479 Tasting Notes

85

Thank you KiwiDelight for this generous sample of Kenyan black tea.

I wasn’t expecting a CTC tea. I didn’t know they ever came in un-bagged form. I was surprised to receive a bag of what looked like ground coffee. I was hesitant to use my tea infuser as I wasn’t sure that the small bits would stay contained. I thought this a perfect opportunity to use my new fillable tea bags that I got from my local co-op (I got them to give away samples during a class presentation).

This is a good and bold black tea. A bit sweet and malty with a slight powdery texture. It’s certainly better than the CTC black teas I’ve had in the past. It might become an occasional visitor to my permanent stash.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec
KiwiDelight Glad you like it! :] They sell tea bags as well. And their small boxes that contain the tea are lovely.

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95

I didn’t log this one last time I had it (but I did post an empty place holder and mentioned it in a review for the Caramel Vanilla Assam).

I steeped this longer than I did the first time. It must have been around 4min, but I don’t know exactly because I let it over-steep as I was tending to some chores. The first time I brewed this, I thought it was somewhat fruity and I didn’t make an obvious association between it and the caramel flavored one. This time I could definitely recognize it as the base tea for the other. The longer steep time made it sweeter, smoother, and with a creamier texture. In my review of the Caramel Vanilla Assam, I said that I might need time for it (the caramel one) to grow on me, and I think the base tea might be the bridge to this end. I appreciated today’s cup of Taiwanese Assam much more than I have previous black teas that have similar smooth/creamy attributes.

There are a select few teas that I know I will never like but, as for the rest, my tea palate is in flux for the time being.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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65

Backlog

Another oolong from my swap with Moraiwe. Thanks Moraiwe!

I made this tea before class this morning. It was my last day of class this semester and I had to give a presentation in my German class. I talked about tea (in German) and gave out samples to my prof. and all 4 of my classmates (not many students left by the time 3rd year German comes around!). So much fun to share tea with people (^^)

1st steep 2min30sec
A Very delicate flavor. Floral with a hint of vegetal. I like when floral notes are delicate, but I prefer the rest of the flavor to be stronger.

2nd steep 3min30sec
floral flavor is almost non-existentant. The strongest flavor is now in the after taste and is mineral and pepper-like. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but I didn’t like it.

Didn’t have time to try another steeping, but I don’t think I would have anyway. The first steep of this was palatable, but not enough so that I’d want to have this tea again in the future.

moraiwe

I found the best steeps to be 3 & 4. The weird mineral flavor almost turned me away from doing them, but it went out on steep three out and some of the floral came back and made for a decent Ti Kuan Yin by the end. Not enough so that I’d buy it again, as my first two steeps were pretty blerg, too. The pepper flavor was just…weird.

Shelley_Lorraine

Yeah, I read your note for this one too. I still have some left for another cup if I ever feel up to trying a 3rd or 4th steeping. However, I prefer not to keep stocked tea that doesn’t produce a decent cup the first couple times. Besides, there are so many others I like that I have little reason to ‘make do’ with the mediocre ones. Thank you though for letting me try this and the other oolongs (I haven’t sampled all of them yet).

moraiwe

I definitely understand! (I won’t be rebuying for the same reason) Hopefully there’s something else there that resonates a bit more. It was kind of an eclectic grab bag!

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95

This oolong is sooooo yummy! I never knew oolongs could be aged. Now I am sad to find out that they are ‘rare’ and might go extinct. I sure hope not!!

I don’t even know where to begin with the description. . .
It brews up really dark and smells like a roasted oolong. I wasn’t expecting much. Dark-roast oolong wasn’t a favorite as it was all roast and nothing else. But this is roasty and creamy and sweet and so much more! It’s like a sweet, creamy houjicha but with an aftertaste and texture like Verdant’s Laoshan Black or Butiki’s Caramel Assam (both of which I wasn’t thrilled about mostly, I thought, because of that texture). The flavors,texture and smell of this gem all come together nicely.

And gosh darn-it to me for trying Butiki samples only days after I place an order. Soon I’ll be spending more at Butiki than at the grocery store (^^)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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85

Thank you Emily M for this wonderful oolong.

I finally found an oolong with floral notes that I might have to purchase. The floral notes in this one are very delicate, but they are a welcome addition to the more vegetal and creamy flavor of the tea. This oolong has a savoriness about it that I haven’t found in other oolongs.

Also, my husband, who previously said that he has no interest in trying teas of the floral kind, came into my room an asked what I was drinking. He said it smelled really good. That’s something coming from a coffee-drinking resistant-to-conversion guy.

Not all flowers are my enemy after all ;)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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85

I used the last of one of my bags of this today. There was a bit more left than I needed for a cup, so I just made it strong. Much of what was left included spices and pumpkin powder. It was a very pumpkin-y brew! I went all out and added rock sugar this time, but I don’t think I noticed the difference with it. This tea hardly needs anything extra anyway. (^.^)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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75

Thank you Emily M for the sample :)

I do love white tea, but this one was a little too delicate for me. I like a more buttery and flavorful white (as much as can be expected from a white, that is). The flavor and texture is there in this one, but not quite enough. Still a pleasant cup to drink though!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

I’m starting to feel bad that I am not as ecstatic about the ‘popular’ tea blends and everyone else. Maybe I am too picky? I do like this tea, but I am uncertain about purchasing more. I have a favorite dessert blend (the Butiki pumpkin Brûlée) that generally sets the standard for me now :p I also have a bag of the unflavored Assam from Butiki and I might just like it a smidgin better than this one (the sort of ‘better’ that could easily waiver depending on mood). Sometimes I need time for teas to ‘grow on me.’

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Aha! It all makes sense now. I made a 3oz cup of this as I often do when I’m not brave enough to make more of a new tea. I didn’t know/couldn’t remember what the ingredients were except guayusa, and of course that the name implies “vanilla.” As I took the first few sips, it reminded me of one of the various organic bath products that I have used in the past, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As it cooled, the guayusa came through stronger, but the aftertaste was like a sort of natural mouthwash. I thought to myself: guess that’s what I get for using natural/organic bath products. It confuses my senses and I forget what is supposed to be edible :p Then I came here and saw that it has lavender and mint! That must be the association I’m making. I didn’t not like it. My feelings are mixed. It’s more a matter of sensory confusion than dislike. (^^)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I personally can’t do lavender in a tea or food, although I grow it & love it in dream pillows, bath water, aromatherapy, bee stings, etc. it’s a wonderful smell, but the taste…bath water for sure! Really nice bath water, but not drinkable, for me! :)

Shelley_Lorraine

Can’t say that I’ve had much experience with lavender in foods to have a strong opinion. It’s not my favorite scent really, but hard to avoid in most natural products. I do remember having a lavender flavored yogurt once and it was the best ever. It didn’t really taste like lavender though. Strange how some combinations can change the flavors of the ingredients.

Terri HarpLady

Lavender is in ‘Herbs de Provence’, along with several other herbs. I made the mistake of sprinkling that combo liberally on a roast or something once, & I ate it, but :p

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This is another sample from my swap with Emily M (^^)

The dry leaves of this one are just so intriguing that I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it so much. It’s very vegetal, but a kind of vegetal I haven’t had before. Maybe its the pea and marine notes? I like peas, but not in tea, I guess.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Name: Shelley Lorraine Limegrover
Location: Wyoming
Occupation: Student and Evil Genius
Ward: 3 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 1 Cocker spaniel, 1 super cranky but lovable siamese cat, one bipolar black turkish angora, and my husband’s black and white cat.

Hobbies: Learning, reading books, math, physics (have a degree in it), literature (have a degree in it too), anthropology, traveling, piano, and making TEA, of course (^o^)

Future plans: World domination >-)
Graduate school for Comparative literature (in German, Latin, and Greek) – Update: I’m going to the University of Colorado in Fall 2014!! yay me!

Favorite teas: Kukicha, Green teas in general, aged oolongs, charcoal roasted oolong, taiwanese oolongs, Assam . . .

Don’t like: Genmaicha, Earl Grey, Darjeelings, ginger, coconut, smokey teas (even mild ones), nut flavors, overwhelmingly strong floral flavor (esp. Jasmine), most della derra and adagio teas. . .

My Rating System

100 My happiness absolutely depends on it

95 Will definitely repurchase

85: Might repurchase (teas that depend on my mood)

75 Won’t repurchase (but I would drink it again if offered).

65: meh

45: I reluctantly finished a cup.

15: Couldn’t finish a cup.

I simplified my ratings to single numbers rather than ranges because I can’t precisely compare so many teas with a system more detailed than this.

An unrated tea is most often one that I recognize as having significant notable quality, but that does not suit me personally. Sometimes, I leave teas unrated for other reasons, such as I am undecided or I brewed it wrong, etc.

Note: Boiling temp. barely reaches 200 where I am (and a few times it sticks at 195, I assume due to unexplainable shifts in altitude or the position of the moon. . .aliens?. . .).

Location

Wyoming

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