970 Tasting Notes

86

Tea of the morning…. (SRP #25)

If you like a smokier Keemun, this is the one for you. The leaves are on the short side, kind of like something that is a BOP. Although it is not smokin’ like a Lapsang Souchong, it does have a notable smokey character that is perfect for the morning’s wake me up cup. It has a chocolate note in there, too, and a fullish mouthfeel similar to coffee. I am considering this one, because the smokiness kind of reminds me of my F&M Keemun that I loved while I had it. It is organic, which is a bonus, plus it is a bargain at just under $6 for 125 grams.

Usual teapot method with a 3 minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Indian Spice by Harney & Sons
970 tasting notes

More tea in the afternoon…..

I have several wrapped bags of this in my stash, so I guess this is a test to see if it will be added to the bagged tea for traveling or edited. I have really only prepared this as a chai in the past, so I really needed to test it as a standard brew in a cup.

It will be saved! But not replaced. I do have to say that as far as bagged tea goes, it is good. Convenience coupled with decent tea are a must when I travel, and this will work. There is a solid black tea base with notes of cinnamon and cardamom. It is not a super spicy blend, but it is very warming and cozy.

The key to bagged tea for me is to be sure I am using the right amount of water (which is 6-8 oz for most bags, and 12 oz for most sachets) and a shorter steep than I would for loose leaf since the teas in the bags are likely more broken up than loose leaf. I know in my pre-loose leaf days, I would use almost twice the water that one bag could flavor well. Ick.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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86

Tea of the afternoon….(SRP #24)

I added this one to my order because it is an Earl Grey with a Keemun base and one of my favorite Earl Greys is similar. I also love rose teas, so I figured it was worth a shot. I am definitely not disappointed! This is super yummy. The notes of rose and bergamot are a little on the strong side, but it really works with the slightly chocolatey and subtly smokey tea base. Such a perfect afternoon tea! It is a little heavier of a tea than the Rosy Earl Grey from Teas Etc. and I really like them both. If I had to pick one of the two…..well, I don’t, so I won’t go there! I may have to order more of this one and the Earl Grey Jasmine Monkey King…… Not sure how soon that will be, but it is looking like it might be May 31st-ish….. If I still like it by then, I will probably cave.

Usual mug method.

Edit to add…..after a few cups, I decided that I like my other Earl Grey rose blend better. There is not enough cupboard space for two versions!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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88

Tea at elevensies…… (SRP #23)

Mmmmm. Not sure I expected much from this one, but I like it. I think this will probably be in the cupboard someday since it comes from a place I regularly shop and it is currently only $6.80 for 125 grams. (Hmm….I wonder what it will taste like with a little jasmine…..yes, there seems to be a theme running though my tea selections as of late.) Bright bergamot on a smoth green base. Not a hint of bitterness.

Usual mug method, 3 minutes at about 185.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
K S

How does this compare bergamotwise to the Empire Tea version? Upton’s regular EG says it is a light English version. I like my bergamot with guts.

SimplyJenW

I would not call it light. I like a heft to my bergamot, and this one fits me. I am thinking it will be my replacement for Earl Green at Empire. I am also trying to cup back on extraneous orders. There are times when I order from a place for a single tea, and that seems kind of silly unless the tea in question is unmatchable. Earl Green from ETS is a wonderful tea, but I am not sure it is so much more wonderful than this one….

K S

Thanks. There were no reviews on Upton’s site. I have heard great thing about them in general but was concerned this would be too light so glad to hear otherwise. ETS is within a couple hours for me so once a year I can justify a drive. I actually liked their Ti Kuan Yin better than Teavivre’s.

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83

Second tea of the morning….. (SRP #22)

This is pretty good. I love coconut teas. I can tell this has a different tea base to the Black Jasmine Cream. This tea base complements the flavor rather than competing with it. I will definitely enjoy what I have in this sample. Sweet and slightly nutty.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Yogini Undefined

Ooh sounds yummy!

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Tea of the morning……. (SRP #21)

Initial thoughts: I am undecided on this one. It definitely comes across as jasmine vanilla, but I think the tea base is too smokey (which does not really mean it is all that smokey, just too smokey for this flavor profile.) When I imagined this tea, I imagined the flavor of jasmine and vanilla on a lighter, sweeter black tea base. This one seems a little heavy. In my opinion, jasmine and a heavy black tea base just don’t seamlessly blend on the palate. I taste the distinct flavors. They did do a good job of matching the depth of the jasmine to the vanilla. I might have to play around with the steeping parameters a little. I did go with slightly lower temps on the water just because there is green tea involved in this blend.

Usual mug method with slightly cooler water.

Edit to add: I am going to try adding some jasmine pearls to my Vanilla Black from Harney. I have a feeling that this one will be rehomed. Surprising, because I love the Earl Grey Jasmine Monkey King.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #20)

Yes, new tea samples from a new company for me. New Mexico Tea Company is currently having a free shipping offer until May 31, 2012. I decided to jump on that and try a few things, so I got this, Black Jasmine Cream, Rosie Earl Grey, and a free sample of Coconut Dream. Since I am on a jasmine and Earl Grey kick, these seemed fitting. They offer their teas in 1 oz amounts for sampling, plus 4 ,8, and 16 oz amounts, and they send a free sample that is probably a half ounce of your request. The service was prompt and shipping turnaround was very fast. The samples are packaged in a silver cello bag with a resealable zip closure. So far, I am impressed. I also ordered a round latch tin that will hold about 4 oz. of tea. I like the tin, too.

This tea is Springtime in a cup. There are jasmine notes intermingled with a light bergamot. It is definitely light and airy, floral and lightly citrusy. I definitely like it!

Brewed at about 160 for 2 minutes by the mug method.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

Um, yum?!! That sounds awesome. Since I can’t buy any tea right now my thoughts immediately went to: blend of Empire Tea Services Earl Green, plus some jasmine green tea. Must try that soon!

TeaBrat

I’ll have to find this place the next time I go to New Mexico (one of my favorite vacation spots)!

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97

Second tea of the morning…..

And I made a whole pot worth. I think it is time for me to come clean. I am well on my way to becoming a serious tea snob. I am reaching a point where the only teas I want to keep in my stash are the more expensive ones. I do have a few bargain loves, but my tastes are evolving into something pricey. Luckily, my husband is a craft beer drinker…..that means my expensive tea is still likely less expensive than his beer. Except that he does not have a stash……

I am pretty sure this tea was my first tea splurge. I bought my first tin a little over a year ago, and I thought I was nuts spending $24 for 4 oz. of tea. Now, it costs even more ($20 for 2 oz) and I am so thankful I did, and someone bought me a spare tin of this for a gift before the price change. I love this one, but I always forget it is back in the back of the cupboard. Notes of dark chocolate, the slightest bit of smoke for complexity, and just oh so smooth. My first true love in a black tea.

Usual teapot method.

I think part of my problem with my stash is that I am always trying to find less expensive versions of tea that I love. Maybe that is not such a great pursuit. By just enjoying the more expensive one, I will have better turnover. By seeking out the bargain, I have a half a tin of expensive tea, and another half a tin of inexpensive tea sitting in my cupboard…. In reality, that sounds like a funny kind of math for cost and space. Yep, I am still learning.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

ha – I know what you mean… :)

Autumn Hearth

Hehe, my husband has a toy collection (action figures) he doesn’t complain so much about the tea, unless its a lot at once, but this weekend when I was talking about getting yixing pots and a gaiwan he asked how many tea pots I had already and I was like really? Especially when I’m talking about the $15-35 range, not a hundred, thus comparable to an action figure. And he has a subscription in addition to buying individual ones, so I’m asking for a Verdant subscription for my birthday. He does like Keemun and British Blends though so I may have to treat him to this sometime. I think he likes to affordability of Upton though for himself and that’s fine.

Bonnie

The key to a happy marriage is equal hobby addictions! Avoid control freaks!

Dinosara

My problem… I’m a fancy tea drinker and a craft beer drinker! Now I just need to become a wine snob to round it out. :P

SimplyJenW

Well, I do love a good porter (current favorite is Breckenridge Vanilla Porter)……but I can usually be happy with a cheap cabernet or shiraz.

Azzrian

I can almost guarantee that tea is cheaper than craft beer in the big scope of things! :)

JacquelineM

I have the unholy trinity.of loving the pricey wine, beer, AND tea! You made me chuckle Dinosara!

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Tea of the morning……

I spent part of the weekend making a spreadsheet of my teas in more than sample amounts (over 1 ounce). What a rude awakening. I do seriously have a tea shopping problem. This was one I found buried in the recesses. Now, with the spreadsheet, I have a better idea of what I am replacing and what needs to be consumed to make more space. Such a handy tool.

This is good, but sweet. It was very fun blending my own tea as I got to put in all of the things I thought I would like together. I may blend my own again someday, but for now it is on the exit list.

Usual teapot method with a three minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I’m chuckling at the spreadsheet thing (and at the need for myself to do the same thing) … cataloging any collection is definitely a sign of addiction! :)
One of my prize possessions is a 5 × 8 notebook of mystery book titles and authors categorized by a dear friend. My bucket list ambition is to check ’em all off!

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90

Tisane of the evening……

I need to get back to curtailing my evening snacking. Somehow, Frank’s honeybush blends always make it easier as they are the best out there. This one is very good. Light chocolate, something creamy, and of course mint. The honeybush base just adds sweetness with a slight woodsy flavor. I definitely prefer honeybush over rooibos.

Teapot method with an 8 minute steep. Yum!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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Bio

My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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