Tea Review: Thotalagala Lemongrass Earl Grey

This is the first of four reviews of the four teas included in the brand new Thotalagala Single Estate Tea Gift Set! We start with the most aromatic of the options, the Lemongrass Earl Grey.

Thotalagala Trader Joe LemonGrass Earl Grey Tea

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Unboxing the Trader Joe Thotalagala Organic Single Estate High Grown Tea Collection

Tea Santa came early this year! I was shopping at Trader Joe when I noticed this all new exciting tea gift set. It costs $10. I pondered but (of course) eventually gave in and bought it 🙂 You get four tea containers with ten tea pyramids in each. That’s 25c per tea pyramid.

It has a long name, get ready for it, it is the Thotalagala Organic Single Estate High Grown Tea Collection! This is not advertised in their Holiday 2017 Flyer, it just showed up in the store!

I just opened the box and took pictures, and wrote this post. I haven’t tasted the tea yet, it’s late night, I won’t be able to sleep if I drink caffeinated now 🙂 But fear not, there will be four separate posts on each one of the included four teas!

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Tea Review: Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Decaf Green Tea (2017 edition)

The holiday teas are coming out in all directions, and they are usurping my “Phase II” plans. Today’s review is another Trader Joe holiday classic, their decaffeinated Candy Cane Green Tea. Thanks to Game of Thrones, I have now renamed decaffeinated teas as “eunuch teas” 🙂 I usually avoid them, but because this is a holiday tea, I get one every year for the tradition and holiday spirit 🙂

If it wasn’t a holiday tea, there would be many reasons to avoid this tea. It has SOY, motherfrakking soy (soybean oil part of the “roasted chicory”), the last ingredient in the list. It also has unspecified “Natural Flavors” and of course it is decaffeinated.

If none of the above turns you off, keep reading….

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Tea Review: Davidson Organic Peppermint Loose Leaf Tea

This is the largest quantity of a tea I ever purchased. A whole pound in a bag! And with good reason, the price was right and peppermint is nowhere near as fragile as something like Japanese green tea. The 16oz bag of Davidson’s Organic Peppermint loose leaf tea goes for under $15 most of the time at amazon.com. That’s under $1 per ounce.

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Tea Review: Trader Joe Apple Cranberry Herbal Tea Blend

A brand new tea came out at Trader Joe, the “Apple Cranberry Herbal Tea Blend”, so of course I had to drop everything and try it! It is the second tea in this brand new line. The packaging has the same design language as the new Winter WakeUp Blend. The Apple tea is all herbal, no black tea.

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Tea Deals

Latest Update: November 28 in 2017: Black Friday is over, so we are back to regular tea deal hunting 🙂

We started another “diary-style” post, a blog within a blog, the Tea Deals diary. I love finding tea and tea ware at bargain prices, so in this post I’m sharing some of the deals with the interwebs! I’m including a latest update date so you can tell how “fresh” the deals are (pun intended):

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Blog Update: Phase II begins!

This is a blog update. To use the Marvel Cinematic Universe lingo, we are about to enter Phase II of the blog. In Phase I, we covered a lot of tea bags and tea pyramids, a number of which were seasonal returns or impulse buys (new releases, doorbusters).

So now it’s time to plan Phase II which will (at least attempt) to focus on these:

  • loose leaf tea
  • tea cups and tea brewing equipment
  • tea books
  • start learning how to matcha

This is just a general guideline though, because tea works in mysterious ways 🙂

I have a big stack of tea books, but so far I only wrote about The World Atlas of Tea. I must needs write much and more 🙂

Tea Review: Trader Joe Winter Wake Up Blend

As of review time, it is the middle of Pumpkin Season at Trader Joe (TJ), but surprise-surprise, a Winter Tea made its premiere (I don’t think I’ve seen that before at TJ) in the middle of the pumpkins. It is the “Winter Wake Up Blend” (20 individually wrapped tea bags, $2.50), an attempt at the not uncommon “Winter Blend” with some modest holiday decorations sneaked in the design of the box 🙂

How does it taste? Is it a must buy or a “mindless drinking” tea? Read on to find out…

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Tea Review: Stash Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea blend

This was an impulse buy of a doorbuster sale. The Stash Cinnamon Vanilla Herbal Tea blend has been going in and out of stock, when it is on sale, you get six sealed tea boxes (of 18 tea bags per box) for around $5 at amazon.com.

That’s under $1 per box. Each individually sealed box has 18 tea individually sealed tea bags inside. That means $5 for around 108 tea bags. They arrive in a Stash branded cardboard box. So you can share them with friends and family, you can hand them off a sealed box, or individually sealed tea bags.

The price is great, but does it taste good enough to justify buying so much of it?

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Tea Review: organic Trader Joe Moringa, Mango and Ginger Herbal Tea

Trader Joe is launching new teas faster than I can drink them, and derailing my tea blogging plan, because “shiny new tea”! This organic Moringa, Mango and Ginger herbal tea blend is a sister tea to the Organic Peppermint/Cinnamon, they both came out at the same time, they are both organic from Sri Lanka without any additional materials (no flavors, natural or artificial), and they have similar packaging, and a $3 price for a 20-pack of tea pyramids.

I didn’t even know what Moringa was before I bought this tea. Sadly I haven’t developed any superpowers after drinking it! It is, according to the packaging, leaves from the “moringa oleifera trees” [see Wikipedia for all the details on moringa].

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Tea Review: Peets Organic Chamomile

This is a real Peet’s tea, with the wonderfully designed tea wrapper. They had them on a clearance sale online, so I scooped up a few boxes before they disappeared into the Mighty Void 🙂 The tea wrapper is the best thing about them!

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Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean Tea Pouch Review: nicely done

As a big fan of Peet’s Tea, in those iconic tea tins and their no nonsense approach to tea, I am still getting triggered by the thought or mention of the Mighty Leaf versions of their iconic teas, in the wanna-be Teavana styling! #TRIGGERED On the plus side, the Peet’s Tea Guru Eliot Jordan is running the Mighty Leaf show.

But I’m not triggered when it comes to teas that are original to Mighty Leaf 🙂 Their “Organic African Nectar” is probably my favorite Mighty-native herbal tea blend. A review of that coming later!

Anyway, I’ll save those rumblings for another time. This post is a review of the Mighty Leaf Vanilla Bean tea, in nicely stitched tea pouches. I really like how this tea tastes hot, the blend of their vanilla with the mild black tea is a nice treat early in the morning. However, the vanilla flavor comes from two sources: vanilla bits in the pouch but also unspecified “natural flavor”. So if you are avoiding natural/artificial flavors, you have been warned!

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Tea Review: Trader Joe Pumpkin Spice Rooibos

This was supposed to be Genmai Cha month here at the blog, but as with most things tea, there’s always more tea to distract me! First it was a Matcha Starter Kit impulse buy, then the Trader Joe Harvest Season iconic teas arrived! First it was the dorky foxy Harvest Blend and then the good old Pumpkin Spice Rooibos in its very orange tin!

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Unboxing the Accelerated Intelligence Distribution Matcha Gift Set

Unboxing tea? That sounds kinda crazy! Well, probably so, except mayhaps when it comes to gift sets or bundles that made up of various different parts 🙂 And that’s we have here, a text and pictures unboxing of the Accelerated Intelligence Distribution Matcha Gift Set.

I’ve only drunk other people’s matchas before. But as far as I can recall, I never made matcha! So when I saw this Matcha Gift set as a lightning deal at Amazon, impulse buy won, and here it is!

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Unconventional Tea Hacks

This is a new “diary style” permanent post that will keep adding more unconventional tea hacks as I run into them, or more often, as they run into me… These are presented in reverse chronological order, newer hacks are added to the top of this perma-post. This is not a novel, so the order you read these does not make a difference 🙂


A gaiwan is a versatile tool as it is, you can use it to brew tea gongfu style, you can use it as a tea cup, you can use it as a fairness cup (a two gaiwan gongfu session). Eventually though, through time and accidents, some may break or become inoperable. If you have any gaiwan lids that don’t fit any of your current gaiwans, don’t throw them away!

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Tea Review: Trader Joe Harvest Blend Herbal Tea

This tea has a special place in my heart. It was one of my very first “breakout” teas when I was struggling with the switch from Colas to Teas. Looking at it more critically now, years later, it is not as magical as it felt at the time, but let’s not forget, it’s still a $2 box of tea 🙂

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Tea Review: Harney’s Genmaicha Loose Leaf

We begin a series of Genmaicha Tea posts as Fall 2017 is upon us! First up, it’s a review of the Harney and Sons Genmaicha Loose Leaf tea, purchased with mine own money from the interwebs in an 8 ounce tea tin.

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The Equalizer Loose Leaf Tea Brewing Strategy (Western Style)

I don’t know if this has a formal or common name in the tea world, but I’m calling it the “Equalizer” western-style loose-leaf brewing technique. This works best with teas that you can “finish” with an extended brewing session, such as genmaichas, dragonwell, herbal blends, and to a lesser extent flavored teas.

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Tea Review: Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai: ABOMINATION!

I drink all kinds of tea, any tea that’s in front of me. In an effort to avoid becoming a strident elitist tea snob, I vowed to drink it all, even dollar store tea.

So when I call a tea an Abomination, it’s a high bar 🙂 This tea is an abomination. The combination of various natural and artificial flavors make the Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai an undrinkable tea. And it’s not for lack of trying. I tried it hot, I tried iced, I tried it at room temperature. Plain or with cream. Heck, I even tried it with my favorite “Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage” hoping it would “average down” the yuckiness of its spices.

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Tea Review: Trader Joe RED Refresh: Taming The Hibiscus, Nice Iced

Yes, dear Tea Friends! We have a new blog achievement unlocked! Back to back days with new blog posts! Today too we have a Trader Joe tea, this is another one of their new product arrivals. It is a RED tea, Melisandre red!

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