The Republic of Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

67

This one has a couple extra ingredients thrown in – blackberry leaf and stevia leaf. Not sure what benefit or flavor the blackberry leaf offers, and I’m not really tasting any sweetness from the stevia. Of course, that means no weird aftertaste either. Maybe because it’s stevia leaf and not the processed powder. Hibiscus isn’t my favorite, but I wanted something without caffeine this afternoon and I hadn’t tried this one yet. It’s cooled off now, so I’m enjoying it.

I signed up for a free virtual assistant training (?) this afternoon. It’s just a little five-day video series, though I’m sure they’ll be asking me for money at the end. Maybe if I like it, I’ll sign up. We’ll see. I’m hoping to narrow down my focus with some of the provided worksheets as the week goes on. I’m working as an administrative assistant now in a semi-large department, but I’d love to break into the world of virtual assistant work. September is approaching quickly and with it our official return to work. Being an assistant was never the plan (I wanted to be an Anthropologist…), but it pays the bills and I’m good at it so here we are. Working from home these last 18 months has really put things into perspective for me though, especially thinking about all that time wasted on long commutes. That, plus some somewhat recent health issues, has me reconsidering if the corporate world is really worth it. Some people live to climb that corporate ladder, but I’ve never been one of them. It’s just so hard for me to step away from my comfort zone. I guess it’s probably like that for most people. Anyway, if you’ve read this far, thanks for letting me ramble on. It’s been heavy on my mind lately. How’s everyone else adjusting to this “new normal” we’re moving into? I’m still nervous about leaving my house, to be honest. I’ve been lucky to be able to stay home through all of this, that’s for sure. I wonder sometimes how this will affect all of us long-term. It’s been quite a year+ and it’s still not even over.

Flavors: Astringent, Hibiscus

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
AJRimmer

I’ll be back in the office 2-3 days a week starting next week, and I’m dreading it! So much wasted time each day. I hope you’re able to transition into something you love!

Shae

Oh goodness, I feel your pain. I’ve been dreading it too. We’ll be doing 3 days in the office (Tuesdays – Thursdays) at least through December. I feel so stuck. I really hope next week goes well for you. Maybe they’ll ease into things as everyone adjusts. Do you generally like what you do?

AJRimmer

Yeah, they’re staggering days so I’ll be the only one in on the days I’m there, which I guess will be pretty low pressure. I’m an event planner for a university, and I really love it. The only problem is there’s a lot of down time, and I’ll miss being able to get things done around the house throughout the day!

mrmopar

The return back was hard for me as I had to give up my side job where I made more for myself than I could at my regular employer. Still not giving up on working for myself one day.

Martin Bednář

Gettíng “back to normal” is hard for me. First of all, I am vaccinated and everyone in my family is, but still I am trying to behave carefully and avoiding the crowds. I used to do it before, but still it feels a bit different.

As a job, I am just searching now, as I need something after the University and companies behave back in normal as I have been to the interviews. I feel way more stressed about the situations though.

Commuting never was a trouble for me, especially when travelling by train, but I feel like the Czechs think it is over again and yet we will be surprised. Many people think that Delta variant is “a little bit worse”, but “what’s a big deal, hospitals are empty and why I should care”.

Honestly, so many things are changing now (even in my life, and it’s not only job related) and well, today night I had a kind of depression about “free will and free thoughts” of my fellow citizens. I don’t want to read about full hospitals again in the autumn. I do my best I could, but well… “the others”

Martin Bednář

Okay, I don’t know if my ramble is understandable :/

ashmanra

Martin: I understood! We are also all vaccinated, but so many people are not getting the vaccine and now there is a surge herem especially I have heard of it at the military base. We hardly go anywhere and mask when we do go off, but it is sad how few people are being careful now.

Courtney

I hope your course works out and you can find something that works virtually Shae!

Both Lex and I have been lucky to be able to work from home, but are expected back in mid-August fully — five days a week at the university. We are both dreading it. There are no restrictions here now and everyone is living like it’s pre-pandemic. The numbers are on the rise again and the government is not being transparent about them (the other day they reported about half the number of what was true…). We’ve both been double vaccinated and will be masking (we have been the whole time), but we’d rather be safe! I also agree about the commute and cleaning — so much wasted time in the day just by being in an office…and I’m not looking forward to the ‘office culture’ as most (all) of my coworkers are excited, not just to be back in person, but for everyone to be together. Sigh. I’m trying to focus on my school and know that soon enough I can hopefully work in my field, at least!

Wishing everyone the best with this transition we’re all working through and grateful for this wee community of like-minded individuals!

tea-sipper

Martin – I understood your comments! It’s good to hear your entire family was able to get the vaccine. I don’t want to see hospitals filling up again either.

Sadly, I think it will be left up to the vaccinated to be the ones to still be careful. Even with a vaccine, I’m still worried about being out and will be wearing a mask indoors of public spaces.

tea-sipper

oh and needless to say avoiding crowds. How is a state fair even happening this year!?!

Courtney

tea-sipper I agree about it being up to the vaccinated people and avoiding crowds. They had the Stampede like lunatics (in my mind) here, with over half a million people attending. Ugh.

Shae

AJRimmer So glad you really love what you do. I hope that makes things a little easier this week. It’s good too that they are staggering days. Whoever thought it would be a good idea for us to have an entire business group come into the office on the same days, sitting around each other in close cubicles, obviously works in a corner office. Did I say that? I didn’t say that, no….
I’m right there with you on the house stuff. I mean, the time saved has made an immeasurable difference. Even doing odd things around the house throughout the day gives so much time back after work. It’s hard for me to imagine now how I managed to get anything done before!

mrmopar I would love to work for myself one day too. It’s just so hard to give up that security (insurance, benefits, a regular paycheck). Sometimes working a corporate job can be so soul-sucking though. Whenever you get back into your side job, please share if you feel comfortable – I’d love to support you if I can!

Martin I absolutely understand your ramble! The “back to normal” has been hard for me too. In fact, I’ve been in complete denial about it, even though we’re returning to business as usual in just a few short weeks. I heard that the higher-ups want things to go back to the way they were pre-pandemic, so I think even our shorter time in the office will be reevaluated in December. I’m guessing we’ll be back full-time at the first of the year. I know I’ll be working with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated coworkers, so even though I’m vaccinated I still worry about the new variant and its rapid spread. I thought they might reconsider the date because of this, but it looks like they are pushing on. I think the attitude here in the US (or at least in the southern states where I live) is the same as what you describe – what’s the big deal, I haven’t caught it yet so why bother with a vaccine, etc. That, plus there are many who feel their freedoms are being infringed upon with the masks and vaccines. My county, state, and region are considered high transmission areas.

Even though I work downtown, we don’t have great public transportation in the city here. I live about 30 miles (or 48 km) from the office so my commutes are usually stressful with the traffic. Before we started working from home, I was trying to listen to a podcast or audiobook along the way so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I’ll probably start doing that again when the time comes.

Good luck with your job search! I know that can be really stressful with the preparation and interviews. It’s so easy to get stressed, and depressed, about all that’s going on in the world lately. I hope you’re feeling a little better these last few days.

ashmanra Be safe! It’s a scary time, even for the vaccinated now. Or, at least, I’m scared. Not many others around me seem to be all that concerned.

Courtney Thank you!! I did get an email from a recruiter this week about a possible remote position, but it’s scary to think about making a big change with everything else going on. I guess it’s scary at any time, so maybe I’m just afraid and I’m talking myself out of it. I do worry about leaving my stable job for something new, but if it’s something new that allows me to work from home and pays more money maybe I should consider it!

Do you and Lex work together at the university or will you be returning for classes? I know that dread though – we don’t have restrictions here either. Well, even when we did not everyone followed them honestly. There’s the new CDC mandate, but I haven’t seen that’s it’s made much difference where I live. My spouse and I have been masking up when we’re out, but we don’t see many others doing the same (even at restaurants, which surprises me). I’d also rather be home where I know we’ll be safe, but my employers aren’t seeing things the same way. I just don’t get it. And yes! It seems that’s the common response for returning to the office – the company culture. I can see my coworkers just fine via WebEx, thank you. No need to pack us back into our little cubicle farm.

I agree – I’m so grateful for everyone in this community! It has always been such a supportive place.

tea-sipper Agree, agree, agree! They dropped the mask mandate so that those who had been vaccinated could go without a mask, but then the vaccinated continued to wear them and the unvaccinated had an excuse not to. What a mess.

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50

A nice, soft smell out of the tin that’s true to its namesake, but primes you for disappointment once you discover that it’s mostly just dusty, dry rooibos once steeped. I kept coming back to this one thinking the next cup would be different, and it’s passable with a splash of milk, but why waste perfectly good dairy? I struggled through the tin and was relieved when this was finally gone.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

I adore this tea. I buy a bulk bag of it every October or so, when it comes back into stock, and drink it through the year. It’s got lovely spicy notes in it plus juniper, which I adore and haven’t found in many teas.

Flavors: Spices

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90

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Flavors: Sage

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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71

I added milk, and this tastes like a fake tea version of what it’s going for, but it works. I don’t get much chocolate, but I get some tangy berry. It all combines pleasantly. The berry is sort of like the kind you find in the middle of a chocolate. I got this as a free sample, and maybe I’d drink it a few more times, but I probably wouldn’t want a whole tin.

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55

I have mixed feelings about this tea. While I enjoyed the bright, deep cranberry color and flavor of this tea, I didn’t like the stevia. I don’t care how ‘natural’ stevia leaf may be, I just don’t like that flavor—it’s artificial-tasting to me. Its taste represents artificial sweetener to me, and I can’t get past that. And I enjoy hibiscus-heavy teas. My favorite is Celestial Seasonings’ classic, original Red Zinger. That’s the tea that made me fall in love with hibiscus tea in the first place.
I ended up mixing a teabag of this into different combination teas I brewed. I can only recommend RoT Natural Hibiscus with reservations. If you would ordinarily add stevia or other artificial sweetener to your tea, then you’ll probably like this. If you like to add some extra color and flavor when you improvise a mixed tea blend, this works well. But it isn’t among my favorites.

Flavors: Artificial, Berries, Cranberry, Hay, Hibiscus

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 30 sec 5 tsp 45 OZ / 1330 ML

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68

Oh hot hibiscus, how I love you!

Okay, really this isn’t as bad as I was expecting. Sure, it’s making my mouth pucker and dry up like a raisin but the flavor’s alright with a little honey thrown in. And of course it tastes better as it cools. This is the last of my opened herbals, so I’ll be moving on to a few teabags next. Glad to get these marked off my list. My husband can have the rest.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Dust, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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100

This is one of the best green tea and I love it because it balances sweet and nutty notes and is free of additives.

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40

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58

Tastes like chopped Chinese sencha. It’s actually ok! It has that toasty-biscuity flavor of generic Chinese oolong with buttery dry grass and minerals, some astringency. It makes me feel warm. Not a green I’d want to have to cool off.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Dry Grass, Toasty

Martin Bednář

Daily Green tea it is afterall!

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80

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73

When RoT describes this as ‘Cuppa Cake’, believe that it’s really leaning into the bakery vibes of still-warm, squishy cupcake crumb. The taste and scent alike are both very buttery and soft with a hint of lemon rather than this being a lemon-forward tea with buttery notes. I can definitely get where some reviewers caught a little grassiness. In my humble opinion, this one tastes better as it cools off, if you can wait that long.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Lemon

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80

This really is like eating a piece of vanilla cake! The caramel comes in in the aftertaste like caramel frosting. The flavor here is pretty accurate, which I’m really enjoying! I will say that it’s a little artificial and definitely tastes more like an herbal than a black tea. I don’t mind these things in a tea, but I can see where all the negative reviews are coming from.

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68

Sipdown! (42 | 115)

I recently swapped with @thismorningstea on Instagram, and she sent me a few wrapped teabags of this tea. I used all three bags in my 16-ounce teapot.

This is… meh. It’s extremely grassy and I can barely tell there’s matcha added. It mostly just tastes like a cheap Chinese sencha.

Womp womp…

Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass, Smooth, Straw

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 16 OZ / 473 ML
Tiffany :)

How do you tell cheap Chinese sencha from others? And how do you bold text on tasting notes? Thanks!

Cameron B.

Chinese sencha is one that’s often used in flavored teas – it mostly just has a dry grassy taste. Japanese sencha is more vegetal and umami with a more intense flavor generally. You can make text bold by surrounding it with * or in italics by surrounding with _. Although the bold seems to randomly stop displaying for me right now…

Tiffany :)

Thank you Cameron for the help/advice. :)

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65

I’m just going to put this out there: for someone who doesn’t like rooibos as much as I don’t like rooibos, I sure wind up drinking a lot of it in the form of dessert blends. What can I say? I’m not smart, but I’m also desperate to keep myself warm during the dregs of winter and decaf is the only way to accomplish that without giving myself a heart attack.

Where to start? This is an odd one. It smells dusty in the tin. Without any addition of cream or sugar, the brewed tea is mostly not-too-sweet strawberry with a dash of funk you can’t quite place. You neither like nor hate it, and yet you can’t stop drinking it. Why? You search yourself for answers at the same time you fire up your kettle for yet another cup. You don’t know. It makes your mouth dry. Why are you doing this?

Maybe you’re wondering where the 65 rating comes from, and I’ll tell you: the addition of cream and sugar changes /everything/. I resisted the obvious additions for so long because I don’t typically like adding anything to any tea, but this is one where I clearly recognize the superior choice. It’s like drinking an entirely different bag. The dust and must disappears, the taste of cocoa turns to a surprisingly smooth milk chocolate, and the tart of the berry levels out. It’s hard to oversteep this one at this point.

Overall, a niche sip that’s nice when I want something a little more indulgent, but not necessarily one I’ll be reaching for as a regular drink.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Came back to this one after a few months of destashing less-loved teas and while this was better than I remember it being, it really just left an empty space in my bleak little heart for a more potent earl grey creme and now I’m off to the races to look for something to scratch the itch. This really is the ugly sister of Earl Greyer Vanilla.

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70

I love RoT’s Earl Greyer Vanilla more than most, so I jumped on the Estate blend hoping for another earl grey creme that would knock it out of the park. It smells pleasantly like a creamsicle in the tin, but brews up smelling mostly just like heavy vanilla cream with a floral hit. If you’re not a fan of big bergamot flavors, this is right up your alley.

The verdict? It’s…fine. Yeah, it’s fine. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it’s a smooth sip for what’s shaping up to be a sunny day after a snowy hellscape. It’s inoffensive, takes well to cream and sugar (this one is especially poised for cream addition), and will be enjoyed, but inevitably not replaced once it’s gone.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

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Flavors: Ginger, Green, Peach

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85

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Flavors: Chocolate, Rooibos, Strawberry

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95

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Flavors: Bergamot, Earl Grey, Vanilla

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