223 Tasting Notes

88
drank Cherry Cordial by Culinary Teas
223 tasting notes

This tastes remarkably like a cherry cordial. Or at least it tastes like a cherry cordial if it were coupled with very dark intense chocolate. In the end, I added honey to the tea to take down the slight bitterness of the tea. Just a smidgeon brought out the decadent tastes of chocolate and cherry and satisfied my cravings for the afternoon. Much thanks to Janefan for steering me toward Culinary Teas. If this is indicative of their quality, I think I will be extremely pleased with their teas.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

This sounds awesomely yummy. Now you made me want cherry cordial. I think I’ve got some in the fridge…

Carolyn

It is extraordinarily good. I’ve been sniffing my now-empty cup longing for more (but holding myself back).

takgoti

Oooh, that does sound good.

Jillian

Oh man I’m in love with all things cherry, and if they have chocolate in then that’s even better! ;)

Janefan

The one tea I have from them is the Canadian Icewine, which I got from a tea swap. I am going to have to research what else they have and order something. This one sounds good!

Carolyn

@janefan It is quite good. I had it again this morning to ground my fortitude before going to the doctor and it was delightful.

Carolyn

@Jillian You would like this one, then. It has a very strong alcoholic cherry fragrance and taste.

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64

I think I just don’t like this one. The base seems fairly bitter to me and the weird artificial smell and taste just kind of bothers me. I brewed it for only three minutes this time just in case it was the brew time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bethany

I really like the concept behind 52teas, but I’ve been disappointed with them. All of their teas scream artifical to me.

TeaEqualsBliss

I hate bananas! Bleh! Enjoyed your review regardless tho! :P

denisend

They depend heavily on “flavors” and I have a hard time with that. I also found that I don’t like Adagio’s flavored teas (though their herbals and chais are fine). I did order their Mandarin Matcha (it has orange sections as well as ‘flavors’) and we’ll see how it goes. My husband gave me a funny look, though.

Alannah

Bethany, I’ve been worried that I’ll feel the same way about 52teas’ blends. I just ordered a few teas from them but I have a feeling they’re not going to be my kind of thing.

Carolyn

@Bethany Some of their teas are really quite good. The Malted Chocomate is superb and the Chocolate Mint is good as well. But I agree that many of them have an uncomfortable artificial flavor.

@denisend I agree with you about Adagios teas. I’m also having trouble with the flavorings in TeaFrog’s teas.

denisend

Carolyn – I’m just starting to get into my TeaFrog teas. I think most of what I have are herbals and greens that don’t have flavorings. I don’t put samples in my ‘cupboard’ so I can’t look it up right now.

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80
drank Organic Sencha by Den's Tea
223 tasting notes

Nice sweet grassy aroma and taste. Brews into a greenish yellow murky liquid. It is soothing.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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92

I’m finally beginning to understand what is meant by a tea having a “strong cha ‘Qi’”. I’m normally a pretty thorough rationalist so talk of a tea’s qi just makes me roll my eyes. However, I’m beginning to see that something real is meant. The tea brings a great sense of relaxation, sensuality and feeling of happiness and well-being as I resteep and drink it. I think I understand why PeteG is able to drink puerhs at night without harming his sleep. Perhaps I could with this tea as well.

As I move through the steepings and re-steepings of this tea it develops a sweet, fruity, slightly floral taste. There is a tiny bit of sharpness with a note of resin as well. It has fragrance notes of apricot and lychee and sweet honey. Very nice tea.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

Aww this sounds yummy with the fruity notes!

takgoti

This sounds so different from pu-erhs I’m accustomed to. I’m going to have to seek out some uncooked stuff. [That’s what this is, right?]

Carolyn

It is quite nice. My favorite is still the Imperial Concubine Aroma puerh but this one is quite delicious. The big difference between this one and the Imperial Concubine is in the relaxing quality this tea has. I’m going to keep this in mind as I head back to work next week and have to deal with stress.

Carolyn

@takgoti Yes, it is labeled as “raw” or “sheng”. My plan is to send you some of the Imperial Concubine Aroma when the large beeng I ordered comes from puerhshop.com in a few days.

takgoti

@Carolyn ♥.

Peggie Bennett

I’m really loving these pu-erhs! I’m resisting going to puerhshop.com though for fear of going broke.

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78

This is definitely not a maidenly tea. The first steeping has notes of musk, cheese, and a surprising bitter bite for a puerh. Subsequent steepings are sweeter.

Update: As I’ve continued on with the re-steeps this tea has transformed into a sweet, floral, slightly peachy tea. It’s very nice.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

Wait… Whoa… What??? CHEESE?!?!?! Thanks for the teas by the way!=D

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I love that you personify your teas, btw.

Carolyn

@Cofftea It’s an interesting tea. Puerhs frequently have an odd mixture of tastes and smells. Glad you got the teas safely.

@chrine Thanks! I personify everything actually. My car is named Carmen and she has a distinct personality (including a desire for Lotus Elise as a partner car), my lawn mowing robot is named Lawndo Mowlari and he has a personality. The vacuum cleaner robot is named Vir and he also has a personality. I just named the new Yixing teapot (more on this later). I think I just feel more comfortable in an animistic world.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

My car is named SunSpot. My husband’s car is The Bunny. Both are girl cars.

All things green

Cheese flavor? Sounds interesting… Did you really only steep it 30 seconds? That’s a lot of punch for 30 secs. Maybe the water was too hot

Carolyn

Hi All things green. Several people have questioned the amount of steep time. I suppose we could ask others about how long they steep their raw puerhs. This is the advice I was given by the tea master I visited in Chicago and it has yielded good results so far. I rinse the tea first in boiled water. Then steep the rinsed leaves for around 30 seconds. If that seems like too little I add more time for the next steep. If too much, I make a note of that and do better next time. I generally end up with a very light steep for the first one and much stronger tea for the subsequent steeps. I note that some people do two rinses instead of one. That might be the right way to go. But for now this seems to be working.

I was surprised by the unexpected cheesy taste in the first steep as well. Puerhs are full of surprises.

Cofftea

@Carolyn, I’m trying my 2nd pu erh tomorrow, but it’s a bag. How do I rise the bag?

Carolyn

@Cofftea People make bagged puerh? I didn’t know that.

Is it a blend of puerh and something else? If it is, I wouldn’t rinse it since then you will lose the other flavors of the blend.

If it is not a blend, then it is fairly simple. What puerh people are calling a “rinse” we would call a quick first steep that you don’t drink. Just submerge the teabag in boiled water. Let it steep for 10-15 seconds. (Don’t get anal about whether it is 10 vs 15 seconds. That really doesn’t matter.) Then toss out the water used for the quick steep. Then do your second steep as if it were the first one. That’s all there is to it. Or you can trust that the teabag puerh people already did a first steep/rinse for you when they made the teabag.

I’m planning to order a full-sized beeng of my favorite raw puerh. It is substantially different than what you have already tried. When it comes in do you want me to send you a bit with instructions for brewing?

Cofftea

@Carolyn, that’d be great! But understand that pu erh still terrifies me lol, so maybe just enough for one serving:) Yeah, I have a bag of Numi’s organic chocolate pu erh. I’m reading the ingredients and while the name of the tea gives absolutely no indication, it seems to be a chocolate chai/spiced pu erh because there is vanilla, cocoa nibs (duh lol), orange peel, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and… uh oh. rooibos. Great, now I’m even more scared of this lol. It does not say anything about rinsing in the steeping instructions.

Carolyn

I wouldn’t rinse a Numi tea. I would trust their tea blender. My experience with cooked puerhs blended with chocolate has been fairly good. So you may like this one. What seems to work best is when the puerh is a small part of the blend and just adds some dark earthiness.

I will be sending you a raw puerh with enough for one or two servings (in single-serving ziplocks) with very good instructions so that you have the best chance of having a good experience with it. You will have to wait until I get my beeng, though.

Cofftea

That’s just fine, I have more than enough tea!:)

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93

This is very nice. It has a sweet honey melon flavor. The liquor is pale yellow moving to golden as the tea resteeps. I’ve resteeped it several times and each time the sweetness and fruitiness are more pronounced. Sometimes it is more like honey. Sometimes the flavor is fruitier.

Update: Apparently 12 resteeps are enough to overwhelm the leaves. My twelfth re-steep was listless and barely flavored. So I’m moving on to another raw puerh.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
teaplz

I’m loving your pu-erh journey, Carolyn! Even though I’ve only had one cup of it, I find myself craving it. The earthiness is really just nice and comforting.

Carolyn

Interestingly enough, the raw puerhs, which are my favorites, are not earthy at all. They’re sweet and light. I’m beginning to assign puerhs genders and personalities in my childish little mind. (For some reason I anthropomorphize almost everything.)

The dark fermented puerhs are all men. Depending on the flavor profile they are Chinese farmers or warriors or tea merchants moving along the Tea Horse Road.

The raw puerhs are women. The muskier ones are knowing matrons. The light, sweet ones are delicate little teenagers hiding behind a screen. My puerh mind is being populated by an entire society of puerh people. Don’t tell PeteG. I’m sure that this is not the approved method of puerh appreciation. ;)

I find it interesting that most of the companies that sell puerhs as part of a bunch of other types of tea primarily sell the very masculine fermented puerhs.

Cofftea

“I’m beginning to assign puerhs genders and personalities in my childish little mind.” -@Carolyn, as a person who loves tea blending I’m curious as to if a feminine tea would blend better w/ a masculine tea than another femanine tea? <>suddenly wants to make a tea Punnet Square<>

Carolyn

@Cofftea I don’t know that I would blend a masculine puerh with a feminine puerh. I think the masculine tastes would completely mask the light tastes of the raw, feminine puerh. But, as we already know, I’m really not a tea blender by personality. Would you blend a white tea with a black tea? It would be like that, I think.

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89
drank Tanyang Gongfu by PuerhShop.com
223 tasting notes

Yesterday was such a great adventure that I feel that I should be a bit more adventurous in my morning tea choice. So I’m trying this Tanyang Gongfu black, which is quite a pretty tea with small twisted leaves and little golden tips mixed throughout.

Later on I’ll be doing more puerh exploration with my new Xiying tea pot which I seasoned day before yesterday. More on that later today.

In the meantime this tea is quite nice. It has a very sweet fragrance with notes of a very light fruitiness and a slight coconut or vanilla note. It brews up into a reddish brown liquor with some slight murkiness. A slight bitterness and astringency mars the sweetness of the tea but it is otherwise a fairly nice black tea with complex notes of fruit, cocoa, raisins and something else I can’t identify. It gets sweeter as it cools.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LENA

Ooh, I’m be keeping an eye out for your posts. (Actually, I already do.) I received a new Xiying tea pot and would love to hear your plans with it. I haven’t used mine yet.

LENA

yixing….mine is yixing. oops.

Carolyn

I make that spelling mistake all the time. In fact, looking up at my post, I’ve made it again. Some five year old genius in my mind keeps suggesting that X comes before Y.

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87
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
223 tasting notes

We just returned from a five hour trek through a frozen swamp. It was exhilarating crossing logs, creating our own shaky log bridges across treacherously deep swamp waters and then walking (him) or crawling (me) over them.

It was terrifying when we fell through the ice and ended up in deep water and even more frightening when we realized we were lost, soaked, the temperature was dropping down to 12 degrees and we might not get out of there. Our bones might decorate the swamp just as the skull of the small creatures we saw going in decorated it.

Thankfully we’d packed Clif bars as emergency rations and we ate them to get enough calories to encourage our bodies to make heat to dry our jeans and clear our minds. Not that it worked all that well as a heating trick. Our jeans froze hard as boards when subjected to temps in the teens and a brisk wind. But it did clear our minds sufficiently to find a way out again.

Once we arrived home the obvious question for me (that I’d been contemplating since our fourth hour slogging through the swamp) was what tea was suitable to serve as a warming celebration beverage after such an adventure? I picked this one and added a bit of honey. Mmmm. It tastes like victory. Swampy victory.

It really is a yummy coconut tea and the addition of the honey and Silk creamer makes it even yummier!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Teaspoon

you should be a writer ; )

takgoti

I’d definitely freak out. Glad you’re both okay! And glad that you found an appropriately celebratory tea.

teaplz

This is terrifying! I am not an outdoors person at all… I would have been curled up in the fetal position in the swampy snow, crying my eyes out. Happy you guys had such an exhilarating adventure!

Carolyn

@takgoti We actually freak out at different things so it works out. I freak at dead animals and dead animal parts so when I saw the skull (and the dead turtle which i didn’t mention) I freaked. He freaks out at being in water or being wet. Falling through the ice was frightening for both of us, of course, but he was totally freaked for a half hour afterwards because he was wet, while I was fine with being wet. We were both worried about being lost, but that is something that works out really well if you can maintain your head and analyze the situation, which we were able to do once we had calories flowing through our veins again. So it was all good.

As to the celebratory tea, I decided that this was clearly a test of tea and that whatever tea I picked would have its rating pushed up since in distress and joy I picked that one.

@teaplz It was mostly fun with just a few terrifying moments. And we were warmly bundled so even though we got wet we were fine in the end. I have to tell you that I have tried the refuse-to-move-and-cry strategy and it didn’t work for me. I was hanging from a cliff afraid to go up or down and started crying saying that I wouldn’t move. It was pointed out to me that movement is necessary and it’s a life lesson I’ve taken with me. I’m sure you would have pulled out of the fetal position once you noticed that the snow was cold. ;)

@Heyes Definitely a win!

@Teaspoon I used to be a writer/editor. Programming and project management pay better and people treat you better.

LENA

Wow…Awesome adventure! My husband and I freak out at different things too. At some point we take turns saying to the other, “Ok, don’t freak out on me!” It’s a balance that works for us. This makes me think…it’s been a little too long since we did anything like this. Must remedy.

Carolyn

@LENA What led us to that particular swamp in the first place was a geocache. You have some of the prettiest geocaches in the country in the Murfreesboro area. You could take a look. Some of the areas there are just beautiful to hike through.

LENA

Niiice. I’ve done a little geocaching myself. I bought my mom a GPS a few years ago to get her into it as well. Murfreesboro has a few cache site that are in really old cemeteries…very cool…and really nice stories behind them.

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
223 tasting notes

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
223 tasting notes

It’s a brand new day, which is a great excuse to drink Dawn, my favorite tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I’m a suddenly enthusiastic tea aficionado. I had no idea how varied and delicious teas could be. Also I’m a dairy-free vegetarian, so if you see me say “cream” or “milk” it means soy milk or soy cream.

Location

Memphis

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