378 Tasting Notes

89
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
378 tasting notes

my oh my….. dark chocolate, roastiness, but not over the top. layers, very clever layers. i swear i taste a fruit layer that alternates! like a tea version of a the blue and red alternating of a binary star system only instead of coloured light flickering in a dark sky, it’s banana and strawberry in my tea cup. how striking. very subtle…. not so subtle that i think i’m crazy though. =0)

very, very nicely done 52teas! it will also serve nicely to boot my butt into gear for morning classes!! thank you very much!!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Fruit layer, eh? I always get banana from roasted mate. It’s the weirdest thing! So our taste buds must interpret it in the same way.

JustJames

isn’t it nice to know you’re not bananas? (couldn’t resist). sometimes it’s distinctly banana, others it’s a something-berry.

CelebriTEA

Sounds like another interesting one ;-)

JustJames

it is, very much so. different tea companies represent different traits to me: verdant is elegantly purist, butiki is the best flavoured teas in the business, french teas…. are another universe, 52 teas is whimsy. frank, the owner, is a highly creative individual. i actually have to be careful how much of this one i have the caffeine is so strong, lol. malted chocolate milkshakes with cherry bananas. =0)

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100
drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
378 tasting notes

OH WOW! chocolate lovers of the world unite: try this as a base for your cocoa. Omigod. truly unreal.

JustJames

and this with a second steeping! 1 tsp xylitol, 1 tsp cocoa, bunch of water, some half and half…… life is good!

Stephanie

Whoa…does she have it for sale?

caile

Sounds delicious!

JustJames

i think so? she was debating last i heard. ask her, if she says no i’ll send you some stephanie.

Stephanie

Aww, that is super sweet JustJames! I’d be happy to send you something in return from my cupboard :)

JustJames

lol, PM me send me your addy. i have 3? 4? i’m sending out this week. i’ll try for today, but i’ve been feeling crummy =0(
i haven’t had a cold IN YEARS!!!! yay school? or that’s my guess. let’s see if i can send it out today….

Stephanie

You are super nice! I hope you feel better :)

BrewTEAlly Sweet

Why have I never heard of this one?! I’m super jealous!!

JustJames

it’s a custom build and just new. i’m open to sharing though! i also know one miss lim has been considering carrying it, so the more people that nag the more likely it is to happen! lol.

CelebriTEA

Where do you find this custom tea?
Sounds intriguing…

Sil

celebritea – stacy does custom blending. If you reach out to her she can work with you to make a custom tea for you

CelebriTEA

May I ask who Stacy is?

JustJames

stacy lim is the owner and master tea designer of butiki teas =0) i can probably muster some to send you. it was a custom tea for me. i have to say, the process was a lot of fun. and stacy is great.

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72
drank Maple Tea by Canada True
378 tasting notes

huh, not bad. this one was recouped from my winner’s tea expedition yesterday. it’s been a long time since i’ve had a bagged tea and honestly, i’ve become enough of a loose leaf snob that if i’d been using my literacy (notice i say IF) i likely wouldn’t have bought. i grabbed this one and a blueberry. really….. not bad. both teas carry a distinct cookie quality. i used two tea bags for my 16 oz mug and a 3 minute steep.

it has layers. the maple is more olfactory when it’s screaming hot, but becomes more tangible as taste as it cools.

don’t think i’ll buy again, but i have had far, far worse in my life!!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Dexter

LOL Too funny, I saw this one at my Winners today but didn’t buy it. I did buy a box of Mighty Leaf Tea – Organic African Nectar – it says “whole leaf pouches” but that might be just a fancy name for teabags. It’s funny how when confronted with a “wall” of tea we forget everything we’ve learned and just buy randomly. :)

JustJames

i think i saw that one, lol. literacy was working there. apparently the word ‘pouches’ was working, but the word ‘bags’ was not. the blueberry from this company is quite nice…. haven’t gotten around to rating.

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89

stacy….. truly, how lovely. the softest scent of roses, the perfect balance of cream…. a hint of effervescence. beautiful. you are are so very good.

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

You need to be writing advertising copy. I want this now, and I’m not even into rose teas…much :)

JustJames

(insert bright red face to match red mohawk) thank you. stacy did all the work….

CHAroma

Does this actually taste like liquor? I’m always wary of alcohol-related teas.

JustJames

no, not in the least. i wouldn’t like it if it were the case. i believe the champagne aspect references a very light effervescence present in the steep after the fact.

CHAroma

Cool, thanks!

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76

okay, i really need to review my personal standpoint on stubbornness. i did this tea SUCH a disservice yesterday. overleafed, oversteeped…… i wonder if admitting that and having the brilliant new fancy kettle permits me to buy teas i might have muddled….? lol. ah, life is full of justifications for loose leafers!

WHEN IT’S DONE RIGHT and you aren’t being a know-it-all-jerk (that would be me i’m talking about)this tea is: light and sweet. almonds, but not marzipan. reminds me very much of amaretto the alcohol. if you OVERLEAF it it will come across much more like amaretto but with a harsh acrid bitter kick. which i totally deserved. …. ……. …….. i might have put in 2 tbsp. …. ……… and left it for 6 minutes. possibly. lol.

light, sweet. very smooth! i’m not used to ceylons (heh heh, the sci-fi dork in me wants to say cylons) being so agreeable! the tea base is warm and round on its own, separate from the flavour level. it gives me a light amber flavour, though a darker colour steep.

very nice.

back to lab 5. we’ll see how up to date my human geography professor is with sex ed is in sub saharan africa. i think my analysis may catch him a tad offguard, lol. but i always get good marks. partly because i citation him to death.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
OMGsrsly

Yes! Cite everything! One of my friends is marking for a first year class, and it’s an automatic D if they don’t cite. You wouldn’t believe (or maybe you would) how many students don’t cite their sources. :/

JustJames

we have three pages of citations. for a lab. it makes it much harder to argue with us. our information is rock solid…. if he disagrees with our opinions or my somewhat shocking analysis then that’s a different thing, but our numbers and our data are BACKED UP.

(hmmmm….) we’re evaluating the 5 best and 5 worst countries for child under 5 mortality and i stumbled onto a fascinating piece of information…… not sure i should reveal it here, but i don’t think he’s expecting it.

my lab partner and i like to be bullet proof. =0)

OMGsrsly

Awesome. :)

JustJames

nothin’ like a PAIR of bullet proof smarta…. well you know how that word ends. =0)

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91
drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
378 tasting notes

ah! my first birthday review! i’ve been 38 for a whole half a day and nothing….. i feel no different. then again, it’s always like that =0)

after last year (when my mother bought me a huge amount of wine most of which is still kicking around our kitchen) i went out on a limb and discussed with her the concept of going a different direction this year: if she really wanted to pour a couple hundred dollars into beverages in honour of my birthday, could we go with something that I like? please? are you imagining me tap dancing dear friends? can you imagine how dicey that conversation that might have been? she laughed, said that if i wanted my GRANNY’S habit indulged she SUPPOSED she could. granny? really? what part of tea says senior citizen? i mean i’d have thought she could have gone for grampa at least….

anyway, as always, i digress!!! when the box from dammann freres arrived my mother could have called me anything she wanted. the smells drifting up from the box after i carefully opened it! berry and biscuit, chocolate and nuts….. separate blends that somehow all played together happily; separate but still comprising a mutual fan club. this one was the first of my day….. i sipped it in a daze on the way to school. what a way to wake up on your birthday!

this in my cup with music that was likely way too loud, smile wrapped around my head two times. i worked all weekend on a lab that i only got half done until i ran it by my prof who said i could stop with what i had because i had done so impressively much. it’s been a good birthday so far!

sushi coming up for dinner, new kettle kettle humming in the background…. a buffet of spoiled boy teas to chose from. why is it i shouldn’t like birthdays again?

my wife refuses to try this tea…. though she says she might consider wearing it as a perfume. =0)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
caile

Happy birthday!

JustJames

=0) thank you! it’s a good day to be 38!!!

ifjuly

Yay, happy bday!

JustJames

=0) what better way than to celebrate with friends?

Fjellrev

Happy happy birthday!

JustJames

thank you! they wrote ‘happy birthday’ with a smiley face on my sashimi container and i swear it tasted better than usual, lol. maybe they reserve the best stuff for birthday boys?

keychange

Happy birthday, you!! I’m so glad your mom got you a ton of tea!

JustJames

okay, i cannot express the value of a temperature programmable kettle!!!! wow stuff tastes amazing!!! i feel very spoiled. and i found out at about 3 this morning that i got 90% on my big psych project and she’s offering me 100%. THAT is a hell of a birthday!

Cavocorax

Happy Birthday! :) (belated – whoops!)
And that’s great about the new kettle and the awesome marks!

JustJames

thanks and thanks! say….. anything interesting in your mail box?

Cavocorax

No…. not yet. :( I’ll let you know as soon as I see something!

Ysaurella

Bon anniversaire + 1 jour !

JustJames

merci! est-ce-que votre cadeau est arrive?

Ysaurella

non pas encore mais peut être demain ou samedi :)

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100
drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
378 tasting notes

i love this tea…. go figure, it was made for me! but it’s not just the blend i love…. it was the whole process.

stacy is brilliant. we all know that, but working with her one on one that is absolutely reinforced. we tried tons of combinations. we were all over the map! she listened to every idea i had and added in her experience, what did we get? a delightfully NOT tropical coconut/baked banana praline invention that makes me feel like i’m eating dessert even though i have very proudly (and honestly!!!) been off sugar for 2 weeks now.

the banana level is deep, very reminiscent of when i make baked bananas with butter, lemon juice and a pinch of brown sugar. the hint of lemon is there, i swear. the coconut is beautifully balanced by the banana and praline. not to mention the taiwanese assam! i love that the blend has a brilliant tea to back it!

if you have dreams of tea i cannot recommend stacy lim highly enough. the person, the process and the result. she even allowed for my particular fondness of cream and sweetener (formerly known as sugar, lol). it’s great with, without. hell, it’s just great.

thank you so much stacy…. i have sent a bunch of it out, though only two know it’s coming, lol!

of course it gets 100%! oh, and in case you need the reference that stacy and i geeked out over: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-q3_XoS2T8 …. believe you me, there were many, MANY discussions about dr. who tea names!

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

Sounds delicious!

JustJames

it was alot of fun. at a certain point stacy said ‘it needs a fruit balance’. i disagreed. i finally conceded with ‘bananas’ to which she disagreed but agreed to make up a batch with prejudice (LMAO) then she wound up loving it and so did i. which is amusing because i usually have a hefty banana bias. it was awesome.

CrowKettle

I might have to request some of that sometime.

JustJames

absolutely! i have an immense amount, lol!

Terri HarpLady

That sounds delicious!

JustJames

truly my friends…. PM me your addresses, i’ll shove a sample in an envelope and shuffle it your way. i have a ton of tea, no swaps, but you are more than welcome to try it. i have zero problem buying some US stamps and sending a sample your way. obviously same for my fellow canadians. =0)

ifjuly

that does sound really good!

Amariel

OMG, a River Song tea. Are the bananas from a grove in Villengard, by chance? Heh. PS I want to try some, and apparently we live in the same city? How’s that happen? :P

JustJames

I JUST NOTICED THAT 30 SECONDS AGO, lol. yay powers of observation. well, we’ll just have to meet up so i can hand you over a sample. not sure about the origins of the bananas, but i can tell you this much….. if stacy has access to a TARDIS or an atypical presentation of time and space in any way whatsoever then i want in!

Amariel

Yep. Anyhow, it won’t be in the next week, since I am traveling stateside to visit friends, family, and go to Long Island Who. :P But after that, for sure.

Butiki Teas

This blend was soooo much fun to make! This was the first time working with someone where we just let the flavors go wherever they wanted to go. The only two requirements were coconut and complex flavors. We even tried a lime, rose, coconut. In my head that one sounded so good but in reality it tasted like musty curtains.

JustJames

HAHAHAHAHA….. that is an awesome taste metaphor!!! i have sent a bunch out. i will be sending more. appropriately my dear you are brilliantly appreciated and not just by me! xoxo

CrowKettle

I’ll PM you too in a bit but we also live in the same city. Maybe I’ll snag some off of Heather :P

JustJames

whichever is easiest for you =0)

Amariel

We can plan something when I get back. :)

Sil

i might just love you a lot for making this tea.

VariaTEA

I don’t even know how I got to this tasting note but this tea sounds amazing

JustJames

i’m not sure if i get to say thank you or not….. my wishlist our con-joined fussing, stacy’s work? lol!

Sil

justjames..i want it all. I’m so excited for our swap heh

JustJames

me too!! am i waiting for nina’s to arrive? or am i sending today/tomorrow?

Sil

Send it whenever lol. I’m in no rush. Like i said, I don’t need Nina’s :) stacy teas on the other hand…

Hello.Kiki

This sounds amazing!

JustJames

it’s quite excellent! stacy is amazing =0)

Amariel

Can’t wait til I can try some.

MissB

Stacy will be selling it soon, it sounds like. :) Then we can all get our fix.

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i don’t know what i expected from this tea…. but is is most certainly not what i got.

as a rule, things that are are harvested in canada in fall like the grapes for ice wine and winter like maple syrup are viscous and have an intense potential for sweet. playing off the word ‘frost’ i think that, paired with the colder weather, had me expecting something with an element of sweetness. i was entirely wrong.

while i smelled a light floral from the dry, the strangest thing i have ever encountered happened with the water added: nothing. well, almost.

i have an autoimmune disease that impacts my nervous system primarily. i have some abilities that could be called rather rare, though certainly not unheard of— like being able to smell the metal UNDERNEATH the plating metal. weird. i know.

this tea is cold. it smells like ice. yes, for me temperature can have a smell. screaming hot, steaming away, scalds my tongue….. and it is ice. pure ice. i have never encountered such a thing!

i don’t know if i like it… i don’t DISlike it, but i want a repeat performance. thinking that i might be having an early moment of dementia i wrenched the top off my tea cup in class today and shoved it under my lab partner’s nose. (she’s used to this by now)
‘what do you smell?’
‘i….nothing?’ (perplexed look) she grabbed the cup and took a more serious sniff. ‘how can it smell like nothing?’
‘it smells like ice to me.’
‘james, ice doesn’t have a smell!’
‘yes it does.’

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

Oh, that’s curious! On to the list this one goes.

JustJames

quite, quite unique! distinctly striking…. i just have no idea how to classify it yet! lol.

Ysaurella

sounds really interesting, as your ability to smell metal and ice !

JustJames

i guess everybody needs a skill? lol

OMGsrsly

Thinking about the Maple Pecan Oolong, I totally get where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t have phrased it the same way, but I do get it. Now I want to try the base tea on its own! :)

Amariel

I agree, ice does have a smell.

JustJames

i will let my lab partner know. … …. AND my wife, lol.

Amariel

I admit I am super sensitive to smells. I smell things at work that no one else does.

Amariel

Which is bad because it often results in a migraine or a headache of some annoyance at least. :(

JustJames

me too… mine’s a nervous system disease byproduct. i don’t get headaches, well, barometric if there’s a real swing….. but i can usually smell it, before it happens lol!!!!! although i get clogged up really easily from stuff too and i wind smelling nothing. sigh. everything is a coin toss: the up side, the flip side.

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87
drank Golden Turtle by Mandala Tea
378 tasting notes

ooooh, very nice mandala! simply complex.

very smooth, reminiscent of a tie guan in, or yellow…… i really don’t think i would have guessed it was anykind of oolong had it not been on the packaging. robust but in a light hearted kind of way.

on a completely separate note, i wanted to thank your group for your product excellence. i had lunch with my mum today. often we don’t get on, but life has been a bit tough on her lately and the place where we meet always has great food but ghastly tropical flavoured bagged green teas. i brought my bag of yellow buds with me and made her a pot at the table. she loved it! she was very surprised at the steep time, the colour, the taste. i know things are going to be difficult in her life for a while longer, so i sent her home with the tea and told her i’d get her more when she ran out.

your company really is a class act. and while my mother doesn’t know you at all, on behalf of us both i will thank you.

i find these days i bounce between paris (mariage and dammann) complexity and manadala’s understated simplicity. but that’s like calling a circle simple to someone whose only ever drawn straight lines. thank you for the introspectively quiet circle.

most sincerely, james.

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

James, thank you so much for not only taking time to write the reviews, but for the kind words about our humble endeavor here at Mandala Tea. I am honored to have earned such accolades from you. This makes my day. Truly.

Grateful,
Garret

JustJames

most welcome and well earned, garret.

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85
drank Demain by Nina's Paris
378 tasting notes

this tea is grand, i mean truly exceptional.

dry it reminds me of ripe strawberries and raspberry jello, but once the water goes in there is a premeditated tartness from the green base that negates any thoughts of jello whatsoever.

my unsolicited advice (as someone who thoroughly messed up their first attempt), believe the 3 minute recommendation on the bag. nina’s has been doing this long enough that they don’t recommend halfheartedly.

the green they have chosen is very smart indeed…. it has a sharp tang that is absolutely timed to the minute. the berries are balanced against a three minute time…. like a smartypants i figured more was better and went for 4 the first time and got no berries whatsoever. when correctly timed you get a perfect equation with perfectly (not over) ripe berries with a medium strength green tea. this is a flavoured green, there is never any doubt that it is a tea. with some flavoured blends the tea essence is lost, but not here.

very nice. little doubt i will buy again!

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

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Profile

Bio

Time For A ReWrite!

A good friend of mine on here kindly asked me to do the Steepster world a favour and list my allergies front and center (fair enough, lol):

-COFFEE … rare, nasty, not even a bit funny if i’m exposed. (call me original)

-ROOIBOOS … is a new appearance. under certain circumstances i’m okay with it (ie if it’s GREEN and paired with mate) but because i have an auto immune disease i try not to poke at things.

*NOT an allergy, but an abnormality that drives my tea buddies bananas, i AM INCAPABLE OF TASTING CARAMEL AND TOFFEE. so i thought i’d list it at the top too. it’s very annoying. they smell great!!?

Hi! I’m James!

I’m a student: double major of human geography and psychology with the intention of chasing a double doctorate. (reading that over it occurs to me again that i must be crazy).

i’m a live and let live sort. i look and see alot of silver linings. my discovery of tea has only served to further that viewpoint. for me tea is art and nuance, watercolours and bold brushstrokes….

swaps are grand things! the element of surprise in a tea swap completely trumps forrest gump’s chocolate box life metaphor, lol.

favourites: french teas dammann freres, mariage freres and nina’s paris especially.

i have recently discovered a german tea company that has romanced me: tea gschwendner (sp?)

mandala teas is brilliant and a company i count on.

justea and tealet are companies i study because of both their exceptional products and and business models, as well as their work with farmers who are TOO POOR for fair trade certification. this is highly relevant to my studies.

90-100 i need more
80-90 i might need more, or it might be a respect vote
below 75? it was likely an oops buy. my evolution into french teas has vastly focused what i like!!

however, i’m always open to trying things.

dislikes so far: guayasa, darjeeling, most peach teas.

Location

Victoria, BC

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