Always 1895

My winnings.
[image of a tea towel, umbrella infuser, tea and mug in a basket]

Only I would go to a Sherlock Holmes symposium and win tea. Yep that’s right…I threw in a handful (or less) of raffle tickets and won. I was pretty excited to dig into the tea for sure. Color me a little disappointed when I realized it was bagged tea and not loose leaf. But such is life right?

The nicer thing is I won a mug. Why you ask? Because I’m not allowed to buy more mugs…ever. So the only way I can get them is as gifts or winning them. Muahahaha! The game, as Sherlock would say, is on! Seriously, please send me mugs of the geeky variety. Please and thank you!

As for the tea, I’ve had it maybe twice now and it’s ok…but it’s also been super hot so I haven’t really been enjoying my teas. I’ll give it another run through when it cools off later this week. More posts coming soon as I just received a huge sample from Lochan Tea and a tea buddy sent me a LOT of puerh!

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Hello old friend…

And it’s all mine!

So as some of you might know I used to be VERY into tea. I sold it for a time and I even went to the eastern World Tea Expo a time or two. That’s how into tea I was. But then life happened, and work, and now a baby toddler. However, recently I realized I needed to get back to the things I loved. That I was more than just a mom. Here I am kicking the blog back off. Getting samples to try and buying my own teas to try and review too.

That’s what this tea it. It’s one I had close to five years ago, when times were simpler, and less of my attention was demanded in eight different directions at once. I first picked up the Ancient Phoenix Fermented puerh when I first attended the World Tea Expo East in 2011. It’s also where I met many tea friends I still have today. I think I stopped at the Wild Tea Qi booth on the last day of the event and they were serving up this one. Well, I fell in love and instantly bought a package.

Ready and waiting!

I tried not to drink ALL of it too quickly, but it was good. I also recall sending some off to various tea friends who could not attend the expo so needless to say the tea went quickly. Flash forward to now. Now that I was jumping back into blogging and drinking ALL the tea I was immediately on the hunt for this tea again. Yes, it was that good! I found it easy enough on their website and ordered it. I expected it to turn up in at least two weeks, maybe more. Color me surprise when it turned up in under a week! (It was coming from overseas)

The minute I heard the tell tale sound of the USPS scanner I jumped the baby gate and scared the hell out of the mailman. But I didn’t get to try the tea until now (aka nap time). I used one brick as instructed. Which was really hard to break off. Looks like I need a pure knife, oh darn. Anyway, I warmed up my pot and then popped the brick inside. It took a few steeps of the hot water to break up the brick and actually make the tea. Which I was expecting. Boy was it worth the wait!

So dark and so delicious!

My first cup was earthy and simply awesome. It was better than I remembered it. With each infusion the liquid got darker and the taste smoother. To the point where I imagine this is what silk would taste like if you could drink it. I also picked up hints of chocolate in this tea, which was interesting and not unwelcome. I saved the leaves to try them again tomorrow morning (it was suggested in a tea vlog I watched to try this out so we’ll see).

It’s interesting to me that puerh teas have become a favorite of mine. I mean they aren’t for everyone. I have tea friends who have tried it and tell me it tastes like dirt and how can I drink dirt. Well, yeah it does have a really earthy taste to it. But I wouldn’t call it dirt. To me they typically taste very rich and super smooth. I think it might be because I also enjoy coffee. Though the tide is turning there. I haven’t had a cup of coffee in over a week now!

Tea is just better! That’s not to say I won’t have coffee every again. I will, but now that I’m making time for tea again, the coffee is going to be taking a back seat. Especially now that I have this puerh again. Which I consider the perfect substitute for coffee.

Korean Mt. Jiri Joongjak Red Tea {Review}

Bring me the water!

This is the third tea from Teas Unique. I’ve a matcha and some matcha infused white chocolate left to try! I opted to bust out my new favorite gaiwan that I got earlier this week and small tasting cup. I have a new love for this method of tea brewing. It’s fun and for me a better way to make tea.

I set the kettle for the suggested 195 degrees and went about setting up my tools and taking a sniff of the tea. I have to say this one was unique for sure. The dry leaf smelled I guess earthy? Now the directions say to steep it for two minutes…well I learned that lesson the hard way. So this time around I did a 20 second rinse and then a 20 second steep on the tea.

Once I’d poured my first steep the tea took on an oaky and baked scent. Which reminded me of days spent at my grandparents house. The smell reminded me a lot of the smells from their home: pipe tobacco and freshly polished furniture. Which sounds gross, but it didn’t taste like it. The taste had a bite to it, but I couldn’t distinguish the actual flavor of the tea. This was a little disappointing to me. Because I had high hopes for it. But you may think differently of this one. Don’t let this review stop you from trying it yourself.

Pretty color.

Korean Boseong Sejak {Review}

Look at that set up!

Tea time take two. Little dude is down for his nap. So I took some time to dig out my competition tasting cup for this tea. Fancy right? Sometimes you just need to get a little fancy for tea time. I haven’t used this set in years. Well, at least two years. Mostly because I forget I have them. Fact is I have five of them. I really need to get it together.

Anyway I set the kettle for the suggested time (180 degrees) and then warmed up the two vessels. While I waited I took a sniff of the tea. This one smelled super vegetal to me. Almost like spinach or kale. I had hopes, because typically I am not a green tea person at all. Why? Because I usually do it wrong.

So I added the leaves to the cup and set about following their directions. Which were to let the leaves steep for 2 minutes. Which was probably 1 minute and 30 seconds too long. The steeping leaves smelled super vegetal and cooked when the timer rang. The tea itself tasted a bit like Tieguanyin, which is an Oolong. However, it quickly went bitter. I tried again with shorter steeps…

The leaves are gorgeous.

This time I started with 15 seconds. It tastes WAY better and really buttery. So if you try this one don’t follow the steeping directions. I tried three steeps and each was better than the one before it. However, it did get bitter on the third steep and I am not a fan of the bitter AT ALL. My advice is to not steep in more than 10-15 second intervals. While I did like it the second time around it’s just not one I would keep. I prefer black teas and Oolongs when it comes to straight teas. But if you’re interested it’s available on their website and Amazon.

Don’t let the color turn you off.

Hey…did you miss me?

Yeah I missed me too. Not that I lost me or anything. But I seriously lost my love of tea for a while. Why? Well, I love my tea. But I like taking my time with it, which is something I had little of with a kid under one. Honestly it got a little difficult after he turned one. But Then I started getting more asks for reviews and finding new companies to try.

So it was time to dust off the the blog, twitter, etc. and just back in. So here I am! The goal is to get at least 3-4 posts up a week. But there will be a lot of posts on Instagram so go on and give that a follow too.

Really Root Beer & Glass Slipper Rooibos {@NelsonsTea Review}

Finally!

Finally!

It’s only taken me two months to finish up these reviews. My apologies, but boy is it easier to pop a K-Cup in the machine than to make a proper cuppa with a little in the house. So when hubs got home tonight I told him it was tea time and headed off to taste these last two from Nelson’s.

First up is their Really Root Beer. First impression on opening the packet? I half expected to hear a can opening because the smell of root beer had me expecting A & W and not tea. It really smells like root beer! Good news is it doesn’t just smell like root beer. That’s right it actually tastes like root beer too!! Then again with these ingredients how can it not: sassafras bark, sarsaparilla root, birch bark, burdock root, dandelion root, licorice root, fennel seed, anise star pods, ginger root, cinnamon and flavoring. The good thing is that the licorice root and anise star pods don’t take over this herbal. As neither is my favorite. But they plays so nice in this herbal I kind of forgot they were there. I only wish I had some club soda or plain seltzer to make my own iced “root beer”, but we don’t. Hands down this has been my favorite of the samples from Nelson’s.

Next up is Glass Slipper Rooibos. This one had a lot of promise when I opened the package. The vanilla and almond flavors were so strong. However, once steeped they all but vanished. They were there on the finish, but I tasted more of the cherry flavor, which I admit is not my favorite. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t try it out for yourself. Sometimes a tea just isn’t for me and this was one such tea.

My thanks again to the folks at Nelson’s for sending all of these teas my way to try. If you want to try any of them they are available on their website or at Amazon.com.

darjeeling puttabong summer {Review @AdagioTeas

I was contacted by Adagio Teas last week to ask if I would be interested in reviewing some of their teas. Though they do things a little differently at Adagio, they would give me credit to select the teas I wished to review! Perfect right? Wrong, there are so many teas to choose from. In fact I’ve been a customer for years, but I’ve usually stuck to their fandom blends (which are created by, you guessed it fans).

Tea time.

Tea time.

While I could have gone wild in the fandom section I opted to select form their straight teas…not an easy task, in case you were wondering. First up was darjeeling puttabong summer.

In the past I’ve had problems with darjeeling teas going super bitter, super quick. That being said I was willing to give this a go and see if I could prep it properly…as I was sure the fault with the past teas was my own and not with the tea itself.

 

Just look at those tea leaves!

Just look at those tea leaves!

So I found myself with some time to try this while the little took his morning nap. At first sniff the tea smells very malty, earthy scent to it, with a hint of sweetness. I love the varying color of the tea leaves. The leaves are very soft and super fragrant. Once I had the leaves out of the bag I smelled more sweetness like grapes. Needless to say I was very excited to get this steeping!

Once the leaves were steeping away I still only got the malt I had smelled with the dry leaves and none of the fruit smell I had before I steeped the tea. Which I’ll admit had me a little down. But I had hopes that when I tasted the tea it would be a whole different story. My first concern was to not oversteep the tea. The last thing I wanted was a bitter tea. I’ve never watched a clock more in my life!

Look at that lovely color!

Look at that lovely color!

I took my first sip and I wasn’t sure what to think beyond ‘It’s hot’. So I let it cool off a bit to give it a proper tasting for this review. After a few minutes I tried again and found I had a delicious cup of tea AND the fruitiness I had smelled in the dry leaves was back on the finish of the tea. I loved this as in the past with darjeeling teas I usually only had a bitter taste in my mouth. Not good.

Half way through my cup I added some soy vanilla creamer. (I like to try my teas straight and with creamer if possible) Let me tell you the creamer gave the tea a little boost of all the flavors which was a little weird with the grape flavor. Lesson learned no flavored creamer for this one! All in all this tea is one I actually enjoyed which was weird for me with a darjeeling. I’m looking forward to trying this one iced as I think it could be really yummy iced.

I think my only thing I wish was different about Adagio Teas would be their packaging. I understand that the functionality of to is easy for shipping and in their brick and mortar shops. But I just wish it was a little more “fun”. That one little thing aside I really enjoyed this tea and may have to add it to my regular rotation.

If you’d like to try this one out check out their website above.