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This one's a multi-tea edition:

Upton's Honeybush Vanilla: Nicely aromatic. Slightly sweet, slightly herbal. Particularly nice if you have a cold and need something soothing. It's not what I'd want all the time, but I will probably end up buying more and putting it in a rotation with Upton's Poire Creme green rooibos and their Rooibos Pretoria.

The Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond Black Tea: Buying tea in bags rather than loose seems so anti-cost-effective, but I figured I should explore some more bagged tea. This one was worth it. The vanilla, almond, and tea flavors are all fully present but well balanced. I'd been hoping to discover something to replace Tea Zone's Monk's Blend (vanilla pomegranite black tea). This isn't it, but I'd still be willing to buy it again.

The Republic of Tea's Pineapple Lychee Hibiscus: I bought this as part of my continuing search for something to replace Tea Zone's Mango Melange as my primary go-to herbal tea. I expected the lychee to get overpowered (which it did), but I was surprised to find that the pineapple comes through much more than the hibiscus. This tea tastes almost entirely like pineapple -- which is pretty delicious, and I expect I'll buy more, but I'm really looking for something more tart than sweet for my go-to tea. So the search continues.

Tazo Passion Tea: I've actually been buying bags of this for a while. It's so good. It's like crack. It appeals to the part of me gives myself acid burns by eating too many Shock Tarts or Warheads at once. Just sniffing a tea bag makes me cringe with delight at the sourness. Unfortunately, it's really too intense to be my main go-to tea. I don't think I can handle more than a cup or two a day of it. If it came loose I would try cutting it half and half with something else, but I'm not quite ready to unbag, mix, and rebag my own tea.

I think part of my problem with finding a loose herbal tea that I like is that so many of them include lemongrass. I'm fine with the taste of lemongrass, but I find it really irritating to clean out of reusable tea bags. There's a whole slew of herbal teas over at Stash that sound tasty, but they all contain lemongrass, so I don't feel like buying them loose. And buying them bagged seems wrong when loose is an option. Maybe I will just have to suck it up and give up on my hipster desire to primarily drink loose tea.

Also, I have to say I'm very disappointed with the genmaicha I bought at the Japanese Tea Garden in SF. (I forget the brand.) No loose tea should have leaves that fragmented and powdery. Maybe I'll see if Upton has a respectable genmaicha.
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