517 Tasting Notes

91

The first time I had this tea, I had gotten it in a swap. I think it was from Kittenna. I remember being really impressed with how juicy sweet the strawberry flavor was, and now bakery smelling the vanilla and cinnamon made the whole thing. I finally got my own pouch of this and it tastes just as good as the first time I had this. Summery strawberries are so yummy. Can’t wait for berry season to come back! And the cinnamony bakey flavor makes me think of brown sugar cinnamon biscuits…which I haven’t heard of until I just imagined it right this second. They will exist in my tummy in the near future. :) Oh! Wait! Strawberry shortcake on a brown sugar cinnamon biscuit! I am a genius!! And this tea is my muse. :) Now I really can’t wait for berry season. :)

EDIT: This tastes better cool. I suspect that it’s because the honeybush flavor subsides and lets the flavoring through. So much more juicy strawberry… mmmm. :)

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drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
517 tasting notes

I was so excited when my 52 Teas package arrived! Yay! Tea! The best thing about being home on is getting the tea the moment it lands in your mailbox. And then brewing a cup of new tea right away! Perfect timing since I was feeling cold from walking my doggies in the snow. They were not pleased. They look absolutely adorable in their jackets though. :)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23283174@N00/8456031767/

So since I’ve been wanting this particular tea the longest, I ripped it open and dreamt of sweet malty chocolatey tea while it brewed. Unfortunately, what it really tastes like is a vaguely sweet pure honeybush. If I didn’t see the cocoa nibs in there myself, I wouldn’t believe there was any chocolate in there at all. Where’s the malt? Where’s the chocolate?! So much disappointment. :( I’ve read some people saying that a newly flavored tea needs a few weeks to begin tasting the way it’s supposed to. But even if there seems to be no flavor whatsoever? So many good reviews for this tea from the past too… I guess I can only wait a few weeks and try again. I’ll hold off rating until then.

Kittenna

Oh no…. not good! I had a sample of an older batch of this and it was delicious… I was expecting the same.

52teas

Can I ask how much tea you used, how long you steeped it and at what temperature? I would recommend 1.5tsp per 8-10oz cup steeped for really as long as you like, but probably at least 4-5 minutes in boiling (212F) water.

52teas

Feeling stupid now: I just looked at your tasting note log. You’ve clearly had our honeybush blends before and know how to steep them. Sorry. That is quite odd. It IS a new batch. I was thinking it was going to be even MORE chocolatey with the new roasted cacao nibs too. =(

Mercuryhime

It’s okay, Frank. I’m sure it will get better with time! You have so many excellent teas that I’d believe my tastebuds are at fault for not tasting the chocolate. I’ve had other chocolate teas from you, and I know you do chocolate very well. I’ll just let it age a bit and try again in a couple of weeks. :) Until then, I also just got a pouch of your Strawberry Pie honeybush, which I am having now, and it is definitely tasty!

Dustin

I had a similar experience today with the same tea, but I chalked it up to having a stuffy nose. I’ll give the waiting a few weeks a go too. Hopefully my nose will have cleared up by then!

Tea Sipper

AW! That is the cutest picture ever! I love the fuzzy face in the hoodie.

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I don’t think my sample of this was from 2011 as the name suggests. I suspect this is from 2012, but I didn’t see one for 2012 so I’ll just stick this note here.

Snow storm Nemo has allowed me the opportunity to work from home today. That means pajamas and quality tea. I’m doing this one in my gaiwan, which I’m doing better with, but I need to work on amount of tea. I used way too much this time. But this still tastes lovely once I dilute what comes out with a bit of hot water. Not really focusing on this tea, which is a shame since it’s so wonderful, but I have to use my brain for working today. :) I thought I get this one sipped down since it’s getting on in age, which is not so good for a green oolong. :)

I’m glad I’m home. Snow storms are so much nicer when you’re watching from your window with a hot cup of tea. I’m just worried about getting home to my family tomorrow for Chinese New Year. sad.

Sil

YAY for snow days that mean Pajamas and tea!

CHAroma

Aww, I hope you make it to your family! Good luck braving the storm!

Mercuryhime

It’s not a real snow day as I still have to work. :) But it’s a lot more informal for sure.
Charoma, I hope I get to them too. It’s my favorite holiday. :(

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Boring tea log tonight. My tummy is going through all sorts of chaos today. I don’t even want to put dinner in there. ugh. Mint is supposed to be good for tummies, so I busted this out. It tastes kinda funky today. Not sure if it’s the kettle. I’m on the market for a glass one.

Anyways, classic spearmint. sweet and fresh. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

I wonder if ginger would work for me or if it’s only good for nausea? I’ll try that next if this spearmint fails me. :(

Em

Usually ginger helps settle my stomach. I would try that. Praying you feel better soon.

Mercuryhime

Em, you are sweet. :) I’ve experienced the power of ginger for nausea, but that’s not the problem I have. Let’s not get specific. haha Does it work for all tummy issues?

Em

It’s worth a shot :)

Mercuryhime

So true! :)

MissLena

Ginger is my miracle cure for any tummy ailment, I’d definitely give it a shot!

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94
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
517 tasting notes

Said to husband, “I’m about to start quiet tea time…don’t bother me!” Using my gaiwan today. I haven’t quite mastered it, but this tea’s reputation seems to call for something special.

Dry smell: bark, sweet buttery cream, coconut mochi, spice, light cocoa. It smells like dessert.

I love how the dusting of the brown tea fuzz makes everything look like it’s been covered in cocoa.

Steep 1: Hot water hits the leaves. Wow. Such a luscious sweet aroma. The taste is sweet creamy cocoa. Smooth and refined, yet dark and reminiscent of wilderness. Thick mouthfeel. I keep sniffing my cup. It’s fantastic. Non-tea scented air is so plebeian.

Steep 2: Hmm, darker. There’s some spice here…like roots. Still sweet and cocoa-y, but also more savory somehow. Mouthfeel is still brothy, but the moment the liquid moves past my tongue, I feel the effects of astringency. Liking steep #1 more so far. I probably went too long with this steep though. Let’s try again.

Steep 3: Oh my. The caffeine is kicking in. This is why I can’t do gong fu tea more often. Or if only I could convince husband to have tea with me. But the tea! mmmm… this steep is good. not so astringent as the last one. Dark and tastes like bark. Sweet cream and vanilla. Smells like ancient forest.

Steep 4: Last one till later. Something floral now. I’m terrible at recognizing floral scents and flavor except for jasmine and rose. And this is neither. More vanilla and dark spice.

This is a heavy rich tea. Nothing like the light springy green oolongs that i adore. Yet, I still enjoyed this thoroughly. More steeps to come, but my belly feels sloshy. I got a 4oz gaiwan, which produces about a quarter cup of liquid after allowing for the tea leaves and water absorption, but I’m still wishing I had a smaller gaiwan. They don’t seem to come much smaller than this.

Anyway, I’m feeling all warm and alive. Somehow relaxed yet alert. Lovely.

EDIT Here are my lovely tea companions (not imbibing)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23283174@N00/8438839204/

EDIT #2

Steep 5: Did not record this one while drinking. It was starting to develop that flavor tea gets if the wet leaves stay out too long. But the flavor of the tea underneath is still good. A bit weak, but I will blame that on my steeping time.

Steep 6: Reminds me to dark rye bread. It is a strong tea but the flavors are becoming more subtle now. There is bitterness in the swallow. Almost unpleasant.

Though I had originally wanted a ceramic gaiwan, I must say that this glass one has its charms.

Steep 7: This is, again, light. Reminds me of watered down barley tea. Or toasted rice porridge, which my grandpa was very fond of. This next steep shall be left to develop.

Does anyone else get super thirsty from gong fu sessions? I think I’ve chugged like 2 tall glasses of water since I started this late morning.

Nicole

Aw. They look relaxed and soft. :)

Mercuryhime

They are both. :) A nice warm gong fu session, the sound and sight of barely snoring puppies. A lovely sunny winter weekend morning. I couldn’t ask for more.

Dinosara

I was looking at gaiwans this morning and came across one from Dragon Tea House that is only 50ml, less than 2oz! They are beautiful but not cheap because they are hand painted.
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/accessories/chrysanthemum-handmade-mini-porcelain-gaiwan-50ml.html

Mercuryhime

Oh my, they are gorgeous! Could I have an unpainted one for a discount? :p

Dinosara

I know, right? I really want the birds and lychee one, though.

Mercuryhime

That one is cute! I’m partial to the bamboo one myself. :)

Kittenna

D’awwwwww, puppies!! And it’s funny actually – lately when I’ve been brewing up tea, I’ve been hit with super strong thirst, enough that I knock back a cup of ice cold water. While I’m in the midst of brewing up like 7 teas. I suspect that iced tea would do be just as well were it available, but I’m thinking that at least in my case, pouring water, etc. for tea just makes me realize I’m thirsty/dehydrated…

Mercuryhime

I suspect it’s the diuretic properties in tea. Gong fu tea is concentrated tea which delivers more diuretics with less liquid medium so it makes sense to become thirsty. I didn’t think it would make me that thirsty though. :) Husband wanted to know why I was drinking tea and water at the same time.

Kittenna

You’re probably right! It’s definitely still kind of amusing/strange though :P

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82

This is a beautiful tea. The colors! The lovely sweet floral aroma! It’s a tea for fairies! I love the pinkish tint in the brew. Possibly from the goji berries? The final brew is jasminey and nectary. There’s the herbal flavor of the flower petals. A smooth and subtle tea for sure. It reminds me a bit of a concoction my mom makes for me when I am sick. Chrysanthemum, goji berries, dates and honey. Good for chest colds, I’m told. This version from Verdant is more sophisticated of course. It leaves you tasting your cup over and over trying to figure out the nuances.

On an unrelated note, started watching Downton Abbey. I’m finding it both fascinating and frustrating. I usually hate shows about social politics. Why can’t we all just get along? There are enough lovable characters to keep me watching though. For now. If it gets too much more frustrating, I’ll have to stop. Can’t wait for Sherlock to come back!

MissLena

I wish I had some of this left! An amazing tea :)

Veronica

I’m ready for Sherlock to come back, too. I watched seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix last week. If I watch them again my husband might stage an intervention.

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drank Momo by Lupicia
517 tasting notes

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35
drank Chilli Rooibos by Eteaket
517 tasting notes

I got some of this from TeaEqualsBliss a long while back. It was such a generous package I’m still trying to finish it up. :) This one was intimidating for me. Chilli cherry rooibos? How crazy is that? I don’t even like cherry flavored things. They either taste like chapstick or cough syrup. Usually. But I’m pretty low and non-caffeinated teas so I thought I’d finally brave this tea.

Gotta say, I’m not too happy with this. I enjoy spicy foods and chili, but I don’t like it in this. Plus the cherry tastes like chapstick. The is pretty pleasing for a rooibos. It’s a nice smooth base for taking on flavors. I’m going to try and finish this mug, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to. I just don’t want my tea to be so spicy…

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This was a tea I had bought during the black Friday sales. I left it vacuum packed in a box under my desk since my usual cupboard didn’t have room for more tea at the moment. I vowed that I wouldn’t open new packages of tea (except samples :p) until I made more room. Well, my dogs had other ideas.
Husband and I went out to dinner with friends and came home to find a pair of furry escapees waiting for us at the door and a pile of vomited tea leaves. They found the tea under my desk and chose this one to rip open and gorge on until sick. Genius. I’ve got to say though, best smelling pile of vomit ever. So floral and sweet smelling. Too gross? haha

Thankfully, pup was fine, and I got to have some new tea. Weee! While this is a very tasty oolong, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly honey tasting. Very creamy and milky. Nectary stone fruits. Fresh and green and summery. Delicious. Subsequent steeps are vegetal like steamed greens. Still smooth and milky. Not much honey. Am I missing something? Maybe I should try again when I haven’t just had banana spice waffles for breakfast.

Kittenna

Oh man! Glad they didn’t eat all of it….!

Mercuryhime

Yeah, they’re too tiny too consumed all 5 oz of tea, thankfully. :)

Josie Jade

Our greyhound is constantly getting into the trash and pulling things off of the counter to eat. She too has tried tea leaves (a Mangattan Earl Grey blend) but obviously didn’t care for it and left the ripped open bag for me to clean up. Glad your pup is ok!

Autumn Hearth

Yikes. I got a very late astringent honey taste at the end of this.

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56
drank Paradise Green by Lupicia
517 tasting notes

Had a rather caffeinated black this morning so some green bancha should be a nice mild way to start the afternoon. I got tea bags of theses in the happy bag. First whiff was very scary for me. I detected pineapple and then a strong scent of the dreaded cherry cough syrup. Eek! Well, let’s be brave and try it anyhow…

The liquor is a bright green which leads me to suspect matcha. The taste confirms it. I get a bit of herbal quality from the flowers and a nice mix of fruits. Pineapple and papaya? Not sure. Tea base is a bit grassy. Bancha is not really my favorite but the flavor is pleasant if vague. no cough syrup taste! :)

Also, I’m sure the tea is pretty to look at but it’s hard to appreciate through the bag. :(

Overall, I don’t like this too much but it’s pleasant enough that I wouldn’t feel bad trying to foist this on someone else. Maybe it’s just not my thing.

Kittenna

Oh crap. I can’t stand cherry cough syrup, smell or taste. Hopefully I can’t taste it either.

Mercuryhime

I noticed a slight after taste when I finished the cup. I hope you find it undetectedable though! Also, I don’t like cherry flavored anything because it reminds me of cough syrup. Cherry is forever ruined. :( except blowpops and Swedish fish. : D

Kashyap

one of the many reasons I can’t abide flavored teas….the lack of accountability with the flavorings, natural or synthetic, and the belief that poor tea can be danced up with exotic names and equally pretend flavorings

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Profile

Bio

I came from a tea drinking family, but I never appreciated the different qualities and varieties of tea until older. All that time wasted! But I guess I needed to be mature enough to appreciate the tea experience. :)

My favorite teas are green oolongs and white tea. I also love greens, especially gyokuro. I have a huge appreciation for rooibos and honeybush as they are often that only thing I can drink in the evening. I am a relatively new convert to black teas. This is unfortunate for my wallet but extremely wonderful for my palate. :)

In any case, I have a love for both flavored and unflavored teas. They are different experiences for sure, but both enjoyable. I find that it often depends on my mood.

I am on a quest to find a tea that will win my husband over. I think I’m making some headway…

My profile pic features my two lovable puppies, Mr. Snuggles and Sr. Caliente.

Location

NYC / Westchester

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