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956 Tasting Notes

90
drank Hong Tao by Harney & Sons
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

We are finally into the first full week of school. It has taken quite an effort to get here. There were lots of meetings, shopping for supplies, and just more to do than we had been doing in our leisurely Summer. Oh, and band. Band seems innocuous, unless you are the uniform Mom. I am feeling like I kind of have time for some catching up.

As I look back over the Summer, I realized I did not drink near the amount of Earl Grey that I usually consume. My tea consumption has mostly gone over to China black teas and black tea blends. There has been almost no consumption of flavored tea other than Earl Grey, Rose, and Lychee. My favorite jasmine black tea has kind of lost its flavor. PSA: Drink the delicate flavored teas quickly! I do have another sealed pouch of it. We shall see if that made a difference.

This is the only Keemun I have in my cupboard right now as I drank all of the others. This one can handle being the only. It is roasty, cocoa noted, slightly malty, with a very, very light hint of smoke. It feels heavy in the mouth. It is a wonderful, extremely enjoyable example of a Keemun, and it looks like it is sold out online. That is a shame. I stocked up, though, and have a few more tins to go!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

This one I ordered based on recommendations. I did not get in on the free sample frenzy offered by Laurent, but just jumped in with this one. I mean, it has a Keemun base. It should be a favorite. I did order through Amazon, and purchased 100g in a bag.

The bags can only be temporary storage in my opinion. They are a very heavy plastic, but one side is clear. My 100g came in two bags, and they were not even sealed other than the zip closure. Most companies heat seal them. All in all, it still works out for me because I have more tins lying around than I care to count. It was easy to pull the stickers off of one bag to put on the tin because they were small. To purchase in a tin, the price was going to jump $6 ($5 for the actual tin and a little more in the shipping.)

So far, I do like this one. It has a wonderful base, but I am still trying to wrap my brain around the bergamot. It is pretty mellow. I think I will need a few more tastes before I can place it.

All in all, a good experience. I have been wanting to try it, but so far am not wowed. Usual teapot method.

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

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91

Tea of the morning……

This is blissful. I keep two rose teas in my stash. One is from Harney (which is much more rosey than this one!), and obviously, this one. I love the tea base on this, I am guessing it is a budget panyang congou. I do quite like Upton’s China congous, and this one seems similar. The rose on this is light. Rather than adding a burst of rose like the Harney version, it adds such a interesting flowery flavor at the end of the sip. Really, it is delightful. It is also an extreme bargain in my book. This is one I can keep in my house without stressing over how much I paid for it, and I will blissfully drink it all. A perfect offering!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Backlogging a tea of the morning….

Well, I have a new batch of this in my stash! Happy 2 year Anniversary to Teavivre. This was on sale for one day and it is such a worthy tea for breaking my no-buy. I love this. Such lovely notes of cocoa, a bit of malt, and it is missing the smokey element that is in my other favorite Keemun Mao Feng. I definitely consider this among my top favorite teas.

So good to have a nice supply (I bought 500 grams!) and that it is packed in 100g pouches just reassures me that it will be fresh when I have need of opening a new pouch. I can also gift one to my daughter’s friend who is a tea drinker and loves it, too. Perfect tea with great packaging! It resteeps pretty well, too.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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93

Tea of the morning…..

I am trying to change out my sweetening methods. The last area where I use artificial sweetener is in my hot tea. I thought transitioning to sugar would be easy, but boy was I wrong. I am getting an aftertaste with sugar that I don’t think I get with Splenda. It is hard to explain, but it is kind of like concentrated canned sweet tea (of which I am not really a fan). I guess it needs a few more trials. Maybe it can be fixed with less sugar. Or maybe I will just stick with the Splenda. I have tried honey (adds too much flavor) and stevia (not fond of the licorice flavor this one gives). I wish I could just drink it straight, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I guess it needs a few more trials, because the goal is to eventually cut back on the sugar, too. I suppose I could just start cutting back on Splenda and cut out the ‘middle man’ (sugar).

Anyway, this is always my breakfast staple. Love this and won’t ever be without it. When it is gone, it becomes a tea ordering emergency.

Usual teapot method, trying to change up the sweetening method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Josie Jade

We recently switched from Truvia and sometimes Splenda to real sugar. We get the organic, non-GMO sugar. I was hesitant at first, because I generally like my tea sweet and was afraid I would be able to taste a difference in a negative way, but was pleasantly surprised. The sugar leaves no funny taste at all in the tea, and my headaches have also disappeared! I can tell a difference between regular white sugar and the organic, non-GMO sugar, which we get at Walmart.

Uniquity

Interesting that sugar bothers you more than the artificial stuff. I am one of those people who can taste artificial sweetner in anything (and I avoid it like the plague, can’t stand it). There is still a big push in supermarket products to opt for fake sugar (rather than less or no sugar) and I have to check my yogurt thoroughly to make sure I don’t grab the wrong stuff. I hope you can find a way to make it palatable – maybe rock or raw sugar? Brown sugar would probably add a lot of flavour but maybe worth a try. I suspect you are also on to something with using less. Try using half, taste to see if it is too sweet or bitter and adjust up slowly. Best of luck!

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Backlogging a tea of yesterday….

I have not logged this one for over 2 years. Russel from the Millerton Shop sent me a small sample of this recently, and it was nice to revisit this one. I know it should be a favorite of mine. It has the perfect kind of tea base (this is super yummy!), but the flavors are just the wrong blend for me. I have an allergy to fresh stone fruits. Yes, I am an oddball. Since flavorings are not really fresh versions, I am ‘allergically’ safe. However, even eating/drinking the flavors too much kind of feels unsettling. The same thing happens to me with anything that is hazelnut or walnut flavored. I made a pot and was able to drink a mug full but that will probably do it for me for another two years. Oh how I wish it were different. I love the tea base and hope that one day they will make a China black version of Earl Grey with orange. Thanks again to Russel!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Tea of the afternoon……

This is another sample I received from Russel. It is an organic blend made from “Assam that is mellowed a bit with a south Indian tea”. I do have to preface that I am generally not a fan of Indian teas. I do like them in a blend, but there has to be some kind of Chinese black in there. I know it sounds very picky, but it is just the flavor that my palate seems to gravitate toward.

This is definitely more bold than Earl Grey Supreme. The bergamot on this is a nice medium level, but really, the tea base is lost on me. I find it just a touch on the bitter side. I love the smoothness of Earl Grey Supreme. However, for those looking for an organic blend with a tea base of Indian teas that is a little more on the bold side, this is your Earl. I will definitely give it a try iced, because that could be a game changer. Stay tuned. Rating to come later after I have tried it a few more times. Maybe it needs a change in brewing parameters.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Harney & Sons The Store

3:30, 200*f is my typical method for a tasting in the Millerton tasting room. That makes a the sweeter tastes from the Nilgiri more present in the cup, helping out with the natural citrus/sweet bergamot. The way you brewed it makes a tasty cup of tea as well, but certainly the tea base will be more prominent.

SimplyJenW

Thanks for the info! I will give that a try. It is completely possible that Indian teas only elude me because I try to brew them like I do my Chinese blacks.

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93

Tea of the morning…..

So happy to be home with all of my teas. I was on a short trip where the water is different, and I only travel with tea bags. You forget how critical the water is until you are away.

I would call this tea my ultimate breakfast tea. It is the perfect blend of a Keemun and just a portion of Assam to make it just a tad heartier. I love Keemun on its own, but Assam is usually hit or miss for me. The addition of the Assam here, though, just works. If I could call it SimplyJenW’s Breakfast (sorry Malachi), I would. I usually buy this one at least a pound at a time, but last time it was 2.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Citrus Blend by Harney & Sons
956 tasting notes

Tea of the morning…..

I am so lucky! I came home from a short vacation last week to a package of Earl Grey samples from Russel at the Millerton Shop. Too fun! There are two super samples I have never tried, and two smaller ones that I have not had for a while (it will be fun to revisit those, because I have noticed that my tastes have changed just a little bit over the course of my tea journey.) I have this, the Organic Earl Grey, and smaller samples of Tower of London and Viennese Earl Grey.

This one held the most interest as it has been on my list to try for some time. Since I love Diamond Jubilee, it only makes sense that this would also be a great choice for me.

As I drink this, I keep comparing it to the Goute Russe Douchka from Dammann Freres. All of the wonderful notes of citrus are there. Orange, grapefruit, bergamot. Nice leaf quality. I do think I have found a replacement as Dammann teas are not easy to come by in the States unless you want to pay a premium for them. I can get almost a pound of this for the cost of 100g of the other. This will do quite nicely! I am trying to place the base on this one, but really, it is overpowered by the citrus notes and just reads as a good one. It is very similar to Diamond Jubilee, too, although it lacks the beautiful silver tips. I must try it iced very soon. I will thoroughly enjoy drinking my way through this super sample! Thank you so much, Russel!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Happy birthday, right? :D I think you and my middle daughter share one!

SimplyJenW

It is close to my birthday (July 22), but my anniversary is tomorrow! I tend to plan ahead on my birthday gifts… I just ordered some Zokus today!

ashmanra

Ah, that’s right! You share my mother’s birthday, not my daughter’s! Well, I had the right month. LOL! I think you will love the Zoku. I just had my daughter pick up another for me in Raleigh because we are using them all the time. If hubby is home and working outside, which is happening a lot between the chickens and the new fence, he may have two slushes a day, and we need one more cup in the freezer so someone else can have one, too! I have been making root beer freezes this week. The tea slushes are the very best thing in it to me, though!

SimplyJenW

I ordered two for us and one for my sister who has a three year old and an almost 2 year old. I can’t wait to try them! We do have a Williams-Sonoma close-ish, but I don’t have time to drive there this week! And thanks for the early ‘Happy Birthday’!

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81

Tea of the morning…..

I have been eyeing this tea for a long time. While overseas ordering from Fortnum was a complete bust, I was able to purchase this one in person at Williams-Sonoma. I guess my curiosity won out over my feelings about the poor experience of ordering directly from them. I am very much willing to try any Earl as long as it is easy to obtain. I just happened to be at the mall this past weekend, so it was not even a special trip. I also picked up some sachets of Harney Organic English Breakfast for travel. I only travel with bagged tea anymore as the rest of the gear is kind of cumbersome. Yes, I have gone soft. Gone are the days of hardcore brewing no matter where I am. Convenience wins out most of the time.

The main reason why this tea intrigued me so was that it was a China black base. In reading the package it calls the base a “predominantly China blend”. I was kind of surprised at the leaf size. It seems pretty smallish like a BOP or even smaller. They are very dark and the smell of bergamot is bright and citrusy. The first pot I made had quite a bit of dust (now wet) in the bottom of my cup, meaning that it made it out of the infuser and then escaped the teapot. I guess I am not super pleased about the leaf quality for the price I paid. In the US it is about $16 for 125g. Lupicia is a much better value, but the shipping kills it for me since their Earl Grey is pretty much the only tea I would rebuy from there right now.

As for taste, it is very good. The tea base does make a rich cup of tea. The bergamot reads a little less bright than Lupicia, but not as musty (sorry about that descriptor, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it) as some Earls. I do like the packaging. Not sure if it would make the rebuy list, yet, but I am glad I finally got around to trying it. It is a good, solid cup of tea. (Rating started at 87)

Usual teapot method.

Edit to add: All of the dust in the bottom of my cup makes it pretty bitter by the end of the pot. I will drink this, but not replace it. Glad I tried it, though. (Rating took a serious hit by the end of the pot. Since the tea I brewed was measured from the top of the tin, I am pretty sure this is as good as it gets. Dust will be worse by the bottom of the tin.)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

There’s a Williams-Sonoma at our favorite Ark. shopping venue, but I don’t go in often. Next trip, will have to pretend I can afford it and look for tea!

ashmanra

Nina’s Earl Grey has a Keemun base. I thought it was great! Have you tried it yet? They will send you a sample of you request it, I am sure.

SimplyJenW

Yes, Nina’s is on my list to try.

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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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