875 Tasting Notes

It is a sad day in my tea and art area, my little blue peacock of a fish passed yesterday after fighting with dropsy. I live in fear of the pinecone infliction (called that because the bacterial infection causes swelling which makes their scales pop out like a pinecone) because it is almost always fatal. Pretty sure it was brought in by one of the mystery snails I bought, since one died and then a day later Fish Beleren took ill. I was ridiculously attached to that fish and I feel immense sadness, I will get another Betta after Christmas because I like having them around, but I doubt I will find one as epic as him…those fish are a rarity. At least Espeon can tell I am sad and has been staying close to keep me company, comfort from cats is always welcomed.

Today’s tea is all sorts of holiday cheer! I totally forgot to get real holiday teas this year, so I am winging it. From Teaguys, this is their Maple, Bourbon & Nutmeg (Eggnog) blend, which is concocted from rooibos, honeybush, buckwheat, maple sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, flavors, nutmeg, sliced almonds, coconut, soy pieces, marshmallow pieces, stevia, turmeric, which is quite the list of ingredients! Browsing around their catalog, they have a bunch of unique looking blends that I need to get my hands on at some point. The aroma of this eggnog themed tea is not so much eggnog, but certainly get the bourbon and nutmeg. Underneath strong bourbon and nutmeg is woody sweetness and coconut with just a hint of maple at the finish. It is very sweet smelling, and the woodiness blends well with the maple and bourbon.

Steeping time, the liquid is rather cloudy, probably from the marshmallow or the coconut, or one of the other random ingredients. The aroma is quite woody and sweet, with strong notes of maple and bourbon, with lesser notes of nutmeg, coconut, and a gentle nuttiness. The liquid sans tea and bits is woody and spicy, very creamy with notes of coconut and bourbon, it is quite sweet smelling and I am starting to pick up on the eggnog idea.

The website gives the instructions to make this into a latte, and in hindsight I kinda wish I would have tried that, but I was only gifted enough for a cup so oops. The first thing I notice is the oily and thick mouthfeel with a slightly dry finish, typical of a rooibos and honeybush blend with coconut, a clever way of combating the strong dryness of this woody plant. The taste is rather sweet, strong notes of bourbon and coconut with a slight metallic note (honeybush always tastes vaguely metallic to me, not really sure why) and a maple and marshmallow midtaste. The finish has an odd coconut candy that lingers. This is an alright blend, not my favorite, but points for unique!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/teaguys-maple-bourbon-nutmeg-eggnog-tea.html

mrmopar

I feel you. I have lost a schoolmate and a friend in the last three days.

boychik

So sorry to both of you Amanda and mrmopar

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

oh mrmopar, I am so very sorry for your loss!

Rosehips

I’m so sorry. That is a terrible loss.

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I am half tempted to start a new series on my blog called confessions of a teaware hoarder, because wow, I have a lot of stuff. Really though, this will just be a continuation of my long lagging teaware review, but it really could be a tale of how Amanda spends all her money on tea gear and eventually runs out of room to keep it all. Honestly it was running out of shelf space that finally made me realize that I might have a bit of a problem, of course this problem was made worse today by the grand opening of teaware.house, created by TwoDog of White2Tea.

Yours truly was lucky enough to get a little sneak peak at some of the goodies that are being offered at the new shop, like all good drug pushers, the first hit is free…my cart is already filling up with things I don’t need but can’t say no to. And yes, I know I said no more tea shopping until I get my new Xbone, but well…I have a problem. Plus this means I have the opportunity to talk about teaware again, yay! And first up I am going to showcase the Geyao Fish Cup, oh my one greatest weakness, teaware with fishes!

This cup fascinates me with its beauty! I have seen (and own for that matter) cups with raised fishies swimming around giving the illusion of the fish swimming around in tea, even without tea in the cups they are usually celadon so it resembles water. This cup goes the extra mile, I feel, with the combination of celadon coloring and earthenware unglazed clay, it really reminds me of water lapping against the edge of a pond, the surface gently disturbed as a koi noticing you are close to the edge pops up expecting food.

Plus the texture of the cup is wonderful, it is slightly rough (as one expects from clay) meaning I am less likely to drop it, which is always a serious win!! Also it feels good in my hand, against my mouth when I am drinking, and it holds the heat like a boss, all of these make for an enjoyable sipping experience, especially when you have a friendly fish sharing your cup with you! Now, with any luck my teaware hoarder friends will leave a few pieces of awesome for me to procure with Christmas money, until then I will sit and stare at my full cart with crossed fingers for an early Christmas!

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/teawarehouse-geyao-fish-cup-teaware.html

mrmopar

You are not alone on that site….

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

that site is going to undo me, I just know it :P

Wuyi-Wolf

Again …out little hobby sounds like a drug ring :p

Jenn-cha

That sounds like a fun exercise. Put everything that you want on the site into your cart then cry when you find out how much it is. Or pray for the winning lottery numbers.

boychik

You are not alone in your teaware hoarding. I’m with you and many others suffering from #tad which is incurable.

OMGsrsly

I succumbed. But I shared an order with a new tea friend, so with both of us it worked out really well. I got just what I wanted and nothing more. :)

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Wooo!!! The long awaited Minecraft console update is out! I saw it as soon as I woke up and have been busily playing ever since. I am in a happy place, building with the new blocks and playing the the Guardians (I made them an aquarium.) A lot of my builds are getting spruced up with new blocks, especially the various Ocean monument blocks because they are blue. Perfect timing, since I feel like I am coming down with a cold, so now I have an excuse to take it easy for the next couple days.

Today’s tea comes from Sichuan by way of MeiMei Fine Teas. Organic Sichuan Zao Bai Jian Premium Green Tea. Usually this tea is processed as a black/red tea, at least everything I read about this tea lists Zao Bai Jian as Imperial Black, but with all teas, you can process the leaves in a myriad of ways, so why not process it as a green, and they are pretty leaves at that, curly little leaves with a silvery shimmer to them. The aroma is crisp and green, notes of gentle chestnuts and almonds along side sweet peas, artichoke, greenbeans, and a touch of celery. It smells quite rich and the vegetal notes are accented nicely by the nutty ones.

In the gaiwan after steeping, the leaves are so vibrantly green, the aroma of the wet leaves is a bit brothy with notes of vegetable broth. sauteed bok choy and asparagus, sesame seeds and water chestnuts. It is rather savory and reminds me of food. The liquid, however, is gentle sweet like roasted chestnuts and sesames with a touch of water chestnut’s crispness, and a blend of asparagus and broccoli.

First steeping is very smooth and green, like an explosion of green in my mouth! Notes of veggie broth and sauteed bok choy with a hint of sweet peas. This gentle sweetness moves into chestnut and water chestnut, with a finish of sugar cane. It is mellow and sweet at the finish which is a fun contrast with the savory vegetal start.

On to the second steep! The aroma is very green and fresh, notes of sweet peas, celery, bean sprouts, and bok choy, it is a bit broth like again, but more like crisp veggies overall. The taste starts out veggie heavy again, notes of cooked bok choy, mustard greens, bean sprouts, and asparagus eventually fade to sweet peas and water chestnuts, and again a finish of sugar cane. The sweet at the finish is rather refreshing.

I did not take too detailed notes as of steep three, mostly because it was mostly like steep two but less, no real change except diminished. I will say this for this particular tea, it was immensely refreshing. It is not the most memorable or nuanced tea I have had, and certainly not the best I have had from MeiMei Fine Teas, though it is tasty so it has my slurp of approval.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/meimei-fine-teas-organic-sichuan-zao.html

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Boo, I have nothing of relevance to start today’s blog with, turns out my plans for today are going to go poof and now I am sulking. So instead I shall talk about how Ben’s phone keeps changing his ringtone to totally random stuff. He did have the default for a while (so boring) and then about a day after Thanksgiving it switched to random Christmas jingles…which he promptly switched back to the default. Then his phone just rang and it was something random (some lady going do do DO DO do) which prompted him to be immensely confused. I am not sure why his phone is trolling him, but I am ok with it.

Once again we wander through the annals of history, aka my older tea notebook pile for a bit of a throwback tea. Today we are looking at DAVIDsTEA Alpine Punch, and it has been quite a long time since I looked at one of their teas! Usually I would get a sample of a seasonal tea, and by the time I got around to reviewing it, it had already stopped existing, oops, but Alpine Punch stayed around. It is a blend of Rooibos, Coconut Chips, Coconut Rasps, Apple, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamon, Black Pepper, Almonds, Rose Blossoms, and Natural and Artificial Almond Cream Flavoring. Looking at that list of ingredients intrigued me, it was like a Rooibos Kulfi, chai…thing, so I had to try some. The aroma is pretty delicious, like a blend of marzipan and roses, spices, and coconut. For some reason this tea reminds me of the best cake ever…not that I have ever had one that smelled like this, the blend is cake like and I want this as a cake.

Into the basket the bits go, I do not look forward to cleaning up the rooibos, always a pain since they get stuck in the strainer. The aroma is super delicious, strong notes of almonds and coconut with a heady accompaniment of roses and apples. The more I sniff the more the spice builds, it starts with cardamon and is joined by ginger and cinnamon with a sharp peppery finish. The aroma has a bit of coconut and apples, with sweet marzipan, and a strong woody sweetness. At the finish is the building warmth of spices that blend quite nicely with the woody Rooibos tones.

Since this is a tea with coconut in it, the mouthfeel is super thick and oily, which counteracts the at times dry and raspy mouthfeel of Rooibos, so if you are a person that hates that about Rooibos (I know several people like that) then I would say this one mostly bypasses it. The taste starts with coconut and apples, right around the end of the front taste, the cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper starts to build and stays quite strong until the end. At the midtaste there are roses and almonds, and the finish is a woody, honey note that lingers. This is a warm tea, aptly named, because I want to drink this while lounging in a snow fort.

For blog and (mediocre) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/davidstea-alpine-punch-tbt-tea-review.html

TeaExplorer

Have you thought about taking Ben’s phone to a voodoo priestess? It sounds like it’s been possessed.

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Well, I finally got an email from Fujifilm, they plan to have my camera fixed and shipped back in ten days. Ugh, waiting sucks! I am pretty sure everything is going to be covered by my warranty and such, and Ben is telling me not to worry too much because he will make sure things get handled, I just miss my camera. While it is away on its little vacation, I am only drinking teas I have logged notes for in my notebook pile and photographed, basically time for a giant sip-down.

Today’s tea from What-Cha is a bit of a magical one, or at least I think it is, Thailand Winter Frost Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. This fancy Jin Xuan is picked during the cold time of the year, allowing the leaves to be covered in frost causing the leaves to turn brown which changes the taste of the tea. Like bug-bitten teas but being bit by Jack Frost! Ok, I admit it, I have a thing for ice and frost, I want to be like Sub-Zero and learn Cryomancy, but since I can’t I get my magical frosty fix elsewhere. Also known as Hoarfrost Tea or Dong Pian (winter flake) this tea is quite fascinating, and currently seasonal! The aroma of the dry leaves is surprisingly fruity (unlike what I usually expect from a creamy Jin Xuan) with notes of nectarine, honeydew, and orange blossoms. Along with the fruit (and fruit flower) is honey and a touch of chestnut and a finish of gentle vegetation. This tea smells immensely sweet, and not really like winter, but that is not surprising.

Into the gaiwan the leaves go! The aroma of the now soggy and slowly unfurling leaves is a combination of necatrine and honeydew melon with a strange slightly rank undertone, it reminds me ever so slightly of rotten fruit being both sickly and sweet. The liquid is all sweetness, very citrus with notes of nectarines and oranges with orange blossom and honeysuckles.

The first steep is pleasantly mild, it starts with a gentle mineral note that transistions to sweet cream and then BOOM! Nectarines! it is like I bit into a juicy sweet nectarine (a warm one, mind you) it is smooth and a little citric sharp and immensely sweet. I love tangerines, they might be my favorite citrus (other than lemons, but I eat them wayyy differently than more orange-like citrus, I cover my lemons in salt) so having a note so reminiscent of tangerine in a tea is delightful.

Second steeping time, the aroma of the kinda rank fruit leaks into the aroma of the liquid this time, though giving it a good sniff, it isn’t rotting fruit…it is one of those more foul smelling orchids. Not the rotten meat orchid, but certainly one of the ones that smell like a weird mixture of honey and decay. Of course there are also notes of nectarines, and a tiny hint of cinnamon which adds a level of warmth. The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, a slight sharpness reminiscent of biting into a citrus fruit. The taste is light and buttery with a blend of nectarine and gentle honey, it is sweet and very light, an especially gentle Oolong.

For the aroma of the third steeping, there is only a little bit of that slightly rank orchid, along with honey and nectarines. The mouthfeel starts out smooth and ends with a crispness, like biting into a pile of lettuce. Tasting starts with gentle sweet honey and spice with sweet nectarine juiciness, this moves to a slight hint of cream and spice, and the finish is lettuce (specifically butterhead if you want to know the varietal) with a light aftertaste of nectarine. This tea was very light and pretty much always sweet, I admit the rank orchid aroma was a little off putting, but since it did not show up at all in the taste it was easy to overlook, similar to how I have run into a Sheng puerh that smells like a barn floor but tastes nothing like one, which is always a relief.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/what-cha-thailand-winter-frost-jin-xuan.html

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Patiently I am waiting, any day now the update for Minecraft will be released and boy is it a doozy! Currently I am wandering around my creative world, Ramble, making sure my transition to the update will be smooth. Building an aquarium for Guardians, getting the gardens ready for new flowers, creating a spot for a new ice castle…lots to do!

It is time for some Sheng! Today I am looking at Tanlong Premium Tea Collection’s 2011 Mengku Snow Mountain Hundreds Year Old Tea Tree Puerh, this Sheng comes from old trees high up in the mountains, and wow, are these leaves BIG. Big and silvery, covered with delicate trichomes, I admit I admired them for quite a while before I got around to drinking them. The aroma of these leaves is pungent! Strong notes of wet cedar, camphor, wet hay, and sweet raisins mix with a distinct aroma of white wine and cooked lettuce. Definitely an intense smelling tea, one that I indulged in sniffing for the entire time my kettle was heating up.

I decided to brew this one in my gaiwan, sometimes I give my Sheng pot a break, usually that is when I want to admire the leaves, and this was one of those times. The aroma of the now soggy leaves is a pungent blend of wine and fresh grapes, wet hay, wet grass, spinach, and an extremely delicate distant floral note that is almost impossible to pin down. The liquid is surprisingly sweet, with aroma notes of apples, honey, sweet freshly broken hay, grapes, and a hint of sweeter raisins. The aroma borders on creamy with its sweetness, making this possibly the sweetest Sheng I have sniffed.

The first steep is delicious! Very mellow and sweet with strong notes of raisins and broken hay, the raisin notes freshen up towards the end with notes of grapes and a finish of slightly crisp lettuce. I notice right away how this tea has a very relaxing and cooling qi, I will not be surprised if this tea gets me super tea drunk.

For this steep, the first thing I noticed about the aroma is the slightly surprising note of fresh dill, not what I was expecting! There are also notes of honey and grapes with a touch of hay and sage. The herbaceous turn of the aroma carried over to the taste, blending intensely sweet honey and grapes with a finish of sage and lingering dill. The taste reminds me of summer and gardening, and the cooling qi is refreshing.

That dill note is still here, which is really fun, I love dill and might say it is my favorite herb. There are notes of hay and oxalis with a touch of sage, not really sweet anymore focusing instead on herbaceous. Whoa, this tea did an about face, instead of being intensely sweet it starts out with an herbaceous bitterness that reminds me of fenugreek and spinach. After this bitterness there is a burst of sweetness like grapes and an intense salivary response, the finish is a floral blend of dill and asters with a lingering cedar coolness.

I went several more steeps with this tea, it stays herbaceous for quite a while, finishing off with mineral notes and a lingering sweetness. My prediction was correct, the qi was mellow but strong, I found myself wanting to melt into my chair while contemplating the wafts of steam coming from my cup.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/tanlong-premium-tea-collection-2011.html

ashmanra

I grow oxalis but didn’t know it was edible. I will have to experiment with it and see what it tastes like!

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

I am not sure if all oxalis is edible, I know there is a variety that grows in yards (the one that just looks like green clover with tiny yellow flowers) where the seed pods takes vaguely of pickles. Pickles and a bit of woodiness and straw, I tend to nibble on them a lot during the summer :P

So I just looked it up and, from wikipedia: Wood sorrel (a type of oxalis) is an edible wild plant that has been consumed by humans around the world for millennia.2 In Dr. James Duke’s Handbook of Edible Weeds, he notes that the Kiowa Indian tribe chewed wood sorrel to alleviate thirst on long trips, that the Potawatomi Indians cooked it with sugar to make a dessert, the Algonquin Indians considered it an aphrodisiac, the Cherokee ate wood sorrel to alleviate mouth sores and a sore throat, and the Iroquois ate wood sorrel to help with cramps, fever and nausea.2

The fleshy, juicy edible tubers of the oca (O. tuberosa), have long been cultivated for food in Colombia and elsewhere in the northern Andes mountains of South America.

It is grown and sold in New Zealand as “New Zealand yam” (although not a true yam), and varieties are now available in yellow, orange, apricot, pink, as well as the traditional red-orange3

The leaves of scurvy-grass sorrel (O. enneaphylla) were eaten by sailors travelling around Patagonia as a source of vitamin C to avoid scurvy.

In India, creeping wood sorrel (O. corniculata) is eaten only seasonally, starting December–January. The leaves of common wood sorrel (O. acetosella) may be used to make a lemony-tasting tea when dried

I did not know all of that! Very cool!

Wuyi-Wolf

Oxalis can cause or worsen gout as a warning…

Lion

I have a Plum Crazy oxalis which has magenta and black speckled leaves and yellow flowers, but it is currently in hibernation in my closet. I read that if they start to look weak you can cut them off from water and light for a few months to let them rest and they’ll come back strong when you start giving them water and light again.

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I have finally made a really tough decision, one that will affect a large part of next year…I am not buying any more tea or tea gear until I save up enough for an Xbone. I mentioned my reasoning for getting an Xbone over a new computer before, basically I want to expand and keep working on the world I have been building since the beginning of 2013, if I get a PC I would have to start over, and as silly as it sounds, Ramble is my home. Problem is I am running out of room, on the Xbone it will expand A LOT, and this is something I really want. So I have to make the choice, more tea or a new system, luckily I will still be in the couple of tea clubs I am a member of, so it is not like I am going to run out…plus I have a lot of tea I need to drink, like seriously, my stash is out of control. The hard part will, of course, be staying away from the thrift stores!

Today I am taking a look at Rosali Tea’s Blend No. 1 Assam, a single origin Black Tea from India, though alas I am not sure as to which estate it comes from. Assam was one of my first loves, I used to drink it a lot, well until the Dian Hong seduced me away with golden fuzzies, but I still love me a good Assam. But before I get into that, I just learned Rosali Tea is holding a contest to win a year of their tea, yeah I am so entering. So, back to tea! The aroma of the really quite sizable leaves (for Assam, I am used to them being small and tippy rather than full leaves) is really sweet. Strong notes of honey and malt with thick molasses and a slightly woody brisk undertone. This might be the most mellow and sweet Assam black teas I have sniffed, there is even a slight cacao shell note at the finish, which is neat!

Steeping apparatus time! Poor thing has felt neglected of late. The aroma of the now quite soggy leaves is malty and sweet, with a strong molasses presence, it kinda reminds me of a molasses cookie with its sweetness and slightly yeasty dough notes. Along side this is a slight woody briskness, which gives it a bit of liveliness in my nose. The liquid is rich and sweet, heavy notes of molasses and honey with brown sugar and malt. This is shaping up to be a killer sweet Assam, which is really quite entertaining.

Tasting time, and I decided to use my really quite outrageous vintage teacup, all about the lustreware! Starting out, the mouthfeel on this Assam is a fantastic blend of smooth and brisk, it is mellow while also waking up my mouth, it is pretty enjoyable. Sometimes I find Assam to be a little too brisk, but not this time. The taste starts sweet and stays sweet until the very end, with notes of caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. This moves to malt and a touch of a woody finish. I ended up resteeping this tea no problem, though I did not find much had changed between steepings. I think this might be the sweetest Assam I have had, not only did I love it, but the Tea Barbarian really enjoyed it, he practically drank all of it himself!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/rosali-tea-blend-no-1-assam-tea-review.html

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It is a bit chilly at the moment, but I am sitting happily with my windows open listening to the song of rainfall. Plus I live in the age of modern conveniences, specifically an electric heating pad which soothes my creaky old joints (fun not actually true fact, joints age 3 times as fast as the rest of you.) In fact the other day I was reminded how lucky I am for electric heating pads, back in the day I would have used a warming pan, basically a metal cannister on a stick you fill with coals and stuff under a cushion…or if my feet were cold I would have used a metal box filled with coals. In theory I would not be using either, since according to a doctor from 1709, the noxious fumes of the coal were detrimental to people with health problems, though I can admit I was sorely tempted to buy the (most likely) reproduction I saw at the thrift store the other day, not that I would use it. Personally the biggest me danger with one of those is a double whammy of being accident prone and having cats, both of these things and fire really do not mix.

Today we are looking at another tea from Thai tea company, Tea Side, specifically their Dong Fang Mei Ren (Oriental Beauty) Oolong Tea #AAA. This tea is one of those glorious bug-bitten Oolongs, and you know I owe it an apology, the first one I ever had (several years ago now) was pretty bland, so I kinda ignored it til about a year ago, and now I can’t seem to get enough of it…in fact I am debating getting a Yixing pot just for Oriental Beauty, or just mixing it with my Concubine pot…decisions decisions. Forgive me all those beautiful Oriental Beauties I ignored in the meantime, I was dumb. The leaves of this particular Dong Fang Mei Ren is delightfully fuzzy and fairly small, lots of little buds and small leaves. The aroma is a bouquet of citrus tree blossoms, grapefruit blossoms, tangerine blossoms, and orange blossoms, along with those are notes of fresh juicy white grapes, bee balm, honey, and the most delicate hint of autumn leaves at the finish. The bee balm citrus notes give it a sharpness, but the honey mellows it out.

Gaiwan time, and the aroma is intense, it totally fills the room with with intensely sweet floral note of grapefruit blossom and orange blossom, grapes, bee balm, honey, and zest. I am very amused by the levels of refreshing citrus. The liquid is zesty and sweet, with notes of grapefruit flowers, actual grapefruit, and lots of honey and grapes. I might be drooling just ever so slightly.

The first steep is entertainingly velvety in texture, due in part to the fuzzy trichomes, but also the texture is bouncy and smooth, I have no qualms saying it is sensual. The taste starts out a touch autumn leaf pile, not loamy, just like a pile of dried leaves, this moves pretty quickly to a sweet honey drenched grape explosion. The finish is a sweet and delicate blend of zest and grapefruit blossoms, the sweetness lingers for quite a while.

Onward to the second steeping, and the aroma intensifies along with the color darkening to a rich amber (like it looks exactly like a melted piece of amber, where the first steep liked a bit like copal…I am a dork) the aroma is sweet and filled with zest, honey, grapefruit, and the oh so wonderful grapefruit blossoms. The taste, oooh, not only it is aromatic, it is very tasty, definitely one of those teas that has a strong ‘taste in the nose’ starting with intense grapefruit blossoms and honey. This moves to zest, grapefruit, white grapes, and a lot of honey. This steep is immensely sweet and the aftertaste of honey lingers for sooooo long.

The third steeping is still quite aromatic, strong notes of zest and honey, grapefruit and more honey, and did I mention honey? Yeah, it is very sweet, the citrus notes and floral notes add a fascinating depth that I really like. This steep is smooth and sweet, the grapefruit and zest notes are mostly diminished, this steep is all about grapes and honey, it is mellow and so sweet, and that sweetness sticks around for a long time after the sipping. I really, really, enjoyed this tea, and foresee myself buying a nice stash of it when I run out of my sample.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/tea-side-dong-fang-mei-ren-oriental.html

TeaExplorer

Wow! This sounds like an excellent OB :)

Did you get any samples of their “Puerh-style” tea?

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

I did! So far all I have tried is one of the Shengs which I liked, I am looking forward to trying the rest but I am waiting for my camera to return from the shop so I can get pictures to go with my notes.

TeaExplorer

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on those :)

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Today I had a hilarious conversation with Ben about gods, mythology is a frequent subject we talk about since it is a mutual life-time obsession of ours, so apropos of nothing when he asked ‘what is your favorite obscure random god?’ it didn’t take me long to answer. I chose Zi Gu, the Tang Dynasty Chinese angry ghost who terrorized a toilet after being murdered, was then blessed by Empress Wu and turned into the Goddess of Toilets…that is some serious (if not very ill advised) life goals. Of course this led me to research other culture’s toilet gods and I learned that the main sewer of Rome was called the Cloaca Maxima and their Goddess was called Cloacina, who was eventually merged with Venus. I think eventually I should make a bathroom shrine to all the various toilet deities, because a functioning bathroom is a very important thing!

Oh man, I am stupidly lethargic today, so clearly that means I need to review an herbal tea, though honestly I drink so much tea that caffeine doesn’t affect me, but drinking an herbal tea before a nap or bedtime I find immensely soothing. The blend in question is Spring Clean by Blendbee, a combination of Dandelion Leaf, Nettle Leaf, Milk Thistle, Rose Hips, Ginger, Strawberry Leaf, Licorice Root, Chamomile, and Natural Fruit Flavor. No caffeine, plus a lot of these herbs (ginger, licorice, and milk thistle in particular) aid in healthy digestion, and nettle leaf is said to be good for allergies. The aroma of this herbal tea is quite, well, leafy and herbal! I can smell the ginger and citrusy rose hips, the sweet licorice, the dried chamomile and leafy nettle and strawberry leaf. It reminds me of the way an herb shop (or my mom’s kitchen during drying season) smells, and I find that comforting.

I decided to classic it up a bit and brew this blend in a steeping basket stuffed in my mug, mainly because I wanted a mug of it and not a dainty teacup. The aroma of the steeped leaves and bits is leafy and green, definitely strong in the herbaceous department, along with warm ginger, zingy rose hips, and sweet licorice. The liquid smells like a blend of straw and apples (hello chamomile) along with green leaves, citrus, and a touch of honey sweet licorice.

The first thing I noticed about this blend is how light it is, there are definite notes of licorice sweetness (and slipperiness, I find licorice has a slippery texture) at the front starting the tea sweet and having it stay that way. There are also leafy notes of nettle and strawberry leaf, they taste herbaceous and green, there is a subtle underlying earthiness, and the finish has a citrus slightly sour note from the rose hips. It taste sweet, refreshing, and very clean, the flavors are light which I find to be quite enjoyable. I think it might be nap time now!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/blendbee-spring-clean-herbal-tea-review.html

Cwyn

So did it work? Did it Clean you out?

Alexsia TeaNecromancer

I haven’t needed to run crying to the toilet yet…well…except for my perpetually full bladder :P

TeaExplorer

Your posts are so educational … I had no idea there were such things as toilet deities!

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Something is afoot in my aquarium! Two new creatures have moved in and are busily acting as vacuum cleaners, a pair of Black Mystery Snails! My combination of happy warm water, decent lighting, and fake plants has created a bit of an algae problem, and I thought…I need snails. Back when I had ALLLLLL the aquariums I had very little algae and all the snails, clearly my problem this time was a serious snail deficiency. Jace is confused by his new tankmates, he keeps slowly following them, and Liliana just drapes on them because she is a Kuhli Loach, draping on things is her favorite hobby. To keep with the Magic The Gathering naming convention, they are named Sorin and Nahiri, though I have no idea which gender either of them are because snails are notorious hard to sex.

Today I am looking at a black tea from what just might be my favorite Ceylon tea estate, presenting Joy’s Teaspoon Amba Ceylon OP1! This tea is a bit on the special side, since it takes the black tea and blends it with flower from the tea plant, and I absolutely love tea flowers. They are both beautiful and taste really good, mostly I have had them solo, but blending them with tea just makes sense. The aroma of the leaves and flowers is quite delicious, notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts (minus the salt) honey, asters (giving it a bit of a straw and pollen quality) and a finish of gentle malt. Usually I am not a huge fan of Ceylon black teas, because for some reason they smell and taste vaguely metallic to me, except for the ones that come from Amba Estate. They share similar qualities (more robust less sweet and chocolate) that I really appreciate in the Gongfu Red Teas from Fujian. The addition of tea flowers give it a flowery depth that makes it quite unique.

Brewing this tea in my steeping apparatus is quite a treat, the heavy tea leaves sink to the bottom and delicate blossoms dance on top of the liquid. The aroma if the leaves is sweet, with gentle notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, straw flowers and aster, with a finish of bright malt. The aroma of the liquid is sweet potatoes, honey, boiled peanuts and a nice finish of malt. It has a slight briskness to it, as well as a tiny distant floral note.

Sipping this tea, the first thing I noticed was a nice briskness, I mean a very nice briskness, not astringent or dry, it is lively on the tongue while also being smooth. The tasting starts out with notes of malt and sweet potato, with subtle sweetness. This moves to boiled peanuts (again minus the salt, because that would be unpleasant) and moves on to a touch of woodiness. At the finish the tea flowers really shine, bringing in notes of wildflowers, aster, and gentle honey, the honey notes lingering long after the sipping, it also finishes with a thick mouthfeel contrary to the brisk and smooth beginning. Luckily this tea holds up to another steeping, though it is not very strong, however the second steep really makes for a sweet and floral cup, and is very mellow.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/joys-teaspoon-amba-ceylon-op1-tea-review.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

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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