The Spice & Tea Exchange

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Recent Tasting Notes

80

Evidence of trichomes on the inside of the package. With an interesting wine aroma. Like a Burgundy. With a very slight sweetness from a Visanto. Golden tips and curly tightly twisted leaves. The wet aroma is very nice. A mix of what was already mentioned but then it switches to heavily wooded notes. This is definitely a woodsy brew. Wood chest. Wood compost. Playground wood? Also creamy with a bit of astringency. Would go well with milk.

gmathis

Spice & Tea Exchange is on the wish list for our next run to the Branson tourist area. I never paid much attention to their unflavored black options. I will now!

Skysamurai

I actually wasn’t expecting much from this blend but it was very good

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It seems utterly impossible to me that there is no note for this tea. It was a gift from a former student just a couple of weeks ago and we have already finished it. I drank the 1st cup hot right after I got it and it had lovely champagne flavor with a hint of berry. I was so sure I had posted a note.

Ever since Thursday, we have been drinking it as a flash chill tea. It makes an incredible amount of foam and even after you drain your glass the foam stays for a very long time. In fact I don’t think I have seen it break down yet .

Making this way, shaking the hot tea in a cocktail shaker with ice, the champagne flavor is very strong and the berry flavor is practically nonexistent. In fact, the three of us who tried it could only detect the berry flavor in the aftertaste and then we had to look for it. The champagne flavor is so good, however, that it is going to be very hard for me not to immediately re-order this one. It is an awesome summer flash chilled tea that tastes great with no sugar.

Mastress Alita

Well if you’re having deja vu, then I am too… I also swear I read a note for this that you wrote a few days ago.

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77

Sipdown – this was a Christmas present from my sister. We were doing local gifts. So this is local to Arizona (at least the shop).

Pretty good flavored tea with the flavoring lasting into the second steep. Juicy and melon flavored and the base is solid. It would sometimes get astringent when overleafed. I enjoyed it.

Flavors: Juicy, Melon

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I don’t know why I let myself toss this one into the basket when we visited the Spice and Tea Exchange back in November. The dried fruit bits were just so pretty in the packet. If you like cranberry and tart, you’ll be fine with this one, although there’s not really anything else noticeable in the blend. I couldn’t find a whole lot of apple, either.

But I bought it, overpaid for it, so I am bound and determined to drink it. Tonight’s attempt was aided by additives—an extremely generous glug of vanilla syrup from a sample sized bottle, for which I have now lost the lid. I think I absentmindedly cut off the protective sleeve around the lid, then threw away the lid and left the sleeve in my hand. You haven’t ever done anything like that, have you? I didn’t think so.

Leafhopper

LOL! I guess you’ll be having a lot of vanilla-flavoured things for a while. :)

gmathis

Plugged temporarily with aluminum foil. I refuse to go dumpster diving among the cat food cans to find it! (Although my husband fearlessly had to do that a couple weeks ago to find the top of the popcorn popper.)

CrowKettle

I’ve done this thing too

Leafhopper

Same here! I don’t know why I think it’s a good idea to throw lids of things into the garbage!

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60

This combination is a little weird, but I sort of enjoyed my first few sips. It’s fruity, but there’s also some warmth from the turmeric. After a while, the turmeric becomes a little harsh for me, and it’s a shame because the peach is so nice. Bleh the turmeric gets grosser the more I drink of it. It’s becoming so harsh and bitter boooo.

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95

Delightful Earl Grey! Strong bergamot taste and round flavor.

Flavors: Bergamot, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This is a delicious tea. Just the right notes of sweet lemon and vanilla to make it taste like the real dessert instead of like chai with a comforting name slapped on it.

This is also a pricey tea, so I’ve been milking the last bits of my ounce with multiple steeps and stretches. This morning, I took second steep leaves, added some Tao of Tea Assam, and came up with a pleasant, albeit not especially strong, treat to pour into my work tumbler.

AJRimmer

The name of this tea just sounds so delicious!

gmathis

Definitely a comfort cuppa! And (uh-oh), I just discovered there’s a Spice and Tea Exchange almost an hour closer than the one in Branson!

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Second steep. I managed to wring a second cup out of the leaves with a very long steep and a little milk. The rock sugar was spent with the first cup, but there was still adequate cinnamon, lemon, and raisin to make it believable. I won’t hoard the rest of the packet (just picked up a 1 ounce sample), but the rest needs to be saved until there’s plenty of time to savor it.

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We are not Black Friday shoppers. However, I incorrectly assumed that Rangeline (our main drag) would be clear of the crazies by this afternoon, and made a run to Goodwill to drop off some surplus. The traffic was absolutely bananas, and it’s good to be back in the burg. (Remember the story of the city mouse and country mouse? Oh, wait…you’re
too young for Captain Kangaroo. I’m the country mouse.)

I’m celebrating my survival home with an afternoon tea splurge. The Spice & Tea Exchange is a fun but pricey stop on the Branson Landing (online as well), but I succumbed to the seasonal bait they had at the front of the shop…and glad I did. This couldn’t make a nicer post-Thanksgiving treat. We’ve got creamy vanilla. We’ve got fresh cinnamon. We’ve got a teeny bit of lemon. We’ve even got a little bit of raisin-i-ness; that must be a contribution from the black tea base.

Paired with a leftover slab of pumpkin pie dump cake and a scoop of carrot cake ice cream—-taste so good it makes my toes wiggle!

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80

This one grew on me. Caramel, pumpkin, chocolate anise, tannin, nuts, and smoke this morning. Really easy to drink in fall weather. Most teas taste better in Michigan’s colder weather anyway. I still think it’s overpriced, but it’s a very good black tea.

Sip down!

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80

Backlog and present note reflection.

I took a vacation to tour the historic Saint Augustine Florida and visit my father. I thought about taking my teas with me, but decided not to because I know my dad doesn’t have a filter and drinks tap water. I planned on going through my Hugo Bagged Earl Grey and Jasmine Bai Hao because I know those teas can usually withstand okay bottled water while retaining their flavor, and I wouldn’t lose out on the flavors of my more expensive leaf.

Then I had a hair up my butt, and decided to get some Coconut Pouchong and this one from the Spice and Tea exchange and see how they held up. This Golden Money is the tea that begins to convert regular drinkers to higher end fancier black teas-a stepping stone drug if you will. I know I’ve had this one years ago and didn’t think much of it, so I decided to go at it again by pure impulse.

Opening the bag and 10 dollars spent later, the tea’s earthy but distinctly spicy, smelling like pepper, ginger, anise seed, and distinctly, licorice root and chocolate. Spice and Tea I’m not sure if it’s because the tea sits in a spice store soaking up the other flavors, or if its the tea itself since some black teas can have an edge to them. Brewing it western at my dad’s house with bottle water, I only got some flavors. The Spice and Exchange undersold the description making the tea savory, which is accurate. Dense malt, honey hints, muddled chocolate, and earth licorice root. Solid, okay. Quaity water is needed, and less humidity that is not Florida weather.

Back in Michigan on a hot day with only ten percent less humidity, the dry tea smells incredible. Spicy more so with qualities of the golden monkey that I know I like. Gong fu, and I got the flavors I described about and thick layers. Chocolate, honey, yams are more prominent yet still equal with the licorice and malt. Some people say tobacco for it, and I can see it more now in the malt. I’m getting mega peanut butter vibes in steep one and two.

I like this one’s profile, but $10 is a lot for it. So far, I never go beyond 3 steeps with it before the tea loses flavor, and I’ve gotten better quality for the same price and cheaper.

Flavors: Anise, Butter, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Licorice, Malt, Peanut, Pepper, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco

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60

I don’t really like this one. The flavor is a bit fake and weird. It’s not too tart, but its tartness also doesn’t hit in a very pleasant way. It doesn’t really have any notes that make me think smoothie, only sour orange. Milk made it taste a little better. I think I’d have it again that way, but it’s definitely not tasty enough to purchase.

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62

Sipdown! (1 | 205)

“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – A

So Mastress Alita’s sipdown theme for April is “An Ode to Tea”, and the challenge is to drink a tea starting with each letter of the alphabet. So I’m starting today with the letter A, and this tea sample from a recent swap!

The aroma is tantalizingly apricot, but I’m getting a lot of ginger in the taste. So much that really, the ginger is the main flavor for me, with the apricot acting in a supporting role. So, it ends up tasting quite earthy as opposed to fruity, thought there is a nice tartness from the apricot.

Drinkable, but not something I would choose, not being that big on ginger. But it was fun to try, and yay easy sipdown to start the month! :D

Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Earth, Ginger, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Tiffany :)

Ooh, I love ginger & apricot… :)

I’m also definitely going to play but I don’t know if I’m going to do mine in A-Z order or not, I’m still missing some letters too…

VariaTEA

@Tiffany – I didn’t have a tea for “X” so I think I may just skip it

Cameron B.

I’m missing a couple of letters too, so I’ll have to figure out what to do for those…

Mastress Alita

I’m not going in order, nor am I writing notes for all of them (only the “new to me” ones).

Leafhopper

I might play along too, though I don’t have a tea beginning with X, either. Maybe [Zheng Shan] Xiao Zhong? :D

Mastress Alita

I have had to use some creative interpretation for Q and Z for mine. I actually have the elusive X, “Xingyang Shu Pu-erh”.

Leafhopper

Ooh, I might have a very old packet of Xingyang Mao Jian from Teavivre somewhere…

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33

Better cold brewed, still not my favorite.

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91

Wow! This is good. I don’t usually dig herbals / tisanes, but this has a perfect balance of sweet and tart flavors and just the right amount of cinnamon. One can discern each and every voice in the choir, and relax with the beautiful melody. This gift makes me smile every time I brew it. Time to order more!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Pretty sure this is the same tea as Adagio’s green rooibos bonita. It has a light green rooibos and fruit flavor, which is just lovely. It’s like a soft orange peach. I love Adagio’s green rooibos. I actually have a 3 oz bag of Adagio’s green rooibos bonita, which I was planning on saving for a few months before drinking, but my cat bit some holes in its bag, so I’ve transferred it to a tin, and now I’ll be able to make a direct comparison sooner than I thought.

Mastress Alita

I also came to this conclusion not long ago. Fairly sure they wholesale source it from Adagio.

AJRimmer

Yeah, when I was looking for something to drink in my sister’s collection, I saw this one and was like yep, I know this will be good.

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70

Work tea from yesterday.

This is ok. It definitely needs precise water temp and brewing time to bring out the berry flavors and any hints of the white tea base. Overstepping results in a cup o’ hibiscus.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Courtney

“cup o’ hibiscus” XD

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70

Work tea #1

This is nice. The base tea is a bit woody, but it does have substance and body. The blueberry flavor is a bit odd. Some sips it’s right there, a delicious juicy blueberry flavor. Sweet and fruity. Other sips… nothing. I’m not sure why it’s that way, but if this tea were more consistent I’d be tempted to pick some up for myself. As it is, I’m glad I got to try it from the stash of teas they keep for us at my work. I think I’ll leave it at that.

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55

Firstly, I will note that the preparation instructions say 1 TBSP (aka 3 tsp) loose tea to 8 ounces of boiling (212˚F) water. As soon as I poured that boiling water over my tea infuser stuffed with that TBSP of loose tea, I noticed an immediate colorful cloud leave the infuser and quickly darken the water. I was to let it steep and sit for 5 minutes, which I did, and then removed the infuser.

The brewed tea smelled less strongly than the dry loose tea. The dry loose would make an excellent potpourri, by the way, but that wasn’t what I had selected it for. The brewed tea tasted … like hot water. I expected, at a minimum, to taste rooibos. But no. Just the flavor of hot water. I was confused.

But I’d had a similar problem with a sugar cookie tea that smelled fantastically of sugar cookies but also tasted to me of hot water. I wondered if my tongue was broken for this realm of teas-that-attempt-to-duplicate-baked-desserts.

Perhaps, thought I, what I need is to add a sweetener to this tea. I normally take my tea black. So I hunted down some honey and added the honey. And then it tasted like hot, thin honey. So no, the honey didn’t help the tea flavors appear. Again, it still smelled fantastically, but I have this habit of halting my inhalations as I’m pouring my sip of tea into my mouth, too many aspirated drinks as a child, so the smell didn’t carry over to mask the lack of taste.

Then the strangest thing happened. I declared the tea a failure and let it cool to (I didn’t have a thermometer) lukewarm (cooler than I typically take tea, slightly above room temperature). And then the flavors appeared. All of them. Correctly.

I looked at the packaging: no mention is made of this. I looked at the website for this tea: no mention of this. So I came here to Steepster and put the tea into the database specifically so that I could make mention of this.

Brew according to the directions, but then let it naturally cool. If you still want it somewhat warm, you’ll have to figure out the exact point of lukewarmness that it is still as warm as it can be while still being flavorful. If you don’t mind a room temperature cuppa you are guaranteed flavor when it reaches that temperature.

So this tea is no longer a warm-me-up tea. It has become, instead, a “drink”. And I will enjoy it as such. And I hope you will as well.

Flavors: Sweet, Whiskey

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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99

So my insomnia has been pretty bad lately, even after cutting back on tea. Wanting to avoid going the melatonin route, I decided to look into tisanes. Internet research consistenly turned up chamomile and valerian as effective sleep aids. Since I like chamomile on its own, I decided to try it first.

My stash of Rishi chamomile medley had more herbs than chamomile flowers left so yesterday I set out to procure some organic loose leaf chamomile. However, Whole Foods only carries the bagged variety and the giant 1 lb bags sold on Amazon are overkill. Luckily I was able to get half an ounce of pure chamomile from the Spice & Tea Exchange.

Tastewise, this was a delicious tea on its own. Sweet, citrusy, and honeyed with a bright yellow color. Normally I steep chamomile for 5 minutes but I decided to brew it extra strong and steeped for 10 minutes. Even then it was soft and very soothing.

A couple of cups of this and some classical music on Spotify definitely helped me sleep better last night. Hopefully it’s not simply a placebo effect because it’s such a lovely and relaxing bedtime tea. I will experiment tonight by upping the quantity of chamomile and maybe blend in some dried lavender.

Flavors: Citrusy, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Shae

When you start looking into valerian, check out Bedtime Blues from AQ2T. It is absolutely the most relaxing tea I’ve ever had. And so delicious! Plus it has chamomile too.

Mastress Alita

I don’t like the taste of chamomile, so I have to use valerian, but it works amazingly well for me. I only ever use it in blends, usually with mint and lavender, but it really hits me hard.

LuckyMe

Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll definitely be sure to check out valerian

derk

Whether placebo effect or not, linden works the best for me followed by valerian. I’d much rather drink flower nectar than stinky feet.

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76

No stand out, but still a good Russian Caravan, and it’s nice to find something at a local shop, seems like I am constantly waiting on the mail and it gets old.

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