I had such high hopes for this tea that after something of a bummer of a first steep (which my husband liked, so I’m not discounting that maybe my pregnancy taste buds are toying with me again), I decided to steep it again this morning. The last time, I had added milk, almost out of habit (and thinking that a chocolate milk flavored tea could only be improved by the addition of actual milk), but the flavor was just all kinds of not right. No chocolate, no marshmallow root, just this odd flavor that was vaguely burned. I thought maybe I’d just steeped it too long, but there weren’t really too many tannins… I couldn’t figure it out. So I thought I’d try it again this morning. That odd flavor was there again, but this time it was identifiable: wet wood, like the flavor of a toothpick. I think I have decided I just don’t like the base tea. It is not rich or malty or chocolatey or anything I like in a black tea. Again, it could very well be my preggo tastes messing with me (I have noticed that teas that I like have started to taste a little different than normal, not in a bad way, usually, just different), so I guess I won’t rate this one. This whole experience has been rather bizarre. It doesn’t help that I don’t think I’ve ever had a Qu Hao before, so I have no past experience to reference. Has anyone else encountered anything close to the flavor I described with this tea?

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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I very clearly remember my first experience with tea. It was in a Target near my house, and my best friend handed me a cup of chai from the Starbucks inside the store and said, “Try this.” I believe I was about 12 at the time, and from then on, I was completely hooked.

Anyway, as my increasingly weirded out family will tell you, my obsession with tea has (almost) steadily escalated since then. I discovered the world of tea slowly, first with just chai, and then with bagged teas I could get from supermarkets and specialty stores, and then with loose leaf teas. I mostly shop for tea at Teavana, but I also patronize other local shops that I’ve discovered within the last couple of years. I’ve ordered a smattering of teas from a few online places, but I’m always leery of buying tea online, since most of how I select teas in person is by smell… unless I’m at The English Tea Room.

My favorite types of tea are blacks and flavored blacks. And oolongs. Right underneath that are rooiboses and whites, and then greens and herbals, and then mates. I’m always looking for a new favorite, but I appreciate rediscovering old favorites. I like to blend teas, but I never store them that way, mostly because I like to leave myself options.

I prefer nutty/sweet/rich teas to fruity/light-flavored teas or bold/full-bodied teas, but I do try to drink some of everything to widen my palate. I’m always willing to try any tea at least once (except this one tea that Teavana mercifully discontinued… the loose leaf smelled like cheese, I swear). I do perhaps rate teas a little leniently… because I’m not very picky. I will try a tea at least three times before I pronounce that I hate it, and I will always focus on the good aspects of a tea rather than the bad. That’s just how I roll. :3


Colorado, USA

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