288 Tasting Notes

Backlog: Phew, it’s been a busy couple of weeks and I’m only now getting my feet back on the ground.

Thanks to Teavivre and Angel for this sample. I should have written about it some time back but life got in the way. I’ve not had buckwheat tea before, so had no clue what to expect. It was a pale yellow colour when brewed with strong cereal notes in the aroma, as you would expect. It tastes of toasted grains, kind of like puffed wheat or similar breakfast cereals, with nutty notes and a buttery feel. It’s a bit like breakfast in a mug, and makes a nice change for when you need a caffeine-free drink.

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Free sample from Teavivre

I’ve not had this before so when I opened the packet I was amazed and delighted by the size of the leaves. They’re huge and flat and green; actually longer than the infuser basket I’m using which is as deep as my mug. Crikey! They smell grassy with a hint of peas.

The liquor is pale green and has a soft mouthfeel. The taste is light and vegetal with a hint of pepper. It’s a savoury tea and quite refreshing with a pleasant, slightly peppery aftertaste.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Peas, Vegetal

Preparation
3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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Got a sample of this in a recent order from Teabox.

The leaf is a lovely mix of blackish green through olive to silvery green leaves and buds. Dry, it has a hay and citrus aroma. The liquor is golden in colour with a citrusy and floral aroma. It tastes of mango, citrus and something floral. Basically, it’s a tropical mix that is not as sweet as some Darjeelings I have had, but is really light and refreshing despite the heavy flavours. Two thumbs up for this blend.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Hay, Mango

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML
tea123

Thumbingly good.

mrmopar

Hi you tea drunkard! Hope you have been well, by the seaside…

Roughage

Doing well, mrmopar, doing well. I should write more about tea, but I seem to be spending my time sipping tea and staring out across the harbour at the ships and wildlife instead! :)

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Drinking this Darjeeling today. It is absolutely right to go with the hot weather outside. Hot in this case is a relative term. You need to understand that I am most comfortable in the zone between -10 and +10 degrees C and it is 21 C outside at the moment.

So, the tea is clear, silky and very refreshing with a delicate floral note. Spot on for today.

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drank Indian Breakfast Tea by Teabox
288 tasting notes

I got a sample of this with my recent order to Teabox. I would not normally buy breakfast blends, or any other blend really, but the weather has put me in the mood for something more autumnal than the Darjeelings that I have been stuffing my face with recently.

My misgivings about breakfast blends aside, this is pretty good for what it is. The dry leaf has an earthy, malty aroma. The aroma of the liquor is plum and Christmas pudding. It tastes malty and fruity with a bit of sweetness, but also a sharp edge on the side of the tongue. The malt character remains in the aftertaste too. Not bad. It does not rank up with my favourite teas, but then it is a fraction of the price, and taking that into consideration, it is pretty good.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Malt, Plums

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 6 OZ / 180 ML

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Too busy enjoying this one to write a proper note right now. Suffice to say that the warm grassy aroma of the dry leaf, the honey and citrus aroma of the liquor and the sweet, slightly nutty taste is just what I wanted on a sunny bank holiday afternoon. Teas like this are the reason why Darjeelings are my favourite black teas. Now, I must get back to working or there will be no new berserkjaknowledge being spread around.

Flavors: Citrus, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon in Cobh and I have survived a trip into Cork. Ye gods, but the train was packed. It’s not that packed during the week when I commute into work! And the streets here are swarming with tourists come for that authentic Titanic experience. So, I am trapped in my flat for the afternoon now, unless I want to dodge people wandering aimlessly, looking everywhere but where they are going. Ah well, at least I have two consolations: 1. the view from my flat is excellent; 2. I have just made a cup of this tea. Combining the two leaves me feeling very relaxed. Better not get too relaxed though or I’ll get no work done …

So, the tea. It’s the 2016 first flush. The dry leaf has the sweet smell of fresh hay. The leaves are a mix of silver, green and brown. The liquor is a golden, champagne colour and smells sweet and floral with malty notes. It has a really silky, smooth, almost glassy mouthfeel. The floral sweetness extends into the tasting, ending in a sparkling astringency in the aftertaste that lasts for some time. It’s really light and refreshing and there is an element of that relaxing chi that I find in some puerhs. I am really enjoying it, so it is a shame that it does not really resteep at all. Nevertheless, two thumbs up; I do like a good Darjeeling and this is definitely good.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
Cwyn

I gong fu this estate Darjeeling in very small tea pot. I get a good 6 pours usually. Am not a fan of a lot of Darjeeling but Goomtee estate is the bomb. I feel darn good when drinking the FF, takes 10 years off me for a half hour.

Roughage

I should try gong fu with this one, but brewed it western style according to the destructions on the package. My brewing set-up here in Ireland is not ideal yet though. Still much to organise and too much stuff back home in England.

tea123

If you can’t gong fu you could try wrong fu…

Roughage

Wrong fu sounds a bit like it might be gongfoolery gone bad! :) I need to sort out a smaller teapot here and I’ll be ready to go.

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Surprised not to see this one on here already. Yay, I get to be first, even if it is only a cursory tasting note because I did not sit down and do a full tasting. So, I started the day with Canton’s 2010 Xing Hai, but felt like a change of pace for the evening. I’ll save the rest of the Xing Hai for tomorrow. I’ve now changed to this tea for the evening. It’s a new one on me and I only received it in the post last week. I tried it the day I got it, but was not overly happy with how it brewed. FF Darjeelings are notoriously finicky, and that first trial was a victim of over-enthusiasm and lack of control of the brewing conditions. This second time around is much better.

The first cup came out golden in colour. It was clear, crisp and silky in texture. Light muscatel flavour is there, some sweetness and some dryness. It has many of the characteristics of some light, dry white wines I have had in the past. The second cup I steeped for 3 minutes and that was perhaps a touch too long. The previous flavours were all enhanced but an edge of astringency has introduced itself. I shall steep a third cup for 3 minutes again later and see how it does, but I can definitely state that this tea passes muster for this Darjeeling fan. I’m not completely blown away by it, but I am definitely satisfied.

Flavors: Muscatel

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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90

I’ve broken out this tea for today’s session. It seems to suit the mood. The atmosphere here is relaxed. The town is filling up with tourists arrived on the ferry from France this morning; I waved to them as they sailed past my window while I was eating breakfast but they did not wave back. Still, even with the tourists, it did not feel too busy as I went for my morning constitutional. What with the sun being out, the pleasure boats in the harbour, and the peace and quiet, it’s definitely a day for a relaxing cup of tea and a great view … well, at least for now. I have editing to do later, so it will not be all relaxing in the sun, but sufficient unto the day, eh?

The 2010 Xing Hai seems to be developing nicely. The dry leaf has that warm hay and horse aroma that I so love in a sheng. The liquor is pale yellow. It continues the warm hay aroma but adds notes of honey and heavy pollen. It tastes warm, and sweet. There’s notes of molasses, a slight astringency, a lovely gentle smokiness, and, to finish off, a peppery, sweet aftertaste that lingers for quite some time. As is usual for me when I encounter a tea with good qi, I am feeling it in my legs first. They are relaxed to the point where I am not sure if I can stand up on them. There is a lovely energy to the tea that leaves me content and happy with my place in the world, and not even worried about the work that awaits me later. This moment is enough.

Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Molasses, Pepper, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Roughage

So, the smokiness carried on for a long while in this one. I managed to get another eight steeps from it before it turned to sweet water. That’s pretty good going.

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99
drank Anji Bai Cha by Canton Tea Co
288 tasting notes

I just got my first order from Canton Tea Co in about two years. It’s nice having a regular income again! So, anyway, I bought more Anji Bai Cha because I had not had any since last I reviewed it here. I could not wait to try it again, so I ripped open the packet at work and set to. Conditions here are sub-optimal, but no matter, I needed this fix. And, you know what? It was worth it.

The dry leaf is grassy and warm like new-mown hay. The liquor is pale with a citrussy, apple aroma. And it tastes divine. So light and refreshing. There is a hint of umami lifted by a smooth sweetness and that apple that was in the aroma is also in the taste of the liquor. The aftertaste just sparkled on my tongue like a delicate champagne with a slightly spicy finish. The chi of this tea left me feeling so relaxed, almost to the point of being tea-drunk after just one cup.

Very few teas leave me this excited. This tea is awesome and is right there at the top among my favourite teas.

Flavors: Apple, Citrusy, Nutty, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

Whiteantlers

Your review made me happy!

Roughage

Thank you. :)

tea123

He’s back!

Whiteantlers

I am delighted he’s back. I loved reading about berserkers and the reviews of berserker movies.

Roughage

Thank you both. Yes, I’m back and need to catch up on writing about berserker-stuff. It’s good to be appreciated, Whiteantlers. :)

Whiteantlers

Roughage, my ancestry is Scandinavian and there is so little I have found (serious writing/films) in casual search, so yes, you are appreciated. Few things I love more than humor and good writing. :)

Roughage

Scandinavian ancestry is the coolest! :)

It’s not so much film-oriented, but this is my current project: www.worldtreeproject.org
It’s due to be formally launched in November, but will be growing over the summer. Maybe there will be bits on there that are of interest. In the meantime, I have a stack of DVDs that I need to make time to watch and write about. Shame I have some editing to do first. So much to do, so little time. I should probably stop surfing randomly and start doing. Hmmm …

Whiteantlers

Oh boy! Thanks for the link, Roughage. After my years of formal education, the last 3 decades have been very much autodidactic, so this will be a supreme treat to read.

Roughage

Enjoy the site. We’ll be soliciting contributions from the public from about 15th April, so hopefully there will be a lot more for you to lose yourself in soon.

Whiteantlers

The YouTube on berserkers was a delight. I love history presented that way. My sister is in academia as well (different subject matter) and so many of you are real unsung heroes in the outside world. Cheers from a fan! :)

Roughage

I really like that video too. My friend did a good job of summarising my thesis in twelve minutes in an intelligible manner, although some of those that commented on it really seem to have missed the point just the same. I guess there’s a research article in that too! :) Anyway, thank you for appreciating it. Knowing that someone out there has taken something positive away from my work is the biggest boost I can get.

Whiteantlers

I hated history all through school, and as a dyslexic with ADD (before people knew what those things were and Ritalin-ed the creativity out of kids), I spent a lot of time in history class looking out the window or doodling. In my junior year, a teacher put me on the spot, asking me if the class was boring me. I’m a cheeky dyke so I said YES! He asked why and I said it was all memorized dates, place names and things irrelevant to my life. I wanted to know what people wore, ate, drank, where they walked, who they punched, what their horse looked like. The video I watched satisfied all of that and what I have read of your writing does, too. Kudos to you for making so much of the “Distant Mirror” accessible and enjoyable.I raise my tea cup to you.

Roughage

I hated history in school too. It was, as you write, all kings and queens and names and dates, and nothing about the real people. I ditched it and did German instead. It was only when I studied it as part of my university education that it became interesting, because suddenly it was more like CSI: about the facts, the evidence and the interpretation, and there were ordinary people I could relate to in it. That’s when I learnt to love history. It’s also why I went off to be an archaeologist for 20 years. Digging through ordinary people’s rubbish and poo really gives you a sense of the past that school history books do not! Anyway, I’m rambling on too much. I raise my cup back at you. Thank you.

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Profile

Bio

I am a qualified peripatetic berserkerologist peddling berserkjaknowledge at UCC in Cork.

My favourite teas are Darjeelings, sheng puerhs and Anji Bai Cha. I return to these every time, after whatever flirtation with other teas I have been involved with.

I no longer rate the teas I drink because keeping ratings consistent proved to be rather hard work while not really giving me anything in return.

Location

Cobh, Ireland

Website

http://ruarighdale.wordpress....

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