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344 Tasting Notes

100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
344 tasting notes

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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
344 tasting notes

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59

this is a nice tea… almost a revamped version of a jasmine blossom tea. if you are inclined to add cream (as i usually am) resist the urge, really. with cream it somehow goes from a nice, light floral to a honeysuckle/bull kelp. (i kid you not)

it doesn’t possess an overpowering floral, very reminiscent of walking in a spring garden and once you’ve passed the flowering shrub the scent stops. it reminds me more of a green oolong than a black. no astringency, a small amount of caffeine stick but it’s not at all unpleasant.

there are a few ‘problems’ that aren’t exactly problems and they are these:

- i started with a tea that i wound up adoring yesterday, the milk oolong, and i just don’t like this one as much.

- something about it makes me think i would only ever want to drink it in spring or summer. wrong flavours for fall and winter.

- this last one comes from my wife after she sniffed it: ’it’s a smell i would wear, but not one i would drink’. not so much one i would wear, but i see her point.

a floral jasminesque that james’s wife would prefer to wear than drink.

and one last time: you really don’t want to add milk!

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

I had the same problem with my batch of samples. I started with the Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong Tea and followed it up with the Milk Oolong. I ended up being disappointed with the Milk Oolong because the Tie Guan Yin was just so good.

I love Osmanthus Oolong so I asked Angel to send this one to me with my next batch of samples which should be here any day. I can’t wait to try it, but I know our tastes our very similar, so your review worries me a little.

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i got this gracious sample from CHAroma. thank you kindly.

i have to be the odd man out on this one… i loved the smell, but one way or another the smell did not translate to taste. the tea overpowered the taste and all the cotton candy smell dissolved.

it’s a distinct possibility that this was operator error, but i don’t have any left for a do-over. no number, not when i can’t back up my result.

… … … it smelled great!

Lala

I have not tired this specific blend from 52teas, I have tried the SBT version though. I find for most of the 52teas I have tried I keep the steep time to 2:30 or 3 minutes and use less than boiling water. Maybe 180/190F. Not sure if that will help.

Cavocorax

I found it worked much better cold-brewed than hot!

CHAroma

Aww, too bad. It really needs sweetener in my opinion to bring out the cotton candy flavor, especially when it’s hot. Otherwise, it’s just a hot cup of floral black tea. Frank has an iced tea version that is super good too and in stock! Only $3!

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95

right off the bat, thanks to angel for this wonderful sample! ‘in your experience how is teavivre’s customer service, james?’ funny you should ask, because i was planning on mentioning that first off (because that’s what we all consider first with a tea delivery, lol).

my teavivre samples arrived yesterday afternoon. i was running around like a crazy man and didn’t even have a chance to open the box until evening. then (following short sorceress’s very sensible plan) i vowed not to open it until i had finished my other open samples… after all no tea purchases (mostly) until august. and then i got an email.

it was angel from teavivre. she had received notice that my parcel had arrived and she wanted to make sure there was no damage to the samples. well i HAD to open it up then, didn’t i? it would be rude not to! seriously, i was very impressed… watching the delivery confirmations, checking for damaged samples??? i have received free tea samples before— as a rule the companies aren’t too worried about whether there’s any damage when it’s sent for free. it was also significant that teavivre appeared to be as happy about me receiving my samples as i was to have them. huge props specifically to angel for that lovely bit of diligence.

the tea, ooooooooooooooh the tea. light, sweet, creamy, mild floral notes finishing up with a mild marine note. echoes of a green oolong. no astringency, no caffeine stick on my tongue. this is a comfort tea. the kind that hugs you when you are stuck in traffic and running late. it is naturally sweet and when i take a small sip it seems to fill up my mouth.

i was up early today, running all over the city with nothing but this tea to keep my sanity. i was pressed into a new assessment protocol with this one; i took an extra five minutes (which made me late, but too bad) and recorded my observations on my iphone. another thing: i am notoriously bad for resteeping. i am generally so busy trying new teas that i only steep the one time. the sample package i opened this morning is the only tea i have had all day. why? 1)because i like it that much, 2) because it is that good on a resteep.

i really like this tea, so this is where i take a moment to become a drama llama… (i also sincerely believe this has been well earned):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-FfEcVcHWU

impressive. in every way. yes i will buy it when i run out of samples.

OH! AND THAT WAS NOTE NUMBER 100!!! appropriate that i hit triple digits with such a great tea…

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Dexter3657

Congrats on hitting 100!!!

JustJames

=0D thank you!

ashmanra

Yes, I have received such an email from them every single time I have ordered, so they are very consistent with checking up on their orders and the condition they arrive in! I am eagerly awaiting a box from them now.

JustJames

do tell! what are you expecting? (vicarious tea shopping here…)

Fjellrev

Congrats! This sounds like a mega swoon. I still need to order from Teavivre. I promise I will soon, Angel! Once I move to my new place and will have a more secure shipping address.

ashmanra

Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea (Mo Li Yin Zhen)
Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea
Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess” Oolong
I would have ordered a dozen more if I could have afforded it!

JustJames

i did the keemun too, the rose tuocha, the downy jasmine, and the osthmanthus. i am very excited to try them…. heard good things about the iron goddess….

Fuzzy_Peachkin

yay for 100! Teavivre has been pretty good so far.

TeaVivre

@JustJames: I am so happy that you like our tea and I appreciate that you share your notes with the tea lovers.We hope we can keep moving by good product quality and good customer service. We are open to your criticisms and suggestions so that we can go further.

@ashmanra and Incendiare: We will have a 2nd Anniversary promotion, if there is any tea you are interested in you can buy it with great discounts on July 19, 2013.

ashmanra

Thank you for letting us know, Teavivre! Yes, I would like to try more puerhs, and perhaps the osmanthus oolong. I have only had one osmanthus and that was a puerh but I liked the light floral note.
JustJames: my kids are crazy about the Teavivre puerh tuocha! Rose was wonderful.

CHAroma

Congratulations on the big milestone!

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86

first off, i believe i updated the tea info correctly for this excellent blend… it took some digging on tao tea leaf’s site, but if it’s wrong feel free to lecture, lol.

the description for this tea is bang on… it’s a sweet souchong, for which i am hugely grateful. a number of us have been discussing allergies on here tonight and one of my many is smoke. incense, cigarettes, the oven being cleaned. i think as a result i dislike/can’t tolerate smoke in tea. to my delight this one was just the right mix of sweet and smoke.

thank you so much scribbles for this great little baggie of surprise. i am enjoying it as we speak! lovely with cream and sugar (i do smoke creamed, lol)… i will try it all by it’s lonesome another day. today i crave my standard comforts. it has been another looooong medical day.

scribbles, is tao tea leaf giving you an extra discount or a stipend at all? because i will buy this one in future. xoxo

steep 2: less sweet but no increase in smoke. takes on a marine tone, but not unpleasantly so… like a sweet mild version of seaweed. there is also an echo of puerh in it… again, very gently. just a hint.

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

Next time I go to Tao, I’ll pick some up for you.

Cavocorax

I think you said somewhere that the image uploads don’t work when editing teas? I’ve found that if you update it, save it, and then JUST upload the picture (and upload – don’t link it), it’ll work. I just did it for this one: http://steepster.com/teas/zen-tea/38921-shui-hsien-organic-oolong

JustJames

thank you cavocorax, i’ll do that next time!

scribbles my dearest, do not spend Your tea budget on Me. you are lovely, but i can buy my own tea, LOL.

there is something winging its way to you by the way =0P

scribbles

Too much!! :)

JustJames

hah! too bad! xo

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86
drank Strawberry Zabaglione by 52teas
344 tasting notes

this really has been a very odd tea weekend… i’ve suspended numerical pronouncements more times this weekend than i ever have in my entire loose leaf drinking history! that’s not what i’ll be doing with this one… but it will be in the ball park.

like frank, 52teas alchemist/magician/cookerer i did not know what zabaglione was. i thought i did, but i was wrong. in my head it was a tart with strawberries and mascarpone cheese. thus when i tasted it i had a moment of pause…

i have no idea what kind of a real world dessert/bacon/jello baker frank is, but in terms of tea he is pretty skookum! this is a man that i would be happy cooking a pancake and bacon breakfast for me! im sure he’d pile on the butter and syrup, although we might have a brief heated discussion to the effect of ‘no, i do not want the bacon IN the pancakes’, but seeing as we haven’t met i could be way off in that statement. (something about their website strikes me that frank may have a small obsession with the bacon food group is all, lol). ANYWAY, i was surprised when i didn’t taste pastry.

… … … i was chagrined. frank makes awesome tea pastry! and pancakes, and french toast, and danii (the plural of danish… yes, my invention). where was my pastry? my buttery, flaky, liquid version of a crispy pastry to go with my strawberries and mascarpone? and speaking of which, where was my mascarpone??? i wished briefly i were in a restaurant so i could have an aside with chef frank!

and then i looked a bit more closely at the picture on the label… it didn’t have mascarpone or pastry. i was beginning to feel an overdeveloped sense of responsibility (the word guilt is so overdone).

following frank’s example i posed the question to the all knowing dr. google: ‘what is strawberry zabaglione?’ here is the short version of the answer: http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/sites/bbcgoodfood.com/files/recipe_images/recipe-image-legacy-id—9921_11.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/6319/strawberry-zabaglione&h=400&w=440&sz=20&tbnid=qtarfLGZBW-0XM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=99&zoom=1&usg=__6jg8fMJBZcG7a53d4ZBzn6JZ9zA=&docid=X7wR9peJ8PooOM&sa=X&ei=YRvjUe7tDIiviQLgyIHgCg&ved=0CE4Q9QEwAw&dur=3799

the less codified answer is ‘strawberries and whipped cream. aw… i’m sorry frank! here i thought you had dropped the tea ball, and you didn’t.

this tea is absolutely strawberries and whipped cream. i think maybe frank could have swirled the whipped cream up into a fancier shape… like a swan or a 52, but i get that he might have been busy. the black tea background is there and nicely blended with the rest of the blend. there is nothing overpowering or any flavours that should be there that are not.

pedal to the medal: okay frank, the number you see is for your accomplishment, this tea is totally fancy strawberries and whipped cream… i don’t taste the little glass dish and silver spoon, but hey— i’m not sad about that.

HOWEVER if i were given the chance to buy the tea (yes i know it’s archived) i wouldn’t… simply because i also wouldn’t buy the dessert. i’m a pastry guy, lol.

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

oooh…. big mea culpa: THANKS TO CHAroma for this! sorry!!!

gmathis

You get the prize for Most Inventive Vocabulary of the Weekend.

JustJames

lol. really? trophy or ribbon? =0)

gmathis

A bronzed teacup.

JustJames

=0) with tea inside???

ashmanra

I really taste the boozy flavor in this one. Really nice!

JustJames

hmmm, i hadn’t thought about that! perhaps a cordial type taste from my side. =0)

CHAroma

LOL! This was a very entertaining note!

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86
drank Red Hot by American Tea Room
344 tasting notes

okay, so for some unknown reason i was prompted to try this tea. i tend to have an aversion to cinnamon, similar to my banana bias…. call me a masochist, but i wanted to know how the chilli pepper went with the cinnamon.

i don’t usually do spice, so erring on the side of caution i leafed following the instructions (so unlike me). it’s a good thing i did! this tea has got game! i got heat in a ring around my tonsils… which is weird seeing as i was born without any!

whew! predictably, i’m in a great mood now, lol. (spice causes endorphins to be released)… wonder what will happen if i do my usual leafing? heh heh.

i like this one. american tea company is an interesting vendor… creative combinations.

OKAY: there are actual chilli centers in this blend…. i doubled my leaf and my steeping time. HOLY HANNAH!!! (can’t imagine what it would be like if i weren’t complete chicken that put cream in it, lol!

NEVERMIND! as it cools it gains more teeth!!! even WITH cream. i don’t even taste cinnamon at this point and it’s a creative thing if i hiccup. i will be ordering this again…. it’ll reduce my hydro bills in the winter!!!!

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

Wow, I’m yet to find a fiery hot tea! This sounds like the real deal.

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smells like a divine dessert as it steeps, however if you are a puerh lover (which i am), then you want the flavour to work WITH the puerh and not banish it, which this one did. now, it could be my fault: my standard M/O with puerh is to overleaf and to oversteep… i like it strong! possibly i compounded the over strong flavour because of that. i’ll try another steep and reserve numerical rating until then (i have had A LOT of those in the last 3 days!!!)

if you want a straight up dessert tea, with pudding in your cup regardless of the base then you will enjoy this. seriously, you don’t even need dessert with this one. however, if like me you prefer a flavour that respectfully nods its head to the puerh, you will not like this tea.

atypical flavour breakdown: my wife woke up, stumbled into the kitchen and mutter/snarled (you know when you’re half asleep and everything sounds angry?) ‘what smells like vanilla?’ the smell woke her up in our bedroom 30 feet away. with the door closed.

definitely caramel. reminds me of the kraft caramels from halloween when i was a kid. very sweet. no salt flavour. also no puerh. strong flavour, strong colour… fully opaque (ahem… as opposed to verdant’s 2010 xingyang… you did NOT just hear me make that comparison though!)

i should note that what i do and do not appreciate is not necessarily on par with the goal of the tea blender. a strong dessert tea may be precisely what they were trying to accomplish, in which case ‘mazel tov! mission accomplished!’ …. i just overempathize with puerh. lol.

ARGH!!! i have my guerilla tea buddy SCRIBBLES to thank for this dessert experience. it came in my surprise package this week. THANK YOU!!!

UPDATE: got nothing at all from the resteep. so, i’ll go back to previous statement: if you’re looking for a dessert tea, but it’s not a puerh by my definition. i will continue to abstain from a numerical definition….

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

I agree…it is very sweet, and I like it more in the evening, ’cos it reminds me of butterscotch ripple ice cream.

JustJames

thank you scribbles! my brain is a bit dead… it’s saturday.

scribbles

No!!! Not brain dead….you didn’t know how sweet this would be….is very dessert-like and not to everyone’s preference.

OMGsrsly

This one is now on my shopping list – it’s right up my alley!

JustJames

@OMGsrsly… i can set aside the rest of my sample for you if you want. let me know!

OMGsrsly

Ooo. Even just enough for a cup would be amazing. :)

JustJames

lets exchange info then!

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drank Ambrosia by American Tea Room
344 tasting notes

this tea is clever. it has a fairly strong pear and mango scent, but the taste is another story. the pear contribution could have been acid but instead it’s a very good base! i don’t think i’ll order it again, but i am very glad i bought the sample. by far the most unusual white i’ve tried. quite lovely! pears just aren’t my thing. =0) (so i won’t assign a number)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 15 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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