312 Tasting Notes

I got a sample from Verdant labeled Tea Trail 2004 Shu Pu’er. I am not sure this is the same tea, so I’m not rating it in case it’s not.

I brewed this in a gaiwan, very short times. It brews very quickly – it’s quite interesting. I get the deep forest earthiness that is referenced in the other reviews, but not much else. It’s enjoyable to me in that it’s very intense without being bitter. Not something I would want to drink everyday.

I think I have one more Verdant pu’er in my stash to try, will definitely be giving that a whirl. I am much less hesitant about them now. I don’t think pu’er will ever be my favorite type of tea, but it definitely interests me now.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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85
drank Mint Rose by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
312 tasting notes

I really like this iced, it’s very refreshing. I don’t enjoy it hot though. It’s one of the few herbals I don’t get a “wet washrag” taste with – probably because I rarely get loose herbals and I suspect that taste comes from the paper from teabags.

Brewed hot, added some splenda, then iced it. Doesn’t need much sweetening. It’s a pretty amber beer color.

I will definitely drink this a lot this summer.

The scoop it comes with is annoyingly small – they say to use 5 scoops of tea with it.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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Well, my sample envelope is empty. I was going to save the last of this for a bit longer, but I left what I intended to bring to work on the kitchen island this morning. Oops.

The scent of this tea reminds me a lot of milk oolong.

I wish I could train my brain to say Dong Ding oolong instead of Ding Dong. I feel like an idiot, and would never discuss this tea out loud with anyone for fear of reversing the name :D

I’d definitely like to pick up more Dong Dings and try them out. I am enjoying this one.

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I have just a little bit of a sample left of this. It’s open, so I know I drank it once, but I can’t find a review from me on it in order to compare my impressions this time with what I thought before :(

The dry leaf smells nice, it’s a dark green rolled tightly into small, irregular balls. They expand a LOT when steeped.

I’m drinking it with a small amount of sweetener, and I quite like it. Mixed in with the sweet there’s this almost umami taste that I like.

I’m not out of this yet, there’s still more left in the sample envelope, which makes me glad. :)

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50
drank Silver Bud Ya Bao by Tea Source
312 tasting notes

The last new tea from the Steepster Select box (I still have the second packet of each, yet).

The leaves are pale, pale yellowy-green, like a plant that hasn’t received enough sunlight. And they are covered in golden fuzzy hair. I swear it looks like parts from tiny furry crustaceans, like it came off the Kiwa hirsuta, or wooly lobster. It honestly freaks me out a little bit!

It smells grassy, with a hint of apricot.

I brewed it in my gaiwan. If I had not sneaked a peek at the other reviews, I would have thought I underbrewed it – the liquor is pale yellow, like a white wine.

Taste-wise, I am unimpressed. A light aftertaste of grass. I’m not getting any fruit or citrus from it. I let the second steeping go longer, and I get perhaps a little more grass. The leaves don’t expand much, suprisingly. I am not going to bother with a 3 resteep – it’s like somewhat flavored water to me. I know it says it’s “mellow” on the packet, but this is too mellow – it’s like drinking hot water heated in a kettle that didn’t get washed well.

I might try heating the water a bit more if I do try the second packet.

Flavors: Apricot, Grass

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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67
drank Hunan Dark Tea by Tea Source
312 tasting notes

Another packet from the Steepster Select box. Opened it up and took a sniff. Smells quite nice and the leaves are a pretty deep green that has almost blue tones to it.

Brewed it up in my all-purpose white teapot, drinking from a small Japanese cup.

Drinking it straight for now, since I have never tried it before.

First cup: it kinda just seems like black tea to me. I can’t detect a difference between it and something that’s “just” a black. I have no idea what “mahogany notes” should taste like, so ignoring that for now. Not getting any grape.

Second cup: ok, I get grape a little.

Third cup: Not unpleasant, and I’m happy to try something pu-erh related that I do not dislike (the track record has not been good thus far), but I don’t really find it to be anything unique about it.

Fourth cup: switched to a mug and did splenda and half & half. Definitely still getting the grape.

Verdict: Not bad but not something that makes me sit up and take notice. Not clicking the “would you recommend” option because it’s not a tea that I would tell anyone “Oh, you have to try this!” but it’s not something I would warn anyone away from – if offered a pot of it, I would have no hesitation in drinking it, I just don’t need it for my cupboard.

Flavors: Grapes

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95

Oh my. This is lovely. I needed something soothing tonight, as I research my sudden TRIP TO ENGLAND in 2 weeks!!! So I’m simultaneously excited and terrified. I’ll be there for 2 weeks (near London), with hopefully a weekend trip in the middle to PARIS! Advice/recommendations/tea shop directions appreciated :)

I opened the packet and a took a sniff, and it smelled so nice. The leaves are long and dark and smell amazing. Brewed it up in my small green pot and one of its cups. It’s floral with a touch of honey. No astringency.

I really like this. I want to try the next packet gongfu style but I need to find a gongfu tea tray first so I can make a controlled mess.

Ok, I have gone through the entire small pot and every cup is amazing.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey

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

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62

I grabbed this bag earlier in the week to take to work since I polished off the Tiger Assam I was keeping there, thinking it was a good way to get it used up. It’s a tasty tea, not as “hot” spicy as I had anticipated when I bought it – I was expecting something like chili powder-spicy. It’s more chai-spice spicy, but it’s not a chai. Probably not the best choice to start my day – I think it is aggravating my acid reflux :( So I may have to just give this one away. I promised a friend I would put together some samples for her, so I may include the rest of the bag with that.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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75
drank Keemun by t, an urban teahouse
312 tasting notes

Brewed in my new mouse teapot I got from Teavana last weekend. Yeah, I know, Teavana. But I love mice and rats, so I couldn’t resist.

I decided that I wanted to dedicate that pot to Keemun, and was planning on buying some from Adagio since I am out. But then I remembered this morning that I had this from a little shop in OKC.

I brewed it gongfu style in the new pot, combining the first and second brew (not counting a rinse) in a small pitcher. I drank a bit straight, which was all right, but I little less soothing than what I want this morning, so I whipped up some splenda and half and half and combined it with the tea in a nice western-style mug. The half and half bring out the maltyness and smooths the rough edges off the hint of tobacco. I can’t detect any smokiness in it, which I like in my Keemuns.

I’ve got quite a bit of this left, and it’s nice enough, I will definitely drink it, but I’ll probably try something different if I get back to T, and just order my Keemun from Adagio.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 45 sec

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70

Someone gave me a tin of this as a gift. I’ve gone through it as my office tea for a bit. It’s a fairly good wake-me-up. It is the first tea with pu-erh that I have liked, but I honestly can’t tell how much of the flavor profile has been contributed by the pu-erh. It just tastes like a chocolatey black tea to me.

One small rant – the tin it came in, while cute, is very annoying when attempting to get the very last of the tea out of it. It has an indentation in the bottom so that you could stack it on top of another of the same tea tins. It’s pretty deep and the tea slides down in between the walls of the tin and the indentation. Couple that with the squarish flat top with a round opening.

So I managed to get the very last of it out of the tin after thwacking and shaking and bumping and dumping. But there wasn’t quite enough left for a full cup. I tossed in a bit of Twinings loose Earl Grey. The Bolder Breakfast is so strong that I didn’t get a hint of Earl Grey taste.

I don’t know that I will reorder this on my own, but I wouldn’t turn up my nose at another gifted tin.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I’ve gone through a couple of tins of this one over the years. My method is to shake it over a plate, in a combination of poorly choreographed moves: circles, triangles, north to south, east to west, etc, until every particle is on the plate. ;)

Hesper June

The tea-time mambo? The tea two step? Between you and Terri, this tea sounds like it requires a certain dance step that needs its own name:)

Hesper June

P.S. I have two left feet, so maybe I should just stay away from this tea…

Skulleigh

LOL. It’s the tea tango!

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Bio

When I was a very young child, I swallowed an ice cube whole. It got stuck in my throat, and my mother had me drink hot tea to melt it away. That started a love affair with tea that has never abated.

I dabbled with Celestial Seasonings and other grocery store teabags for awhile, in my young and foolish days. But a few years ago, I received a tea of the month subscription from Adagio, and I found that there was a whole other world of tea out there that I had never experienced.

I love drinking tea, and I love the personal ceremony of making a glass or pot of tea for myself. It’s like a meditation.

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DFW, Texas

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