Sipdown! 982. Thank you Sil! (I think there were a few teas accidentally missed in the count previously. And I need to add a Verdant and Butiki order. Plus the incoming 52teas’ Christmas sets. Crap crap crap.)

I took the time to look up all the teas I was steeping to check if any of them needed different parameters…. and then proceeded to steep the only one with green, with boiling water. Sigh. It doesn’t seem to be ruined though, but there is some bitterness and astringency, which I would definitely chalk up to user error. Anyhow! This is one of a few deliciously aromatic mugs I brewed up tonight, from the Doctor Who custom blends by Cara McGee. I genuinely have no idea what any of them are, so I get to play a little guessing game!! This one smells caramelly, with a hint of cinnamon or spice, but JUST a hint. The flavour is more or less the same, being thick and somewhat sweet/caramelly, fairly malty, a little bit spicy, and kind of astringent, which definitely impacts my tasting of the base teas. I assume, though, it’s Adagio’s standard black (and some sort of rolled green; I’d maybe guess gunpowder but I’m not detecting smoke). Despite the overly hot water, and 45 seconds longer infusion time than I intended, this is pretty good. I’d guess it’s a caramel spice tea (emphasis on caramel, not spice), but it appears to be chestnut and irish breakfast (with gunpowder?) Quite an interesting combination, but it does actually work. The chestnut must account for the sweetness, and the spice is perhaps an artefact of sample contamination or my imagination (I do have a Laoshan Chai a couple teas down the line).

Anyhow, I’m pretty impressed with this blend, and it makes me quite curious to try Adagio’s chestnut tea, if they have one available, because that caramelliness is gooooood. Thanks again Sil!

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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