The Tea Practitioner

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Recent Tasting Notes

So I have straight wintergreen and spearmint in my stash, but prior to picking up a bag of this tea I didn’t have any straight peppermint – and that’s a pretty crucial “cupboard staple” for most people so it seemed worth rectifying…

You can get good peppermint from a ton of different companies, and honestly peppermint really only varies so much from place to place – bad peppermint isn’t really that bad and good peppermint isn’t really that good. Or, at least, that’s my opinion. I liked the idea of this one though, because it meant I got to support both an amazing Black owned business that I adore and a small Canadian farm, since this peppermint in grown in Ontario! That’s a pretty great combo of things to support, if you ask me…

This is nice – it’s crisp and a bit more herbaceous smelling, with this green edge that makes me think of summers spent at my Grandmother’s. I don’t know why – she didn’t grow or drink or really do anything connected to peppermint so I shouldn’t have a mental association there, and yet. The taste is quite crisp and clean, but more of a “high note” peppermint than the deeply cooling/menthol that sometimes comes out in peppermint. Tastes like hot summer days right before a big storm. Comforting and classic.

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Gongfu!

Just wrapped this session up – I was craving the comfort of a lapsang this afternoon. It’s been a very cold and lazy afternoon, not filled with much productivity. If there’s a limit to how much lapsang one person can (or should) own then I don’t think I’ve found it yet, because this is probably the dozenth one in my tea stash now!! I found this one pretty smoke forward and pine-y in the first few steeps, but it softened quite quickly which allowed for more of syrupy brandied fruit notes in the black tea to come through, matching the thick texture of the soup! A very nice addition to my Lapsang rotation, for sure!!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLz1_beANO-/

I’ve felt a bit uninspired on instagram as of late – just sick of having the same teaware in the same locations in my photos lately. I can’t wait for the snow to melt, and for having tea outside to be practical again. That said, this was the first photo set in probably a week or two where I really liked all of the photos!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buTfqkL2W04&ab_channel=Nan%C3%A9TheBand

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#2021SteepsterSipdown

This is the tea that I drank on February first as my tea from a Black owned tea company. The reality is that I actually have at least one cup from a Black owned tea company per day on average – I made a very conscious effort this past year to diversify my tea drinking habits and purchasing patterns and as such I’ve explored a lot of companies from the Black Owned tea companies list that Shae spearheaded and VariaTEA and I assisted with. With more yet to explore, of course!

I’ve had this one before and I thought it was fine, but could have a more pronounced floral rose flavour. This time around I increased the amount of rose buds I poured into my cup, and I also steeped it Grandpa style as well, and that was an improvement! Still not as fragrant as you might expect an all rose tisane to be, but it’s got the heady raw rose flavour and a bit of sweetness with a slight green undertone. I imagine the green quality is coming from the fact that many of the rose buds have a fair bit of stem attached still. I don’t mind.

Also, just a truly gorgeous looking tea!

Leafhopper

I’ve considered ordering from the Tea Practitioner before (last time I checked, they have free delivery in Toronto!). The info on their website is kind of sparse. What have you liked from them? Also, are there other black-owned tea companies selling gonfu-able straight teas?

Leafhopper

Oops, that should read “gongfu-able.” It’s important to spell my made-up words correctly! :P

Roswell Strange

Honestly, I haven’t really had anything from The Tea Practitioner yet that I haven’t liked and the owner, Sierra, has been quite lovely to get to know as well. My favourites, though, have been the Hojicha and her Coffee Flower tisane. I haven’t tried Gongfuing the latter yet, though. I also had a shou stuffed orange last summer from her that I enjoyed a lot, too!

Leafhopper

Thanks! I was looking at her Dancongs and maybe some of her African teas. Now to get my tea cupboard under control…

Shae

Leafhopper, have you seen SonWu Tea? They are in Connecticut but I think they ship to Canada.

Leafhopper

Shae, thanks for the suggestion. They have some interesting teas, particularly their Wuyi oolongs. So many tea companies, so little time!

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Visually this is an absolutely stunning tisane. I’ve had a few straight rose infusions before, but this is the most vibrant/beautiful one I’ve seen. That said, I tossed a small handful into a mug and drank Grandpa style yesterday afternoon and I was a little underwhelmed by the cup. I expected it to taste a lot strong and, obviously, of rose – but it was pretty mild.

I’m gonna need to experiment, for sure.

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Geek Steep S1E4 – Studio Ghibli: Pom Poko

This is the tea that I decided to drink while watching our Geek of The Week, and I brewed it up Gongfu in my Houjicha dedicated yixing tea pot! For a more detailed explanation of why I chose this tea among the MANY other ones considered for this episode (including CS’s Thurbo Darjeeling, DT’s Forbidden Root, and W2T’s Lumber Slut) you’ll have to listen to the episode because a lot of thought actually went into the tea selection and the brewing method for the tea as well!

But podcast pairing aside, this was a really tasty Houjicha and that deserves to be talked about too! Not quite as heavy a roast as my ideal; but still plenty toasty and nutty. Has a slight bit of coppery minerality, and the faintest oceanic taste in the top notes. I was already starting to lose the natural lighting in my apartment during this late afternoon/early evening session enjoyed while watching this movie, but it almost added this iridescent look to my teacup which played into the whole ethereal Studio Ghibli vibe. Plus, I chose my most Ghibli-esque tea tray to steep with as well! I admit, I’m still far from ready for shorter days though…

Our Website: https://www.geeksteep.com/
Our Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/geeksteep/

My Geek Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CEKyBmugeQd/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6cAqaq00dg&ab_channel=IndieSoundsGood

Listen to us on Buzzsprout:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1286036/podcast/website

DB topic:
https://steepster.com/discuss/42133-geek-steep-a-new-tea-and-fandom-podcast

If you want to get caught up on the Geek of The Week for next Thursday, the spoiler for our explored fandom is at the bottom of our latest DB post!

Dustin

Are y’all going to cover Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog?! You’d have to choose a tea reminiscent of frozen yoghurt! Or maybe something with cumin.

Mastress Alita

I have a Kiki teacup (with Jiji on it!) that my friend brought me back from a trip to the Ghibli museum in Japan! It’s one of those pieces of teaware that I treasure too much to actually use, like a little old lady that has her “good china” of which a special occasion “special enough” to warrant using it never happens…

Roswell Strange

Y’know, I’ve never actually seen Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (I know, the shame!) so I’ll have to add it to our list! :)

Dustin

It’s SO good! You can’t go wrong with NPH, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day with the Whedons. Sarah Michelle Gellar played an extra in one scene too!

tea-sipper

Oh my gosh, Roswell, Dr Horrible’s the best! It’s also short!

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Something else that I made a cup of this afternoon!

Not as strong of a yeasty brown bread flavour as I’ve gotten in the past, but I’m gonna credit that to my having used a substantial amount less leaf for this Nordic mug. It was still toasty and warm with golden starchy and sweet notes in the vein of being bread-like. And I don’t know about other people, but I’m not about to turn down a mug of something that basically tastes like the sweet and delicious part of a carb loaded loaf of perfectly baked bread, haha.

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Had a pretty busy day yesterday, but made sure to make time in the morning for this Coffee Flower tisane for #SeptemberSipdown today!! The prompt was to “point and spin around” & drink whatever tea from your stash you landed on, but my tea stash isn’t ideally set up for that so instead I did the point/spin to land on a drawer of samples and then picked the tea on the top of the pile. Even though I had no idea what to expect from this tea, I reeeaaalllyyyy didn’t expect something that smelled and tasted so distinctly like a mix of fresh out of the oven, sweet & yeasty brown bread and sourdough starter!! It was really weird, but also super unique and tasty and I would totally recommend it for the experience of trying something to out of the ordinary!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFS3gjYA9JQ/

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Gongfu!

Late lunch Gongfu session – mostly tea, not really much food. Wasn’t feeling the nibblies when I had this one earlier in the week. These fuzzy little buds look so good in this gaiwan; and they taste just as lovely!! Subtle notes of honeysuckle and timothy hay, with a pleasant lemon & pith note when the steep is pushed a bit longer!! Not as vegetal/crisp as I find Chinese original Silver Needle to taste – this is just a bit coarser. Similar hay notes though!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKmrC66ANHw/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApJ82xhF20w&ab_channel=MrSuicideSheep

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Gongfu!

Still exploring some of the teas that I picked up from The Tea Practitioner, one of the companies from the Black Owned tea company list!

This is my second week now working from home 4/5 days a week and a big advantage to working from home so far has been taking a moment for some gongfu during my lunch or other times when it’s been slow! Last week I decided to try this Nepal Silver Needle which had a lovely mix of creamy artichoke, chestnut, peach skins, and honeycomb with some light astringency after the finish!

I liked it quite a bit, and was impressed with the complexity – in particular I really adored the chestnut notes I found present.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDMWsWKAAp5/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOe6Z13PmRg

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84

Gongfu Sipdown (992)!

Many blessings upon this and future sipdowns, because I am perilously close to crossing the 1,000 tea mark…

This is from the Black owned tea company list and I will fully admit that, when doing the initial compilation for instagram, this is not one of the companies I made a mental note to order from because I full assumed that based on the name the teas would be weighted more heavily towards wellness blends – and that is NOT my jam. Thankfully they came up again in conversation with another tea friend, teainspoons, and that made me realize that what they actually carry is a pretty interesting range of straight teas and tisanes…

When I ordered I had wanted to include this with my order, but it was sold out so I was SO EXCITED to see it included as a free sample! I did end up brewing the entire orange in one session, though I broke it apart to spread out the citrus peel/chenpi and the shou. I like shou with citrus peel a lot so I left the entire peel in the gaiwan.

This steeps thick and oily with coating liquor. The shou tastes robustly earthy and woody, and is accompanied by smooth, medicinal citrus note that soft of “waft up your nose” as you sip – like a reverse of smelling? I felt like I was breathing out fresh, fragrant citrus. Very fragrant as it steeps, with weight on the palate, and soothing sensations on the throat!!

This was very nice!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CCjQRnug2zW/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PITiO-mBKto

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H is for… Hibiscus!

So, I cold brewed this one and this mixed it 50/50 with some coconut water! It was very refreshing and the mellow flavour of the coconut water helped take some of the edge off the hibiscus. Of course, cold brewing itself also assisted with that – cold brewed hibiscus is definitely a less tart brew overall. I liked the thickness that the coconut water brought to the mouthfeel as well.

This was just tropical, sweet, and bright – good sipping overall.

Flavors: Berry

Mastress Alita

Oh, I have lots of plain hibi I do various things with, but I’ve never tried steeping it with coconut water, that sounds amazing! Going on my to-do list.

Tiffany :)

I have never imagined or heard of coconut water with tea but I have some hibiscus flowers coming in a swap so I will definitely try this out! Thank you Ros!

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent suggestion, Ms. Strange. Thank you.

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Another tea from a newly arrived order to support more Black owned tea companies!

I feel sad that I didn’t know about this company sooner – they’re based in Canada and seem to offer some very unique and interesting tisanes and straight/traditional teas. The turn around time for shipping was also insanely quick! This is probably the fastest that I’ve received a tea order all year!

Today I was craving something bright, tart and flavourful which is why I started my order by cracking into this bag! And of course this delivers on all of those counts!! It’s a beauty to watch it steep, and while I know hibiscus can often be a VERY polarizing flavour I’ve grown to appreciate it a lot over the years – especially on its own! My main issue with hibiscus is really just that it’s so intense it often takes over flavour profiles – and that can irritate me when blenders use it as filler or to add colour to a tea and don’t take into account that it wont compliment the flavour of their blend or that it will mask the flavours. I also think that hibiscus has a bit of a natural berry type of flavour (certainly this one does) but it’s not a direct recreation and sometimes people rely too much on hibiscus in berry blends instead of actual berries…

Bottom line though – this was both stunning and delicious!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CChLS1NAw93/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkoo7mLF3I8

CrowKettle

That’s a gorgeous pic!

Roswell Strange

Thank you – I tried… very hard, haha.

ashmanra

I don’t think I have ever seen a whole hibiscus flower to steep before!

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