobacco” with some very butchered and nasty cherry/cola taste. It’s SO chemical, and just… no.

So, not a great addition to my lousy work day but at least I wasn’t expecting it to be. I’m definitely not finishing off what’s left in my water bottle, and I doubt that I’ll be the one drinking the rest of the sample I have. I guess, when he returns, this was be something I make for Tre and get him to choke down…

VariaTEA

I really do not understand why I bought this at all. I mean, I am super picky about Cola (if a restaurant only has pepsi, I drink water – that is how picky I am) and I don’t like warm or flat soda so I really don’t see the appeal. Plus, because it was when I first found teas, I didn’t know I could buy less than 50 g so now I am stuck with it. I am sorry to hear that you did not have a better experience with it. Hopefully some of the other teas I sent have been better.

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VariaTEA

I really do not understand why I bought this at all. I mean, I am super picky about Cola (if a restaurant only has pepsi, I drink water – that is how picky I am) and I don’t like warm or flat soda so I really don’t see the appeal. Plus, because it was when I first found teas, I didn’t know I could buy less than 50 g so now I am stuck with it. I am sorry to hear that you did not have a better experience with it. Hopefully some of the other teas I sent have been better.

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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 tea I ever drank was bagged mint tea (especially peppermint), and mint still remains a staple flavour for me. Spearmint is my favourite. At this point in my ‘tea career’ I heavily lean towards flavoured blends; doesn’t matter if they’re fruity, chocolate, sweet, savory, etc. Blacks are my favourite as far as flavoured blends go, with whites a close second. I really enjoy everything but straight Greens though, but I’ll try anything once even if I am wary.

My favourite fruit flavours in blends are cranberry, banana, pear, lychee, melon, passion fruit and especially pineapple. I am also always excited to try anything with Saskatoon Berries, which are delicious and also my city’s namesake. I have a huge weakness towards toffee/caramel and coconut teas and a bit of a soft spot in regard to black licorice. I also adore anything creamy. I am always up for trying soda inspired blends as well because the concept fascinates me. I want to try all the Rootbeer teas! I am also currently trying to try as many Sweet Potato blends as possible.

Tastes I strongly dislike are ginger and raisins. 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 have a preference for silver needle teas over other types. Green teas, with the exception of Genmaicha and some Hojicha, make me feel a bit sick and I often 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.

The ratio of cold brewed and hot tea I drink is about 50/50. As far as my cup sizes go, all my daily cold brews are done in a 25 oz. mason jar and my other mugs are 12 oz. with the exception of my Adeline infuser mug which is 16 oz. Unless otherwise specified, these are the cup sizes for all teas I review.

I prefer to drink my tea without adding anything to it, and 9/10 times that will be how I first try a blend. 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 “Matcha 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.

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 person in my life is my friend Robyn.

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).

Some brief “IRL” interests: Clay/Sculpture (or visual arts in general), Improv, Mythology, Big Brother (USA and CA), and an absurdly large amount of TV shows – geeky or otherwise.

Location

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

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