873 Tasting Notes

I wanted to write about how I was surprised with a beautiful new teapot, gifted from the aether, or how Ben got me a book from one of my favorite authors (Randall Munroe, if you are curious) or how my sunlamp seems to be working and I am feeling better…but, all of these pieces of awesome news are dulled but sad news. The other day music and acting icon that helped shape my childhood David Bowie passed, and then today I woke up to Alan Rickman, whose acting I have been watching since I was tiny (I was raised on Die Hard!) having passed, these losses to the arts are sudden and tragic. They were not just icons of nerdity ( as Jareth and Snape) they were icons! They have left this life, but left us a lifetime of entertainment that has cemented their immortality.

I have had several teas from Crimson Lotus Tea, own a small army of tea frogs from them, and have had many excellent conversations with them, but I have not written about any of their teas and that is kinda terrible of me. So I am rectifying that today with 2008 Bulang Imperial Grade Shou Puerh! From my experience (limited as it is compared to the real Pu-heads) Shou from Bulang is usually quite sweet and rich, so let us delve into the tea notebook and see! The aroma of the leaves is indeed quite rich! Notes of loam and wet leather mix with burnt sugar, wet bark, cedar loam, and a distant touch of dates. It blends sweetness with earthiness in a rich dance that is pleasing to the nose.

Into my shou pot the leaves go for their rinse and short steep. The aroma of the wet leaves is super strong and intense, I lifted the lid off my pot and poof, face full of forest floor, with wet loam, a bit of peat, some wet pine loam, and a finish of leather. The liquid is sweet and rich, with notes of pine loam, mushroom soil, burnt sugar, molasses, and a finish of dates.

For the first few steeps, the real focus of this tea was its mellow loam and earthy notes. It has a subtle sweetness and a touch of mushroom soil, but as my notebook says, it is loamtastic. Blending pine loam and more deciduous leaves with gentle notes of distant molasses. It has a thickness which is nice but not overpowering.

Several steeps later and the aroma and taste really become intense, very strong earthy notes of loam and mushroom soil, wet wood, leather, and a deep heavy sweetness in the aroma. Sniffing this tea reminds me of sinking into a nice nap in a sun warmed forest. The taste is loamy and rich, but there is also a creamy sweetness like molasses candy and dates. It is thick and heavy, definitively a very rich shou!

Towards the end the aroma is still potent and loamy, notes of pine soil and molasses blend with oak wood and a touch of leather. This tea outlived me, I stopped at steep ten but I know it could have kept going for more steeps, please don’t think less of my stamina. The finishing steeps bring in more sweetness, molasses and brown sugar with dates and a resinous pine sap finish. It oddly reminds me a little bit of horehound candy on the finish with more of an earthy leaf loam and mushroom soil note. This was a wonderful shou, one I could see myself buying a brick of to slurp on cold nights.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/crimson-lotus-tea-2008-bulang-imperial.html

kristinalee

Glad you got the sun lamp!

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I am going to share the story of Mittens with you all, Mittens the Wither that doesn’t know how to Wither. In my creative world I built a zoo, all the various mobs have a nice little enclosure allowing for viewing in a pseudo-native habitat. So to spice things up I made a Wither enclosure, saved the game, then turned off auto-save and turned on mob griefing and decided to watch the Wither destroy my zoo before I quit out, the destruction having been erased. I have never seen a Wither fail so epically, so much for being the enemy of all life! It took forever to blast through a wall and then when it finally did it couldn’t even manage to kill an Endermite, so I turned off mob griefing and shoved it back in its enclosure, not even bothering to exit without saving…it made that little of a mess. So feeling sorry for it I put a dispenser that ‘feeds’ the Wither random cows and such and half the time it doesn’t notice it, realizing this Wither had…issues…I named it Mittens and created a rehabilitation fund in the zoo, maybe one day, with luck, Mittens can be returned to its native habitat.

Today we are taking a look at What-Cha’s Vietnam West Lake ‘Golden Flower’ Lotus Green Tea, sourced from Hatvala, and this tea is artistry. The way lotus tea is produced is green tea is stuffed into the blossoms, the blossoms close overnight sealing the tea in to absorb the aroma. There are other versions (standard scenting by blended the flowers with the tea and then the flowers are removed, and for really cheap Lotus tea, using lotus oil or extract flavoring rather than scenting) I am not sure if this one is a ‘stuff the blossom’ or standard scenting procedure, but regardless I have a serious weakness for lotus scented tea. The aroma is intense! Strong notes of anise and honey, vanilla and sassafras, pollen and an underlying greenness of grass, hay, lotus leaves, and bamboo leaves. The mix with an overwhelming sweetness and fresh verdant notes, an unusual note with this tea is the sassafras. Lotus smells amazing, with strong sweet notes of anise, this is the first time I have run into one with sassafras adding a fun level of depth.

Steeping the tea ramps up the intensity, which is a little mind boggling considering it was already super intense. Strong sweet notes of anise and a touch of licorice (similar yet different, the same sweetness without the root notes) blended with sharp green notes of bamboo leaves, hay, and cut grass. It is surprisingly cooling to my nose, like breathing in mint without the menthol notes, I find this immensely intriguing. The liquid is a really sweet blend of anise and cream, with a touch of sugar cane, broken bamboo leaves, and a touch of grass at the finish. It balances its green and sweet notes in a very summery way, reminds me of the lotus pond I visited at Wildwood park in Harrisburg, one of my favorite wetlands.

First steeping and wow, it manages to be incredibly intense and delightfully mild at the same time, quite the accomplishment! This is definitely a tea you taste the most with your nose, if I was to plug my nose the taste would be light with notes of anise and bamboo leaves, with a lingering touch of honey at the finish. The moment I breathe through my nose then it is like having my face in a lotus flower, it fills up my nose, mouth, and throat, it is intoxicating! The aftertaste/smell of lotus lingers long after the cup is empty.

Second steeping, because there is no way I was stopping after one. The aroma is strong, notes of anise and sassafras with creamy honey undertones mix with cut grass and broken bamboo, the green notes have a sharpness, very much so the notes of freshly broken vegetation. This time around the majority of the strong lotus notes are not just in the nose, you can really taste them. Underneath this powerhouse of anise and sassafras is gentle notes of pollen and honey. The finish brings in crisp notes of bamboo leaves and a touch of raw spinach. The lingering aftertaste of anise stays for a while, like the previous steep.

The third steep has a strong aroma still, though it is more balanced between the lotus flower notes and vegetation, either the lotus is fading or the green tea is getting stronger, either way it still reminds me of summer. The taste takes a cue from the aroma, it is not just a powerful blast of lotus, but a more subtle and subdued sweetness with strong notes of crisp grass, broken lettuce, and a distinct herbaceous sage note which I found blended really well with the anise notes. This tea lasted for a few more steeps, it is really quite wonderful, but I love lotus tea, even the occasional really cheap bags of the flavored stuff I get from Vietnamese markets, though they do not hold a candle to the real scented ones. I have seen some people say it is an acquired taste, and I can believe that, if you are not a fan of anise then chances are this is not the tea for you, but if you are then boy are you in for a treat!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-cha-vietnam-west-lake-golden.html

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Excellent news everyone, I got a new pillow. Ok, really I cant think of much to say today, nothing exciting happened and I have been lazy, so I shall cut to the chase and talk about tea.

Today we are taking a look at another offering from Liquid Proust Teas, Oolberry, a lightly berry flavored Oolong. The Oolong looks like some sort of bizarre alien creature, all tentacles and green, or at least it does if you squint, these stems are really entertaining. Their coloring adds an interesting contrast to the nuclear green color of the Oolong leaves, it is a visual treat! Sniffing the leaves, the aroma is primarily the Oolong with notes of buttery sweetness, orchids, honeysuckle nectar, and a touch of hyacinth, but along side the very heady floral notes is a hint of raspberries and blueberries. The berry note is ghostlike and distant, and if I didn’t know this was a flavored Oolong I would think my nose is playing tricks on me.

I could not decide how I wanted to brew this tea, so I flipped a coin, very professional! Heads meant in my steeping apparatus and it was heads it landed on, so into the apparatus the leaves went for a nice western style steeping. The leaves unfurled quite prettily in the water, it was great fun to watch. The aroma of the leaves is creamy and sweet, notes of orchid, honeysuckle, and hyacinth dominate with undertones of spinach and butter, at the finish there is a tiny hint of berries. The liquid smells like a blend of hyacinths, orchids, spinach, and raspberries. It is quite sweet and heady.

Time to taste the pretty golden liquid, the mouthfeel is smooth and the taste is pleasantly mellow. It starts with heady orchid and hyacinth, this floral burst moves to buttery green notes of bok choy and spinach, with a touch of cooked celery and chestnuts. The finish has a nice little burst of raspberries and blueberries, like a very distant note, tasting more in the nose than the mouth, and it lingers a bit into the aftertaste. This is definitely a very light flavoring, usually when I see blends listed as ‘light’ it is usually not very true, this time it is, the base tea shines and the berry notes are very faint, almost like drinking an Oolong after eating berries and relying on the aftertaste to add to the tea. I had another steep and did not notice much change, the berry taste was lighter and the base tea was a touch greener, it was a refreshing tea and I find myself tempted to cold steep it!

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/liquid-proust-teas-oolberry-tea-review.html

Daylon R Thomas

It is good cold steep, or at least saving the last brew then immediately putting it in the fridge after you pour the hot water.

Liquid Proust

Yay, been waiting to see some pictures of this one

Rasseru

We both thought it looked like alien tea

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As you might all know, I have been in a funk lately…SAD getting me down, hand arthritis keeping me from painting, fibromyalgia pain keeping me from being overly intellectual and delving into research…all I have is Minecraft and tea, which honestly isn’t that bad since both of these are great passions of mine. Ben, knowing I am just a pile of grumpiness surprised me today, I had to go to CVS to get some toiletries and afterwards he took me for Greek food! I absolutely love Greek food and could possibly live off of feta and kalamata olives if left to my own devices. The restaurant had a video of beautiful scenery of Greece and I found myself munching on olives while daydreaming about the Mediterranean. A very pleasant treat.

Today I am taking a look at another tea from Xin Mu Cha, their Nonpareil Taiwan Ali-Shan Fo-Shou Oolong. I have not had a Fo Shou in quite some time, this tea is grown both in Taiwan and Wuyi, and its name means Buddha’s Palm, I have seen that this name is both a reference to the fruit due to its subtle citrus notes or because the leaves are really big like the Buddha’s palm. This Fo Shou comes from Ali Shan, a tea mountain I find myself visiting often…and by visiting I mean I have had many Oolongs from there, and they never disappoint. The aroma of this Oolong is very sweet, blending notes of yeasty orchids, honeysuckles, hyacinth, and a distinct orange blossom and grapefruit flower note blended with honey. There is a citrus quality, but to me it smells more of citrus flowers, bringing back happy memories of visiting the local conservatory.

My XiShi has felt sad and neglected lately, so I pulled her off the shelf and stuffed her full of leaves. Wow, the aroma of the wet unfurling leaves is intense stuff! Strong notes of orchid and honeysuckle with an accompaniment of grapefruit blossom and distant lemon zest. There are also underlying notes of buttery green cooked spinach. The liquid is a light blend of sweetness and flowers, bringing in nectar of hyacinth and grapefruit blossom with honey and a touch of buttery sweetness.

For the first steeping I was pleasantly greeted with a very mellow smooth taste, the texture is soft and smooth, bordering on velvety without being thick. The flavor notes start out floral with notes of hyacinth and orchid, this transitions to gentle green notes of lemon leaves and cooked bok choy and butter. For the finish, this might be my favorite part of this tea, the finish is cooked lotus leaves with an aftertaste of flower nectar sweetness.

Second steeping time, the aroma is a blend of buttery bok choy, spinach, lotus leaves and flowery notes of grapefruit blossom, orchids, and hyacinths. This steep is very smooth and thick, not oily like some Oolongs, but velvety and soft while filling the mouth, it is a very pleasant texture. The taste is more green than sweet, though it is not outright savory, very buttery and green like bok choy and spinach with a mineral note at the middle. Towards the end a note of cooked cabbage and lotus leaves pops up, but the finish is sweetness. Blending honeysuckles and grapefruit blossoms, the flowery sweetness lingers well after the sip is finished.

The third steep has such lovely amber colored liquid, the color could fool me into thinking this was a lightly roasted Oolong, but the aroma and taste tell me otherwise. The aroma is green and flowery, balanced in this with notes of lotus leaves and bok choy along with grapefruit blossoms and orchids. The taste this time around has only a hint of the buttery green notes of the previous steep, instead it is zesty and bright with notes of lemon leaves and lotus leaves. This moves to orchids and honey with a lingering note of grapefruit blossom in the aftertaste. The leaves gave me a couple more steeps, getting sweeter as it finished.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/xin-mu-cha-nonpareil-taiwan-ali-shan-fo.html

ashmanra

What a lovely treat! I am sorry you have been feeling down, though. Hope it gets much better soon!

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The other day I decided that one of the hills in Ramble needed a small Victorian mansion, like the kinds I ogled a lot when I lived in Mechanicsburg. Somehow this turned from Victorian to an eight story sprawling Tudor Revival estate, not really sure how, but epic. This led me to think that I need to study architecture styles so I can incorporate more into my buildings, currently I am working on building the La Serena Lighthouse in Chile, my first Spanish Colonial Revival build, so far so good.

No tea gives me as many problems when it comes to reviewing like Sheng Puerh, you really can’t get a good feel for how the tea is going to evolve in the standard three steeps my blog has evolved into, and as much as I tempted to go back to my old ways of epic long 14 steeps worth of detailed notes, I will leave that nonsense to my personal tea notebooks. See, drinking a Sheng is not just a standard enjoying a tea session, it is an experience! From new to old, you don’t just drink this tea you FEEL IT! No tea has driven that home quite like White2Tea’s 2015 Bosch. From the first sniff I knew it was going to be trouble, it blended those seductive notes of camphor and cedar with hints of smoke and spinach, there is a subtle distant sweetness that is really hard to pin down…but sorry, I was lost in camphor and smoke. By the tea gods I love smoke in my shengs, it makes me feel rugged.

Giving the customary rinse and a flash steep, the aroma of the leaves now looses all the smoke, but what is left is strong camphor (well my sinuses are happy) and pungent wet hay, spinach, honey, and a complex juiciness that is damn hard to describe. It is dancing, there is a dancing teasing tea spirit that is luring me down into the cups. I think this sheng is a siren. Good heavens, I am just sniffing it and the tea drunk is starting.

In the beginning there was light, it was like drinking a firework, not in texture of course, that would be unpleasant, but the combination of taste, qi, and texture lights up my brain like a smack to the head. It starts with drool inducing slight sourness that makes my teeth sharp, it then brings out gentle sweetness that lingers in my throat and with each exhale I feel the sweetness. Camphor, spinach, wild roses, apples, yeasty bread, pine needles, rice cakes, and caramel. This tea is telling quite the story in its infancy.

Several steeps in and I am really feeling this one, it lights my belly on fire like what I would imagine eating icy-hot would feel like, it cools but it burns. My limbs feel like jelly and my brain feels like it is stuffed full of fluff, there is tea drunk and there is tea stoned. Later in the steeping I get a lot of subtle notes, it is a very nuanced tea, with notes of wildflowers, camphor, cedar, apricot, bitter melon, honey, pepper, and a killer pungent wet hay. Later in the steeps there is a mouth drying bitterness that causes a sweet salivary explosion, it coats the mouth, and as young shengs can go this is not terribly bitter.

In the later steeps, yeah I am beyond tea stoned, I am about to float off to another dimension, forget muscle relaxers and pain killers just give me this tea. Actually no, this baby did to my stomach what an Advil does, sure the rest of my body doesn’t hurt, but I am feeling a dull burning ache in my stomach that ended up lasting several days. So glad I ate before I started in on this! As the tea finished off it lost pretty much all its bitterness, I just had sweetness and camphor, cooling and burning, inducing a decent amount of drool in the process.

There is a lot going on, it is a beautiful tea whose memory will live large in my brain, and maybe when I am a little richer I can justify getting a cake, because Puerh is an employed person’s passion, though I will say, if you get the chance to try it, do it! Bosch outlasted me, I had to throw in the towel at steep 11 before I passed out. At the very finish notes of mineral and gentle distant (I might be hallucinating) smoke danced with honey and pepper. The aftertaste, qi, and oily thickness lasted for a long time after I finished…pretty sure I could still taste it the next morning, but it could be I was still tea stoned.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/white2tea-2015-bosch-tea-review.html

Cathy Baratheon

Hectic note!! :D

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After much debate and talking with Ben, both of us have decided that I need a sun-lamp, because my SAD is just awful. Each winter I turn into this pitiful, miserable, pain filled lump…clearly I am actually a plant, though not a coniferous, alas. I used to think I had SAD during the summer as well as winter and I would just deal with it, but thinking things through I tend to just feel grumpy and uncomfortable in summer because I loathe the heat, it is just me being a big baby, but in winter I just get kinda catatonic, one step away from hibernating. Next step is to research a good sun lamp, any SAD people out there with suggestions?

It is time to delve into the pile of notebooks from long ago, filled with tea notes of yore! Today we are looking at Monk’s Mead by SerendipiTea, a blend of Apple, Apple Flavor, Chamomile, Mango, Mango Flavor, and Rosehips, all organic and natural! This tea is supposed to evoke the taste of mead, and I have never had mead, the closest I have had is Oenomel, or Grecian Honeyed Wine, so I cannot say how close this tea gets to its goal. The aroma is pretty great, blending dried apples, honey, and the straw and vaguely fresh apple aroma of chamomile. At the very finish is a slightly citrus sour note from the rosehips, though that fades really quickly.

You know one of the things I kinda hate about chamomile? It gets sooooo stuck into the fine mesh of the steeping basket, meaning it is a real pain to clean, other than that I love the stuff. The aroma is primarily chamomile, blending straw, pollen, strawflowers, and a touch of apples. I pick up a gentle note of mango at the finish, but mostly this is all chamomile all the time. The liquid is a blend of mango and apple with a slightly sour note and a finish of pollen and strawflowers.

The first thing I noticed about this tea is the utter lack of anything but chamomile, the front taste is all chamomile all the time, with strong notes of pollen and wildflowers fading to apples. That apple note builds from a distant apple memory to a full on baked apple, with extra sweetness from the mango. At the finish there is a note of honey, with a slightly sour citrus note, it lingers for a while, making me salivate from the sourness. This is not a bad tea, it did not wow me overly much, but I found it pleasant, I think I would have liked it a lot more if it lacked the rosehips, since for me this tea shined most when it was very sweet.

For blog and (crappy old) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/serenditpitea-monks-mead-tbt-tea-review.html

kristinalee

Yep, mine broke when I moved, and now I need one too. It really helped me with energy during the winter.

kristinalee

Anyway, I don’t know whether or not they will, but I’m currently trying to convince my health insurance to cover it.

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

That is actually a really good point, I should check with them to see if they will cover it since supposedly my insurance is really good (cough cough it is selective with how good it actually is)

kristinalee

Yeah, I think this differs a lot between insurance companies and states. I’m thinking mine was covered when I got it in a different state, but it seems to be more complicated where I live now. Basically, my family doctor hadn’t ever heard of one being prescribed here, so I had to find a psychiatrist who is willing to prescribe it and blah blah blah… It’s been a big pain.

kristinalee

But I think I got it pretty easily when I lived in Pennsylvania.

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

Ugh, that sounds immensely frustrating. It is always ‘fun’ getting doctors to work with you, especially when you have a previous setup going with a different doctor. Good luck!

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

More reason for me to move back home to Pennsylvania!

kristinalee

Thanks. I hope it works out for you too! The funny thing is, I currently have better healthcare than I did then. But my healthcare plan was designed for graduate students, who apparently tended to get depressed in the winter on a regular basis. So they were very used to approving these things.

OMGsrsly

I got one at Costco. And it’s actually pretty nice! I don’t use it every day, because the day after a sunny day I don’t need it so much… but I do use it. http://www.amazon.com/Verilux-VT15WW1-HappyLight-Liberty-Energy/dp/B00EUF67DU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1452224749&sr=8-3&keywords=verilux+happylight

kristinalee

Wow, that’’s the lowest price I’ve ever seen for one of those. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely do this if I can’t get it covered (I finally got an avatar).

OMGsrsly

I, uhh, got mine at Costco for $40CAD. hides So you see I couldn’t really pass it up even though it’s not a necessity for me.

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

Oh very awesome! I shall have to check my local Costco, I need an excuse to get an industrial size jar of kalamata olives again

kristinalee

I haven’t had one in a few years myself, but for the past 7 years I lived in the South and didn’t really need it. It gets dark much earlier where I live now, and I’ve seen a lot less of the sun. I’m checking the American Costco — it’s still a good price for these even if it’s a better price in Canada.

kristinalee

This is the one I had, and it was about this price before. Or at least it’s a newer version of the one I had:

http://www.amazon.com/Sunlight-Jr-Therapeutic-Light-Therapy/dp/B00172X49Y/ref=sr_1_41?ie=UTF8&qid=1452225349&sr=8-41&keywords=SAD+lamp

It was fine while I had it but I would not get it again… The only thing that broke was the lightbulb, which would have cost $78 to replace so I just got rid of it. And I think I can find something that works just as well for less than $78 in total.

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Le Gasp! I just realized flipping through my notes that I am running low on What-Cha teas to review, jeaopordizing What-Cha Wednesdays, looks like a shopping trip is in my future, not that I need an excuse, but we are not out of teas quite yet, we still have Taiwan Medium Roast Dong Ding Qing Xin Oolong Tea for example. This tea hails from Wushe Garden in Nantou, Taiwan and is made from the Qing Xin varietal with a medium roast, the bare minimum for me to seek out a Dong Ding. No offense to green Dong Ding, I just prefer the roast, so comforting! The aroma of these leaves is really surprisingly sweet, like sesame seeds and almond paste drizzled with honey sitting next to a bouquet of honeysuckles.

Gaiwan time for the leaves, and the aroma of the soggy and unfurled leaves is really quite heady with notes of spicebush, squash flowers, orchid and honeysuckle, but blended with sesame seeds, acorn squash, and a gentle bread note at the finish. The liquid is sweet and creamy with notes of sesame seeds, acorn squash, almond paste, honey, and a finish of distant orchids.

For all the sweetness of the aroma, surprisingly the taste is only a little sweet, not at all cloying. It starts with a smooth almost oily mouthfeel and a distinct buttery note that moves to almond butter and sesame seeds. The finish is a gentle vegetation and bok choy note that lingers for a bit. This tea retains enough of its pre-roast that it shakes things up a bit, which is fun.

The second steep is intensely sweet in the nose, strong notes of honey and sesame, reminding me of sesame candies, and a nice burst of squash at the finish. The mouthfeel, like the first steep, is very smooth and almost oily, like eating cashews. In fact it has a bit of a cashew note along with the sesame seeds and almond nuttiness. This steep has more of the roasted notes I am used to with a roasted Dong Ding, notes of nuttiness with squash, honey sweetness, and mellow butteriness. At the finish is distant orchid which lingers for a bit.

Onward to the third steeping, notes of buttery spicebush and squash blend with honeysuckles and sesame greet my nose, it is sweet and gently toasty. The mouthfeel this steep is a bit dryer, with a crispness at the finish, but it is still quite smooth. The taste is sweet and toasty, notes of spicebush and cashews, sesame and honeysuckle, and a lingering gentle buttery note. This is a very mellow Dong Ding, and it hits the spot.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-cha-taiwan-medium-roast-dong-ding.html

Nicole

I can probably share some of mine if I have any you haven’t reviewed already

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Espeon is a total goofball! On New Years Day the local thrift stores all had a half-off sale, and I decided to go hunting teaware and more importantly go hunting a new desk chair, because my previous one was barely functioning. The arm grips were ragged messes held together with duct tape, it was missing bolts so it leaned precariously to one side, and it barely rolled right anymore…it was in a sad state. Luckily I found a fantastic new chair, it rolls like a dream, is surprisingly comfy, delightfully retro (it came from 1993 or so the sticker would have me believe) and has a nice high back. This high back has become a favorite perch for Espeon, especially when I am in the chair (I fear for the teaware behind me, her tail is a menace) except she has decided the best way to go about perching is to have her back half on the chair and her front half draped across my shoulder. This is all fine, except when I move she gets sooooo mad at me, she is a spoiled little tortie!

Cat drama aside, it is time to look at another tea from Xin Mu Cha, specifically their Nonpareil Taiwan ShanLinXi Black Tea. This tea is not on their website at this time, so I don’t have much info for it other than it is a Black Tea and from Shan Lin Xi, a region that has produced many teas I have enjoyed. I always find Shan Lin Xi Oolongs to be very aromatic and crisp, so seeing the tea made into a black tea excites me, I have a weakness for teas that are usually processed a specific way being treated differently, it creates some exciting results. The aroma of the rather fluffy large leaves is intense, notes of molasses and malt, leather and apple wood, toasted peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a finish roasted beans. It has a starchy quality and a subtle sweetness.

Into the gaiwan the leaves go for their steeping, the aroma of the now soggy leaves is rich with notes of cocoa and malt, sweet potatoes, molasses. and underlying notes of gentle spice and sweetness. The liquid is quite sweet, malty and molasses notes are dominant with a touch of dry leather and cocoa. It is strong and rich, with a touch of briskness that acts as a good balance to the richness.

The first steep starts with a smooth mouthfeel, and a taste that is rich without being overpowering. The taste starts with starchy sweet potatoes and gentle spice, it has an autumnal feel to it. It then moves to malt and a lingering fruity tobacco finish, the aftertaste is honey and slightly woody and it lingers.

Onward to the second steep! The aroma is a blend of molasses and brown sugar with gentle notes of leather and cocoa. It is sweet and rich, with just the right amount of briskness to wake my nose up. The taste is very similar to the first steep, and just as smooth. Notes of ever so slightly autumnal sweet potato and pumpkin with baked fruit (specifically apple) and gentle spice. It moves to brown sugar and molasses at the finish and has a slight leather note in the aftertaste.

For the third steep, the aroma takes a bit of a creamy note with the notes of molasses and brown sugar, the leathery notes are gone and replaced with gentle fruitiness. The taste takes some notes from the aroma and has a creamy quality, any briskness from the previous steeps has left and it is all smooth sweetness all the times. It finishes with baked apples and sweet potatoes with a lingering molasses note.

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

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I have become like unto a zombie, spending all my waking time chugging tea and playing Minecraft. Ok no that is a lie, I have gone grocery shopping and I am writing this now between adding floors to my epic cliff building. It has a clock-tower. I am debating, once I get a bit more building done and expand things, I am tempted to do a Twitch livestream tour of my world, blame my mom for this idea. She is convinced I am a master builder and need to show off the skills, I want to do it as a way to document how my world evolves over time, since it seems the Xbone does not have a share screenshot to facebook function like the 360, tragic.

So the other day I over-indulged, I ate way too much gross food and just felt like my guts were covered in slime, I wanted a tea that was acidic and sour (since I was out of kalamata olives, my usual go-to for post gross food binging.) So rummaging through my stash I found BlendBee’s Lime Green With Envy and went ooooh, because citrus is my other go-to digestive aide, bingo! This tea is a blend of Sencha, China Green Tea (which is a Chun Mee) Lemon Peel, Raspberry Leaf, and Lime Extract, and I adore green tea blended with citrus, it is probably my favorite fruit to blend with green tea, it is just so refreshing! The aroma is very citrus heavy, a nice blend of lime and lemon, with lemon leaves, green fresh grass, and fluffy green notes of raspberry leaves…no really, it smells fluffy to me, can’t really describe why.

Into my pretty glass pot the tea goes, I wanted to look at it steeping because green tea is pretty. The aroma of the wet leaves is super citrus, lots of lemon and mellow lime, strong green notes of spinach and grass with undertones of lettuce. It kinda smells like a salad, and I like that since lemon juice is my favorite dressing. The liquid, however, smells much sweeter, but still has savory undertones of spinach and grass, but the citrus notes are sweet, with an undertone of nuttiness.

So, is this tea going to hit the spot and make me feel less ill? Yep, that citrus did the trick! It is not a super sweet tea, it is refreshing and sour, like eating a nice green salad with lemon and lime dressing. There are notes of grass and spinach, a touch of hay, some turnips greens, and a finish of lime that lingers for a while. This tea is definitely good hot, but letting it chill makes it amazingly refreshing, I can’t wait to cold steep this one come summer time.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/blendbee-lime-green-with-envy-tea.html

__Morgana__

Guts covered in slime. I know the feeling. LOL

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Guess what I am doing? If you guessed playing Minecraft on my new Xbox One then you are totally correct! My beloved Ramble is now monstrously huge, with many Ocean monuments, Ice Spike biomes, jungles, and fancy roofed forests. I am very pleased with how the terrain generated on the rest of the expanded world, lots of potential for epic build, and of course lots of mountains, because Ramble wouldn’t be the same without a ton of extreme hills. I only have one complaint, there is a glitch that I assume will be fixed in the next bug fix that makes map walls totally unusable, this saddens me because the first thing I did was fill all the maps and make a map wall at spawn.

Today I am looking at a tea from Adagio Teas, a store I have a great nostalgic fondness for since they were the first tea company to show up on the blog, and the first online shop I ordered from. It was scary at first, being so used to going to Wegman’s (which is a distributor for Ito-En) and selecting based on sight and sniff, moving away meant I needed to bite the bullet if I wanted a steady flow of tea. So in a way, Adagio Teas is to thanks for my raging out of control tea stash! The particular tea I am looking at is Fujian Rain, their name for Shui Xian (or Shui Hsien, Water Sprite, Water Narcissus…so many names!) one of my favorite of the Wuyi Rock Oolongs. The aroma of the dark curly leaves is pleasantly smoky, like a campfire that has gone to smolder and not a raging smoke belching fire. There is more than fire to this tea, there is also sweetness with notes of molasses, figs, dates, and a gentle spicy nutmeg and cocoa. At the finish there is a gentle, almost too faint to notice, hint of orchids.

Into my Yancha pot the leaves go, the aroma of the soggy leaves is sharp and mineral, blending wet slate, woody stems, tobacco, and smoke with a tiny hint of cocoa at the finish. The liquid is a sweet blend of cocoa and woody tobacco with a slight hint of nutmeg and char at the finish.

The first steeping is pretty light in both taste and mouthfeel. It starts with a gentle blend of honey and tobacco and moves to char and cocoa with a hint of nutmeg. The finish is a delicate and lingering mineral and light distant flower note that wavers between lily and orchid.

Second steeping time! The aroma is a bit more floral this time, along with woody tobacco and gentle char, also a nice mineral burst at the finish, like dropping water on hot coals. The taste did not change much from the first steep, the main difference is the stronger notes of tobacco and mineral and less sweetness. If I did not know this was a Shui Xian before, I certainly do now!

Third steep, the aroma is woody tobacco and char, with a strong mineral finish and a touch of cocoa. The taste is milder this time around, primarily woody tobacco and char, with cocoa and a strong mineral finish. Wet slate and hot coals linger as the aftertaste. This is a decent Shui Xian, I wish it were a bit more potent or unique, since this is very similar to the much cheaper Sea Dyke brand that I get at my local Asian Market, but if you lack access to a super cheap everday drinker, this is a good option.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/adagio-teas-fujian-rain-tea-review.html

ashmanra

I like the name list! I want to learn more of the Chinese words for different teas so I can understand/classify them better.

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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

I was previously Amanda, I go by Alexsia now though will answer to the other name as well, I know dealing with name changes can be a giant pain

Location

Kansas City, MO

Website

http://ramblingbutterflythoug...

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