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956 Tasting Notes

84

Tea of the morning…..

Now I am on to the last tea of my Talbott’s gift box. This one is still good, but again, not as good as the Chocolate Almond Allure. Definitely notes of strawberry and dark chocolate on Talbott’s rich tea base. I may even try milk with these at some point. I think the base can handle it well.

I have been pondering if I thought the regular price of the gift set would be worth it to me…… That is a tough one. I think if I had to pay full price for these, I would pick just the favorite of them and get a single tin if shipping were not an issue. However, for such a good deal (as the three tin gift set on clearance!), it is great that I have three teas that are good and enjoyable. Am I likely to repurchase any of the three? Probably not, unless the stars align for me again.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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83

Second tea of the afternoon……

What can I say? I had to try this one today, too. I don’t like it quite as well as the Chocolate Almond Allure, but it is still pretty good. Notes of dark chocolate and caramel. The thing I do like about Talbott’s tea base: It is rich and deep tasting. It has made the chocolate notes in the two I have tried so far seem very much like the dark chocolate variety. Since the base is so flavorful, the added flavors can be light and make a very relaxing tea. They definitely are not overdone, or underdone. Just right.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Tea of the afternoon…..

Another long one. If you just want to read about the tea, you are more than welcomed to skip to the end………

In reading reviews of this tea, I knew it was one I wanted to try. I perused Talbott Teas website, and saw this was $12 a 2.25 oz tin. I was not shocked, yet, until shipping calculated out to be about $9 to get to me. Then I started looking for places that sold Talbott’s Teas near me. And I was in luck because Dillard’s (a local-ish department store) sells them. I knew I would be heading to the mall in about a month from that time to help set up for a Girl Scout Mall Overnight, and figured I would check then. (And I need a good perk to get me through this scout activity…the girls love it, but I don’t like the mall much on a normal day….)

I was really lucky! It turns out that this is sold at Dillard’s in a gift set containing a tea spoon, honey sticks, 35 fillable paper filters, and three chocolate teas. Chocolate Almond Allure, Caramel Sundae Escape, and Chocolate Strawberry Temptation are the teas. The retail cost of the set is $40, but it is on clearance. I scored it for $16 and some change. So, being the weakling that I am, I bought 2 sets. (I also scored three awesome LeCreuset Stoneware baking dishes at near 75% off…so incredibly thrilled about them…..almost more than the tea, if that is possible!)

This is really good! Dark chocolate notes with a touch of almond. Really worth what I paid for it, and I can’t wait to try the others! Such a happy tea day!

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I really hate these places that have such outrageous shipping costs.

SimplyJenW

I hate spending tons of money on shipping, too. I’d rather get more tea…..

Cheryl

Temptress… but no Dillards down this way. Does make me wonder what brands other department stores carry though. Hadn’t thought of that route yet :)

TeaBrat

Our Bloomingdales in San Francisco has Kusmi tea – but only a few varieties. :)

Cheryl

Don’t think they’re close enough either (checks) …nope, they ignore all of Ohio (unlike Dillard who only ignores Columbus, boo to them), but thanks! Kusmi is one with ridiculous shipping too. Nordstrom, Saks, Macys, Penneys/Sears and hmmm oh Von Maur are choices, off top of head, but I’m the weirdo non-mall-loving female, so may be more.

SimplyJenW

I was at the Dillard’s in Strongsville. How far is that from you, Cheryl? They still had some left!

SimplyJenW

Ack, it looks like it is still a haul for you. And you are not the only ‘weirdo-non-mall-loving female’ out there. Count me in that club!

Cheryl

Oh! well, just looked it up, and looks like few hour trip. Remind me to ask you for places to stop, next time I come up by that way (71 to 271 to 90 in route to Rochester NY few times a year or so…probably in Spring next time). For now, will squash the urge but thanks for trying : ) With shopping, I tend to be so task driven, that “browsing” is foreign to me: go in, get what looking for, on to next “task”. Malls are inefficient for that way of shopping … not to mention crowds of slow moving browsers : )

Cheryl

Talbott’s site says that their teas are sold at Von Maur. Never been in there, but was on the fence about making a jaunt down to Columbus tomorrow…hmmm.

SimplyJenW

You could always call first! Van Maur has such great service. I used to shop at one in IL.

Cheryl

I’m trying to act as if it is not the tea that is prompting me to make 2 hour round trip (whispers)..but yea, great idea : )
Rain tomorrow may squash whole plan, but they aren’t going anywhere. Have to vow to find out where fragrance counter is, so I can enter from opposite side (lol). But I know better than to buy fragrance in dept store.

Oh gosh, I hijacked another of your tealogs, but thanks for being a great helper (enabler) heh.

JacquelineM

Cheryl – I’m terrified of the mall! There are a few of us out there :)

ashmanra

I am not terrified of it, I just strongly dislike going there!

TeaBrat

I hate the mall…

Dinosara

Awesome score! I’m also very jealous of your Le Creuset score as well. :D

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90

Backlogging tea of yesterday evening…..

When I saw reviews of this one, I knew I had to pick some up if it ever came back on 52teas website. I really like this. Creamy, minty, chocolately, and yum. The perfect evening tea. Sometimes, I have issues with peppermint blends that are overly minty, but this one is perfect. It has been a while since I have had a 52teas honeybush, and I had forgotten how good they are at making me feel like I have had a real treat without the destructive calories. For me, honeybush is the perfect medium for a sweets flavored tisane. I am not a fan of rooibos as the flavor of the tea base itself can be a little strong. But honeybush leaves open so many possibilities as its base flavor is a little more neutral. Also, I don’t have to deal with the caffeine from green or black tea. I hate to admit it, but I get more and more sensitive to evening caffeine the older I get.

Yum! Frank, I think you might need more of this for sale……

Teapot method with an 8 minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
KeenTeaThyme

I so wanted to try this one! It sounds heavenly!

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85
drank Golden Yunnan by thepuriTea
956 tasting notes

Backlogging tea of yesterday morning….

I have some new samples of this sent to me by Nav of thepuriTea. Even though the samples are not the final sample packaging they will be using, each cardboard pouch contains at least twice what I was initially sent as this sample. And then he sent two cardboard pouches. I did pull out my gram scale, and each cardboard pouch now contains around 10 grams of tea.

I have been regularly drinking another Yunnan, and these leaves are wider and just about as long. They do have some bright orangish tips in them, and there really is a pretty good amount. I think this is a heartier, maltier tea than the Yunnan I have been drinking. There is a hint of smoke, and when sweetened, it brings out a hint of caramel. Maybe it was caramel apples. Anyway, it is definitely a complex example of a Yunnan. So glad I will have a few more tries of it. It resteeps well.

Mug method, 4ish grams of tea, 3 minute steep#1, 4 minute steep #2.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Tea of the afternoon…..

This is another sample I received from Indigobloom. Thank you, as I will be trying all the teas from the Spice and Tea Exchange that you sent…. I feel an order for the Coconut Oolong coming on :)…….

This one is not for me. I do like white teas, but as time progresses, I have less and less of a tolerance for hibiscus/roselle in tea unless it is incredibly light. I am really amazed at all the tea blends that include hibiscus. I do think it lighter than some in this blend, and it really is a beautiful tea, with a berry red color when brewed. Smells like a lovely berry flavor. Perhaps I should have tried a little sweetener.

Mug method, 3 minutes at about 180.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

It’s not for me either!! I tried so hard to like this one… and it tastes like something that I should love, but I just don’t. So sad!
Anyhow, sorry for the bad tea experience!

SimplyJenW

I appreciate getting to try it, though!

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85
drank Dong Ding by thepuriTea
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon…..

I received this sample from Nav, the driving force behind thepuriTea. We have exchanged a few emails about sample packaging, and he offered to send a few samples to me. I requested this one as well as a little more of the Golden Yunnan. I do have to say, that I am impressed with everything they do. I can tell thepuriTea spends some time in carefully choosing their offerings. Also, they continually make strides to improve service as well as web presence and the overall shopping experience. Admittedly, I wait for sales and free shipping offerings when I order, and I so appreciate that this company offers them from time to time.

This tea is good. I like the light vegetal notes, and it seems less floral than the Tie Kuan Yin or Ali Shan. I think this would be best suited to those who are not fans of floral notes. For me, I think I am better suited to Tie Kuan Yin or Ali Shan. It is good to know this, though! Thank you, Nav, for the sample!

Gaiwan, steep#1 at 2 minutes, 180ish water. More steeps to go!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning……

Today the task was to make Elyse’s Blend from Harney & Son’s just a little more subtle in the tea base. I did a 2:1 ratio of it and my Franken-Breakfast Blend and it worked. The honey notes were still there without the bite that is in Elyse’s tea base. I am sure Elyse’s Blend was made to go with milk, but I am not really a milk tea type. However, I love honey flavored teas. I think I will try my China Congou from Upton with this next. It just needs something to smooth it out a little for my taste.

Usual teapot method with a 3 minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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87

Tea of the afternoon…..

This one came to me from Indigobloom. I have really been wanting to try this to see if another one of my favorites is close…..

Light green/yellow liquor, lovely coconut smell and taste. Very slightly buttery. Yum!

I am, of course, comparing to Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong. Honestly, though, I like them both. This one is a little more roasted tasting and maybe not quite as buttery. I really don’t see a need for both of them in my cupboard, but it is great to know that there is another source for really good Coconut Oolong/Pouchong out there, and it really just depends on where I am shopping at the time. I just know I am always in need of this kind of tea in my cupboard.

Thank you so much for the sample!

Mug method, 3 minutes, about 180 water. No additions.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! I think between the two, I’d go for this one. The other has more of a vanilla hint to it, whereas this one is a tad more grassy somehow. Esp in later steepings

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Tea of the late morning……

If I had to choose one pu’erh to have in my cupboard, this would be it. When deciding how to approach the pu’erh samples sent to me by Teavivre, I decided to save the most expensive for last. Price in tea is usually a pretty good indicator of desirablilty, and in this case for me, it was very true. The price difference is enough that I would want there to be a significant taste improvement over the one with the lower cost, and this tea definitely delivers.

The smell of the dried leaf is less earthy than all of the pu’erhs I have tried (we are only talking about 7 or 8 total…), but only slightly different than the Teavivre 2007 ripened cake. I can see the golden buds in this one. The liquor is only slightly reddish, golden reddish like the 2007 cake. The taste is like you would expect from a pu’erh. Mellow, rich, slightly earthy, and this one is sweet. I am sure that is the first time I have used the word sweet in a review for a pu’erh. Kind of a note of honey which is surprising to me. I do love the mellowness and….I am going to call it the clean-ness of the 2005 Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake as well as the same from the 2007 Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-Erh Cake. Very little debris from these two even on the first rinse. Nice high quality full leaves. The liquor still has a clear quality to it rather than a murkiness I have experienced with others. And it is the sweetness of this one that has won me over.

Thank you to Teavivre for the generous samples of their pu’erh cakes. I may become a real pu’erh drinker, yet! It is good to know there are pu’erhs out there that I would enjoy. One just has to know where to shop and who to ask. Thank you for your guidance in choosing these for me to try!

Gaiwan, boiling water, roughly 1 tsp cake, 30 second rinse, 1 minute for steep #1, 1 minute for steep #2…and I am sure it will go much longer!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

So glad to read this! I have too much black tea and not enough puerh! I wanted to place an order with Teavivre again anyway, and this timely review has helped me decide what to put on it.

SimplyJenW

@ashmanra…you were the one who I thought would want to read this the most! You will not be disappointed in this one!

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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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