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164 Tasting Notes

63

Since I need to cut back on the caffeine late at night, I thought I’d give this another try. This time I used double the amount of “leaf” and steeped for ten minutes and I actually kinda like it. The spice was comforting, and I actually tasted some of the chocolate. I guess rooibos is just sort of an acquired taste. Now I’m on the hunt for some tasty rooibos/honeybush blends for late night sippin’!

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56

Sigh… Another sleepless night, this is the second time this week. I suppose it has something to do with my habit of drinking tea late at night, it’s just a hard thing for me to give up because I really enjoy doing that. Night time is my time of peace when I can truly be alone and savor my tea. Soo, I’m now on the hunt for some kind of decaf or herbal alternative. I’m just a little weary of decaf teas and I’ve never been all that fond of herbals for the most part. So hit me guys, what are some of your favorite decafs or herbals?

Anyways, the review. Hehe. Not much to say about this one, it’s alright I guess. Not great, ever so slightly above teabags in flavor. Easy to overbrew and it seems to have some acidity to it which I’ve never really experienced in tea before. But this is the first tea I’ve had from Ito En that let me down, I would still recommend their teas overall, especially their higher quality Japanese greens.

And now I wait for the rest of the Steepster world to get up because I have nothing better to do… :)

gmathis

Rooibos and honeybush blends are good evening teas—they’re a little bit “heavy” in taste and texture if you’re trying to fool yourself it’s real black tea.

The only tisane ingredient that I truly think assists me with relaxation/sleep is tulsi, and I suppose it’s a bit of an acquired taste.

Michelle

At night, I sometimes do a chamomile-spearmint-lavender-rose blend with a bit of local lavender honey, but I also find that I usually want to drink black or pu’erh teas at night… and then suffer the consequences!

Batrachoid

Oswego (or any plant in the monarda genus) is a great tea substitute in terms of taste. Fresh hops, passionflower, lavender and chamomile all help with sleep. Personally, bancha or genmaicha is usually the comforting brew before bed I need.

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94

Early morning cuppa. Instead of the usual in-your-face bold cup of caffeine overload (coffee) that I would normally go for, I decided to brew up something gentle to ease me into the day. It’s a peaceful morning here in Pennsylvania, the birds are chirping and there’s a light fog as I sip this mellow goodness and stare into the woods behind my house. Life is good. Good morning Steepsterites!

gmathis

You’re way too young for a rocking chair, but after reading that, I want to come rest my weary, saggy bones in one wherever you are :)

Scatterbrain

I may be young, but I’m an old soul. :)

Bonnie

Yes you are Kwinter, my granddaughter is an oldsoul too. (she’s not writing reviews this week because she got a scholarship to an adult music camp in Pennsylvania and flew away on Wed.)

Garret

Bonnie, I am a musician, too. What does your granddaughter play? That’s wonderful that she got a scholarship for the music camp!

Bonnie

She’s a composer and conductor…aged 16 (if you see who follows me she’s oldsoul)

Scatterbrain

Whaa?! I had no idea she was your granddaughter! That’s cool. Congratulations to her.

Bonnie

Cool! She’ll smile knowing that you followed her not knowing! She writes jazz, orchestral,choral and band music and arranges but where she is this week is Liturgical Music for the Orthodox Church which is primarily Byzantine and all A cappella (this is the correct spelling). She has been working on a Cherubic Hymn and has written a few other pieces. Here’s an example of a Cherubic Hymn we sing (GREAT choir) http://youtu.be/GDCwdreKpXI

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96

Aroma of steeping tea: The aroma reminded me of camping in the great outdoors. It was very smokey with lots of woodsy smells reminding me of damp moss, citronella and sandalwood. At this point I’m very excited, this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for.

Taste: The smokiness is the dominant flavor, but there are a lot of other things going on. I get hints of tangy lemon, crisp mint and eucalyptus and a very pleasing bittersweet nature. This tea has a very thick and full mouthfeel, there is a lot of substance to it. Throughout the course of steepings the flavors have seemed to stay mostly the same, just becoming a little more muted with each steep…but that doesn’t mean the tea becomes boring. There is more going on in this tea than I can really even name. This is a truly exciting tea (not to mention the level of energy its giving me is unbelievable, don’t drink this one too late at night!).

All in all, I’m very much enjoying this one and I’m happy with my purchase. This one was a bargain.

Garret

Yo, Kyle! Did I include a sample of that wild tree mao cha? If so, I am mighty curious as to what you will think of that. It is FULL of tea energy! I just listed it on mandalatea.com last night (finally) – we’ve been selling it so fast here in the shop I hadn’t gotten it online yet.

Scatterbrain

Yeah, you threw some my way. Thanks for that.

Garret

Yes!!! Glad you got that one.

TeaBrat

Oh! Yes I am going to get some of this soon. I’m waiting until payday now!

ScottTeaMan

It’s interesting Kwinter-caffeine usually doesn’t keep me awake at night, but this Pu-erh really gave me an energy boost & left me wide awake most of the night! ://

http://steepster.com/teas/menghai-tea-factory/17935-2010-dayi-7562-ripe-pu-erh-tea-brick

Garret

I’ve still got 2 of the 2007 7562’s around here if ya need some, Scott :)

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94

I got my first order from Mandala today and I could barely contain the excitement. Inside my package were some very generous bonus goodies including a tea needle, thanks so much Garret.

First steep:
The aroma of the steeped tea produced the scents I am accustomed to in a typical silver needle, which are nectar and hay. There was also a bit of that “aged” smell along with it. As for the taste, all the flavors were subtle as I expected. The most dominant flavor to me is that of a crisp, sweet and slightly tart apple, with just the slightest bit of pu-erh earthiness. Some hints of spice are also present.

Second steep:
The apple flavor has turned more towards pear, and there are hints of sandalwood and a trace of camphor. Along with that, there is also some maltiness.

And I’m gonna leave it at that for now, I’l take it to further steepings some other time but for now I’m just too excited about trying my other new teas! This was a truly unique and delicious tea experience, I quite enjoyed it.

ScottTeaMan

My next tea order has to be from Mandala! :))

Scatterbrain

Amy, just brewed up the Xiaguan FT Flame and it smells GREAT. Smoky, woodsy, sandalwood, damp earth…just gotta wait for it to cool.

TeaBrat

oooh. I do want some!

Scatterbrain

Just tried a cup and I’m definitely gonna order more, my advice is definitely to buy one for yourself…it’s a steal.

Garret

Hi! If you check out the new products section, you will see that I just listed a bunch of new items (20 more or so to load up tonight if I have the gumption) – check out the new silver buds pressing I did in China in April, just arrived. Also the Wild Tree Tea mao cha – amazing and addictive in the best possible way! Pretty excited by my Year of the Dragon ripe pressing (wild arbor, spring-pick) and the two new sheng cakes (made from material I bought at the farms near Lincang) will be up soon, too!

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93

50% Ureshino Tama Ryokucha – 50% Uji Kabuse cold steeped for nine hours.

Drinking this iced and it’s incredibly refreshing. This method of brewing produced significantly more sweetness than the traditional brewing method. Through the cold brewing method, the liquid takes on a cloudy green color like that of matcha ice cream and the tea actually has some similarities to that taste wise as well. This stuff is lightly vegetal with little hints of cream, sweetness, and citrus. Great combination for iced tea.

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94

Silky.
Smooth.
Vibrant.
Fresh.
Vegetal.
Invigorating.
Energizing.

Man, I sure do love me some Japanese green tea.

Kashyap

i like your almost koan-like succinct expression

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78

This one is growing on me quite a bit. I need to learn a little more patience in deciding whether or not I “like” a tea, because they almost always end up growing on me once I familiarize myself with the flavors. Smooth green tea flavor with the comforting scent of rice. This tea also has a very pleasant and unexplainable bittersweet nature to it, it starts out with a bitter and slightly astringent bite that turns into a sweet and tangy sensation. With further contemplation I’m realizing that this tea is more complex than I realized.

On another note, I’ve just made my first Mandala tea order and I’m very excited. I got a ripe pu-erh mini-tuocha variety pack, 125 gram Xiaguan FT Flame 2007 raw pu-erh and an ounce of their 2008 silver needle cake. :)

TeaBrat

ooh, I’ve been wanting to try the Xiaguan flame myself…

Garret

I can’t wait for you both to try the newest cakes that are going to start arriving next week! The old tree tea mao cha is coming as a sample in your shipment, Kyle. It is one I have to get to Amy, too!!

Garret

By the way, you are both invited for tea in our Chinese tea room tomorrow at 1:00 CST. Can’t wait to serve you both tea :) We can work on several of the mao cha’s I returned from China with and decide which ones we should have pressed in to sheng pu’er :) ’Twould be fun!

Scatterbrain

Haha, sounds great. If I’m ever up in Minnesota I’ll be sure to checl out your shop. And I do plan on visiting Minnesota someday, some of my favorite tea companies and some of my favorite musicians are from your neck of the woods. :)

Garret

What musicians you diggin’ over this way?

Scatterbrain

The only Minnesota music scene that I really know a lot about is the underground hip-hop scene. I like many different kinds of music but independent and underground hip-hop is what’s always touched me most, and my favorite rappers are from Minnesota (Eyedea & Abilities, Atmosphere, P.O.S., basically the whole Rhymesayers group).

Scatterbrain

Oh yeah, can’t forget Kristoff Krane!

TeaBrat

It would be fun!

Garret

My niece is working with POS on some things these days. I’ll be heading to her bands CD release party next Sunday. It is going to be rockin. They are called Bomba de Luz and big things are happening for them. Her and her band are all 17 years old and POS heard her and asked her to be in the studio for some recording. Pretty cool!

Garret

She sent me a vid of the two of them rappin and rhymin. Nice!

Scatterbrain

That’s really cool. I’ll have to check her band out.

Scatterbrain

Is your niece the singer? If so, she has a GREAT voice. And I’m really liking the instrumentals. I could most definitely see them having success.

Garret

yep! Lydia writes the songs and sings! Just wait til you hear their new release after next week. The stuff you are hearing now is all from their EP which was out over 1.5 yrs ago. Their stuff has gotten even better. I’m a musician of over 30 years and I gotta say, I love what they are doing. Not just because I’m her uncle! To bed with me. Lots of great tea to drink tomorrow and great to pack to ship to great people! Have a great night, my friend!!

Jim Marks

This changing attitude towards any given leaf is why I’ve abandoned the numeric system on my tasting notes. (a) are we rating the quality of the tea or our personal taste? (b) if the latter, this constantly changes, especially with re-tasting, not to mention why would you care if I like it or not?

Having spent about 15 years trying to “make it” in the music business, unfortunately, having great talents, great tracks, and great recordings seems to have less and less with generating success these days. Especially if you’re trying to come out of a scene in a small city that isn’t currently the focus of a marketing campaign. Best of luck to the kids with their efforts.

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96

Everything about this tea is delicate; wonderful subtle flavors melded together in perfect harmony. The liquor is a very pale green and just the sight of it is calming. This stuff is very nutty, maybe a little more nutty than Teavivre’s “Premium grade” dragon well. It’s very silky and light and right after the liquid leaves your tongue as you swallow, you get a tingly, sparkling sweetness. Nutty, a little vegetal, sweet, calming and refreshing. A good dragonwell really centers you, and this one is exquisite.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Well said!

ashmanra

Wow, I feel better just from reading the review…ahhhh….

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96

Now on my third infusion of this late at night, just how I like it. Taking in its smooth, rich earthiness. I love it.

I doubt anyone’s up right now (at least in this time zone) but I’m just so excited about this that I had to share…

This is what I plan on getting as my first gaiwan
http://www.yishanteashop.com/Steeping_Tea/

I think it’s BEAUTIFUL, what do you guys think?

tigress_al

Very pretty gaiwan! It looks so delicate

Bonnie

Beautiful!

LiberTEAS

It is pretty… but it’s really pricy for such a basic gaiwan.

Dylan Oxford

It is very nice looking. I’d say it’s a little on the spendy side too, but a quick look around the interwebs and I’m not finding that exact gaiwan cheaper from anywhere else.

ashmanra

Lovely!

momo

I love it! If I hadn’t found one with pandas on it, I would love one like that.

Kashyap

I love gaiwans and quite a few, but they come in many various sizes and just be mindful of the size you order as it may be far smaller and more fragile than you think. I am very smitten with the travel gaiwan set that In Pursuit of Tea was selling (no longer available), but you can find a similar one at Art of Tea (it includes a Taiwanese gaiwan, tea ocean, 5 cups, and carrying case with an inner pouch – pretty great for company and travel).

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I’ll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide
No alarms and no surprises, please

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Bend, Oregon

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