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956 Tasting Notes

80

Tea of the morning…. (SRP#8)

I have had this one for a while. I think it appealed to me because it was likened to coffee, and I used to be a pretty hefty coffee drinker. Also, in looking at my big pile of samples, I can see that I am going to get through the black teas in my SRP-Sample Reduction Plan, well ahead of all the others. I NEED a black tea in the morning. I guess it will be a great time to use up some Franken Breakfast once I tackle those sample blacks and try the few new ones in transit (yes, I fail at ‘no buys’ for tea)….

This tea is interesting. The first thing it reminded me of is Javavana Mate from Teavana. Maybe it is not as sweet, but there is a definite note of chocolate, and the tea base is earthy and mellow. It is also a strong tea base. I do see why this tea is suggested to coffee drinkers. It could stand up to any kind of additions well. If I had gotten around to trying this in my coffee drinking days, I am pretty sure I would have purchased this. But now, I only have an occasional cup of coffee (and the occasional coffee flavored ice cream is even better!) Tea has won me over.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I got a sample of this when I ordered from them, I look forward to trying it.

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91

Tea of the morning…. (SRP#7)

This one is from my foodzie box from LiberTEAS.

Oh man. This is fantastic. The leaves are a little shiny, twisted, and thicker than most black teas, but when they brew up, they are huge. My infuser basket is almost overflowing! The resulting tea is a dark, thick, reddish brown. It has a heavy mouthfeel. It is malty, roasty, woodsy and complex. There is a slight bit of astringency at the end, and a very slight hint of briskness. Really, a fabulous breakfast tea. (Fabulous even for the serious tea drinker in me! :D)

I did take some time to check out this company online. It looks as though they offer some very unique things (I am eyeing those Hawaiian teas…..) I am putting this on the shopping list.

Usual teapot method. I think I am going to try a resteep, too.

Thank you, LiberTEAS!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

You’re welcome! KTeas is a wonderful company. I’ve had many wonderful conversations with the owner. She’s such a lovely lady!

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drank Azteca Fire by Teavana
956 tasting notes

Tea/tisane of the evening…. (SRP #6)

This one comes to me from FairyFli. (Thank you so much!) She sent me such a generous bunch of samples of herbals and others from Teavana. Actually, I am excited to try them. I have not yet been to a Teavana, but I have placed a few small online orders with them for sale items or when they had free shipping. I do window shop for the teaware on occasion. We have a few stores locally, so if I find something really good and unique (and am lucky enough that it is in their current offerings), I can pick a little up for a special treat. I don’t think any of them will make my daily cuppa lists, but they are fun. And I am usually looking for a dessert replacement. This one is not bad at all.

I am going to be honest in that I went a little heavy on the leaf. I used 4 perfect teaspoons (which translates to 6 actual tsp) for my 24 oz pot. I also caved and sweetened this with Splenda. It is definitely sending me vibes of dessert. It is chocolatey, a little fruity, and there is a hint of spice. Really, it almost seems more like a hot chocolate than a tisane. Pretty tasty, and I might consider it if I need serious dessert tea without caffeine. Is this in any way a serious tea? No way! It is pure fluff and not for those who take their tea seriously all the time.

Thank you, Fairyfli! This is going to be fun!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
Iainthekiltman I really love the way you review teas. Drink on Madame!

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drank Jen's Comfort Tea by Custom
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon……

After reading JacquelineM’s review of the Lemon Tea from Mountain Rose Herbs, I remembered that I had purchased some licorice root from there a while back to make an herbal blend like an herbal blend of a similar name that is very expensive from this one spa type salon. (Sorry I am being vague, but if you know of this tea, you know…)

I am also trying to drink more blends that don’t require sweetening. This one does not due to the licorice root. I find it pretty relaxing, so I think it will be a staple in the cupboard since it is so easy to mix up, and really pretty inexpensive, too. (Recipe plus my ammendments is on the tea’s main page….) I was planning to add some tulsi to my blend all along, and was out of basil in my spice cabinet. But then I remembered that tulsi is a kind of basil, and I almost wonder if that is what they really use in the original…..

Sweet and minty. And there is a hint of anise flavor. Yum.

Teapot method for 5 minutes. No additions. (Not rating this one as I blended it up in my kitchen!)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Tulsi is fast becoming one of my favorite cheapster decaf bases for other stuff.

SimplyJenW

Yes, after my cup today, I decided it needs more Tulsi!

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89

Tea of the morning….. (SRP #5)

I can’t believe I have an untried Keemun in my possession. It has been in my sample bin since last November. See, it is a good thing to check what you have every so often.

This is very good. The leaves are not long, but they are fine (narrow) like the higher grades of Keemun. There are light notes of smoke, and cocoa, just like you would find in a good Keemun. A great breakfast tea on its own for sure. It is currently (as of April 14, 2012) $8.40 for 125 grams, so roughly $2 an ounce. I do think it is slightly richer tasting than the Organic Heng Ru Keemun which is a little less expensive. Not sure I would need the more expensive one, though, but I might spring for this at some point as my stores of Keemun are down to only the Heng Ru and my precious Harney Keemun Mao Feng. And, I must try ALL the Keemuns at Upton, just because they make it so reasonable to do so!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I love that they offer inexpensive samples of everything too.

Dylan Oxford

Wow, I just looked at all of their samples, that’s a definite plus. And extremely reasonable shipping. May have to order from these folks.

SimplyJenW

@Dylan-They are fabulous, too (I have ordered from them about 10 times). The problem there is trying to decide what to try, because there are so many choices.

Dylan Oxford

There really are. I was just going through their chai selection. And excuse me, but 19 Earl Greys? Sheesh!

Azzrian

Yeah I have their catalogue – wow – I can’t even get a grasp on all of it!

SimplyJenW

It does help to concentrate on one thing at a time. I think I ran my way through the Chinese- Other Congou first, trying to get a handle on what different price points taste like. Then I went through the chais, too. Now, I try the new Keemuns whenever they come in. At some point I will tackle Darjeelings, but that category is so huge!

Dylan Oxford

Yeah, wow. That’s a lot of darjeelings.

Cheryl

Upton is an excellent place to test different varieties. Having already tested most of the flavored ones that I wanted to, I’m now in the vortex of unflavored that’s endless, lol. Super customer service too (lightning fast).

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82

Another tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #4)

This is a sample from a swap with Mercuryhime. I know you suggested cold brewing this, but I have need of warm tea…..

The tea base looks very much like a normal Bai Mu Dan. The strawberry flavoring is light. I am not sure I read much more than strawberry flavored white tea. The overall taste is refreshing. And with a little sweetener, the strawberry really shines. Definitely a good, light tasting cuppa. Perfect for late afternoon.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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88

Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #3……..Sample Reduction Plan)

This one was included in my foodzie box from LiberTEAS. This sample box that she sells on teatra.de.com was a great way to try several kinds of tea from a multitude of vendors for one low price (yes, I am sounding like a commercial, but actually, I am just very happy with the contents!) I have been contemplating an order at Simpson & Vail for some time, but it is always nice to try a few things just to have an idea of the quality offered by a new-to-you vendor.

This is a good one. Light cinnamon, then the notes of chocolate hint, and then a cakey note. I do think the chocolate and cakey notes are somewhat from the flavorings as well as the tea base. The cinnamon still seems very much a part of the tea. It is strong and thick enough that it kind of reminds me of coffee. I do know that if I am ever in the market for flavored tea, I will place an order at Simpson & Vail. Right now, I think I am maxed out for cupboard space until I finish a few things, or several ;).

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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86
drank Nilgiri FOP by Lupicia
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…… (SRP #2…Sample Reduction Plan )

And this is I think the last tea from my Lucky Bag from Lupicia from New Years. I do have to say that the Lucky Bag (actually called a Fukubukro Bag) was a fun introduction to Lupicia, but I am not sure I would do it again. The fact that it is a good introduction kind of defeats the marketing of this bag….You have to be intending to purchase it in order to get one before they sell out. It takes a little planning ahead on a holiday, but then some of us, like me, are tea obsessed. As a result, it did work for me.

This is a very fluffy black. The leaves are pretty big (hence the FOP designation without a B in there!) It kind of reminds me of a ceylon, but not as bready. Kind of like a Chinese congou, but not as chocolatey. There are no hints of smoke, and I would probably just call it a simple black tea. The front does have a slight hint of malt, and the end is very smooth. Yes, simple. I do have just under 50 grams of this, and it might be sorted into the Franken Breakfast Blending Lab (really, just a plastic shoe box sized bin.) It will make a great base tea.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Haha you said Fluffy! I used that term last night writing a review for teareviewblog and thought I was weird for using that term! Nice to know Im not the only weirdo haha

Azzrian

Oh wait maybe you meant the leaves … I was talking about the mouthfeel – guess I am a weirdo alone again SIGH

SimplyJenW

I think fluffy for a mouthfeel is good, too! I might just use that term myself!

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86

New tea of the day…… (AKA SRP #1 in Sample Reduction Plan 2012)

I got this one in my foodzie box from LiberTEAS. I missed out on this when Culinary Teas had it available for a short time in February. I was so glad that Ann was able to include this one in my box.

I get mostly rose tea with a hint of chocolate. It is really very good. I do think I could do with a bit less rose and a bit more chocolate flavor. It is amazing how much this reminds me of Upton’s Rose Congou but with a slightly bigger hint of chocolate. From the description on Steepster, it is a blend of rose tea and chocolate tea. I have Harney’s Valentine blend which is chocolate tea with a hint of rose. Really, I think I would like something in between the two, but I will happily drink this one until it is gone.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LadyLondonderry

This sounds good. I am set for life as far as rose tea goes … Last year I ordered a personalized tin of Rose Congou for a rose-loving friend’s birthday, along with a pouch of it for myself, and a pouch of Panyang Congou (also for me). When I opened up the Panyang Congou, what did I discover but rose petals. I reported this finding to Upton, and they were kind enough to send me another pouch of the PC. And again, what did I find in that one but … yes, more rose petals! At this point I shrugged and decided that there are much worse fates than having the universe relentlessly shower you with rose petals. :-) It was kind of a magical-realism experience in the tea realm.

SimplyJenW

That is a ton of Rose Congou!

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91

You give some away, you get much more in return……

This is the end of my sample of this tea from Batrachoid. I found it in the bottom of my sample bin (which is really three shoebox sized plastic bins) while doing some kind of Spring cleaning (really, let’s be honest that it is more of a Spring ‘shuffling things around’ than actual cleaning!) Some of these samples were purchased, and some were from swaps. If I tried one every day from now until the end of the year, I am not sure I could get through all of them. I think we might call my next sample-palooza A Sample (or three…) A Day Keeps the Stash at Bay, unless you out there can think of something better. How about Climb Sample Mountain……

The mixture of the generosity of my Steepster friends and my obsession with trying just a few more teas has me buried in samples and a few new ones to try. I think I even have a few more samples and certainly some new teas in transit as I type this. Really, it is getting out of hand. I did finally start purchasing most teas in smaller amounts which seems to help a little. I really have to get a handle on my tea. I am to the point where I have to categorize….ones I will finish as iced tea, ones that will be replaced when gone, ones that will be good blenders for my Franken-Breakfast tin, ones that are packaged for travel, etc……. and then the mountain of samples.

Here I sit with this awesome cuppa. I do so appreciate the sharing of this particular tea as it is not available any longer. One day I will probably buy something from this company due to their meticulous attention to detail and awesome packaging. But, it is not this day…… I must press on to be a more efficient and responsible tea drinker and purchaser. It is hard to think of it going to waste, and if I give it away, I end up with more than I started. (You guys are wonderfully generous. Our community here always restores my faith in humanity. I raise this awesome cuppa to you!) :D

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I know the feeling… :)

Cheryl

Heh, and this is another reason for me not to swap. I swapped fragrance samples, and for every 1 sent along to someone, they seemed to multiply worse than bunnies. Nevermind that I don’t operate on samples. If I like it, I want a container, a full-size (could show proof of this in fragrance category). Don’t know why of that … why can’t I be happy/content with a sample for a while? But I feel your pain!!!! Even without swapping, I went through a similar sorting ritual few weekends ago (and feel out of control).

gmathis

Tea samples (much like Legos and Hot Wheels), when placed in a closed cabinet without supervision, mate and multiply. I’m just too sleepy to put an end to the fraternization in the middle of the night :)

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Profile

Bio

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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