616 Tasting Notes

73

Boo, I lack anything interesting to say, still waiting to move and waiting to stop being sick. So, I shall instead talk about comics, I recently discovered a youtube channel called Comicstorian, it is all about, you guessed it, comics! I am reminded how infuriating Hush’s story is, I prefer my head canon where Hush is actually a Mummy detective, solving crimes and finding a way to get to the Afterlife because clearly someone cursed him…if he could only remember who…I should totally write this. Anyway, Hush is really lame, I wish that he didn’t exist, or that his story would not have ended so incredibly stupidly, it just makes me angry!

Today is an Oolong day, Oollo Tea’s Iron Buddha Oolong. Hello tea that is a gift from Guan Yin, this tea, fun fact, years ago was the type of Oolong that got me hooked on Oolongs and taught me tea could be something more than just a drink, that it could be something that is art. That was a different Iron Buddha from Taiwan, since that was over a decade ago! Anyway, nostalgia aside, this tea is wonderful, that distinct aroma of a roasted Tie Guan Yin, blending toast, roasted chestnut, hazelnuts, baking bread, and just a delicate note of char. This is not a charcoal roasted oolong, so the roasted notes are more like toast than fire, at the finish (after I have been sniffing this tea for a while) is a delicate note of plum.

Brewing the tea in my roasted Oolong Yixing teapot, like I do, the aroma is delightfully toasted. Notes of roasted notes (chestnut and walnut shell) and toasted bread mix with mineral, sweet cocoa, and even a note of roasted coffee. It is really robust! The liquid is a blend of roasted walnuts and chestnuts, a hint of hazelnuts and a tiny bit of toasted bread at the finish.

The first steep is smooth and fairly mellow, starting out with a note of mineral and toasted nuts. Next the taste moves to walnut shells and hazelnuts, with a touch of toasted bread. This moves on to a sweet finish of stone fruit and a tiny touch of char.

After savoring the toasty, mineral goodness of the first steep I obviously had to have more, so on to steep two. The aroma of this steep is nicely roasted, with notes of sweet honey and roasted nuts, with just a touch of grainy bread. The taste is nicely robust, rich roasted nuts and grains, toast, sesame seeds, chestnut, walnuts, and even a touch of oats. There is a tiny hint of mineral at the finish, along with a slight sourness like unripe plums, but that fades pretty quickly to sweet plums at the aftertaste.

For the third steep, the aroma is toasted and not much else, it is toasted grains and bread, with a hint of walnuts. The taste is delicate this time around, roasted notes of walnuts and a finish of honey make up the bulk of this steep. It is nice, but a ghost compared to the previous steep, but being haunted by honey sweetness and walnuts is not a terrible fate!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/oollo-tea-iron-buddha-oolong-tea-review.html

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91

Happy Monday my dear tea friends! I think I have Pharyngitis, this cold thing that I had never really made me too stuffy or cough-y, it has mostly been a nasty sore throat and fever, and pretty much that is all that is left, a stupid sore throat. Luckily it is not affecting my ability to taste things and talk, though it has made swallowing a giant pain. On a side note, I am still angry at the dryer for ruining so many of my clothes, most of them I can ‘replace’ by going to the Goodwill Bin store and paying 75 cents a pound for clothes, but the underwear that the dryer melted had to be replaced by spending legit money at Target, BUT there is a silver lining, I found that in the little boy’s section they had Minecraft clothes! An epic shirt and a Creeper hoodie that I have wanted for a while but did not want to pay a small fortune for, but it turns out a large boy’s shirt and hoodie fits me perfectly, and is half the price of an adult small. Sneaky sneaky! I will totally have to get them once I have a bit of extra money and can justify buying new clothes again…it just feels kinda wrong to me, but I have been a thrifter for life.

Today we are looking at Liquid Proust Teas’ French Toast Dianhong, a gong yi cha (or craft tea, if I am doing my translation at all correct) basically it is a blooming tea without the flower, and made with Dianhong, one of my favorite Yunnan red teas, and flavored to resemble French Toast. I used to eat French Toast all the time, but since I went to the (sad) ways of Gluten Free, I do not indulge because bread has become stupid expensive! It was a favorite 3 in the morning snack that I often found my dad cooking and would join him for some nibbles, though we ate it with ketchup rather than syrup, and they were savory rather than sweet, but in my older days I found I preferred the sweeter version! The aroma of the sizable ball is a real knockout! I am hit with intense notes of vanilla with notes of cocoa too with a tiny bit of sweet potato and roasted peanuts (hello Dianhong) alongside the tiniest note of bready batter. The vanilla reminds me more of real vanilla extract rather than vanilla beans, that distinct sweet and slightly alcohol note of the extract, this rather than straight up vanilla beans, reminds me of the extract that permeates French Toast batter, especially the way I make it…who needs a measuring spoon?

I decided to gongfu this thing, in retrospect I should have used a bigger gaiwan so it could really unfold without limits instead of having its little needles popping out the top of the water, but all my tea gear is still packed up. I will say that sniffing the tea made me melt into my chair a bit, it smells soooooo good! Very rich notes of vanilla and cocoa waft up from the slowly unfurling ball of now soggy tea. Along side the vanilla (really it is like I am sitting next to a bottle of vanilla extract) there is gentle cocoa, yams, and peanuts, yum! The liquid is a heady mixture of vanilla and cocoa with a touch of peanuts, so much vanilla sweetness.

The taste is kinda fantastic, very very strong vanilla, it has a bit of a cooling alcohol burn similar to vanilla extract, but it certainly is deliciously strong. Like drinking vanilla extract but without the really gross taste if you do that (trust me on this!) Along with the strong Vanilla which waxes and wanes, strong at first, milder in the middle, and strong at the finish with a lingering aftertaste, is notes of cocoa (ok, with this sweetness it is straight up chocolate) and yams, with a mild roasted peanut note at the finish.

Onward to the second steep! The aroma is much like the first, a metric ton of vanilla with cocoa and yams taking up the rear. The taste of the tea (also the unfurling ball looks like a sea monster) has a very similar profile to the first steep, but with stronger cocoa notes and extra yam sweetness.

Third steeping! The aroma is still very similar, though the vanilla is calming down some while the cocoa and yam notes of the tea become more prevalent. The same can be said about the taste, lots less vanilla and lots more cocoa and yams, the tea’s natural honey sweetness is shining through, meaning I like the tea and the flavor, always a good sign. I steeped this one once more, after that I found the vanilla taste was gone and it was just the sweet taste of the Dianhong ball. I was mildly perturbed, I was told that the taste would evolve a lot between steeps and it was very similar each steep to me, maybe there is something wrong with my taste buds…but everything tastes the same…worrying thoughts if true. It could also be the difference in steeping styles, temperatures, steeping vessels, and all that fun stuff, so I am not too worried. I will say I enjoyed this tea, not sure I would call it French Toast, since other than the vanilla extract I dump into the batter, it did not taste much like the toast. I certainly foresee myself buying some of these, I love watching the sea monsters unfurl, and I am curious to see how other steeping methods affect the taste.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/liquid-proust-teas-french-toast.html

Liquid Proust

It’s late and I’m either looking forward to or a bit worried about my dreams of chocolate monsters coming out a dark yellow / amber sea to eat me.

Actually… saying that with no context sounds absolutely repulsing; thankfully we, hopefully, know what I mean.

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84

There is something incredibly hypnotic about this time of year, something sleepy and just a little bit magical. The air gets heavy with heat, humidity, and the sound of cicadas, the sky goes from brilliant blue to a perpetual haze, and the storms are not as frequent but when they do show they are full of heat fueled lightning. It has been mostly rainy and cool (for the Midwest) this year, and I have been very glad for it, and it seems the current heatwave will be over by Tuesday (hooray!) meaning back to nice coolish summer weather. Also luckily my cold seems to definitely be on the way out, clearly medicinal Minecraft helped yesterday.

Today is a day for Brown Sugar by Tea Leaf Co, and now that song is stuck in my head, fun side story, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure fourth arc has my favorite character, Bruno Buccellati whose Stand (magic superpower, let’s just go with that, it would take too long to explain) is called Sticky Fingers, his name is a reference to Brown Sugar and his Stand is a reference to the Rolling Stones album the song is from…and it is probably one of the few Rolling Stones songs I like. So that totally random rambling aside, this tea is a blend of Dark Oolong (the smoky tones make me think it is maybe a Wuyi) Natural Essences, and Safflowers. The aroma of the leaves smells like Canada, or at least what Canada is thought to smell like: maple syrup, campfires, burnt sugar, and more sweetness…that is totally what Canada smells like, right? It smells yummy, I certainly hope that Canada smells like this!

Into ye old steeping apparatus the leaves and petals go. Fun fact, thanks to the inspiration of my instagram friends, when I move and have my own tea room, it will be called the Tea Lab, so my pseudo-alchemy equipment will fit perfectly. So, after steeping the aroma takes on a surprising note of stewed plums with a distinct caramelized brown sugar note, hah, name drop! Blend in maple syrup and molasses and a touch of smoke for a sugary sweet explosion. The liquid is a sweet blend of caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, and campfire, wow what an impressively sweet tea!

The taste is intense! So many sugary notes without actually being grossly sweet, it is the taste of caramel and brown sugar, burnt sugar and smoke, and a touch of plums. I like how it tastes of sweetness but only has a hint of sweetness, that is a really neat effect. The finish of the tea is a lingering sweetness and smokiness, like eating plums roasted over a campfire.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/tea-leaf-co-brown-sugar-tea-review.html

Kirkoneill1988

i think Canada smells like any country would. and we got those bugs going off in Hamilton

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

…it is a joke, Kirk, I know that it smells like any country would

OMGsrsly

Hehehe… I’m pretty sure that camping smells like that (toasted marshmallows!), with a background of whatever location you’re in. My favourite is grass in the sun and pine forests. :D

Kirkoneill1988

that reminds me! pine needle tea!

Kirkoneill1988

i have to try it

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90

Things never go as planned, that is what I have learned from life, no matter how hard you try to stick to them they frequently go poof! Turns out I won’t be moving til the first of next week at the earliest, probably closer to August 1st, which makes sense but it annoying because as soon as I packed up almost all my tea gear I was given this news. At least by the time I move this super annoying summer cold (really they are the worst) and the nasty heat advisory will be over, trust me on this, I have moved over a dozen times in my almost 30 years, moving during a stupid hot day with a cold is a nightmare! But hey, life is change and it is best to just go with the flow and things will happen as they should, no need to stress…I just really hate summer colds.

So, it is Oolong time! Specifically Oollo Tea’s Alishan High Mountain Oolong, yes, time for some Taiwanese Oolong from over 2,000 meters above sea level on the Alishan Mountain range, lots of fog, mist, and cool temperatures to make for an awesome tea. I have had several Alishan Oolongs and all of them I loved, but when do I not at the very least enjoy an Oolong? So, aroma, the nice, tightly balled leaves starts off with gently toasted notes and a touch of something starchy, like a blend between cooked rice and tapioca. This moves to sweet cream and then a touch of gentle floral notes, it smells delicious, a bit faint, but delicious.

Into the bat gaiwan the leaves go for a nice happy steeping. The aroma of the wet leaves is a powerhouse of yum! Notes of spicebush flowers, lilies, toasted sesame seeds and a sweet starchy note that to most people smells like baking bread and a touch of rice (to me it smells like destroying angel mushrooms but I am a weird fungophile who goes around sniffing mushrooms, and no, I never eat them because mushrooms are best as photos and study subjects) the starchy notes mixed with the floral notes really are killer, I just love them mixed together, it is why I enjoy Alishan so much. The liquid is so floral! Only a touch of sesame and starch notes remain, now it is mostly lily, hyacinth, orchid, and honeysuckle, it smells like a conservatory in my cha hai.

Ah, that is creamy, so very creamy! Spicy too, that delicate floral and spicy note of spicebush blend with hyacinth (which is also a little spicy) and dianthus (which is like spicebush but not as musky) blend really well with the creamy notes from the initial sip. The finish is a tiny touch of sesame seeds and rice pudding. This might be one of the best first steeps I have had in a while, very full bodied and sweet!

The aroma of the second steep is a blend of flowers and gentle toast, a bit of sesame seed blended with a bouquet of spring flowers, lots of lilies, hyacinths, and spicebush. The mouthfeel matches the initial sip, creamy! Sweet cream and flowers kinda explode in my mouth, more definite floral than spicy floral this time, lilies and honeysuckle with a touch of hyacinth. The finish is a gentle touch of sesame seeds and rice, not so sweet as the first steep, with a lightly green vegetation aftertaste.

Third steep’s aroma has a hint of vegetation, growing things and crushed leaves along with flowers. Hyacinth, honeysuckle and lily, with also a touch of orchid, no real sesame notes or spicebush in this steep’s aroma. The taste takes its cues from the aroma, the first note that shows up in my mouth is gentle vegetation, crushed leaves and a touch of lettuce. It tastes like tea leaves but without that slight bitterness that the unprocessed leaves have. This moves to gentle floral notes and a nice finish of mineral with a lingering floral aftertaste.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/oollo-tea-alishan-high-mountain-oolong.html

dragondrool

Hope you feel better soon!

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89

It is a glorious day, nice and cool after the nasty amount of heat we had lately. I have my windows open and I can enjoy a session with some Shou, something I find less desirable when it is near 100 degrees outside, since I find Shou to be very warming. While sipping I am packing, trying to decide which pieces of tea gear are ‘essential’ and cannot be packed away til last minute…and it is really hard! Yes I am wrapping everything in old cloth (my dryer broke and ruined a bunch of my clothes, so hey, free packing material…though I have to buy new underwear now, ugh) and the boxes are RIGHT next to my desk and really easy to access, but I don’t like seeing such bare shelves.

So, onto some Shou! Today we are looking at 2010 Imperial Palace by Langhe Tea Company a well known tea company (from Yunnan of course) that is known for its mellow and clean taste. If the aroma is anything to go by, this one will live up to Langhe’s reputation, notes of sweet and mellow molasses, loam, pine wood, and a distinct cedar trunk finish with just the tiniest hint of leather. Honestly the aroma of this tea reminds me of being in a cabin deep in a pine forest, you keep your belongings in a trunk and your leather pouch for carrying whatever things you take on a forest adventure hangs nearby, it is very evocative and feels me with peace.

Into ye old elephant duanni the tea goes for a rinse and steep! The aroma of the wet leaves is very sweet, strong notes of pine sap and molasses with clean soil and wet wood. It is less forest floor and more just straight up forest. The liquid is creamy, sweet and rich, I am detecting notes of cocoa, molasses and a lovely finish of wet pine wood.

I decided that I wanted to share this with my friends, and luckily my elephant pot is big enough that we can all share several small cups. The first steep has a pleasantly thick mouth, coating the mouth with a full burst of flavor. Rich notes of cocoa and molasses with an accompaniment of wet pine wood and a clean cedar finish.

Onward to the second steep, the sharing of tea continues! Notes of forest loam (mostly pine forest and cedar leaves) wet wood, cocoa, and a touch of malt waft from the steamy little cups. The taste is strong and malty, intense coniferous wet wood notes blend with dark chocolate and a touch of loam. The finish is a clean cedar note that is rather invigorating.

Third steep, we are surprisingly tea drunk…my friends are total light weights, but there is no excuse for me, clearly this is an intense tea! The aroma is dark and malty, rich dark chocolate and a touch of loam, I feel a relaxing, sinking feeling when sniffing this tea, like I am melting into loam. The taste is heavy as well, thick and sweet, warm notes of wet wood and fir trees, loam and chocolate. Finishing notes of malt and cedar, this tea is kinda great! I love the cocoa notes, they blend really well with the loam and woody notes, Langhe Tea Company, you have some made Puer skills!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/puer-junky-2010-imperial-palace-langhe.html

Kirkoneill1988

loam? I shall try this someday.

what happened with your dryer? how did it ruin your cloths?

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I have no idea, ask I know is a lot of my clothes are now melted, burned, stained, and warped…the dryer is clearly evil and soon not my problem

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84

I think that Matcha Monday will not be a weekly thing, but a random thing, because it turns out that massive Matcha Showdown covered a LOT of the Matcha I planned on reviewing, so I will have to come up with some other ways of talking about Matcha. However there is at least one Matcha up my sleeve I have not blogged about yet!

Thanks to Tomoson, a new (to me anyway) site which supplies bloggers with cool stuff, in this case I got myself some Midori Spring Ceremonial (Emerald) Matcha, Emerald being the class of Matcha, which makes it in the middle, suitable for culinary projects and also for sipping as bowl of Matcha, a good beginners Matcha. I think after sipping Matcha in one form or another for almost 15 years I can safely say I am not a beginner, but it never hurts to try new things (that is kinda the whole point of this blog after all!)

I decided to use this Matcha first in a baking project. I admit I was astounded when I saw the amount of Matcha, I was expecting a small tin, but nope, it is a sizable amount! I love baking with Matcha, drinking it traditionally and whisking it has a wonderfully meditative feeling, but the inventive ways you can use it in food really get me the most excited. For my baking project I decided to make Matcha Coconut Macaroons, basically I took a standard Coconut Macaroon recipe (1 large bag coconut, 1 can condensed milk, a handful of rice flour) and tossed a bunch of the Emerald (a good description, very green!) Matcha into the coconut and rice flour mix and tossed it until the coconut was richly green. I then added the condensed milk and baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes (or until the tips of the coconut turned golden brown) the result was delicious! I definitely think this might be my new go-to Matcha for baking. It is sweet and green with a strong Matcha taste and no bitterness.

Next I decided to try it whisked traditionally, the color is quite lovely, not the most vibrantly green ever, but certainly a good middle grade coloring, it is a little pale, like the underside of an oak leaf, but lacks any brown tones to the coloration. The aroma is nice and sweet, notes of hay, sticky rice, and fruitiness waft up, with a slight hint of seaweed at the finish.

Once whisked the aroma is primarily sweet rice and a touch of fresh cut grass, and I can say it whisked beautifully! The taste is a little dry and brisk, very robust and green, starts out like green vegetation and leafy vegetables, grass and kale, this fades to a touch of sweetness at the finish. I prefer this as a baking Matcha I think, it certainly lives up to exactly what it says on the tin, it is a good medium grade, and I like that, it doesn’t say that it will be the best ever cup of Matcha, it says it is excellent in baking and lattes, and you know what, it is!

Thank you Tomoson for supplying this Matcha!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/midori-spring-ceremonial-emerald-matcha.html

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99

You know what is really gratifying? Blowing a professional chef’s mind with my baking creations. I am pretty much in charge of baking stuff in the house, but since I have to eat gluten free, my stuff is always gluten free. Many years ago (what we with gluten problems call the Dark Times) it was nigh impossible to find decent breads and such (it was always weirdly textured or tasted really odd, and cost a small fortune) and baking was practically fancy alchemy left to the pros. Poor Fish had to spend a couple years living gluten free and has grown to hate it, so he understandably felt a great deal of trepidation when he found out my baking would lack the glory that is wheat. So far he has been really impressed by my creations, but what really took the cake was the dumplings in the soup the other night, I made them totally from scratch and they were some of the best I have ever had and he is still raging about it. I seem to have developed mad skills, who knew?

Sanne Tea sent me some more tea to review, yay! I am such a sucker for Taiwanese teas, and totally made a squee when I saw that one of the samples was Taiwan No. 18, you might know this glorious black tea as Sun Moon Lake Tea, Hong Yu, Red Jade, or Ruby Black…a tea of many names and many faces. I say many faces because this is one of the most unique aroma and flavor profiles I have run into in tea, and this is thanks to the strain of tea plant this tea is made from, a hybridization of wild mountain tea plants and Burma Assam tea plants, of course the terroir of region helps as well. The farmer of this particular tea roasted it on a lower temperature, meaning it takes longer to roast and there is a larger element of uncertainty. Well, as expected, I was floored by the aroma, I just love this stuff, blending strong notes of sassafras and menthol (but without the mint, it is weird, you need to sniff this one yourself to truly understand the menthol without mint) with an accompaniment of cocoa, malt, and sweet potatoes. It is very sweet and rich, probably sweeter than other versions of this tea I have sniffed.

Brewing the tea (I really want a special Yixing for this tea, it is so unique, I want to know how the clay would affect it) the leaves are very complex, there is just so much going on! Strong notes of sassafras and menthol with honey, dates, cocoa, malt, sweet potatoes, and even a touch of cinnamon and licorice at the finish. The liquid is very sweet with notes of sassafras, dates, and sweet potato, not so much on the menthol, but the sassafras is wonderful. If you ever get the chance to have a rootbeer with real sassafras in it, go for it!

Ok, I am sitting down, I know how Red Jade affects me, I get tea drunk from the first sip of this stuff! The cup comes to my lips, I sip…and omg that is delicious. There are a pile of exclamation points in my notes. The taste starts out with sweetness, notes of honey and dates as the first burst of flavor, this moves to sassafras and the cooling sensation of the menthol, really it is like the sensation and not the taste, it is very strange but so good. The finish is a blend of malt and cocoa with an aftertaste of dark (but not too dark, like 60%) chocolate that kinda curves up to sweet quite a while later.

Second steeping, the aroma is a sweet blend of honey, cocoa, sweet potatoes and of course the iconic (to me) sassafras notes. The taste is a bit more brisk this steep, with notes of woodiness, sweet potato and malt taking up the forefront, this pretty quickly switches to sassafras and menthol at the middle, the menthol lingering into the aftertaste with an accompaniment of honey and dates at the finish. This was a steep to wake up the mouth, similar to eating a mouthful of ginger without the burn.

Third steeping, like the previous one, notes of honey and cocoa blend with sassafras, though no sweet potato this time, but there was a bit of malt. This steep is a bit more mellow, more similar to the first steep, it lacks the briskness of the second but makes up for it in sweetness. Starting out with honey and dates, with a bit of chocolate, this moves to a burst of sassafras and finally finishing out with I swear it tastes just like candied yams! Another fine example of a tea that is a work of art, the more I drink of Red Jade (or whatever name you know it by) the more I love it and crave it.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/sanne-tea-taiwan-no18-tea-review.html

carol who

Wonderful review. Such nice detail. It really sounds delicious.

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85

Fish and I just made the best Chicken Soup! We decided to combine our different styles of soup and specialties, he sauteed the chicken and onion garlic blend, and cooked the beans, I was in charge of the root veggies (the store was out of ruttabagas, and sadly we ran out of carrots) the broth, spice blend, and the surprise. I call it a surprise because at the last minute I wanted dumplings (not dumplings really, but dumplin’s) but have never made them gluten free, so I winged it and they turned out awesome! Not to toot my own horn, but I seem to be really getting the hang of baking gluten free and adapting recipes, there is a lot of trial and error, but the ratio of edible to utterly gross baking creations is mostly edible. Man, this soup is good, I am on my third bowl!

It is Wednesday (I think, my sleep schedule has gotten weird, I ended up staying up 24 hours again and sleeping for a couple hours…hmmm) which means it is a What-Cha day! Making my way through my notebook and the adventure of trying to taste all their teas brings us to Yunnan Silver Needle White Tea. Good old Dian Yin Zhen, like Fujian silver needles, but with a distinctly Yunnan quality and smokiness. The aroma is not really sweet, it is a savory tea with notes of smoke, tomato leaves, lettuce, sauteed bok choy, and a touch of fresh tomato as well. At the finish there is a tiny touch of smoked peaches that adds a hint of sweetness, but only a hint.

I decided to do a psuedo-western bowl steeping kinda thing for this tea, brewing it in my green gaiwan for a long time (7 minutes if you are curious) because I kinda love the way silver needle really shows off with longer steeps. The aroma of the leaves is very savory, bok choy and tomato, smoke and mineral, cedar and a touch of peach at the finish. The liquid is lightly smoked peach (think a grilled peach) with a touch of tomato leaves and lettuce and a tiny finish of distant floral.

The tea is very smooth and smoky, it starts out with sauteed bok choy and hay with a touch of tomato leaf. This moves on to delicate cedar notes that start off mild and build to a sharp cooling sensation that feels like it goes all the way to the tips of my fingers, gotta love that distinct Yunnan cooling sensation. The finish is mild peach and honey sweetness that mixes with the cooling cedar for a very refreshing end.

I went for a second much longer steep, the aroma is much sweeter, less smoke and more peach. The taste can be summed up the same way, but with an extra boom of cedar and now camphor for a peachy resinous cooling tea with a slight smokiness to it. The finish is delicate honey and distant flowers. Yunnan silver needle is a unique tea, if you were expecting the more familiar taste profile of a Fujian silver needle, you will be a bit shocked, but pleasantly so, especially if you are a fan of Sheng Puerhs and Yabao.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/what-cha-yunnan-silver-needle-white-tea.html

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99

Hair dye can be very very messy, I had forgotten that little fact. I have become very proficient in dying my hair blue and not making a giant mess, heck I barely ever need to clean the sink after I am done. I must be off tonight (well duh, I am still a bit tired after a 37 hour bought of insomnia, but whatever, hair dye!) because I got it EVERYWHERE. I dropped the bottle and kept spilling it, which sucked! I ended up having to bleach the sink and floor, and scrub my skin…which is double suck because the dye I use has aloe and I have to be REALLY careful not to get it on my skin. Hmph. So I sit and let my dye set, a perfect time to blog!

Today I am looking at Best Zest from Tea Leaf Co, I knew from the moment I opened the bag and sniffed the tea…this is a tea that needs cold steeping. A blend of Lemongrass, Ginger, and Tulsi, it smells so refreshing, and with it being so hot lately (I miss my cool rainy weather) I wanted that refreshing citrus cold…preferably in a dainty crystal glass. The aroma is super awesome, strong herbal and green notes of Tulsi, it is like basil but not, it has that slightly green and sharp notes of basil without the actual basil smell. Also sweet and green notes of lemongrass (so weird that I love that stuff now) and a hint of ginger heat and spice. It smells like a summer day to me!

I want you all to know that Tao is vigorously pawing at the window, it is her way of telling me she wants it open, but Tao is unaware that it is still really hot out and I am not losing any of my precious AC. So, I am sure this tea would be fantastic hot, but I clearly made the best choice ever, because when it is hot sometimes you really just want a cool thing to sip before bed, and a cold steeped herbal is awesome. The Tulsi notes are what come in the strongest with this slightly peppery herbal greenness, with just that hint of basiliness (new word, yay!) and a tiny bit of anise like taste. This moves on to a very refreshing burst of lemongrass which is like a sweet blend of lemon and a touch of hay, just think mild lemonade with a grassy sweetness. Lastly is the ginger which adds an internal warmth to the back of the throat and stomach and prevented my stomach from having a freakout like it does sometimes with cold stuff, so yay for the powers of warming chi! I am going to have to get a LOT more of this tea, it is great as a last cup on a sweltering night, flavorful while being mild, cooling while also being warming.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/tea-leaf-co-best-zest-tea-review.html

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92

Yesterday was my best friend and housemate’s birthday! We partied hard, there was Matcha, gifts, cake, bar food, and fighting (because birthday battles are a must) a great success! Well except for me passing out on the bathroom floor towards the end of the festivities, meaning I missed out on the annual Sailor Moon marathon and bonfire. I didn’t even pass out because of something related to the partying, just my body getting used to me adjusting the dosage on my meds like my doctor advised. Good news is my fatigue is lessening, but there are other weird things my body is doing, it is the same as when I have started or upped the dosage in the past and once it evens out I should feel great, but the path to that even plateau is a rocky one. Luckily Fish was not at all sad that I had to tap out and spend the rest of the evening twitching on the bathroom floor!

So, I wanted to spend this Sunday reviewing a book, but I have gotten no reading done, sadly I lack the head for it, so instead I shall showcase a piece of tea gear you will probably recognize, trYeh’s Gaiwan, specifically their green one. It gets a bit complicated, trYeh is a wholesale company, so if you want it you have to get it from one of its distributors like Mighty Leaf (though they only have the brown) Amazon or just have your Sissy pick you up one at a local shop (One Good Woman in Camp Hill, PA) and then totally surprise you with it as a gift instead of letting you pay for it as planned!

As with all pieces of tea gear, there are pros and cons. This is technically an easy gaiwan, a more modern style that is supposed to be easier for people new to gaiwan use to use, or people who have arthritis or are elderly, basically it is an ergonomic gaiwan. Sometimes this style has little nob-like handles, built in filters, or come with a cup as a travel set, they are versatile and at times amazingly beautiful little tools. I wanted one because it looks kinda like a houhin, and I want a houhin but they tend to be expensive! So, in typical me fashion I took a thing and decided to use it for a different purpose, but it also works really well for pretty much all teas, in fact no surprise, it works better for larger leafed teas than the tiny slender Japanese greens like I was hoping. Oh well.

Actually that brings me to my only complaint, the holes on the filter are pretty massive, I really wish they were smaller, and not just because I wanted this for Japanese teas. I frequently find that I get leaf bits in my cup, and while I really don’t mind, I just feel the filtered lid is unnecessary if it is not going to properly work then why have it at all? But that is just a minor gripe, for people who always use a filter while pouring it probably won’t mater.

Minor gripe aside, I really love this thing. The mottled green colors are very pleasing, especially with darker teas which are really complemented by the coloring of the gaiwan. I especially love using it for large leaf black teas or occasional Shou sessions. The lighter color teas are perfectly acceptable in this gaiwan as well, but you won’t really see the color of the liquid until it is poured into a cup. So, it is safe to say, this gaiwan has a welcome place in my collection!

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/tryeh-green-gaiwan-tea-gear-review.html

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My Rating Guide, This is a personal rating and not necessarily a reflection of the tea’s quality
100-Must have on hand, it is one of my favorite teas
85-99-Really good teas, like exquisitely good
65-84-Not bad, they can be good but generic, or just teas that I found enjoyably ok.
40-64-Not a favorite, but not terrible. I would drink it if it was in front of me but I doubt I would seek it out on my own.
20-40-Not the best tea ever, either it was not to my liking or it was really bland. Chances are I would turn this one down unless I was really thirsty.
0-19-No, just no. Either there was something wrong with this tea or it was utterly undrinkable by me.

I am a nerdy, obsessive, crafty, tea blogging, gaming nut. Yeah, that about sums me up! Ok, you want something more informative….

I am a Geek, hardcore fan-girl Geek. It shapes my life. I spend a large chunk of my life painting miniatures and contemplating my various army layouts. I hoard dice, get obsessed with games, and will talk about whatever fandom, game, etc that I am obsessed over until I am blue in the face. I am not just a gamer girl type Geek, I also fit in the collecting knowledge and spending way too much time reading and researching category of Geek.

But there is more to me than just being a giant nerd. I love tea, always have and have just gotten more and more obsessed as I get older. I love trying new teas and then writing lengthy descriptions about them on my blog, I love reading and researching the history and culture of tea, I love collecting tea pots and fancy tea tools.

When the weather allows it, I love to go mushroom hunting. I don’t eat them, instead I use them for photography and spore prints. I love nature and worked as a Naturalist in the Northwoods one summer, it might have been the best job ever.

I have Fibromyalgia, it sucks, but I feel people who are going to interact with me should know since I tend to vanish because of it so fair warning! I do tend to not vanish very long though. Also I have some ‘social disorders’ which basically translates to I am really awkward and bad at socializing, so forgive any lack of social graces.

I also have cats, love the ocean and all aquatic life, love cheese, and collect hats.

My favorite tea is definitely Oolong, but I also love Japanese greens and…ok I just love tea actually :P I am not a huge fan of lemony black teas or tart fruit teas. I also loathe hibiscus (usually)

This is my actual tea wishlist, you know that I actually update and keep track of…I tend to forget Steepster’s https://www.facebook.com/notes/amanda-wilson/tea-wishlishtshopping-list-perpetually-in-progress/10152336515414411 I use my steepster WL to keep track of teas I have had and really want more of :P

Location

Kansas City, MO

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http://ramblingbutterflythoug...

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