The Tea Practitioner

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Recent Tasting Notes

Gongfu Sipdown (1536)!

I’ve had a couple of these “Shui Xian Pillows” or “Shui Xian Fruitcakes” before, and this one wasn’t really all that different from them. I’m happy for that; it was very much what I was banking on when I selected it for my session this morning. I love the sweet and floral notes of peony, jasmine, and violet that this oolong has and the fleeting notes of ripe green melons. The finish reminds me so strongly of the crisp sweet crunch of sugar snap peas straight from the garden! It’s a bit like drinking a Springtime getaway in heart of cold, rainy Autumn which is, frankly, just lovely!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CWTo8nlrjdo/

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

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Gongfu!

I guess I was still riding a wave of cozier teas when I steeped this one up, but it was a nice wave to be riding. The dominant note of this session was a thick note of brown rice; syrupy in mouthfeel but not particularly sweet in taste. It was complimented by nostalgic flavours of golden toast just verging on being burnt, with hints of buckwheat honey and a lightly floral and pleasantly mellow apple note in the finish. The whole tea session could probably be summed up as simply “toasty” though, in a very relaxing sort of way.

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CguDkWWOhRX/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNa8iQ6c9nA

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Geek Steep S2E7 – Studio Ghibli: Grave of The Fireflies

This week on the podcast we revisited Studio Ghibli and, since we’ve done a full ‘What The Geek’ before on the studio, we thought this would be the perfect oppertunity to watch the movie in person together and then record immediately afterwards.

Generally, when we record, we’ll do the geek in advance and take notes and then afterwards take the time to do background research for our What The Geek and write a general outline with each of our major takeaways and any talking points we think are crucial/we really want to cover. And so, while the episodes are unscripted, that allows us in advance to have a loose road map of the conversation as well as make sure we both have the space to cover anything important to us.

This episode does not have that, and I think it makes for a really interesting conversation.

Since we watched in person together, we did end up drinking the same tea. I chose this one for us because I thought the little flecks of gold on the surface of the tea leaf sort of looked like fireflies in the night sky and that seemed really beautiful and fitting based on the name – especially since we didn’t know much about the movie going in. Just some basics like it took place during a war and was supposed to be sad.

I steeped this up in a GIANT Western style teapot (perfect for sharing) and I think we both ended up feeling really glad this is the direction we took because it was a very sad movie and this ended up being the grounding point as we watched that, honestly, kept up from completely unraveling. It was so, so perfectly matched.

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W is for… Wild Lapsang Souchong!

While I am usually not a morning person… every now and then I wake up early enough and feeling rested enough to actually have tea in the mornings before scrambling to catch the metro and head in to the office. In this case, I even got to watch the sunrise as I sipped on my lapsang! It was very, very nice.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CONgrB3Ab1R/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX0ZBi8gVwg&ab_channel=Jamws-Topic

Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Red Fruits, Red Wine, Smoke

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Cold Brew!

This is a multi day cold brew because I had a few different teas going in the fridge at one point and this was the last one I got around to straining. It’s cooling and crisp with an almost surprising sweetness to the top of the sip, but not quite as cooling as you’d expect for such a long steep time. That said, the two phrases that kept popping into my mind as I drank this tea were “sweet dew” and “water but better” – so take from that what you will…

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The perfect tea to sip while catching up on manga! This peppermint is perfectly crisp and cooling, which is exactly what I want from a mint tea or mint inclusive blend. For a very long time a straight peppermint was one of the few teas I didn’t consider a tea stash staple for myself, but this Canadian grown one has really won me over.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTnUUyWF6w0/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49vGv5yLsLI&ab_channel=RayGoren-Topic

Mastress Alita

I’ve been sipping tea and catching up on manga reading this morning, as well.

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Cold Brew!

On the days I work at the office, which is like 2-3 days a week right now, the first thing I do when I get home is usually strain the cold brew that’s been hanging out in my fridge all work day. This was a really great one to come home to because it’s just so cooling and crisp! I love the menthol punch that The Tea Practitioner’s peppermint has – but it’s also just super clean and crisp on the finish. It works very well cold brewed.

Mastress Alita

I think I prefer my peppermint tea cold brewed just because I love how cooling and quinching the menthol/ice cold liquid is!

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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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Currently enjoying a strongly steeped mug of Smoky Lapsang Souchong from alongside a blue cheese and walnut scone with a marscapone blue cheese filling. It’s a great marriage of two of my many tea related loves; black tea with scones and smoked tea paired with blue cheese. The funkier the cheese the better! I can’t take credit for making the scone but I can take credit for the filling; I love how the buttery scone and the creaminess of the marscapone add a softness to this otherwise massive punch of flavours. Really lovely!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ90HOGumGr/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn33KlyAmNQ

tea-sipper

YUMMM blue cheese

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Gongfu!

Enjoying two summer favourites yesterday morning! Smoky Lapsang from The Tea Practitioner with grilled & salted watermelon!! The savory, brothy smoke notes work perfectly with the slight notes of char and pop of salt from the melon, while also making all those sweet notes of the watermelon seem even more juicy than usual!! Both flavours are just total explosions of flavour and create such a fun and dynamic contrast of one another.

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

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyiIGEHQP8o

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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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Gongfu!

I was inspired by Sierra’s (of The Tea Practitioner) conversation with Marika and Celia on DAVIDsTEA’s InstaLive yesterday to pair this nutty and very roasty hojicha with some Espresso Cheddar. Though I’m not personally a coffee drinker, I deeply appreciate a good roasty flavour and this complimentary pairing really zones in on those deeper coffee-like flavours that are naturally present in a good hojicha! Mmm!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ca2kZMluL1o/

Today’s teaware had a cute panda theme to it that I’m just obsessed with!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPlftfXozzw&ab_channel=MDSHCoffeeHouse

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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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I mean… Still tastes like bread.

Perfectly golden fresh out of the over whole wheat bread that is so fresh and delicious. But bread nonetheless.

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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!

Steeped this one a few days ago. Such a crisp and refreshing white tea with light, crisp notes of citrus, cucumber pulp, and clotted cream! Love how consistent this is over the course of a session; it’s perfectly light and refreshing for a summer afternoon!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CfMovgWuMIR/

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

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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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I’m not sure why but when I got up this morning and was picking out teas to take into the office with me, I looked at this one off on a shelf and it just spoke to me. I ended up steeping it hot, which is actually something I really never do with this tisane – it’s usually reserved for iced teas/cold brews and fun recipes. I tossed three of the large flowers into a mug and just steeped them like that. It steeped slowly but evolved into this gorgeous and very clear/crisp looking rich pinky red colour and the taste, while still tart, wasn’t aggressive or sharp. Just a super clean finishing berry tinged pure hibiscus. It was nice and surprisingly very calming and grounding in the moment.

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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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