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Recent Tasting Notes
Geek Steep S1E17 – Doctor Who
This was a great episode, for me personally, because it let me sort of refall in love with a fandom of my past that in many ways I had kind of forgotten. I mean, you never really forget Doctor Who – it’s one of those shows that makes an intense impression on you. However, at some point I just stopped watching regularly.
However, as I watched the 50th Anniversary Special and sipped my Doctor Who themed cup of tea this sense of comfort and familiarity came back to me and quite quickly I felt myself falling back in stride with the series and wanting to rewatch old, favourite episodes. In fact, since we recorded this episode I’ve watched about three of my old favourites!
It’s really no surprise I was drawn to this tea – the combination of lime and thyme sounds great in its own right, but the playful pun and reference to my favourite Doctor… Like, I would have been crazy to not pick this up, right!? It’s a nice tea – I don’t think I mentioned the flavour at all on the episode but it’s more of a soothing herbal flavour with strong notes of lemongrass and thyme than anything else. I wish there was more of an acidic and bright lime note, but I like that approachable herbaceous taste a lot too.
A good sipping tea, for sure!
My Geek Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKRltxXAkpV/
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Adventaggedon Day 24 – Tea 3/6
This actually ended up being one of my favourite “advents” this year – in quotations because it was actually a 12 Day Advent. I really underestimated how much I was going to miss having more quirky/nerdy fandom teas and it kind of reignited a love of Harry Potter as well – I have such a deep desire to reread the books or, at the very least, rewatch the movies now.
This wasn’t my favourite tea from the advent but it was really nice – it smells like sweet cinnamon oatmeal, and it kind of tastes like it as well. In the best way though; creamy oats and sweet, mildly hot cinnamon with just a bit of apple. Maybe some clove, too? It really made me feel nostalgic, and was a pretty fun and festive send off for this advent!
Honestly, the advent was pretty expensive – though part of that is 100% because so many of the ingredients in these blends are actually GROWN by the owner on her farm. So, it’s a very cool way to support local small business. Would I do it again next year? Maybe. It would definitely depend on the fandom – I wouldn’t do another Harry Potter themed advent, but a mixed fandom advent or another fandom I love? Definitely!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJM0NCOgiTR/
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 12
Made this one as an eggnog latte. It works well with that prep method since it has the classic holiday sweet cinnamon flavor. However, it does not have a lot beyond that. It is supposed to have cacao and that comes through closer to the end and in the aftertaste. I am not loving what it is contributing though since its more a cacao flavor than a sweeter chocolate flavor. I get the intent, but this isn’t quite there for me.
Today’s advent tea pictures: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJM6hkWg2_V/
ETA: This is my 5500 tasting note which seemed like a fun number to share
Adventaggedon Day 22 – Tea 6/6
When I skimmed through the ingredients for this tea earlier in the morning I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to enjoy it, but as soon as I smelled the dry leaf my opinion changed. It’s rather eggnog-y, with definite warming cinnamon and ginger spice notes. Sweet though, and creamy!
Steeped, the eggnog feelings continue! It’s a more medium-ish level of flavour, but the vanilla in the blend definitely comes off in a way that it much more custard-like and appropriate for a festive eggnog experience. The spices are present but unobtrusive, with the cinnamon and ginger continuing to be the forward flavours. I feel like there’s maybe some allspice or nutmeg as well, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.
I added some coconut milk, and it’s boosting the creamy elements and thickening up the mouthfeel a bit. I don’t know if a spiced eggnog was the intention here, but it’s what’s been achieved. It’s actually impressive – eggnog is one of those flavours that’s sort of tricky to get across.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJHkg9EA3im/
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 9
As a kid who both loved to read the books and watch the movies, Slytherin seemed like the bad house. I mean we all remember Harry obviously did not want to be in Slytherin and most of the baddies were Slytherin so I feel like we were conditioned to associate that house with “bad”. While I don’t particularly think that anymore, part of me found this tea fitting when I saw it was full of ingredients, I think taste bad such as gingko, ginseng, and green tea. I also thought a green tea was fitting because Slytherin’s colors do encompass a shade of green. So at first I was like this is fitting. Then I started thinking that those green teas are all associated with health and wellness blends and because of the “bad” association, they seemed odd.
Drinking it, I don’t like it. As to be expected, I think. It just tastes like a health/wellness blend in that it is sort of medicinal and focused on twigs and stuff. So, its going into my swap box because I don’t want this again – mostly since I have a bunch more teas to drink that appeal to me more.
Adventaggedon Day 20 – Tea 6/6
This seems like a missed opportunity to have more fun with the blend name – why not something like “Weasley’s Christmas Jumper” that was a more direct reference!? Also, a Cardigan is not the same thing as a Jumper/Sweater – but I digress…
The tea itself was very nice – I made it up for the second half of my Home Alone watch tonight and it was sweet, cozy and festive – just the perfect pairing! It’s very similar to the Gryffindor blend from earlier in the advent, but caffeine free and a little bit more of a red apple than a green able flavour. Sweet, bright and juicy though – with the apple coming first and stronger and then the sweet cinnamon notes following up and finishing out the sip. Pleasant, and a great addition to today’s rotation.
I think I like the Gryiffindor blend (blanking on the actual name right now) better because it’s more complex and nuanced, but this is one of the nicer apple cinnamon rooibos/honeybush teas I’ve tried, and I prefer that it’s more apple and less cinnamon. Geek + Tea just really seems to know how to nail a good apple flavour in their blends!
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CJCZpVTAt6i/
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 7
I spoke to Roswell Strange who had this one already and asked her if she thought it would make a good latte. I have been drinking about a latte a day which is not the healthiest but perhaps better than the ice cream and milkshake and cookies and stuff my sister has been ordering…or maybe not with the eggnog…but its not that much eggnog. Whatever, I like them. So each day, usually one of my advent teas gets made as a latte, eggnog or otherwise. This was the eggnog latte of the day.
She was right because this makes a tasty latte. I could see the spices being overkill plain but combined with the milk and eggnog its perfect. A lot of flavor from clove and nutmeg. A lot of richness from the prep method. Definite pumpkin spice latte vibes…except without the coffee since I am not into that. Really, really lovely! Like pumpkin pie in liquid form…and without crust!
Cold Brew Sipdown (1411)!
I really didn’t want to finish this one off plain/straight so I cold brewed it and then mixed it with a third of lemonade and that made a world of different. Much sweeter with that fresh tart lemon note, but didn’t lose all of the more natural and woody sweetness of the eleuthero/ginseng. Plus green tea just goes well with lemonade, so it was like having a fancy green tea lemonade. Not a favourite but nice and much more drinkable/enjoyable than if I had just steeped it plain.
Adventaggedon Day 18 – Tea 6/6
…and with this blend, we have officially explored all four of Hogwarts’ houses!
I believe I mentioned this on my note for the Hufflepuff blend earlier in the advent, but aside from Hufflepuff the house I tend to test highest for is Slytherin – and on Pottermore I’ve tested as many times for Slytherin as I have for Hufflepuff. People I know well in real life often seem very surprised that’s the case, and for a long time I didn’t really much understand myself why I was testing so high in Slytherin either. However, I’ve recently come to understand that it’s because of the overlapping traits of Hufflepuffs being very hard workers and Slytherin’s being very ambitious. I have always invested a lot of energy and effort into work – but the reason I do that defintiely comes from a place of wanting career advancement or acknowledgement for my skills…
And I suppose, on a smaller level, there’s the fact that I’m incredibly empathetic/inclusive and able to see things from the perspectives of others very easily. While that is probably more of a Hufflepuff/Gryffindor-ish ability, the Slytherin side is that I also have the capability to use that perception strategically to my own advantage. So yes – Slytherin traits for sure.I guess, maybe, I’m more of a Slytherpuff than anything else…
I like the concept behind this tea, and the interpretation of Slytherin’s traits – a lot of Slytherin blends seem to play off the house colours, which I guess this blend does a bit with the use of green tea, or they tend to be very smoky and “darkly” flavoured to convey this sort of sense of “evil” – but I think that’s a cop out/misunderstanding of the house. My favourite Slytherin tea is from a small company called The Forest Witch and it’s a pistachio and cherry blend. I don’t think she had much of a rhyme or reason to why she picked the ingredients in it – but I do think cherry is a great Slytherin flavour. It can be dark like a Bordeaux cherry, or you can have a brighter cherry with bite to it.
This blend, while the concept is great, doesn’t really deliver on the taste IMO. It’s a whole lot of green tea, with more herbal ingredients tossed in there. The sweetness of the ginseng if, for me, the saving grace – but it also seems to exaggerate notes of seaweed, grass, and gingko. It’s a bit licorice-y, as well. Reminds me of a bunch of weird leaves and roots and things that one might use in a potion, so I suppose in that way it is kind of Slytherin-ish. I appreciate that, despite the herbal and vegetal direction, it’s not at all bitter though.
Honestly, I think that the Gryffindor blend would have probably made more sense for this house though. That was probably the tastiest of all the house blend too, imo.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI9HTxrAALU/
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 6
I pulled this out and turned to my brother-in-law, who we determined is definitely a Hufflepuff, and was like “its your tea!” However, I did not share it with him. Maybe I should have.
When I noticed this was a rooibos with chocolate and honeysuckle, that screamed latte to me. And since its December, most lattes get a little touch of eggnog thrown in for thickness and festive vibes. So, this was made as an eggnog latte, thrown into my comfy looking plaid mug, and topped with yellow (obviously!) sprinkles. I then enjoyed it while playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos, which was one of my Hannukah gifts to my sister since we have a joke that every time my brother-in-law goes to the firehall their baby “hungry hungry hippos”, as in he wants to eat far more often than normal meaning my sister has to work that much harder to feed, entertain, etc. It all just seemed very Hufflepuff. I view that house as the friendly house, and with traits like kind and loyal, I find them to be comforting as well. So comforting latte vibes in a comforting mug while playing a genuinely friendly and just fun and silly game seemed like the best way to have this blend.
As for the taste, its fine but not what I would have expected from a Hufflepuff blend. Also, not the best flavor overall. It was sort of a standard chocolate rooibos that leaned into the honey notes of the base. Good but nothing I need to have again.
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 5
I said that the smoke in the Gryffindor tea made me think of the Death Eaters. That means when I opened this tea dedicated to the Dark Lord and it was just a plain lapsang, I found it pretty appropriate. It’s a nice lapsang too. Not overly smokey but strong enough that it has some interest to it.
Adventaggedon Day 16 – Tea 5/6
I wish this had been a caffeinated blend today because damn did I need it, but regardless of that it was still my favourite tea of the day! It reminds me of Rooibos de Provence, which is a long since retired DT blend with rooibos, strawberry/blueberry, and lavender. Very similar vibes. I’ve had other teas with that same profile before, but since that was my introduction to that flavour combination it’s the one I always associate it with…
First flavour I get is blueberry, followed by a raspberry/strawberry medley and then sweet rose and soothing lavender. It’s a calm, well balanced blend filled with plenty of flavours but without being sweet or intense. All I could think while drinking it was that this natural, fresh medley of florals and fruit seemed perfect to be named after Hagrid – which is arguably the softest/gentlest half giant.
Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CI4C7sbgyfh/
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 4
I have been opening these teas and the 52 Teas teas on the same days that Roswell Strange has been. However, she gave everyone warning that she would be posting about them early. I did not so I felt bad potentially spoiling this and the 52 Teas advent for anyone. So, I have been writing notes in a word doc and sharing them on the appropriate day.
However, Roswell Strange knew I was opening these up so we would talk about them together. She mentioned really liking this one before I started drinking it. That boosted my expectations. I also was excited about a rhubarb ginger tea since both are strong flavors but we don’t see the pairing often. I was expecting flavor, whether I liked it or not. What I didn’t expect was for this to be pretty bland. I guess the issue is that I have not found any recommended steeping parameters, so I went to my default of 3 mins in 200F water. Its just doing nothing for this tea though. Hopefully the last serving I have of this will be better.
As it is now, the base black is nice in giving this depth but isn’t adding much flavor. And then I get a fruitiness. It actually is almost like a red fruits black tea that you would find from a French company. I am pretty sure that’s not what they were going for though and since Roswell Strange liked it, my guess is its user error at play here.
Geek + Tea Advent Teas – Day 3
When I pulled this out and mentioned it was a Gryffindor tea, my family and I got into a bit of a discussion over what houses we belong to. I am the true Harry Potter fan in my house (curse you JK Rowling for writing an awesome story and then coming out with really transphobic comments!) but my brother-in-law and sister are both obviously familiar with the stories – mostly through the movies. From their perspectives, Gryffindor is THE house to be in so my brother-in-law was disappointed when I told him he was almost definitely a Hufflepuff. That led to us all taking a house sorting quiz (a la Buzzfeed since the Pottermore website required a login and we were all too lazy to do that. It can be found here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/eleanorbate/accurate-af-sorting-quiz). The results indicated I was predominantly Ravenclaw, he was mostly Hufflepuff and my sister was a balance of Gryffindor and Slytherin. No surprises there.
What was surprising is that this is a spiced apple green tea. I am with Roswell Strange since I definitely would not have thought of this flavor profile for a Gryffindor blend. I even double checked the website to make sure it wasn’t a Slytherin blend since that would be the house I would maybe associate this with, sheerly for color reasons. Oh and also because there is a slight smokiness from lapsang that also seems more connected to Slytherin…well some famous Slytherins…the death eaters that apparate in clouds of smoke. So in that sense, this tea really missed the mark for me.
Tastewise, this tea is not bad though. I didn’t know how much I would like it but I really do. I would call it campfire apple since its got a great crisp green apple flavor which is not waxy at all. And then it has the smokiness from the lapsang that takes this up a notch. I even get the fennel/anise Roswell Strange talked about and while that often veers too close to licorice for my enjoyment, it really works here. It’s a tasty tea for sure. It’s not a Gryffindor blend.
P is for… Pumpkin Juice Chai!
Didn’t mind revisiting this tea as it was a nice, albeit standard, take on a Pumpkin Chai profile. I didn’t really pay it much mind since the spice combination was so typical but I know it made for a very nice, soothing and consistent late night cuppa. However, I’m adding the rest into the TTB because I think others will be able to get more enjoyment from this fun Harry Potter inspired profile.