Épices de Cru

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Last but certainly not least was yet another smoked tea – this time a roughly fifteen(ish) year old purple sheng pu’erh from Marika’s stash. This was the first tea that she’d sourced for her tea company back in the day. In the words of her producer, it was “a mistake”. However, it most definitely does not taste like a mistake!

Coming off the back of Smokeshou this was a much more gentle smokiness with a rounded and overall cleaner finish. We only had a few steeps and my memory of them is fleeting at this point, but I remember loving the second steep in particular because the mid sip had this lush plum note that weaved together with the smoke in a way that felt very… I don’t quite know how to phrase it. Exotic was the first word to come to mind, but it’s not really what I mean. I think what it felt like in the moment was the taste version of when you’re travelling abroad and you discover the perfect hidden gem that’s not in any tour guides or travel brochures. No one local guided you there. You just stumbled upon it yourself and it feels like being let in on a really, really big secret.

Anyway… damn good tea to end the afternoon on.

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drank Nordic Forest by Épices de Cru
2171 tasting notes

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Grandpa Style!

On today’s episode of “Anything Is Tea If You Try Hard Enough” I’m brewing some gifted cinnamon leaves from Marika! I had no idea how many of these MASSIVE leaves to add to my mug, but three ended up being a pretty great number. They definitely have the naturally sweet and slightly tongue numbing clove-like quality that I associate with pure cinnamon, though a lot more subdued. Aside from that, there’s a slightly savory edge to the infusion that’s especially apparent in the aroma – it reminds me a little bit of curry leaves, actually!! Honestly, it’s a pretty solid tisane – very easy afternoon sipping while still being pleasantly complex!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CsHcZkKOMJl/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvyBRS968c4

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Adventaggedon Day Twenty Five – 2/3

I see Marika saved something fancy for the last day – after all, vanilla and saffron are the most expensive spices on earth.

I started my day with this one – thankfully I think most of the congestion has passed and my throat also feels fine, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything in the cup. Once again I could see flecks of vanilla on the rim of my mug signalling just how much vanilla is included in this blend. So, so good. I love the aromatic rich flavour and decadence without sweetness. I have to make a confession, though. I don’t actually like the taste of saffron.

So, with that in mind, I did think it was well balanced with the vanilla and distinct enough in the mug that someone looking for that taste would be appreciative of its presence and quality. I even saw that signature yellow tint not just in the steeped tea but in the small pool of dripping that my coaster had caught when I removed the infuser. I just didn’t love it though, and at the end of the day I would probably choose EDC’s Osmanthus Vanilla over this one every time. That’s my perfect vanilla tea, though this is also a really solid options.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cmm1_S6uW2y/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cglLJJ0Czo8

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Adventaggedon Day Twenty Four – 2/6

The last couple chai in this EDC advent have started feeling a little bit same-y to me, and I’m sad to say that this one in particular was so hard for me to distinguish from the Chai Black from a few days back. Perhaps if my tastebuds weren’t so dulled from this cold or if I was drinking them next to each other, but this cup just felt repetitive to me. Not unpleasant tasting (though not my jam, either), but I spent most of the cup thinking about making my next cup of tea – and that’s never a good sign.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmkRKxwuisG/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llFdrwnBwLE

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Adventaggedon Day Twenty Three – 5/6

Sad to say I couldn’t taste this one at all today. I mean, Labrador Tea does exactly have the strongest flavour even in normal circumstances – but with a cold I was useless when it came to this one. A few silver linings though! The hot liquor was soothing on my raw throat. I don’t even really like Labrador tea all that much, so I wasn’t super upset to be missing out. And, lastly, the sample was large enough that I’ll still have a few other chances to brew a cup in the future when I feel better.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmhsXY6ut-w/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6up2d-iRMgQ


Hope you feel better soon!

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Adventaggedon Day Twenty Two – 4/6

A straightforward tisane, but what a solid one! I know that a lot of people really dislike the more savory herbaceous flavour of tulsi but I love it. Frequently I find myself disappointed by how weak the taste of tulsi is when used in blends and I have some straight Krishna Tulsi that I drink semi regularly.

I’ve actually had Quebec grown tulsi before (in some blends from Camellia Sinensis), but never straight. It was so smooth with the perfect balance of peppery and clove-like spice notes to balance the smooth, savory basil flavour. Just a touch sweet in a fresh, crisp kind of way. I only made a mug of this because I wanted to make sure I got through the rest of my advent teas before leaving the office, but I would have probably made a full blown pot of it otherwise to drink over the coarse of the whole day.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmfHdouubWR/

This is the first tea this advent season where I almost just fully forgot to take a picture because I went straight into drinking my mug. The aroma was that enticing.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eem-dzAkuI8

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drank Chai Black by Épices de Cru
15942 tasting notes

Adventaggedon Day Twenty One – 6/6

This Chai was weird. Not good weird and not bad weird, but just sort of weird weird. I immediately liked the dry leaf smell more than expected because of how licorice forward the aroma was from all the fennel.

Steeped up, the fennel was the thing I tasted more than anything else along with a decent amount of mace as well. However, the more and more I drank this tea the more sulphorous and egg-y it started tasting to me and eventually it got to a point where all I could taste was savory, spice infused tea eggs. The kind that take hours to make stove top that you can get from a good Chinese restaurant for, like, a buck. From there, all I could think was “Man, I should really make some tea eggs.”

Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love a good tea egg. I’m just not entirely sure that I want my tea to taste like the eggs instead of the other way around.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmciwMSufdM/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jakrnbe1GAs

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Adventaggedon Day Twenty – 3/6

Two of my advent teas today were lemony tisanes, so I decided the best thing for me would be to brew them in cupping sets as a side by side and just get them out of the way for the day. I’ve definitely really having it drilled into me that 7:30AM is not a good tasting time for me to process what I’m drinking because all I remember is thinking “This lemon is good – that lemon is not.” So, I guess I liked it!?

The leaves themselves were very beautiful though – lemon verbena always is, but after steeping these were such a particularly vibrant and lush shade of green. I was really transfixed by them. So, so brittle as dry leaf though.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmZ9_kDukMP/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkbaxkDf4vM

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Adventaggedon Day Nineteen – 6/6

…I have had so much green tea in the last month.

Honestly, though, this was one of the nicer Korean green teas that I’ve had. I think what I enjoyed most about it was how buttery both the taste and mouthfeel were. It was a bit umami as well and had some grassiness but the delicate yet unctuous profile was interesting to me. Definitely still not a favourite, but a lot of elements here that I appreciated!

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmXZOHku6m1/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyGNSaKj8Jg

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Adventaggedon Day Eighteen – 4/6

I love straight wintergreen (especially brewed long and strong) so I was happy to see this tisane included! It does have the same sort of “problem” that peppermint tea has where, when you find a solid quality one, it doesn’t really vary from company to company/source to source. So, this was delicious with the perfect sweetness and slight coating flavour, but also not too terribly different from the wintergreen I already own from Camellia Sinensis. Definitely no need to own both.

But, if you’re looking for a straight wintergreen source, I thought this was delightful.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmU0moLO1Ug/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lHLZ4RCkQI

Marika de Vienne

I’ll say it…I think Camellia’s was better this year LOL

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Simplicity has kind of been the vibe so far this week when it comes to picking out the teas I want to drink during the day, so this was pretty on the nose in that regard. Smooth, gentle and grassy and maybe even a bit nutty in the way Chinese green teas often are – but with overtones of fresh and lightly zesty lemongrass. Not a favourite (especially when Epices de Cru has so many other teas I adore), but hit the spot in the moment for sure.

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Adventaggedon Day Seventeen – 6/6

Not gonna lie, this tea was a bit of a struggle for me today. I have a love/hate relationship with lemongrass on the best of days, and y’all know where I stand on green tea. That’s, like, all this blend is…

I will say, this is some of the freshest tasting lemongrass I’ve encountered in a blend. It’s nice and zesty and the aromatics of the citrus oils are pretty dynamic. Where I’m caught up is that it reminds me soooo much of the citronella candles that my mom and grandmother used to bombard our backyard with in the summer to keep mosquito away. They smell nice at first but that flavour builds and builds in your nostrils until it’s all you can smell. It’s just too much. This is similar, where the taste of lemongrass on my palate is quite intense by the end of the cup.

The green tea is a complimentary base for it, and I think that grassier note with the hint of edamame and chestnut really drives home the freshness factor of the blend and how light and refreshing it would be… if these weren’t flavours I was already predisposed to not enjoying as much.

Todays’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmSPlmfOy2m/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orvR5V27n_o

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About halfway through this mug, which I’ve been slowly sipping as I work on tasting notes tonight. It’s actually less gingery than I had remembered it being, though certainly the taste is there. I’m really loving the kind of brothy heaviness and slight salinity of the shou pu’erh though! It’s thick and coating with just the right kind of earthiness to compliment that ginger.

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Adventaggedon Day Sixteen – 5/6

Y’know, I thought I was going to like this more than the Triple Ginger but shockingly I think I prefer that one!? My hypothesis was that this would appeal to me more because of the earthy shou pu’erh base and the fact it’s “less ginger” overall (not necessarily in quantity, but more in types of ginger) – and there were aspects that lined up with that expectation. It was very full bodied and smooth with a really distinctly earthy shou base and I liked that thickness and taste a lot. I also think that it’s smart, just in general, to combine ginger and shou pu’erh because (depending on the type of ginger) that shared earthy note is a great compliment pairing.

Where I think this blend sort of lost me is that, by comparison to Triple Ginger, it was almost a little bit too flat. Not to say this was a bad tea or that it tasted dull/flavourless, but there’s just so much life and nuance to Triple Ginger because of all the different types used. It’s rich and full bodied and it has earthiness, but also just a lot of other qualities – like heat and that almost “sinus cleaning” element.

So… that’s where I land on this tea. Shockingly (to me at least) I prefer the more intensely ginger blend. Is that what we call character growth!?

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmPqzUnOfl0/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlOu5g0LkJ4

Marika de Vienne

This was actually the second tea I ever blended myself, so I do believe what you are tasting is the gentle touch of a young and somewhat inexperienced tea blender, but honestly younger me is truly complimented all the same :)

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Adventaggedon Day Fourteen – 5/6

I think this is my least favourite tea of the day, but not because it’s an unpleasant tea. More just because everything else today was so strong, and it was also the one caffeine free tea on a day I reallllyyyyy needed caffeine.

Steeped up the things I taste the most are cardamom and mace, and I actually love that combination of flavours. Because mace tastes like nutmeg, when you combine it with other spices it sort of just immediately makes whatever you’re drinking taste festive too. If there’s one thing I’ve sort of felt “lacking” in my advents this year it’s teas that are more overtly festive, so I’m gonna grasp at those straws within this blend for dear life and allow myself to – in this moment – perceive this as a “holiday chai”. However, I reserve the right to take that back later.

Side note – I thought it would be cute to get my advent photo of the blend with my adorable (but also very much elderly) hamster. He’s pretty much never tried to eat any of the teas when I’ve used him as a photo prop before (I’m terrible, I know). However, on this occasion he seemed to be laser focused on stealing a cardamom pod from the tea leaf. He got one good chomp on a pod before I snatched it out of his paws and he was returned to the cage.

Soooo this will probably be the only advent photo with my hamster this year.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmKhQbAOFKi/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_xAKy3Il98

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Adventaggedon Day Thirteen – 2/5

Started my morning with a little teacup of this and some nerikiri. Honestly, I’m surprised that EDC didn’t just call this the somewhat more traditional and recognizable name “Moroccan Mint” since it seems like a pretty by the book take on one. Gunpowder green tea and all.

Not my favourite blend, but also not a least favourite. My distaste for the coarse vegetal and weakly smokey notes of Gunpowder green tea and love of crisp, menthol heavy peppermint and sweet spearmint meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes I found the mint in this particular blend left a bit of a lingering cloying sweetness on the back of my tongue, but I think that’s also maybe because I was drinking this with a sweet accompaniment too.

Kind of neither here for it or against it.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmH8V5nOYdw/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj8EABpA5Xw

I probably don’t recommend clicking the link if you have tripophobia. It’s not terrible, but something about the clustering of flowers on this album art always gives me that “instant cold sweat” back of the neck feeling I get from other tripophobic images, like lotus blossoms. Great song, though!

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Adventaggedon Day Twelve – 3/5

Ooooh boy, I was all over this tea when I saw it in the morning. I know that this element of my taste preferences makes me predictable as fuck, but I do really feel like I’m kind of in my element when it comes to teas that taste like trees and this one is even better than that because it’s LITERALLY trees.

I shoved the whole sample in a yunomi cup and drank it grandpa style over the course of the afternoon. Hot, hot water and loonnnggg steep times to draw out even more of that pleasantly sweet and woodsy flavour. Just a bit of a wintergreen note. So fresh, kind of delicate, and reaallllyyyy smooth and easy sipping. I even pulled out one of the sprigs and chewed on it for my metro ride home. Yum!

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmFXjHXOWrV/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXIw6iHmLbQ


You’re safe from scurvy now, too. ;)

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Tea Pop!

Made this one earlier in the week as a strongly steeped tea pop with a bit of agave and citric acid powder for extra sweetness and pop. There are a few people in our office really into pre and probiotic sodas, and often those use things like apple cider vinegar or kombucha based which give them a distinct acidity and kind of “healthful tangyness” and that was sort of the vibe this drink gave me. It was plenty lemony and also plenty gingery but mostly quite thyme forward and just kind of tangy and “herbal” tasting in a trendy ‘new world medicine’ kinda way.

Don’t know if that makes sense, but hopefully it does. Regardless of the sort of health beverage vibes, I liked the balance of flavours and thought the fizzy thyme and lemon profile worked shockingly well.

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Adventaggedon Day Eleven – 4/5

Made this one as a little tea for one pot this afternoon. The only tea for one pots I own both have holiday designs, so I try to use them more frequently during advent season.

I really didn’t think I was going to like this blend, but it won me over really quickly. The dry leaf is very beautiful with large “slab looking” ginger shavings, ringlets of lemongrass, and gorgeous thyme flowers standing out among the mix of different herbs. It’s super strong smelling with the kind of ginger that immediately floods your nose and makes you want to sneeze.

I think it’s the complexity that ultimately caught my attention. Though ginger is the first flavour and is so fresh and punchy, a simple lemon ginger tea this is not. I get a lot of complexity as the ginger, zesty lemongrass, cooling mint, herbaceous and savory thyme, sweet fennel, and camphorous and naturally lemon-y cardamom all feel like they dance across my palate with each sip. I taste all of the ingredients. Everything feels like it has real intent in its usage. On top of being super flavourful there’s also a really pleasant light tingly mouthfeel and, combined with the fact the ginger so instantly cleared my sinuses, it’s quite distinct.

Lemon Ginger blends are usually more of a “sick tea” for me but I could see myself just drinking this blend year round. It was possibly the most surprised I’ve been by any EDC tisane thus far…

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CmCyvUVuvAB/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sqZlpGK1fM

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Adventaggedon Day Nine – 5/5


I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I thought it was smart of Marika to soften me up to the idea of this straight green tea by putting the Soba Jeoncha earlier in the advent. I probably would have been really unexcited to see this tea today if I hadn’t tasted the aforementioned soba blend earlier. Instead, I was pretty neutral towards it.

I’ll be honest, after my first steep I kind of felt a bit nonplussed. It wasn’t unpleasant, and there was a little bit of a toasty chestnut note that I saw promise in, but it also wasn’t really my thing. I remember quickly, though, that I had a black sesame nerikiri in my fridge so I quickly rushed to grab that and I ended up nibbling on that in between my infusions. It was a game changer as the sweeter and almost creamy notes of black sesame and white bean paste really drew out more nuttiness from the green tea and masked some of the more grassy notes that turn me off from green teas.

It was actually a very surprisingly lovely session in the end, and I enjoyed myself so much more than I thought I was going to!

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl9pKW2Oh2i/

By total hapenstance, my nerikiri ended up almost perfectly matching my teacup – and the little poinsettia on the top of it also goes right along with the giant poinsettia you can see in the back of my room too!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQeseuubjFc

EDIT: I just realized that, technically, this was the only advent tea today that I didn’t already own! That’s kind of weird.

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Adventaggedon Day Six – 5/5

We had company at the office today so my last few advent teas were consumed very quickly so I didn’t miss getting all my photos in before five. I wish I had gotten to spend more time really sitting with this mug and focusing on the flavour instead of speed slurping. Darjeeling is not a chugging kind of tea.

Dry leaf smelled really fragrant though with a nose that reminded me of walking into a florists right before Valentine’s Day. Steeped up, I got notes of sugar snap peas, just a hint of freshly zested lemon peel, and a lovely thick heady floral that was like fresh cut roses that still have a bit of that greener “chlorophyll” smell to the stems from being trimmed. This was a very evocative Darjeeling to me, and I look forward to revisiting the rest of the sample sometime when I’m less rushed.

Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl16y9KOY7N/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpkOwmsk8kw

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It’s been a hot moment since I’ve done this, so I thought I’d do a “Teas I Drink In A Day” roundup a few days ago – no theme. Just whatever I wanted to drink.

I ended up picking this one out for the day to break up all the caffeine I’d crammed into the morning, but also because I was craving cardamom. It was a very smooth and aromatic cup of tea – the quality of the spices used in Epices de Cru’s tea blends are always just so much higher than the typical tea company and you really get that from the fragrant citrus-y and camphor notes that shine through in this tea along with that floral, soft orange blossom finish to round up the cup. I find this so well balanced.

That said, I did kind of wish I had vanilla paste bean paste with me to stir in, because I feel like this is just one step away from being the more elevated sort of Creamsicle profile as well and dang do I want that!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/C5RdiYtuAuR/?img_index=3 (3rd Pic)

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hver5f5HErw

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Late afternoon sip during this past week – I’m finding some afternoons I want a caffeine perk up and some, like in this case, I want more of a “caffeine cool down”. Not because the caffeine is bugging me, but I’ve just been a little stressed lately and there’s something a little more soothing to me about the idea of having a herbal blend. Which is silly, because caffeinated blends can be equally soothing in their flavours and ingredient compositions…

Anyway, this was highly aromatic and driven primarily by the taste of fresh cardamom with it’s natural citrus undertones and faint camphor finish. The camphor leans into the hint of cooling mint, and the citrus notes to the light and delicate orange blossom flavours. All very well connected to each other as a complimentary trio of flavours. And yes, very soothing…


Orange blossom and cardamom sounds like a really nice flavour combo. To see that on something like a black tea or oolong tea blend…

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