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Holiday Tea-son! This was my Bird & Blend advent calendar tea today, and I actually had a 50g bag of this stashed in my collection. Like most teas in my collection, I hadn’t tried it yet (yes, I’m a terrible hoarder!) so I simply opened up the sachet, added the leaf to my bag, and prepared 6g of leaf in a 16oz teapot rather than making a single cuppa with the teabag as my nightly herbal. Making an herbal in my Japanese dobin every evening has become rather ritualistic…

The aroma of the leaf is sweet, and a bit spicy, but also makes me think of apples somehow? I’m oddly getting hints of apple spice, though I can see gingerbread or biscuit from the sweet aroma, too. Brewed, the tea is a reddish-orange color, and smells pretty spot on to me as the dry leaf — sweet, and a bit like warm cookies and apples in spices. It reminds me of one of those “grandma’s kitchen” holiday scented candle fragrances, because it is so aromatic.

The tea felt a bit like a strongly spiced cider to me. The ginger note was reading quite strongly, and left a bit more of a warmth in my mouth than I tend to prefer, which surprised me since the aroma smelled so strongly sweet/fruity/biscuity. I could make out a more subtle hint of cinnamon in the background, and there were some sweeter notes that hit the back of the tongue that tasted a bit like caramel, almond, and cherry, likely coming from the rooibos base, but that strong aftertaste of ginger really dominated the cup. It certainly smelled like an unassuming chai, but about halfway into the cup I found I was going to have to drink this masala chai style. Because I’m a bonified spice wuss.

After drinking about half a cup plain, I swapped out for my largest mug, filled it with 100ml of warmed vanilla almond milk, then put the remainder of the teapot of tea in to take it latte-style. The sweetened milk tempered most of the ginger heat (there was still a bit of warmth left after the sip, but it did help considerably), and the vanilla/creamy aspect of the milk did help it achieve a quality a little closer to gingerbread… though to me, it never quite hit the mark. The ginger was definitely there, but I had a strong sweet amaretto taste on the finish, which I can equate with holiday teas, but not gingerbread in particular. I wonder if the milk brought out that marzipan/cherry taste too much? Maybe I’ll have to try just honey next time, but I’m uncertain if that would help cool down the ginger-burn enough for my spice-wuss-palate…

Certainly more to my liking as a latte, but never quite hit the mark for me taste-wise. Not exactly bad, but not something I see myself likely to want to reach for often. I have a different rooibos chai that I really like, and that is likely to be the one I keep in my cupboard, because the spice blend in it just appeals to me more. This really smells far more desserty than it turns out to be with that ginger-whollap.

Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Fruity, Ginger, Marzipan, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

Currently Sipping Down: Tealyra’s Lady Grey, Tealyra’s Lychee Peach, Adagio’s white teas, Tealyra’s Chocolate Mint Rooibos, Tealyra’s Lavender Lemon Potion

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 16
Sipdown Count for 2020: 19

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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