Each and every year, tea enthusiasts take a look at their tea stashes/cupboards and decide to take an earnest attempt at sipping down the tea that they currently own for a variety of reasons. This year, I’m joining in on this venture for a different reason- I want to dedicate more time to myself. 2020 was a hard year on my family. Between one of our son’s being diagnosed with cancer to losing a beloved member of our family to an extremely hectic and challenging political cycle (my 9-5) to everything in between which includes basically being a “single parent” for a good chunk of the year while my hubby took care of our son, Parker while he was getting treatment at St Judes. For so many, 2020 will always be an exhausting and stressful year. But, it is time to now look at 2021 and make new habits and choices to set the year off right.
One the new habits I am truly striving to establish for myself is literally time for myself. I am very fortunate to have been working from home for a few years now but with the kiddos also being home and remote learning, that tea time that I always really enjoyed fell by the way side. And I have too many delightful tea goodies to have that happen. So I have literally set up time each day on my calendar to take a moment, pop onto Steepster, log my teas, see tea lovelies everyone is enjoying all while enjoying a cuppa myself. If you aren’t familiar with Steepster, I highly encourage you to check it out. Steepster is a great place to log your tea tasting notes while engaging with other like minded tea friends. A lovely environment that I am thrilled to be engaged with once again.
To start 2021 off right, my Black Friday Friday Afternoon tea order finally arrived on 1/3 so I thought these would be a nice treat to ring in the new year. I mainly ordered a variety of black flavored teas but my mystery sampler was also included in this order so there were various tea samples to dig into as well.
I’m No Prize was the first sample I grabbed. This blend is black tea, ginger root, star anise, rose, jasmine blend with cinnamon flavoring. I’ve been seeing a lot of rose flavored chai blends lately and the idea of mingling floral and spiced flavors was incredibly intriguing. Brewed up with water at 212F and steeped for 3 minutes, this tea was a joy. You could literally pick out each flavor on its own and they all worked together nicely. Pops of ginger, star anise, and cinnamon worked wonderfully well with the rose and jasmine.
I was able to get a few infusions out of the sample serving and enjoyed every sip. Really lovely blend and one I could see re-ordering more of in a heart beat.
Butterfly Blend was the second sample that grabbed my attention. A black tea blend with honey, strawberry, orange peel and lemongrass. When I first opened the sample- the first thought that came to mind was how much this tea smelled like a strawberry candy. I was eager to enjoy this one so I prepped up my water at 212F and again allowed the tea to steep for 3 minutes. Sadly, I think my taste buds are changing and this blend was too sweet for me. The first sip – my taste buds were super happy. Super sweet honeyed strawberries was what I was getting. However, after a few more sips, it was like I needed a bit of something else to round out that sweetness, possibly even a bit more black tea. The blend itself is beautiful to look at but just doesn’t seem to be the right tea for me.
Courtesan’s Blend was the last of the three samples I enjoyed during my tea time sipdown. I will be honest, I’ve received this blend a few different times in my mystery samplers from Friday Afternoon and I have never really enjoyed the blend. But again, looking at the ingredients I should. Oolong, clove, cinnamon, and vanilla flavoring. All sounds delightful. When you first open the sample pack as well, the blend smells delightful. To my dismay, those aromas (for me) did not translate into any noticeable flavors until the very end of each sip if not the after taste. Then I could pick up the oolong, clove, and cinnamon notes. If the flavors were more pronounced, I have a feeling I would be in love with this blend. But after trying this blend so many times, I think this one just isn’t for me.
All in all, not a bad little tea party (that spanned a few hours might I add). The winner for me is I’m No Prize which is already on my list to re-order the next time I order from Friday Afternoon.
Let us know if you have any tea related goals for 2021. We’d love to hear them!