389 Tasting Notes

80

naturally very light and sweet. visually striking and festive with the bits of red dotting the tea…. i get a smell of something sweet, but not eggnog or praline. i also get a distinct nori component…. also a touch of bamboo?

very distinct.
very original.
very decadent.
not quite my thing though.

while i would never turn down a cup my beloved butiki lychee politely drop kicks it =0)

thanks so much to MissB for sharing!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

hum, when did blueberry become my default comfort tea? it wasn’t a conscious decision, but the day has been long, the sleep has been little and i am grateful to yyz and her swap package for this tasty sample!

by the by… what contractor builds walls without a vapour barrier? by the by part II: if you get a text from a tenant about a ‘little’ mold in a closet… break out the blueberry tea. the long day is going to segue into several more.

this tea is not candy or jam. it is soft, fresh blueberries with beautiful sky swirled flowers falling in my cup. the tea itself has a warm element, almost woody and somewhere in there i detect a note of green… as though the odd stem or leaf had been left with the blueberries. the green makes me smile further.

i think is my favourite part of swaps…. trying teas i never would have otherwise, being sent things that my friends think i may enjoy that i really, really do. i wonder if swapping teas counts as a hobby.

i dislike contractors…. at least the ones that cut corners.

thank you for my lovely cup of calm, yyz….

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
yyz

I’m glad it helped improve your day! As to the contactor issue you’d be surprised! I remember watching too separate contractors build a group of Townhomes within a block of each other and the difference in the quality between the construction and materials was night and day. Sad, because neither were exactly budget homes. Hope that the issue is localised and not rediculously expensive to deal with!

Dexter

I count swapping tea as a hobby – but that’s just me….

JustJames

i think i really need to count it as a hobby… i find it far too much fun not to. and it makes me happy….. i wonder if i could somehow incorporate tea into a tattoo? hmmmm.

Dexter

I’ve been looking at tea tattoos as well – most of the pics online are too “girly” flowery teapots for me – thinking about gaiwan with Chinese art or something like that (I’m just not sure anyone else would understand what it is). Placement is part of my problem – feel like I’m running out of skin….

Dexter

Swapping tea makes me happy as well – tons of fun :))

JustJames

far as i’m concerned i don’t care if other people understand what i put on my skin… the people that know me will get it. the girlie is tricky, i agree. there are things that are beautiful, but if i wear them i might seem odd… then again i never said i wasn’t odd!

i think the blooming teas are beautiful as they expand, as they carry/are carried by the tiny air bubbles…

you make another good point… where oh where would i put it? lol.

Dexter

I like the last one too, but I’m not sure how it would translate into a tattoo – the pic looks good because of the dark background. Depending on your skin tone, but I’m not sure it would stand out as well. I like the green dragon 2nd one-
Things to ponder – but now that I’m not buying tea, I could use that money for a new tattoo….

JustJames

i’m part smurph i’m so pale, lol. the only colour i avoid is yellow because it makes me look jaundiced. a good tattoo artist takes any idea you bring them and caters it to fit your shape and space though….

dexter… you did NOT just turn this into a tattoo enable forum did you? because i’m not buying tea for awhile either. i cannot believe you just went there, lol.

Dexter

http://www.tattooinspiration.com/tattoo-of-the-day-4151.html
I like this but I think it would be more appropriate for Awkward Soul

Dexter

LOL – Oh I’ve been thinking about tattoo rather than tea for a month now…. LOL I’m not telling YOU what to do, was just thinking out loud…
I haven’t gotten any new ink in almost 2 years…I’m suffering from withdrawal big time….

JustJames

very nice! i have 2000 years of cybernetic history in a 7 inch cuff around my ankle and up my leg that i want things always to link somewhat to (theoretical bypass to repair my nervous system)… sortof a theme for me =0). cybernetics, wires, gears, patches and screws.

JustJames

oh no… i have another tattoo that says ‘you can’t make me’ (long story)…. but you can suggest with great efficacy!! it’s been awhile for me too.

sigh. great things start with ‘t’. lol.
i’ve been itchy for the buzzing pen.

Dexter

I agree that they are personal and should somehow represent something about you. I like your idea of cybernetic re nervous system. That’s awesome. I also agree that others don’t have to like/understand your tattoos – as long as you like them then it’s all good.

Dexter

I thought you had stopped buying tea re tuition, groceries, etc….
Ummmmm LOL you can’t eat a new tattoo…. I shouldn’t be encouraging this – but I don’t get to talk tattoos very often. :))

JustJames

i have imposed a moratorium. i have a ton of tea. truly. and i have a student loan and i am applying for a scholarship this next week.

similar to my taste in tea, my taste in tattoos is expensive (also expansive). i love to talk about them… the next one will probably coincide with a major mile marker (ie a degree).

http://modeletatuaje.ucoz.ro/_ph/19/839921587.jpg this one would fit right in. what do you think…. 3000$? lol.

Dexter

As much as I can appreciate how awesome that is, it’s not something I would get. I don’t think the tattoo would be 3000.00 but the travel expense to find an artist who could pull that off might be. LOL
Expensive – yep expansive yep – go big or go home. That’s my running out of big chunks of skin problem….
Good luck with the scholarship – hope that comes through for you. :))

JustJames

all i can do is try…. as far as i know i have the grades. i have demographics going my way too. disabled permanently, check. mature student, check. straight A’s, check.

it won’t be happening for awhile, lol. but i can dream and/or live vicariously through you! http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-g5DdWGS28vU/Tr5cP5ibSpI/AAAAAAAAXgs/RMjV8EfzVys/s1600/cyborg-tattoos14.jpg

for me machinery fixes it all. my nervous system is so corrupt that basic things can be exhaustive! if i were partially mechanical the problem would be diminished. or so i have reasoned in my brain =0). and seeing as that is a rather remote conclusion, i am happy to have it represented artistically.

Dexter

I love that tattoo. Most bio-mechanical pieces that I’ve seen are straight black and grey. I love the added color – looks like real circuit boards – love how the torn skin has some redness around it. That is a fabulous piece…..

Dexter

OK that’s it, you’ve convinced me. I’m going to pick/commit a piece of skin and start searching for an artist who can/will pull off my Roman/Philosophy vision.

JustJames

do i get to see photos? i want to see photos! lol. my cuff is very 3 dimensional with lots of colour. the artist spent 5-6 hours replicating an actual sized circuit board. ha! i even have an on/off button…. i think my wife wished there were a ‘mute’? ;0)

Dexter

It’s still in my head – I can’t draw, at the mercy of an artist to capture my vision. I want to do something representing Ancient Rome and the contradiction of the different sides of that society. They were way ahead of their time as far as status of women, social services, democracy etc and yet they were brutal, cruel, slave owners and warriors.
Picture Roman soldier sitting in the “Thinkers” pose with a Roman senator reading to him from a tablet – garden setting olive trees, grape vines etc. That’s my vision…..

Dexter

LOL doesn’t the “off” button also work as “mute” – or does she want you to function but in “mute” mode… ;))

Terri HarpLady

Ok…I love you guys!
It’s been 2 years since my last tat, & if I didn’t spend so much money on tea (or sold more CDs) , I’d be getting a new one for my birthday in a few weeks.
I loved the green dragon. Tony has his entire right chest, shoulder, upper arm, & upper back as a Tibetan dragon, in shades of black & gray & I love the detail of it. The other shoulder etc is a hummingbird surrounded by tropical flowers…kind of like a Hawaiian shirt, very colorful. Mine are smaller, but symbolic of the place my head was at when I received them:
- a fairy that sits on my left shoulder to whisper in my ear & remind me of who I really am once in awhile. Got that one 20 years ago.
- a personal symbol I once drew during meditation, that ended up on the inside of my left arm, that serves to remind me that all answers to my questions lie within. That was about 15 years ago.
- a butterfly on the back of my right hand by my thumb & pointer finger. Freedom of self expression, letting go of inhibitions, especially in the area of playing Jazz. That was my birthday tat a few years ago.
I love tats & dream about them, drawing them on myself to try them out. I have a special affinity for spiders (& they like me too…the ultimate creators), but I have yet to find the spider tats I want. I think a spider stalking a butterfly or becoming one, would be the ultimate symbol for creative freedom, which has been my musical quest. I also have had several visions for back pieces, but never the funds. Ok….I’ve rambled enough.

TeaExplorer

A spider becoming a butterfly … wow, that is both intriguing and unique. If I saw someone with that I would have to stop and talk about it. What a cool idea :D

Shmiracles

this is a great thread! so inspiring! beautiful ideas. i thought of getting a new tattoo too, and tea is a big possibility.

JustJames

so we all love tea and many of us have tattoos… many of us are artists, many of us are students…. so many connections. what a brilliant thing.

oh and dexter… yes, i think ‘functional’ but ‘muted’ is precisely what she would have wanted, lol! i’m not a terribly quiet individual. i’m guessing that comes across and doesn’t surprise anyone on steepster. =0)

Sil

i love tattoos…on other ppl lol

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85
drank Demain by Nina's Paris
389 tasting notes

i love this tea, not just the fresh raspberries mixed with the green, but that balance of ripe berries with sencha which, in my experience, has the potential to be volatile.

this tea is the one that settles me in to sleep often these cold evenings…. =0)

VariaTEA

As I try the samples I got, I wish I picked up more because I have really enjoyed their teas so far. I will definitely be ordering from them soon :)

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drank Kapha Organic by TeaGschwendner
389 tasting notes

OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOGOMG.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW.

it smelled like potato salad. it smelled like gripe water, you know the stuff you give a colicky baby? so i let it steep. for….awhile. KILL ME NOW!

i have no sinuses anymore. i just keep sneezing. no worries about tonsils…. was already born without them. can’t taste anything. i could test that….. what do i have in the house that i really hate that i could try eating?

not sure i can do this one again, i am very afraid at the moment….

ADDENDUM: haaaaaaaaaaaaaaarsh!!!!!! every line in my lips is on fire!!!!! it burns us preciousssssss.

MissB

No! This is a horrible one to oversteep. Definitely need less time over more. It’s spicy, but I’ve yet to have it anywhere near that spicy. It’s meant to warm up the body naturally. Not kill you! Yikes.

JustJames

too late. i am dead…..

Sil

Lmao I totally need to try this one now hahahahaha

caile

I just checked to see what was in this.. lol!

JustJames

i was up all night with heartburn too, and we were out of tums….. so sad, i read that over and it’s a giant neon sign saying that i’m really old! lol.

MissB

Sil, I’ll send you some with the next swap.

JustJames

or i can send her the rest of mine! i have stuff with caramel to send anyway! i’m still recovering from the mug last night. oof!

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85
drank Demain by Nina's Paris
389 tasting notes

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90
drank Vanilla Black by Rishi Tea
389 tasting notes

ONCE upon a time i had a very bad experience with a rishi chocolate chai. some of you may remember…. i was distinctly cross. quick recap: no chocolate, impossible methodology for a disabled person to follow through with, wound up all over my kitchen, my wife wound up cleaning it up and i was ticked!

i took a day. was still cross. took another…. still cross because i resented my stress relieving practice getting in my face about having this illness. by hook or by crook i decided i’d waited long enough and called rishi HQ.

ME: may i speak with a manager please.
Service rep: may i ask what this is regarding?
me: i have a serious gripe about one of your products and as a rule i prefer to dish out temper on management who are paid to take it.

silence. tick. tick. tock.

service rep: i think i know the person who can best assist you, sir, one moment please.

i broke it down for the manager fairly, i think. the good and the bad. she was truly appalled at how much trouble had come from the recommended method, and further distressed that there was genuinely no chocolate to be seen or tasted in my tea (once she determined i wasn’t looking for refined chocolate and was accustomed to cacao nibs). this woman really listened, genuinely. and while i saved her name somewhere in microsoft word, it’s eluding at this exact moment, she is worth her weight in gold to rishi.

the manager sent me two huge bags of tea in apology; their original chai (which we problem solved a method that would work for me… see? gold=weight) and she picked up on one of my favourite aspects of their failed chocolate chai: huge chunks of vanilla bean and millions of vanilla seeds. the manager inquired as to whether i might like to try their vanilla black.

this tea is as purist as butiki’s lychee oolong. very simple and exactly what it says. fat chunks of vanilla bean and black tea. simple. very purist, absolutely lovely.

smooth black base, warm, strong, genuine vanilla presence. the vanilla lends an air of sweetness so not much is needed in terms of sweetener. a dot of cream turns it into the undoing of starbucks everywhere! lol.

very nice. quite lovely. i plan to experiment with a hot steep and then a cold overnight. i have no doubt it will be brilliant.

rishi… you are forgiven. don’t ever let that customer service manager go— she represents your interests well.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Sil

That’s awesome. :) this sounds delicious too haha

caile

That is really great!!

keychange

Good for you for following up as you did, and good for them for responding so amazingly well! adding this to my to-try list.

JustJames

i’m always impressed if a company can pull it out of the fire… i was so mad! and by the end of the conversation i just wasn’t. that takes a particular skill set, because i was ready to walk away and never look back.

Indigobloom

Makes me wanna buy from them now! customer service = awesome marketing :D

JustJames

agreed. and the mammoth bags of tea they sent me! wow! alot of companies don’t get that their customers are an equal if not greater investment to their product. rishi appears to get that.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
389 tasting notes

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89

thank you so much to my far-more-organized-than-i swap buddy, yyz, for this one.

yyz was unbelievably detailed in her labelling of the tea samples she sent me. she notes on this particular one that it was purchased in a polish grocery store. i have one of those not too far from me… i may have to stop by!

this tea was great! quince is a rare thing to find in north american teas. a cross between pear, cirus with an almost aloe like texture. this tea had lovely big chunks of quince in it. i grew up with quince jelly, so for me it wasn’t odd. the candied pineapple was a perfect opposite to the quince.

honestly, i can’t think of a better alternative base than this nice light green! quite excellent! thank you yyz. nas zdrowie =0)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec
yyz

I’m glad you like it! If they don’t have this one the bastek one isn’t that bad either ( though I like there lemon one best I think it kind of a creamy clover green and a light lemon). The Opuncia one is really good if you like a fruity floral flavour as well. In general I’ ve liked most of Big -Active teas. There Yunnan base is kind of intense in their blacks though, and is almost licorice like and can take some getting used to.

Anna

Oh! Hey! Quince!

JustJames

i am the one in 10 that actually enjoys black licorice, i wouldn’t have a problem dealing with an intense black with such overtones. i really enjoyed this tea, it was great!

i’m kindof ruined for teas from this continent aren’t i? french, german, polish…. sigh. lol. well, it costs less than a vacation!

Anna

You would fit right in among the Swedes, then – they’re all mad about licorice. Here’s a selection of some of the specialty licorice stores in Stockholm: http://www.lakritslaban.se/lakritsbutiker-i-stockholm/

yyz

I love licorice, that’s one of the things I miss about Guelph they have/had? A Dutch grocery store with an aisle of licorice! Hard, soft, salty, sweet you name it. Well if you’re game to try it my favourite is the Earl Grey which is strong and bold and has rose in it. It took me a bit to get into it but now when I can find it I really like it. I’ve also had the peach apricot and the golden Yunnan ( which had safflower and reminded me of watermelon, though I think it’s only available through their e store and the blend your own section which I don’t think ships internationally yet). The good things are the Polish Teas are really affordable. I get the green teas for under $3.00/100g!

JustJames

i love dutch black licorice…. the unsweetened stuff especially.

wonder if i can find the big active teas locally….? hmmmm.

JustJames

ANNA! don’t help! bad enough you tease me with tea leave licorice out of it!!!!!!!!!

Anna

MUHAHAHA.

OMGsrsly

I love black licorice, but it all has wheat in it. :( It’s the only way I can consume licorice root, actually. I find in tea the aftertaste is too much.

Anna

Oh, but OMGsrsly, there are several companies that make black licorice with rice flour instead – the texture is better, and it’s completely gluten free. Would that work for you?

OMGsrsly

I’ve seen only one brand, and it was like playdough. I couldn’t get past the texture. If I could find some that’s more like the ‘normal’ chewy licorice texture, that would be awesome.

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100

when was the last time you had a cup of ‘wow’? i mean on here, although we’re polite about it, we’re all fortunate enough to be afforded the luxury to be tea snobs (or connoisseurs if you’re more comfortable=0). so many companies send out ‘wow’ samples…. how do you measure after such skilled generosity?

for me this is WOW.

LiberTEAS drew my attention to the fact that they offered a sampler. that worked well for me seeing as i had just gone through my ‘rishi chocolate chai’ fiasco and i was not prepared to invest a ton without trying some first.

chico’s a california company, free trade, fresh made, highly spoken of by LiberTEAS. i love chai… never had it fresh =0)…. i was intrigued. the brilliant LiberTEAS even included a link for me!

the sampler included an original mix, a chocolate, a mate and a rooiboos. aw! rooiboos…. i wrote a letter. the tea blender, sarah replied promptly: ‘no problem. we can offer you another sample as your fourth.’ perfect!

as asked i made a note during checkout to remind sarah of our conversation and hit the ‘pay now’ button. …. …….. ………. ‘confirm payment’ WHAT???? THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR SHIPPING FROM CALIFORNIA TO BC? um, no. i politely said so.

again i got a very polite and prompt reply from a now concerned sarah. ‘WHAT? it is NOT supposed to be doing that!!!!’ of course it all wound up fine after a bit of fiddling, and i got my rooiboos free sampler with a surprise strainer included which perfectly fits the top of my mug! sarah! thank you so much!

customer service 5/5. on to the chai.

fresh makes all the difference apparently. it makes very good sense of course, but never having had it how could i know? lots of heat from the spice, a well rounded, comforting punch.

i used 7grams for 1.5 cups of water. water brought to a boil and then dropped to a simmer at which point i added the chai and let it roil for a conservative 10 minutes (they recommend anywhere from 5-30 minutes lol). i thought i’d start conservatively!

OMG…. LiberTEAS… i owe you. this is spice cake, this is spicy enough to give me an endophin rush but not so spicy that i have to sacrifice dignity by fanning my tongue. decadent, fresh, no hint of off-the-shelf spices. beautifully balanced. with cream added it reminds me of the spiced cream i make in the summertime with a lot more punch….

i absolutely see why sarah and chico are award winners. if i had more and (arguably) if i were a nicer guy i’d share to prove my point, but i don’t ….. and i’m rather in love so in this instance i’m not feeling abundantly nice! lol.

by FAR the best chai i’ve ever had. i will definitely order more… just have to figure out which one!

http://chicochaitea.com/shop/chico-chai-variety-box/

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
MissB

Keep it to yourself! :) I’ll definitely order some my next tea-buying go around.

JustJames

it is UNREAL! i cannot recommend it enough. wow! it’s a rare thing when i am not prepared to share a sample, lol.

Dexter

Yep – added to the shopping list – not allowed to buy tea at this time, but am really excited by this. Will order some once my stash is under control. The great chai quest is still on. Thanks James for pointing this out!!!

JustJames

i’m on that same diet dexter. i have a couple of swaps to do then i’m done for the semester or i’ll have problems with grocery money!! lol. hard to study if you’re worried about food. lol.

caile

Nice to find a ‘wow’ tea! Sounds good!

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