4453 Tasting Notes

85

Once again enjoying this generous sampling from Doulton

This time I decreased the steep time by about 30 seconds and found that the cup was even better than I remember it. The slight bitter taste that I noticed the first time around is not present now, just a very beautiful bergamot flavor. The tea is robust – surprisingly robust for a Ceylon. The bergamot is very strong here… citrus-y with a pleasing floral note.

Nice!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Breakfast in Bed by Liber Teas
4453 tasting notes

I recently blended a batch of this tea (which has already sold out, thanks to some very devoted fans of the tea), but I needed to test it before I could ship it! So that’s what I’m doing.

Pleasant, smooth, and rich. I love the note of cinnamon which is not spicy – a sweeter side of cinnamon.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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91
drank Tiger Hill OP (CL) by SpecialTeas
4453 tasting notes

I chose to start my day with a Nilgiri. One of my two favorite black teas (with a good quality Yunnan being first, a good quality Nilgiri being second).

This one has a nice complexity. It is bright and flavorful, with interesting fruit-like notes (I can definitely taste a citrus-y flavor, especially right at the finish).

Very smooth and rich tasting for a medium-bodied tea. This is definitely a tea you want to watch carefully to not over-brew, as it can get bitter.

I had to use a different tool today to brew my tea (yep, had to grab a different gadget!) The brewing of the Fleur De Vie tea last night left my smart brewing device smelling quite like the very fragrant tea, so the device requires some added attention to free it of that aroma so that it doesn’t possibly affect the flavors of the teas that I brew today.

So, I got out a teapot, and used for the first time a Mary Pop-In. This seems like an effective tool to strain teas from a tea pot, but I don’t know how well it would fair with a rooibos or a finely cut chai. I shall have to do a little more testing.

I also used for the first time a tea cozy from Thistledown Cozies – I like this cozy! What it lacks in handmade charm it makes up for in conventional wisdom.

So, there! See! I can and do use gadgetry. However, there is something that is quite peaceful and meditative about simplicity when brewing tea, and I prefer that overall sense of calm to being the TEAtective Gadget, which is why I am so resistant to the gadgets in the first place. Tea isn’t just about good taste, it’s about that beautiful sense of serenity that comes from the process… it helps the chaos of everyday life melt away for a few moments each day.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

I totally agree “Tea isn’t just about good taste, it’s about that beautiful sense of serenity that comes from the process…” isnt it funny that to one person that means gadgets as little as possible, and to other it means gadgets are fine? :)

LiberTEAS

Cofftea – it’s all about what works for the individual. I find serenity comes from simplicity, and that gadgets just seem to add to the noise that make the serenity less accessible… but, I know that there are those that don’t agree with that. And that’s fine… just as each tea tastes different to each individual that tastes it, each tea experience is the tea drinker’s own, and they should shape it in whatever way is best for them.

Cofftea

Good point… the only tea gadget I currently have (other than the timer I set) is my milk frother and I haven’t gotten up the courage to use it get since I’m such an amazing klutz lol.

LiberTEAS

I don’t even have a special timer, I just use the timer that is on the stove. The only time this proves problematic is when I’m brewing tea at the same time I’m baking something…

I do love my milk frother… it is something that I refused to buy for so long because I had convinced myself that it really wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but it does, and I absolutely love it. But, I don’t use it daily, because, well, it IS a gadget. LOL

Cofftea

I use the one on the microwave, but I definitely know what you’re talking about w/ the difficulty of multi tasking.

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87
drank Fleur De Vie by Art of Tea
4453 tasting notes

The last time I wrote a tasting note on this tea, I was unsure about this tea. I liked it, but something felt a little off so I wanted to add a little extra leaf and adjust the brewing parameters a bit. I didn’t adjust the brewing parameters, but I did add a little extra leaf, and I do think I like it better now than I did.

I can taste the bergamot, but it is a gentler bergamot than a typical Earl Grey tea… the green tea is also a bit mild, but the tulsi is vibrant. These three flavors together with the rose create a very exciting and unique cup of tea that I’m enjoying quite a bit. The rose is really delicious in this blend… and really works well with the bergamot. (I also quite like tulsi and rose together).

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96

This is my favorite “non green” jasmine… and quite possibly my favorite white tea (I think I had responded on an earlier tasting note that there was another white tea I liked better than this – Frutto Bianco Pearls from Teavana… but I like this one better than Frutto Bianco).

The jasmine flavor is remarkable in this blend, delicate yet so delightful. Sweet and exhilarating. Beautiful…absolutely beautiful.

You can read more about my thoughts of this tea here:

http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=4134

Delightful!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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95

Now that I’m finished with my “matcha break” I have moved on to my third infusion of these leaves. Those little tiny slivers of leaves have expanded to at least 5 or 6 times their size! And they are still providing amazing flavor.

This time I steeped for a full minute, just like the first infusion (the second infusion I steeped for just 45 seconds) and I must say that I prefer the full minute to the 45 seconds.

The flavor is sweet, nutty, and much less vegetal than the first infusion. Not that the vegetal flavor was bad, because I liked it. There is very little bitterness to this – there was more bitterness to the first infusion (although it was still quite subtle). Buttery! Nice floral note – but difficult to pinpoint the flower. It’s delicious though… whatever it is!

Tea is truly perfection – and this tea is a clear statement to that perfection. How can anyone prefer a soda (or coffee, or anything else, for that matter) to this?

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

I quite enjoy other beverages like coffee and wine, but I can only have one coffee beverage a day- tea has longevity… I drink it ALL day. Honestly though, if I ever found an NA wine that tasted JUST like regular wine, that may give tea a run for its money, especially when it’s just too hot to drink hot tea. But then again that’ll never happen so it’s all good :)

LiberTEAS

I like wine also, but, I don’t drink alcohol very often. In fact, I usually only buy wine when I am cooking with it (like when I make something like a beef brisket, which isn’t really often), and then I have what’s left over from cooking with it. I’m quite a novice when it comes to wines… and I feel like I probably would drink more of it if I had a better understanding of what kinds of wines I liked.

But I’m really not much into alcohol – caffeine is my drug of choice!

LiberTEAS

OH… and I meant to add… I usually choose wine based upon the shape of the bottle and the artistic merit of the label! LOL! Mostly because I will alter the bottle after I’m finished with the wine, and I will use the label in other artwork. So, these things are very important to me… and even more important to me than how the wine tastes… which should illustrate just how important (or perhaps I should say NOT important) wine is to me.

Stephanie

I know what you mean about choosing the wine for its bottle! My favorite wines are the Italian ones that come in their own basket—they look sooo 1950’s bohemian-cool. And I could use them as candle holders afterwards. :)

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88
drank Ginger Matcha by Art of Tea
4453 tasting notes

Wow… 2 bowls of matcha in 3 days! Not at all like me… Steepster is having an influence on me… good influence? bad influence? Haven’t decided yet.

I love this ginger matcha. Smooth and sweet – yummy! I love the ginger in it, and how you can actually bite into the little bits and release some of their peppery power! This particular bowl of matcha has quite a bit more ginger bits than the previous bowls.

This is still not my favorite matcha, though… but, it IS delightful and if I don’t start staying away from Steepster I might end up having matcha on a daily basis or something like I do my Oolong.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
Cofftea

Absolutely the BEST tea related influence=D What is your favorite matcha? Ok, let’s be fair- what’s your favorite plain and flavored since you can’t compare a flavored to a plain and vice versa.

LiberTEAS

My favorite plain matcha is DoMatcha ceremonial grade. No other matcha that I’ve tried even comes close. My favorite flavored is without a doubt the pirate’s chai… OMG… just typing out pirate’s chai makes me want some… it is so good.

Cofftea

I have 100g of Lupicia’s matcha coming tomorrow AM (I love that the FedEx guy is so early- almost 8:45am on the dot every time)… it was only $15 so I’m extremely leary about the quality, but I’m so miserably broke and I absolutely need to have unflavored matcha on hand as well as flavored so it’s gotta be better than no matcha. Have you tried unflavored matcha from AOT to be able to focus on the base matcha? I need to see if I can get some of 52teas’ base matcha from Frank.

LiberTEAS

I haven’t yet tried AOT’s unflavored matcha. I just placed an order with them (yep, I had to have that tasting set, I have no idea why I had to have it, because I don’t actually see myself using it LOL) and I also ordered a couple of their teas, but not the unflavored matcha. Perhaps I will have to order some from them in the future… right now, I have so many teas… that I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of them! HA! I am thinking about putting together a “tasters set” with little samplings of several teas, and selling it from my blog, if for no other reason than to help move some of the tea – so I can get… MORE tea.

Cofftea

HAHA you sound like me! I have a crap load of tea, but I have certain staples that I absolutely need to have on hand at all times and an unflavored and flavored matcha are 2 of them. I’m gonna take a day off my strawberry tomorrow to try the Lupicia matcha… which I’m praying is better than the price/g would lead me to believe.

LiberTEAS

Here are my staples: I must have my Masterpiece Chai and my Chocolate Rose Romance tea on hand at all times. I have sold out of my Chocolate Rose Romance, but I have my own little hidden stash. LOL

I must have some kind of Oolong on hand at all times. If I could choose only one Oolong, it would be a Norbu Oolong and preferably Ali Shan (either fall or spring harvest Ali Shan. Their summer harvest is good, but not quite as good). I used to hoard Oolongs, but now I actually enjoy them every day which is better. But I find that I do still show signs of the hoarding, as I came across a full order of the Ali Shan the other day, tucked in my tea cabinet. LOL!

I must have jasmine pearls on hand at all times. Green jasmine pearls. If I could only have one green tea for the rest of my life, it would be jasmine pearls. Pure perfection.

I have a lot of “favorites” but these go beyond favorites and fall into the category of I MUST HAVE THESE!

LiberTEAS

I guess I would also like to have an Earl Grey on hand at all times… I guess if I had to choose one, it would either be my Earl Grey creme or Lupicia’s Earl Grey.

Cofftea

Mine are unflavored and flavored matcha, Mayan Chocolate Chai, and raw pu erh. I haven’t tried Muzi’s stone ground white yet, but that may be a contender as well.

LiberTEAS

I’m not fond of pu-erh… so far, the one that I’ve tried that I like the best is the chocolate pu-erh from Numi.

Cofftea

Oh yes, but that’s comparing apples to oranges again… even more-so than flavored and unflavored matcha because aside from numi’s chocolate I love raw pu erh when I can on “tolerably drink” unflavored cooked pu erhs.

HeavenlyDiva34

Honestly I have to be in a particular mood for ginger, but I felt this was a pretty nice matcha.mI tried a sample of this from my local tea shop mixed with plain water. Next sip taste, I will have to try this as a ‘matcha palmer’. FYI Matcha Palmer is a matcha lemonade blend. I love ginger and lemon together.

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95

A very low temperature and short steep time is suggested by SpecialTeas for this tea, and I recommend it as well.

The aroma of the dry leaf is vegetal with pleasant floral notes. Upon brewing – or I should say, when I finished brewing and strained the tea through my smart brewing device, I could smell a very pungent vegetable scent… like freshly steamed vegetables with butter.

The flavor of this tea is excellent. The vegetative flavor is softer than the aroma suggests, it is smooth and buttery, with a slight bitter undertone. There is also a fruit essence. It amazes me that this much flavor came at such a low temperature with such a short steeping time – especially after my last cup of tea (Lupicia’s green paradise).

A very pleasant, complex cup of tea, making me eager to seek out other Gyokuro teas.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 0 sec
__Morgana__

I’ve only had Adagio’s so far, but that was exactly my impression as well — eager to seek out other Gyokuros.

Cofftea

I’m SO glad SpecialTeas gives Japanese greens the respect they deserve in terms of steeping parameters!

LiberTEAS

I am absolutely in love with this tea. I also have a small sampling of Den’s Gyokuro, but I’ve been kind of hoarding it. LOL

LiberTEAS

For the second infusion, I steeped at 140 degrees for just 45 seconds, according to the suggested brewing parameters by SpecialTeas (they suggested a shorter brew time for the second and third infusion)… the flavor is smoother in this second infusion, but still very flavorful – delightful! Love it!

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67
drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
4453 tasting notes

This is one of two free samples that I received in my order from Lupicia a couple of weeks ago… while rummaging through my samplings this afternoon, this one seemed to jump into my hand and beg me to brew it.

The aroma of the tea when I first opened the pouch was overwhelming – a vibrant smell of tropical fruit.

The sample came in a tea pyramid, and after seeing how much the leaf expanded, I wish I would have cut open the pyramid and infused the tea as a loose leaf. The infused leaves completely filled the pyramid to the point of looking overstuffed!

The flavor of this tea pales in comparison to the aroma of it. When I smelled how beautifully fragrant it was, I was expecting a very pronounced flavor, but, it really isn’t. The flavors are very soft. I can taste a subtle, melon-y kind of flavor to it, as well as a touch of citrus and maybe even a little coconut? Because the flavors are so soft it’s difficult to discern just what I’m tasting beyond the flavor of the bancha tea.

It’s not a bad tasting tea, it’s just a bit soft in flavor so it becomes difficult to know what I’m tasting beyond green tea. There is something there but I really wish it were stronger. It’s one that I would actually be interested in trying again, simply so that I could try to discern some of the flavor… kind of like a mystery that needs to be solved.

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

Holy jumping teas, Batman!

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90

Another sampling from Doulton!

When I first saw Andrews & Dunham’s third series, THIS is the tea that I really wanted to try from the three. I didn’t think I would be interested at all in the Caravan as I’m not really into smoky teas, and the Jasmine didn’t excite me to the point of wanting to place the order. I mean, Jasmine greens are great, don’t get me wrong, I love jasmine… but, I so prefer jasmine pearls to jasmine greens and since I have quite a few jasmine pearls I didn’t feel the necessity to order a jasmine green.

That being said, and now after having tasted both the Jasmine and the Earl Grey from A&D – I must admit that the tea I am now excited to receive from them is the Jasmine!

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good Earl Grey. But lately, I’ve tasted some really REMARKABLE Earl Greys (Lupicia, Steven Smith Teamaker), and this one isn’t quite as remarkable as those two. However, this is a very, very good Earl Grey.

I like that the bergamot in this tea is a very clear and focused flavoring. You can actually taste that the bergamot is an orange in this tea which is something that I can’t always taste, because the bergamot oils used in some other teas tend to be too flowery. This has less flower and more fruit.

The tea base is much smoother than in the other two Earl Grey teas I mentioned in this note, and perhaps that is the reason why I prefer those… I’d like the black tea in this to be just a little brisker… and if it were, this might be a contender.

Overall, an excellent Earl Grey, but not an exceptional one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

Enjoyed my second infusion of this tea as well. The flavor is smoother, almost seamless! I think I might like the second better than the first.

LiberTEAS

Oh… and my order from A&D did arrive today! Woo hoo!

Stephanie

I’m drinking my first mug of A&D Earl Grey right now. And I agree with you. This is good, but not great. But then again, I like my Earl Grey’s super strong and aromatic. But this Earl is kind of “scruffy” in cool, artsy way. The bergamot flavoring is interesting and different somehow.

LiberTEAS

Stephanie: yes… I agree with you… it has a very different quality to it than other Earl Grey teas I’ve tasted… I like it… but if given the choice between this and Lupicia’s… I’d choose Lupicia’s.

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Bio

I am obsessed with tea!

I am a co-founder of the SororiTEA Sisters:
http://sororiteasisters.com

I also review teas for the Tea Review Blog:
http://www.teareviewblog.com

In addition to my passion for tea, I am also a mixed media/altered arts artist. You can see some of my art here: http://eccentricpastiche.blogspot.com

I am also a self-proclaimed foodie. I review local restaurants and the food I buy online here: http://hungryinportland.wordpress.com

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My favorite teas are Yellow Teas with most Oolong teas at a close second. As far as “flavored” teas go, I love Earl Grey, Chocolate and Jasmine teas.

I also am intrigued by flavored teas with an unusual or unique flavor combination.

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I don’t do a whole lot of swaps anymore, however, I do occasionally sell sampler boxes here: http://liberteas.teatra.de/ I don’t always have sampler boxes available as it depends upon how much time I have as well as packaging supplies. I usually post at least one or two sampler boxes per month, though, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out or PM me and I’ll let you know when I have some posted.

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Most of the teas that I record in my notes here are going to have a fairly high rating from me. This is not because I am not discerning, but because I do not usually waste my time on drinking tea I do not care for, nor will I waste my time on writing about it.

Location

Vancouver, WA

Website

http://SororiTeaSisters.com

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