898 Tasting Notes

Raising a baby T-Rex is hard! Seriously, the wiki was not kidding when they said it was best tackled with a tribe, and considering my tribe is either out of town for an indeterminate amount of time, busy with a new game, or possibly just not playing anymore…so it is just me….queen of the swamps. I’m mostly ok with this, except for the insanity of raising a baby rex! Five hours of incubating an egg, which is mostly spent gathering ALL THE MEAT, then nine hours of hand feeding…the first couple of hours you can’t really do much since it can’t hold much, but the last stretch is easy. Then three days of maturity (unlike real rexes that had like fifteen years!) which means every thirteen hours filling up the food bin. It is a good thing I really like the games that require hours of grinding because wow does this game go grinding to the max!

So what does one do when they are raising a T-Rex and being stricken with either allergies or a cold? Drink flowery tea in the evening of course! Today I am looking at Grand Tea’s Chrysanthemum Tea, specifically the Tai Ju variety, which are small and yellow and are only partially opened. I first developed a love of Chrysanthemum at the same time I started studying Chinese Medicine, I was drawn to its cooling properties to help with inflammation and more importantly its ability to help with breathing problems. Allergy season is rough on my asthma, and if I am not super careful I develop asthmatic bronchitis really easily, and just between you and me I get sick of the meds. The aroma of the little flowers is definitely chrysanthemum…yeah not helpful…it is a blend of pollen, pepper, straw, honey, and straw flowers. It has a sharpness, this is not a heady flower, bordering on spicy without heat.

Since this is a classic brew it needs a classic setup, so vintage teapot and cup it is! The spicy pepper notes are quite potent, with an addition of pollen and straw, with floral undertones of wildflowers and a touch of lettuce. The liquid is sweet and peppery, sharp notes of straw and wildflowers blend with honey and cane sugar. It is mellow and very pleasant to sniff if you are a fan of chrysanthemum!

So does it work medicinally? Well yes and no, I would not say it beats out my guaifenesin and certainly is no substitute for my inhaler, but it does help. I put it in the same category as sitting in a bathroom I have filled with steam or drinking a ton of caffeine, helpful but only part of the puzzle of fighting with my lungs. Now that I have that little blurb out of the way, tasting! It’s yummy, but I really like chrysanthemum, it has wildflower and pollen notes with honey and a crisp sharp peppery quality that really livens up my mouth. When I am wanting something extra sweet I toss in some osmanthus flowers as well to really go for the flower overload! Whether or not it has any medicinal properties, I will keep drinking it because it tastes good.

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/grand-tea-chrysanthemum-tea-tea-review.html


I should have some of my chrysanthemum tea to see if it helps my lungs, my spring allergies are kicking in too, about 2 months early from the snow mold! Along with irritating my asthma :(

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drank Autumn Red by Shang Tea
898 tasting notes

Here I am sitting on my Quetzal waiting for a new Anklyo to tame, she is a level 72 (not as high as I would like but the level 96 I was going to tame was accidentally killed by a fellow tribe, oops) I have three of the beasties, but they are all pretty low level, so she will be part of my current project of making everything super efficient. Taming is a very good time to have lots of tea and to write/paint, especially if I get lucky and I am taming a creature with slow dropping torpor, I can keep an eye on things while also doing other things.

Today I am looking at Shang Tea, a local tea shop that I do not spend enough time at, I am hoping to go back and visit before the Midwest Tea Fest in May (everyone should go) but I am saving my money to spend there. If I am able to go stock up I will definitely be getting their Autumn Red, the tea I am covering today! Unlike the other red teas from Shang that I have tried, this one is super fancy, harvested in autumn of 2011, so not only is it a harvest from a time not usually used, it is also aged a bit. This tea first showed up in the Special Reserve Club, so I was very stingy with my stash, but recently I found out it is in the shop as well, so yours truly binged on the last of it and now needs more! The aroma of the small curly leaves is something else, notes of sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts blend with molasses, sweet stewed tomatoes, bamboo, molasses, autumn leaves, and a finish of dried fruit. It blends sweet and savory, rich and light all in one aroma profile, I admit it took me a while trying to put to words what all was going on in this tea…the stewed sweet tomatoes being the hardest to pin down.

Into my celadon gaiwan the leaves go, red tea in celadon is a guilty pleasure of mine, the colors are so pretty! The aroma of the leaves is still malty and sweet, though not nearly as much so, it takes on more richness. Notes of starchy yams and bamboo blend with molasses and just a touch of peanuts and honey. The liquid is intense sweetness, stewed plums and dried peaches mix with malt and yams with a definite molasses and earthy roasted peanuts and autumn leaves. I am a little amazed at the sweetness and fruitiness, it smells so good!

The first steep has a light earthy almost mineral start to it, mixing with a smooth almost slippery mouthfeel it reminds me strongly of rain water. There is a lot more to this tea than just rainwater, there are strong notes of yams and peanuts with a hint of cooked plums and a touch of molasses. The finish is honey sweet with a lingering aftertaste of honey and starch.

For the second steep the aroma somehow manages to be richer, still just as sweet but with an addition of cocoa like richness that blends well with the fruit and yams. The taste does not really deviate much in notes from the first steep, in changes in intensity and mouthfeel though! No more the slippery rainwater feel, it is all smooth and with a slight thickness. Another quite enjoyable thing about this tea is the aftertaste, strong yams and honey that lasts for quite a while.

The aroma of the third steep is strong in the malt and yam, but light on the fruit and peanut notes, though it certainly stays strong on sweetness and richness. This steep is still quite smooth, but not quite as thick, the taste is stronger in earthy peanut and autumn leaf notes with a strong malt in the middle and finish of sweet fruit. This tea was quite the treat, really quite delicious with an excellent personality (teas totally have those, I swear) that captured the essence of autumn!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/shang-tea-autumn-red-tea-review.html

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Well my dear friends, I finally did it! I solo tamed a Quetzal, in theory the hardest of the creatures (other than the Giga, but that is a whole different magnitude of silly) in Ark to tame solo. It is one of the reasons why I just traded for my first Quetzal because it was nightmarish. Having a Quetzal makes taming another Quetzal incredibly easy, you just build a 3×3 platform on the saddle, make a set of walls every other section and carry around ceilings, then you fly your Quetzal under the wild one essentially trapping it, jump onto the platform and add the ceilings, then load that thing up with tranq darts! An unmounted Quetzal will just hover meaning your current tame won’t fall to the ground making it a sitting duck for every predator in the area. Since its torpor drops fairly fast (11 minutes compared to the Rex I tamed yesterday’s hour and a half) you need to be mindful of it rather than watching the surroundings, so being up in the air makes it a piece of cake. Assuming you don’t get knocked off the Quetzal and lose all your gear like I did the first time I tried this trick!

Recently I had a teamergency, aka I ran out of Yunnan hong cha, this caused a panic and an immediate order from Yunnan Sourcing was placed. In the past I used their main site, but this time (what with it being an emergecy) I went with their US site for the lightning fast shipping, one of the teas I got was Wu Liang Hong Mao Feng Yunnan Black Tea Spring 2015, which is what I am looking at today. So, what is the deal with this tea other than it is fuzzy, golden, from Yunnan, and probably an instant favorite? Well, it is grown high in the Wu Liang Mountains of Simao, it is given a special processing making it unique from other Dian Hongs that Yunnan Sourcing offers, and since I consider myself a bit of a hong cha aficionado, let us find out! First off is the ever important vigorous leaf sniffing with hopes that I do not end up inhaling any. The aroma is, well, the aroma can best be described as oomph, a nice noseful of decadent yum. Notes of malt and chocolate blend with sweet potatoes, roasted peanuts, plums, and a distinct note of sweet dried tomatoes that is at one point odd and another insanely delicious. It takes a note I usually associate with savory and twists it to sweet, man this tea smells really good.

I decided to brew this fuzzy lovely in my red rice pattern set, because it is a red tea so thematically appropriate! The aroma of the now soggy leaves is very malty and sweet, notes of molasses, strong chocolate (not cocoa, straight up chocolate!) and pepper blend for a really yummy smelling tea. The aroma of the liquid borders on milky, like chocolate milk with molasses and malt…it kinda reminds me of the cake batter for the Triple Chocolate After Battle Cake I make for Ben, it is decadent and all kinds of sweet. There are a touch of woody and peppery notes and a slight hint of distant fruity as well.

Ok clearly someone is trolling me with this tea, it is too sweet to be real. Seriously smooth with sweet notes of molasses and brown sugar at the start, this moves to rich chocolate (not quite milk but not quite really dark) and black pepper. This then moves to a strong raw honey and a delightful juicy plummy finish that lingers well into the aftertaste.

I wasted no time at all delving into the second steep, the aroma of the liquid is wonderfully sweet, but with an extra heavy malty note making it seem richer somehow…did not know that was possible. The taste, well, I am glad I cannot actually melt from yummy tastes because I would need a new chair after drinking this tea. It starts rich, it middles rich, it ends rich, the mouthfeel is thick which makes it seem even richer. The major note in this tea that lasts through the entire sipping experience is chocolate, sweet and rich, along side that is a strong note of brown sugar at the front and a finish of yams and black pepper. Now when I say pepper I do not mean it has its heat, just the taste, making it quite excellent. The aftertaste has that same plummy note as the first steep, but with added honey.

So. Much.Chocolate! Seriously! The aroma is like smelling chocolate cake batter with strong molasses, this steep also has a bit of yams, it is not as rich as the previous steep but it sweeter which is impressive. The taste is much like the previous steep, but not as rich, it is still strong in the chocolate and malt department but with strong notes of yams and peanuts. This tea is a wonderful red, it has become one of my favorites, especially in the evening. Usually for my morning reds I prefer ones that have a little more potency and less sweetness, but for once I am more awake and have a better head for subtleties in richness this is perfect. I regret only getting 50 grams!

For blogs and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/yunnan-sourcing-wu-liang-hong-mao-feng.html


Gahhh!! You just sent me scrambling to my cart to add this! I love your blog. :)

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An epic thing happened in the world of Ark today, I tamed a Rex! Ok, I have tamed several Rexes, but they have all been low level, that changed today. See now that I have things in the tribe (poor lonely me, all my friends are away or too busy with other games) really established my goal is to switch to high level dinos to maximize efficiency, because if I am playing a game this grindy I want to be efficient! So smash cut to Carno Island, one of the most dangerous spots on the map, where I am happily standing over an unconscious level 108 Rex, when she woke up she was level 150, meaning she will max level at 209, so much epic! I named her after Queen song Death on Two Legs, because all my Rexes are glam music references.

Today I am taking a look at a tea I got in the mail just today! From Broken Arrow Tea Company, their Blend No 1, a blend of Chamomile, Rose Petals, Peppermint, Lemongrass, and Orange Peel, and I found myself in the mood for a nice relaxing herbal blend, springtime brings that out in me! The aroma is super potent in the mint, very crisp and with underlying sweetness that only mint can offer. After this initial minty blast I get notes of orange and lemon, and subtle pollen and wildflower notes of chamomile at the finish.

The aroma of the flowery blend is strong in the lemongrass and chamomile, giving it a pollen and apple note with undertones of rose and subtle mint note. I was surprised (and a little relieved) that the mint calmed down, now don’t get me wrong, I do like my strong minty teas, but usually I like to be able to smell the other ingredients as well. The liquid is minty and citrusy sweet, with notes of lemongrass and orange blending sweetly with rose and chamomile. It is not super strong, pleasantly delicate.

Tasting time! I redid my teadesk and in the process found my glass mug which had been missing for months…yeah I have way too much teaware. First thing I notice is it is pleasantly mild, the mint is cooling and crisp (and very good for my poor allergy suffering respiratory tract) and the chamomile is mellow with a great pollen note. The middle is sweet lemongrass and orange with a finish of very gentle rose. There is nothing about this blend that sticks out as super potent or really unusual (unlike some of the herbal blends I get my hands on) it is pleasant and it perfectly hits the spot for me this evening. I do wish the rose was a bit stronger, but that is pretty much a given with me and all blends that have rose!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-broken-arrow-tea-company-blend-no-1.html

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I did it! I successfully bred a Pteranodon! Breeding in Ark, especially the carnivores, is stupidly hard. You first have to make sure the egg is incubated properly (because Ark creatures are very much so still with the Victorian idea of maternal dinosaurs rather than more recent thoughts) and then as soon as it hatches/is born you have to feed it by hand until it reaches juvenile stage (10% of its maturity) which can take hours! Really the first hour is the toughest because they are very fragile, they can only handle a small amount of food weight and have no health, so a few minutes missed feeding means dead dinosaur. As they mature they can hold more food so it means you can do other things, like making sure you have at least two food troughs filled with meat, babies are tough! Since I was successful I am doing it again, thinking of starting a high level Pteranodon trade to make up for the price I paid for the Quetzal!

Today I am taking a look at Grey’s Tea Jin Shan Shi Yu China Green Tea, a green from one of my favorite tea producing regions of China, Anhui! Truly the green teas that come from Anhui are among my favorites, so I was pleased when I had the chance to try one I had not tried yet. The name translates to Golden Mountain Timely Rain, named for where it is grown and the time of year it is picked, at the spring rains. The aroma of the adorable curly leaves is crisp and green, with notes of broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, and sesame seeds. It is however, very faint, I definitely had to work to pick these notes up, only really noticing them after I placed them in a warm gaiwan.

Brewing the tea did not give much in the way of aroma, savory notes of asparagus and bell pepper with a hint of mineral, it is very faint. The same can be said of the liquid, super delicate and not very much there, just faint vegetal notes and a bit of a buttery one.

I could not get this tea to really work for me, I tried it first in my gaiwan with the usual parameters I use for greens, 175 degrees with a 30-60-90 second steeping and nothing really ever came of it. It was like drinking vaguely salty buttery asparagus water. The mouthfeel was excellent though, so that at least was a plus. Not wanting to give up I tried a session with 190 degree water at 10-15-30 and still nothing.

Thinking to myself that maybe this is one of those greens that is best steeping bowl style I tried that next and while the taste was a bit stronger it was still immensely weak. I think I know why too, see some Chinese green teas can stay viable for quite a while, I have a Dragonwell from last year’s harvest that still tastes like it did when I first got it, however many of them don’t last quite so long, the biggest example that I have run into of that is definitely Bi Luo Chun, which seems to become a fluffy pile of nothing after about six months. In fact I was drinking some of last year’s Tian Mu Qing Ding this morning and while it is still tasty, the flavor is starting to fade and I am not sure it will last much longer. I believe since this is mostly from last year’s harvest it has given up the ghost, you can taste hints of what was there once and I believe it would have been delicious. Clearly I must seek this tea out come the spring harvest and see if my predictions are correct.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/greys-tea-jin-shan-shi-yu-china-green.html


I’m really looking forward to spring Chinese and Japanese green teas! I want pre-order NOW. Must stay patient.


I should not buy a new computer just to play the dinosaur game. Right?

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In the world of Ark, I am very happy. Days of attempting to solo tame a Quetzal…probably one of the hardest to tame solo…and many fails, I finally realized it was not worth it, so I switched gears to massive resource gathering because I decided to trade for one. 2,000 metal ingots, 700 cementing paste and 400 obsidian later I ended up with a beautiful level 52 Quetzal with a platform saddle (I’m not even high enough level to make that yet) who is female so extra benefit of eggs. This is going to make things sooo much easier, even taming another Quetzal! On top of that I decided to dabble in breeding, using my perfect tame Pteranodon and my decently leveled other Pteranodon and ended up with a level 155 baby..aka a meat vacuum, because Ark babies are stupid hard.

This tea is all sorts of weird, mainly because I cannot seem to find anything out about it, no matter where I look. Granted this could be a fault in my searching, maybe I just don’t know the right terms, or maybe this is some sort of mysterious tea from the world of dragons. Looking at Red Leaf Tea’s Golden Dragon Feelers, a green tea that looks like it was run through a 90s era hair crimper. It is named such because it is thought they look like dragon whiskers, and they certainly are super cute. On close inspection, it really looks more like a white tea then a green, but considering I cannot find these anywhere in the blagosphere, I have to take the vendor’s word for it. The aroma is fascinating, it smells like yeasty biscuit dough, and a little like sourdough, with undertones of cooked sweet peas, but mostly it is all dough all the time. Honestly that is not at all what I was expecting from this light, fuzzy tea.

Brewing this tea brings out notes of yeasty dough, along with pepper, lima beans, and a touch of hops, it smells more like food than tea, it is very starchy and more on the savory side than sweet. The liquid is very light, distant notes of lima beans and honey blend with biscuits, I almost dipped my nose in the water in trying to pick up notes, but there is really not much going on.

The first steep is very light, in both taste and texture, it has a honey sweetness and a gentle mineral note that reminds me of drinking rain water. Underneath the honey notes is a lingering yeast quality that adds to the sweetness but also has a touch of sourdough. At the finish there is honey and lots of fuzzies, that is pretty much the extent of the mouthfeel other than warm and wet.

For the second steep, the aroma is mostly biscuits and honey, reminds me of growing up in the south, especially with the side note of lima beans. This steep has a little more going on, though it is still very light, and the mouthfeel is very light as well. Strong notes of raw honey and pollen with an accompaniment of biscuits and pie crust and a finish of lima beans. This tea is very starchy and has a sweet aftertaste. Not very nuanced but it is still tasty.

Third steep has the aroma of honey and biscuits, it has the taste of honey and biscuits. It is very light and is pretty much finished at this point.This tea is pretty but really kinda boring, I wish I knew more about it, but this tea is a mystery.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/red-leaf-tea-golden-dragon-feelers-tbt.html


We’re working on a Quetzl soon too! We only have two people, but that does really help. Also, good luck on that baby, haha, we couldn’t keep up with our first carno baby, but apparently they are going to Nerf the difficulty a little once breeding phase 2 is released.

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So I am finally getting around to getting the mouthpiece and valve oil for my thrift store French Horn, took me long enough, and I find myself in a bit of a pickle. A lot has changed in the world since I played my little heart out 15 years ago, mainly I have no idea where to find sheet music…or really how to read music (I gotta start over from scratch, I hope the knowledge comes back quickly) so that is going to be a fun search. I definitely think one of the things I will look for is the Jurassic Park theme, that piece is wonderful for the horn and was a favorite of mine years ago…well that and Bolero!

Today is a lazy day, meaning I lack the brain power to write about a tea with many many steeps, instead I want something relaxing…so I turn to an old classic relaxation tea, a Hojicha! Looking at Yunomi’s Ocharaka’s Hojicha Mint Chocolate Flavored Roasted Green Tea, a blend of Hojicha , black tea, peppermint, cornflowers, flavoring, and my favorite part…silver sparkles! Edible ones of course. The aroma of this tea is like a piece of toast with chocolate sauce and a very distant mint. Like chocolate mints for someone who wants more chocolate than mint and I am totally ok with that!

I was gifted this tea from a tea friend and thought it was just chocolate hojicha, so it was quite the surprise when it had mint and the silver sparkles, it was kinda epic steeping it and seeing the sparkle. The aroma of toasty chocolate (reminds me of the smell of the edge of a pan of brownies, actually) with gentle cooling mint notes as an afterthought. The liquid is pretty balanced with chocolate and mint with a finish of roasty toasty notes that are quite pleasant, like blending autumn warmth and the crispness of winter.

I found myself really torn, was this a winter tea or an autumn tea? On the one hand the gentle sweet mint and chocolate remind me of winter, with cooling mint notes and my favorite holiday indulgence (so many chocolate mints get devoured that time of year.) On the other hand the notes of pine sap, burning autumn leaves, and woody leaf notes remind me of autumn. This tea is a perfect relaxing cup of sweetness that feels like a warm blanket and afternoon naps, which is something I was much in need of.

for photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/yunomi-ocharaka-hojicha-mint-chocolate.html

Liquid Proust

Hopefully it didn’t stale out any over time. It is quite a unique tea.


Didn’t seem at all stale, still fresh and delightfully mellow. I hope the various Ocharaka teas come back in stock, I want to try the pumpkin one

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Recently I was contacted by Ghograjan Tea Estate to review some of their teas on my blog, and I thought to myself, who do I know that is all about Assam blacks, Earl Greys, and Masala Chai? Duh, Ben, so I pulled him in to do a guest post with me covering these three teas (he shall be voiced by italics for the duration.) What makes Ghograjan Tea Estate fancy is their Farm2Cup model, having just opened a retail branch in the US, they are trying to bypass the middleman and have consumers buy straight from the estate. This is actually pretty darn cool, even us fancy tea bloggers usually have to go through a source most the time. Without further ado, here is Ben’s intro: It is late winter. The air grows warmer, new life stirs within th- okay, no. What Amanda calls “warm and clement weather,” I call a lack of compelling imagery. (It is not my fault I wrote about the weather just yesterday and soiled your flowery prose!) But still! I, the Tea Barbarian, have come forth to review an Earl Grey, in accordance with tradition. You can tell it’s a tradition, because it has now happened twice. VERY traditional. The first thing I noticed about this Earl Grey is that it’s actually three teas, only one of which is an Earl Grey at all. Amanda is sneaky like that, always twisting these sacred traditions which I in no way am making up as I go along. The other two teas are a straight-up Assam and a Masala Chai, so we’ll talk about them first.

Or try to. Sadly, I only have so much to say. We brewed these teas according to their instructions:1.5-2 minutes. The result was very mild for a black tea, and I tried again with a longer steep. That worked better, but for both brews of all three teas, it was less robust than I tend to expect. That wasn’t much of a problem for the Chai (which does have a very nice mix of spices, with a lot of cardamon), but the straight Assam suffered for it. Assams in general have a mix of woody flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and for this one I got a lot less “primary” flavor than aftertaste.

I have to say, trying the Assam Golden Tips I do not disagree with him, it has a pleasant aroma and taste, but nothing really to make me go ‘whoa’ about. Notes of oak and malt blended with a touch of a zingy citrus note are the main flavor notes here, but I found myself wanting more depth, it is one of the things I love in an Assam, briskness without harshness, boldness without bitterness, it can take milk and sugar or stand on its own. But before I sit here and say meh to this tea I want to point out the price, $8 for 3.5oz of tea…wow…that is a lot of tea for a killer good price! So then I thought to myself ‘who is this tea for?’ and I thought possibly for people like my grandmother, casual tea drinkers who have to have black tea every morning and possibly with lunch too, people who want quality tea but who do not necessarily have the same level of obsession as me, so nothing wrong with that!

Which brings us to the Earl. I was concerned about this tea from the moment I smelled it. A good Earl Grey always seems to be too strong at the outset; there’s a reason I always joke that you can tell quality if people couch after a sniff. This was very light, with a promising mix of tea and citrus scents almost wasted by its faintness. The tea itself wasn’t nearly as faint as I’d feared, but it didn’t quite gel, either. The richness of the Assam was hidden by the bergamot, which itself had to contend with the black tea’s underlying bitterness. It’s sad to say this in my second-ever feature on this blog (that is going to change, you are getting more features), but I can’t recommend this tea the way I did the last one.

Oh Earl Grey, one of my first loves, named Vintage Earl Grey for using legit Bergamot oil instead of lemon (which is a crime, using lemon makes it a Knight at the most, no Earl to be seen) and I should point out, Ben and I like very different things in our Earls. I like mine mellow on the Bergamot and heavy on the richness, unlike Ben who wants to be pelted in the face with citrus. This tea was pretty mild on both accounts, except it had this strange soapiness that I could not shake in the aftertaste, this happens sometimes with teas blended with oils, and I will be honest it seems totally random when it decides to bug me. Sometimes I can have an oil blended tea and I get no soapy taste, but I can have the same tea a few days later and it is soapy, just proof on how tastes can change day to day. I will say this Earl had a great midtaste. malty and sweet with a hint of citrus zinginess, it came off as bright and invigorating.

Ben wandered off with my bag of Royal Masala Chai, wandered off and forgot to write the feature for me, though I did get out of him that he liked it…so much that he whipped up a thing of curry and a pot of the stuff to accompany it…ladies and gentlemen, the only person who can beat me in a Chai drinking contest!

No surprise this one was both our favorites, it had the right balance of spices and richness and won serious points in my book for being heavy on the cardamon and not overpowering on cinnamon. A frustrating thing here in the States, our Masala Chais tend to be loaded with cinnamon and all sorts of other spices making it taste more like pie then the wonderful Masala blend I prefer, so when I get one that focuses on cardamon and ginger it makes me happy.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/ghograjan-tea-estate-assam-golden-tips.html

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What does one do at 2 AM when the wind brings the promise of spring through open windows? One drinks tea, plays video games, and feels the slow charge of inspiration return. This winter was warmer than any I have experienced since I moved from the South as a teenager, but oddly with the warmth and clement weather it was also the most glum I have been in years. I suffer wicked seasonal depression, but it manifests not as sadness but as a complete void of inspiration. I can barely write, painting and artsy endeavors is a no-go, it is like I go into dormancy (proving that maybe I am in fact just a sentient house plant) and only spring really wakes me up. I am sad that winter was sooo boring this year (and not just because the climate implications) but look forward to upcoming storm season. In fact we might get storms later today!

It is funny, with the promise of spring comes the reports from tea gardens about the first flushes starting to arrive, and here I am drinking Darjeeling Sungma Muscatel Second Flush from Grey’s Tea. It is the first second flush I have had in a while and that is dumb because their rich notes are a perfect accompaniment to colder weather, especially autumn, since usually their taste profile reminds me of that time of year. The aroma of the leaves do not disappoint, it blends notes of the expected raisins (to me the big difference between first and second flush is definitely grapes vs raisins) with underlying notes of tobacco, malt, and a nice robust autumn leaf pile finish that blends really well with the heavy sweetness of the raisins.

Into my magical steeping apparatus (aka the double boiler bottom) the leaves go for their bath. The aroma of the soggy leaves is very sweet, strong notes of raisins blend with molasses and cocoa and a touch of distant spice and underlying notes of bark and leaves. The liquid is mild in comparison to the intensity of the wet leaves, with notes of very sweet raisins and molasses and underlying notes of spice and bark.

The taste is pretty excellent, everything I want out of a second flush! It starts with a mild briskness and gentle sweetness of honey and raisins, then the notes of autumn leaves and distant spice (it is a cross between allspice and nutmeg) build in strength. They then fade to a finish of molasses and gentle woody notes, with a lingering sweet aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a touch dry at the start but finishes smooth and bright. A delicious tea for a bit of late night sipping.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/03/greys-tea-darjeeling-sungma-muscatel.html

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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, have teal hair, 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


Kansas City, MO



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