Pumpkin Tea Showdown – Round 1

Every year I look forward to the fall and the start of pumpkin season. Pumpkin tea is one of the teas that I absolutely love and I always look forward to having it in the fall. As a result, I have a LOT of different pumpkin teas. For some extra fun this year my youngest daughter and I decided to have a pumpkin tea showdown and see which of the pumpkin teas comes out as our favorite for 2021. We started with 12 teas in round 1. The teas were paired up and the favorite of each pair is advancing to round 2. The winners for each round are in bold.

Pumpkin Tea Match Ups

Tazo Pumpkin Spice Chai vs. Spice and Tea Exchange Pumpkin Chai

Lidl Pumpkin Spice vs Republic of Tea Pumpkin Spice

Yogi Pumpkin Spice vs Davidson’s Pumpkin Spice

Churchill’s Pumpkin Spice Chai vs Dollar Tea Club Pumpkin Patch

Rocky Mountain SereniTEA Pumpkin Pie vs Savory Pumpkin Muffin

August Uncommon Psychocandy vs Trader Joes Pumpkin Spice Rooibos

It was interesting having some of these teas go head to head in a taste test. We have liked all of the teas in this showdown. Some of the rounds had such great teas that it was hard to choose a winner to advance. Next week we will pair the teas up for round 2 to see which teas move on to round 3. Be sure to check back to see which tea comes out on top. If you are interested in seeing a review on any of these specific teas, please leave me a comment letting me know.

September 2021 Tea Empties

I tend to go through a lot of tea so I thought it would be fun to let you know what teas I have recently finished off. There will also be a list at the end of the post with the teas that I am giving away because I just did not care for them.

Teas that I finished in September 2021:

  • Chico Chai Original Chai – A classic masala chai. Assam black tea and fresh spices. This tea came in my SipBy box. I prepared it using the stove top method on the package. I personally was not a fan of the spice mix of this chai.
  • Rishi Peach Blossom – White tea infused with juicy peach, tangerine and aromatic blossoms. This tea was delicious, but I consider this more of a spring and summer tea. I may reorder this in the spring.
  • Rishi Masala Chai – A robust, full-bodied black tea blended with aromatic traditional Indian masala spices. This tea is currently my favorite chai. Right now it is not in stock on their website. Thankfully I already have another pound bag because this one is a staple for me in the fall and winter.
  • ROAR Earl Grey – This is a pretty classic Earl Grey flavored tea. This was a sample from my SipsBy box and I have already purchased a full size of it. I drink it both hot and iced.
  • Tealyra Traditional Masala Chai – This tea was another sample from SipsBy. I enjoyed this tea and reminded me a lot of the Rishi Masala Chai. Unfortunately my sample was tea bags and just were not strong enough for me. Since it reminded me so much of the Rishi I decided not to try purchasing their loose leaf version of this tea. I am glad to know about it though just in case Rishi does not get their Masala Chai back in stock by the time I need more.

Teas that I am giving away in September 2021:

  • August Uncommon Jet Black tea – This tea was included in the top tea sampler that I purchased from August Uncommon. Unfortunately I cannot stand the taste of coffee so I am passing this one on unopened. It is described as a rich black tea with roasted mate and espresso bean.
  • Cookie Tea Almond Cookie tea – This tea came in my SipsBy box, but I already have a full size package of this tea so I am passing it on to a friend who is interested in trying it. I do actually like this tea and will have a review of it coming up.
  • Cookie Tea Dark Chocolate Cookie black tea – This tea came in one of my SipsBy boxes and I honestly have no interest in trying it. I do not care for dark chocolate, especially in a drink so I am passing it on unopened.
  • Dollar Tea Club Ruby Red Apple tea – I am simply not a fan of apple drinks of any sort. This tea will be passed on unopened.
  • Eastern Shore Tea Company Pumpkin Spice tea – This tea was given to me as a gift. While I do seriously love a good pumpkin spice tea, this one is just way too ginger forward for my tastes. I am not a big fan of ginger so I am passing on this one.

Which teas have you finished off recently? Would you buy them again?

Tea Subscription Boxes

I have a serious love of tea. It’s even been said that my blood type is tea. So it should come as no surprise that I have a rather large collection of teas. I absolutely love trying out new teas and adding to my collection. Since I drink several glasses of tea a day it definitely helps to have a nice variety of teas to choose from. One fun way to add to my collection is with tea subscriptions. I have found they are a great way to try new teas without committing to a large quantity of any one variety. I really look forward to my monthly tea boxes.

Here are the tea boxes that I am currently subscribed to:

  • Dollar Tea Club:
    $5.50 a month for 3 samples ($1.00 plus $4.50 shipping)
    Sign up here with referral code REFPG465HBUYS for $1 off your first order
    You can also choose to add on items like disposable tea filters, specific tea samples and honey sticks for an additional charge. If there is a tea you love, you can also subscribe to specific teas and have them delivered each month in addition to your samples.
  • SipsBy
    $16.00 a month with free shipping for 4 tea samples
    Sign up here for $5 off your first month
    This box is my favorite because it is customized to your tastes based on a quiz of your flavor preferences and your ratings of your tea samples each month. They offer samples from a variety of brands and also offer several different themed boxes throughout the year that you can purchase individually. Many of the samples include discount codes for you to purchase larger quantities of them. I have found a few new teas that I absolutely love with this subscription and even tried teas from brands I had never heard of until I received them in my box.
  • Simple Loose Leaf
    $12 – $18 a month
    Sign up here
    For this box you choose between 2, 3, or 4 tea samples each month and you also choose between green, black, herbal or variety tea boxes. Your first tea box also includes 4 reusable cotton tea filters. Their first box seems to be a standard box of some of their more popular teas. To date that is the only box I have received as I just signed up for this subscription this month.

If you’re looking to see what exactly is included in there subscription boxes, I am starting to post videos of my unboxings on my You Tube channel.

Please leave a comment if there are any other tea subscription boxes that you would recommend or that you have heard great things about. Not that I need more tea, but I am always looking to try out new teas.

State Cocktails: Maryland

One of the gifts I received this Christmas was the book: The United States of Cocktails by Brian Bartels. This book has a chapter for each state where is gives interesting information about each state in relation to their cocktail culture and history along with recipes for a couple cocktails the state is known for. I have decided to “visit” one state each week during 2021 with this book and try out at least one of their cocktails. The first state I will be visiting is Maryland since this is my home state.

Orange Crush

The first cocktail on our Maryland visit is the Orange Crush. This cocktail was invented in 1995 at the Harborside Bar & Grill in Ocean City, Maryland.

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 2 ounces lemon-lime soda
  • Garnish: orange wedge

Stir ingredients with ice in chilled pint glass. Garnish with orange wedge.

Black Eyed Susan

The second Maryland cocktail is the Black Eyed Susan. This is the official drink of the Preakness Stakes horse race.

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 oz sweet and sour mix
  • Garnish: cheery and an orange slice

Shake ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Strain and pour over crushed ice.

@neverquiteperfect

Maryland Cocktail Black Eyed Susan maryland cocktail blackeyedsusan preakness vodka bourbon

♬ Chill Vibes – Officialmp

Hot Toddy

Tonight I decided to try a hot toddy. Since I love tea I had plenty to choose from. For this cocktail I decided to use the Tetley British blend tea. For the alcohol component there was a bottle of Dogfish Head Honey Barrel Rum on my shelf calling out to be used. This was definitely heavy on the rum, but it was delicious. I will almost certainly be making this again. Possibly even on January 11th to celebrate National Hot Toddy day.

@neverquiteperfect

Hot Toddy tonight hottoddy cocktail rum hotcocktails dogfishhead

♬ original sound – Holly C

Hot Toddy Recipe

  • 6 oz hot tea
  • 3 oz honey barrel rum
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Mix in hot tea mug and enjoy!

Top Cocktails of 2020

For fun I decided to try making some of the top cocktails of 2020 as listed by Vinepair. You can see the full list here. I decided to stick with the top ten because my liver can only take so much.

#10 – Aperol Spritz

#9 – Mojito

#8 – Manhattan

#7 – Margarita

#6 – Espresso Martini

#5 – Whiskey Sour

#4 – Dry Martini

#3 – Daiquiri

#2 – Negroni

#1 – Old Fashioned

Christmas Cookie Cocktail

The Christmas Cookie Cocktail was even more delicious than I expected it to be. Now, I personally am not a fan of Kahlua. This is because I do not like coffee and has nothing to do with Kahlua itself. But because of this the only bottle of Kahlua in my house is the Mint Mocha Kahlua so that is what I used in this recipe. I’m sure they expect you to use regular Kahlua when you’re making it. Regardless, the cocktail turned out great with the Mint Mocha Kahlua.

Recipe:
4 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Kahlua

Shake all ingredients with ice for 8-10 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass.

Berry Smash Cocktail Review

The Berry Smash cocktail is one of my 25 days of Holiday Cocktails recipes. I have to say that I was surprised by just how delicious this cocktail is. Plus it is super versatile. I can easily see me coming up with lots of combinations for this one. I’m thinking cranberries with peach vodka, strawberries with lemon vodka and so on and so on. The possibilities really are endless with this one. This recipe is definitely a 10/10 in my book.

Recipe:
1/2 cup fresh or thawed berries
muddle berries
2 crumpled mint leaves
3 oz vodka
1 oz simple syrup
club soda

Shake all ingredients except club soda with ice for 8-10 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda or ginger ale.

Review: Bigelow Botanicals Cold Water Infusions Tea

I have been seeing the Bigelow Botanical Cold Water Infusion teas for awhile now and decided to go ahead and pick one up to try. I wound up buying the strawberry lemon orange blossom tea.

Pros:
Super easy to make especially if you are out and about

Cons:
Cold water doesn’t allow sugar to mix properly

Overall: This tea tasted like plain hibiscus tea. I did not really taste the strawberry, lemon or orange blossom. Those flavors were VERY mild. A look at the ingredient list shows hibiscus as the first ingredient so no big surprise there. For me it isn’t worth the money as I can get hibiscus tea that I like much better. I will use what I have but will not be buying this one again.

Rating:
5/10

Check out all of my tea reviews here.

@neverquiteperfect

Tea Review: Bigelow Botanicals Cold Infusions Strawberry Lemon Orange Blossom Tea #teareview #bigelow #coldbrewtea #herbaltea

♬ Fever – Dua Lipa & Angèle

White Christmas Mojito

White Christmas Mojito

For day 3 of my 25 days of holiday cocktails I started with the White Christmas Mojito. This drink was not quite what I expected. From the recipe I expected a minty, coconut flavored cocktail. While the resulting cocktail definitely had both of those flavors, it wasn’t quite as coconut flavored as I personally would have liked. If I make this cocktail again I will definitely be making some adjustments to the recipe. Overall I would rate this recipe as a 7/10. It just needs a little tweaking to be something that I will fully enjoy.

White Christmas Mojito Recipe

Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp of sugar
6-8 mint leaves
1 oz white rum
2 oz coconut rum
1/4 cup coconut milk

In shaker add lime juice, sugar and mint leaves. Muddle and then add ice. Add both rums and coconut milk. Shake for 8-10 seconds and then double strain into cocktail glass. Enjoy!

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