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343 Tasting Notes

97

this is just the most comforting tea, light and grassy. i like it as a latte with a bit of simple syrup…… this tea settles me and life is a gong show right now.

i am upping my rating…

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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8
drank Snow Geisha by Teavana
343 tasting notes

oh. dear. robitussin was not meant to be a tea flavour!

the name casts a beautiful image… mt. fuji and sayuri (memoirs of a geisha) and the fact that when i was little i said i wanted to be japanese when i grew up (katanas! tea ceremonies! sashimi!) (okay, when i was a kid it was mostly the swords….) needless to say i am still an irish punk and not a japanese punk, but a tea named snow geisha? i love cherries, and i still had a coupon left over for any iced tea of my choice for a dollar… what better way to sample a prohibitively expensive tea than with a coupon than iced on a hot day?

i don’t know who invented cough syrup or robitussin in particular but if it was japan then i choose to live firmly in denial! i didn’t even have to the heart to say anything, because they are so nice and were so hopeful i would like this one after my allergic reaction last night. i just took a couple of sips and tried to make sure i was smiling not grimacing.

hee hee hee… although i enjoyed sowing a bit of dissent today. i have so much tea and i really think tea is meant for sharing, so i brought a bit of verdant tea with me. the looks on their faces as they sniffed, LOL!!!

i hope they enjoy it. and they are a lovely staff at mayfair… but i truly despise this tea (obviously through no fault of theirs).

in the interest of objectivity i gave the rest to my youngest son (without telling him anything about it) who has just started into loose leaf and often steals swigs out of my mugs if i don’t watch him and he was horrified! so it’s not just me.

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I tried some of this once… :ppp

JustJames

we are in agreement! the idea was nice… but that was all.

Bonnie

Hahaha! :/

Aimee Popovacki

the name makes it sound so pretty lol.

JustJames

it does… which classifies it as a trick tea! no geisha would be impressed.

Aimee Popovacki

lol i hate when companies do that!

Terri HarpLady

You have to wonder if anybody actually bothers to drink it, or if they just put it together to ‘look good’.

JustJames

no clue… all i can say is that they have much better blends that cost far less.

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18
drank Fig Rose by Teavana
343 tasting notes

i love figs, i love rose in tea… when i was at teavana today i was given a coupon for an iced tea… just one dollar. sure! it had been a long, errand filled day. i could do with a tea. and this was the one i chose.

something was wrong. and i said so. ‘i taste a cake type base (but not the yummy kind)’. the sales people were surprised and scurried to read the tin. ‘well, the figs are coated in rice flour so they hold their shape, but it’s only a little.’ well some things may be small in amount but large in effect!

the balance was off and i kept feeling as though i were eating a tart fruit stir fry over rice. i am heartbroken on behalf of the figs!

this is a first real failure on teavana’s behalf for me.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Aimee Popovacki

see i liked that one… kind of… but the more i drank it the more turned off i was from it… i got the same cakey taste.

scribbles

When I first smelled this in the store I thought it did not smell very good, but I kinda like it. I would re-purchase, but have too many other tea’s….

JustJames

the first sips i liked, but the cake wasn’t a sweet puerh like taste i was getting… i was just starch, it wasn’t complimentary at all. but same timeline as you Aimee Popovacki.

Aimee Popovacki

yeah.. I definitely liked it when I smelled it, and liked probably my first cup.. I found it wasn’t so bad cold steeped… but that takes a lot of time, and then if you forget and leave it too long I suspect it will have that cakey taste.

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70

okay, it’s not verdant or butiki, but this tea surprised me! first, i never would have guessed it was an oolong. very sweet all on it’s own so my standard bit of sugar tipped it rather over the edge, lol.

the champagne part comes from champagne grapes, the rose is just the right strength and the strawberry is very light but still noticeable! although i didn’t i’m sure it would be fine with cream. it’s almost juice-like. very perfumed, but with a taste backing it.

very western in its style, but that not a bad thing. there’s even a bit of bubble that comes with it…. not bad!

UPDATE: and apparently it’s a good thing i have my receipt… i always figured it was the bubbles that made me feel like i was part blowfish… apparently not! apparently it’s the grapes. glad i didn’t eat too much at dinner or i wouldn’t fit my trousers!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec
OMGsrsly

Oh no! I hope you feel better soon.

JustJames

seriously! me and my damned sensitivities!!!! well, at least i know the cause now. i knew auto immune bred allergies, but this is just dumb. (grrr)

Terri HarpLady

I hate when that happens :(

JustJames

it’s getting to the point where it’s easier to list what i’m not allergic/sensitive to than what i am. however, at least it’s not a lethal allergy…. just an ’i’m not going out because i don’t fit my clothes sensitivity.

ashmanra

Aren’t grapes and raisins lumped in with almonds for containing salicylates? My godson is somewhat sensitive and is supposed to limit his exposure to all of those. Hope you feel better!

Terri HarpLady

Most often dried fruits are treated with sulfites to help maintain their color. They are also often dipped in sugar, or sometimes soaked in sugar water for awhile before dehydrating, to help maintain a certain density/juiciness. Also, alot of flavored teas are flavored artificially (& who knows what with). With all my issues with various foods & chemicals, that’s all the more reason that I prefer straight out full leaf teas, although I will give something a try once in awhile. I loved the name of this one, & it looked real pretty, but when I took a whiff of the aroma, it was, “No.” :)

JustJames

i THOUGHT teavana had to list anything artificial AND that artificial was never chemical, but rather something not occurring in nature. i will have to research this. if what you have said is true then i will not shop there anymore because i felt rotten all night. LOL although i do like some of the girls there and am heading back with my defunct teas….. but as i have mentioned previously, i am a bad, bad man. i am sharing some of my samples from verdant LMAO. let’s teach them about real tea!

Terri HarpLady

Don’t quote me, because I don’t know for sure about Teavana. Most of their flavored teas just don’t appeal to me, although for awhile I really LOVED their Peach Tranquility. Last time I visited, they didn’t have any.

JustJames

my wife loves that tea. i grabbed their peachberry sutra and it’s going back too…. i don’t taste any tea! if i wanted juice i would get some fresh squeezed orange juice.

OMGsrsly

According to someone who works there, the ones with natural flavours are: Wild orange Wulong and Wild orange blossom.

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83

a green oolong? and a roasted oolong in my verdant tea of the month package? it seems that lily and david like to start new loose leafers out with challenge and intrigue! i was just getting used to oolongs nevermind these lovely roasty things… or this very elegant green. (what a lovely week with verdant i’ve had!)

dry it smells very marine. almost to a point where i was uneasy… i was getting a strong seaweed vibe which is grand for sushi, but i am reluctant with tea. my concerns, however, were overblown. as soon as hot water was added to the complicated knots the scent became ‘other’.

i frequently find myself trying to define verdant phenomenon, lol. under the influence of heat and water there were still marine tones but it had become a more familiar aqueous reflection: i tasted bamboo! light, sweet, with an oolong curl which drew my attention more than any conventional green could.

no cream. a bit of simple syrup (which i find much less acid than stirring in straight granulated) and my tea was excellent! an excellent week indeed!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
343 tasting notes

Golden fleece is an apt name… once I snipped my way into the bag I felt like Jason staring down surprised that I had fulfilled my quest by using such a simple tool. Long wavy leaves, some gold, some bronze. The leaves smell like a spice I don’t know, but feel like I should, light and sweet—not cinnamon, not clove, it’s not so offensive as those… though up until the opening of this bag I had liked both of them . How odd.

I scooped a spoonful into my tea basket… it left gold speckles behind against the stainless gleam. Proof of my golden victory or so I thought until I sipped. A crew of eighth century Argonauts heaved a cheer off a page of parchment. The normally quippy music theme in my head became infiltrated by high stringed arpeggios playing counterpoint to bass drums and brass chords. I was drinking a dramatis personae, a choir in perfoming an unblemished harmony in my mouth. Just as suddenly the ensemble vanished without a trace and I was left bereft. Had it all been imagined? I sipped again out of distress. FORTISSIMO! It came back. I swallowed. Pianissimo… it ebbed and left with a whisper as though it had never been there.

Indeed… it takes quite a tea to stow my humour, to play the part of a serious reviewer. And all it took was the prize from an ancient Greek myth.

Words: superlative, exceptional, unparalleled.

Personal Note: Lily and David, if I could give you 142/100 (because 42 is the meaning of life the universe and everything… just like this tea) then I would in a heartbeat. What a lovely experience on such an exciting day for me.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec
OMGsrsly

You’re making me want to give their teas another try. :)

OMGsrsly

Nope. The only ones I’ve liked so far are the Earl of Anxi, and the ginger sage winter spa blend. I have a basket of samples of almost everything open in another window, and it’s so tempting to try again.

And now I’ve gone and sniffed teas and I want some Earl of Anxi at 12:10am. I should be going to sleep…

OMGsrsly

Oh, I also like the chocolate phoenix chai. I have weirdly specific likes. :)

JustJames

well, you’re nearby i don’t mind sharing. straight up it will only be a wee bit of this one, lol… but fair shares of others. let me know!

OMGsrsly

Haha. Yes, I’m nearby. We’re talking about another tea meetup. Would you be interested? We’re not sure which side of the water it’ll be on yet. Oh, and I don’t mind buying samples from Verdant. I mean, it’s $40. I used to spend that on coffees every week.

Bonnie

Well Aragonut’ s over this tea you are, and congratulations on getting your school loan! (Don’t remember what you’re going to study). Tea will help you through! I’m almost convinced that those of us with immune system desease have a special relationship with tea too.

Lily Duckler

Thank you, JustJames! We love sharing this tea, and I still remember the rush of excitement when we first saw those gorgeous buds… It’s always a pleasure to see others captivated by their beautiful textures and flavors.

Nxtdoor

Nutmeg?

Terri HarpLady

And I’m pretty sure those high stringed arpeggios were coming from my Harp, I love this tea!

JustJames

@Lily Duckler you gave me additional gifts to such an awesome day yesterday. truly, thank you. this tea was beyond believe.

@Bonnie thank you! occupational psychology with a specific focus on motivation. then (ideally) consulting with business on how to maximize employee dynamics and customer service. (i like people). and agreed that chronic illness (at least in me) has maximized my appreciation of tea. i’m allergic to coffee and have a freaky sense of smell (i can smell what the metal is under plate metal)… so a good tea truly is a gift.

Bonnie

Good choices! I spent most of 30 years in hi-tech customer service in Silicon Valley. My immune system issues heightened my sense of taste and smell too. Don’t mind it. Wish someone would do a study on the effects of tea on people like us.

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100

I come from what is fondly referred to as a half and half family—when my mother married for the second time she married a relatively agnostic jew! Life was amusing as my step-father grilled ‘jewish pork chops’ on the barbeque. Holidays were even more entertaining as he grumbled over the origin of Christmas lights and half the Hanukkah table stumbled over the musical prayers while drooling over the platters of brisket and piles of latkes… why am I tormenting you with excellent images of a multi cultural holiday table? Because latkes were the first thing that flooded (and I mean flooded…. I haven’t been able to get the taste out of my head) my latke starved brain when I opened the bag of this puerh.

Long pressed tendrils of puerh overlap in a manner very like latkes. A deep gold, smelling like a light tobacco…

Now, I go to verdant not for an alternate reality, but an expository one. Verdant constantly amazes me with the effects that technical proficiency can have on a farmed resource. How do you attain layers without adding things? Can planting crops between rows, oxidation time and harvesting early really have that much effect? Apparently so.

I love puerh. More specifically I love this puerh. It is by far the best I have ever tried. My conscience is prodding that I should converse with my wife and let her know about the infatuation. ‘Sweetheart, I find myself drawn to a shapely, golden wonder…’ oddly, I can envision her laughing in my face and walking away in amusement. Lucky for me I’ve always been told that funny men make the world go round.

Down to business. It is light, sweet, earthy and nutty. I taste no florals… but on occasion I get a hint of an echo of (and mean the merest decadent hint) a baked banana. You know, the ones that are buttered and have brown sugar and a bit of lemon juice added before you shove them in the oven… the ones that go golden and have a very slightly crisp edge when all is said and done…

Reading over this review I realize it is for the most part food porn: filled with images that everybody wishes they had on their plate. A torment with the shapes of brisket, latkes and baked bananas and their beguiling scents. I am a mean and nasty man… but it’s all verdant teas’ fault! (take it up with them)

One of my favourite teas, but my absolute favourite puerh. Thus: 100.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

By far my favorite review from you! Visual, personal and descriptively humerous, based on truth! Latkes of course! Crispy edges! Puer is wondrous,so welcome to the world of my addiction!

JustJames

dramatic sigh… my true feelings about puerh! a long time at art school and a true enjoyment when i make people laugh. this tea was amazing!!!

Lily Duckler

Thank you! I love this review. I will definitely have to print this one out and keep it posted on in the office.

JustJames

lovely! always glad to entertain while expessing my appreciation of your remarkable teas!!! and… totally separate: JUST THIS MINUTE I FOUND OUT I GOT MY STUDENT LOAN! guess what i’ll be doing for the next four years? OMG. the stress is gone and i feel like a limp noodle. i think i need a cup of tea… i am going to resteep my puerh in celebration.

OMGsrsly

You’re going to school for 4 years and the stress is gone? You’re an interesting person, JustJames… very interesting. :D

JustJames

different kind of stress though, right? i have a family, i have a house… i have a job i can’t do because of a disease i never signed up for and zero financial security as a result. the job was crap in the first place.

this way i will be doing and studying something i truly love to benefit people i adore. is it going to be easy? nope. am i immensely freaking relieved and taking this on from the perspective of ‘ultimate challenge and i want that trophy’? you better believe it.

Fjellrev

Love “jewish pork chops.” And you’re right, it’s amazing how one tea can achieve a multilayered flavour profile without adding any actual additional flavourings to it.

Fuzzy_Peachkin

Congrats on the student loan! And your description is making me so hungry! I must think of where I can get latkes!

JustJames

it’s what he calls them still, lol. ‘jewish pork chop night’.

JustJames

see? i am a mean and nasty man, and yet completely unrepentant! i have a recipe i can send you…. =0)

Lily Duckler

Wow- congratulations, JustJames! That is ***fantastic*** news. Cheers to a new chapter and a new adventure

Cavocorax

That sounds amazing James! I’m so excited for you. I hope your new career / education will male the best of hour writing abilities!

JustJames

i don’t think i realized how much stress i was carrying. i can’t stop laughing. thank you for the congratulations, and for your support…. getting the loan was tricky because on paper it looks like we have more than we do. so i had to send in appeals and explanations and talk to government, lol. being on here was the only way i kept my marbles.

nothing worth having was ever easily got… if it had been handed to me without a fight i may have appreciated it less.

OMGsrsly

Yes, school is indeed a different type of stress. I just finished and started working again, but I’m not yet at the point of ‘I miss school!’ :) I wish you the absolute best. :)

JustJames

thank you most kindly…. i will find a way to involve my love of tea into my projects, just watch! lol.

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83

i have a new conclusion regarding this tea… no milk (normally my MO) and no sugar either! simple syrup… about 1.5 tbsp. perfecto!

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82

my first verdant tea of the month club package came! okay, i even kept notes this time! (it’s a new level of organization for me, lol).

Celtic knots spill out of the bag.

Warm smell similar to roasted chestnuts mixed with pipe tobacco

No bitterness, no stick, very smooth

Light marine taste, but less seaweed and more sea wind.

Mellow in its evolution, but not lacking in personality.

Warm, golden, a sweet pipe tobacco tone but without the smoke.

Makes me think of a roasted green… unexpected, but brilliant.

Caramel notes

Added cream to my second cup— that was when the citrus tones came out. i hadn’t tasted them until then. almost has an echo that makes me think it should curdle.

brilliant with a simple syrup added!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

You took the steps I’ve taken with tea reviews. I always imagined the ways other people would drink tea…plain, with cream then sweetened. Most often I end up adding a little something but not always. Depends. Always starting plain though out of respect for the tea leaves!

JustJames

lovely high praise from you, miss bonnie… seeing as you have been studying tea far longer than i have! this was a one-of-a-kind tea. a roasted sweet green is a good metaphor for it!

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drank Apricot Guayusa by Butiki Teas
343 tasting notes

i find myself in unfamiliar territory. i am trying to sort out guayasa.

i’m not sure if i like it or not, thus i will suspend a numerical rating.

the smell is excellent. the visual with the fluffy saffron coloured bits of calendula curled over the chips of guayasa is very cool. the caffeine absorption is nice and smooth, not a rush and i’m not predicting a crash. BUT… i am detecting a twang. it’s the twang that’s throwing me off. i got it with the killer’s vanilla as well… but there were stronger flavours involved.

hmmm.

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

My favorite use is cooking with it. I brew it and add to pancake batter or make complex butter.

JustJames

ooh! now there’s an idea (because i’m not much enjoying drinking it). thanks for the idea!

Terri HarpLady

I still haven’t tried Guayusa yet. I’m not sure that it appeals to me

JustJames

i really like the idea… but the twang i get is very marine and i find it odd with fruit.

Bonnie

Steep it lighter and less leaf. Play with it a bit. My preference is the more citrus flavor which seems creamy and perks up pancakes enhancing the grain while adding richness.

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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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