302 Tasting Notes

85

Backlog from this morning.

One of the samples from Nicole again. Was more careful about proper leafage this time, as well as only steeping it for 3 minutes. It was better. More honey-esque Assam-y flavor as well as more body. I dunno, I read things about Assams and I haven’t found one that matches up to my mental image of what I get when I read those things. I keep picturing a REALLY boldly malty and rich cup, and all the ones I’ve tried are not as bold or as malty as what I imagine. Then again, I haven’t tried all the Assam samplers I have yet… :D

keychange

I know what you meana bout not finding one that has matched up with your idea of what it ought to taste like given reviews and such. I’ve found I enjoy my assam a lot more when I steep it for like, ten minutes (I had butiki’s PTA this morning and did just that, and it worked wonders).

Nicole

Yeah, you might give Butiki’s Assams a try. 10 minutes on this one would probably be enough to pucker wood. :) Hattiali Golden Lion Assam from Butiki is pretty fab.

Nicole

Might also look for tippy Assams. I sometimes find those to be maltier.

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88

Wait a minute I logged this before? When??? I don’t remember this tasting note. I remember there was one oolong I tried to do, but I crapped it up so much I didn’t even bother with a tasting note, and I thought this was it. Apparently not, because it appears I’ve rated the damn thing, and quite highly too. Argh! My short-term memory SUCKS!

I’ve found I don’t much care for the roasty-oolong flavor I get a lot, so I did this for about 1 min 15 sec (especially since the water was still a little on the hot side.) It’s quite pleasant. I need to stop comparing everything to bai mu dan, but honestly, that’s what it makes me think of out of the other teas I’ve tried. It’s grassy, but it’s also a little floral and sweet in a delicate, enjoyable way. A bit of brightness on top of that sweetness too, in a way I really can’t quite define. I’m wondering what would happen if I tried it for a little longer?

Also, for the love of god, somebody please start reminding me to use bottled and/or filtered water for my tea. I’ve been trying to be more careful with all the other variables in my tea-making, but for some reason, water is the one element people talk about making a big difference, and I’ve just always been kind of punk rock about it. We get well water out here, or we used to, and I’ve found it to be the most “neutral” tasting of the waters I’ve tried, but I’ve never given really good filtered water a try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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34
drank Arabian Night by Zen Tea
301 tasting notes

It’s busy season at work, and as of today it’s gone from “this is busy but manageable and surprisingly fun” to “this is busy and I’m starting to get really mad and I want to yell at someone.” So it’s what I call #@%&$! Tea Time.

This is a sample that Zen Tea Life sent along, and I will never complain about getting free samples, especially ones I don’t expect! The dry leaves smell AMAZING. It’s this fresh, floral, citrusy thing that Cher-slaps you and says, “Snap out of it. You are GOING to relax now.” The tea, however, falls a little short. The thing is, the flavors are all so distinct from one another that when you put them together, it winds up tasting like something that’s not really any of them. It tastes like an artificial version of the dry leaf smell. Then, right before the end of the sip, this slightly cherry-cough-syrup note comes in and it’s not at all present in the dry leaf aroma. And the aftertaste… it’s some weird combo of the cherry-cough-syrup motif and lemon. This kind of reminds me of how I always think fruity/flavored teas are going to taste and why I stay away from them.

I wouldn’t quite call it unpleasant, just pretty unimpressive, especially given how wonderful the dry leaves smelled. Glad to have tried it, though.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 15 sec
JustJames

aw, that’s like when the dough tastes better than the cookies. =0(

TeaKlutz

Yes! I should just use the tea as potpourri and eat the cookie dough and the salmonella will be worth it. :P

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96

Got my Zen Tea Life order of this this morning, along with some free samples that I wasn’t expecting! Sweet!

But I still have a couple cups of the sample left, so I shall work on that first. Still delicious, still comforting. Mouthfeel is SO creamy.

Aaaaargh! Why is it so warm in the house this morning?!? I’m gonna go take a shower and play trumpet in the basement!

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100

I went on a casual date last night. The guy messaged me afterward, and this morning I sent the “hey-I’m-not-really-into-dating-right-now-but-thanks-for-meeting-me” reply. Which shouldn’t sound like a big deal, but these kinds of things (possibly hurting someone’s feelings and/or making them upset) drive my anxiety THROUGH THE ROOF! Why am I so bad at handling these things? Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person who just… didn’t give a damn about what other people think.

…Sorry for the rant. I’m stressed and I don’t feel like I should be stressed and somehow that’s making it worse. Mmmm guilt complex.

So I’m drinking my comfort tea. I used 3 pearls per cup, which I’ve found is my happy place. I keep trying to find other chocolatey/malty teas, and there are some reeeeeeally really good ones out there, but somehow, it all comes back to this. I wonder if that’s because this is the first tea of its kind that I tried? It’s just so… perfect. Until I drank it, I doubted it was even possible to have a tea that smelled so much like real cocoa. (Cacao?)

Also, I would like to point out that I got mad that Steepster ate my note – and then I opened my other window and realized I hadn’t published it yet. I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!

Fuzzy_Peachkin

I haven’t dated since I broke up with my ex-fiance 3 years ago.I’m ready to date but fr the exact same reasons you described above, I kind of have avoided it. You’re braver than me just for getting out there on a date!

Terri HarpLady

I’m SO grateful to be out of the dating pool! After my divorce I spent 4 years only dating myself, LOL. It was good for me to sort of fall in love with myself, figure out what I really wanted & liked, & when I started dating men again I made a promise to me that I would not become a reflection of whoever I was with, & that I would stay true to me. It’s better to be alone & happy, than to cave in. People tend to go into an avoidance pattern because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, but Being straightforward & honest is the best thing you can do. Coming right out & saying thanks, but no thanks, frees the other person from wondering & frees you from anxiety.

keychange

I get this. Balancing appropriate levels of compromise with a steadfast commitment to “being true to yourself” is so difficult at the best of times.

Fjellrev

I get like that in general because I care too much about what other people think, but I think you just need to put yourself first.

TeaKlutz

I really appreciate your guys’ comments; I feel much more encouraged and it’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way!

@Terri HarpLady – That’s exactly why I’m calling it off now rather than farther down the line! I tend to get incredibly stressed out whenever I start trying to date, and I’ve decided that until I find someone I really want to be with, I’d rather be single. I get angsty about not having that fairytale romance you hear about all the time, but at the end of the day, I prefer having me to myself. : )

Terri HarpLady

Yup! When me, myself, & I were dating we did whatever ‘we’ wanted to do. Before that, I always gave myself away in relationships. Somewhere I read the saying,“I’m not looking for the right person, I’m becoming the right person.” I made a list of all the qualities I wanted in a partner, then I worked on embodying all those qualities myself, being that person for myself. Once I started dating again, if it didn’t work out for me, I asked myself why, which helped redefine the ‘list’. I pretty much concluded that I’d rather be alone. Then I met Tony. We’ve been together 13+ years. We still each live in our own houses, LOL, he pretty much did the same thing I did, so we each like spending lots of time alone, but luckily we also like spending time together! :)

Tea Sipper

You found Earl Grey Creams and Dragon Pearls around the same time? Nice! Those are my two favorites!

TeaKlutz

Terri, I’ve never met you in person, but just from reading your writings on Steepster I have to admit I find myself kind of looking up to you. You seem like an awesome person and I just really like your way of viewing the world.

@Tea Sipper – actually, I’ve been a fan of the Dragon Pearls for a few months now, but those are my two favorites as well! They’re the two teas that I started craving after finishing one cup. :D

Terri HarpLady

Wow, thanks! :)
I just like to enjoy the bliss of the moment, if you know what I mean, & I do my best to avoid misery, LOL.

MzPriss

So even though this post was 6 months ago – I needed to comment on a couple of things: 1. I think I probably NEED this tea and 2. LADIES – this discussion is so resonant. Terri, I admire anyone who is at home in theirself as you seem to be (awe inspiring grammar what?) and TeaKlutz, I like the way you write. Being your authentic self is hard sometimes but the rewards are worth it. I liked reading this post and the comments. Thanks.

TeaKlutz

MzPriss – 1) You do NEED this tea. It is killer diller. 2) I’m flattered, and I’m glad you found truth and resonance in this discussion. The comments on this post helped me a LOT. :D

MzPriss

I just ordered a tin of this.

Terri HarpLady

(just smiling & waving at everybody)
:D

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89
drank Classic Earl Grey by Butiki Teas
301 tasting notes

First off, I apologize if anybody’s been getting double likes from me on their posts? I don’t even know if Steepster does that, but… I go through and “like” every post I read, but when I do it on my phone, it doesn’t show me as having liked the post when I’m back on my laptop. So if it appears I’m being extra, extra enthusiastic about your tasting note, I’m not trying to be a creeper, technology is just silly!

Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Mmm. This truly is a Classic Earl Grey. The bergamot flavor is very assertive without being overpowering or chemical. It’s a very robust morning cup. Maybe I’m being influenced by the name, but to me EG’s always taste like a brisk, gray morning with mist hanging from last night’s rain. Even though it’s not pumpkin-y or any of those traditional “fall” flavors, somehow it tastes like the cold, light-gray part of fall that I secretly kind of love.

Still think the EG cream is my favorite, but I’m glad to have tried a high-quality straight-up Earl. It’s certainly made me have a higher appreciation for bergamot.

Thanks again to Nicole for the sample!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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80

An interesting tasting.

I quite like the dry leaves – they’re green, rolled up, and really easy to handle. I meant to steep them for 1 minute, but that wound up not quite happening, although I think they’re still under 2. At the beginning of the sip, the aroma is that half-vegetal, half-roasted flavor that I now associate with oolongs (did I mention I’m still fairly new to oolongs?) But then something interesting happens. Now, I’m not familiar with the flavor of ginseng, so I’m probably tasting it without recognizing it as such. But the longer the tea remains in my mouth, the more of a bright citrusy tangent the flavor takes, getting higher and higher in pitch while the vegetal/roasty oolong base remains until I swallow. It’s almost a bitter flavor, but it’s such an unexpected development that, at least for this tasting, I don’t mind it because it’s a cool experience…

Did you know this goes really well with vanilla ice cream? I had absolutely no intention of them being a pairing, but the pointed, morphing quality of the tea makes a great contrast with the vanilla WHOMP. Damn!

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85

Uh oh. Methinks I may have underleafed this?

I steeped it just under boiling for 5 minutes. The first sip made me go, WHOO ASSAM – and then all the subsequent sips have been a lot more mild. I’ve heard Assams are supposed to be bold, and while I’m certainly getting an Assam quality, it’s muted. I’m afraid to try brewing it more because I let it steep for 5 minutes.

No numbers for now. Next time I’m going to try more leaves. Oh well, still a pleasant morning cup.

EDIT: Forgot to credit Nicole for the sample! Also, it got more Assam-y as it cooled. Tea is so weird. Science.

looseTman

“Uh oh. Methinks I may have underleafed this?”
A digital scale such as http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale is very handy for a more consistent cup of tea.

Nicole

More leaves and be wary of that 5 minutes. :)

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89

Mm-hmm, I thought I smelled some Earl Grey cream in here. (I may or may not have ordered some from Zen Teas last night at 1 AM. Only a little obsessed, I swear.)

Dry leaves smell delicious, basically like EG Cream with a bit of rose. The pink little rose petals mixed with the tea leaves are charming.

This is good! I think in this case, something about the mix of the cream and the rose tip tip the aroma a little on the sweet side for me. The taste is a little milder, and it averages out. A little perfumey, which I don’t complain about, without being chemical-y. Nice bergamot, too. Yay royal weddings!

Thanks to Nicole for the sample! I’ve really been enjoying the Earl Grey batch!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Nicole

I’m glad you are finding things you like!

TeaKlutz

As am I! :P

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80
drank Green Needle by Adagio Teas
301 tasting notes

The Fact That Black Tea Has Caffeine. I love it in the morning, I hate it at night. Why? Because any time I want to drink tea, it’s ALWAYS black tea I’m tasting in my mind. That’s… tea. Anything else just doesn’t sound quite satisfying, even though I know if I do a cup of black, I’ll be fluttering around at 2 in the morning, and nobody needs that.

I was going to do a new oolong in the gaiwan, but the experience wound up being such a stinker that I’m not even bothering to log it (tasted like the cup and smelled like burnt yuck.) So I, against my better judgment, went with this tea instead. Why? I don’t know why; I wanted something I hadn’t had in a while. It is the most generic green tea on the planet. And tonight, just like my failed oolong, it tastes like the cup. * sigh * Guess I’ll just have to hope for better tea luck tomorrow.

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Bio

Tea is my happy place. I drink tea when I’m at home, when I’m at work, when I’m waking up in the morning or winding down for the night or when I need a little boost in the afternoon. Tea is my official side hobby, and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve discovered such a vast world of flavors, aromas, varieties, and traditions – encapsulated by a beverage that I used to shrug at.

My taste in tea always seems to be changing!

Black teas are far and away my favorite. Great Chinese black teas are one of my weaknesses. I also like a lot of the Earl Grey relatives and I have an affinity for floral teas, especially rose-flavored ones.

I don’t drink green teas as often, but there are a few I quite enjoy.

Same with white teas.

I have some experience with oolongs, but not much. Most of the ones I’ve had taste the same to me, and I’m not huge on the roasty-green flavor. I kinda like the juicy-green ones, though.

I’m exploring pu erhs. I haven’t had many, but the ones I’ve tried have been really intriguing when done right, and it seems like the pu erh universe is a rich and complex one once you get past “IT TASTES LIKE FISH!”

I like rooibos, but I have to be in the mood for it. And it HAS to be in a sachet or a bag. Loose rooibos is more of a pain than it’s worth.

I go through different phases when I’m trying teas. Sometimes, I really want flavored stuff; sometimes I just want to try pu-erhs; sometimes I’m on a rose tea kick, etc. I enjoy building up my base of tea knowledge and even more the experience of finding a new and unexpected thing I love.

I have a tendency to ramble in my tasting notes. Sometimes it’s on topic. Much of the time it’s not. You have been warned.

As for me, I’m 25 years old and I work at a music store and play various instruments. Besides tea, I love bicycling, writing, teaching myself French, watching things from everyone else’s childhood, ASMR, Star Trek, cats, and awful puns. I’m an INFJ and a Libra too, for all it’s worth.

Steepster is absolutely the most positive, kind, and intelligent online community I’ve ever found, and I love meeting fellow tea enthusiasts through here. I look forward to meeting you!

P.S. Any rare soul who recognizes the profile pic gets bonus points forever.

Location

One foot’s on the Holodeck. The other’s in Lancaster, Ohio.

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