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I just finished drinking my first cup of this tea after finding it pushed to the back of my cupboard earlier this afternoon. I had picked it up at Teavana a while back after it was recommended that I mix it with Azteca Fire for a spicy, sweet brew. This tea on its own was better than expected, after reading a few of the comments here, though still weak and a bit artificial tasting. I am currently brewing my second cup made with raw sugar and equal parts water and whole milk.

I just tasted my second cup and there is such a difference between the two. This one is creamy and sweet, like a warm and comforting vanilla hot chocolate. If I had only had a taste of the first cup, I would have finished my remaining tea and moved on to better things. Now, after tasting my second cup, I think I’ll be moving this one to the front of the pantry.

Preparation
8 min or more

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Bio

Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring tea fanatic.

I should start by saying that I’m still quite new to this great, big world of tea. Until a couple of years ago, my experience was limited to Twinings Earl Grey and tea lattes at Starbucks. One weekend, my husband and I happened upon a Teavana at our local mall and there discovered loose leaf teas. He jumped in with both feet, but it admittedly took me a while longer before I fully embraced tea the way that he had. Now that I’ve found Steepster, I’m amazed at the vast variety of teas. It’s an exciting place to be and I cannot wait to learn from each of you the ins and outs of this limitless brew.

I enjoy all different types of tea though I admit I haven’t tried a great deal. I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and often with honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor, much the way salt enhances certain foods. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of mint or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy. I would like to branch out and try straight teas at some point as well.

I’m sensitive to caffeine so if there is ever a caffeinated tea in my tealog it’s because I’ve attempted a “pre-steep” to flush most of the caffeine from the tea. I heard of this first from a Teavana associate and it’s one way that I can enjoy a wider variety of teas. To do this, I steep the tea as I normally would but pour out the liquid after thirty seconds. I then steep according to the package instructions. I’m not sure if this would work for everyone as I’m sure it doesn’t remove all of the caffeine, but it really does seem to work for me.

Regarding tasting notes – I’m not always able to complete my reviews the moment I drink a tea (if I’m at work, for example) so I keep a written log in a little Moleskin notebook to be added to Steepster later. This way, I’m able to write a review while the tea is still fresh in my mind and still make note of the exact time I had my cup. If you notice that I’ve logged a tea without writing a note, I will likely add it later.

After seeing others on Steepster with a rating scale, I thought it would be best to create my own so that others can see how I feel about my personal ratings. It may change at some point, but this is how I’ve been rating my teas as of late.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good at all but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I’ll be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not anything special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Updated December 2014.

Location

Birmingham, Alabama

Website

http://www.pinterest.com/spharo/

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