Still super backlogged. I guess that’s what happens when you have a free night and decide to “sleep when the baby sleeps” and go to bed at 8pm, and sleep until the baby wakes up at 8:30am… (there was a 5:30am feed in there too, but I did not eat when the baby ate, and woke up quite hungry as a consequence).

Anyways, in the interests of cleaning off what may soon be known as “Tea Couch” (it is currently adorned with all of the packets of teas I’ve had recently, as that’s how I remember to review things), I’ll try to plow through a few while baby is napping (given the approximately 12 hours of sleep I had last night, I am not as tired as usual).

I’ve obviously received my Bird and Blend order (well, if it’s not obvious, it will be shortly with the number of B&B reviews I’ll be posting). This was a pretty random pick for me though – an herbal, with rose? Not my style. But I was curious, and there was a 20g samplers option, and I had a free slot, soooooo this one ended up in there. It’s actually not bad, as long as I remember what I’m drinking – the rose is present but it’s not as strong as it could be (oh – and the rosebuds are beautiful – this would be a gorgeous tisane to IG if I did such things), and I can taste the cacao shells nicely, although there’s a touch of a stale flavour that I’m picking up. Unsure if it’s the cacao or a different ingredient.

The tea is definitely reminiscent of turkish delight (which I don’t like, surprise surprise), especially with that chocolate hint. (I’ve only had chocolate-covered turkish delight, I believe.) A fantastic choice for lovers of such things, but I’m actually finding it to be fairly decent despite not being big on rose. High marks for uniqueness, lost a few points because of the slight stale flavour (remember, this is a new order, not a 7-year-old tea like practically everything else I’ve been having lately, so this shouldn’t be expected). Worth trying if you’re into such ingredients, or at least, not too averse to them.

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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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