Tea Snobbery

Apparently, people like to eat.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby lucrezaborgia » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:07 am UTC

http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea ... t-teamaker

This is pretty awesome for tea. Cleans out very easily. Pricey but worth it!

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Aiea » Tue Jan 03, 2012 12:49 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:I NEED THIS THING IMMEDIATELY.

I hate wrangling with the little mesh balls. I never get enough tea in it and it spills everywhere before I fumble the mesh ball closed.


So I was at the in-laws for christmas and they were using one of those mesh ball thingies, and I fell in love with the idea of loose leaf tea etc. Then when I got home before I had a chance to buy one I found someone else had gifted me a tea infuser! (http://www.leerosyshop.com/two-armed-st ... r-75-p.asp) I'm now in love with it and have been travelling to and from work with it. I had for a bit considered getting a mesh ball for use at work and leaving the infuser at home, but after reading this, yeah I think I'll just have to get myself a second infuser. With my shaking I highly doubt I'll be able to manage to get tea into one of those mesh balls with any sort of reliability and I'm not quite sure why I didn't think about that before reading this post... but yeah.

Now I just need to expand my horizions on loose leaf tea and find what varieties I like, I do believe I'm going to need to hunt down my local tea shop one of these days.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby dubsola » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:13 pm UTC

Nath wrote:I got the medium:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I68NCS/

The mugs I use it in are about 12oz (355ml).

This cursed thing! Amazon.co.uk don't stock it, Amazon.com won't ship it, there's a couple of tea shops in the UK that list it, one is sold out, the other wants me to buy £15 worth of stuff before they'll even think of shipping!

Grrr!

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby lucrezaborgia » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:06 pm UTC

dubsola wrote:
Nath wrote:I got the medium:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I68NCS/

The mugs I use it in are about 12oz (355ml).

This cursed thing! Amazon.co.uk don't stock it, Amazon.com won't ship it, there's a couple of tea shops in the UK that list it, one is sold out, the other wants me to buy £15 worth of stuff before they'll even think of shipping!

Grrr!


While those are nice, you can just use a thin mesh strainer and brew the tea whole in one cup and then pour through the strainer into another. Cheap solution until you can get a mesh basket. I feel the flavor comes out better too because the tea has more room to brew.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby dubsola » Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:59 am UTC

At the moment I am just using a teapot. Pouring very carefully I don't get many leaves until the bottom of the pot.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby lucrezaborgia » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:30 am UTC

I've used French presses in a pinch.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:47 am UTC

So I got some "chai" for Christmas, which as far as I can tell is ordinary black tea bags with some sort of spices in them. Frankly I don't like it very much, but waste not, want not. Does anybody know how to take this stuff and make it taste good?
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby PictureSarah » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:12 am UTC

It's generally served with at least milk, and possibly sugar.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby dubsola » Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:17 am UTC

I had so much chai in India. I didn't like it before then, but it's a soothing balm for a dusty traveller. It's served up on the roadside, they simmer up milk, water, tea, spices and sugar in a pot, and serve it in small terracotta type cups, which are then discarded.

Key things to note: lots and lots of sugar, frothy hot milk, small serves, battered frame of mind.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby natraj » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:58 pm UTC

if you do not like it for to drink, bake it up in some cupcake or cook it in some pancake, i have it from many reliable source that it have turn out tastycakes in the past when i have do these things.

alternatively, since this is the tea snobbery thread: your problem is probably tea bags. how you make them taste good is throw them out and buy some real loose-leaf tea, good quality. spice it yourself if you are so incline. the milk and sugar suggestions were spot-on.
Last edited by natraj on Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby meridian » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:04 pm UTC

I am one of those reliable sources! Though, I think I'm rather in love with the earl gray tastycakes.

TGB: Definitely make it without water. I generally measure out milk (substitute) with the cup I am going to drink from into a small pan, then I bring the milk to a gentle boil and add the tea bags/ball. Let it steep on heat until the liquid turns a little brown, remove the tea, return it to the cup from whence it came and sugar if necessary. (I'm currently using a spice blend in a tea bag that includes stevia, so sugar is unnecessary (but I have to add my own black tea!).)
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:27 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:So I got some "chai" for Christmas, which as far as I can tell is ordinary black tea bags with some sort of spices in them. Frankly I don't like it very much, but waste not, want not. Does anybody know how to take this stuff and make it taste good?

Brew it like you brew regular black tea: freshly boiled water, steep for four minutes or so. Throw in some cracked cardamom pods and ginger if the existing spices aren't very interesting. If the tea itself is boring, you could brew a 50-50 blend of mediocre and proper tea. A generous splash of milk is customary, and most people also take plenty of sugar.

A more common way to brew it in India is to mix water with lots of whole milk (as much as half the total volume) in a saucepan, bring the whole thing to a boil, add the tea, spices and sugar, keep on the boil for a few minutes, filter and serve. I don't like this method as much, but it's more Indian grandparentish. For extra credit, pour it back and forth between two metal tumblers before drinking.

Another option is to use it in recipes that involve tea. You can throw in a small amount of strong tea when making Indian desserts like rasmalai.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:04 am UTC

I don't like most masala chai but sometimes I can dig it. There was a rooibos version that I actually quite liked. There's a fair amount of variety in the mix of spices from brand to brand, outside of the boring mass-market brands. Others might be more to your taste.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby PerchloricAcid » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:01 pm UTC

I fucking love tea. :D
I usually drink 6-8 cups daily.

My pick during the last few months is something with dried rice. It's wonderful.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby freezeblade » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:17 pm UTC

Thread necromancy! well, as this is a tea snobbery thread I suppose I should post something tea-snobbish.

Use loose leaf you casuals, it's cheaper, tastier, and involves extra work that is so trivial that using any form of bag tea is inexcusable unless you're visiting someone's house or are getting said tea bags for free.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Carlington » Sat Dec 15, 2012 10:46 am UTC

I feel I need to post in this thread now. My girlfriend recently started working at T2, which is the only tea shop worth mentioning that I've found so far. The practical upshot of this is that she's actively encouraged to take free samples home - which means more tea.
Personally, I cannot go past a well brewed Russian Caravan. Lapsang Souchong is also good. I plan to experiment a little bit with whites and oolongs, as well as rooibos. Fruit tisanes are particularly good for making iced tea - I recall some of our experiments with a Turkish Apple flavoured tisane and some fresh cinnamon.
Do any of you take stronger, smokier teas with milk? I find that a lot of the harshness some of you described earlier on can be negated by a little bit of milk.
Apart from that, I really enjoy peppermint tea, it heals souls, and a blend I recently discovered which was billed as Irish Breakfast. It's like English Breakfast, only it has something added, and I can't figure what.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby freezeblade » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:47 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:I recently discovered which was billed as Irish Breakfast. It's like English Breakfast, only it has something added, and I can't figure what.


Irish breakfast is generally towards the more malty end, containing more Assam. English breakfast is a tad fruitier, containing more Celydon, Perhaps Keemun, and the cheaper ones have lots of Kenyan.

Also, if you like darker smokier teas, check out the darker end of oolong like Royal Red Robe.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Carlington » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:01 am UTC

freezeblade wrote:
Carlington wrote:I recently discovered which was billed as Irish Breakfast. It's like English Breakfast, only it has something added, and I can't figure what.


Irish breakfast is generally towards the more malty end, containing more Assam. English breakfast is a tad fruitier, containing more Celydon, Perhaps Keemun, and the cheaper ones have lots of Kenyan.

Also, if you like darker smokier teas, check out the darker end of oolong like Royal Red Robe.

Danke. :)
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Роберт » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:52 pm UTC

Scottish Breakfast: less smokey than Russian Caravan, almost like a cross between that and Irish Breakfast. I would recommend all three of them as excellent teas if you're in the mood for something strong.

Darjeeling is great if you're in the mood for something gentle. Just don't overbrew.

Some black teas take honey really well. No lemon, no milk, just tea and honey. Darjeeling is one of those teas.

(Obviously infusions like chamomile and mint take honey really well, too. But they aren't technically tea. Just had to say that.)
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Carlington » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

Darjeeling is good tea. Very good tea.
I will also make a note to try darker oolongs, and Scottish Breakfast.
What does evverybody think of China Jasmine?
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby freezeblade » Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:18 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:What does evverybody think of China Jasmine?


Well, jasmine comes in many forms. The base of the tea has it's own style (I'd say what it is, but I don't have my tea book at work). I enjoy it quite a bit with food, steeped at 165F or so for 3 mins.

when buying it, stray away from "green jasimine" or ones with actual flowers in them, these are tourist teas usually. Traditionally the base tea is not green, and the flower scent is added indirectly, not by adding flowers to the finished tea.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby kybernetes » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:25 am UTC

Carlington wrote:Darjeeling is good tea. Very good tea.
I will also make a note to try darker oolongs, and Scottish Breakfast.
What does evverybody think of China Jasmine?

Like freezeblad said, there are a lot of varieties out there of Jasmine (and Oolong as well, and well..every tea), and I actually tend not to enjoy most of them. I think for the most part more basic Jasmines are more enjoyable - though my sweet tooth compels me to take with excessive amounts of sugar.

I do not think you'll regret venturing deeper into the world of oolongs. There are many surprising and interesting blends out there to enjoy.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby sseton » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:19 pm UTC

I love me some Taiwan/Formosa oolong, especially in a gaiwan. The smell from the lid is amazing. Currently using up a big batch of Alishan I picked up during my recent trip there. I also love the "cheaper" stuff like Jin Xuan and Si Ji Chun, especially from good vendors. These are great cold-brewed. No sugar, of course. I imagine the ghost of Lu Yu would have a fit.

I'm no purist though. Many mornings I like having instant milk tea (Old Town White Coffee brand). So delicious and fattening.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Decker » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:28 pm UTC

I'd like to take this opportunity to plug Thesaurus Tea. I ordered some Cream Earl Grey and Pai Mu Tan from them and despite paying a lot for cross border shipping (they're in Quebec) the tea was very good. Also my good friend did all the illustrations of dinosaurs in fancy hats for their website.

Cream Earl Grey is pretty interesting. I didn't know if I would like it, but it's excellent.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Amariel » Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:54 am UTC

I've only taken up tea-drinking regularly the last couple years (and I don't drink coffee, like ever).
A popular place to get loose leaf tea up here north of the border is Davids Tea. They have a pretty big selection of straight and flavoured teas, and they have several different tea samples every day. Their loose tea leaves are large enough that they sink to the bottom of the cup, saving people the trouble of wrangling with tea balls. :)

I myself am a big fan of green tea.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby natraj » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:11 pm UTC

Amariel wrote:Their loose tea leaves are large enough that they sink to the bottom of the cup, saving people the trouble of wrangling with tea balls. :)


even without the hassle of drinking tealeaves i would still use a basket for steeping -- especially with green tea! -- because oversteeping tea is not as delicious as steeping it the correct amount; leaving the leaves in just means by the time you are halfway through your tea is way too steeped.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Carlington » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:23 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
Amariel wrote:Their loose tea leaves are large enough that they sink to the bottom of the cup, saving people the trouble of wrangling with tea balls. :)


even without the hassle of drinking tealeaves i would still use a basket for steeping -- especially with green tea! -- because oversteeping tea is not as delicious as steeping it the correct amount; leaving the leaves in just means by the time you are halfway through your tea is way too steeped.

Yes! I pride myself on the fact that I am well enough practised to be able to steep jasmine tea to just the amount that my girlfriend and I like.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby dubsola » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:55 am UTC

Hmm. I never really considered that the green tea I've been making is oversteeped. I like tea pretty strong but perhaps am going down the wrong road with the green tea.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Carlington » Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:07 am UTC

You may also be steeping it with water that's too hot. Green teas generally get steeped at less than 100°C, closer to 80. You can make it cooler by putting a little bit of cold water in the bottom of the teapot before you start pouring the hot water.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Роберт » Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Carlington wrote:You may also be steeping it with water that's too hot. Green teas generally get steeped at less than 100°C, closer to 80. You can make it cooler by putting a little bit of cold water in the bottom of the teapot before you start pouring the hot water.

My method, which is probably terrible for a variety of reasons, has been to pour the water slowly from an obnoxious height for green tea. The theory being that I won't hurt myself or make a mess, but the water will cool before hitting the green tea.

But I'm not really a green tea connoisseur. More of a black tea kinda person.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby freezeblade » Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:01 am UTC

This might help, for people without a temp probe for their water. notice, this works for sea level, I'm not sure about elsewhere. Works with just a simple pot over heat.
The Story of Tea: a Cultural History and Drinking Guide wrote:Water Boiling visual clues:
  • "Column of steam steadily rising." This is the period during which a visible piller of steam materializes, approximately 170 to 180 F(72 to 82C)
  • "Fish eyes." This is when large lazy bubbles start to break the surface, approximately 180 to 200 F (82 to 93 C)
  • "String of pearls." This is the moment almost to the boil, whern tiny bubbles appear to loop near the perimeter, approximately 190 to 200 F (88 to 93 C)
  • "Turbulent waters." This is a full rolling boil, where the water becomes highly oxygenated, approximately 200 to 212 F (93 to 100 C)

White tea, Japanese green tea and many new or spring green tea should be steeped at 160-170F (71-77C)
Green tea (standard) should be steeped at 170-180F (77-82C)
Oolong tea should be steeped at 180-200F (82-93C) the darker the oolong, the higher the temp
Black tea should be steeped at 190-200F (88-93C)
Pu-erh tea should be steeped at 200-212F (93-100C)

Hope that helps out.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:26 am UTC

Роберт wrote:My method, which is probably terrible for a variety of reasons, has been to pour the water slowly from an obnoxious height for green tea. The theory being that I won't hurt myself or make a mess, but the water will cool before hitting the green tea.

But I'm not really a green tea connoisseur. More of a black tea kinda person.

I do this sometimes. I saw a video one time about the Japanese tea ceremony and if I recall correctly someone was making the claim that pouring a certain way cools and aerates the water, both of which are good for the tea. No idea what %age of bullshit that is but I like pouring stuff like a dork, so.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Роберт » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:44 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
Роберт wrote:My method, which is probably terrible for a variety of reasons, has been to pour the water slowly from an obnoxious height for green tea. The theory being that I won't hurt myself or make a mess, but the water will cool before hitting the green tea.

But I'm not really a green tea connoisseur. More of a black tea kinda person.

I do this sometimes. I saw a video one time about the Japanese tea ceremony and if I recall correctly someone was making the claim that pouring a certain way cools and aerates the water, both of which are good for the tea. No idea what %age of bullshit that is but I like pouring stuff like a dork, so.

Awesome! That also explains why boiling the water is important, even if you want it cooler than that - it gives it a chance to oxygenate during the boil.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:39 pm UTC

Hmm, I think you're jumping to conclusions there. The mixing and motion of the boil is induced by water vapor, not oxygen; and oxygen is less soluble in water at higher temperatures. I'm not sure how much variation there is in the dissolved oxygen content at boiling vs. steeping vs. safe to drink temperatures, though. Probably something that could be Googled if someone has the spare time to go on a hunt for reliable sources.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:42 pm UTC

I think it might be about the availability of that oxygen. I do know that you shouldn't use water that's been boiled twice in the same pot for making black tea, since the water will not be oxygenated.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby billnadair » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:42 am UTC

As a tea snob I drink it like liquor; straight up, preferably strong, with the best quality that makes sense to buy and most importantly, peacefully alone or in good company. The occasional (and very well made) mix is perfectly acceptable, but the best rule is to make as many exceptions to the rules as possible.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Роберт » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Hmm, I think you're jumping to conclusions there. The mixing and motion of the boil is induced by water vapor, not oxygen; and oxygen is less soluble in water at higher temperatures. I'm not sure how much variation there is in the dissolved oxygen content at boiling vs. steeping vs. safe to drink temperatures, though. Probably something that could be Googled if someone has the spare time to go on a hunt for reliable sources.

I was just saying that based on freezeblade's quote from Study of Tea.

freezeblade wrote:This might help, for people without a temp probe for their water. notice, this works for sea level, I'm not sure about elsewhere. Works with just a simple pot over heat.
The Story of Tea: a Cultural History and Drinking Guide wrote:Water Boiling visual clues:
  • "Turbulent waters." This is a full rolling boil, where the water becomes highly oxygenated, approximately 200 to 212 F (93 to 100 C)

.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Thu May 02, 2013 4:38 am UTC

Yeah I'm going to guess that's complete bullshit or they meant a different word, like "bubbly"
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Tomlidich the second » Wed May 15, 2013 12:09 am UTC

suppose maybe the more science-centric tea snobs here can help me out-
for years, i have enjoyed the tazo chai latte drinks from coffee shops, but to my dismay, they are quite expensive.

but for the life of me, i cannot recreate them at home, not sure what i am doing wrong. i sourced the tazo chai mix that they use, followed the directions, and... less than spectacular results.
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EchoRomulus
Posts: 192
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

xkcd Tea Party

Postby EchoRomulus » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:22 am UTC

Now my favorite teas are black and white mixtures, with peach or pomegranate. More complex than simple teas, less complex than hippie herbal antioxidant overload teas.

My problems are Krogers and Amazon. I learned from Alton Brown the basics and want to move forward from there. What I need to find is loose tea, and perfect creating simple syrups. I am dazzling right now with sliced peaches steeping in 3/5ths sucrose solution. I will probably move to 5/3rds sucrose solution with peaches and hopefully pomegranate seeds soon.

In the bags, most tea manufacturers use dust and fannings, which are low grade. I can see the dust inside the box and in the plastic coverings I am wondering if these teas with high surface area are simply misunderstood, and not "bad". But I want to go with pekoe and orange pekoe until I get my tea legs.

Now if I walk into a bulk food shop I am going to need a sieve. I don't know if the shop owner will like me sifting his tea, but I'll try anyway. I was thinking of going with just a US standard sieve, but technical tea grading is hard to find. What are the actual measurements on the tea leaves between the grades.

This is all going to go into cold tea anyway. Not big on hot just yet.
"In here life is beautiful." --Cabaret


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