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956 Tasting Notes

drank Chance Combinations by Custom
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…….

This is my first attempt at something similar to Harney’s Malachi McCormick (yes, I should just buy some, and I will, but I am trying to see what comes close and use up some of the tea I have in my cupboard to make space….). I used a 1:2 ratio of the Mystery Assam from Heather’s Heat & Flavor (the hot sauce store) and my Keemun Grade 2 from Teavivre. It was good, but I think it needs a little more Assam. Next trial is a 1:1. Tune in tomorrow…..

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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91

Tea of the afternoon…….

Since I love coconut and was drawn in by all the reviews of this one, I broke down ordered it from a vendor other than Golden Moon that was running a free shipping special. It definitely was not a hardship, because I had to buy $5 worth of British chocolate to go along with it to reach my minimum. Yes, you can start feeling sorry for me, now.

As for the tea…..yum. Sweet and creamy, light and smooth. I could get used to this…..

Mug method with about 185 water for 3 minutes. I did very lightly sweeten this just to bring the coconut out a little.

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

Where did you order this from? This particular tea keeps haunting me (I really liked Adagio’s version which is cheaper).

SimplyJenW

I got it from EnglishTeaStore.com. They have free shipping for orders over $20. code ETS2012 until Feb. 13, 2012.
I usually order Earl Grey Cream…which is the same as Teavana’s but cheaper…. and Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos from them because their prices are inexpensive for Metropolitain Teas (a tea vendor that supplies many tea shops). They also have many cool English things….

Honestly, if you like the one from Adagio, stick with that one.

Cheryl

Well thanks for squashing one compulsive urge … but then you turned around and created another. Haha, you’re bad. My Amazon order is in Toledo…what the heck is it doing in Toledo? heh.

Cheryl

Oh my…Dinosara’s review of Earl Grey Cream mentions cheesecake (opening up ETS’s website).

Cheryl

Metro blend or not? Hmmm, I’ve had this site open before and wondered same thing. $25 isn’t a high barrier to meet. Any other recommendations? (not a huge rooibos fan)

SimplyJenW

I get the Metro. I liked their black tea base better than Adagio’s, but all I have kept is the Earl Grey Cream. The problem is samples….I ordered there after sampling in smaller amounts other places like Culinary Teas. Those that I liked…Lady Londonderry, Angel’s Dream, and Monk’s Blend…. They also sell some bagged Harney teas. And you just have to get to $20. Or….I have quite a bit of the Earl Grey Cream…..;)

TeaBrat

Although I have been a bit disappointed in GM’s offerings I do love this one…

SimplyJenW

@Amy oh…it is my first GM tea!

Cheryl

I bumped into Harney by searching “coconut” and thought “omg, not them again haunting me too” hehehe. I will probably go down the GM path with samples later on, so will try and keep it under control for now. I hear ya Jen, lol … can handle this urge and am going to ignore you now until I get this order placed…hahaha.

TeaBrat

Yeah it was sad, I ordered a bunch from them and I loved this but the rest were just … meh

SimplyJenW

@Amy…my plans are pretty much to skip the rest. This seemed to be the only GM tea that has a true following. I have learned to trust the multitudes for wisdom on some things…..on others, not so much.

ashmanra

I liked GM Vanilla Jasmine. It smells like cream soda or root beer!

Cheryl

Sorry for hijacking your tea review Jen. Ordered GM Coconut Pouchong (urge too large and must compare) and both versions of EGC and that’s it (phew). Like that can pay through PP, since don’t like using debit card online, and PP is safer than using CC << keeping purchases under control, lol (CC is way too easy to abuse). Thanks for code : )
p.s. Amy pushed me back towards the GM one too (which originally started all this). Bad Amy (I jest) : )

Cheryl

PP not safer than CC… meant it helps curb urge to use CC wildly

SimplyJenW

Cheryl…I look forward to your reviews! :D

Ashmanra…going to check that one out as I see a GM purchase in my future.

SimplyJenW

Cheryl….you can hijack my reviews anytime.. :)

Cheryl

See how we can all be enablers? (resist Jen, be strong) lol

SimplyJenW

I have this tin that will last a little while…

Cheryl

Uh huh … (smirks while noticing she added “little” to the “while”)

Dinosara

This thread is already crazy long but I just had to chime in and say I love this tea so much! It’s one of my must haves (and incidentally one that I’m out of at the moment. hmm…)

TeaBrat

I’m not a fan of jasmine so of course I liked this one. It’s like a macaroon in a glass. :)

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drank Assam Mangalam by SpecialTeas
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon…..

And I am making a guess on this one. We do have a local shop in the fancy shopping area that specializes in Hot Sauce. They also carry bulk spices and a few teas. I have to admit, I am not super confident about how much turn over they have in tea. Since I was there today checking out their teaware (they do have my teapots there!), I figured I had best not leave without purchasing something. Since I rarely eat hot sauce, and I buy my spices at Penzey’s, it had to be tea……and since I am not confident about the turnover, it had to be black. At least I did go with Assam, something I did not have in my cupboard before. It is labeled as “Golden Tips Assam”, but from the looks of it, it is only about 10% or less tips. In perusing the database and looking at the pictures, I am just guessing this is what she stocks. It was stored in a dark glass canister, so kudos to her for that! Definitely tastes like a good quality Assam, but she charges $70 a lb. and the minimum to purchase is .1 lb. $7 I spent….. Should have just ordered Malachi. Oh well. I guess you have to do your part for the local economy, too. Hmmm….perhaps I will just blend this in with some Keemun along the lines of Malachi…..

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

If this is a Specialteas.com Mangalam Assam, it may be a tad old. They closed their online shop over a year ago. I have had some really good Mangalam Assam from them over the years though.

SimplyJenW

I have no idea if it is actually this one…but I kind of picked the Specialteas spot because I knew I could not mess something up for a current vendor. I think what I have is pretty high quality, though. And it does not seem that old. But again, it is a black tea so the shelf life is definitely longer.

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97

Tea of the morning…….

Ever since reading JacquelineM’s post about this tea yesterday past my time for caffeine consumption for the day, I have been craving this tea. I am wondering if that is why I did not sleep well. Anticipation. Well, here it is, and it is just as good as I remember. How does this compare to other types of Keemun? The leaves are longer and finer, the taste is mellow and complex all at once. Notes of refined smoke and dark chocolate. Very smooth. Ahhh. My first love in black tea. I have gone on to love others, but there is just something about a first love.

I think I missed the timer by a few minutes this morning in the mad rush. The beauty of this tea? It is very forgiving in an oversteep. To quote JacquelineM. “De! Lish! Ous!”

Usual mug method, about a 6 minute steep. Very lightly sweetened.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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54
drank Dragonwell by Adagio Teas
956 tasting notes

Tea of the late afternoon…….

I completely forgot I had this. I got it as a free sample back in the Fall when I was going through all the issues that the first release of Adagio’s VarieTEA electric kettle. (If it is any indicator how that went, I have a UtiliTEA instead!) I did not realize that this sample costs $6. And 3oz of it is currently $19. Wow. Since I just had some of my favorite Premium Dragon Well earlier this afternoon (and it is about $13 for a similar amount!) and I had the Lung Ching from my local Asian Market yesterday, I thought I would be in a good place to compare the three.

Color on the leaves is kind of a dull yellow-green. Definitely yellower than the leaves from the Asian Market tea, but not nearly as bright green as the leaves of the Premium Dragon Well from Teavivre. It smells very similar to the market tea. It steeps up with a similar color to the market tea. The Premium Dragon Well steeps up a little brighter yellow, and this is more a golden yellow. The taste is somewhere between the market tea and the Premium. The market tea had a hint of smoke, and this might have a remnant of a similar flavor. I likened the flavor of the Premium to very fresh asparagus that is roasted, where this is more like spinach…roasted spinach. Not that great. I pretty much prefer the market tea to this as the slight smokiness makes it interesting. So glad I have tried these two other dragonwells, though. It makes no sense for me to try to find a better one than what I can get from Teavivre!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

Hah, dragonwell pals! It’s like we were having a cup of tea together. :)

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Tea of the afternoon…..at least this is what I think I have……

I went on a little adventure to my local Asian Market to see if there was any interesting teaware. I have to be quite honest in that I bought all of my current teaware sight unseen online. I have ordered a gaiwan that will be shipping soonish, but since it is coming from China, it will be a bit. I was really hoping that my market would have a gaiwan, but no luck. It seems they mostly have a porcelain mug with a porcelain infuser there. I almost bought a small Japanese teapot with two cups, but I held off and went to look at the tea.

(I know what you are thinking…..I am supposed to be on a tea ban, a no-buy, a camellia sinensis procurement moratorium. But I have recently rewritten it to be only a ban on new black tea…….hopefully, until April.)

With my newly discovered names for the teas I like, I perused the wares. I bought this, or at least what I think is this…a Lung Ching from a tea import company of the same name. It also says “Shifeng Brand” and G352 on the lid. It came in the cutest green tin with gold decorations and two goldfish on it. Really, it was the tin that did me in…it is really nice with an inner seal. It contains 125 grams of what is probably average Lung Ching, but it has to be good luck to buy dragonwell in the year of the dragon, right? I spent $7. And I almost would have spent that just on the tin….

The tea itself is very drinkable. Even though there are things about it that are similar to the Premuim Dragon Well from Teavivre that I love, this is very different. It is a dull green, it does not look or smell nearly as fresh, it brews up to have a slight hint of smoke, and it lacks the bright butteryness of my favorite. However, I still kind of like it. If I could read any of the information on the tin, I might have a clue when it expires. Oh, well. I am just pleased that I am liking green tea!

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

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93
drank Earl Grey by Lupicia
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon……

Something about a good Earl Grey is just so relaxing. I actually have been working on a big project…. I am trying to learn to play the cello in my 40s. Turns out, I need to relax a little to improve my playing, so this is what I need right now (since a glass of wine is not really going to help with my accuracy!). I love the bright bergamot notes in this tea. It just makes me happy.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

learning to play the cello sounds like fun!

Dinosara

That is really awesome that you’re learning to play the cello. Good luck, and I hope you build finger calluses fast. :D

gmathis

Hope the bergamot notes complement the ones you’re making! (I’m hearing Yo-Yo in my head right now :)

K S

Cool. My son has a CD of a 3 piece cello group playing metal. I can hear you riffing on Smoke On The Water. Probably not what you had in mind but that’s what I picture.

ashmanra

Oh, I would love to learn to play the cello! It has such a lovely timbre. I believe I read once that it has the most complex overtone series of any instrument. It tears my heart out and makes me want to weep, sing, dance…

SimplyJenW

@KS, it was actually Apocalyptica that sealed the deal. While I love some traditional cello, Metallica on the cello was just wonderful….Look for Nothing Else Matters… :D And my son who plays viola and electric guitar has all ready played Smoke on the Water on mine!

K S

Awesome! When you learn to play enter sandman, or maybe crazy train, let me know!

Steven Cook

I love the apocalyptica verson of metallicas song One

Cheryl

Had to look Apocalyptica up on youtube … wow, have you seen this version? (someone mixed them and James’ vocals)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyEXhA9EJ0g

Gave me goosebumps (Metallica is one of my top 3 fave bands).
p.s. Different instrument (violin), but David Garrett does a lot of rock classics too. Maybe check him out (on youtube) when you get a chance.

Oh (gosh I can’t quit, music is first love, lol) … here is one of his:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aegeLbgi-f4

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86
drank Dong Ding by Naivetea
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon……

I decided it was time to go forth with another new oolong. I have had this from the second Steepster Box?, but am just getting to it now.

It is similar in mothfeel to other oolongs; It tastes thick. It really kind of reminds me of Genmaicha as there is a little bit of a toasted rice taste. But it has a sweeter finish than Genmaicha. Good, but I tend to prefer a more floral type oolong. We shall see what subsequent steepings bring to the table.

Steeped according to the label (even though I see better suggestions on the main page for this tea…will try that next time)…. 2 tsp tea in about 12 oz. filtered boiled water for 3 minutes. No additions.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Ah, this is one of my very favorites!

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
956 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon…..

I had a little English Breakfast from Harney left over (a good non-smokey, budget version of Keemun). Since I really wanted a Keemun somewhere between it and Teavivre’s Keemun Grade 2, I made a 1:1 ratio of the two of them. That was my tea of the morning. It was very good, but I decided to take it one step further. I added another equal part to the new whole of Upton’s Panyang Congou TP60. Now, I have smoothed it out just a little more and amped up the cocoa note just a little. What I have now is a smokier cocoa-noted tea. Yum! I really like this. If I had some inexpensive Yunnan on hand, I would have added some of that, too, to make a tea blend along the lines of Queen Catherine. I only have about 2 total ounces, but I will gladly drink them!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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ChOTE (Chai of the evening……)

I decided to use this as a chai spice mix again, but this time with an unloved rooibos blend in my cupboard. I used 3 actual tsp of Zocolatte Spice and 2 actual tsp of Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos from EnglishTeaStore.com. I used my usual chai method, and this is good. It is vanilla, mocha-ey, and cocoa-ey, as well as spicy and a little peppery. Really good….even better than with black tea added as far as I am concerned. This totally works. My current rooibos chai (from Upton) is just a little heavy on the anise for my taste to be drinking on a regular basis.

Rating as a chai spice as used above….at least an 88.

TeaBrat

It’s good that you are finding a way to use it. :)

DaisyChubb

Great idea! I got this tea and tried it on it’s own and wasn’t a fan, I’ll have to follow your lead :)

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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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