Spumoni Green Tea and Mexican Hot Chocolate from A Quarter to Tea – Tea Review

More A Quarter to Tea teas! Not too long ago I was sent four teas. I reviewed the more autumn teas eariler and here is the rest. Let’s get to it!

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Spumoni Green Tea

YES SPUMONI! I’ve suggested to many tea sellers to make a spumoni tea. Spumoni is one of my favorite ice creams. There is a restuarant I regularly went to in Vancouver, The Spaghetti Factory, and the end of every meal is the delicious spumoni ice cream. Spumoni seems to vary, but usually it is pistachio with a mix of usually chocolate, vanilla or cherry. A Quarter to Tea’s Spumoni Green Tea is a blend of Chinese green tea, Organic Sencha, raw pistachios, organic cacao nibs, montamorey cherries, and flakes of coconut.

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My sample is loaded with big bits, including three whole cherries and a couple pistachio pieces.

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For steeping instructions, I used the entire 8 gram sample in a 10 oz cup. I steeped the tea for 175F for 3.5 minutes.

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A Quarter to Tea’s Spumoni Green Tea has a mega nutty aroma. The flavor is surprisingly mostly of pistachio with a very nutty, smooth and creamy taste with a fruity cherry finish. The green is fresh in the background, there’s a hint of chocolate, and a cherry lingers as an aftertaste. To my relief the cherry tastes real, not the scary artificial cough syrup cherry. A very smooth nutty tea, a nutty treat! I love pistachio teas so this tea makes me very happy! Don’t forget to eat the cherries and pistachios after you steep them! The cherry was super tasty!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Black/Oolong

A Quarter to Tea’s Mexican Hot Chocolate is an interestingly unique blend that I’ve never seen anyone else have as well. This tea is a blend of Organic Quinlan Oolong Tea, Ceylon Black Tea, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Freeze-dried Marshmallows, Dried Red Chile Flakes, and Natural Flavorings.

Upon inspection of the tea leaves, wow lots of marshmallow!

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Similar to the Spumoni tea, I steeped the 8 gram sample in a 10oz cup, this time for 5 minutes with 190F water.

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Mexican Hot Chocolate tea sips in sweet and spicy. The tea sips in lightly creamy chocolately, roasty malty tea base and a good helping of spices, mostly of cinnamon. End of sip the spice heats up from the red chile flakes leaving you with a firy tea. I give this a medium-high amount of spice, though I do eat a lot of hot things. A Quarter to Tea’s Mexican Hot Chocolate is not crazy hot like Pelican Tea’s blends as they use habanero, but the chile flake burn is pretty good.  I think if you made this tea blend as a latte would tame it deliciously.

If chais are never spicy hot enough for you, this tea is the one for you!

(Tea provided for review)

Is Drinking Tea Good For You? Video Research Review

I came across this video about the health benefits of tea from Healthcare Triage Youtube and I am sharing it as I found it very interesting.

First off – I drink tea because it tastes good and I have a positive emotional experience associated with it. I don’t drink tea for any claimed magical health benefits, though I do drink a cup of a cheesecake flavored dessert tea to make my sweet tooth happy when I want actual cheesecake, as well as drink a round of matcha when I want a bunch of energy for a work out. I don’t like to talk about tea health stuff unless there’s some good research behind it, and with that there’s so much research out there. Nor do I ever want to back some bogus claim (you guys don’t wanna know how many green tea weight loss companies email me asking me to review their magical products).

Anyways, I am linking this video as I found it very informative and covers a lot of studies with large amount of participants, so they did all the work for us! He also covers all research with a critical eye at design, which is great. Many of the studies were done in countries who drink more tea than the general population and were observational, so actual cause is hard to determine.

TLDR: Drink tea because you like it. There is little harms and maybe some benefits to drinking tea. The benefits stated for drinking tea is to be taken with a grain of salt.

I’d also like to add if you drink tea because you like it you will certainly enjoy it more than drinking it because you should because it is healthy, just by mental association. Back when I reviewed a bucket load of matcha, some sellers treated their product like medicine with dosage instructions, giving them excuse if their tea tasted bad (or you made it incorrectly so it tasted bad) as it is okay for medicine to taste bad.

I can tell you all that all my tea drinking didn’t stop me from hurting my ankle last week. I’m still on wobbling around on crutches and breaking things over a week later.

Aliexpress 2014 Wild Spring Bud Yabao Pu’er cake – Tea Review

Strange things happen when I’m on Aliexpress. If I see any interesting tea and it’s $10 I will try it. If it sucks, well it was only $10. I don’t know what I was looking for on Aliexpress, but I found this weird looking cake for $9 for 200 grams. It’s a 2014 Wild Spring Bud Pu’er apparently, but it could be wrong. I don’t know, let’s drink it!

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The dry leaf looks really neat and pretty, like smushed yabao cut with moonlight white.

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It was easy to break with my fingers, no pick needed since it was lightly pressed together.

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I steeped it with boiling water, doing a single rinse and 20 second infusions to start. Let’s see what this tea is made of!

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Tasting of Aliexpress Wild Spring Bud Yabao Pu’er Cake

The yabao cake steeps up a pale lemon yellow colour.

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First Infusion: The pu’er sips in soft and light, of sweet straw hay, corn husk, with a herby finish. An interesting sip out of something of a herbal tea.

Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: Bam, stronger flavor! The pu’er turned zesty with notes of herb and corn. It has a wild and freshness to it. It does have a yabao taste – I’ve had much better yabao but this isn’t bad for the price I paid.

And we have a tech error. I put on the lid of the gaiwan and the whole thing fell over and made a mess. This is not the first time this has happened and after this I rage quit this tea table. I’m waiting for a new tea table to arrive from the Aliexpress 11.11 sale.

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Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: The Wild Spring Bud cake developed a sour taste which goes with that zesty herb note. It’s like drinking sour granny smith apples, spice, herbs and corn. It’s like I’m drinking tea that I foraged in the woods with crab apples.

Seventh and Eighth Infusion: The flavor has mellowed out to something light and sweet with a herby spice finish. The steeped leaf is huge!

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What the hell did I just drink? If you like Yabao you’ll enjoy this 2014 Wild Spring Bud Pu’er, though I think herbal tea lovers would go crazy for it. I enjoyed the uniqueness of it and the appearance of the tea more than the taste. Here’s the Aliexpress listing for this 2014 Wild Spring Bud Yabao Pu’er cake, no guarantees it’ll be in stock or be $9 due to it being Aliexpress.

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Sunday Tea Hoots 10 – Crutches and Tea

This week has been crazy in Oolong Owl land. I had the unfortunate accident on Tuesday night were my body went one way and my ankle another way. Then I spent a large chunk of my Wednesday in urgent care. Turns out I have a sprained ankle that everyone was surprised wasn’t broken and now I’m in crutches and an itchy ankle splint.

I discovered that it is impossible to carrying things while using a pair of crutches at the same time, and I also have to scale a twisted flight of stairs all the time. It isn’t in the Tea Owl’s union contract to fly up tea cups and kettles up to my office, so it’s been Tea-Hating Husband making the tea runs while the Tea Owls play with perching on crutches.


For the first few days I had the Tea-Hating Husband run up western brewed teapots full of tea while I worked. However, that idea didn’t last that long as the crutches knocked over my DavidsTea bubble tea pot, breaking off the handle. Well I guess I’ll glue it back together then turn it into another succulent planter.

A moment of silence for the Teal Bubble Pot.


After that, I decided to just keep a gaiwan, a kettle, and a box of pu’er samples I need to get through within reach of my desk. I have consumed more rinses than I ever have before as I keep forgetting to bring a waste cup.


Being benched should give me time to get ahead on NaNoWriMo, though I’m running into issues of being too beat up from running around on crutches and also breaking my keyboard with said crutches on Friday. However, I was able to replace my keyboard yesterday and got on schedule for today, Day 15 –  25k words!


Tea reviews might be less frequent for a bit until I can walk without my crutches breaking things.

Yet Another Daiso Teaware Haul

Yet another Daiso teaware haul. Officially, I found two (one and two) other hauls I posted about, but since then I’ve done numerous Daiso trips and there’s probably some buried in other haul posts or I had just posted them on Instagram.

Anyways, if you don’t know Daiso is a Japanese Dollar store chain that is sprouting up stores in North America (yay!). I discovered they opened yet another location near me and this one a pretty quick drive for me and near things I need to drive to – a blessing and a curse! Daiso a weird selection of things sometimes, but always they have cute stationary, makeup. They have a food section with lots of treats, including green tea things. Most importantly for us tea drinkers -they got a killer dishes section, including with many cute rice bowls with bunnies and teddy bears.

Everything is $1.50, though once in awhile you’ll find an item marked at $3 or $5. All the goodies I got were $1.50 each!

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First up, this sweeeeet owl cup! They had another design with two Owls on a branch, but it wasn’t as pretty as this cup.

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Next up is this simple swirl glazed cup. It’s subtle, but will make a great cup for showing off the colour of tea.

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This cup attracted me – it’s darker and too patterned than what I usually buy, but there’s something so classic about the design and I love the scalloped edges.

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These cups got me super excited – they had four different colours, however I only bought three colours. The fourth I decided to pass on was an ugly pink with a white center that was uninteresting.

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On top of the coloured glaze pooling at the bottom of the cup, there is a crackle going on!

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I freaking love crackle glazed cups! So magical! Thanks Daiso for having sweet and cheap tea ware!

2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade Shou Pu’er from Crimson Lotus Tea – Tea Review

OH YES BULANG! I freaking love bulang ripes, the flavor profile of them makes me drool just thinking about it. Today’s review is the lovely 2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade Shou Pu’er from Crimson Lotus Tea. This tea I regret not trying sooner, after drinking this I’m eyeing buying a brick so hard that I’m sure they can feel it in Seattle.

This tasting is a little different – I drank this tea while I was in Utah, so it was with spring water and a high altitude (7000 feet+) which effected the taste some. This review came out much later as I had gone back and had a session to compare. Photos were taken in Utah.

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Dry Leaf and Steeping Instructions

This tea is in a sample size, but I got some nice big brick chunks.

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I steeped the ripe pu’er with boiling water (198F was as hot as 7000 feet would let me) with a ratio of 5 grams in a 75ml gaiwan. I poured out two quick rinses. I followed similar when I steeped this at home without elevation.

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Tasting of2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade Shou Pu’er from Crimson Lotus Tea

First and Second Infusion: The colour is a lovely pale ruddy orange brown with a very sweet chocolate scent.

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The flavor of 2008 Bulang Shan Imperial is very sweet. The flavor is still pretty light, despite the two rinses the party hasn’t started yet. Other notes are sweet mineral with a bit of earth playing in the background.

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Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Infusion: The colour ripened up to a deep rich mahogany, so pretty!

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The flavor has gotten stronger but still not battering ramming your face. The texture is super smooth and melty. The flavor has some lightly bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, some spice, wisps of smoke, with a lightly earthy flavor, very rich tasting notes!2008 bulang from Crimson Lotus Tea - Oolong Owl (8)

Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth Infusion: The bulang is starting to shift in flavor and lighten in colour. I took this time to have a lunch break. Yum! Bulang with sweets went so tasty together!

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The bittersweet chocolate is escaping to a more woodsy mineral flavor with a bit less sweetness. The aftertaste is a little chocolate and earth.

Very long steepings of Fourteenth and Fifteenth Infusion: the flavor is light with just a sweet cream, woody and mineral taste. The final steeping was very light but nicely sweet. Very good!

Non-Altitude Session: At elevation and spring water this tea is the sweetest pu’er I’ve had, but made with my usual tea set up at home (with 0 elevation and filtered water) the ripe pu’er isn’t as sweet, but still similar in taste with woodsy, mineral, chocolate, and earth.


Upon checking out the 2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade Shou Pu’er on Crimson Lotus Tea‘s site, I discovered the price is quite affordable – at this time $30 for a 250 gram brick! DANG! The price as well as the enjoyable taste is the reason why I am staring at this cake a whole lot since trying it.

2008 Bulang Shan Imperial Grade Shou Pu’er is very approachable and easy to drink. An enjoyable one for new pu drinkers and a nice sweet desserty daily drinker for the rest. This pu’er wasn’t fermenty, fishy, dry though bitter sweet. I think this one would do great thermos brewed or grandpa style.

(tea provided for review)

Sunday Tea Hoots 9 – Birthday Owl

Yesterday was my birthday and I got into all sorts of hyjinx.

First off, DIM SUM! Hoot, who ordered the chicken feet?

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Once I got back, I had a few hours to drink, usually enough time for my usual chug down an entire session and get crazy while writing. I decided to crack into my sample of White2Tea’s 2015 Last Thoughts. A tea friend gave me a 7.5 gram serving. Reading into it, I probably should of went with a 3 gram session in my tiny ~75ml gaiwan due to tea potency, however I wasn’t thinking about that. I wanted some extravagant tea, it’s my birthday, I might as well get a taste of a $400+ sheng cake that I will never buy.

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The session started slow. I took some pics, had a few cups with my owls, then the happy birthday phone calls started coming in from the family back in Canada. I had a few cups while talking on the phone, getting more and more louder and stranger. After that, I tried to NaNoWriMo but the Last Thoughts kicked in. This tea must be called “Last Thoughts” as the cha qi starts to scramble your brain in manic mush, making it the last of your own rational thoughts until you pass out. I didn’t get any NaNoWriMo writing done in those couple hours, just flailing, laughing at the screen door, running into the garage gym, and a strange review on Steepster:

NOOOO I wish I hated this tea as the price tag on it is high! Unfortunately, I love it. No wait, I hate it. I hate it so much that I need to consume it like a lust for revenge and blood like I’m a 90’s kung fu movie hero.

First off, cha qi off the charts. Maybe I should of made 3g instead of 7.5? I ran to the gym already and deadlifted 200lbs laughing like a maniac as I worked the railroad. Thankfully, it’s my birthday today so no one is questioning my sanity as I get a pass today, others think I hit the bottle early and needed a muscle pump before birthday dinner. But its TEEEEEEEa!

The flavor is freaking smooth, new born smooth with an aftertaste of pretty orchid floral and fruity green grapes. It’s thick and lubey (HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA) of a tea. That fragrance is the best though

I’m on steeping 10 and it’s not showing signs of quitting. No quitters here, just tea.RAWHHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Dammit, my eye makeup is crooked.

So yeah… after that mess I fixed my makeup and went out for Japanese fusion birthday dinner!

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Then I went home and baked a delicious butter mochi cake that the Tea Owls ripped into sticky little pieces.

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After all that, I was still feeling the effects of Last Thoughts and was up till 2am getting ahead on NaNoWriMo, so I’m a day ahead as of Day 8 and I haven’t even started writing yet today.

The presents from the tea hating husband! This sweet tea filter. I like the concept that this octopus is upset and inking in my cup.

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And a matching mug! Totally an octopus theme for my birthday this year.

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I started the day after my birthday pulling a gaiwan of Last Thoughts out of my fridge. For a tea this price, you finish it until there’s not a lick of flavor left in it!

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I got probably 12 steepings on my birthday (hard to say the exact number, I was unable to count), and I just drink 6 more. The last 6 steepings are making me feel foggy but otherwise are pretty good. Now to spend the last of my weekend recovering.

2013 Ontario 1357 Ripe Shou Pu’er from Whispering Pines Tea Co. – Tea Review

Mmm, Whispering Pines Tea! I’ve sampled this 2013 Ontario 1357 Shou Pu’er in loose form and it was great. When Whispering Pines had the 2013 Ontario 1357 and 2012 Huron Gold Needle pressed into cakes, I quickly purchased one of each cake the day of release.

The 2013 Ontario 1357 Ripe Shou Pu’er comes in 100 gram cake or in loose leaf. My cakes came with a spiffy cloth drawstring bag stamped with the Whispering Pines logo. I generally store my shou cakes in the open in glass or ceramic containers, so I wonder how good cloth bag storage will be. Comment below if you know!

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Dry Leaf

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The cake has a dark colour, which was easy to pry off pieces with my pu’er pick.

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Steeping Instructions

I used filtered boiling water for my pu’er. I used 8 grams of leaf for 120ml gaiwan. I dumped out 2 rinses then started steeping away with quick 20 second steeps.

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Tasting of 2013 Ontario 1357 Ripe Shou Pu’er Cake

2013 Ontario 1357 steeps up a clear light brown with an earthy chocolate scent.

First Infusion:  2013 Ontario 1357 sips in sweet and smooth. It’s light here but I’m getting a good walnut and seedy notes over earth. Each sip is very smooth sip and easy to drink. I inhaled this steeping fast!

Second, Third, and Fourth Infusion: The steepings here get stronger in flavor. The pu’er is bitter sweet with notes of wet earth, walnuts and cream. Very rich sip yet damn smooth like silky cream.

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Can I have a pudding of this tea? Yum!

Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Infusion: The pu is mellowing out here, a little early that I was hoping. The flavor of 2013 Ontario 1357 is less strong and bitter sweet, but getting more sweet, nutty and creamy.

Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Infusion: 2013 Ontario 1357 has lighten even more and finished early. These last infusions are milky with a bit of nut and wet earth, with the final steeping being brown sugar sweet, creamy, and nutty. I had my last cups late in the evening. I found this ripe pu’er didn’t do much for cha qi/ crazy caffeine hit tea manic mode, so it was a nice evening tea! Results may vary.

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2013 Ontario 1357 Ripe Shou Pu’er is a nice daily drinker for it’s easy to drink taste, smooth texture and excellent price. There is no fermented flavor, nor is too bitter. I didn’t get too many steepings, nor got ripping tea drunk, so I think this would be a nice evening pu. I am undecided if I will chug this one for late night writing or tuck away to age.

The price is affordable at $11 for a 100 gram cake, so if you are new to pu’er it’s not too much to spend on your first cake, plus you aren’t stuck with a huge cake. Black tea and coffee drinkers would love this tea!

Autumn Tea Blends from Plum Deluxe – Tea Review

I love autumn blends, I can’t get enough of spice, pumpkin and apple teas over a black tea base. Plum Deluxe is an online tea seller of organic tea blends. Besides the online tea shop, they also do a Tea of the Month Club. $10 a month you get one 1oz tea + sample. For $16 a month you get two 1oz teas. For both plans you get free shipping and savings on purchases at their online shop. What is good about their set up is you can purchase a blend or two at their shop to check them out before signing up for the monthly tea club!

For you tea readers, Plum Deluxe has given us a coupon! Mention “Oolong Owl Tea Lover” in the “how did you hear about us” when signing up for the Plum Deluxe Tea Club and get a bonus 1oz of tea in your first month! Expires December 5 2015.

I’ve selected some tasty sounding autumn tea blends to review, let’s get to it!

Tasting of Autumn Tea Blends from Plum Deluxe

Autumn Orchard Black

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This tea is in Plum Deluxe’s November Tea of the Month club! That said, this tea is freshly made! I love the dry leaf look of this tea. Lots of chunky apple and red of hibiscus and rose hips, all over the black tea. This blend is made of Java White Tip black, apple, rose hip, hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon bark, orange peel, raspberry leaf and pomegranate essence.

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I steeped 5 grams of Autumn Orchard Black with boiling water for 3 minutes.

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Taste upfront is red delicious apples! The apple flavor is sweet and fresh with a hint of tart skin from the hibiscus. The blend isn’t too tart though, it’s an easily drinkable tart that would turn into candied apple turf if you added a bit of sweetener. The black is rich and smooth, a little tree bark like, completing the full fall apple tree cuddles. There’s spices in this but they are really light. This is totally a taste of autumn apple tea and would be delicious iced or with a dash of maple or honey.

Deluxe Pumpkin Spice Black

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This blend is available in the Plum Deluxe tea shop and apparently sells out each year. This tea is a blend of honeybush, black tea, cinnamon bark, cardamon, ginger root, cloves, and pumpkin flavor.

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I steeped 6 grams of this tea (it’s heavier compared to the previous tea) in boiling water for 3 minutes.

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Deluxe Pumpkin Spice sips in pumpkiny smooth with a woody tea taste from the rooibos and earthyness from the black. There is a light spice taste present, with the strongest being clove and cardamon, which heats up your throat end of sip. It’s too light on the spice to be a chai, but has enough spice to add interest. This is a great tea to have to warm you up after a cold day.

Peaches n’ Dreams Oolong

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I’m adding this tea review as a bonus because I like oolongs and peaches. This tea was from October’s Plum Deluxe box. This oolong blend is has apple, apricots, black tea, and honeybush.

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I steeped this oolong just like the other teas – boiling water for 3 minutes. The leaf on this one was light, so a serving worked out to be 4 grams.

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Peaches n’ Dreams oolong sips in a toasty oolong and black flavor, with some extra woody notes. The finish and aftertaste is a strong peach apricot – very tasty! This tea is also great iced with a bit of agave.

(tea provided for review)

Sunday Tea Hoots 8 – NaNoWriMo Hoot, Day 1

I thought I wasn’t going to do this again. NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. This event has your write a 50,000 novel, or at least jump start on one. The point is to just get the ideas down. Broken down, writing 50k words isn’t too bad as it’s just 1,667 words a day. If you follow NaNoWriMo communities or their newsletters, people get together and write of all ages writing their great insert-country novel. Some even publish theirs.


I participated in 2012 NaNoWriMo and “won”. Winning NaNoWriMo means I got 50,000 words written that month. Actually the last day was a mess as my word count in my writing program said I had 50k, but you have to copy and paste your story into NaNoWriMo to prove you got the word count. NaNoWriMo said was short so I had to guzzle down a bunch of black tea and get it done, finishing just a few hours away. Feeling accomplished to discover you actually fell short feels pretty sucky.

2013 I was busy. 2013 the new Pokemon game came out so I was too busy playing to work on the great Oolong Owl novel.

2014 I tried. I had such a great idea – a young adult romance about a university student who works a tea shop and goes on a cruise. I consumed so much 2010 Haiwan Peerless Ripe Pu’er that I severely put a dent in that 500 gram cake.  Unfortunately, I only got to 27,951 words. I had some legit excuses – tea blogging gets pretty busy November for Christmas teas. My crocheting commissions also are busy in November. My birthday is in November. Reasons I fell behind were also my own fault like spending too much time on Reddit and playing World of Warcraft.

2015. Yesterday October 31st I decided, no I will not do NaNoWriMo. I’m just too busy in November despite last month I wrote an entire list of characters, descriptions and plot line. Not to mention the same deal for two other book ideas. Oh, and a week ago I had a great idea for fan fic for a book I had just read. Crap.

Today, November 1st 2015. I had just finished eating homemade beefy noodle soup while reading a new fantasy series that I’m not 100% happy with. I made a big glass of that super spiced Russian Samovar tea I got in Alaska. I had planned to crank out some crochet work, drink tea, rewatch youtube videos, and muck around on reddit. I was flipping through my Evernote and saw all novel notes and thought I’d see how fast writing a bit would flow. BOOM, 2k words in a sitting. Well hoot, I guess I’m doing this. Hopefully I don’t crash and burn again, but this time I’m entering in with a better plan. MOAR TEA!


Instead of trying to write and get ahead, I’m here. I thought about not telling anyone as if no one knew I was doing this, people wouldn’t know I failed it if I failed. Anyways, here I am, again. It seems I’ll never get time for my stories unless I got a month telling me so.

Feel free to comment, leave a message, friend me and we can drunk ungodly amounts of tea while we write together. Or silently judge each other’s word count throughout the month. I still got some of that 2010 Haiwan Peerless pu left…