The Spice & Tea Exchange

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

TTB sample! I really taste the hazelnut! I think this tea is pretty accurately named. I get the desserty, cookie-ish vibe for sure! Nice with sugar and milk.

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70

TTB tea! This tastes pretty fruity, though not special. It’s refreshing cold, but not amazing.

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Cold Brew!

I don’t know that I got smoothie from this, but the pure play densely sweet yet bright orange note was spot on and oh so refreshing as a cold brew! I think this is probably my favourite tea from Spice & Tea Exchange. It’s simple, but it delivers.

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83

Another sipdown! This was a souvenir brought back by a friend from a trip to Florida. I’ve had a handful of Spice & Tea Exchange blends. So far they’re hit-or-miss for me, though their straight ginger root is really good. I liked this blend more than I expected to. It’s definitely a winter drink for me because of the combo of a thick, syrupy mouthfeel, cooked plum flavor, and the cinnamon. That plum note is definitely held up by the hibiscus, so this is not for the hibiscus-averse, but I think it worked well. Once I pulled it out to start working on the sipdown, I finished it off pretty quickly.

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Sipdown!

I can’t believe there are no notes from anyone on this tea, but especially none from me,even though I am finishing it today. Perhaps my notes were eaten in one of the great Steepster shutdowns.

This is a great tea, leaning toward the darker side of oolong. Color in the pot is ruby red and in the cup a nice black tea shade of medium amber. Definitely has raspy cacao mouthfeel, awesome with food because it clears the palate and nice even after the bagel is but a memory because it is so strong as to make it unpalatable. There is a little nuttiness, toasted. It leaves a slightly smokey aftertaste as well. But even with all that, I don’t perceive it as a super strong oolong and it doesn’t need any smoothing.

As a tea-related aside – I was reading a novel set in London and it mentioned The Rare Tea Company. I emailed and asked if it was really specifying them and they wrote back and said, “Yes, and here is an article to enjoy!” So I will share it with you, too! I guess I need to go order some Lost Malawi tea now…

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/31/tea-drink-alexander-mccall-smith

Leafhopper

I’ve read a memoir by Henrietta Lovell, who owns The Rare Tea Company. It was entertaining, and I kept ticking off the teas I’ve tried and the ones I wanted to get to.

ashmanra

I need to look for her book. I wasn’t aware of it! I want to order the Lost Malawi soon.

beerandbeancurd

Ah, how cool!

Leafhopper

I think the book is called Infused. I read it a few years ago. Lost Malawi is a wonderful name for a tea!

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Sipdown

Ashman enjoys oolongs so this has been his morning breakfast tea for the past few weeks. It is roasty and nutty has good body, and has enough flavor to go well with whatever he chooses for breakfast. It has that bit of heft flavor-wise that makes it awesome at breakfast to me, or for whenever I just need a boost from my cuppa.

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80

The TTB has arrived! So big, so many teas… no chance to try them all!
Tea #37

I took this tea from the TTB; checked it visually and I put it back. Then I saw note from ashmanra, realised I saw it somewhere… and took it from the TTB again.

To try out.

I was also pretty sure I have seen it insome other note; maybe a little note about it in other tea note. I don’t remember such things. But decided to try it.

It is indeed a yummy tea. Wonderful aroma, even better taste. Warm notes of cinnamon, smooth creamy vanilla, it was like eating a vanilla pudding (custard) sprinkled with the cinnamon. Apparently bread pudding is something slighlty different.
Very cozy and highly enjoyable tea. A bit sweet.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

Bread pudding (at least where I grew up) is very custardy: eggs, sugar, milk, and cinnamon poured over stale bread bits. Spice & Tea exchange throws some lemon peel in there, too, which makes me like it even more!

ashmanra

I love the smell of this tea!

Martin Bednář

Hm, it looks like Czech Buchtičky se šodo, but no cinnamon here!

The aroma is indeed truly amazing ashmanra!

gmathis

I am learning so much about Czech cooking from you!

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February Sipdown Prompt – a tea bought in-store

Sipdown

I didn’t realize this was so close to a sipdown. Most of it has been breakfast tea for Ashman on work days. It is similar to the Gingerbread Festival that we have on hand from Harney and Sons and I tried to decide how they differed. I realized that they differ exactly as the two foods do. Warm bread pudding is rich and sweet and you are really aware of the lemon and vanilla flavors. It seems like a sweet dessert by light in comparison to the Gingerbread Festival, which is full of rich, dark molasses notes. Both are great.

And full disclosure, this wasn’t bought in-store by me, but rather was a special request I made to Supperanna when she was going to be shopping at The Spice and Tea Exchange near Disney. I don’t think there is a tea in the house that I bought in the actual tea shop that sells it, so my choice would have needed to be more of a grocery store blend.

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After gmathis raved about this one, I sent a message to Superanna to look for it next time she goes to Spice and Tea. Since I was disappointed with the profile of our breakfast tea (a good tea, just not the profile I wanted for brekkie today) I was excited to make this one for lunch in celebration of our first really cool day. Even though it has warmed up to 69F there is still a little chill on the breeze and it is cool in the shade.

The aroma of this tea is fabulous. I see chunks of what looks like German amber beet sugar in the blend. Not enough to make it oversweet, though. The spices are just right. I hate it when there is a lot of clove or ginger, or way too much molasses flavor.

This smells lemony and yet rich but the sip is less lemony and more rain and warm but not hot spices.

Delicious, and a great tea to have on hand for fall and winter!

gmathis

Really nice with milk, too.

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Sipdown

November Sipdown Challenge – a nutty tea

I had this with Ashman for the first time today. He can be a little picky about black tea and wants milk and sugar with most, although he is finding more and more that he can drink plain. (He never adds anything to puerh, green, oolong, etc.)

It is indeed a very nutty tea. It reminds me a little of Cookie from Lupicia, or even White Christmas, which is the ramped up version of Cookie. I offered to make the final cup after we had finished breakfast with milk and sugar so it would be more dessert-y for him but he said he preferred to finish sans additions. He must have liked it pretty well!

Goes well with foods that might drown out a subtler tea.

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I had this for breakfast today and it was a good strength for me. I used two teaspoons for about 14 ounces of boiling water. The hazelnut is very nice, and doesn’t come off like Nutella as is the case with a lot of hazelnut flavored things.

I thought the tea base was a great strength since I don’t add milk or sugar, but I do think this could take it and I will probably make a latte with it sometime soon. I did taste a little something I thought was….woody? Toasty? When I checked the description it said this is toasted hazelnut flavor so I think it was that toastiness that I picked up.

Very nice!

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Sipdown!

And it is a sad sipdown, too. I didn’t realize I had been hitting this one so hard.

This Earl Grey has lots of cream flavor, feeling so smooth with lots of “mouth-roundness”, as Graham Kerr used to say. I drank it plain and intended to try it different teas but drank it all before I could. Once I finish my tin of Fortnum Mother’s Day, which is a rose Earl Grey, I will acquire more of this one, I think.

gmathis

Graham Kerr … well, that just reconnected some synapses from the 70’s!

ashmanra

My son loved the Graham Kerr show when he was about ages 5-7. He watched the show all the time and said he was going to be a cookerman when he grew up, and although it is not his profession, he is a very good cook and made our lunch yesterday!

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I really enjoyed this one – another from Superanna.

I think I liked this better than Victorian London Fog from Harney but it has been a really long time since I had that one.

The creme and vanilla flavors are nice and strong here, as is the bergamot. I drank it plain but I bet this would make an awesome latte, an awesome London Fog, and an awesome ice cream mix.

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The dry leaf has such a strong coconut aroma but I see no coconut pieces in the mix. It smells great. The base is bao zhong and it steeps up very light. The coconut is the star of the show. It should last a long time since there are no coconut chunks to go rancid.

Tasty!

gmathis

We’re pondering a Branson trip in a few weeks—they have a Spice & Tea Exchange at one of the big shopping venues. I’ll have to see if I can sneak a sniff.

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This was a gift from Superanna, who just visited Spice and Tea in Florida near Disney and brought back some pressies for me.

I find this tea aptly named. This is maltier than an English breakfast usually is, and less brisk than an Irish or Scottish breakfast.

I rarely add milk and sugar to my tea and I usually don’t need a caffeine kick or a super strong tea to get me going in the mornings, so there are few breakfast teas on my shelf. I have QueenCatherine which is a blend of three Chinese teas, and I have Premium Keemun from Teavivre, as well as a few Earl Grey renditions. Those are what I consider my breakfast teas.

This tea seems to contain Assam and Keemun teas although the Chinese tea in the mix might be a Panyang. It has a rich, classic breakfast tea aroma but it’s not so brisk that I feel I have to add milk to soften it, nor does it need sugar, especially with food. Even when breakfast was finished and I was having the last cup from the pot, it wasn’t too much for me.

I think this is one of those tees that Ashman will love just as it is. I will enjoy it on days when I want a little “oomph” with my breakfast.

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78

This is pretty… been wanting a good chocolate tea for a while but this was a little disappointing despite the rating I’m giving it. I was hoping it’d be a 90 or better… especially since it was only available in-store as a 4 oz package and know I’m kind of stuck with it. It has a slight cocoa flavor but I definitely don’t get the chocolate. IDK maybe I had high expectations… too high, but it fell short. My favorite chocolate tea is still Hot Chocolate by DAVID’s TEA.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Dust, Paper, Tannic, Vanilla, Wood

Courtney

If you enjoy chocolate teas, you may want to try Choco Chou from Camellia Sinensis :)

thereadersteacup

Oooh thank you! I crave chocolate a lot but struggle finding a good chocolate tea

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92

New comfort tea unlocked

This blend is so cozy and warm, it tastes just like warm gooey bread pudding. I may need to grab more before the fall season even begins!

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Milk, Rice Pudding, Spices, Vanilla

gmathis

Glad you’ve made the discovery! Ooh…I wonder what it would taste like around the holidays with a little eggnog…

thereadersteacup

Ooooh yum! That sounds so good! In our local Stewarts, they have eggnog all year in pints… maybe I should experiment

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80

TTB
I don’t mean to by a complainypants about the weather, but it’s rained every day for the past two weeks in a place where it typically rains twice a month. So I pulled this out of the box for a comfort cup this morning and got a nice warm cinnamon maple hug. I think this is just as good as Cuppa Geek Morning Waffles and I might need some of this in my cupboard. Thanks for putting it in the box!

ashmanra

This sounds really tasty!

gmathis

Oh, yeah! Spice & Tea Exchange is very, very proud ($) of their product, but I grab some of this every time I’m near their Branson storefront.

thereadersteacup

It’s so good! I wish it wasn’t so pricey, I can see myself drinking it super fast

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63

There is a lot going on with this tea. My brain didn’t fully process what I bought until just now. I purchased it thinking it would be good for my mom who has digestion issues but she is also not good with tea infusion. I will teach her. When I first opened the bag I was hit with Mint and a medicinal note… dentist’s office. Maybe a slight hint of nilla in the background. But when you infuse the tea the profile changes. Suddenly the back of the dentist’s office bursts open into a fish market. FRESH FISH! It’s so strong! Had to push it away as I was steeping it. But as I bring it back the mint aroma comes back. But it is not dentist mint anymore. Now it’s just peppermint. Almost reminds me of those chocolate peppermints. Not the York with the white in the middle but the green one. Hmm well, maybe the York too. The liquor color is deep and dark brown. Hickory. As you sip it down it turns to a bit more of a rosewood shade. Strangely, the mint isn’t overpowering in flavor. They all kind of meld into one… meh. It’s not terrible it’s just not nearly like anything I was thinking it would be. It’s all fishy and minty and vanillay and woody all at the same time and my brain is going wtf…

gmathis

Pepper-fish!

beerandbeancurd

Well, it was entertaining on this side of the screen! Hehehe

beerandbeancurd

This is a really long shot, gmathis, but… that’s not a Pandaria reference, is it?!

gmathis

Well, there go all my cool kid points. I had to Google it.

Daylon R Thomas

Fresh fish! We catch ’em, you buy ’em!

beerandbeancurd

Preeeetty sure you didn’t lose any cool points there, hahaha

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This tea was fucking weird.

I think it mostly bothered me because it’s composed of soooo many really strong flavours that all together are just a bit too intense and competitive. We’re talking really cooling, menthol heavy mint, a slightly tart red berry notes, veryyyyyy coating and cloying sweetness from the ginseng/licorice root, and a slightly astringent and bitter woody finish. Isolated, I think they would have all been lovely though. I think this is a case of someone trying to build something quite functional and prioritizing that over taste. Not a bad thing, just not the way I personally consume my teas.

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66

This one is a favorite of my husband. Its a healthy tea with lots of good ingredients. I can taste the schisandra’s bitterness and the dandelion as well as the ginseng. I’m not a fan of licorice root as I find it too be a strange flavor. It feels like a good maintenance tea for those that like to drink herbal teas with medicinal properties. Has lots of vitamin C which would also be a good tea for the winter time when the sky is cloud most of the time. (peppermint comes in faintly)

Flavors: Dandelion, Ginseng, Licorice Root, Peppermint, Rosehips

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Thick and jammy, but with a pleasant briskness from the black tea base. I had this as a hot cup of tea first thing when I got into the office on Monday and it was just spot on the straight forward and flavourful blend I needed to jump start the week!

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Iced Tea!

Y’all know I love a good blueberry tea, especially a black! This was very refreshing with a pretty strongly jammy blueberry flavour contrasted against a nice, simple brisk black tea base. There’s nothing about this that stands out as especially unique or distinct but the execution was really well done with a simple blueberry blend. Plenty flavourful and just quite tasty. I’d happily drink this one again!

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Currently drink this tea while I churn through my tasting note backlog!

It’s very much a grey day today, and I’m feeling rather bored at home. Maybe that’s a factor of why I felt like pulling this tea out? A bit of liquid escapism, perhaps? It’s certainly sunny tasting with a bright but not sweet note of fresh squeezed oranges. Definitely appropriate for its namesake, though I also enjoy that there’s an ever so slight pithy undertone and that the notes of timothy hay and honeysuckle from the white tea itself also still come through in taste.

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