814 Tasting Notes

I have a fun story to tell today, a story about little ol me, specifically very little me. See, my mom has a nickname for me, ‘moonshine’ short for both ‘pumpkin moonshine’ and ‘moonshine girl’ so yeah, nothing to do with mountain booze, all about moons. This name came about when I was still toddling around, when we would visit my grandparents in Augusta (we lived in Aiken, SC, so really close) I would insist on wandering off in the evening to talk to the moon in some random made up language. I was especially drawn to moon viewing and chatting while there because they lived on a hill and I swear the moon was massive and frequently pumpkin orange, a magical looking thing to a tiny child. My obsession with the moon did not end as I grew up, you can still find me outside when everyone is asleep conversing with the moon in my own made up languages. And yes, the Tasha Tudor book by the same name was also a childhood favorite, but I think most her books were.

Today’s tea is one of many names, Red Jade, Sun Moon Lake Tea, #18, Ruby Red, Hong Yu, and I know there has to be something I am missing. Dachi Tea’s No 11 Sun Moon Lake #18, a tea with a unique story, see what makes this tea so special is it is a blend of native Taiwanese tea trees and the Assamica cultivar, usually this tea comes from the valley around Sun Moon Lake (name drop!) but this tea was sourced from their grower in Pinglin, adding a unique spin to the familiar tea. This tea is also a tea of many faces, if you look at a dozen vendor’s descriptions they all list it as distinct, but they all seem to have similar yet different notes: cloves, mint, cinnamon, eucalyptus…but none ever list the note that makes this tea iconic to me, and I admit it took me tasting it a few times before I facepalmed realizing that note that kept escaping me was one right out of my childhood. Sassafras! I had sassafras trees all over my yard in Georgia, their differently shaped leaves and wonderful smelling bark was a staple, that I would nibble on more often than I probably should have. If I am doing my quick and very scan-heavy research correctly, Safrole is chemically similar to cloves, bay, cinnamon, and a ton of other things, fascinating! Anyway, tangent aside, leaves! The aroma is complex, strong notes of sassafras with an accompaniment of cinnamon, sweet potatoes, peanuts, honey, and a touch of menthol and pepper at the finish.

Brewing time, and whoa, that is a potent pile of soggy leaves. Strong notes of cinnamon and menthol waft out with the steam, alongside cloves and peanuts, with a finish of sassafras. There is a hint of woodsiness at the finish as well. The liquid is nutty and sweet, peanuts and cloves, and a distinct woody sassafras note at the finish. Definitely smells like I just broke some sassafras sticks under my nose.

The first steep is yum, it is smooth and rich, and very sweet. Starting out with notes of cinnamon and sassafras, it moves on to yams and honey. The finish is a lingering sweetness of honey, a touch of malt, and a delicate roasted peanut earthiness. The aftertaste of honey lingers for quite a while, making me feel all fancy and contemplative.

Second steep, the aroma is strong with the sweet potatoes, and I find it amusing that the smell is sweet potato and the taste is yam, such a subtle yet important distinction. Alongside the sweet potato is sassafras and a touch of honey. The taste is ramping up, the sassafras notes and cinnamon notes are joined by cloves and a touch of menthol at the front. The midtaste brings with yams and honey and still really potent sassafras and cloves…kinda makes me want candied yams. The finish is all honey and lingering sweetness, with just a tiny tiny hint of malt. This steep has some oomph to it.

Third steep, and wow, it is still going strong and also getting stronger, I was not sure that was possible because the aroma is already pretty intense. Strong notes of sweet potato and cloves, sassafras and honey great my nose. The taste is still ramping up, strong notes of malt, sassafras and cloves take the forefront. The midtaste is woody and yam heavy with a note of peanuts. The finish, like before is lingering sweet honey. I went on for a couple more steeps, and yeah, I got very tea drunk from it, this is an intense #18!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/dachi-tea-no-11-sun-moon-lake-18-tea.html

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Honey, Malt, Mint, Yams

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Two very interesting bits of gaming related news today! The first one, the newest Minecraft snapshot introduced Skeletons on skeleton horses, how cool is that? First they tame spiders and now skellie horses, truly those bony archers are the true masters of Minecraft, Ben and I have been theorizing this for years. The other bit of news is a bit personal, in Terraria, after many nights summoning Pumpkin Moons and killing soooooooo many Pumpkin Kings, I finally got the Raven Staff and the Spider pet. So yes, I am a dark-elf summoner with an army of ravens and an adorable spider…who occasionally rides a UFO, or unicorn when I am feeling fancy.

Tis time for my daily-ish tea rambling, looking at What-Cha’s Malawi Zomba Steamed Green Tea, a tea whose name will forever make me think of zombies, same with the Zomba Pearls, I am sorry, that is just the way my brain works, same with seeing blooming teas as baby Cthulhu. This tea hails from the Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi, a place that has made several of my favorite teas, but really the artisan teas that come out of Africa I have found to be mind blowing, at first I wondered if it was just the uniqueness factor, but the more drink them I realize that nope, I just really like them. So, how about these leaves? The aroma is surprisingly nutty, like cashews, with a strong green presence, notes of greenbeans, cucumber, a tiny touch of seaweed, and a touch of sweet honey and a zingy note of citrus. Hilariously at the finish is a very distinct note of zucchini, I say hilarious because it comes out of nowhere, like you are sitting sniffing your tea and a zucchini falls from the sky into your leaves, it is quite distinct indeed.

So for brewing I did a somewhat pseudo gongfu session, brewing in my gaiwan but for a longer time more similar to western style. Basically I wanted to play with my gaiwan, like I do. The aroma is no longer a finish of zucchini, the zucchini decided it liked me and wanted to stay at the forefront of things, it is joined by hay, sweetgrass, cut grass, and a bit of flowers and citrus. It oddly reminds me exactly of my Grandparent’s garden during summer. The liquid however, is nutty, blending cashews and chestnuts, with lemon leaves and grass.

The tea is really light with an almost buttery mouthfeel, it has a bunch of things going on for such a light tea too. Starting with a gentle sweetness of nuttiness and honey, it pretty immediately moves to gentle sea air, and then to a pile of vegetal notes, bell pepper, zucchini, and a slightly peppery spinach finish. What a fun first steep!

Second steep, the aroma is a blend of sweet nuttiness and green, it is a tea that smells very much so like ‘tea’ like the distilled essence of what fresh off the bush tea leaves smell like. This time the mouthfeel is more brisk, less buttery, starting with sea air and moving on to zucchini and chestnuts with a very snappy green pepper finish.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/what-cha-malawi-zomba-steamed-green-tea.html

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Alas! It did not storm yesterday, and on second looking at the weather, apparently I misread ‘early Thursday morning’ as early Tuesday, whoops! It is ok, because today was another comfy, blustery, windows open day, a day made for daydreaming about mountain forest frolics and coming home to a pile of fuzzy blankets and freshly baked bread. Ah, daydreaming!

Today we are looking at a tea that is anything but evocative of autumn, it is Tao Tea Leaf’s Shifeng Longjing Green Tea-Premium. Longjing (or also commonly known as Dragonwell, the translation of Longjing) is one of the most well loved teas of the spring harvest, some of us spend all year excitedly waiting the various harvests of this flat pan-fried leaves. The name Shifeng refers to one of the mountain peaks in the Xihu growing region, I think, it might be a mountain range and not a peak, or the name of a region in Hangzhou. As interesting as all that is, the real important thing is whether or not the tea is any good. The aroma is fairly delicate, not an overpowering scent, but it does have very distinct notes, specifically vegetal ones. Blending notes of snap peas, celery, greenbeans, asaragus, and a finish of sweet and sesame seeds. Sniffing this tea it is definitely a dragonwell, blending the iconic vegetal notes and that toasty sesame seed note that to me is very iconic, which I believe comes from the pan firing step of processing.

Dragonwell means time for the dragon gaiwan, just lungs everywhere! Though surprisingly I did not use my dragon cup, opting for my possible Tongzhi era cup instead, because it is still the new hotness in my collection. Now that the leaves have had a steeping, the aroma is heavy and thick in the vegetal department, especially the notes of asparagus, cooked cabbage, and greenbeans, it is a savory aroma with just a hint of nutty sweetness at the finish. The liquid is very light, but the notes that do waft out of my cup are green and fresh, asparagus with a hint of sauteed sesame seeds.

First steep, it starts out very smooth with a nice nutty blend of chestnut and sesame seeds, bringing out just a touch of sweetness at the start. This moves on to peas and edamame with a slightly savory sauteed bok choy and a slightly spicy (like VERY distant allspice) honey sweet finish.

On to the second steep, still a fairly light aroma, with asparagus and sesame seeds, adding a tiny hint of peas with this steep. The tasting experience is still very smooth, a nice light and smooth mouthfeel. The taste is all vegetal all the time, notes of asparagus and bok choy, edamame and peas, and a finish of greenbeans. Even though the notes are distinct none of them are very powerful, this is a delicate tea.

So, this last steep had pretty much no aroma, just a hint of asparagus. The taste was also pretty mild, almost nothing going on, like spring water and a touch of asparagus and bok choy. Even though this tea kinda petered out, I found the first two steeps delightfully light and refreshing. I am certainly fond of these delicate teas once in a while, as for an everyday drinker I prefer a Longjing with more of an oomph that I can just have, a tea as dainty as this needs concentration and complete focus, so not a bad thing on occasion.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tao-tea-leaf-shifeng-longjing-green-tea.html

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It is a beautiful day today, a strong breeze and cool air (though alas, not as cool as yesterday) a crisp blue sky, and the wonderful sound of leaves rustling around outside. I have my windows open (throwing caution to the wind regards to allergies!) and I am just loving the breeze, though I do admit it made varnishing my miniatures a real nightmare earlier. There is a 70% chance of storms this evening, and if it does storm, I will decry this a perfect day weather wise…start out snuggling in a sweater, finish in a t-shirt. Total win.

So, remember a while ago I mentioned MeiMei Fine Teas as a tea shop that would be opening soon? Well, good news everyone, they opened! So that means it is time to look at another one of their teas, specifically Meng Ding Sweet Dew (or Meng Ding Gan Lu) a gloriously fuzzy and very delicate green tea. Seriously the leaves are so tiny and curly, with a delicate coating of silver trichomes, they are very pretty little things. The aroma of the little leaves is very green and vegetal, strong notes of artichoke and asparagus mix with parsnip and greenbeans, with an addition of a sweet touch of sesame seeds and a crisp note of celery at the finish. I am pleased to announce while sniffing I did not manage to get any up my nose, victory!

I decided to brew these in my green tea pot, and not just because I tend to go giggly when I see the beautiful contrast of red clay and green leaves. The aroma of the less fuzzy but very vibrant leaves is a fresh burst of vegetal greenness. Notes of fresh spinach, celery, and artichoke with a distinct note of parsnip, which is entertaining since it is both sharp and sweet, and not a note I encounter very often. The liquid is a blend of parsnip, spinach, and a hint of sesame, just a touch on the sweet side and very green and fresh.

First steep is buttery while also being light, not a tea that coats the mouth, more like it dances on the tongue light as a breeze. It starts out surprisingly sweet, with notes of sesame seeds and honey, this moves to parsnips and spinach, the finish is where it is at though. Perhaps it is the placebo effect of the name, but the taste reminds me of the taste of morning dew off leaves, refreshing and clean. This pleases me.

Onward to the second steeping, the aroma is sweet and vegetal, sharp notes of parsnip and rich notes of spinach. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker this time, the taste does not really change from the previous steep, the parsnip and spinach notes with accompanying sweetness remain, but the notes are more intense this time around. The dew like cleanliness at the end is still there as well, but it is not stronger since stronger dew would be a bit odd.

Third steeping time! The aroma has a stronger parsnip note this time, sweet and sharp with a slight hint of greenness from spinach. The taste is very sweet this time, honey sesame and parsnip notes dominate with a lingering spinach note at the finish, no more dew this time, looks like the sun dried it up. This tea did not evolve very much over steeping, but I did not find myself bored, the tea tasted clean and so I went away from it feeling very refreshed.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/meimei-fine-teas-meng-ding-sweet-dew.html


Man, this sounds incredible!

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I took the most epic power nap yesterday, a 17 hour power nap! I think it was the blissfully cool air and cats that would not stop snuggling me that really caused this nap of epicness, it was as refreshing as a mountain spring on a hot day. I broke out one of my sweaters today, a great fuzzy thing with a huge cowl (or a food trough as I call it since you know, crumbs) and a strange slit going up the back that means I always need an undershirt, because why is there a back vent? It is thick and fluffy meaning not a sweater for a hot day…and if it is cool enough you need this sweater you will not appreciate the draft. Mysterious clothing design is mysterious.

Today I am looking at Tea From Vietnam’s Ta Xua Mountain Mist, a Maocha from high in the Ta Xua Mountains of Northwest Vietnam. A region, it is pointed out in the description, that borders Yunnan, that grand producer of some of my favorite teas. Honestly if I had no idea where this tea was from, I would wonder if it was a Yunnan green tea, because it has that distinct terroir notes that I recognize from teas in that region, part of the fun part of nature not really paying attention to country borders and just following geology (and weather patterns of course.) The notes I pick up from the dry leaves are woody and smoky with distinct notes of peaches and a touch of spinach. It has the aroma of a distant mountain forest fire, clean mineral heavy spring water, and ripe peaches, one of those teas where the name matches the description indeed!

I decided to brew thing grandpa style, a way I am much enamored of using for green teas from Yunnan, so why not try it with its close neighbor? There is just something very appealing about taking old mountain grown trees and tossing their fluffy leaves into a bowl and adding water, watching as they slowly plump up and unfurl, and blowing them around the bowl as I sip around them. Doubly so while doing so on a sunny morning while lying in bed reading, seriously it is a fantastic thing. Tasting this tea starts off gentle, distant smoke and clean mineral spring water with a distant note of peach. The longer it steeps the more the sweet peach and smoke notes come out, along with a touch of citrus and vegetal notes of steamed spinach and asparagus. After many refills of my bowl (great staying power) it finally faded to gentle mineral notes and a touch of lingering sweetness.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tea-from-vietnam-ta-xua-mountain-mist.html

Flavors: Asparagus, Citrus, Mineral, Peach, Smoke, Spinach

Christina / BooksandTea

Man, that nap sounds awesome. This weekend was the first one that was cold enough for an extra layer, and it made me so happy to stay warm inside while it was cooler and crisper outside.

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Guys, I think next month I a going to break down and buy a camera. This saddens me for a few reasons, the first one being the death of a friend, see my camera was a gift from Ben when we were at Unistar. I was using a really crap camera to do nature photography, and more importantly to catalog all the fungi on this weird island to write a field guide. I needed a better camera desperately, so five years ago I got my Fujifilm S1800, my baby. But it is dying, after years of much love, and it is time to move on, I was hoping to get a super fancy one with the ability to switch out lenses, actually photograph lightning, and all those bells and whistles, but they are not cheap, that is like ‘save all my money for a year’ kinda new electronic. So I am compromising and going to probably get a Fujifilm S8630, it will take all my money next month (I swear I am never going to get new clothes after that dryer incident…priorities man, I has them) and will be great for my blog photography and basic nature photography. Compromises are not always bad!

Ok, enough about electronics, tea time! Today I a looking at Dachi Tea’s No 5 Verdant Valley Oolong, a Baozhong from beautiful Taiwan, just east of Taipei actually. If you get the chance, you should check out the website for this tea, it has a great aesthetic, but more importantly, it tells information about the tea and its grower, including a video interviewing Mr. Weng and showing the process of making the tea. If you are like me and find this stuff just wonderfully fascinating, then trust me, it is worth a look. Ah, Baozhong, this tea is a notorious flowery explosion, and these leaves do not disappoint. The aroma starts out with sweet honey and flower nectar, lots of spring flower notes of hyacinth, lilac, and a touch of honeysuckles. Along with the spring flowers is a gentle note of broken sweet hay and a tiny touch of nuttiness.

Brewing this tea is a lovely sensory experience, it is like spring wafting out of my teapot, fresh broken green vegetation (much like walking through a garden and gently crushing leaves as you walk) and of course flowers, hyacinth, lilac, and even a touch of slightly spicy Asiatic lily at the finish. The liquid is very sweet, a blend of honey and flower nectar and buttery green growth. It has a freshness to it, which is very evocative of springtime.

The first steep is smooth and buttery in its mouthfeel, it is refreshingly smooth without being thick. The taste starts out predictably sweet and floral, with strong notes of lilac and hyacinth. This initial flowery burst transitions to refreshing green vegetation, like crushed leaves and grass, with a slight vegetal buttery note. The finish is honey and it lingers for a while.

Typing with a lap full of a cold cat is hard. just a word to the wise. The aroma of the second steep is heady but light, it is like walking through my local formal garden at spring, so many hyacinths and lilacs blooming, I even get a bit of daffodil and lily as well. The taste is very rich, creamy and thick mouthfeel, and so sweet. There are notes of sweet honey and flower nectar, I feel like a butterfly drinking this stuff. The flowery notes moves to a slightly mineral spring rain storm and lush vegetation at the midtaste, with a finish of honey sweetness.

Third steeping time! Espeon is now using my notebook as a pillow, luckily not on the page I am trying to read! The aroma is buttery vegetation and flowery intensity, heady with all the blossoms, I feel like sinking into a bed of hyacinths and taking a nap surrounded by bees and butterflies. I am not a Disney princess, I swear. The taste this time is focusing on the green aspect of the tea, crushed rain covered vegetation and freshly harvested hay and straw. The finish is sweet and honey, with a lingering floral note. Usually I find Baozhong kinda fizzles out after four or so steeps, I ended up sitting with this one for a while, not sure if because this Baozhong was fresher or if it is a testament to its quality.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/dachi-tea-no-5-verdant-valley-oolong.html

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I might be going to the zoo tomorrow, how fun! It is a big might, see my local zoo sends out these coupons that allows two people free entry one day on a few randomly selected months, and September is one of those months. I am a bit stir crazy, but it seems every time I go out my ‘condition’ gets worse, exacerbated by my already annoying social anxiety, so now I am phobic of leaving the house. Fingers crossed, I want to go to the zoo, it is one of my great joys. Now if only the somewhat tiny ‘chainstore’ version of the local aquarium would give out free passes, oh I would spend all day with the fishes!!

So, tea time! Today I am talking about What-Cha’s Vietnam Wild ‘Mountain Mist’ Silver Needle White Tea, a White Tea from the Assamica varietal, plucked from possibly up to 800 year old trees grown in the Yen Bai Province of Vietnam and harvested by the H’mong Ethnic People. This fancy tea was sourced by Geoff Hopkins of Hatvala, a company whose mission is to spread the word of Vietnamese teas, something you guys probably know I am a fan of. The aroma of the gently fuzzy needles (they have a slight curl to them) is a fascinating blend of sweetness in the form of peaches and green melon, green in the form of cucumber and a touch of celery, and a hint of smoke. The name Mountain Mist is fitting, the aroma is light and airy, crisp and clean, with a wispy hint of distant hearth fires, it is evocative of the environment it was grown.

Into my steeping vessels the leaves went, it took a while for the water to permeate the fuzzy trichome sheath turning the leaves plump and green. The aroma of the wet leaves is an even blend of cucumbers, green melons, watermelon rind, and smoke. It leans more towards cooling vegetal than sweet. The liquid smells sweet and refreshing, blending melon rind, honeydew, and cucumber.

The first steep is intensely cooling! That is very refreshing, starting in the belly and spreading out to my fingers, remind me to keep this stashed away for next time I have a fever! It is very light and clean, reminds me very much of rain water in the mountains. The taste starts with gentle smoke and then moves to melon and peaches with a finish of cucumbers and distant flowers. It is almost effervescent in its lightness.

I went for a second steep, the aroma has a stronger smoke note and a crisp barely ripe peach note as well. It is still potently cooling, though not quite as much so as the first steep, the taste has a slightly astringent edge to it this time, while still being light and airy. Sweet peach, smoke, and melons mix together, with a slightly gentle smoke aftertaste. This was quite the unique tea!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/what-cha-vietnam-wild-mountain-mist.html

Christina / BooksandTea

I’m sorry to hear about your social anxiety. Maybe it will help to think that since school is now back in session, it won’t be as full of families with kids?

Alexsia 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Thanks, it is not so much the people, it is the ‘leaving the safety of my house’ good ol’ fashion agoraphobia. Usually it is not that bad, but after having a couple seizures while out and public, it has flared up again.

Chances are all the pretty animals will distract me enough though ;)


Still you write so darn well, Soggy, your writing is beautiful.

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Good morning all, and by good morning I mean it is 10 PM, yep, sleep schedule went all pear shaped again, but I honestly don’t care overly much. It currently is where I go to sleep late in the afternoon meaning I can still do things early in the day. No matter how nocturnal I am, it will always be a tad uncanny to wake up at night, guess I am not that hardcore! It used to weird me out when I worked night shift, especially in the winter, I would go to sleep when it was dark and wake up when it was dark, it skews the sense of time ever so slightly.

Today is an Oolong day, looking at Tao Tea Leaf’s Bei Dou Oolong. This is a not quite as well known as its cousins Yancha (or Wuyi Rock Oolong) whose name translates to North Star (must resist Fist of the North Star references, must resist!) This Yancha was first created in the 1950s, grown from cuttings taken from THE original very old Da Hong Pao bushes, the very ones that an emperor thought needed a fancy red robe. The creator of this tea, Yao Ye Ming had his research lab destroyed during the Cultural Revolution (thanks, guys, I really could go into such a rant about how revolutions that destroy art, history, religious things and science infuriate me, but I shall spare you all) but he continued in secret, Bei Dou surviving, allowing us to enjoy this tea scientist’s work. The appearance is a typical Yancha, curling and dark, and the aroma sings the song of its people, rich and loaded with char. Strong notes of cocoa, char, a distinct smoke along with the char, and a nice underlying sweetness. The more I sniff while waiting for the water to heat, I also detect a bit of nuttiness, but it is more like a nutshell, the sharp aroma of black walnut shell.

I have to apologize for the lack of photos. My camera corrupted the images, on the camera they look fine but after uploading they are unable to view, I desperately need a new camera, hopefully I can get one before it dies and this becomes a very sad blog. Help! I don’t want to just use my phone! Into my yixing the leaves go for their short steep. The aroma takes on a bunch more layers now that it is a pile of soggy leaves, along side the notes of char and cocoa are delicate notes of distant flowers, wet slate, cooked stone fruit, and a finish of black walnuts (not the shell this time.) The liquid is a three way tie between stone fruit (more plum than cherry, but there is a cherry hint too) wet slate, and char. At the finish is a distant crushed orchid sweetness as well.

First steeping time, the first thing I notice is the strong mineral presence, this Yancha puts the rock in rock oolong and I love that. Seriously, it reminds me of licking rocks, a hobby I have on occasion, since they have their own distinct flavors, wet slate and quartz being among my favorites. After that initial mineral burst the taste moves to a blend of cocoa and char with a touch of sweetness, the finish is woody and has a building sweetness that reminds me a bit of jaggery.

Onward to the next steep, I feel a pleasant tingling from the last steeping, Yancha has such great Qi! The aroma is roasty toasty, notes of char and smoke with roasted black walnuts and mineral, there is also an underlying sweetness like burnt sugar at the finish. The taste this time is less char and more burnt toast, there is a definite bready note to the empyreumatic notes this time. There is also a strong mineral presence and cocoa, again the finish is like jaggery with also a touch of lingering dark chocolate. I now want to melt dark chocolate and jaggery and drink it.

Third steeping time, the aroma is mostly gentle char, toast, and mineral. A hint of underlying sweetness remains, but the aroma is not as potent as before. Whoa, where did the mineral and char go? I am left with a smooth mouth full of jaggery, dates, cooked plums, and a touch of cocoa. I think the tea became sad that I wanted melted chocolate so turned on the sweetness factor in a plea to not leave. Don’t worry tea, I won’t leave. I got one more steep before it fizzled out, usually I find Yancha ends in mineral, so I found it fascinating that this one started with mineral and ended in sweetness.

For blog and photo: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/tao-tea-leaf-bei-dou-oolong-tea-premium.html


i love this tea . yum

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Well, my sleep schedule has gotten a bit confused. New meds and my monthly bout of weird sleep schedule flipping means that I was up til like 2pm this afternoon, and then slept til 8pm. It is very disorienting waking up at night, even me being nocturnal a lot, I prefer late afternoon wake ups. When I was a kid, my favorite thing was the time I didn’t go to work with my family, because it meant that I got to sleep til late in the afternoon, one of the reason I have worked a lot of night shift jobs in my past. I am a night owl…clearly that means I need an owl teapet!

Recently Teavivre introduced a line of herbal teas, this idea intrigued me because they seem to be mostly flower based, tea friends…I have a weakness for drinking flowery teas. When I was younger (wow, lots of younger days stories) I would gather up the edible flowers from my mom’s garden and make teas from them, they were usually loaded with sugar and more like flowery syrup, but I loved them. This love has not died, and is very fitting for Bucolic Jasmine Herbal Tea, a blend of Jasmine, Roses, Chrysanthemum, Osmanthus, and Stevia leaves. If you know from my history of tea rambling, jasmine, rose, and osmanthus are probably some of my favorite flowery notes, so this sounds fun. The aroma is a summer day in a garden, very heady and sweet, strong notes of roses and jasmine with a moderate sweet osmanthus note. The finish is a gentle sweet honey and that hay spiciness that is chrysanthemum.

Into my steeping vessel the tea goes, making me both happy and sad. Sad because the beautiful and vibrant flowers always look so sad when they are steeped, no color and floppy. Happy because it smells really good, like a room of blooming roses and jasmine, with a distant hint of osmanthus. I hope the osmanthus is not overshadowed because it is probably my favorite flower to have as a tea. The liquid is a bit more mellow, the three main flowers are balanced and the chrysanthemum adds a tiny hint at the end.

Ah stevia, you are such a fun thing. It is very sweet and distinct, having a natural sweetness similar to sugar but with more in common with licorice with its lingering sweetness, I like stevia leaves. That is the first thing I noticed, the stevia sweetness, then jasmine and rose, lots of jasmine and rose. Towards the middle and end there is osmanthus with a finish of gentle green and lingering sweetness. I did not really taste chrysanthemum, and other than smelling it a bit, I would not have known it was in there. I steeped it twice since the website recommends it and it was pretty bland, most the taste was in the first steep. I liked it, this is a tea that is unassuming enough I can sip it when I am feeling off and want something flowery without being overwhelmed.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/09/teavivre-bucolic-jasmine-herbal-tea-tea.html

Flavors: Jasmine, Osmanthus, Rose, Straw, Sweet


I dislike stevia! But I will have to check out the other herbals based on this review and see if there are some without it, because now I want some!


Stevia is ok in very tiny doses. I got a bottle dropper of it and sometimes I literally put in one drop. It can get rather sickening quickly.

Alexsia 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I go a big nope nope nope on Stevia drops and extract (or distillation, whatever the process is there) it is just sooo sickeningly sweet. The plant itself is delicious though, I find it has some of the same taste with much milder sweetness. I have a friend who grows it and I munch on the leaves when I visit :P

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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


Kansas City, MO



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