372 Tasting Notes

100

Yay! I received my latest Butiki order today. I ordered 4 oz. of this one, so I decided to finish off what was left of the 1 oz I’d ordered before. This tea is extremely comforting to me. It reminds me of freshly baked banana bread and macaroons. Such a good tea to curl up with after a busy day at work. I think I’m going to try to find some Shakespeare to watch (still don’t have the focus to read much)…A Midsummer Night’s Dream, perhaps.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
Sil

Lucky you! You’ve been able to order it twice! I’m still waiting to be able to place my order

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95

I got this one in the mail today. I couldn’t resist after reading so many positive reviews. And, I have to say, it’s pretty amazing. I brewed this in a small glass pitcher and started drinking it after just over two minutes of steeping. I’ve never seen dragon well leaves that were so green in color, and the dry leaf has an incredible fresh, savory aroma. When this was first brewed, it was a light green color, but it turned more yellow as it brewed for longer. I definitely liked this tea best when it was first brewed, but I will definitely enjoy adding more water to the leaves and seeing what they have to give as this session goes on. I’m beginning to see what others like so much about dragon well tea.

ETA: I’m still pretty devastated over my recent breakup. I’ve found that the best therapy for me has been doing nice things for other people. If anyone wants me to ship them a sample of this tea or anything else in my cupboard, I’d be more than happy to oblige.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C
TeaBrat

Sorry to hear you’re down about your breakup, I know what that’s like. How about a swap?

CharlotteZero

I’d love to. Send me a message. :-)

Sil

Sounds like great therapy!

Stephanie

This tea is so incredible! I’d be up for a swap any time CharlotteZero but I won’t take any of your precious She Qian! :)

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86

I took this sample to New York to share with my father and cousin. It was a little bit confusing identifying which tea this was, as the name on the bag isn’t the same as the name on the website. I had to go into my order history to make sure which tea this was. I don’t have too much to say about this. I brewed it very strong, because my family is used to drinking very strong bagged black teas. It probably would have done much better with less leaf and a shorter steep time. It was very good anyhow, and I might even be making some progress in converting my father from drinking Barry’s to a loose leaf tea. This one was a pretty typical Lapsang with notes of sweet potato, malt, and chocolate.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 15 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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62
drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
372 tasting notes

I was traveling today, and picked up a bottle of this at the airport. It’s pretty nice. The Jasmine is very sweet and candy-like. I’ve said this about another jasmine tea before, but the smell is very much like the candy shell of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. I probably would not pick this up again, as the jasmine flavoring is a little too sweet for me…

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drank The au Chocolat by Lupicia
372 tasting notes

Thanks, Sil, for this sample!

I tried this last night before going to bed. While the dry leaf smelled similar to other chocolate teas that I have found to be too “boozy” for me, the brewed cup did not remind me of a liqueur at all. There was a bitter note, but it reminded me of the bitterness of dark chocolate, and was inoffensive after the first sip. I’d burned my tongue on a latte the day before, and I was having this alongside some soy ice cream, so I’ll wait until I try this one again to rate it. I really liked what I could taste of it, though!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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89

Thank you, Sil, for sending me this sample!!!

I really like this tea. It reminds me a bit of the only other Fortnum & Mason tea I’ve tried: Assam Superb. My father works for a London-based company, and he used to bring home tins of Assam Superb when he travelled to London for work. This tea seems like it may also have some Ceylon blended in (just checked, it does), but the Assam is still the most noticeable for me. This is a perfect tea for this morning. It’s assertive, yet smooth, and it reminds me of being at home. I usually am not a fan of Ceylon tea, but in this blend it lends (I believe it’s the Ceylon) a honey-sweetness to the cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

This one isn’t half bad….I’m enjoying the few f&m teas I’ve tried

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84

I just received this tea in the mail. It’s the 2014 picking. I brewed it after lunch according to the American Tea Room’s instructions, which is twice as long as I would steep the 2012 Canton Tea Co. version of this tea. I’m not enjoying this anywhere near as well as I enjoyed the Canton version. It’s so much more vegetal, which maybe is partially because it is so fresh. But it doesn’t have the same sweet vanilla, floral, and apricot that made me love Canton’s offering. My other favorite tea from the Darjeeling region was also from 2012. I wonder if that is just coincidence or if that year had an unusually good harvest. I’ll try this again with a shorter steep and a cleaner palate and see how I feel about this then.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
Excelsior

Sone would say 2011 was much better than 2012 for Darjeelings. Yet in my opinion one tea stood out from all the rest. The 2012 FF Narming DJ1. 2013 Darjeelings were affected by the lack of rain and were disappointing in terms of taste and flavor. So I’ve been placing orders for the 2012 Vintage Castleton. Keeping my fingers crossed for the new 2014 FF Darjeelings.

CharlotteZero

I had a feeling that you might have some knowledge about what the overall differences between the different years were. Where do you get your information? Tea friends? Is there a good source online that I might be able to turn to to get information about different “vintages”? I don’t mean to be a bother…Just curious. Maybe there is a discussion on here than would answer my question, but I can almost never find what I am looking for using the search feature…

Excelsior

I’ve been friends with the Store Manager of Mariage Freres Ginza for over 15 years and much of what I know about Darjeelings comes from the countless discussions I had with him

Every Spring, since 2010, I have been purchasing almost the full line up of new Darjeeling releases. FF Castleton and FF Maragaret’s Hope are sure bets, but sometimes there are teas that shine each particular year. 2010 FF Moondakotee and 2010, 2011, 2012 FF Jungpana.

In 2012, the FF Namring was exceptional and is/was one of my favorite teas of all time. The only problem was/is, the tea was extremely temperamental and it took over 5 steepings to get the parameters just right. 2012 FF Ambootia was more similar to a green tea rather than the other Darjeelings. 2012, FF Castleton steeping time was a scant 2 minutes to obtain the best flavor.

2013. I could not find any redeeming Mariaige Freres Darjeelings for FF2013. I went back and forth with Mariage Freres customer service and finally gave up on the 2013 teas and started ordering their 2012 Vintage Darjeelings. They don’t advertise it, you won’t find any posting about it on their website, but each year, they select the best of the best Caslteton FF, label it as a vintage tea and keep it for up to 2 years. I had to order the tea by email as it was not available online. Since it was harveseted almost two years ago, the tea has lost much of it’s green fresh flavor and has matured in taste. Yet it still is a great Darjeeling.

Is there a good source for information on the internet? Not really but the customer service at Mariage Freres is always prompt in answering any inquiries. If an inquiry hits a nerve,then they will get someone important to reply to the inquiry.

Are there any discussions here on Steepster about this subject? Probably not if you are looking for information pertaining to Mariage Freres. There may be others but other than you, Charlotte Zero, I have not found many that have actually purchased and tasted the top tier Mariage Freres Darjeelings.

I am not a fan of flavored teas, but there are times that I would want to buy a tea just to obtain the beautiful tins, cannisters, that the tea comes in.

There are other teas I like besides FF Darjeelings. The2013 winter Da Yu Ling from TTC was excellent. I’ll often drink a cold brewed glass of Green Rooibos if it’s late at night,

I hope I have not bored you with this loooong reply.

Happy Steeping!

CharlotteZero

Thank you so much for the loooong reply. I really hope you’ll write reviews for the 2014 teas, too. :-)

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89

Ah. This tea is pretty great. It reminds me of one of maybe a WuYi oolong or maybe a high-quality Dong Ding. But what do I know? The thing that distinguishes this one is the mouthfeel. It is creamy, and I mean really creamy. It feels thick in your mouth, almost like heavy cream. Even when life is hard, I’m grateful to be able to take time to enjoy brewing and drinking tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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88

I’m almost out of this one. Casey moved his stuff out yesterday, and he brought my teapots with him. I had accidentally sent them to his parent’s place. We used to share an Amazon account, and I guess I forgot to change the default shipping address.

I brewed this per the instructions, and it’s much better than I remember it. I think I will brew the second steeping like I would a more typical black, and see how that turns out. This is definitely among the very lightest in body of Chinese blacks that I have. I could have used something stronger this morning.

Oh well, off to go walk the Fritzy with my mother.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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55

So, I’ve still been kinda down over the breakup. I still haven’t received my new water boiler or teapots in the mail…So, yeah, the only tea I’ve had in the past few days has been this stuff. I gave it a pretty poor rating, as it is pretty bland and has citric acid added as a “preservative” ( you are allowed to add stuff like this and it’s not technically considered a preservative even though I believe this is added for that purpose). But I’d still recommend this as it’s a pretty good drink to grab when your choices are limited.

Once I get my new teaware, I’m planning to try all of my love/romance themed samples just for irony’s sake.

If anyone has a good recommendation on TV series I might want to watch as my breakup therapy, please tell me your suggestions! I watched HIMYM to get over the last one. I have started Veronica Mars, and although I’m enjoying it, too many of the episodes I’ve seen so far seem to have the takeaway message that “you never really know anyone” or “you can’t trust anyone” and it’s hitting a little too close to home right now.

whatshesaid

I’m home right now on Mat Leave and here are some shows I plowed through recently:

Homeland
Still working on House of Cards
A cute mini series called The Guild about a bunch of nerdy gamers, surprisingly charming
A British comedy about a bunch of horny teenage boys called “the in-betweeners” – really funny

Netflix is a wonderful thing

Hope you find something you love!

whatshesaid

The last two are more humorous so that might be more appropriate to help distract :)

greenteafairy

I (re-)watched a lot of Arrested Development the last time I was in need of breakup therapy—funny is good, I think, and it didn’t hit on too many sensitive points for me, anyway.

boychik

I was hooked on 24
Now it’s House of Cards
I can always watch Seinfeld

CharlotteZero

Thanks for the suggestions! I have been forgetting to catch up on Homeland, and I have a friend who has been trying to get me to watch The Inbetweeners for a while. And Arrested Development is the best! I’ve only watched it once through, and I should definitely watch it again…

CharlotteZero

I’ve never watched a single episode of 24. I’ve heard it’s great, though. Ugh. House of Cards got too absurd for me. Maybe I will try the original? Why won’t Orange is the New Black come back already??? Also, Seinfeld is awesome, but I think it would make me miss home too much. (I’m originally from NYC.)

boychik

I hope you still coming to NY

CharlotteZero

I will visit again in about a week…!

Tea Sipper

THE GUILD… yes, I agree! Also, Community.

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Profile

Bio

Tea means so many things to me, it is so deep and it is revealing new meaning to me all the time.

Tea is a mindfulness practice, and a doorway through which to explore different philosophies, cultures, and historical times. Tea is hospitality and a way of communion. Tea is an art, a ritual, and a tradition. Tea is a complement to the foods I eat (preferably vegan desserts) and is something I enjoy collecting and curating.

I love to swap, or even just send people samples, so if there’s anything in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message!

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

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