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365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 17

This is one of the teas from Bird & Blend’s January subscription box. Being a great lover of banana, I was very excited to see this pouch!

So full disclosure, I actually had to brew this one twice… I chose a little 16-ounce teapot for the Instagram photo, and accidentally only used the amount of tea I would normally use for a 12-ounce mug. I guess I’ve been drinking out of mugs so much lately that my brain just went into “auto” mode. Doh! So, of course, it came out somewhat weak. I didn’t want to give an unfair rating, so I dumped it and made another 12-ounce mug. Tsk tsk, so wasteful!

I will say, this one is not at all what I expected given the name and description. The banana flavor is light, and there is no custard at all. To me, it almost tastes more like granola with bananas in it? I’m assuming the green tea here is at least partially roasted, as I’m getting an almost genmaicha-like grain flavor and I don’t see what else could be contributing that. The product photo does make it look like the green tea leaves are somewhat brown, which would support my theory. I’ll have to inspect the leaf when I get home later…

Anyway, it does have a nice natural banana flavor. I’m not sure I really taste the cocoa shells, maybe a little bit, but I certainly wouldn’t notice the flavor if I didn’t already know it was there. Happily, the licorice root is not at all noticeable either.

So this is an odd one for me. It’s not bad, but I wouldn’t order it. I’m okay with that though, as I already have a banana tea from B&B (Monkey Chops) that I really love!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsvY-rFFYDk/

Flavors: Banana, Cocoa, Grain, Oats, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
VariaTEA

I’m currently sitting in those awkward 4 seaters on a via rail train where you sit uncomfortably next to and facing a stranger and basically try to avoid eye contact. In an effort to be entertained while doing that I tracked down this tasting note as I recall wanting to read it and here we are. Turns out I’m at least 5 pages behind on your notes. This one makes me sad because bananas and custard sounds amazing but this tea does not :(

Cameron B.

I’ll send you a sample to try! ;)

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VariaTEA

I’m currently sitting in those awkward 4 seaters on a via rail train where you sit uncomfortably next to and facing a stranger and basically try to avoid eye contact. In an effort to be entertained while doing that I tracked down this tasting note as I recall wanting to read it and here we are. Turns out I’m at least 5 pages behind on your notes. This one makes me sad because bananas and custard sounds amazing but this tea does not :(

Cameron B.

I’ll send you a sample to try! ;)

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Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ 2021 SIPDOWN CHALLENGE! ~
~ May Sipdowns: 18
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 295

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Current Subscriptions:
Bird & Blend
Dessert by Deb
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kusmi
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Lupicia
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/tea...

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