620 Tasting Notes

In grand ‘me’ tradition, I was super derp on allergy meds last night, so I spent the entire night playing Terraria. Yes, good old Terraria, haven’t heard me talk about that game in forever, because I have not played it in forever! I lost my info when my previous computer died and gave up in frustration, but decided to give it a go again after seeing good things about the recent updates. I have a love hate relationship with that game, there are just so many things going on that I feel overwhelmed, but at the same time, I do love all those options. It is a fun distraction, even if I do die more than I would like to admit.

So, it has been a while since a tea gear review, and it is practically criminal that I am just now getting around to reviewing my travel steeper that goes pretty much everywhere with me. The Libre Black Brush Tea Glass, to sum it up, is a thing of beauty! It is so pretty with its black lid and base and matching black tree branches reminiscent of trees in winter. You are probably saying ‘but Amanda, wouldn’t you prefer the teal one since you are obsessed with teal?’ surprisingly no, I prefer the black because it goes with everything.

Now, on to the pros and cons! The pros (other than it is pretty!) I love that the outer wall is plastic while the inner is glass, meaning yours truly is less likely to break the blasted thing when I inevitably drop it, also it seems to insulate better than the double glass one, meaning less burning of the hands, so yay! The size is great, it allows for the expansion of the inevitable oolongs that I like to drink. Also I am a big fan of the way the lid is set up, being made of two parts, a lid and a filter, and rather than it being a basket it screws on, meaning if I don’t want the leaves in there or something I don’t have to fiddle with a basket.

Not everything is perfect though, I think my biggest complaint is it doesn’t go in the dishwasher! I really like being able to run things in the dishwasher, especially when I have a cold or something for that extra step of disinfecting. I had to buy a special sponge thingy on a stick to clean it, and taking all the washers and such off to make sure I do not get any weird mold growths anywhere is a bit of a pain, especially when I use this thing a lot. Also sometimes the lid does not screw on right and my purse, pocket, or self gets utterly soaked with tea, though I am pretty sure that is user error because I have weak little wrists.

That little flaw us pretty much the only thing that is a problem with this steeper, I love this thing, I get lots of compliments when I take it out and about. I use it for cold steeping as well as just regular ol’ steeping while out and about. I will say it is a bit expensive, but even though I am a total tightwad, I think it is worth it. If I was very wealthy I would buy one of these for all my tea drinking people as gifts.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/libre-black-brush-tea-glass-tea-gear.html

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Remember a while ago I had allergy tests and they came back that I was not allergic to anything? I think that the test might have been incorrect, because I was feeling better! My sore throat and slightly stuffy nose and cough had eased up, then I spent a day outside and then another with all the windows open and I woke up sick again! There are no new things in the house to cause irritation, so it must be allergies, it being so wet this year that it must be mold. I dunno, I am sick of this sore throat, so time to take loopy allergy meds and crank up the air purifier to full blast! On a more fun note, I started a Wedding Registry (because why not, even though I do not even have a set date yet!) and I am having fun trying to figure out what to add. So far there is a cat tower and a vase, progress!

Today I am taking a look at Liquid Proust’s Jackseed Gyokuro a blend of Gyokuro from Wakayama, Roasted Jackfruit Seeds, and a dash of Vanilla. I admit, I found this tea very intriguing! I am a sucker for blends using out of the norm ingredients, I love the imagination and bravery it takes to make and test something like this, and as someone who has dabbled in making bizarre blends…it is hard work! It feels wrong to take something as precious Gyokuro and make it into a blend…or does it? The aroma of the tea is ever so slightly fruity, like apricot and a little like almonds, with a tiny hint of distant vegetation. The aroma is very light, at the very tail end of the sniffing there is a hint of distant sea air, which is fascinating.

It was quite fun watching the tea go from emerald green leaves to vibrantly green once steeped, I just love how intensely green Japanese teas get once steeped! The aroma of the soggy leaves and seed bits is fruity, again the apricot notes are present, add in chestnuts and a touch of almonds for nutty sweetness. Then boom, straight into strong almost salty, buttery, asparagus and kelp, the Gyokuro showed up, hehe! The liquid is pretty mild, not much going on, a touch of green vegetation notes and a tiny touch of nuttiness, really it is very mild.

The tea starts off mild, very smooth mouthfeel and rather thick. Not as thick as I am used to with Gyokuro since I brewed this more Western style than the traditional ton of Gyokuro and very little water method. The tasting starts with buttery asparagus and fresh kelp and sea air, this moves to chestnuts and apricots. It is a little different from apricots, more like a blend between an apricot and banana with a papaya edge, it could in fact, be Jackfruit, but I have not had the pleasure of eating that in well over a decade, and it was only a small taste. Clearly I need to go on another palate expanding adventure! After that burst of fruitiness it moves on to savory again, with a finish of asparagus and a touch of broken hay and grass, which is very subtle. I am honestly not sure how I feel about this tea, I found myself wanting more from the nutty and fruity notes, like they kept teasing me, but on the other hand the subtle wisps of flavor fascinated me, like I was chasing down an adventure, a treasure hunt in my mouth. I am tempted to get more and brew it traditional using my pseudo-houhin and see how the tastes change, a curious tea and a curious experience!

For blog and photo: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/liquid-proust-teas-jackseed-gyokuro-tea.html

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Hello tea friends! I am sorry (not sorry) that I missed out on blogging yesterday, but I was super tired after getting no sleep the night before (unrelated) and celebrating the next day, in case you missed it, I got engaged!!! Ben took me to the zoo as a little going away present before he skipped town for a few days to attend a wedding out of state, and in the Australian bird enclosure while being watched by Ibises he proposed. My ring is quite wonderful, a simple silver band embossed with laurels (yay I finally have laurels!) and very comfortable, and apparently the little sneak bought it months ago when I was visiting my mom in PA, and waited for the perfect opportunity to surprise me, in typical Ben fashion it was all very romantic. I am still in a state of giggly bliss! Now to start planning the Deep Sea Cthulhu Cephalopod themed wedding!

So, giggling aside, today is a day for some Sheng! Specifically Wymm Tea’s Jingmai Sheng Pu-erh From Ancient Tea Tree 2013 First Spring, a Sheng Puerh from Jingmai Mountain in the Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in the southwest of Yunnan. This reminds me of how badly I want several very detailed maps of tea producing regions, that would be so cool hanging in my tea area. So, the aroma of this tea is not much to jump up and down about, the tea is very tightly compressed, so I am not surprised by the rather mellow and unassuming aroma. The notes I do get out of this sample are sweet hay, camphor, a gentle sharp woodiness, and a touch of spinach. It took a bit of sniffing to get those notes, but nothing wrong with a bit of tea snuffling!

Once I gave the tea its first rinse and brew, the leaves livened up a good bit. There are notes of wet oak wood and wet and dry hay, like a barn but thankfully without the animals! There is also a bit of sourness that fades to sweetness, like melon rinds, lastly there is a hint of green beans, specifically fresh uncooked snap beans. The liquid has a sharpness, wet wood and camphor, with a touch of smoke and sweetness.

I apologize for no photo of the first steep, I was unaware that my camera was suffering technical difficulties and ate my photo, all I got was a sad error. After the sharp aroma I was expecting a sharp taste, amusingly not so much! It is fruit sweetness and smoothness from the first to the aftertaste. Starting with honey and hay, moving to apricots, and finishing with a gentle woodiness that does give a bit of dryness at the very end. There is a very gentle camphorous cooling after sipping, but it is very light.

Second steeping! The aroma is not really at all sharp this time, it is sweet and fruity, fresh crisp apricots and honey with a touch of distant smoke. The taste is much thicker, especially in mouthfeel, it is heavily leaden with honey and fruit at the front, this fades pretty quickly to greenness. Notes of greenbeans and grass with a tiny bit of grapes at the finish.

Onward to number three! The aroma is now quite pungent, wet hay and wet leaf pile with a camphor note drift from my cup. What, the? Hey, what happened? It has gone from delightfully smooth and sweet to bitter, just like not entirely ripe persimmons, however the mouthfeel is thick and not dry, interesting! Maybe I steeped it too long, always a possibility (it was 30 seconds at 185 if you are curious) but woo, that was a twist! In me fashion I went for a few more steeps, the next couple were still rather bitter, but fading back into apricots and hay, with stronger camphor notes, so other than that kick in the face at the middle the tea was quite enjoyable!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/wymm-tea-jingmai-sheng-pu-erh-from.html

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I had a thrift store adventure today! Feeling the predictable ‘I need to go to the thrift store’ tingly feeling in my brain, weirdest super power ever (though sadly not as useful as my finding lost things super power) so Ben was nice and took me to the store. My usual store did not have anything of interest, sadly, so we went to the other store up the road that never has anything, and lo and behold, there were things! I found a Guan Yin statue, something I have always wanted (but never bought new because it is me and I like getting old stuff at stores) so I was so happy, I did a loud squee. When I was checking out the cashier dropped the statue, knocking the head off, eek! Thinking my beloved statue was ruined, I examined it and saw the head could very easily be glued back on, so I bought it and was given a discount, awesome! I am debating painting it to look like some of the paintings, or all gold to look like a temple statue, one thing is for certain, Guan Yin needs a bath!

So, tis time for tea! What-Cha’s Vietnam ‘Wild Boar’ Black Tea, a tea I bought because boars are kinda awesome. The tea is named by the local hill tribe that picks the wild growing leaves after the boars that roam wild in the hills. The aroma of the dark leaves is odd, I kinda teared up a bit because the aroma reminds me of something from my memories, something very far into them but I could not place it, it was maddening and caused an intense feeling of homesickness. Memories aside (since you cannot really smell those) there are notes of cocoa and malt, with a delicate note of peanuts, and surprisingly wildflowers and a touch of roses, it has a gentle sweetness, but it is mostly from the floral notes, the cocoa is like dark chocolate rather than the sweet stuff.

Into the green gaiwan the leaves go for their nice little bath! The aroma of the wet leaves is rather rich! Notes of malt and oak wood with a touch of peanuts and loam. Distant notes of flowers at the finish with a tiny touch of turnip greens. The liquid is a gentle blend of cocoa and sweet honey with malt and again a touch of flowers.

Whoa! That first steep is robust! It starts off a bit brisk while remaining smooth, a good first thing in the morning tea, will wake you up without kicking your stomach in the process. The taste starts off malty and blooms into an almost coconut milk sweetness and creaminess, toss in some cocoa and honey and well, yum!

The second steep’s aroma is rather diminished from the first steep, only mild notes of flowers and malt remain. The taste is also kinda diminished, but still tasty, notes of malt and creamy sweetness with a touch of cocoa are what stand out, with a tiny mineral and floral taste at the finish. This is a great first steep, with the later ones had more staying power, but eh, sometimes just one steep is not a bad thing. Still trying to find out what memory that smell is evoking, the brain is strange sometimes!

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/07/what-cha-vietnam-wild-boar-black-tea.html

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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.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Hehe sounds very Lovecraftian!

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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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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

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Kansas City, MO

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http://ramblingbutterflythoug...

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