2501 Tasting Notes

I was super excited about the blackberry honey part of this one but was dubious about the ginger, because I like just a hint of ginger. I am not a true chai drinker because I know so many have black pepper and even turmeric and such. One of my students is from India and brought some of their own home made chai blend and holy moly was it spicy. No go for me. Then another lady from another part of India was horrified by that chai and said she only put cinnamon, cardamom, and clove in hers. So it is different by region and even family probably.

Well, back to this tea. The aroma is pure heaven – fruity sweet deliciousness. The first sip of it before additions was very good but I could tell there was a little more ginger than I go for in a tea, as my throat and tongue were VERY warm, and I am a wimp. However, it seemed JUST RIGHT for a latte.

I steeped one teaspoon of tea blend three times, added literally only about a half teaspoon of sugar because there are honey granules here, and I added milk. Ratio is probably 2/3 water to 1/3 milk.

This is so goooood! It is fruity and sweet! With milk, I would not know there was ginger in this. And that is how I like it. Just enough ginger to add sparkle but not much heat! I know that I am in the minority there.

gmathis

Ooh..I hadn’t seen this one!

ashmanra

Do you like ginger? If so, you will love this plain, and if not, add milk and you will hardly know it is there! The aroma, oh my goodness, soooooo good.

gmathis

I do like ginger … and since these days, it stays cold around these parts until the end of April, that sounds like a nice spring-y alternative to chai.

Nichole/CuppaGeek

This a total attempt at making a chai that I would like and it ended up catapulting me to really digging chais now. I may have added a pinch to much ginger. . . but glad you enjoyed it as a latte :)

ashmanra

Gmathis: it definitely has the springtime berry flavor but warmth, and if you make it with milk or add lots it is also very filling to me, but lattes are..,they are really a snack in themselves.

Nichole – I doubt you added too much ginger for normal people! Ha ha! I am a wimp. And if I had a stuffy nose or sore throat, I might prefer just as it is now.

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drank Holiday Chai by Stash Tea Company
2501 tasting notes

I was ordering White Christmas for one of my students and on impulse threw in some of this loose leaf. I hadn’t had it in years.

Days later, i was notified that it was sold out in loose leaf and asked what I wanted to do. I told them I could switch to bags, and they ended up refunding part of my money for the inconvenience and sent me three boxes of the teabags. I gave away a couple of boxes and kept one.

I made this today mostly for Ashman who worked outside cleaning and refreshing the shrub beds and putting out straw all day. It was chilly and so overcast that it felt rather dismal. A day more suitable for hibernating than anything else!

Like most chai blends, the base seems watery and weak to me and the spices are sharper notes than I want when it is made with plain water. Made in milk and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles, this is nice enough and drinkable but doesn’t hold a candle to Parker’s Caramel Apple Chai. He enjoyed it very much, as did I, but I will probably spend a little more and get something I really really like instead.

gmathis

That’s funny…this is one of the chais I actually like. It makes me think about raisins and I can’t figure out why. And what isn’t better with whipped cream and sprinkles?

ashmanra

I think the rum flavoring makes you think of raisin! And agreed…pretty much every thing is better with whipped cream and sprinkles.

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I had purchased a tin of this because my husband really liked it. Somehow I have managed to miss posting a tasting note every single time we had it and now it is gone and I can’t even enjoy announcing a sipdown fully because I didn’t add it to my cupboard! Or a Steepster glitch took it out? Who knows?

Anyway, this is a lovely looking dragonwell with soft, gentle green, fuzzy peapod-like leaves that smell so chocolate-y. The steeped tea is more assertive than the dry aroma gives away, richer than I expected it to be. This is one of my husband’s favorites so once I get my cupboard under better control I will have to seek out more.

gmathis

…cupboard under better control… (cue Robert Goulet singing “The Impossible Dream”)

ashmanra

I just confessed to Youngest that not only do I have many, many teas I have not added to my cupboard, I have two orders on the way…

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Once Christmas is over, my mind goes to pink and red and frilly and lacy VALENTINE’S.

Nichole at Cuppa Geek mentioned that she was doing a special Valentine gift bag called the Valen-Tea Party, and this will be the featured tea, although there are others you can choose and honestly that Vanilla Rose Cake is taunting me from afar because it sounds so ever loving good! I will be getting some of that for my friend who loves green teas!

I already have some Chocolate Covered Strawberry tea and honestly just seeing the name in print made me want the tea AND the strawberries, so last night I finally bought some strawberries and this afternoon I dipped them in chocolate to serve as dessert for the Ashman and myself.

The first time I served Chocolate Covered Strawberry tea was with brownies and strawberries. I don’t usually serve like-with-like and Ashman even questioned it, asking if I thought it would be too much together? But once he sipped the tea, he declared it a perfect pairing.

You may have had this in your advent calendar teas, or you may have had the Vanilla Black or Peach Vanilla Black. This seems to be the same base. I would call this a very adult tea, that is dessert-like without being candy-ish. There are a few teas that seem like they would be delightful for a little tea party with children, and others that make me feel like a very dignified grown-up (now there’s a laugh) and this one has the grown up feel. It isn’t astringent, but lightly brisk, assertive, and resteeps very well. The flavors seem natural and not overdone.

We had our tea by the fire on this chilly, rainy night and ate our strawberries, saving the green tops for the bunnies who frequent our yard. We drink it sans additions but you could add milk and sugar if you like it that way. It can definitely handle it.

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This is from the tea I recently received from Martin Bednar. Thank you, Martin! This tea exceeded my expectations. First, it is a tea bag, which isn’t always bad but can be a little bit of a gamble. Second – it is rosehip and apple, both of which could potentially be tart and biting, almost going the hibiscus route.

But this afternoon I needed a tea break and wanted something to dunk my lemon biscotti in, and I chose this.

It was really good, and at first I thought it might have been because I was mostly tasting my yummy current favorite biscotti. But I drank it even after, and it was still really good. Later I made another cup to have with Quality Street Orange Creams. Rahr.

The black tea base is really serviceable. I won’t claim it is complex and layered but it was definitely satisfying and nice with the flavors. The flavoring doesn’t get tart or unpleasant at all. I would not have identified it as apple. I would have said it was an unidentified fruitiness. I MIGHT possibly have figured out the rosehips, but at one point I actually thought I tasted a little raspberry.

Thank you, Martin! It was a nice surprise to receive the tea package from you! I enjoyed trying these teas!

Martin Bednář

I am glad that you liked this tea as well! It was a gift for me from my friend who went to Belarus (before the uprising) as his girlfriend comes from that country. He agreed on taking back one box of tea and he just “randomly selected” and everything I wanted was a tea bag for my collection. The unidentified fruitiness can be caused by age as well unproper storage with few other teas.

I should send you more teas… maybe one day again a surprise in the post?

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I haven’t had this tea in a really long time and the best by date on the tin is last May. I think I bought at least 100 grams last time I bought it and I love it and really should drink it more often. Now that it has come back to my attention, perhaps I will.

I have tried one other ginseng oolong and I really didn’t like it. I bought it at Tin Roof Teas and they source most of their tea from Teageschwendner. I don’t know if that is where they get this one, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Teavivre’s.

This is pretty hearty oolong. I drank a super light somewhat floral flavored oolong earlier today. This one has more heft and the ginseng leaves an incredible lingering sweetness that I love. I have asked if there was licorice root in it and was told no (by Teavivre) but that is the sort of throat feel it has.

Tea review stops here and cooking hacks start. Fair warning!

The reason we had this was that I got the late hungries. I didn’t want sweets or chips but I was not in the mood to do any elaborate cooking. We have some warehouse club frozen potstickers and what I was really craving was something with dipping sauce.

The potstickers recommend boiling and then frying them and I was not into the idea of cooking again tonight. I boiled them, and to give them that toothy texture instead of serving them “slick” as they are when just boiled, I threw them under the broiler for a few minutes until they had that little browned streak. No oil and no frying pan to clean.

Instead of the five or six ingredient dipping sauce I usually do, I stared in the fridge and realized that bbq sauce has lots of the same ingredients, so I whisked a teaspoon of Sweet Baby Ray’s into a little soy sauce and it was almost identical to the packets that come with the potstickers.

I made a quick faux yum yum type sauce, too. And the ginseng oolong went nicely with it. Definitely ordering more when this runs out.

Mastress Alita

Every ginseng oolong I’ve ever seen did have a “coating” of powdered licorice root used in the processing of the leaves. TeaSource has something similar (I’m always amused by the “pebbles” appearance) and they do state there is licorice.

Leafhopper

I’ve only had one ginseng oolong, but I also tasted licorice.

gmathis

I like the broiling idea!

White Antlers

Wow! I love the ingenuity the comes out when late hungries surface!

mrmopar

Ponzu I tell you ponzu. I just bought some Szechuan pot stickers yesterday. Good idea on the broiling.

ashmanra

I do like ponzu, thanks to you, mrmopar! But I was out! Also, I like the slightly thicker mouthfeel sometimes of the homemade dip!

tea-sipper

What did the world have before Sweet Baby Ray’s??

ashmanra

Tea-sipper: more sadness! Try this – saute or cook some onions, stir in Sweet Baby Ray’s, make quesadilla with cheese of choice (I use cheddar plus mozzarella) and the bbq onions. Serve with extra bbq sauce and sour cream for dipping.

White Antlers

ashmanra If you see an old lady with long frizzy white curls, standing in your driveway, holding a `Will work for food` sign, it’s me. : )

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I rarely post a review here that I did for Sororitea Sisters, because I figure I already wrote it a while back and not today, and I feel inept at posting them here! I don’t like to just do the link because then the people reading have to work too hard, clicking a link and going to another page and all. Ha ha! But this was a gift from Martin Bednar so I wanted to post it! I just copy/pasted so you don’t have to click a link! I will include the link anyway, but here it is!

http://www.sororiteasisters.com/2021/01/04/violet-cream-bird-and-blend-ashmanra/

A friend sent some samples for me to try from far across the sea! This is my first time drinking Bird and Blend as far as I recall, and this is the B&B tea I was most excited to try! I generally enjoy floral teas very much and violet seems so exotic as violet flavored things are rare where I live.

I am “one of those people” who likes violet candy. The first one I tried was very strong and I didn’t like it. It felt like I ate a bath bomb. But then I somehow missed that flavor. I tried another brand and I don’t know if it was milder or sweeter or if I just developed a taste for it, but I could eat a whole pack in one sitting if I didn’t use restraint. (I don’t, by the way, always use restraint.)

I was so madly excited to try this that I took out my most foofoo china and sat at the dining table with pink camellias in front of me in a silverplate gravy boat and fetched a fancy cookie. I am going for the whole experience here.

Mmmmm, the aroma is divine! This is a soft, sweet violet and somehow like sniffing a very fine, delicate talcum, in the best sort of way. The scent is very dreamy and creamy. It doesn’t assault my senses like cheap bubble bath.

I did not get a strong chocolate aroma, but I have never had chocolate covered violets, so maybe this is spot on. In fact, I wondered where the chocolate was. It seemed to actually smell of cream, not just have a creamy mouthfeel.

The chocolate part of this blend is (hallelujah!) cocoa nibs instead of chocolate flavoring. I dug through my infuser basket and found a nib and ate it. Ah, yes, this is what I thought was the cream. Sometimes cream is really just vanilla added to a blend, but this was legitimately creamy tasting and smelling and now I see it somehow came from the cocoa nibs!

All in all, a wonderful elevenses today and this is a blend I would definitely purchase.

White Antlers

I’m guessing you’ve eaten Choward’s Violet Candy? That’s the only one I’ve ever tried and while it has an odd taste, it’s addictive.

ashmanra

YES! I LOVE them. And the guava candies, too. They are potent! Ha ha! My daughter bought some for my stocking and hid them in her room. She says her bedroom may never smell the same.

Martin Bednář

At least I know what to look for when being in the US (among thousands of other items). Haha!

White Antlers

Martin Choward’s Violet Candy is British so if you have tea friends in the U.K., I bet they’d gladly send you some. Still, add them to your “I will buy this in America” (long) list. : )

Dustin

I’ve never had chocolate covered violets before, only sugar coated ones. The violet pastels are good too if you don’t mind an anise seed in the middle. They are called Les Anis de Flavigny Violet Flavored Anise Candy.

Martin Bednář

Izzy? Next time! Hahaha!

ashmanra

White Antlers: I thought they were British too but I looked them up and they are actually based in New York!

ashmanra

I think Parma Violets are British, though.

Kawaii433

“It felt like I ate a bath bomb.” hehehe Ashmanra

White Antlers

ashmanra Ha! Thanks; I stand corrected and yes, Parma IS a British company. So, Martin, perhaps Izzy can send you some Parma Violets!

White Antlers

Dustin those pastilles are a spin off of comfits. Comfits go back a few centuries (16th century, I think) and were originally caraway seed based and eaten as carminitative ‘medicine’ at the end of a heavy meal to help digestion and prevent gas.

Dustin

Well I learned a new word today! I love the Indian sugar coated fennel seed candies too, which you just taught me are comfits! Also, caraway aids in digestion?! Didn’t know that either.

Lexie Aleah

Chowards Violet candies are delicious indeed!

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A gift from Martin Bednar!

My husband only likes chai type and spiced teas as lattes usually, so I was saving this one to drink by myself. Also, I am not the world’s biggest fan of spiced teas except exactly as he likes them – made with milk and deffo some whipped cream on top! I like my spiced teas milder or appley with a really good, smooth base and not too much clove. (Hi, Kiki!)

But today for lunch I was having (canned) beef with barley soup, which is a fairly strong flavor profile and a half peanut butter sandwich with it. I thought it was just the right time to try this.

It was just perfect for that meal. The soup has a pretty strong aroma but I kept getting whiffs of the tea over it. The strength of the tea was perfect, and hearty enough to pair just beautifully. The color was nice and deep and it is quite fragrant. It may have oversteeped a little bit as I decided I wanted to build a fire to sit by during lunch and I was minimally delayed pulling the steeping basket. It didn’t seem to hurt it at all.

I don’t think there could have been a better tea for pairing with a strong soup on a cold day.
Well, cold by NC standards. It was in the forties! Ha ha!

Thank you, Martin! It really was the perfect tea for lunch!

Martin Bednář

Happy to read that you liked it! It’s one of my favourites and I thought it will be a nice cuppa in colder days. I find it quite pumpkiny too; tohugh I never had a pumpkin pie before.

White Antlers

Ah! ashmanra Thanks for the reminder that it’s the little things that make our time on Earth so good. <3

DrowningMySorrows

Tea by the fire on a cold day sounds amazing. I grew up with wood heat and I miss it sometimes. It seems to warm you up faster than other types of heater. I don’t miss cutting and stacking the wood, though!

ashmanra

DrowningMySorrows: I have split (a little) and stacked (a lot) of wood in the 26 years we have lived here and used the Buck Stove, but I am VERY FORTUNATE that my husband actually enjoys cutting and splitting the wood! We rarely buy it and mostly burn found and foraged wood. The last hurricane took down an oak at a relative’s house that will keep us warm for the next two years.

By the time my students arrived at 2 pm, it was 75F in the hallway, far from the fire. Way too hot for me! But my husband was delighted when he got home from work and he could warm up by it! You are right, it really does warm a body up better than a heat pump!

The fireplace is in a room that used to be the kitchen/den but is now the kitchen/dining, so I often cook in a tank top and shorts in winter! Ha ha! It just gets too hot!

DrowningMySorrows

Oooh, I’m jealous of your toasty warm house! The people who built my house used ducts and things that are too small for this size of house so upstairs is freezing all winter (and uncomfortably hot all summer). I’m cold all the time anyway so winter can be a bit rough. I do a lot of baking just so I can hang out next to a hot oven! The cold is also my excuse for buying so much tea all the time.

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drank Lemon Swirl by Cuppa Geek
2501 tasting notes

Okay, so I was hunting about for something to drink with my lunch of homemade faux egg drop soup. I wanted a green and wasn’t sure what to have and I saw that I hadn’t even opened this one yet. I figured my soup would be pretty bland and something with flavor would be nice with it.

This was soooo good. It is definitely vanilla up front and not lemon first for me, even though I saw a good bit of lemongrass in my strainer. It was perfect, too. Waves of nostalgia were hitting me so I knew it was reminding me of a tea I haven’t had in a long time. And after searching a bit, I found it. It reminds me of Wedding Tea by Harney and Sons, which is a white tea blend. Honestly, I think I prefer this one as the green base is every bit as smooth as their white, but I think this resteeped a lot better. It was….smooth, delightful, comforting, soothing…wow, it was just what I needed to slow me down and make me feel peaceful today.

Love!

Nichole/CuppaGeek

You are making my tea lovin’ heart so happy with this review. So glad you liked this one! <3

gmathis

This one is definitely in the running for my favorite CG variety…and that says a lot because I do not normally seek out green teas!

ashmanra

I placed an order last night and got some more!

Dustin

What do you use for a faux egg in drop soup?

ashmanra

Ha ha! The egg was real! The recipe is faux because I am sure there must be much more the making real egg drop soup.

I used a half pack of ramen with no seasoning pack, and once the water is boiling I added the noodles and a tad of Chicken Better Than Bouillion. I beat an egg in a separate container just to break it up a little, and stir like mad as I slowly pour in the egg so it swirls in the hot soup, then it all goes in a bowl and gets a small sploosh of soy sauce to the middle,

Dustin

Oh, ha! I was imagining some magical vegan alternative with aquafaba and cream of tarter or something!

derk

Aquafaba – learned something new!

Dustin

It’s magic bean water! I’m not a vegan, but I’m fascinated by the uses of aquafaba.

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Profile

Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about ten years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

Location

North Carolina

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