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Backlog from this morning.

I had other plans for breakfast teas but when I saw that my massive (25 teas! All of which I’ve never tried – and I great mix of straight and flavoured) package from 221tea had arrived I quickly changed my mind and made up the two new Stash teas she sent me because A) I love Stash, B) They were both mate/guayusa blends which makes them perfect for the morning, C) they’d bagged so obviously more convenient, and D) they just sounded so damn good!

The name/“description” for this baffles me. If it’s a black tea then it’s obviously not herbal, so why even bother labeling it as such? I can wrap my head around a mate/black hybrid but the “herbal” in the name really isn’t necessary…

Dry, the bag for this smelled really intensely like caramel and black tea with a touch of earthiness that I’m assuming it being contributed by the mate. No presence of salt to be found. Steeped up this is surprisingly… Smokey!?

What’s in this that is making it so damn smokey? It’s like rich, lightly burnt caramel with an intense wave of campfire smoke (with some raw “earthiness” because of the mate). I actually had to go look up the ingredients to see if they mixed Lapsang Souchong into this; doesn’t specify but apparently there’s Monk Fruit in here. What is a Monk Fruit? Are they smokey? Fruit isn’t supposed to be smokey…

Anyway; the flavour notes here were definitely surprising to say the least – but I actually very much enjoyed the cup and thought it was a nice switch up from the mates I own. I couldn’t resist sending one of the bags to VariaTEA to see her thoughts.

Thanks 221tea!

Cavocorax

The herbal part was confusing! I nearly put it with my decaf teas, and that would have been a huge mistake! Haha.

VariaTEA

This sounds strange. Also, I know there is a sugar substitute made with Monk Fruit so I doubt that is where the smokiness is coming from.

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Comments

Cavocorax

The herbal part was confusing! I nearly put it with my decaf teas, and that would have been a huge mistake! Haha.

VariaTEA

This sounds strange. Also, I know there is a sugar substitute made with Monk Fruit so I doubt that is where the smokiness is coming from.

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Bio

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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