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342 Tasting Notes

91

Dear Cavocorax,

I wanted to write and thank you so much for the cinnamon swirl tea you sent me!

I woke up this morning with (and I’ll be honest) a certain amount of dread in my heart. I knew that today I was going to be stuck dealing with provincial government red tape and that it would probably take hours. Before I even got started I put the kettle on. ‘cinnamon swirl’ I determined as soon I perused the tea stash you sent me. It was the sample I most coveted as we wrote back and forth determining what we would send to one another.

My electric kettle clicked off and I opened the little bag of cinnamon swirl. Long fibers all stuck together reminding me of the tasty goo on top of a cinnamon knot… a vague scent of cinnamon, but not the heavy smell I had been expecting. Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned on this journey it’s not to judge a tea before it’s steeped.

At this point I will confide in you something that I hope you find most complimentary: I followed your written instructions! You always hear about different personality types: A, B, etc. people have always told me that I’m an SC which stands for Serial Contrarian. It’s never my intention to be contrary, and so far as I know I’m not a jerk, I just tend to do things my own way! That said with such a precious sample, did I really want to waste it by serial contrarianing it away? (I just couldn’t risk it especially seeing as I have read frustrations about not tasting what was expected by other steepers). so, 1 tablespoon for 6 ounces of water for 1.5 minutes of steep time…. Really? I thought to myself. Because I am famous for my long deliberate steeps as well as getting distracted and inadvertently making them even longer. Oh well…… instruction following. Yup yup!

The water changed colour and became rust hued, the vapour billowing out of my cup took on a cinnamon slant. I smelled a bakery! Just a second, afk… must take another sip. I’m back. The most remarkable thing happened when I removed my tea ball: mass amounts of red poured out of it! it reminded me of the huge red algae blooms you see in the ocean from space. It just kept pouring out and filling my mug. Wow!

Now, I know the purists would frown, but I added my standard bit of cream and sugar, it is MY cup of tea after all and for reasons that are old and complicated to explain those add ins give me comfort. (and who doesn’t need a bit of extra comfort when dealing with the government all day???)

The verdict: I am drinking cinnamon swirl bread. Cavocorax your instructions were magic! As I near the bottom of my cup there is cinnamon piled there. No floral notes or undertones aside from the warm taste of cinnamon bread. Interesting though because the flavour is warm even as my tea is cooling. This is lovely. Thank you for such a tasty respite from phone calls… and the directions so that I achieved the desired result!

Sincerely,
JustJames

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

Hahaha. Very nice. :) I’m so happy you like it, although maybe Sil is the one you should be thanking! It was her review of it that inspired me to buy it, and she was the one who split the order with me.

I know what you mean about questioning the instructions though – I thought that was a little short, but I guess if you’re going to steep it 4-5 times, you don’t want to put it in the water too long.

Hopefully your dealings with the government go fairly quickly, but who am I kidding. I’ve had to make my own calls and it’s usually always frustrating and tedious. I hope the tea (and resteeps?) make it bearable!

Also, from what Sil and I have so far determined, THIS is the best tea that Steap Shoppe has to offer. They offer generous samples (about. 05 oz), but this one is the best by far!

Fuzzy_Peachkin

OH man! This is another one of those teas that EVERYONE has been drinking. Gotta get my hands on some!

JustJames

@Fuzzy_Peachkin well worth the expense, a very deeply flavoured blend. this tea has overpowered government frustration!

@Cavocorax… i have put a marotorium on tea purchases until the middle of july, here’s to hoping they still carry this tea! it was SO worthy of a public thank you!

Terri HarpLady

I’m still waiting for my sample, but not without patience, as I know it is coming & I know it will be worth the wait. :)

JustJames

alas, patience is a virtue…. but not always one of mine, LOL!

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76

thanks so much to cavocorax for this awesome sample!

in retrospect i think my standard practice of oversteeping may have bitten me a bit because this tea is everything it declares itself to be (ie: i have heartburn and it’s my own fault! lol)

this is a difficult tea to describe: heavy, a thick taste without being viscous or sticking to the tongue, the malt is very detectable as is the chocolate. there are also notes of molasses and is very reminiscent of chocolate stout.

no floral notes, but as i previously mentioned, i did steep for 6 minutes (or so) so it might be that i overpowered them, lol. surprisingly smooth, though at this length of steep a wee bit astringent (again reminiscent of stout!).

if you like artisan ales and are up for a creatively contributed tea, then i’m sure you’ll be satisfied with this one! i especially enjoyed playing up the sweetness with a bit of sugar and adding a drop of cream.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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76

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89

if i had to ascribe this tea an image it would be this: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/black-purple-calla-lilies—1—macro-flowers-fine-art-photography-artecco-fine-art-photography—photograph-by-nadja-drieling.html …this tea unfurls, draws attention, is unusual. you won’t forget it soon, nor should you.

dark chocolate overtones, but no sweetness. molasses. very low acidity. this is a heavy tea that moves and changes in the space between sipping and swallowing.

it metamorphoses in the second steep. it becomes mineral heavy. it has an odd (but not unpleasant) refractive granular quality, but is somehow still smooth.

impressive.

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

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97

this elegant tea has been driving me bananas all day. multiple cups, multiple steepings and the same disconcerting echo: i know this taste, i’ve had it before, what on earth is it??? i have spent my sips narrowing it down.

the sweet fresh taste from pea shoots, the hollow starchy taste from corn milk when you’re husking it, the woody husks you sometimes find on ripe blackberries. to my palate no part of this is connected to a green, black or puerh tea. i have never had a tea remotely like this. there are no floral notes, only fresh, sweet light tones that echo around and around ‘you know me, what’s my name?’

this excellent tea has had me doing circles today! i even gave up one of my precious sample buds to chew on so i could whittle down the taste contributers.

beautiful clear, lovely with cream…. drat i’ve run out…. must look into buying more….

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

This does stand alone. Sometimes I sense nutmeg too.

Terri HarpLady

I also think “malto meal” or steel cut oats with this one…or maybe cream of wheat? It tastes like a cooked breakfast cereal

JustJames

well, i’m out now and have ordered more but i will concentrate on nutmeg and steel cut oats when my new batch comes in! i do believe this one has become my new staple…

Fuzzy_Peachkin

Now I’m wondering if I should have included this in my order last night! Hmmmmm!

JustJames

you were ordering last night too? i was going to add something today (hopefully) but it looks as though their site has crashed =0( —hopefully it’s an update and not something more serious.

Terri HarpLady

yeah, they are probably updating it.

JustJames

hope so… the alternative is stressful!

Fuzzy_Peachkin

Just remember: You can get through this! You will SURVIVE! ;-)

JustJames

lol, i meant for THEM!

Fuzzy_Peachkin

lol! Whoops! Well some people around here do turn panicky if they can’t get their favorite teas. :-)

Lily Duckler

thanks for the well-wishes, James. A bit stressful, but nothing Geoffrey can’t conquer! The site will be back up ASAP- I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s restored.

So glad you enjoyed the Yabao! It was the first kind of tea I fell head-over-heels for, and we actually shared a brick of aged yabao with all of the guests when David and I got married. I wonder what the mystery flavor is for you? Can’t wait to hear what it is if you find out!

Fuzzy-Peachkin: if you like (and if your order hasn’t already shipped out), I can make sure that Yabao is your free sample. Just let me know (or PM me).

Dexter3657

It’s always exciting for me to read awesome reviews like this for teas I have on the way but haven’t tried yet. Just makes me even more eager for my order to arrive. Nice review James.

Lily Duckler

Quick update: we’re back up and running! To say thank you for all of your patience and support, please enjoy 15% off any of the teas in our shop (good through Monday). Just apply the code UPTIME15 in the cart, and you’ll see the discount applied.

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83

thank you scribbles for this very unusual tea! okay, i will start by saying that i do like this tea. why say it that way? because i am on the cusp of laughter and i needed to have my enjoyment of the blend stated first, before i have a snicker.

i opened the bag and i smelled neo citron. yup. reading the history behind the blend’s design i wondered if david had a cold or at least a bit of sinus congestion while he was in L.A. i tried to remember whether i had liked neo citron but failed because it always used to knock me out.

being the super steeper that i am i gave it my normal 6 minutes, figured that cream would just give me a mug full of feta but did stir in a bit of sugar. i wafted the vapor towards my nose, a st. bernard named neo making it’s way towards me through the steam. i burst out laughing and took a sip. neo citron! but also not.

much smoother, has a hefty dose of caffeine…and you know what? seriously, the next time i’m miserable with a cold i will brew this up, add honey as opposed to sugar (and maybe some rum) and make this as a toddy! it won’t be an everyday for me, the affiliation with cold medicine is just too old, but it will make an awesome substitute for the junk i’ve taken in the past when i’m sick! (that’s a pretty big compliment).

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

Paneer. Cream would give you paneer :) it’s the cheese you make by curdling milk with lemon.

JustJames

true, but i like the visual of floating curds that give an audible thump in your cup…. thus feta! it would have been a feta accomplit! lol. (paneer gives me no pun) ;-D

Nxtdoor

Either way, ew! To both the cheese and Neocitron. I’m glad I didn’t buy la la lemon though it was on my list.

JustJames

hee hee hee. it will be a nice alternative to blistering my tongue by mismeasuring the lemon to honey to water ratio of a toddy.

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94
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
342 tasting notes

this is a complicated tea, while also being simply striking.

it’s a laoshan black, no big deal…. or so one could mistake by the oversimplified name. this is not a simple anything.

long dark strands that seem innocuous until water was added. dry it smelled like leaves, steeped they became darker and deeper in smell and appearance.

the thing i am discovering about verdant teas is their quiet brilliance. this tea has a heavy dark chocolate-like tone. it’s not from an additive… but from incredible technique.

beautiful clear and untouched, hot, cold or creamed and sugared. my compliments to you verdant teas.

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

Thank you, JustJames- but we have to pass along the compliments to the He Family! It’s a privilege to get to share their teas with the world, and few things make me happier than reading sentiments like yours and passing them on to Mr & Mrs. He.

JustJames

well earned… i wonder how long it took for the He family to cultivate these magnificent skill sets? it also takes impressive savvy on the part of an investor to recognize the potential of such a product.

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65

this tea evolves with distinct changes from bag opening to sipping.

-when i opened the bag i smelled roasted coconut with some oolong in the background.
-once the water was added the evolution began, but not in a way i would have predicted: the colour didn’t deepen much but took on a milky hue AND the smell went from a fierce coconut to a lesser coconut with undefinable florals.
-a 6 minute steep because i like a robust tea and this one stayed quite pale.
-cream and sugar because it is the common way i take all but greens.
-on the tongue: i taste coconut and a VERY light oolong, no bitterness, with a refined floral smell at the same time.
-the sip is smooth, as is the caffeine (as opposed to sticky on the tongue).

nicely done tao tea leaf! and a thank you to scribbles for sharing this little gem!

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

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52

generally i consider andrews and dunham a staple: their tiger assam, their double knit— this is a company that has studied tea and knows what they’re doing.

i completely understand why this one was named ‘caravan’. i can taste the bonfire smoke and hear the nomads dancing about the flames. if you like a smoke heavy blend that is also smooth then i predict you will bond well with this tea. for my part it was a bit too much smoke, even with cream added. it was, however, very smooth.

thank you to scibbles for this tasting experience!

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

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90
drank Da Hong Pao by Tealux
342 tasting notes

scribbles, you are a hero among everyday folk!

this tea is the classy little black dress that every woman has in her wardrobe, but with a twist: along with this elegant slip the accessory is not pearls or gold, but a cuban cigar. oh yes!

this is a simple black tea. almost purist but for the sweet, smoky taste of organic tobacco leaf. perfectly matched, beautifully balanced. it is not even remotely subtle with its caffeine punch, but it is very smooth.

thank you so much scribbles for sharing! i will meter this out and buy more when i’m done.

….. i wonder sometimes with the amount of tea i consume how it is that i sleep at all, lol.

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

I love your description of this! :-)

JustJames

it was honestly what came to mind as i sipped it, lol.

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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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