393 Tasting Notes

91

First gongfu session in months. Roasty, fruity, tasty oolong. What’s not to love?

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88

This tea has become a smash hit in the office, since I brought it there a few days back. Sweet, fruity tea with little to no astringency, and a light body. Couldn’t stand up to milk. A great tea for the price.

Also – I hadn’t noticed, but I’ve been over a year at steepster! Thank you all for being so wonderful. I am so glad that I found this site :)

Cavocorax

Ooh! Congrats!

Sil

Yay for being here for an anniversary!

NofarS

Thank you all, wonderful people!

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98

Wonderful as usual, just be careful not to overgrew it or overleaf it. My second brewing came out on the bitter side because of that.

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92

Late night treat last night, and as delicious as it was when I first tasted it. Mmmm… cookies.

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100

My parents were over during the weekend, and this is my mom’s favorite tea, so we shared a cup. She likes her light, and with lemon, and I brewed mine darker, and with milk and a bit of sugar.

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91

I’m ill again (blame it on the open-space that I work in), and I needed something to brighten up my mood, the room, and ease my sore throat – hence this tea. It’s one of F&M’s better blends, and I’m still puzzled as to why it doesn’t appear on their site. A secret tea blend? It is beautiful enough to evoke The Secret Garden. Now I want to go reread The Secret Garden :)
I just got an email from Teabox, telling me that they apologize for the way FedEx treated me and my package, and saying that they will resend it via regular airmail, and refund me on more than half the purchase price for my troubles. Best customer service in the world, and I’m most certainly going to pay them a return visit! They have a lot of teas on sale, including a mind boggingly good deal on their Darjeeling samples.
Teabox.com is where they are at, and I am shamelessly plugging them because they have dealt with a problem that they hadn’t created, with grace and kindness and generosity, and so they deserve to be plugged.
If you are interested in my “tale of woe”:
Teabox sent my package with free express delivery via FedEx. I got a call from FedEx Israel while at work from a very snarky service representative that told me that I had received “a package from India”, and that the Health Department required an import permit for the tea that it contained. I was shocked. I’ve been receiving tea from abroad for over three years, and this is the first time that I’ve been told that I need a permit from the Health Department. I asked the lady if she was joking, as the tea in the package was all 10g samples (hardly import quantity), and this has never happened to me. She paused and unpleasantly replied that she is not joking, but they are more than willing to take care of the paperwork for me. At a cost. Out of curiosity, I asked how much, and was given the outrageous sum of “at least $60”. Around $20 for the paperwork, and another $40 for handling fees, plus they wanted around $2 for every day that the package was in storage while they “took care of the paperwork”.
Now the package cost me $56 total, so it was customs free, and “the paperwork” included filling in a few forms, and not paying a tax or anything on the goods. The lady made a great point of letting me know how difficult and time consuming it would be if I were to do the process myself, plus, I would still have to keep the package in their office until the process was complete. Now, here is where I got angry, and told her that she can return the package, or burn it for all I care, since I’m not going to pay them a dime.
1. They are the only party that stands to profit from this ridiculous “Health Department” process, and I’m sure that the Health Department doesn’t give a fig about my tea – otherwise they would have required a special form to be filled in advance.
2. Out of the hundreds of thousands of packages that arrive into Israel daily, customs just happened to zoom in on my package, which is below customs value, and contains tea samples?
3. If shipping and handling was prepaid, why do I have to pay $40 “handling fees”, and if the fees are required, why was the FedEx representative so eager to let me know that I can haggle over them?
4. I don’t enjoy being intimidated, and I don’t enjoy being talked down to, and I most certainly don’t enjoy being ripped off. Having all three happen at the same time – infuriating!

I plan on never using FedEx again if I can help it in any way possible. I plan on purchasing again from TeaBox and spreading the word about their customer services, and hopefully soon also about their tea, which I understand is very good.
End of rant :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TheTeaFairy

Wow, quite a story! But I always say it is not about the mistake but how it is handled. I will definitely check Teabox.com :-) hate FedEx, had to also deal with them about a parcel stuck at customs, terrible customer service, at least with my own experience with them.

Feel better!

caile

Gosh, that sounds like quite an ordeal; nice that teabox is going to resend your tea by regular mail!

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drank Qilan Wuyi Oolong by Verdant Tea
393 tasting notes

First Gongfu brewing in a few months (!). I have been busy, what can I say.
This is also a sip down of a sample from Verdant.
I wish that I chosen a different tea to drink now. It was somehow unsatisfying for the mood I was in – I should have picked something more roasted. I don’t much like Wuyi oolongs, and this teas floral notes in the first and second steepings, and its somewhat flat flavor made me not want to keep on steeping to a third.
No eggnog, no pastry, no vanilla, cacao, and although this tea is sweet, it has none of the depth of honey.
I think I have some more stashed somewhere, so I may give it a try again in the future. But this is not a tea that I’m going to run out and buy. If you like “green”, floral oolongs, try this tea (even though it looks and is roasted, it doesn’t taste like a roasted oolong).
Off to dinner with a friend.

Sil

(this is where i jokingly say…green! floral! oolong! my favourites!) not lol :)

But on another note – Greg at Norbu is awesome! It’s too much tea to get him to look about getting the Lao…. we’d have to buy a kilo, and that’s more tea than anyone needs, even split. BUT he did offer to send me a sample of the ruby black as that’s the most comparable :) so yay for that! thanks again for the heads up on the sale…excited to get my little order!

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50
drank Kenyan Tinderet by DAVIDsTEA
393 tasting notes

I got this tea at Boston, mostly because I knew that my favorite Kenya was starting to run out, and I was on the lookout for a restock. This is a CTC tea, on the lower side of tea quality “rankings”, so I found it strange that the company brands it with the following words: “Most connoisseurs drink it as a little luxury after a good meal”. Most tea snobs would likely not be willing to even try a CTC tea, let alone treat it as a luxury, but I’m not a snob, and I decided to let the tea speak for itself.
OK, so DAVIDsTEA got the timing on this one completely off, unless you are trying to get your tea to taste like (bad) coffee. 2 or 3 minutes for this tea is way to much, as like many other CTC teas, it brews on the strong side. At less than a minute it brewed strong enough for me to be afraid of trying it without milk and sugar.
How is it? Not great. It’s drinkable, but it’s nothing to write home about. I actually don’t see myself grabbing it at all if I keep it at home (with all the good stuff), so I’ll bring it to work, for an afternoon caffeine kick, or for the guys that come slouching to my tea stash and asking, “so what d’you have that’s really, really strong?”

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
OMGsrsly

They made this up as a Hong King style iced tea in the summer, and I think it works. Hot tea, sweetened condensed milk, over ice, maybe with tapioca pearls or coconut jellies… :)

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67

Thank you Terri for this sample! There’s actually enough in the bag for three sittings.
This tea has the smokiness of Keemun, an added astringency that isn’t usually present in Keemuns (at least not the ones that I have tried), and less sweetness than in other Keemuns. It also really needs the full three minutes of steep time recommended.
Not my favorite keemun by far, but a nice tea to try out.

PS – Just when I promised myself not to buy more tea (I went a little wild during Verdant’s Black Friday sale, and I had more than enough before it anyway), Norbu Tea has 25% off your order until the 31st of Jan (code: 2014Horse). Bought three interesting new oolongs and their wonderful white bud pu’er. If you haven’t purchased from Norbu yet, I urge you to give it a try. They have some of my favorite teas, and have yet to disappoint me.

Sil

while i’m SO glad you shared the norbu sale, my cupboard and wallet may end up hating you just a little lol going to check it out tonight haha

Terri HarpLady

HA! Sil, I was just thinking the same thing!

NofarS

I loaded over $100 worth of tea into my cart and then spent an hour pairing it down to anything close to my budget. I’m super worried that I might break down before the end of the month and buy “everything else”. They have an amazing Yunnan black tea called “Ye Sheng Hong Cha” that is out of this world good and unique, and their oolongs – don’t get me started about those. And their white teas, and their wonderful pu’ers (bamboo roasted and white buds are both mind blowing), and, and… You see my problem.

Terri HarpLady

All too well! I went a little nuts on Yunnan sourcing yesterday, pretty much the same as you…fill the cart…take a few things out…add a few more…prioritize… ;)

mrmopar

And I made 2 orders…. boy will i be in trouble! I am going to blame you guys for it!

Sil

the one tea i wanted more of from norbu that you share with us isn’t there… so i settled for 5 other random teas AND managed not to pick up 300g of a tea at the end of it’s season that looked tasty good.

Terri HarpLady

I haven’t been to the Norbu site…yet…
My birthday is this month…
Sil, what did you get?

NofarS

Enabling is fun!
Sil, which tea did you want? Was it Lao Cong Zi Ya by any chance? Drop a line to Greg, he may be able to get the tea you want for you. If it’s Lao Cong Zi Ya then count me in (there’s usually a minimum weight involved in these cases).

Terri HarpLady

Maybe I’ll put that one on my order for a 3 way split

Sil

NofarS…it wasn’t that one but i was SOOOOO sad i couldn’t find that particular one on the website. I really want that one!

Terri – uh i posted it in the share your orders thread.

Sil

I emailed greg…will keep you both posted!

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100
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
393 tasting notes

It always surprises me to see that I logged this tea so few times in the past, when I’ve had it so many times before. This is my “treat tea” or dessert tea. Verdant had a bit of stock left, and I had a $10 voucher from their Black Friday madness, so guess what I used it for? And for the ultimate decadence, I treated myself to one of Verdant’s lovely caddies too.
The king of all Yunnan blacks, and in my opinion of Chinese black (i.e. red) tea in general, is Dian Hong. Verdant cleverly rebranded it as “Golden Fleece”, evoking ancient myths while separating themselves from other Dian Hong sellers. This is likely the best Dian Hong that I will ever get my hands on, so I think that the branding is justified here. If Verdant has it in stock, hoard it like a dragon’s treasure.
As for taste – there really isn’t anything that I can say at this point that hasn’t been said. Spun sugar and sunshine in a cup.

Terri HarpLady

…sigh…oh yeah!

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Profile

Bio

An Israeli computer programmer with a passion for tea (mostly bought in yearly shopping sprees in the UK), particularly black, oolong and white. I don’t generally enjoy flavoured teas or herbal infusions, but if a tea sounds interesting and smells nice I’ll most definitely try it. I drink several cups of tea a day, usually one or two in the morning, another one after lunch and one or two in the evening. My favourite tea so far is Lao Cong Zi Ya from Norbu Tea, but I’m constantly trying new teas. Only in the past year have I branched into Pu’erh and non-roasted oolongs. Finding good tea in Israel is difficult, so I import most of my teas from yearly visits to London, or from online retailers. If you see something in my cupboard that sparks your interest and you would like to swap with me, then please message me. I’m almost always up for a swap.

Location

Tel Aviv, Israel

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