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158 Tasting Notes

I had never had proper Pu-Erh before today. I had had flavored nest Pu-Erh, which tasted nothing like what I experienced today.

My Dad went on a business trip to China, and I asked him to bring me some teas. Since he knew no Chinese and pretty much nothing about tea, he asked the translator to choose for him. I ended up with a small heat of teas, one of them being this one. : )

Since I had never had a cake of ripe Pu-Erh before, I decided to brew it Gaiwan style. I felt it was a little harder to mess up this way.

The smell of the dry leaves was… fishy. I can find no other word that accurately describes the entire experience of my first excited sniff of this tea. If I try to get a little more accurate, it smells like fish wrapped in leather that was a bit moist… Actually, I have no idea what this would smell like, but my imagination says that would be something like this Pu-Erh…

I rinsed it and after a quick brew, I ended up with a gorgeous peach colored liquor. The scent was still heavy on the leather covered fish. I waited for it to cool down a bit and took my first nervous sip. To my honest surprise, I liked it! Thankfully, it tasted nothing like it smelled. The taste was smooth and woody. It had a leather note that was followed by planty earthiness and ended in a finally of sweetness that reminded me of oolong. I still wonder how something can smell so different than what it tastes like (I am really happy that it does…)

I didn’t love it, but I am really happy I got to try it. I have an entire cake of it, and I imagine that it is going to take me forever to drink through. I might take a large chunk of it and let it age in the dark for a couple of years. I am going to have to read more about Pu-Erhs before I make up my mind.

In the mean time, I am happy and content for having been able to try this! : ) I am not rating this because I have no other equivalent in memory to compare it with. Maybe one day I will try more Pu-Erhs and be able to give them a number, in the mean time, the review is all letters!

TeaBrat

Fortunately it will not get stale and it might even get better over time… :)

Tamm

:D I liked reading your story along with this review. I just got my first Pu-erh also! I am keeping the wrapper so I can look at it later. I’m pretty nervous about trying it but my biggest issue atm is how to break it apart. lol

Ninavampi

: )
@Amy oh- I was hoping that would be the case!

@Tamm- I also had an interesting time trying to figure out how to break it as well. After a while I gave in and used a knife to pry off enough for my cup! Pu-Erh has been an adventure for me so far! A fun adventure! : )

Tamm

O.O I haven’t been brave enough to take anything to mine yet. Added to my troubles is the fact that mine is the toucha shape instead of being flat and round. :D I love tea adventures!

Ninavampi

So do I! : )

Dinah Saur

Tamm, I found a very simple way to break apart a pu-erh cake is to get one of those quite small flat head screwdrivers. Like the ones you would use to fix your glasses or some other tiny screw. It is flat enough to gain leverage, while blunt enough not to damage the tea, but allow you to pry off parts.

Tamm

:O I have those! hehehe Finally I’ll have a use for them. :p I think I saw on Tea-chat that someone was using sharpened bamboo chopsticks? lolol

Dinah Saur

Yup! There are any number of options available to you!

Jim Marks

Fishy damp leather sounds about right. ;-)

Packed pu-erh can be quite packed. Be careful you don’t crack the chockstick.

With a flat cake I use a paring knife and slowly wedge it between the layers to pry them apart and once the layers are thin enough you can flake them apart by hand. That probably won’t work as well on something round like a tuocha. Something sturdy like an ice pick or a narrow tipped screwdriver (as already suggested) would be well suited provided you can work deliberately and slowly with it and not just hack away at it.

There are a lot of pu-erh nerds here on Steepster so if you need more information about this particular leaf or pu-erh in general, you’ll have more information than you could want, I’m sure. The primary thing to remember is that ripe/fermented/shu pu-erhs and raw/green/sheng pu-erhs are pretty different from each other so experiences with the one rarely carry over to be relevant to the other.

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95

Happy New Years!!!! : ) I hope that this year brings everyone success, happiness, love, and lots of good teas to try and share!

I started off my new year by having one of my recently discovered favorites. Yummm… Pancake tea with crepes and my family was the perfect way to start off the first day of the year! My Doggies (Sencha and Mona) slept soundly after a night of Fireworks (which both amazed them and terrified them… It was cute to watch!).

This tea doesn’t stop putting a smile on my face, no matter how many times I drink it. I am seriously considering getting a third pouch of it before it is sold out. I think that Frank should add this to the permanent collection for 2012!!! ; )

Today the dough and syrup played in nicely with the black tea. Even though it is unbearably hot today in Quito, my warm cup of tea was delicious! Oh pancake tea, please don’t ever stop being so tasty a nommy!

Cheers to the New Year!!! (Raising cup of tea…)

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80
drank French Vanilla Assam by 52teas
158 tasting notes

Vanilla is my favorite flavor. No ifs, ands, or buts… When I saw that French Vanilla was one of the teas in the 12 days of Christmas (day 8 if I recall correctly…) I was thrilled! Vanilla and from 52teas… Wow… My hopes and expectations soared!

The only bad thing about getting so excited is that your expectation become exaggerated and may lead to disappointments. This was my case this time around… I didn’t write a review on the first day I had it because I had gotten myself so worked up about trying it, that I was sad after I dad. A week and a few days later, after reading how much others liked it, I picked it up to try again. I am happy I did!

The leaves smell more like cream than vanilla to me. The more I smell it, the more it reminds me of vanilla ice cream and not just plain cream. The black tea base is very prominent, but this isn’t a bad thing at all.

The resulting darkish brew is vanilla tasting, but still prominent on the cream aspect of it. Without any sweetener it is an enjoyable smooth creamy tea, I didn’t get straight vanilla. With sugar added, the vanilla peaked through a bit more. The creaminess of it was the most notorious aspect to me. The black tea base was a little astringent; I felt that this obscured the vanilla a tad.

The second brew was more enjoyable to me. The astringency played down and the vanilla was still strong enough to be evident. Half unsweetened and the second half of it sweetened. Both enjoyed!

Worth trying, enjoyed it, not my favorite vanilla, but it is still a good one! : )

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Buttered Popcorn by 52teas
158 tasting notes

I had the last of my first pouch of this tea today (from the 12 days of Christmas sampler). I liked it a little bit more… but not enough to ever want it again. It does taste exactly like pop corn, and I think that this is the reason that I can barely drink it. My brain keeps getting in the way and my tummy is doing summersaults and asking me why I keep drinking this bizarre thing that I keep feeling like should be chewing and added salt to…

So… I actually have a second 12 days of Christmas set from 52teas (long story… But I am very happy to have a second of most of the teas!). And I am more than willing to ship off the unopened sample of this tea to someone who hasn’t tried it yet! I don’t need anything in return, just keep posting reviews, reading makes me smile! : )

If you are interested, post a reply to this tasting note or go ahead and PM me. It will go to the first person to get in touch with me who hasn’t tried it yet.

Tegan Fyretyde

does this sample still exist? I’m curious about this tea.

Ninavampi

Hi Tegan! Sorry I took forever to get back to you! If you are still interested it is still available and I would gladly send it your way!

Tegan Fyretyde

I would love it, and my Husband wants to try it even more than me (he loves those buttered popcorn jelly bellies). I will shoot you a PM

chaijeeyah

Who would want to drink that? Liquid popcorn… Why not actually pop yourself some real corn and pair it with a cup of delicious tea.

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34
drank Vanilla Mint Mate by 52teas
158 tasting notes

I have been on a roll with 52teas. I have been enjoying every one I tried. I guess I can’t like everything and lucky streaks can’t last for ever.

It took me a while to decide to purchase this, but I like vanilla, mate and mint enough that I eventually gave in. As soon as it arrived I opened it to sniff at it. It coated the inside of my nose with “toothpaste” smell. Not what I was expecting. It was very sharp. After this experience it took me a long while to urge myself on to try it.

I steeped my 2 teaspoons to 12oz of boiling water. The smell of the brewing tea was much more pleasant than the actual leaves. It smelled smooth and creamy reminding me of Creme de Menthe. At this point I became a little more optimistic about liking the tea.

I tried it unsweetened and I got sharp spearmint taste. The vanilla was there, but not as smooth as I was expecting it. The Mate flavor was permeating through all the other flavors. Its woodiness and slight bitterness reminded me throughout the cup that this mint had caffeine! It reminded me of Root beer, except it was hot (not really a good thing…).

Once it cooled down I found it a little more palatable, but I can’t imagine me actually wanting to have more of this… I will try it iced, which might work well since I do like Root beer (cold…).

Oh well…

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

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92
drank Caramel Vanilla Chai by 52teas
158 tasting notes

This reminded me of the first encounter I had with one of Franks teas. Not because of the similarity in flavors, but because of the intense smell that greets you as soon as the package is open. On this occasion it was mouth watering vanilla and spices. I think it was just what I needed tonight! The puppy is still growing and has decided that her favorite pass time is bothering my older dog. It is exhausting to control her after I am used to my trained and well behaved older doggy. I can’t wait for her to grow up! : ) In the mean time, vanilla, spices and black tea will carry me along.

I believe that this was supposed to be the 10th tea of the 12 teas of Christmas, but tasting it got postponed due to holiday craziness (though I did open it and sniff on the correct day!).

Did I already mention that the smell was spectacular? I think so… But I will repeat it, the smell was amazing! Vanilla and Spices and if I thought about it I could even get a hint of the caramel. Impressive.

I steeped 2 teaspoons to my 12oz of water. 3 minutes of wait while I drooled to the scent of spicy vanilla. Drum-roll and…. wow… so bitter… Added milk and sugar… Better, but bitterness still there… The aftertaste was good vanilla and spice, so I was determined to keep trying.

Second cup steeped for 2.5 minutes with only 1.5 teaspoons for my 12oz. After 2.5 minutes of fingers crossed, I had a first sip. Hmm… Not bad! Much less bitter and still about the same amount of spiciness! As an added bonus I got a tiny bit of caramel something that added to the vanilla. Milk and sugar added and it became delicious! I had to try really hard not to gulp it down. After that first sip, the caramel got lost to me, but the vanilla and spices worked wonders!

Now, I have two cups of Caramel Vanilla Chai in my belly and two doggies fast asleep. Aaahhh… Pure bliss! : )

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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89
drank Milk & Cookies by 52teas
158 tasting notes

First, and most importantly, Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope that celebrations were joyful and full of love!

Second, I have been a bit absent due to all of the craziness of the holidays, but things are returning to more normal and manageable pace. I haven{t been able to drink each of the Twelve Days of Christmas on the correct days, but I have been opening them on the right days. : )

This was the last of the series. I was really excited to find out what it was going to be! I opened the little packet right before we started opening Christmas gifts with my family. I was really happy when I smelled chocolate. I couldn’t place the scent as a whole, but the chocolate was jumping up and down and waving its hands at me. I was happy when I finally peeked and saw it was milk and cookies!

I steeped it and ended up with a pleasant brown liquor that smelled just like Chocolate Chip Cookies (the scent reminded me of the smell that hits you when you open a package of Chips Ahoy!). Unsweetened it tasted pretty generic. Just black tea that was vaguely chocolaty. I added brown sugar and the result was much more like what I was expecting. Sweet chocolate showing up first and cake/cookie hanging out as an aftertaste.

This is the first time that I felt that the tea base in 52teas got in the way of the flavoring. It was a bit astringent for cookie. It didn’t stop me from enjoying two cups of it (the second even more sweetened and even more cookie like! : ) )

I really liked this tea. Didn’t quite make it in to the “league of my favorite teas” but it was just what I wanted for Christmas present opening and family sharing and celebrating.

Once again, Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for sharing your thoughts through tea with all of us! It is a gift I cherish every day! : )

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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86

Another wonderful day in terms of Doggies getting along! Yay! In terms of work, on the other hand, it has been long and intense. Thankfully it is now over and I am free to enjoy my tea and my dogs!

I settled down with a cup of this, the 7th tea of the 12 days of Christmas from 52teas!

I was happy to try this blend. The other cheesecake tea from 52teas that I have tried (pumpkin cheesecake) I loved, so this was exciting to say the least. The smell of the leaves was oddly fruity with a coconutty aroma hanging out in your nostrils. The shredded coconut looked tasty and beautiful in the honeybush.

I steeped it the smell was all coconut. It reminded me slightly of sunblock, which is supposed to smell like coconut, so I guess this is a good thing. First sip unsweetened was smooth and creamy, sweetened the creaminess was even more notorious and the coconut shown through even stronger than before. The coconut in this blend doesn’t taste artificial, in fact, it is the the most realistic coconut flavor I have ever tasted in a tea!

My only issue with this tea is that I got 0 cheesecake flavor… Oh well… Still really enjoyable though!

I really enjoyed this cup of tea, but personally, I feel that the wonderful flavors may stand out more with a black tea base! : )

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

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67

Today has been a good day. My very jealous dog seems to have finally decided that she was going to get along with my new puppy! After a week of continuous supervision dealing with outbursts of nipping and growling, today, finally, they started playing as if nothing had ever happened. They played and played and I smiled and smiled as my boyfriend giggled with me as if we were kids. So happy!

To celebrate this happy turn on events, I had the 6th of the 12 days of Christmas teas! This particular one I had been curious about for a long time. I am not a fan of Genmaicha , so I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t like it just because it would remind me of it. On the other hand, I really love rice crispy treats… So I was thrilled to get to try it!

As soon as I opened the packet I smelled sweet, not quite marshmallow but yummy and promising. I was expecting to see real marshmallows, not marshmallow root. Sad but not terrible.

The brew was a very light golden green that smell like marshmallow treats with a suspicious hint of cupcake. All in all I was still very excited about it. I sweetened it with generous amounts of brown sugar.

All of my high expectations were sadly not exceeded by the flavor. I sipped and sipped and all I got was sweet genmaicha with a hint of marshmallow. It still smelled amazing, enough so that anyone who walked into the room asked what smelled so great, but the taste just wasn’t as spectacular as the smell.

I really thought that this was going to be one of my favorites, but I guess my disliking genmaicha got in the way. I did enjoy it, but it didn’t live up to what I had prepared myself for. It was enjoyable and a good companion to my happy, warm, fuzzy joy of seeing my two doggy girls get along! : )

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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95

Finally caught up on the 12 teas of Christmas! I have been drinking down my whole package of this, though I haven’t been writing tasting notes every time I drink it. It is really just as good every time I brew it.

I was really happy to see this be included! I hope a bunch of people will get to try it out and pounce on what is left of the stock of it so Frank will decide to add it to the permanent collection! ; )

I have learned through trial and error that this is best when really sweet, much like pancakes are best smothered in maple syrup! (I feel like I have mentioned this previously).

Happy with my 5th day of 52teas Christmas!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ryan Freed

I will definitely be getting this tea

Erin Williams

This sounds interesting. I picked up a Maple Sugar tea today from my local tea shop, Tea Largo, and remembered reading about this tea last night.

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Profile

Bio

I love tea and have since I was a little girl. Once I could buy my own tea, I began to explore and learn about the extensive and delicious world of tea!

Also, love my French Bulldog (named Sencha…) and my tea oblivious boyfriend. I enjoy ice skating (I am a part time coach), reading, writing, baking, running, and lots of sweets!

My favorite teas tend to be on the sweeter side. Both flavored and plain teas are great to me. Currently going through a flavored tea phase. Enjoying it greatly! : )

Location

Quito, Ecuador

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