545 Tasting Notes

100

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes, drunk bare.

Little tiny curly leaves!

Dry leaf gives a faint scent of Keemun tastiness. Steeping leaf smells very delicate, like fresh earth.

Red-brown liquor. Aromas of bread, toast, oak, and orchid.

Tastes of all that, and some honey. Some sweet potato notes. Light, toasty-oaky finish. Not at all a tarry Keemun. Gentle and sweet. I love it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Grapes, Honey, Orchids, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Michelle Butler Hallett

tastiness = toastiness

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96

Second infusion. 1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped three minutes forty-five seconds.

Yet more complex. the cream and butter notes have opened up, and the scent remains floral. I can also get trees: cedar, and fir. And a very slight astringency, like a dry wine.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Fir, Grass

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @ 90C, steeped 3 minutes 30 seconds, no rinsing, first infusion.

A short infusion for me, as I’m planning multiple infusions tonight … though even when I steep this gorgeous tieguanyun a long time, I can still get at east two more cuppings from it. On this infuse I am getting a much more springlike sharpness, very green and bright, versus the heady floral tones a 4-minute steep gives me. More of a mineral note this way, too. Complex. And a joy.

I am nearly out of this beautiful tea, and I am telling myself not to hoard the last few scoops but just drink it now and revel in its beauty. There will, of course, more more autumn tieguanyin (I do prefer the autumn tieguanyin to the spring, but the spring is lovely, too), but there will be no more of this 2012 harvest. Hoarding this, saving it for some unattainable special last time, would do this tea, and all oolong, a disservice. Drink it now. The day doesn’t have to be special, but the oolong can make the day special for you.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Berries, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Fir, Flowers, Grass, Mineral

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95

3tsp for 500mL water @90C, steeped 10 minutes.

I am not having the greatest tea day. Steepster keeps seeing me these tempting e-mails to join the Steepster Select program, which, of course, only ships to customers in the US. I am not in the US. My profile lists my location as, that’s right, in Canada … not in the US. I have just begged Steepster not to end me any more notes about the Select programs until they can ship to Canada. Meantime, I tried to sign on the Steepster international customer waiting list … and that’s not working.

Earlier today. one of my crutches fell over, knocking a mostly full travel mug of Christmas Morning tea onto my keyboard, my leg, and the floor.

Before the crutch knocked over the tea, I was really enjoying what I’d steeped. The cooler water let the jasmine and oolong in the blend mature and prevented any bitterness. The long steep coaxed out a lovely heavy body from the Assam and Keemun. I hadn’t planned to steep it that long; it just happened — a delightful accident. I must go make some more to soothe the irritation of repeated ‘No Select for you!’

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Flowers, Malt

Michelle Butler Hallett

On an up note: Verdant just sent me an e-mail saying my order has shipped. I also have tea on the way from Damn Fine. Wooo!

Michelle Butler Hallett

And, I should add, Steepster is looking into why users who are outside the US keep getting the Select offers.

Christina

Aww, that sucks that you spilled your first cup. I hope the next one turns out just as good.

Michelle Butler Hallett

(Grins) Thank you — it was.

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1.5 tsp fo 300mL water at 85C, steeped four minutes, Western style.

THUD.

Clean, sweet, perfect. Finest jasmine tea I’ve ever tasted. I find jasmine teas a bit intoxicating. Some jasmines hit like a drug; this one is gentler, though seductive, and potent.

Balance, and beauty. Special.

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96

1.5 tsp for 300mL water @90C, steeped, oh, 10 minutes.

I forgot it.

And I figured it would be all bitter and soapy.

Yeah, guess which tieguanyin forgives a long steep with floral, creamy beauty and a slight sharpness in the finish?

Swoon.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Cream, Flowers, Honey, Mineral, Orchids

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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One of my favourite teas. This batch at DavidsTea is a little harsh, just a little grassy for this sort of oolong, but nothing else will do when you want this stuff. Cream and butter and mineral notes. I rinsed the leaves before a first short steep. A delight.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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1.5 tsp for 300mL water @100C, steeped 6 minus, drunk bare.

Bright and sunny and just what I need in these thousand days of winter in Newfoundland. I noticed the ingredients now list sulphites, on the dried fruit, I presume. Yuck. I’m also concerned about just what the “natural flavouring” is, which smells and tastes most convincingly of oranges, without the acid. The mate packs a lovely caffeine lift.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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85

2 bags for 500mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

I scored a box of this at the office this morning, and I’m quite pleased. Numi Tea is very hard to find in my city; one coffee shop stocks it, but not this one.

A decent Yunnan. Honey and malt notes but no astringency. Livelier than the Wild Black Yunnan from DavidsTea. Yum.

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85

1 bag for 250 to 300mL water @100C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.

Yes, the loose version is better. Loose almost always is. But I had a bag of this at a restaurant not long ago, when I was expecting stale Tetley from a left-open box on a plate next to a little tin pot of tepid water. Instead, I got a bag of this, steeping merrily in proper boiling water: so fragrant … I’d forgotten how good this one is, especially for a bagged tea you can get at the supermarket. There’s Keemun in this blend, which makes it special … not a whole lot of Keemun, but enough to make me go —Hey. this is good.

I always wish the tea bag held a slightly larger amount — loose leaf is the answer, of course — but the price and convenience (at my local supermarket) is hard to beat. A solid black tea, unusual for the Keemun: a little bit special. If you like black tea and you’re unable to afford fancier ones for the moment, this can make a great stopgap. Who knows, you might even like it for its own sake.

Starfevre

Stash is hard to beat for convenience. Maybe 2 bags, shorter steep?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Sounds good. I’ll try that.

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Oolongs and blacks are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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