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Everyone should feel really bad for Espeon, she has had a very rough day. See, it has been a gloriously stormy day (that I slept through, mostly) and it has been terrifying her! One of those storms that has a decent amount of rain, little wind, and a nigh constant soundtrack of explosive thunder. Like a lot of cats (and dogs too) she is kinda terrified of loud noises (Tao, on the other hand, can sleep through anything and could care less, she is so zen) so after each massive boom I heard a sad little wiffle of a meow. Half asleep I called her into bed and then after each boom she crawled further and further up the bed (having started at the foot) until she was more or less under my pillow. It was adorable and sad, because according to the weather, the storms are not quite finished for today.

So, funny story with today’s tea, it was sent to me as a challenge by Trader Leaf Tea! I told them I was not so much a fan of hibiscus and they sent me Orange Grapefruit Herb Blend in hopes of changing my mind. If you have been reading my tea ramblings you know I really hate hibiscus, now true I do occasionally run into a blend that has it included that does not send me screaming for the hills, so ok, challenge accepted! This tea is a blend of quite a few things: apple pieces, carrot flakes, blackberry and eucalyptus leaves, beetroot pieces, hibiscus flowers, lemon grass, flavoring, tangerine pieces, and orange slices, so not one of those blends that is super heavy on the red death…and there are a few things I am rather fond of (hello eucalyptus and citrus things!) According to my notes (and my nose, since I just took a refresher sniff) this tea is a sweet citrus and eucalyptus explosion! Very sweet and refreshing notes of different citrus notes (lemon, orange, and grapefruit reign supreme) and a very cleansing note of eucalyptus. It opens the nose and lungs and allows for sneaky notes of beetroot and carrot to creep in at the finish.

One thing I will say about hibiscus, it sure is pretty to steep, that vibrant red color that starts pink and turns maroon is lovely to watch. The aroma of the soggy bits is super strong citrus and eucalyptus, I am not really getting anything else, I think I will use this as a breathing aide next time I have a cold because wow! My sinuses are certainly cleared now. The liquid is much the same, lots of citrus (especially lemon and orange) and eucalyptus, with a honey sweet undertone.

Now if you are the kind of person that finds this intense sinus and lung clearing and cooling type teas unpleasant, this might not be the brew for you, I love strongly camphorous like aromas and tastes, they make me happy. The taste is surprisingly sweet, like biting into a fresh orange, but mixed with a touch of sourness and tartness. The eucalyptus is strong, but it is not a taste, more the cooling and very refreshing sensation of eucalyptus. Towards the finish there is a combination of earthy carrot and beet notes, along with metallic notes from the hibiscus. Ok, you were right to challenge me, because I do not hate this tea, granted the hibiscus notes are pretty faint, so that certainly gives it a big win in my book.

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I am just waking up from a not too restful nap and thought to myself, I should write! Clearly that is why my nap was not a good one, I have too many tea thoughts floating in my gourd. Or it could be that I just wanted to drink some tea, that honestly tends to wake me up at all sorts of odd hours, and of course I have to listen to the leaf when it calls me.

Today we are looking at a very well loved kind of tea, a green that is also loaded with citrus! Trader Leaf’s Smooth Citrus fits that description to a tea (oh no, I am making half asleep puns) being a blend of Green Tea, Lime Pieces, Calendula and Sunflower Petals, and Natural Flavors. For years I thought I hated citrus in my tea, all those lemony iced teas in the South filled me with a great deal of displeasure, turns out I only really disliked black teas with citrus, though that does need to be retested since I am always surprising myself with new things I like that I previously didn’t. The aroma of the tea is a blend of lemonade and fresh cut grass, there is a hint of growing things, and the slightly more savory (at least to me) notes of limes. It is refreshing and evocative of summertime and sunshine, and this is why I like green teas with citrus, the smell just makes me happy! And if you are a follower of aromatherapy you are not surprised since citrus is notorious for doing just that.

Brewing the leaves turns them into a citrus explosion, boom, lemons and limes everywhere! There is a bright green undertone that reminds me more of lemon leaves and fresh grass then it does tea, well those notes added to a pile of fresh squeezed lemons. The liquid is a bit more mellowed out, not some much a citrus explosion, but more if lemons and limes added to things. There are notes of mown grass and lemon leaves, the tea smells more savory than sweet, which is making my mouth water a bit. But I am the kind of gal who likes her lemons and limes covered in salt or in savory dishes, so this is right up my alley.

Whoa! (and not in the apathetic Keanu Reeves sort of way) that is a lot of lemon, so much lemon taste. Like a blend of freshly squeezed lemons and limes and a pile of lemon leaves. After the initial citrus burst the green tea waves its little leafy hands in my mouth…that was a weird phrase…but it oddly works…with notes of freshly mown grass, a bit of sweet nutty sesame, and a very bright, clean presence. This tea tastes refreshing and clean, like a summer sunrise where there is just that tiny chill in the air and everything sparkles with dew. Once the months get warmer I am going to try this tea cold steeped, it is practically mandatory with it being such a summery blend.

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Well, last night’s campaign went well, we killed lots of undead things, none of my fireblasts backfired and lit me or the party on fire, and I talked to a cow for important plot details. Being a Druid is fun, now if only I could hurry and level up so that I can start turning into random wild animals, then things will really get real. And for anyone anxiously awaiting news on the computer kerfuffle, 4-7 business days until it arrives, the wait might drive me crazy, but that means it is only a short time before I can resume some semblance of normality and get caught up on all my internet stuff. Also, one last little blip of me related info, there are two new buttons on my blog, one linking to my Instagram and a donation button, I figured it would be a less obtrusive way to possibly generate a little income, and it keeps with my promise of not running ads.

So, now tis time for some Chai! Actually it is always time for chai, since chai just means tea in Hindi (and several other language) so yeah, when you are ordering Chai Tea at a restaurant, technically you are just ordering tea tea. Fun linguistics aside, today we are looking at Trader Leaf’s Sri Lanka Spice Chai, a blend of Black Tea, Coriander, Cumin, Curry, Sweet Fennel, Cinnamon, Cardamon, and Lemongrass leaves, quite the unusual blend! I am a fan of Chai blends that go out of the norm, and teas that incorporate spices that are usually just used for food. The aroma of this tea is intense, it is a blend of curry and cumin, coriander and cardamon, and a very rich malty black tea base. It blends the aroma of food and tea really well and manages to make me both hungry and thirsty.

After giving the leaves a steeping, the other spices start to really show their stuff, the cinnamon and cardamon being the strongest and giving an edge of sweetness to a mostly savory spiced tea. Underneath the previous spices is a blend of rich malt, curry, and cumin. The liquid is quite rich, blending sweet and spicy in a really quite perfect little dance. It smells much like a malty Masala Chai sitting right next to a steaming bowl of curry, or my usual dream lunch.

Taken the traditional way with milk and sugar (ok, I use half&half, but I like mine super rich) and let me start out by saying, that is one super rich tea, cream aside! I barely noticed the creamy richness over that strong malt and killer spices. It starts out with intense curry and cumin, then transitions to coriander and fennel, and after that hello cardamon and cinnamon! The finish is sweet with a cumin aftertaste that lingers. This is the perfect chai for a hot day, it warms you up and makes you feel all tingly and relaxed, plus I love the blending of curry spices and more typical Masala spices, this might be one of my favorite spice blends for a chai.

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Slowly yet surely I am putting my living quarters back into some semblance of order. It is a good feeling but alas, has left me with little time to dedicate to tea in the last couple days, something I plan on rectifying, maybe after a long nap. Definitely needing a nap, but first it is time for my daily tea ramblings.

Today’s tea is Maple Walnut by Trader Leaf, a blend of Green Tea, Brittle Pieces, Walnuts, Almond Pieces and Flavoring, green teas can come off quite nutty at times, so this seems like it could be a fun blend! Also I cannot help but be amused by the giant pieces of walnut in this blend, it is not shy about being nutty! The aroma is super sweet, very nutty and a touch of brittle. To be honest it reminds me a lot of Pecan Pralines, but made with walnuts, very nostalgic for the South where these things are super popular. I am also getting a tiny hint of coconut, though no green tea base.

The brewed tea is still so sweet, just like pralines and a bit of brittle, it is intense! There is a distinct nuttiness, both walnuts and almonds, and a bit of maple syrup at the finish. The liquid is unsurprising, very sweet. A bit of honey and maple and a generous heaping of nuttiness, even though it is sweet it is mild, not a hammer to the face of sugar, but certainly like sniffing a very sweet candy.

Tasting the tea is mild and sweet, like biting into a fresh, warm, praline, but with different nuts. Having a very distinct praline taste but with walnuts is weird, but certainly enjoyable, I am tempted to break out my candy making skills and give that a try. There is also a bit of honey and lots of nuttiness, there is no green tea base at all, it just tastes like candy, this is tasty candy, but I would have liked to have tasted the base tea at least a little. If you have an interest in trying this tea yourself, Trader Leaf very awesomely has a pair of coupons for my readers: for free shipping use code ‘amanda’ and for $10 off all orders over $40 use code ‘butterflies’ so yay for discounts!

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There is a tree outside! Ok, that was a little vague, there is a five foot balsam fir sitting on the porch waiting to be brought inside for decorating. There is also a stash of gluten free flour and accouterments for baking, exciting! I might be a real Grinch when it comes to Christmas (so much so that I am cancelling it after this year in favor of a new holiday of my own invention) but that does not stop my enjoyment of baking and coniferous trees. I really need to get a tiny needly tree to live on my desk, or at the very least a candle that smells EXACTLY like a fir tree…also I need to pick up some blue and purple lights for my bedroom, the little lights make me immensely happy. Also, guys, I really need a dainty snow themed teacup or teapot for my collection, it is of extreme importance.

So today we are having another visit with Trader Leaf, specifically we are taking a little looksie at Chocolate Coconut Bon Bon a blend of black tea, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, broken cocoa bits, coconut flakes, and flavoring, some of my favorite ingredients…I do just adore chocolate and coconut. The aroma, oddly enough, is really loaded with almonds! Maybe that is what the flavoring is, because it is super nutty. There are also strong notes of chocolate and slightly toasted coconut. It reminds me a little of a bon bon, but it has been so long since I had one, which is tragic with my great love of chocolate. Really though, the aroma reminds me of cookies with a malt and molasses finish, so it might be a slightly different dessert, but it is sweet regardless.

The brewed tea is super duper sweet! No surprise with it being a dessert tea, but wow, that aroma is so sweet. It is a blend of rich sweet chocolate, molasses, coconut, and almond cookies. The liquid is nigh inseparable from the brewed leaves, the only real difference is the aroma gains sugary sweetness from the melted chocolate.

Of course the tea has a delightful oily film which makes for an excellent mouthfeel, but it is annoying to clean off the teacup! I know some people get really grossed out by the texture of melted chocolate and coconut in tea, but I find it soothing, it reminds me of my childhood tradition of getting a spoonful of goose-grease when I had a sore throat. My grandmother would give it too many and for some reason I always got a sore throat when visiting! Ok, greasiness aside, the taste is surprisingly not that sweet, which is fine by me. Oh don’t get me wrong, it is sweet, but not the sweet of biting into a bon bon, it is the sweetness of coconut and a small amount of chocolate. The coconut is very pronounced, there are also notes of cocoa butter and of course chocolate, especially into the aftertaste where it mixes a bit with malt and molasses. This tea was enjoyable, but it did lack potency, I wish either the black tea would have been stronger or possibly the chocolate, but I am never opposed to more chocolate. If you have an interest in trying this tea yourself, Trader Leaf very awesomely has a pair of coupons for my readers: for free shipping use code ‘amanda’ and for $10 off all orders over $40 use code ‘butterflies’ so yay for discounts!

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drank Winter Pine by Trader Leaf
921 tasting notes

Well, the lip piercing idea was a mistake, I remembered why I took my piercing out all those years ago pretty quickly. Turns out, the older I get, the less tolerant I am of things that irritate me, this usually applies to clothing texture, but it also goes for jewelry, so no lip ring for me. I will have to find some alternative, maybe just take up wearing blue lipstick again? So, piercing problems aside, expect something exciting after Christmas…if things go as planned I am finally going to get a decent little smartphone and start using Instagram. Just think of all the tea selfies and random nonsense you will get to see! Plus all the work in progress craft projects too, it will be exciting, I hope. Another piece of good news, my spider arrived today! It is super cuddly and does an excellent job at balancing on my head.

Today’s tea has a seasonal feel to it, part of my quest to get some Christmas and winter themed teas onto the blog during the month of December. This might be somewhat subjective because this time of year is full of memories of smells and tastes. Winter Pine by Trader Leaf is a blend of green tea, orange slices, planed almonds, flavoring, pink peppercorns, and safflower. I can safely say I let out a little squee when I opened the bag, the aroma of the tea smells just like almond crescent cookies, probably my favorite ever holiday cookie. My mom made a version of them for years, then when I was a teenager I found a recipe in a New Age book for moon cookies and had to make them…after eating one I realized they were the same cookie, just in crescents! It is a blend of almonds, oranges, and a touch of pepper, the aroma is very sweet and quite a lot like dessert. My mouth is watering, especially since I have not found a gluten free version of this cookie I am happy with yet, I need them!

Brewing the leaves brings out more of the almond sweetness, like marzipan and shortbread, with sweet orange zest and a touch of pepper. It is exactly like the cookies of my youth, except more orange, which I like! The orange notes mix really well with almond and pepper. The liquid is essentially the same, sweet with notes of orange and almond, in fact I would say the almond dominates here as well.

Yum!! It tastes like cookies! Ah, each sip is like a walk down memory lane. Seriously, the taste is like liquid cookies with a bit of orange jam on the side, so much sweet almond! Like almond cookies and marzipan, my mom who I had to share the cup with, agreed that the taste is very much like almond cookies. It is not as sweet, but a little addition of sugar changes that, but I actually like it not as sweet. This is certainly a mellow tea, the green base does not make itself known too strongly, there is a distant hint of fresh vegetation at the finish along with pepper, so if you are afraid of green tea this might be a good one for you to try! Also, if you are interested in getting this tea for the holidays, Trader Leaf was awesome enough to provide me with a pair of coupons, use code amanda for free shipping or butterflies for $10 off all orders over $40.

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