889 Tasting Notes

reviewed The Tea Book by Tea Books
889 tasting notes

Book time! I have been voraciously reading, it is the time of year where I go deep into the books and tend not to come out again until spring. Today’s book is The Tea Book by Linda Gaylard and by one of my favorite publishers, DK. See, DK has a tendency to publish really pretty books, their book on Gemstones is still a classic favorite, but this is about tea and not rocks. From the moment I cracked open the book I was impressed with the visuals, it is beautiful!

But looks alone do not make a book (unless it was a photo book, of course) so how is the substance? First off I will say, I think I found THE perfect book for people new to tea and with a voracious appetite for knowledge. This covers so many of the basics, but instead of stopping there it delves deep into various cultures, history, and regions. I was pleased to see coverage on Korean tea and their tea culture, along with Vietnam and Kenya, and not just the typical China, Japan, India, and Sri Lanka.

There is a large section on recipes, but it is not the more trendy cooking with teas but different drinks using tea. Frankly most of them look so delicious, I plan on breaking a few of them out for events when I have to serve tea to a bunch of people. So many delicious looking recipes, plus a method for making popping spheres meaning an upgrade to bubble teas.

Along with lots of juicy information about tea and recipes, there is a section on herbal teas/tisanes. I had mixed feelings on this, on the one hand it was very valuable information (the wheel of healing was my favorite) and herbal teas are definitely a big part of the tea world, but on the other hand this is space that could have been filled with more info about tea!

At times I wish this book would have delved deeper into various topics, mostly because I really enjoy Linda’s writing style (I have been following her blog for a while, good reading there!) and would have loved to have seen more of it combined with DK’s signature bombastic visuals. I find myself daydreaming about a book of this style devoted entirely to Yunnan’s tea culture or Vietnamese tea. Again, I really cannot stress how I think everyone interested in tea should buy this book, even though a lot of the information presented was a refresher for me, I loved reading it because it is so well written and enjoyable.

blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-tea-book-linda-gaylard-tea-book.html

Nicole

sounds like a good choice

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Another day, another day of me frolicking with dinosaurs in pixel land! Today was better than yesterday, I was able to redo my ‘Mobile Oppression Yacht" which is a boat with crazy ’Species X’ plants that are essentially turrets so I wreck the dinos getting lots of meat, and I tamed a little derpy Dimorphodon to ride on my shoulder. Yesterday would have been the most epic, except for my massive ‘hitting the wrong button and ruining everything fail’ that I am STILL salty over. I was well into taming a Spinosaur, a very resource intensive process, hit the wrong button and wasted all that time and resources by ruining the tame. There was some serious raging after that!! I also spent a good chunk of today trying to hunt down and tame an Argentavis with no luck, but soon I will be the queen of the skies…and swamp if I get another go at a Spino! Life in Ark is full of hardship and joy.

Today we are looking at a tea that reminds me of prehistoric fuzzy pine cones or maybe little catkins, yes it is the beloved Wild Pu’erh Buds (Ya Bao) this one comes from 3 Leaf Tea. This tea is made from the very young buds of trees from Yunnan in very early spring, way before they have the chance to open into tea leaves. I have seen a bit of debate among vendors and drinkers alike over whether or not this tea (like Moonlight and Yunnan Silver Needle) is a white tea or a puerh, and I like to think that this is just magic stuff that overlaps and joins both types of tea into something epic. I can see a valid case for either side of the debate so I have never been able to make a clear decision. The aroma of the little buds is very crisp and light, this is one of those teas that smells very pure (not saying that others smell unclean, but it is like comparing the clean smell of the air after snowfall and the smell after a spring rain) There is not a lot going on with the aroma, crisp cedar, gentle apricots, and a touch of lettuce. The comparison to a snowy day’s aroma is not entirely false, this type of tea has such a winter deep in a forest quality to me, even with the sweet notes of apricot.

Gaiwan time, for no reason other than feeling like using this set I went with my Ru Yao, though I can say with the perfectly clear liquid, my camera had a fun time trying to focus thanks to all the crackles! The aroma of the wet leaves is fairly faint and quite sweet, blending fresh apricot and clover honey with lettuce and cedar. I do love that cedar note, it has a slight sap like quality to it as well. The liquid is sweet and juicy, like a honey drizzled fresh apricot, eaten on a cold day in a cedar forest.

The first steep is as light as the aroma, it is one of the really endearing qualities of Ya Bao, it is a subtle tea. It is smooth in the mouth and starts a bit crisp with notes of cedar wood and lettuce. This moves to wonderful light sweetness like fresh apricot and very light honey. The end of the sipping is crisp and refreshing cooked celery with a little bit of a cedar sap aftertaste.

Second steep and the aroma has gained a bit of a wildflower note, perhaps this tea that is so synonymous with winter is now fading into spring? Nah, it was a false thaw. The taste has the same wonderful crisp cedar notes and sweet fruitiness, but it starts to pick up a cucumber and squash blossom quality at the finish. The aftertaste lingers and at the very end it fades into apricot which is pleasant.

For the third steep nothing really has changed in aroma or taste. I find that Ya Bao does really change in taste notes, but only in intensity. This steep is more mellow, more similar to the first, and the next steep after as well. One of my favorite ways to steep Ya Bao is to grandpa/bowl steep the tea after the first two steepings, I will just transfer the little buds into a bowl or sip them from my gaiwan, it never gets bitter and only ever gets sweeter.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/02/3-leaf-tea-wild-puerh-buds-ya-bao-tea.html

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You know what I need, a new Paleontology themed book, my pocket guide to dinosaurs (in case of time travel emergency) is super out-dated. This of course makes me think of the ways that Ark veers away from current accepted theories, like the way the Beezlebufo is ridable. And has become my favorite mode of transportation. Granted the Beezlebufo was a monstrously big prehistoric froggy, though it sadly was not quite as big as in the game, sadly. I wish it were that big…and still alive…and ridable, because I would definitely use the giant frog as a my way of going everywhere. Not that I really ever leave the house, but still!

Today is the last of my sample pile from Xin Mu Cha, their Taiwan Premium Aged Ginger and Brown Sugar Tea, alas not in their store yet. This is a medicinal tea that is made from aged ginger and brown sugar, though apparently this is drink is commonly made with Chinese brown sugar which tastes different from western stuff. Theoretically this tea is used medicinally to treat PMS symptoms and since it is ginger, belly woes. I consume a lot of ginger to help with my chronic vertigo induced nausea, so I am always pleased to try it in a new way. The aroma of the granular powder is a powerful punch of ginger and sweetness, it very strongly reminds me of the gummy ginger candies I get at the local Chinese market (I call them my car sick treat since I always have since I always keep them in the car) though apparently my brand of choice is actually from Indonesia. It is super sweet and very warming, but I absolutely adore ginger.

Blending the powder with water and giving it a stir gives me a rich amber color liquid and fills the room with sweet ginger aroma. Man, this stuff was awesome, a really potent ginger mixed with a wonderful warm and rich sweetness. It tastes exactly like the ginger candies I love, but if you are not familiar it is somewhat like gingerbeer but not cold and certainly not fizzy. I was sent three packets of this and I tore through it super quickly, it was really easy to make (hot water and stir, done) which made for an excellent late night sweet treat for pre-sleep laziness. The only thing I can say is avoid like the plague if you dislike strong ginger, but if you like it definitely get some, it is super sweet and rich and I loved it. I WANT MORE!!!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/xin-mu-cha-taiwan-premium-aged-ginger.html

Zennenn

I think this is my long lost ginger tea! I had this incredibly rich sweet ginger tea in a restaurant once and asked the server how it was made. She looked at me like I was nuts and said it was just ginger and sugar. But I knew better! I had never had ginger tea with that depth of flavor before. What if this is it?? Must look into membership.

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Now that I have a Carno in Ark, I find myself contemplating my next dinosaur goals. On the one hand Rexes are a classic favorite (I slept with a humongous plastic T-Rex as a kid) and have a ton of health and stamina, but on the other they are made of fail in water. Spinos are like the all rounders, great on land and water but a little weaker, but they are everywhere around our base and slightly easier to tame. In a game as resource management intensive as Ark, having a slightly lower drain on resources is a win. Now, if you are wondering why a Carnotaurus is not enough of a hunting beast, I tried taking down a Paraceratherium with him (his name is Pimento if you were curious) and we both almost died, where a Spino or Rex can take down pretty much everything by a Gigantasuarus or one of the big horrifying sea monsters and some of the soon to be added in dinos. If you are wondering why I just don’t get a Gigantasaurus, they are stupid rare and hard to get…so maybe one day.

Contrary to popular (and by popular I just mean all the signs at the Charleston Tea Estate) there are several tea farms around the United States, and Hawaii is very well known for its rich volcanic soil creating some epic tea. Problem is this tea is rather niche and fairly hard to get, since a lot of it gets sold to tourists and it is not cheap, but luckily I have tea friends that get access to some cool stuff and they like to share. Smash cut to Second Alarm Farm, a tea farm who grows both tea and coffee in Pahoa, Hawaii, from what I gather they are currently distributing their teas to local shops, but they are in the works with Tealet so we might see them soon. The leaves are massive and fluffy, they look like they were picked and dried off the tea plant yesterday, I am so amused by fluffy leaves. The aroma of these leaves are the most ‘tea’ I have ever sniffed, it is like taking a leaf from my tea plant and letting it dry and then sniffing it. It is pure leafy green and slightly sharp vegetation, it smells like spring time and a tea farm. Not incredibly nuanced, but if you want to sniff a tea that clearly smells like a fresh from the plant leaf, this is as close as you can get without visiting a farm or owning a tea plant.

I decided to brew this one in my gaiwan, because why not? The aroma of the now soggy leaves is very green and very fresh, still strongly resembles freshly plucked and dried tea leaves, but with an underlying honey sweetness and a touch of very distant pine needles. The liquid is fresh and crisp, with notes of lettuce and bell pepper and an underlying sweet buttery note.

The first steeping is light in both taste and mouthfeel, it reminds me of licking rain water off a large plant leaf. The taste is a blend of sweet and vegetal, very light acacia honey mixed with sharp fresh bell peppers, fresh cabbage, and crisp broken vegetation. It is immensely refreshing and very organic tasting, I feel as though I am tasting the tea at a very pure state.

Second steeping brings a slightly stronger aroma, still primarily lettuce and bell pepper, but also a hint of cabbage and broken leaves. The taste again reminds me of rainwater and growing things, with an addition of bell peppers and cabbage, the finish is light and sweet with a lingering mineral aftertaste.

For the final steep, the lightness of this tea dominates, the aroma is mostly notes of distant bell pepper and a touch of broken leaves. The taste is rain water and gentle crushed leaves, it tastes like summer storms and I find that very refreshing, even if the taste is a bit lacking.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/second-alarm-farm-hawaiian-green-tea.html

Nicole

I would not do well at that game, though I likely will try it. I don’t have patience for strategies of pets, I just get the shiny ones. :)

TeaNecromancer

That is how I was at first, until I realized that a lot of the bigger tribes were doing the same and getting like 8 rexes and stuff which take a lot of meat which mean slimmer pickings for me, so now I am trying (and failing mostly) at not getting a hoard of dinos, hehe, just a small group

Daylon R Thomas

I miss the tea that I got when I lived in Hawaii. The most recent one I had was some Sencha and it was just as good as I remembered it. I’d have to try them again to see if it’s just nostalgia. Here’s the link if your curious: http://shop.thepacificplace.com/

TeaNecromancer

Ooh thanks for the link!

Daylon R Thomas

The Rainbow Hawaii was my childhood favorite.

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Yep, I am still marathoning Ark: Survival Evolved, my obsessive tendencies and a game that is so much fun is just a wonderful combination, but I do occasionally do other things. Like just last I finally talked Ben into watching Beetlejuice, see he is not a huge Tim Burton fan having not grown up with him and lacking the nostalgia and also coming into his oeuvre once it has (at least in my opinion) gone really stale, so he was not really interested in it. This movie was a favorite of mine as a kid, so I was glad I was able to convince him, and it turns out he liked it. Certainly made me nostalgic for days when his style was more unique and not so saturated in itself!

But I am not a movie reviewer, my specialty is why you are all here, usually nerdy intro paragraph aside. Today is an herbal tea from Xin Mu Cha, not yet on their website, it is Premium Fried Black Bean Tea, yes this is another one of those roasted grain teas that are very popular in Asia, and with good reason they taste amazing. Giving this a bit of a look up since it was new to me, I found out it is usually made from Kuromame or black soy beans and is touted as a weight loss aide, but considering I would prefer to gain weight perhaps I will just look at this for its taste like I usually do with teas. These arrived in a teabag but I preferred to brew them in a steeping basket, so out of their little bag they came for a good sniffing. The aroma is super roasted, strong notes of soy beans, burnt beans, and a tiny bit like coffee beans. It is a blend of savory and sweet and even though it smells a little bit like pinto beans left on the stove and burnt a bit, the aroma is mouthwatering, but I really like eating beans.

Into my cup of hot water the basket goes, since this tea is popular in Japan among other places I decided to use my bamboo steeping basket and Somayaki cup, because I can be thematic once in a while! The steeped beans smell, well, like beans, with a toasted coffee and burnt undertone and a subtle sweetness. The liquid is much the same, it is beans all the way down with this brew.

This is an odd thing, but odd in a very pleasant way! The roasting of the beans brings out a sweetness that reminds me a bit of adzuki beans, but with a powerful roasted undertone. It goes from this initial sweet to a richer nuttier roast, again reminding me a bit of coffee’s smell but not its taste. The aftertaste on this brew is very rich, nutty and sweet with a hint of pinto beans that lingers for a while. I really enjoyed this stuff and foresee myself either buying more or roasting my own, there is something just so incredibly comforting about roasted grains on a cold night before sleep/

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/xin-mu-cha-premium-fried-black-bean-tea.html

Daylon R Thomas

They sell that in cans at local “Oriental Marts” and I’ve been tempted to try it. Those probably aren’t as good, but probably not bad. And I miss good Tim Burton. The only reason why I’d see Alice if for Alan Rickman now.

Lion

The bean tea sounds good. I wonder if they have that at any local Asian markets. I’m curious to try it. I’ve found corn and barley tea, but never looked for beans.

I also did not see Beetlejuice as a kid, nor a lot of Tim Burton things. I watched some of them as an adult. Beetlejuice was one that I definitely felt like a fish out of water watching, lacking the nostalgia factor. I felt the same way about Nightmare Before Christmas. On the other hand, I really liked Edward Scissorhands. I am always finding out that Tim Burton is responsible for movies I didn’t know he was (like Beetlejuice). It may excite you, or make you nervous, to know that a sequel to Beetlejuice has been announced.

TeaNecromancer

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they sold this at 888, or at the least the beans to roast. I actually prefer his older stuff like Mars Attacks and Beetlejuice, I used to love Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands but got soooo burned out on them (perks? of being a goth kid in high-school I guess)

I had seen there was going to be a sequel and just rolled my eyes, nothing more timely then an almost 30 year sequel! Though if it is as bad as his Dark Shadows remake at least it will be hilarious to mock

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You know, Ark: Survival Evolved is definitely the kinda game that is geared towards people with no lives, especially when you look at the taming mechanic. Currently I am taming a Carnotaurus, after more or less giving up on ever finding one I just took my raptor (named Diego from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, because he can turn into a raptor) out hunting and lo and behold, Carno time! So after shooting it full of tranq arrows and loading it with meat and narcotics I sit and wait and make sure nothing tries to eat it or me…for two and a half hours. True there are quicker tames, like using kibble, but I lacked the proper amount of Anklyo eggs, so I play the long game. This game makes me feel like I am accomplishing something with my life and this pleases me.

Today we are looking at one of Adagio Tea’s custom blends, designed by yours truly, because my love of Minecraft is endless and I wanted teas to match my obsession. This one is the Charged Creeper, basically you take a Creeper and strike it with lightning and what you get is a glowing blue super charged explosion. It is a blend of Gunpowder Green (for the explosion of course) Houjicha (because they are said to feel crunchy like autumn leaves) Green Chai (for the spicy extra explosion) and to evoke the blue glow some Blueberries and Cornflowers. The aroma of this blend is very sweet and toasty, the Houjicha mixed with chai spices gives a real warmth and toasted marshmallow quality, while the sweet notes of blueberries linger underneath. At the very end there is a touch of orange and very gentle smoke.

The aroma of the brewed leaves and berries is still pretty toasty and sweet, again reminding me of marshmallows with a touch of smoke and a slight vegetal undertone. Really strong Houjicha notes, the addition of blueberry vaguely reminds me of pie. The liquid once freed from the leafy embrace is pretty similar, strong notes of toasted marshmallow and blueberries.

Tasting this tea, it is pretty roasty toasty and a bit smoky! It starts with marshmallow sweetness and toasted grain and then moves on to smoke and gentle vegetal notes, it is a pretty mellow tea. Around the midpoint notes of gentle spice and oranges show up and at the finish is a nice juicy burst of blueberry. I think the most fun I had with this tea was the color, it is so purple and dark, not quite the color I envisioned for a Charged Creeper, and the green notes from the other teas really don’t show through much, but the mix of toast and blueberries is quite tasty.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/adagio-teas-minecraft-charged-creeper.html

OMGsrsly

Honestly it sounds like an awesome game. I am so easily distracted though – do you really have to sit there and just watch things for 2.5 hours or can you wander off and putter?

TeaNecromancer

It is probably the most fun I have had in a game in a while, true I love the building of Minecraft, but with Ark it is intense! Just today I was trying to corner a Spinosaur for taming and it ate me!

I can wander around some, I gather rescources in the area and hunt locally, I try to drop them close to the little encampment I have with the other members of my tribe but sometimes that doesn’t really work. If I get them into the taming pen or close by I can do stuff there…the big risk is something eating them, another player from a different tribe killing it (we are on PVE so this is the only time a fellow player could kill it since until it is totally tame it is considered fair game) or I miss up and don’t give it enough narcotics and it wakes up running away with all my meat! Luckily the bigger the animal the larger its time being knocked out is so I can wander farther.

OMGsrsly

Hmmm. Interesting. :) It’s totally on my wishlist.

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I had the wonkiest dream last night, it combined my current obsessions of Magic The Gathering and Ark: Survival Evolved with crazy apocalypse stuff most likely caused by my brushing up on the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event. It is always weird when the brain comes up with a crazy mish-mash of whatever you were thinking about before sleep and tries to make it into a story, most the time in the dream it makes perfect sense, but of course when you wake up it is so illogical and weird. And if anyone is curious about my Ark shenanigans for today, I’m planning on finding and taming a Carno, sure I could wait for an epic Rex or Spino, but the derpy arms and horns of the Carno kinda win so I need one to go hunting with my Pile ’o Dilos.

So, since it is Wednesday it is time to look at a tea from What-Cha, their India Bihar Doke Hand-Made ‘Rolling Thunder’ Oolong Tea is the lucky pick from my notes today. From the Doke Tea Garden in Bihar, the Lochan family once again is pushing the boundaries of tea in India, putting Bihar on the map as a tea region. The gentle curling leaves have a very sweet aroma, blending strong notes of plums, raisins and fresh grapes with a accompaniment of malt and dried tomato. The dried tomato note was a bit odd in concert with the other notes, but it is not an unpleasant oddness.

Into my steeping apparatus the leaves went for their nice little steeping session, I decided to go western style for this tea, because why not? I admit I primarily focus on gongfu so it is nice to switch things up a bit, keep me versatile. The aroma of the soggy steeped leaves is very fruity, blending tart slightly underripe plums, prunes, grapes, and raisins, the tartness is pretty fun, giving it a briskness. The liquid is very mild and sweet, blending grapes and prunes with a drizzling of honey, it has a richness to it that is not at all overpowering.

There is something about drinking tea from elegant or beautiful tea gear that makes it all the more wonderful, now I admit that my more recent collection of cups not all being pure white does skew the coloring of the tea a bit, but the beauty makes it worth it for me, and hopefully my dear readers don’t mind too much. The coloring matches the golden color of my cup perfectly, it looks like liquid sunlight. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth, pretty juicy with a bit of thickness, like warm fruit juice without the sticky. Tasting the tea, it is very sweet, mixing honey and plums with a gentle allspice note and a touch of raisins. Towards the end it gets a little dry and more heavily into the grape notes, reminding me a bit of spiced wine.

I did steep a second time, but a lot of the potency was lost, there is still mellow plum and grapes, but towards the end a note of dried tomato appears which was a bit surprising. The first steep really was quite enjoyable, the second steep was not at all bad, just diminished.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-cha-india-bihar-doke-hand-made.html

Dan Chevy

What would your brewing temp and amount of leaf did you use for the fruit notes?

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I am still very much so enjoying Ark: Survival Evolved, if anyone was curious. Currently I am taming an Ankylosaurus because they are quite utile little spike balls, and then I will be gathering chiton to make a saddle for my Pterandon. Ah, this game, it has re-awakened my never really asleep love of dinosaurs, and for that I am grateful! As a kid it was my dream to be a Paleontologist, it might have been my first aspiration before other history and science obsessions took over, I never stopped wanting to be one though. In fact a year or so ago I got an intro to Paleontology certification from the University of Alberta via Coursera, because it is never to late in life to at least dabble in past dreams!

Today is another offering from Xin Mu Cha, their Winter Essence – Taiwan Premium High Mountain Oolong, an Oolong from Fu Shou Shan, a mountain in the Lishan Range, and made from the Qing-Xing Cultivar. Opening the pouch for this tea is quite the treat, a real powerhouse aroma that instantly greeted my nose. Blending floral and sweet nutty notes, I detected honeysuckle, chestnuts, sesame seeds, sugar cane, and a sweet baked cake note that ended with wonderful sweetness. The only real floral note I got was honeysuckle, and I am totally ok with that because fun fact, it is one of my favorite flowers to sniff.

Gaiwan time, and wow, the leaves are much richer this time around, not only are there notes of honeysuckles, but it is joined with orchid and hyacinth. It smells much like nectar with a sweet sugar cane undertone and a hint of chestnuts. The liquid is buttery sweet nectar, it smells thick and rich with heady tones of honeysuckle, hyacinth, lilac and orchid. The name of this tea is Winter Essence, but it smells like the height of spring time.

The first steep kinda stole my heart, not through taste or aroma, but through the amazing mouthfeel. Smooth and supple, like liquid silk, it coats the mouth but is gentle with it. I honestly was so wrapped up in the mouthfeel I almost forgot to pay attention to how the tea tastes! I did, however finally pay attention, I was greeted with notes of sweet peas and sugar cane, apple pears and butter head lettuce, and the finish, well, it is a lingering mouthful of honeysuckle nectar.

Second steeping, and the aroma is very floral, strong notes of hyacinth and lilac blend with honeysuckles and a touch of spicy lilies. Along side this sweet floral nectar is a green blend of lettuce and fresh spinach, tying the green into the flowers. Again, the mouthfeel of this tea is the real show stealer, thick and supple, it really has quite the presence. The taste is very light, similar to the first steep but with a slightly greener and buttery tone to it.

Third steeping’s aroma is still floral, with the same flowers as before, but at the end it kinda explodes into orchid, it was one of those ‘did I just stick my nose in a flower’ moments, catching myself before I dipped my nose in the tea thankfully. That mouthfeel keeps blowing me away, it is so thick and silky, supple and bordering on oily, it is dense and I found myself wanting to take big gulps of it rather than sipping. The taste is still light and sweet, with a pretty even balance of green lettuce and sweet floral. I kept this tea going for nine steeps, the taste never really gets strong, but that mouthfeel was so intense I find myself relieved that it was not overwhelming, I might have fainted away into a tea fugue!

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/xin-mu-cha-winter-essence-taiwan.html

Zennenn

It looks like this vendor sells on a membership basis. Are you a member, or familiar with it?

TeaNecromancer

I am not, alas.

Zennenn

Thx anyway!

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Happy first full moon of the year! According to the various almanacs that divulge such info, January’s full moon is the Wolf Moon, named so because of the hungry wolves that would prowl around settlements. It is a fun bit of American folklore, some of which originated with this country’s indigenous people and some brought from Europe with settlers, and of course some is a blend of both! Since I grew up either near or in the Appalachian mountains, I was very fond of learning that region’s folklore, and they called it the Snow Moon…and considering my mother, nestled in Cumberland Valley near the Susquehanna River between the Blue Mountain and South Mountains Ridges, sent me photos of a massive blizzard they are having, I think the Appalachian name might be more accurate!

So what’s with this sudden obsession with the moon you might ask, well it is not really sudden, but it is certainly egged on by Whispering Pines Tea Co’s newest tea Moonlight Sonata! This is a blend of 2015 Moonlight White Tea and 2015 Snow Chrysanthemums ‘originally blended to steal the heart of faeries’ and as the daughter of a changeling, this should be right up my alley!

After ogling the wrapper and flowers compressed with the ‘Shadow elf tea’ as I lovingly call the Moonlight due to it being shadowy dark on one side of the leaf and silvery on the other, I chipped some off with my pick and gave it a good long sniffing. The aroma is quite delectable, blending notes of aster, wild flowers, honey, hay, sugar cane, sweetgrass, and dill flowers with a touch of tomato leaf and dried tomato. I am not really sure why Moonlight smells like dried tomato and tomato leaf or why Snow Chrysanthemum smells like dill flowers to me, but they do and I admit I kinda love them because of those notes. At the very end of the sniff I pick up subtle notes of pollen and tangerine, which add an extra depth of sweetness.

Gaiwan time! I kinda agonized over which gaiwan would compliment the colors best, so I picked one of my celadon ones, and I was pleased I did! Holy wow is the wet leaf fruity smelling, strong notes of nectarine and dried apricot mix with warm honey and wildflowers with a finish of dill flowers. For anyone who has not sniffed a dill flower, it smells like a blend of dill (but faint compared with the leaves) and hay, it is very pleasant, and tasty too, though they taste stronger than the leaves. The liquid is a blend of nectarine and dried apricot with honey, hay, and clover flowers with a finish of faint dill flower and wildflowers. It smells very sweet!

First steep and already my notes are crooked! I consider it the mark of a good tea when the notes in my notebook start to go sideways. It starts with a creamy mouthfeel, coating the mouth while also being light and smooth. The first taste to pop up hay and clover blossoms with a slight mineral note, this moves to rich honey and nectarines, which in turn moves to apricots and wildflowers with a finish of lingering sweetness and pollen. The first steep is light and refreshing with a slightly cooling feel to it, similar to drinking a large glass of water on a hot day, it quenches the thirst.

Onward to the second steep and the liquid is getting dark, it looks like a moon low on the horizon on a summer’s day. The aroma focuses on the hay and honey, with side notes of pollen, aster, and clover flowers, while the finish has a blend of nectarines and dill flowers. One thing I am really liking about this tea, other than the taste, is the refreshing thirst quenching quality it has, each steep even though the tea is hot, reminds me so much of drinking spring water on a hot day. The slight mineral notes at the start do not dissuade me of this either. This steep is richer, though not sweeter, with strong notes of nectarine and apricot, dill weed, hay, pollen, and honey. Towards the end of the steep the feel, while still refreshing starts to go to warming internally, making me feel extremely relaxed.

The third steeps’s aroma stays strong with the honey and hay, with an accompaniment of strong clover flowers, pollen, and nectarine. The notes that are present are subtle but their presence is strong. This steep loses its mineral notes and picks up a subtle malt note, giving the tea an extra depth. There is a strong nectarine and honey taste to this steep, much like eating a nectarine drizzled in warm honey, this moves to wildflowers and a touch of dill with a nice finish of hay and pollen. I got many steeps from this one, it is one of those you can sit with for a while, perhaps while watching the moon or while being snowed in!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/whispering-pines-tea-co-2015-moonlight.html

MissLena

This sounds so good! I ordered a cake today, definitely will have to break my no caffeine streak for this!

Daylon R Thomas

Curse you budget. Just when a Pu-Erh is released that I might really like!

hawkband1

Love your descriptions. Trying to be good with the tea budget.

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Well after waiting for an eternity last night, my new game finally finished installing and I got to play with dinosaurs in ARK: Survival Evolved. Really though a lot of the game involved me dying in various embarrassing ways, since this game is hard survival and has a bit of a learning curve. Also there are dinosaurs, some of them are real jerks…especial packs of Compys and Dilophosaurus, and the occasional jerk Utahraptor that ‘clever girl’ed me. I am pleased that I managed to never starve to death or die from falling, though as in life my sense of direction is abysmal and I do get lost a lot. One time I got so lost trying to find my way back to my little base camp that I just gave up and wandered to a Spinosaurus to be eaten and re-spawned. Fun times!

Time once again to delve into my never ending backlog of tea notes with Tealyra’s Feng Shui Wellness, an herbal blend of Apple Pieces, Goji Berries, Dragonfruit, Nettle Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, Lemongrass, Orange Peel, Eucalyptus Leaves, Carrot Flakes, Natural Flavoring, Cornflower, and Marigold Flowers. Of all the various blends on Tealyra, I picked this one out because it had eucalyptus, I was having lung problems at the time and that stuff works wonders for me, but I wanted something sweet too, so this looked promising. The aroma of the unsteeped blend mixes cooling and sharp notes of eucalyptus with lemon, pepper, sweet apple, tropical dragonfruit, and the oh so wonderfully honey sweet note of goji berries. It is really quite sweet smelling while also being refreshing.

Giving this tea a steeping, the aroma is now very strong in the eucalyptus and lemon, along with strong herbaceous notes from the nettle, it smells green and fresh. Underneath the herbaceous notes are sweet tropical fruit and honey. The liquid smells a bit tart, it smells like there is hibiscus in here, but there was none in the ingredients…bit they also did not list the red peppercorn so I dunno. The pink coloring and tart notes make me raise an eyebrow, but there is also a good amount of tropical fruit and cooling eucalyptus with a strong citrus note.

The first thing I notice is the mild cooling effect from the eucalyptus, talk about a breath of fresh air, literally, it really does make my lungs happy. This tea is actually really tasty, strong notes of citrus and herbaceous green notes dance with goji berries and sweet yet tart dragon fruit and apple. There is definitely hibiscus in this blend, I taste it with its tart metallic tone, but it is mild so I don’t mind too much. I found this tea was also pretty good cold steeped, and is just best when it is slightly cool rather than hot.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/tealyra-feng-shui-wellness-tbt-tea.html

OMGsrsly

I had to go look up the game. OMG, it looks SO FUN! Now I’m sad I don’t have anything that will actually run games.

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Bio

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

Location

Kansas City, MO

Website

http://ramblingbutterflythoug...

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