Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christmas by Adagio Teas

On to our next contestant in the Pageant of Winter Teas! Up next we have a curious compilation of the scents and flavors of the season: Christmas by Adagio Teas.

Seller's Description: "The tea to get you into the holiday spirit! This blend of bright, tangy Ceylon black tea flavored with warm cinnamon, pungent cloves, and orange peels is a Christmas delight. Spicy and fresh aroma, outdoorsy and cozy, with a balanced tangy flavor and slightly sweet finish. Perfect to sip while decking the halls, being jolly, or dreaming of a white Christmas."
Ingredients: black tea, cinnamon bark, orange peels, natural spice flavor, cardamom pods, cloves, ginger root, natural ginger flavor and natural cinnamon flavor
WebsiteChristmas by Adagio Teas
Sample source: Purchased

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

When I initially smelled the dry blend, I had no idea what I was in for. The aroma did carry hints of the different spices, but the fragrance was closer to a clove-pierced orange for apple cider than the intensity of the steeped blend.

From the first sip, I couldn't believe this is labeled "Christmas." It's in-your-face ginger takes center stage, and only lets the subtle flavors of mulling spices step out from around the curtain at the end.

Now, I picked up a copy of The Tudor Kitchens Cookery Book: Hampton Court Palace when I studied in London, and this reminds me a lot of their Hippocras recipe for mulled wine. I became pretty familiar with it after Jake and I made small bottles to give the family at Christmas, considering we have 18 adults in our immediate family (due to blending). The ginger in this tea is a little stronger, but the cardamon, cloves, and cinnamon are at about the same level of strength.

It's almost like this blend is trying to be a gentle chai, but not quite hitting the mark. I tried adding a little milk to help it along, but it didn't help at all. While I can see myself tossing this in the pot the next time I mull a wine, it's not quite to my taste for a tea.

Prominent Notes: GINGER!
Aftertaste: Cardamon and a hint of cloves
Overall: I'll mull with it, but I don't think I'll steep it again.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Intersection of Scrapbooking and Tea Gifting

My tea stash has been growing a lot this year, but we're too far from our families to easily share it. After a bit of online inspiration, we hit on the idea of mini-samplers.

I've seen a lot of different vendors offering holiday samplers, but they tend to be a grab bag of both the good and the bad... and generally the packaging is little more than useless. Cheap, flimsy, and unable to be resealed.

So our first stop was to look at packaging. I thought briefly about glass bottles, but the combination of cost and shipping woes (breakage, additional weight, etc.) sent me in the direction of tins. They tend to be less expensive, more durable, easily recyclable, and don't let in light that could damage the tea. Since I'm sending tea to a lot of people who may not have experienced loose leaf tea before, the less complicated the better.

Besides, I know my family. The moment I say something like, "Keep it out of the light" I just know I'd have to deal with questions like, "Will it sparkle?" or "Will it burst into flame?" or even, in one notable case, "Or will it mutate into some homicidal gremlin bent on world domination?"

On the recommendation of another tea lover, I headed over to Specialty Bottle's website to check out their selection. They had a lot of different versions I was interested in, but I wasn't sure how many servings of tea each would hold.

I don't want to overwhelm someone with too much of a tea they may or may not like, nor do I want to come off like a cheapskate by sending too little tea for them to sample.

Specialty Bottle came to the rescue, and sent me a selection of their tins to experiment with. I picked three teas to measure: a finely chopped black, a fluffy herbal, and my largest leaf tea. Here's how they measured up:

Teavava's Earl Grey Black

1/2oz tin: 2tsp, 2 servings
1oz tin: 4tsp, 4 servings
Tea tin: 13tsp, 13 servings

DAVIDsTEA's Mother's Little Helper

1/2oz tin: 2tsp, 1-1/3 servings
1oz tin: 4tsp, 2-2/3 servings
Tea tin: 12tsp, 8 servings
Verdant Tea's Yunnan White Jasmine

1/2oz tin: 1-1/2 tsp, but the leaves are so large that this is probably closer to one serving.

Then comes the decorating. I picked up a selection of holiday themed borders, stickers, and papers, as well as double-sided tape. I already had a rotary cutting set from my quilting, but a ruler and scissors would work as well if you don't have those on hand.

Here you can see the one unnumbered tin. The paper I chose was about 1cm too short to go around, so I  needed something to cover the seam. I chose a large sticker, but I had to trim it because the decoration above and below it was too long for the tin. I added a border by placing it on a coordinating adhesive green.
And it's done! I think it would have been better to choose a smaller sticker and build up layers behind it (like I did for #2 and 12) but it does add a certain style.

Now that I've had a chance to measure and decorate, here's how they stack up:

TNF1/2 - 1/2oz Flat Tin Container w/ cover
  • Small and cute, this holds 1-2 servings of tea. This one was tricky to decorate, as only a 3cm circle on the lid really takes to it. In the image of the decorated tins, this was #10.

TNF1 - 1oz Flat Tin Container w/ cover
  • The same format but twice the size, this holds 2-4 servings depending on the size of the leaves. In the image, this was #14 and 21. Essentially, decorating this one was the same as decorating its screw-top sister, and took a 4cm circle. 

TND1 - 1oz Deep Tin Container w/ cover
  • The width of the first tin with the capacity of the second, this holds 2-4 servings of tea. In the image of the decorated tins, this was #5, 16, and 17. Decorating this one was a combination of the two - the flat circular lid and just enough height to fit a 1.25cm border around the body.

TSC1/2 - 1/2oz Flat Tin Container w/ screw-top cover
  • The same dimensions and capacity of the first tin with a screw top cover that makes transportation a breeze. In the image, this was #8.

TSC1 - 1oz Flat Tin Container w/ screw-top cover
  • The same dimensions and capacity of the second tin, but with a reliable screw top cover. In the image of the decorated tins, this was #12.

TSQ2 - 2.5" high Tea Tin Square w/ Cover
  • The largest of the tins, this holds 8-13 servings and was the easiest to decorate. There is a 3.5cm square on lid, and the main body is 17cm around with a height of 4.5cm.

If I was sending a single tea out to everyone, I would probably go for the square tea tin, but to send out a nice sampling, I think the best bet is going to be the 1/2oz deep tin. It's a little easier to decorate and looks better stacked up, since I want to be able to bag these up with a nice bow when gifting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nutcracker Sweet by Celestial Seasonings

Our Thanksgiving meal has been all packed up, and the kitchen is now clean. Time to light some candles, sit back, and enjoy the moment. I decided to make up a cup of this tea next because it's so difficult to pigeonhole, and my curiosity has been tweaked.

Ingredients: Black tea, natural vanilla extract with other natural flavors and cinnamon.
WebsiteNutcracker Sweet by Celestial Seasonings
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 8oz cup and saucer
Measured dry: 1 sachet
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

Now, I do focus on loose leaf teas, but when I want something that's a little more accessible, this is the route I like to go. A big part of that is their focus on sustainability. It actually says on the box that, "With no string, tag, staple or wrapper, our natural fiber tea bag keeps 3.5 million pounds of waste out of landfills every year." Aside from the missing Oxford comma, that's something I can get behind!

Opening the box, the dry smell is sweet and very difficult to place. There's the barest hint of cinnamon, and something vaguely cookie-like. Very curious.

It wasn't until the steep was over and I took my first sip that I could finally place it. Drinking this tea is like nibbling on a snickerdoodle cookie! It's a little nuttier, and it tastes like something else (nutmeg, maybe?) was mixed in with the cinnamon-sugar coating, but yeah... snickerdoodle. Not just the dough, either. This has the same browned quality of the sugar that's melted and caramelized on the bottom of the cooke.

Strangely enough, this does actually remind me of the nutcracker, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. Is it the slight nuttiness? The scent of cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar?

I may have to make up another cup and ponder this further.

Prominent Notes: Sugar cookie, vanilla, and a slight nuttiness
Aftertaste: Black tea and cinnamon with maybe a hint of nutmeg
Overall: Snickerdoodle cookies without the calories!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons

After yesterday's marathon of tea reviews (three!) I felt like grabbing something a little more straightforward, so this pre-packaged tea moved to the front of the line.

Seller Description: "Our Holiday Tea is a black tea spiced with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. Delicious hot or iced. Wonderful for a holiday table, a cold winter morning, or any time you crave a holiday-inspired brew."
Ingredients: China black tea, cloves, cinnamon, safflowers, orange peel, natural and artificial vanilla, cinnamon, almond, and orange flowers. (Note: Cinnamon was listed twice on tin)
WebsiteHoliday Tea by Harney & Sons
Sample source: Purchased

Teaware: 8oz cup and saucer
Measured dry: 1 sachet
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar

Because of Harney's shipping costs (a $2 sample costs $8 to ship) the only way this made it into the lineup was because Super Target started carrying tins of their sachet teas. It's a lot easier to justify a $5.99 tin of 20 sachets than only a couple cups of loose leaf for $10.

Now there is a downside to that. Harney's sachets are nylon, and their website describes them as "food safe and stable in boiling water." Unfortunately, they are not biodegradable. One of the reasons I usually avoid bagged and sachet teas is the waste. With a loose leaf you only have the outside packaging to deal with, and nor do you have to worry about the joys of heating plastics in your food and drink.

As of right now, there are better options but nothing yet is nearly as efficient as reusable metal, glass, or ceramic infusers. There are companies out there using PLA plastics, which are biodegradable and made from renewable resources, but according to the Smithsonian, so far the "biodegradable" aspect only works over a long period of time and when it's in a compost-like situation. Because of its unique make-up, recyclers are not accepting it yet, and can actually regard it as a contaminant. Making loose leaf tea with a quality, reusable infuser usually eliminates a whole host of worries for me.

But packaging aside, let's focus on the tea. For me, Harney teas usually take a couple tries before I can dial in the best cup. I followed the directions on the tin at first, and steeped it for 5 minutes. It was a little intense and somewhat bitter, so I reduced the steep time to four minutes and the taste was markedly improved.

I can't really pigeon-hole this one into a pre-set category. It's definitely a black, but after that... it has chai spices but doesn't taste like a chai. It has some creamy vanilla, but that's only one of the layers. The almond, orange, and safflowers don't really present themselves individually, but they do a nice job of supporting the other elements. That said, I'm not entirely sure this actually tastes like a holiday tea. It's gently spiced, sweet, and creamy but doesn't really shout at me from any particular tradition.

I can easily picture us enjoying a cup of this on a chilly morning, and while I can't really define it, I can easily see us finishing up the tin.

Prominent Notes: China black tea and cinnamon
Aftertaste: Cream and cloves
Overall: Creamy and interesting

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA

Seller Description: "Ever wonder how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in just one night? Well here’s the hush-hush formula. He uses a special combination of Chinese black tea, peppermint leaves and spices – all sprinkled with real little candy canes. It’s both energizing and remarkably soothing. All Santa needs is one cup and his motto changes from “ho ho ho” to “go go go”.
Ingredients: Chinese black tea, peppermint leaves, candy cane sprinkles, natural and artificial flavoring.
WebsiteSanta's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
Sample source: Purchased

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 3 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 5 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

As soon as I opened the tin, one thought jumped to the forefront of my mind: This smells like the illegitimate love child of a candy cane and a thin mint. The blend lines up with the posted ingredients, all the way down to the teeny tiny (and rather adorable) candy canes hiding among the leaves.

Once steeped, the level of peppermint jumped from the sweet nip of a thin mint to the bite of a peppermint patty. And like the cream inside a patty, this tea is surprisingly thick and somewhat syrupy. I can barely pick out the black tea base at all.

While the tea was enjoyable, I did have some issues with the packaging. I only needed a little bit for this project, so instead of shelling out for a much larger package (especially when I don't know if I'll like it or not) I went for the cute little stackable tin, which I figured I could easily reuse once I was done with the tea.

What I hadn't figured on was how loose and unreliable the lid would be. I've run into this problem before, with their standard tins. I actually lost half a tin's worth of tea because it fell open. I didn't think they'd use the same (defective) format for this small tin, but alas.

But back to the tea. This is definitely a dessert tea, because it tastes and feels so much like you're actually drinking candy. While this might be an occasional treat, it is way too rich to be anything more frequent than that.

Prominent Notes: Peppermint and a hint of black tea
Aftertaste: Peppermint and chocolate
Overall: A little over-the top sweet, but good for an occasional treat

Raspberry Chocolate Bark by Teajo Teas

Today, on our tour of holiday teas, we travel into the realm of stocking stuffer treats with Raspberry Chocolate Bark by Teajo Teas!

Seller Description: "We give you permission to indulge in this delicious blend of full-bodied Assam tea, natural raspberry flavor and dark chocolate. It's perfect for the holidays!"
Ingredients: Full leaf black tea, cornflower, cacao chips and natural flavors.
WebsiteRaspberry Chocolate Bark by Teajo Teas
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar

Opening the package of this tea was like stepping back into the Christmas mornings of my childhood. The aroma of this tea is nearly identical to the scent that would fill my senses after happily slamming apart a raspberry Chocolate Orange.

With those happy memories fresh in my mind, I went about investigating the leaves. The black tea base was obvious, as were the cacao chips and cornflowers. Less identifiable were the red flowers and small pieces of fruit or berry.

Whatever they are, this blend tastes wonderful once it's steeped. I often find that I either really love or really hate chocolate-flavored teas, but this one has hit the sweet spot! It tastes exactly like the title suggests - chocolate and a plant-based raspberry flavoring that toes the line between artificial and fresh. I don't taste much of the black tea base, but what there is makes itself known in the aftertaste. The cornflower also plays a background role, because once the raspberry and dark chocolate notes hit you, they stay with you through each sip and even become more prominent as the tea cools.

All in all, I would be delighted to enjoy this on Christmas morning!

Prominent Notes: Primarily chocolate and raspberry with only a slight hint of cornflower
Aftertaste: If anything, a faint echo of the black tea blend
Overall: A guilt-free chocolate binge!

Pumpkin Creme Brulee by Butiki Teas

As my husband and I looked up recipes for Thanksgiving, I couldn't resist grabbing this to help assuage my craving for pumpkin pie!

Seller Description: "Cinnamon, spice, and everything nice! Our Pumpkin Creme Brulee has a premium Organic Ceylon base and combines a scrumptious pumpkin with fall spices and a touch of cream for a delicious guilt-free treat. We recommend adding brown crystal sugar to enhance the cream flavor."
Ingredients: Organic Ceylon Black Tea, Organic Cinnamon Pieces, Pumpkin Flakes (vegan), Organic Nutmeg, Organic Natural Flavors (vegan)
WebsitePumpkin Creme Brulee by Butiki Teas
Sample source: Traveling Tea Box C

Teaware: Depression glass cup and saucer
Measured dry: 1 teaspoon
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds
Additives: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar

I first tried this blend when the Traveling Tea Box C came my way, and I am so glad someone had been willing to part with it! I love how laid back it is, and how it seems to sink you into that wonderful post-turkey Thanksgiving contentment. The rush is over, your shoes have been kicked off, and it's time to actually sit down and enjoy each other's company.

Now, I've made creme brûlée before, and while this is delightfully creamy, it reminds me more of the browned and melted sugar crust than the cream itself. It's like... a creme brûlée crust on a slice of creamy pumpkin pie. Yeah... it's that good.

The crunch of the brown sugar meets your tastebuds first, before it steps aside so you can greet the pumpkin and spice mix. Of the two flavor waves of this tea, the sugar crust does stand out a bit more, leaving the pumpkin pie flavors to function almost like an aftertaste.

Upon a re-steep, those pumpkin pie flavors vanish entirely, and you're left with the sugar crust. I think this will be a single-steep tea for me in the future, but it was worth a try!

Overall, this has the flavor of a decadent dessert with none of the regret! I may have to place an order for more before it sells out!

Prominent Notes: Browned sugar and cream
Aftertaste: Pumpkin pie
Overall: Love it!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gingerbread Black Tea by Simpson & Vail

Next up on our tour of holiday teas is the slightly smoky Gingerbread Black Tea by Simpson & Vail, which helped me ring in the first morning of our Thanksgiving break!

Seller Description: "Warm yourself from the inside out with this aromatic black tea blend. The brewed tea emits a heady, spicy aroma and the cup is perfectly proportioned. The flavors of gingerbread spices dance on your tongue, with no one spice overwhelming the others. Destined to be a spice lovers new favorite tea!"
Ingredients: Organic China black tippy tea, organic cinnamon, organic cloves, organic ginger and gingerbread flavoring.
WebsiteGingerbread Black Tea by Simpson & Vail
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: Glass cup and saucer, metal infuser
Measured dry: 1-1/2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar

Opening the sample package, I was overwhelmed by the scent of warm gingerbread cookies. When I spread out the blend, it was easy to identify the cloves and cinnamon, although it did take me a moment longer to recognize the ginger - I'm so used to sushi ginger and candied ginger that I don't think I've ever seen dried ginger before. But no matter its appearance, it plays a solid role in this tea!

The ginger blends with the smoky flavor of cloves and the creamy, muted spices of pumpkin pie. There's an interesting layered effect, as each of the notes is hitting my tastebuds individually before combining into a gingerbread-infused aftertaste.

This was actually my second attempt, and by far the most successful. My husband made up the batch earlier this morning, and he followed the recommended quantity and steep time. He thought it was too weak after three minutes, so it steeped for one more. That turned out to be a mistake, and the cloves took the opportunity to become a little overwhelming.

To get the maximum depth of flavor without the bitterness of an oversteep, I decided to bump up the dry leaves and go back to the original steep time. That was the perfect move, as it reigned in the cloves and brought a wonderful balance to the cup.

As it cooled, the flavor became even creamier and more pronounced. This will be a tea to keep your eye on as we move forward in the Pageant of Winter Teas!

Prominent Notes: Smoky, with notable cloves and creamy, muted pumpkin pie spices
Aftertaste: Gingerbread
Overall: Yummm!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gingerbread by DAVIDsTEA

Seller Description: "For the past four years, all we wanted for Christmas was a gingerbread tea. Every winter, we’ve pestered David for a spicy-sweet, festive tea. But he just couldn’t find the perfect blend…until now. And with its warm, comforting aromas of ginger, cinnamon and molasses, this rich rooibos tea totally worth the wait."
Ingredients: Rooibos, green rooibos, honeybush, cinnamon, currants, crystalized ginger, pineapple, safflower petals, natural and artificial flavouring.
WebsiteGingerbread by DAVIDsTEA
Sample source: Purchased

Teaware: Abalone China cup, Japan, Shy Flowers pattern
Measured dry: 1-1/4 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 5 minutes
Additives: 2 teaspoons of raw sugar

This was my first sniff of DAVIDsTEA's holiday lineup, and when I opened the tin I was hit not with the lovely bite of ginger but instead with the somewhat bizarre flavor of the molasses bourbon pecan pie I made a couple Thanksgivings ago.

The pie has not been repeated since (hint: if you make a pie with alcohol, it's better if you actually like it!), so you can understand why I was a little hesitant to steep this up at first. It helped that I found a cute little cup at the local second-hand shop and needed an excuse to take pretty pictures of it!

The rooibos and honeybush are definitely the most dominant flavors in this tea, followed by the molasses, and leaving the hint of gingerbready goodness to take up the rear.

There is an incredible sweetness to this cup, and if I hadn't been looking for the specific flavor profile I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. I'm also not wild about all the small particles shifting around in the bottom of the cup. I'm a big texture girl (ask me some time about trying native foods in Alaska!), and I really hate to go for a sip and end up chewing.

Prominent Notes: Rooibos and Honeybush
Aftertaste: Molasses and gingerbread
Overall: While I'm not blown away it's still a nice way to wind down after a busy day.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Apple Awakening Fruit Tea by Teavivre

Seller DescriptionTeaVivre's Fruit Tea's make great, low calorie, caffeine-free, refreshing drinks for anytime of the day. Made only from carefully matched flower petals, dried fruit and berries, they all have high levels of vitamins and minerals and – most importantly – taste and smell great! They are all fantastic to drink either hot or iced.
Ingredients: Roselle, Rose hip, Apple, Verbena (lippia citriodora)
WebsiteApple Awakening Fruit Tea by Teavivre
Sample source: Company Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 4 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 8 minutes
Additives: 4 teaspoons of raw sugar added later

With the first snip of my scissors on the sample package, the gentle yet persistent scent of apples has filled the room. The blend itself is a thick, meaty combination of dried fruits and flowers.

Before I could tell my husband what the ingredients were, he immediately launched into a memory, telling me about the cherries his mother would can each fall. The joy of cracking open a jar and sampling the juice inside.

While cherries are conspicuously absent from the ingredients list, I can see where he's coming from. I only used half of the suggested dry blend, but it has become so thickly flavored that it resembles sweet fruit juice... in texture, taste, and in color!

The sweet yet tart bite of the apple combines with the rose hips and hibiscus to create the distinct flavor. I'm not getting much of the lemon verbena, but what I can pick out is adding to the illusion.

We enjoyed this tea at night, as a way to wind down after a hectic day. A slightly more diluted version would be wonderful for an afternoon tea party, and I'll keep it in mind when I plan my next one!

Prominent Notes: Apples and cherries
Aftertaste: A combination of hibiscus and rose hips
Overall: A tasty tea for an afternoon social

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Traveling Tea Box C

The full contents of the Traveling Tea Box C when it arrived.

You may have noticed the blog went silent for a couple weeks. Part of that was a very necessary respite after the Battle of the Earl Greys, but the other reason was that the Traveling Tea Box C made its way to me.

A traveling tea box is one of those fun and unique activities that I discovered after joining Steepster. Someone broaches the idea on the discussion boards and a group of like-minded people sign up for the list. A shipping order is sussed out and then the first person essentially raids their tea stash for both things not to their taste or samples of teas they think people would like to try. They pack them up and mail the box to the next person on the list, who samples or takes out what they want then replaces it with teas from their own stash.

This repeats as many times as there are people on the list - sometimes it even goes a couple times through the list before it eventually stops. They're generally something like $15 to ship, so when I noticed a new list forming I jumped at the chance!

It's been a blast to read the comments people have posted about the teas on Steepster and try to figure out which ones I'd be interested in... and hoping they'll still be in the box when it gets to me!

As you can tell from the pictures, but the time it reached me, the box had visited several homes first, and was quite an eclectic mix! Lots of black dessert teas (which I only indulge in when I don't have to be up early), a large quantity of rooibos, and... well, suffice it to say I spent a very, very wired weekend!

I was careful to write Steepster reviews for all the teas I tried, so you can read them by following these links:

52 Teas – Candy Corn
52 Teas – Mayan Chocolate Chai
52 Teas – S’mores Chai
52 Teas – S’mores Genmaicha
Butiki Teas – Pineapple Cilantro Cream
Butiki Teas – Pumpkin Creme Brûlée
DAVIDsTEA – Kiss My Lips
Della Terra – Double Berry Burst
ESP Emporium – Spicy Chai
Harney & Sons – Florence
Our Sweet Earth – Victorian Vanilla
Ovation – Chocolate Orange Bliss
Ovation – Raspberry Earl Grey
Rishi – Maghreb Mint
Steven Smith Teamaker – Blend 55: Lord Bergamot
Tea Forte – Kiwi Lime Ginger
Teavana – Rooibos Chai
Teavana – Rooibos Tropica

All in all, it was a lot of fun to sample so many varied teas without worrying about the cost, if I could manage to use up the ones which weren't to my taste, and if shipping was going to nix an otherwise splendid order of tea.

I hope the teas I include will be enjoyed and find happy homes during their travels. It was a tea-tasting marathon, but one I'd love to run again!