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289 Tasting Notes

98

I went to fix myself this tea this morning and realized I had TWO cups’ worth left, not just one like I thought. This morning I put the tea through my accidental “steep it way longer than 5 minutes” test that seems to be becoming a trend…

It’s still great, and if anything, the longer steep time brings out the rose flavor. I’m upping the numbers on this. Anywhere below 95 is just not accurate anymore.

If I get one Teavivre tea in my splurge, it’ll be this. This is one of the rare teas I can’t get over my awe of.

…I did place my first Butiki order last night too.

Preparation
8 min or more

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85

Sipdown! I’m going a little batty tonight with the program notes. There have been some… challenges while researching this particular batch.

Anywho, I was steeping this while I was researching one particular piece on which there is JUST ABOUT NO INFORMATION WHATSOEVER besides the composer and the lyricist. No commission information, nothing about the first performance or the inspiration behind it, no hints as to whether or not the song is traditional or an original piece, can barely see the copyright date. NOTHING. Thanks a lot, publishers, thanks a lot. But the point is, I got so carried away in what I was doing that I steeped this thing for, oh… about fifteen minutes? Whoops. And guess what? It tastes fine. Hooray for forgiving teas?

So that’s one more down, not sure I’ll really miss it. Tomorrow I plan to finish off the Rose Dian Hong (CRYYYYYYYYY!) So that way I can make room for the impending tea splurge (YAYYYYYYYY!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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90
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
288 tasting notes

This one’s with cereal and the movie “Greedy” (on Netflix) today. Not a lot to say that I haven’t said before. Mmm LB is delicious, comforting, forgiving, amazeballs. I’m totes a writing major, guys. (I am, actually. Although these days I make far more use of my trumpet minor / the excess of classes that I took for it…)

It’s probably rude of me to talk about one tea company while writing a tasting note for another, but I’ve posted about how good this one is several times so eh. … I placed my first Harney & Sons order yesterday! Whee! Some of their flavored teas named after cities (notably Paris!), their Valentine tea, and the lavender tea that I honestly got as much for it being blue as anything. Excited!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
keychange

I think I’m going to place my first H and S order today too!

Rosehips

I’m a big fan of H&S! I hope you enjoy the new teas!

Cavocorax

That’s exciting! I hope you enjoy them. :)

TeaKlutz

Thank you!

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34
drank Arabian Night by Zen Tea
288 tasting notes

It’s the end of a long day of staring at the snow all day at work; whacking myself on the chin with a collapsible yardstick; drinking tea, gingerbread latte, and water all at the same time; and listening to the first official Christmas music of the season, thanks to this next set of program notes I’m writing. And I have the next two days off again – yay! Will probably be used to write program notes and watch things on Netflix.

I decided to give this tea a second go because I remember having such high hopes for it, then being so let down. I tried a relatively cool steep temperature this time (again, I can’t give specifics since I heat the water by sound), and did like a 1 minute steep.

Yep. It’s still not good. The flavoring tastes like some kind of medicine almost, the kind that tries to taste like something good and just comes out like a nasty counterfeit. I can’t even pinpoint the flavor, maybe a bit of an attempt at rose along with something slightly pungent.

Thank you for the sample, Zen Tea, but it’s not one of my favorites. At least I know your vanilla tea is delish!

Fjellrev

Oh yeah, this one was like pungent jasmine to me.

TeaKlutz

I’m impressed that you got jasmine. I just got some kind of wildflower slap in the face.

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
288 tasting notes

I don’t have a ton of time to write a tasting note, but I’d just like to say that third time’s the charm. I tend to brew by the sound the kettle makes rather than time or temperature, so I can’t give exact specifications, only that I let it be under boiling temperature and steeped for about 4 – 5 minutes. And I’m eating it with cereal, which probably helps. It certainly feels seasonally appropriate today – it’s snowed and very wintry gray outside!

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85

Sipping on this while continuing my Family Ties viewing / putting off working on the program notes until tomorrow. I was about to do the H&S Holiday Tea for the third time in two days, then I realized – wait. Black Friday’s in four days, Cyber Monday’s in a week, and I’m planning a tea splurge regardless of whether or not the companies in question are offering discounts or not. My cupboard’s not enormous by Steepster standards, but I better sip down a few things up in here.

I oversteeped this by a bit, so it’s a little bitter. But still good and smoky. Little mushroomy, but that might be the oversteeping. I wish I could say more, and more intelligent stuff. But it’s enjoyable.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
288 tasting notes

Attempt #2. Per JustJames’s advice, I let this cool a bit before I steeped it. I think it helped. It’s still a little underwhelming in flavor, but there’s more cinnamon. Yay.

JustJames

it just sounds like you love it so much!….. i thought it might be worth some coaxing?

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67
drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
288 tasting notes

Harney & Sons Blind Date #2.

I was fairly unimpressed by the smell. It’s just “pumpkin” enough to call it pumpkin and that’s about it. As far as the flavor goes, I’m really getting more of the rooibos than anything. If I hadn’t been expecting pumpkin, I would have a higher opinion of this. It’s really a rooibos with a subtle autumnal flavoring, if you ask me.

I’m seeing people suggesting trying this with mulling spices. You’re giving me ideas!!! And I DO have 29 more sachets of this stuff!

…Hey! I now have rooibos in sachet form! So I don’t have to fiddle with cleaning up all the stupid little rooibos loose leaves that are so damn hard to get out of infuser baskets! JOY TO THE WORLD! … OK wrong season but still.

To be perfectly honest, I’m kind of in the mood for flavored teas in sachets now. I just like having something that I can enjoy without having to… overthink it. Heat the water, drop the sachet, sip, smile, don’t lament missing out on all the weird little nuances that everyone else is getting. And I’ve heard many good things about Harney & Sons, flavored and non-flavored. Recommendations?

OMGsrsly

Paris! :) Pomegranate Oolong is pretty good as well. And Fruits D’Alsace (I think it comes in sachets). The black iced tea is really good if you want to make a pitcher.

Tuscanteal

Ditto. Paris.

keychange

Thirding Parris, and adding hot cinnamon spice!

Nicole

Paris. Vanilla Comoro.

Tea Sipper

Paris, Tower of London, Vanilla Comoro, Hot cinnamon sunset some of my favorites!

Tea Sipper

Also Indian Nimbu.. not sure if that’s in satchets.

TeaKlutz

Thank you everyone for your recs! OK so I am most definitely adding Paris to the list, seeing as EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has commented has recommended it. :D Also the item descrip on their website sounds amazeballs.

Cavocorax

Yes! Paris!
I was disappointed with my first cup, but I don’t think I brewed it well because everyone since then has been great.

keychange

Ha! so I just placed my first h and s order, and I’m getting a free tin of this tea (pumpkin spice) that I’d rather not have LOL.

Cavocorax

Awww. Maybe you can gift it or trade it away? If it’s sachets, that makes it easier for swaps.

mj1851

The H&S soho blend is AMAZING. It’s my favorite tea right now. Of course, coconut and chocolate is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

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80
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
288 tasting notes

This is my first venture with Harney & Sons! I got a buy-one-get-one coupon for the H&S tins at Barnes & Noble, so after taking myself to the movies today, I made a little stop on the way home.

This was an absolute blind date. I hadn’t read any reviews on this tea, didn’t have a sample to smell/taste, had no idea what I was getting into. When I opened the tin, I went, “Oh.” I wasn’t expecting sachets. But they’re the good kind of sachets, so that’s OK. And the tea smells AMAZING, the cinnamon and clove really stand out. Not to mention it’s striking in appearance; black tea leaves with fiery red flecks.

I actually kind of like that they’re sachets; it’s a relief not to have to deal with the infuser, pouring out the right amount, pouring the water into the pot and letting it steep then pouring it out. I can just drop the little sachet right into the cup and boom! I can let it steep while I practice two-chord jams on my bass (can I just say, Eb minor is a REALLY pretty key?) OMG the aroma of this tea is to DIE for. It’s a warmer, more cinnamon-y version of the dry leaf aroma. The taste, on the other hand, is slightly less impressive. There’s a lot more spicy, a lot less cinnamon, and a bit of just… “I am drinking a hot liquid that has a flavor and there is an aftertaste.” I’m just going to inhale every time I sip.

Argh! It smells SO FREAKING GOOD and it looks so pretty, and then it just falls short of all expectations! Honestly, I’m going to have to give it at least another couple of gos for the smell alone. If nothing else, it’s a nice easy cup of tea that smells like the Ghost of a Christmas Past That Never Was. Or something like that.

JustJames

have you tried steeping at a lower temp for a bit longer? just a thought.

ashmanra

This one didn’t thrill me, either, and I am a huge Harney fan.

TeaKlutz

James, I might try that. I’m not sure how much more flavor I’ll get out of it; it just seemed like it had flavoring that was much weaker on the tongue than in the nose, if that makes any sense. But I’m not giving up on this one!

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98

It’s been a bit since I’ve had this one! (Mostly because I couldn’t find it, and when I did, I put it in a tin then forgotten I’d put it in the tin.) This is my breakfast tea while watching Family Ties on Netflix (ahh so good!!!) As I think I say every time I drink a dian hong, I have to remember to drink this slowly to get the flavor progression. Otherwise there’s still the tasteful rose flavoring. I feel like I’m just repeating what I’ve already said about this one. But it’s the kind of tea that we get obsessed with tea for. Definitely restocking on my impending tea splurge…

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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 a semi-former trumpet player, current bass guitar learner, music store employee, program note writer, lyricist wannabe, casual makeup enthusiast, even more casual bicyclist, writing major in a past life, eternal designated driver, deadly punster, nerdy dork, incurable escapist, and lifelong introvert. 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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