632 Tasting Notes

89
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
632 tasting notes

Oh, how I love the beautiful floral bergamot flavor of this one! I caved and bought a tin of sachets to enjoy at work. Now you all know I’m normally a strong proponent of loose leaf tea. But we also know that teabags are just so much more convenient for work. Harney & Sons does a good job making a triangular-shaped mesh bag that allows the leaves to expand. The leaves aren’t finely ground like grocery store quality teabags either. This is a teabag done right.

The cup is beautiful and understated. I added a splash of skim milk and a tiny bit of Truvia. Although my previous notes say I enjoyed it best sans additions, this is really hitting the spot this morning. It brings back memories of my mini-moon at a beautiful, quaint bed and breakfast in Newport, RI, sitting by the fire with my husband and enjoying a wonderful cuppa. I love how tea can transport you back in time to an exact place with one whiff of the aroma or one sip.

I FINALLY figured out why this reminds me of 52teas’ Cotton Candy White Tea. It’s the cornflowers! I don’t see any cornflowers in the leaves, but I’m sure it must be one of the floral flavorings they’ve added here. Bergamot, vanilla, berry, and cornflowers. That must be it! It only took 4 years but mystery solved. :P Upping the rating from 87 to 89.

Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Floral, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 g 7 OZ / 207 ML

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80

I bought this tea in February 2016. I hope this is the right place on Steepster to record this note. My package says “Shi Feng Longjing Green Tea 1st Picking.” I usually brew dragonwell gongfu style with my gaiwan. But I decided to try the open pitcher method that Verdant made a video about. This is the first time I’m using my new glass pitcher and this lovely flower cup (see pictures below).

The pitcher brew method makes for a much stronger cup of tea. I’m not really sure how long I steeped it since the leaves were always in the water. I found this method was very difficult to keep the leaves out of the cup when I poured from the pitcher. I tried using a strainer but it was hard to pick the leaves out of it afterwards. Then I tried pouring really slowly but that only kind of worked. Finally, I used a wooden spatula to strain the tea as I poured. This seemed to work best but the leaves would stick to the sides of the pitcher and then I’d have to poke them back down. All in all, I think I probably prefer using a gaiwan.

The tea itself is good. I’m sure it would have been better back in February, as it’s now May. It’s Mother’s Day, in fact! I’ve been absent from Steepster for a long time because I am now myself a mother since January 2015. Babies are a handful. I don’t have much time to myself these days and certainly no time whatsoever to enjoy tea. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this tea in particular. It’s buttery and a tad bitter. My mind is on other things.

On April 26th, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was a total shock. She had no symptoms for years. She ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. She had two different surgeries and her kidney function is slowly improving. I have no idea how many Mother’s Days I’ll have left with her. It’s a nightmare. You’re never prepared for this kind of news. I suppose no matter what the circumstances, we would have been caught off guard.
It’s such a hard thing…there are no words.

I hope and pray that she has many years left. There’s really no way to know.

The tea:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFKAzUIl-o3/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFKA8Grl-pZ/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFKBHDXF-qK/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFKBN5Yl-qp/

Me and my baby:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BDd7MmVl-tm/

Me, my mom, and my daughter (This was taken exactly one year – to the day – before she was diagnosed.):
https://www.instagram.com/p/18NGUjF-nY/

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

I am so sorry about your mom. :(

And on a happier note, look at how much your daughter has grown!

Evol Ving Ness

I am sorry about your mom. I can’t even imagine. :(

tea-sipper

I’m sorry! Hope both you and your mom had a lovely Mother’s Day. I just read Roswell Strange’s tasting note above this one for 52Teas Stone Fruit and remembered you had sent me some years ago. I have an uncanny memory for which Steepsterers sent me which teas. :D

caile

I’m so sorry about your mom. The pictures of your family are lovely!

LuckyMe

So sorry to hear about your mom…hoping she pulls through!

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95
drank Jin Jun Mei (2015) by Verdant Tea
632 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea since July 2015, but I’m just trying it now in February 2016. Whoops. According to Verdant’s website, you only use 4g of leaves whether you’re brewing Gongfu or Western. Gongfu brewing is recommended for 6 seconds and Western only 18 seconds. I decided to do Gongfu and am glad I followed the recommendations. I probably went about 10 seconds on the first infusion and the second cup I poured was noticeably darker than the first, in color and flavor, even though they were only a couple seconds apart. This tea steeps quickly!

The flavor is like the aroma: spicy and dark, warm and comforting. I’m not tasting any smoke as others did. But it does have a tendency to go bitter quickly, which is probably why even when brewing Western style, Verdant doesn’t recommend 1-2 minutes to start. While early infusions should be short, I recommend later infusions be long to get the most out of the leaves. I have to say, 4g of leaves doesn’t look like much. But it is plenty to create a very flavorful cup!

I’m making a mess today. I spilled water all over the counter and keep accidentally letting the tea brew a few seconds more than I intend. The tea is very savory and a bit floral, just as the website promises. This is a really lovely tea. It has a slightly honeyesque flavor as well, akin to lychee. It’s quite tasty. The leaves are very small and thin, which makes keeping them in the gaiwan when you pour difficult. But each cup is better than the last!

This is a tea that really develops over time. The lychee gives way to pear, which later transforms into pineapple. I can’t name all the nuances of flavor from each infusion to the next, but I highly recommend getting some and seeing for yourself. I feel that I’m drinking something truly special. 25g of this goes a long way! I think I’ll be enjoying this for months to come. While I can’t say for sure because I didn’t try it as soon as it arrived, age hasn’t seemed to affect it one bit. I may even like this more than Golden Fleece! Gasp! How is that possible??!

Although Verdant describes Golden Fleece as fruity and not Jin Jun Mei, I really feel like I taste much more fruitiness in the Jin Jun Mei. A funny thing happened around infusion six, the leaves started chirping! I think there were bubbles stuck underneath the saucer or something, but I swear it sounded like the tea was chirping! Once I shifted the saucer, it stopped. I’m glad I chose this tea to have today. I almost reached for my good ol’ Golden Fleece, but this tea caught my eye…and my heart. :) A new favorite! Take advantage of Verdant’s pre-order sale and get this tea at 10% off for a limited time!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Pear, Pineapple, Spicy

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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84

The baby is napping so it’s time to enjoy some Verdant Tea! This is another sample I’ve had in my cupboard for way too long. Well, today is the day, you lucky tea you! I checked Verdant’s website and I think this may be another discontinued tea. There are a couple with similar names, namely Shui Jin Gui Light Roast and Special Grade Shui Jin Gui. I know this isn’t the Special Grade because I also have that in my cupboard. Maybe it’s the Light Roast or a harvest or two prior to that? It’s okay either way because these dark rock oolongs aren’t always my favorite. Nonetheless, I’m excited to try it!

With my gaiwan and variable temperature kettle at the ready, I opted for 200°F water. The dry leaf aroma is mineral-y and familiar. The brewed tea flavor is rocky and a bit floral. I’m sure the tea would be more flavorful if I had enjoyed it sooner. I’m afraid the nuances have been lost, but I am still enjoying it now. These leaves have a surprising number of infusions left in them. I lost count as I sipped this tea for about an hour. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Flavors: Floral, Mineral

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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94

It’s my little girl’s one year birthday today, and it’s snowmageddon! We got about three feet of snow and they’ve declared it a blizzard because of the high winds. Luckily, we haven’t lost power yet because I really need a nice soothing, relaxing cup of tea! For times like these, it calls for Verdant Tea.

I’ve had this sample for I don’t know how long. Two years maybe? Well, you’d never know it from these beautiful leaves! They have a lovely hay aroma, dry and brewed. I decided to go for a gongfu brewing session because I don’t often get to do that with a little one running amok all day and getting into all kinds of trouble. Plus, I miss the tranquility of the gongfu ritual. This is a rare treat!

This tea is so lovely. Bai Mu Dan is one of my all-time favorite kinds of tea, and this is no exception to Verdant’s high quality products. It’s too bad it’s been discontinued because I could definitely use more of this! I had to up the brewing time much quicker than I normally would when brewing gongfu style. It’s probably due to the age of the leaf. That said, these leaves have quite a lot of life still in them! I think it makes a difference that I’m not using a strainer too. Little bits of leaf and down are ending up in each cup, and that helps to bring out a balanced, round flavor from the tea.

I’m impressed, as always, by Verdant. Now that my little baby is asleep, maybe I’ll enjoy another Verdant Tea after this one. It seems I never have a quiet moment to myself anymore, so I need to take advantage of these rare moments whenever I can!

Olivia and me at Christmas: https://www.instagram.com/p/_vBINvl-vR

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Fjellrev

Aww happy birthday to her!

CHAroma

Thank you! :)

tigress_al

I hear ya about those little ones, I never get to finish a full cup while it’s hot! Or brew gongfu. But they sure are cute!

rosebudmelissa

Happy Birthday to her, and congratulations to you! I have two little boys, so I know how it is to be constantly chasing after little ones. I love Bai Mu Dan as well, which is interesting since I haven’t really enjoyed any other white teas. Mine is from Butiki’s going out of business sale, so once I finish it I’ll have to buy it from somewhere else. I hope other versions live up to my high expectations!

CHAroma

@tigress_al, Yes, they definitely are cute. :)

@rosebudmelissa, Teavivre sells excellent quality teas at very competitive prices. I recommend their white teas when you run out of Butiki’s.

Fjellrev

I remember when you announced she was born (and I think you posted pictures too? I’m sure it was you. All I remember is the little one I did see was absolutely gorgeous) and that felt like it was yesterday! Time sure flies.

CHAroma

Aww, thank you Fjellrev! It probably was me. I edited the post to add another picture. :)

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81
drank Toffe Bar Chai by 52teas
632 tasting notes

I LOVE chai teas! The dry leaf aroma is so spicy I can barely inhale it. The brewed tea aroma is interesting. It smells savory and spicy, like fresh spice cake hot out of the oven. The flavor sans additions matches the aroma.

I added Truvia and skim milk and now it is much more like toffee. I’m impressed! Usually toffee flavored teas end up being caramel flavored teas. But this isn’t caramel. It’s distinctly toffee.

I like the added component of the spices because that makes this multi-faceted and more interesting. This is a good one! If I had more of it, I could see myself blending it with some of the rather lackluster teas in my collection to make them tastier. If you pick up some of this, and I recommend you do, it really benefits from added sweetener. Mmm mmm, so good!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Sounds great!

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84

The dry leaf aroma is weird strawberry. Yes, it’s definitely strawberry. But a weird one. Strawberry flavoring is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s too much like candy. Sometimes it’s too much like medicine. Sometimes it’s just artificial and gross. This is none of the above. Yet it still doesn’t strike me as fully representative of a real strawberry. I can’t explain it. Maybe I just don’t like strawberry-flavored things as much as I used to?

Despite the weird aroma, the flavor is delicious! It tastes the way I would want a strawberry flavored tea to taste: light and delicate. Nothing candy, medicinal, or artificial going on here! The White Peony is the perfect base for these flavorings. I just adore white tea. It’s my favorite.

I’ve accepted the fact that no tea could truly taste exactly like shortcake (partly because of the texture), but this comes pretty darn close. It is a cup of yum! I can really imagine the fluffy, airy cake dissolving in my mouth as I sip this. I drank it sans additions, but I could guess that adding sweetener would make this more dessert-like. I think it’s perfect as is though. Another winner from the new 52teas!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

This is from the new 52teas owned by Anne. I was so happy she chose to re-blend this tea from Frank’s recipe! This was one of my all-time favorite V.I.T.s from back in the day. Looking over my notes, this tea has been with me through some pretty memorable experiences, like getting engaged as well as having the honor of being my first 52teas blend ever. I remember the sad day that I finished the pouch. Sigh.

Well, rejoice! This tea has been reborn! It’s delightfully maple-y with a strong Tie Guan Yin flavor. Wow. I have missed you so much, glorious tea! I don’t get much creaminess and no real cheesecake to speak of. But maple syrup is front and center with its thick sweetness and the base is floral, green, and lovely. This will remain one of my all time favorites, even if it is a bit different from how I remember. It’s still delicious and that’s all that matters! Raising the rating from 84 to 86.

Flavors: Floral, Green, Maple Syrup

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

I made this tea again this morning and did a two minute steep. I also used 1.5 tsp instead of 2 tsp. I completely forgot how sugary this already was and added Truvia out of habit. OMG, this is soooooo sweet! Despite the sugar overload accident, I can already tell this tea is better. It takes exactly like icing on a cinnamon bun.

Mmm! This is much more to my liking. In fact, this is really good! It just goes to show you, leaf quantity and infusion time really do contribute to making a good cup of tea. It doesn’t taste like French toast but who doesn’t love cinnamon buns complete with hot, dripping icing? I know I do. Raising the rating from 78 to 82.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Frosting, Pastries

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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98
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
632 tasting notes

This is from the new 52teas owned by Anne. This tea is wonderful! I loved the original, and I am loving this too! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. I woke up with no voice and a really sore throat. I thought green tea would do me good because of the antioxidants, so I chose this out of the cupboard.

I don’t even know how many infusions I got out of these leaves. I lost count! It soothed my throat and tasted seriously delicious. I added some Truvia and that made this more like a lemony dessert tea. Mmm mm! So good! I’m glad I have a full ounce of this one. I have a feeling it’s not going to last long.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Oh yeah, this was always a good one. Glad to hear her version is yummy too.

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Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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