We’re having muffins this morning. Gloriously fluffy muffins, each with a large crumb and a dusting of cinnamon sugar covering its inflated top. Or at least that’s what we are supposed to be having. Instead, somewhere between the creaming of the butter and their rise in the oven something went terribly, terribly wrong. No sweet and gently spiced aromas permeating my kitchen this morning, only the curious almost-burnt stink that I noticed a few minutes too late. Apparently, my oven temperature jumped 25 degrees after the muffins went in and ruined everything. They didn’t rise after the first few minutes and so they came out looking like dark, greasy pucks. I tried passing a couple off to my sweet husband who innocently enough thought they were some sort of high-fiber bran muffin. They’re not.

As disappointed as I am with these wannabe muffins, I’m still sitting here eating one with a steaming cup of spiced black tea on the side. This tea, the last of a generous sample from Nepali Tea Traders, is just barely spiced. It’s a whisper of spice really so I wouldn’t consider it a chai blend at all. I’m very glad it wasn’t described as such or I might have been a bit let down. Since it wasn’t, I’m not. A very nice breakfast cup.

I’m searching now for seeds to plant in our tiny backyard garden. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready for spring.

Second Steep
8 ounces water + 195 degrees + 18 minutes

This isn’t as flavorful as the first cup, even with the longer steep. The spice is mostly gone, and the black tea itself is weak. Best to stick to a single serving of this one.

Flavors: Spices

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Lifetime student. Lover of books and paper and ink. Kitchen dweller. Aspiring herbalist, excessively proud cat lady, and tea fanatic.

I love flavored black teas most of all, always with cream and honey. I prefer to sweeten my tea as it seems to bring out the flavor. I enjoy floral and fruity teas, as well as flavored or scented ones. I’m not overly fond of green or white teas, but I’ve found a few that I enjoy.

Any and all black teas, smoky teas, raspberry, strawberry, chocolate, bergamot, chai spices, cinnamon, cream, floral teas, caramel/toffee, jasmine, rose, vanilla, stone fruits, coconut, valerian root

Not a fan
Lime, white teas (someone tell me what I’m doing wrong with these!), most green teas, artificial sweeteners, sarsaparilla, licorice

I’m open to tea swaps! Just reach out if you see something I have that you want to try.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.

Currently reading:
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
by Diana Gabaldon

Updated January 2020.


Birmingham, Alabama



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