All the Black Teas!

Okay, not all of them, but a few.

For the past few years I’ve been drinking Publix brand black tea bags even though all my other teas have been loose leaf teas from Tea Clan. A couple weeks ago I was running low on black tea and decided to switch to loose leaf once and for all…but I had no idea what kind of black tea was in the Publix tea bags.

I decided that I’d not only try a few different black teas to see what I liked best, but that I’d also try a local tea shop to compare their teas to the ones I order from Tea Clan. Well, long story short, no one was manning the tea shoppe when I arrived (it’s part of a brewery/market setup and every other place was open) so I had couldn’t try their teas. Instead, I ordered three different black teas from Tea Clan—Assam, Ceylon Tea, and English Breakfast.

I am a tea drinker, not an aficionado, so my understanding of the subtleties between these three is incredibly limited. I will say, though, that Assam was my favorite and Ceylon my least favorite. I made all three teas at the same time and in the same way—I even used a measuring spoon and measuring cup to make sure the amounts of tea and water were the same in each mug.

They were all pretty smooth, but the Assam tea was smoothest to me, and not bitter at all. The Ceylon was the lightest tea, and it also left a bitter taste in my mouth that I wasn’t fond of. The English Breakfast was probably the strongest in flavor—it was also a little bitter, but not terribly so.

After tasting them all plain, I added a little sugar to each (I usually sweeten my tea with honey when I do sweeten it, so I have no idea why I chose sugar for this taste test). The Assam didn’t need sweetening at all (it was just fine plain) so the sugar kind of took away from it. However, the Ceylon and English Breakfast were a little better with a pinch of sugar.

In the end I mixed all three teas together and finished off the cup.

I definitely won’t be buying Ceylon again—I’ll probably mix it together with the English Breakfast just to get through it…or maybe I’ll use it to create a blend of my own—but I will certainly keep Assam on hand going forward.

So there’s a little black tea review for you.


Since I just ordered 8 new packs of tea, I needed a bigger container to store them in. I popped over to Dollar Tree and picked up this little basket which fit perfectly in the corner of the pantry. The tea bags themselves were a little big because the basket narrows at the bottom, but I just folded the sides of the bags and they were able to fit nicely.

One day I will have a full tea corner set up with electric kettle and honey sticks, but until then this will have to do.

I’m still trying to get back into the habit of short story writing, and I’ll let you know how that goes as we move forward.

Until next time…

Happy Tea Drinking!

Is It That Time Already?

My hot chocolate cravings have started.

This usually doesn’t happen until after Thanksgiving, but it’s been a weird year. I’m also blaming it on the fact that we’ve got a new hot chocolate maker in the house. A clever, but hardly efficient, little contraption that makes half a cup of hot chocolate at a time and needs to be rinsed with cold water between each batch. It was a gift. Not my gift, but a gift.

It’s cute. Compact. You put in a little cold milk and a little hot chocolate mix and press the button. The machine heats and blends everything into a smooth cup of hot chocolate. I mix half the 70% chocolate packet with some of my homemade mix so it’s a tad sweeter. One batch in the maker doesn’t even fill up my tea mug so it never feels satisfying enough. It’d be easier to just heat a pot of milk on the stove and make as much as my mug can hold.

Every morning I think about trading tea for hot chocolate. Most times I decide against it because I don’t want to bother with the contraption or heating milk on the stove. But there’s not much difference in heating water on the stove for tea and heating almond milk on the stove for hot chocolate so I guess that’s no reason at all.

I think I’ve convinced myself to make hot chocolate on the stove this morning. Sometimes I add a bit of cinnamon and ginger for a more Fall-ish flavor.

I guess it is that time of year after all!

What are yall drinking these days? What’s your favorite Fall drink? Should I be trading my cocoa for something better? Let me know!

P.S. still slowly reading Parable of the Sower, so no book review next week. But I may have a book update for you.

Happy Reading (and hot chocolate drinking)!