338 Tasting Notes

93

I had an awesome day, best day I have had in a while! Lately all my plans have been going poof for one reason or another so when everything went perfectly today it made it all the sweeter. First off I got a gloriously comfy new desk chair and shelves from a very nice lady on freecycle, the chair is high back and leather just like my old beloved chair, and the shelves are a perfect fit for my Tea Lair. Ben decided to take me out for an afternoon snack at Subway and shopping at the thrift store where he bought me some awesome new clothes. Also the radio seemed to be playing all the right music so I had fun dancing and singing like a goof. All an all, awesome day.

Today’s tea is a little bit of summer captured in tea, Sencha Summer Citrus by Yunomi.us and Ocharaka Tea Shop. This beautifully bright green sencha is blended with Natsumikan (translates to Summer Tangerine) a type of citrus native to Japan. The only distinctly Japanese citrus I have had is Yuzu, so it was exciting to research the Natsumikan a bit, famous in the city of Hagi and frequently brought back as a souvenir. They are described as being a blend of oranges, lemons, and grapefruits with a more sour quality. Sounds exciting! The aroma of this summer themed tea is intensely citrus, true to the description it smells like a citrus salad rather than one specific fruit. There is also the sencha aroma, delightfully fresh sweet grass and mown hay. It blends quite wonderfully with the slightly sweet and slightly sour citrus aroma from the Natsumikan.

Steeping the leaves brings out more the the fresh green aroma, very evocative of a field in summer, full of fresh grass, sweet hay, and a delicate touch of vegetal. There is of course still the aroma of citrus, but it is much milder and mostly sweet like oranges. The liquid is delightfully green with notes of fresh grass and vegetal (I want to say artichoke and lettuce but it is very faint) there is also a very delicate touch of kelp and of course an undertone of citrus.

The taste is mild and refreshing, it is very much so something I would want to sip during a summer day. There is a bit of citrus sweetness, again with the blend of different citrus fruits, and a midtaste of sour citrus, but it fades to sweetness again which is quite nice. There is a green, fresh grass quality that blends well with the citrus, the green is more vegetation than vegetal so it almost feels like you have the citrus leaves as well as the fruit. As the tea cools the citrus becomes sweeter and the sencha takes on a vegetal lettuce quality. This tea is good both hot and cold, and it might be the best citrus themed teas I have yet to taste.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/yunomius-and-ocharaka-tea-shop-sencha.html

Flavors: Grass, Lemon Zest, Orange Zest

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

I think officially spring is here, it is warm, bright, and sunny…and I have started getting Pollen Alerts in my email. Though if I have learned anything in my time living in Kansas City, it is that the weather and seasons are very unpredictable, it might feel like spring now but in a week we could be buried under snow again.

Today’s tea arrived in the mail when I was recovering from the flu, meaning I had to wait till I could fully taste and smell things properly, and it is finally that time! Tiger Monk Roasted Oolong by Temple Road Tea is a roasted oolong from Taiwan and is of the Shan Lin Xi variety and is the first tea in their Martial Monk series. The aroma is really quite intense, blending caramelized sugar and roasted nuts with lesser notes of raisins. The tightly rolled leaves have a finishing aroma of coal and fresh wood. I was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the aroma is, it blends really well with the smoky coal finish.

Once steeped and unfurled a bit, the leaves take on the complex blend of cherries and coal, milk and cocoa. It is very rich and has pleasant layers of aromas that fills me with the desire to keep sniffing, I want to see what other aromas come wafting off the wet leaves. The liquid is creamy and rich with strong notes of coal and a hint of sweet cocoa.

The first steeping is very smooth, the first thing I notice is the initial buttery mouthfeel, the creamy taste that accompanies the tea is wonderful. The tea is sweet with flavors of dried cherries and raisins with a strong wood smoke and coal finish. If the first steep is anything to go by I can say I am going to love this tea, it mixes some of my favorite qualities of Jin Xuan and Roasted Da Hong Pao.

The aroma of the leaves from the second steeping still has the sweet fruity aroma from earlier, but the cocoa and coal notes are stronger, now there is also a hint of roasted nuts. The aroma of the liquid is caramel sweet and cocoa rich with a pleasant kick of roasted nuts. The mouthfeel of this steeping is not as buttery, in fact it has a bit of a bitter dryness to it, similar to a mouthful of roasted hazelnuts (yes I do know exactly what that tastes like). The coal and wood smoke taste is much stronger with this steeping as well, it is a potent steep rivaling Lapsang Souchong for smokiness, except it is like cherry wood smoke rather than pine wood since it has a distinct sweet floral quality. Speaking of sweetness the finish is powerfully sweet, it goes from coal to smoke in an instant and the flip-flop of taste is an awesome transition.

The third steeping’s aroma is almost identical to the second, but this time the liquid had a slight hint of malt. The mouthfeel is dry and the flavor is mostly sweet this time, I think almost all the smoke was left behind in the previous steep. This time I get honey, cherries, and roasted nuts as the main flavor notes. There is a hint of cocoa at the end, throughout the entire sipping experience is the ghost of smoke, like a strong breeze blew away all the smoke from a forest fire, but the memory is still left in the nose and mouth. This tea kinda blew me away, I almost feel like the tea was misnamed, it should have been Phoenix Monk since I felt much like the Phoenix going through a smoky journey with this tea. I think I found a new favorite.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/temple-road-tea-tiger-monk-roasted.html

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Stonefruits

K S

I have a sample of this on the way. Reading your review I can’t wait. It just may get bumped to the front of the long line when it arrives.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I hope you enjoy it! I am so glad I waited until I was fully able to taste it because wow!

Temple Road Tea

Hi Amanda, Max here. Now that is a review! We’re so glad you enjoyed the tea and that you took the time to write such a detailed review, Thank you! Phoenix Monk?! Really?! Haha, I have to admit it is a pretty cool name, but the Tiger Monk shall live! As a token of our appreciation we’d like to send a little treat your way. Look for an email from us in the next 24 to 48 hours. Cheers!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Hehe, I couldn’t help myself with the Phoenix Monk, Tiger Monk is of course a wonderful name, and certainly quite distinctive…just like the tea! Thank you for the treat, I will be sure to keep an eye out. :)

Temple Road Tea

I’m sorry, we’re experiencing some delays. Rest assured you’ll hear from us soon!

Temple Road Tea

A New Tea Is Out! You’ll receive a free 10g sample of the Crane Monk Light Oolong Premium Tea for previously reviewing the Tiger Monk. Simply send an email to [email protected] to help us link your Steepster user name to your Temple Road subscribing member email address. Also, feel free to take advantage of our 50% discount offer, go to www.templeroadtea.com. Thank you!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Email sent! Thank you so much!!

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98

I am so happy, I went to check the mail and discovered that I had no mail…wait, that is really sad…the reason I am happy is because it was beautifully warm today! No sunlight (always a plus) and spring-like warmth, for the first time in a while I was able to toss open the windows and enjoy some fresh air. Today was also a day for a new Minecraft Texture Pack, the City Texture Pack which has mobs in suits and some really gorgeous texturing. Playing around with my mom on the Xbox today, we both decided it would be our new ‘everyday’ texture pack, replacing the Natural Pack. Also, for anyone who is keeping track of these things, I almost have my huge star jar filled with 2,000 lucky stars filled up, yay!

Today’s tea is an innovative spin on a traditional Japanese tea, Verdant Tea’s Laoshan Black Genmaicha! This blend is created from Laoshan Black Tea, Minnesota Wild Rice, Organic Fair Trade Jasmine Rice, Organic Cacao Nibs, and Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong. This was the tea that convinced me to first order from Verdant Tea over a year ago, I saw it and fell in love with the idea, but did I fall in love with the tea? The aroma is decadent, very rich chocolate and nutty notes. There is also a rich malt aroma from the black tea and an extremely delicate floral and caramel notes. The key words to take away from the aroma is rich and decadent, it is nothing short of mouthwatering.

The brewed tea leaves are as expected, very rich with earthy tones, rich chocolate notes, and a touch of rice. After the initial chocolaty good aroma you can detect a slightly mineral like roasted oolong aroma. The liquid without the soaking leaves has the aroma of chocolate cookies and chocolate liqueur, it is very rich and has distinctly malty and creamy notes.

Tasting the tea is a real treat, it is very rich and quite creamy. The chocolate taste is slightly bitter like a really high percentage dark chocolate (think the 80% cocoa variety) but with an extra earthiness and burst of malt. The aftertaste is a mix of oak wood and toasted rice, as the tea cools it gets sweeter and richer. Even though this tea is not overwhelmingly sweet, adding cream or sugar I think detracts from the richness of the tea. It is very much so like dark chocolate and meant to be savored as such. As you can tell I enjoy this tea immensely, it has a permanent place in my tea collection and certainly cemented my love of Verdant Tea!

For blog and photos (and a creeper): http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/verdant-tea-laoshan-black-chocolate.html

Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77

I just realized I am nine blog posts away from my 200th post, awesome! I will have to do something fancy for my 200th post, maybe I will throw a tea party Other than being on the mend, having some snow flurries, and making stars, it has been a very basic uneventful day. Tomorrow or Friday, however, Ben has promised me a trip to the thrift store to get a new iron, hooray!

Today’s tea is A Rabbit’s Garden by Della Terra Tea, this unusual tea came to me by accident, I ordered the Try Me Sampler and one of the teas I selected were out of stock so they substituted this one. I was a bit miffed because I was really excited for the other tea, but hey, I like trying new things! This tea is a blend of Green Tea, Green Peas, Corn Kernels, Peach Pieces, Carrot Bits, and Lemongrass, this tea truly is a garden in a cup. The aroma is very peachy with corn sweetness, there is an underlying aroma of dried peas and slight vegetal green.The aroma is very sweet, it is like an orchard with peaches and fresh vegetation.

After giving the garden a good watering the aroma of the brewed leaves is still very sweet and fruity, best of all there is no aroma of lemongrass (I still don’t like lemongrass). There is more of a vegetal tone specifically peas and spinach. I have to admit the aroma is a little odd. The liquid is very mild, quite peachy but not as sweet, with a touch of corn as well. As a finishing note there is a bit of vegetal.

The taste is surprisingly good, like really surprising for a tea made out of peas and corn. Imagine drinking veggie broth (made from the instant dip or soup mix that comes in packets) and then immediately drinking peach juice. And having both tastes in your mouth. It is a strange blend of flavors but it not unpleasant. There are notes of peach, spinach, tart lemons, it is very vegetal and very fruity. Once the tea cools the corn adds a bit of a nutty taste, the aftertaste is lemony and sharp and leaves a dryness in the mouth.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/della-terra-teas-rabbits-garden-tea.html

Flavors: Peach, Peas

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89

Joy! Celebration! Happiness! I am feeling better today, so much so that I left the bedroom and went back to my beloved tea lair. I am definitely on the recovery and I am so happy about it, I can even taste the nuanced layers in an oolong tea! I am not quite up to doing a tasting since my nose is still pretty stuffed, but I am so glad that I can taste things again that I don’t mind waiting. Luckily I have plenty of notes for just such an occasion.

Today’s tea is another of Shan Valley’s samples, the Black Tea to be precise! This CTC (crush tear curl, a method for processing Black Tea. For all the information you could want on this method of processing, I present this Wikipedia article for your knowledge hunting needs) is made from Black tea from Myanmar, as with the previous Shan Valley tea there are no steeping instructions so I winged it, steeping at 212 degrees for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. The aroma of the tea is quite rich and invigorating, blending strong sweet malty notes with rich nuttiness. It reminds me a bit of the aroma of a strongly nutty coffee, or even one of those fancy coffee tea blends that I have tried once or twice. There is a finishing aroma of roasted peanuts. The aroma of this tea certainly wakes up your nose.

The brewed tea leaves have a both earthy and malty aroma with a finishing sharpness. The sharpness reminds me of strong Kenyan CTC tea, there is a touch of sweetness at the finish. The liquid is bright and malty (and quite a lovely color) with a sweet creamy, almost fruity quality to the aroma.

Tasting time, I am sure this is going to give me a wakeup zing of caffeine, which is good since I was drinking this first thing in the morning. The first thing I notice is how smooth the tea is, it has a tiny bit of bitterness that gives it a bold quality and slight dryness. I have found that CTC teas are really hit or miss with me, actually a lot of them are a miss, usually I find them too abrasive, not necessarily too bitter, but too strong and lacking all subtlety. Usually these teas end up being drowned with cream and sugar because I don’t enjoy them straight. This tea, however, is on the end of the CTC spectrum that I enjoy! The taste is a blend of nuttiness, rich earthy notes, and a sweet finish of fruit. Out of curiosity I added a touch of cream and sugar and it was great, the perfect example of a breakfast tea. It retains its bold strength and rich nutty flavor, the cream adds a level of smoothness that compliments the already smooth tea, and the sugar highlights the fruity finish. If you are looking for a bold tea for breakfast, or want to make the switch from coffee to tea, I recommend this tea. I also recommend this tea for people who are making the transition from generic bagged black (think Lipton and its ilk) to a loose tea, who want a more transitional tea rather than jumping right in to the SFGTFOP Assam or Golden Yunnan type teas.

For Blog and Photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/shan-valley-black-tea-tea-review.html

Flavors: Malt, Nuts

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
__Morgana__

Glad you’re feeling better.

Nicole

Good to hear you are feeling better!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Thanks you two! I am so glad as well :)

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75

I am writing this from under a mound of blankets and pair of cats, still too sick to get out of bed, but certainly better than I was Saturday. I think my fever has finally broken for good (YAY!!) which means that I will be on the slow mend, personally I am most excited about my sense of smell and taste to return to normal so I can actually enjoy the things I am consuming. The Flu is gross, I do not wish it on anyone, if I am lucky I will be back to semi-normalcy by the end of the week.

Today I am reviewing Mountain Roasted Green Tea by Shan Valley, they were awesome and sent me very generous samples of their teas for review, the samples arrived on Thursday so I was able to get two of them tasted before the sickness took over. My one complaint with Shan Valley is they do not have steeping instructions for any of their teas, so I had to do some experimenting with brewing. The aroma of the rather large dried leaves is both nutty and vegetal, mixing roasted peanuts and chestnuts with the aroma of spinach and a touch of kelp. There is a finish of smokiness.

Once the leaves are steeped the aroma becomes a mix of roasted nuts and cooked spinach, it is mostly roasted nuts and the vegetal quality is mild. The liquid without the leaves is pretty mild, not much of an aroma except faint vegetal and a hint of popcorn.

The first attempt I steeped the tea at 170 degrees for 2 minutes, I found the taste was uninspiring. It tasted faintly honey sweet, faintly vegetal, faintly roasted, and faintly smoky. Faint is the word to take away, clearly I need to try warmer water.

Take two! 180 degrees for 2:30 minutes, the first thing I notice is the aroma of the liquid is stronger, more vegetal and the popcorn aroma is also more prominent. The taste is a bit bitter, like kale, in fact the vegetal tastes in this tea are like a blend of cooked spinach and kale. There is of course a roasted taste to this tea, like roasted chestnuts and popcorn, it has a sweet finish and has a popcorn aftertaste.

Out of curiosity I decided to brew some of this tea in my gaiwan, uncovered, using 180 degree water for one minute. I am not sure how much of it is psychological (because I enjoy it so much) but brewing anything in my gaiwan seems to make them taste better. I found that the flavors were slightly altered, the popcorn roasted flavor was much stronger and the vegetal bitterness from earlier is just plain old vegetal. At the end there is a faint fruity sweetness that pops up and is quite nice. Even though this tea did not make me jump up and down in awe and in a lot of ways was just average, I still found myself brewing multiple cups throughout the day. It has a charming, homey, quality about it that soothed my aching head and sore throat, it was perfect because it was so simple, I didn’t have to think about it at all. The tea tasted good, not at all intense, and kept me hydrated. I can see myself reaching for this tea on days when my allergies or a cold make me crave a mild, unassuming tea.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/shan-valley-mountain-roasted-green-tea.html

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

Yep, definitely been struck down by one of Apollo’s plague arrows, not sure if this is just the worst cold ever or the flu, but I am stuck in bed with an all cold liquid diet. I guess it is really good that I love ginger ale and sherbet, fruit smoothies, and soup. Now I will take a break between dopey cold medicine hazes to update my blog, but don’t be too surprised if I am a bit silent over the weekend.

Today is the last of the Teavivre Spotlight Week (business week of course) and it is Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-erh Cake Tea 2013 a Shu Pu-erh made from tea plucked from 50-100 year old large leaf arbor trees in 2006. Lovingly ripened until 2013 in Fengqing, Yunnan. The aroma of this tea is leather and very earthy, like wet loam and a touch gamy. There is a sharp finish like pine needles, the leaves certainly have a strong aroma, though not an unpleasant one.

Once the leaves have been rinsed and quickly steeped the aroma is richly piney and mildly earthy, the leather and gamy quality from the dry leaves has been replaced with fresh pine wood and sweet sap and honey. The liquid has a faintly floral quality and strong notes of pine wood which gives it an underlying sweetness.

The first steep is quite delicate, blending aged orchid (if I was an exceptionally skilled cultivator of orchids I could pick out the specific orchid it reminds me of) that has been flowering for at least a day. It fades to loam and finishes with a slightly bready quality.

The aroma of the second steep is a blend of loam and pine wood with the barest touch of cocoa. The taste is rich and loamy with a bitterness reminiscent of autumn leaves and oak galls. It is the bitterness of earthiness and not astringent, unripe fruit. The aftertaste is mildly sweet.

For the third steeping the aroma is mostly loam with just a hint of pine wood, the aroma reminds me specifically of oak leaves, but I might have spent way too much of my life sniffing forest floors, it is part of mushroom hunting. The taste is a bit more mild than the previous steep blending leather and loam with only a hint of the previous steep’s bitterness, as before there was a sweet aftertaste.

The fourth and final (at least for me) steep has the aroma of loam and that is all. The taste is all loam and leather with strong earthy undertones. The sweetness of the previous steeps is gone and you are left with a forest floor. This is certainly a Pu-erh I would recommend to someone who wants a bold, earthy Pu-erh. This is probably not my favorite type of Pu-erh, but it well crafted and enjoyable.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/02/teavivre-fengqing-ripened-tribute-pu.html

Flavors: Honey, Leather, Loam, Orchids

TheTeaFairy

Feel better soon :-) Lol, I’m not even sick and this is my kind of regular diet, could live on soup and smoothies all the time( well almost!)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Thank you! I definitely could too, I just seem to feel better with that kind of diet, plus it is so tasty!

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87

I am so very glad that I take notes in my tea notebook and that I tasted the teas I wanted to for this week, because yours truly has decided to catch some sort of nastiness. Either it is a cold, pharyngitis, or allergies (or my immune system playing some perverse game with me), whatever it is I feel awful and I would like it to go away. Sadly this does put a bit of a damper on my enjoyment of tea because my throat is so sore, when tea causes pain to sip you know you are in for a bad day. Luckily my brain seems to be functioning normally, so I can’t complain too much.

Today’s Teavivre tea is Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea, a Dian Hong without an equal, that is what the Nonpareil part of the name means. Hailing from Yunnan (It seems to be this week’s true theme) and plucked March of 2013, this tea is one of the most famous of China’s red (or black, your preference) teas. The aroma is quite sweet and fruity, a blend of cherries and stewed plums with a little whiff of cinnamon. There are also notes of molasses and a delicate floral finish that smells like violets. The floral note is very faint, reminiscent of a breeze carrying the aroma of flowers from a distant field.

Once the tea is brewed it keeps its stewed plums (and a touch of prunes) and adds a strong note of cocoa, there is also a faint hint of molasses. It smells quite sweet and a bit decadent. The aroma has a warmth to it that is pleasant. The liquid sans the leaf has a honey sweet aroma with a blend of creamy cocoa and light caramelized sugar.

The first steep of this tea has a very fruity flavor blending plums and prunes with a slightly sharp fruity note. Think sharp like the taste of a berry, though there is not a distinct berry taste, just the sensation. There is also a strong cocoa note that fades to a honey sweetness. In a word, tasty!

The aroma of the leaves for the second steep have a strong aroma of honey, cocoa, and plum fruit. The liquid is a sweet blend of indistinguishable fruit and flowers with a finish of honey. The taste is a delicious blend of fruit, honey, and cocoa with a finish of roasted peanuts. The peanut tastes lingers for a sweet and slightly roasted aftertaste.

For the third and final steep I notice that the wet leaves have a slightly spicy aroma similar to the dry leaves, with notes of cocoa and honey. The liquid is faintly sweet with a delicate note of fruit and a slight creaminess. The taste is richly cocoa with a hint of spice and a finish of fruit. The cocoa note is the strongest this time while the others are faint. This tea is mellow, sweet, and enjoyable, some of my favorite qualities in a black tea. The plum flavor and aroma give it a uniqueness that I found very enjoyable.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/02/teavivre-nonpareil-yunnan-dian-hong.html

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Plums

SFTGFOP

Teavivre’s made up “nonpareil” grade really irritates me, especially as I have tasted plenty of other teas that were much better. There is already enough confusion with grading systems in tea.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I do find it a bit ridiculous, especially since when I see Nonpareil I am not thinking of the original meaning of the word, I an thinking of sprinkles used in baking…which certainly made me do a double take the first time I saw it used a tea ‘grade’

SFTGFOP

hahah I’d completely forgotten that was the name for those candies!
Saying anything in French makes it sound better than it actually is.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Unless you are terrible at pronouncing anything in French (like me), then it just makes you sound like a boob. :P

Nicole

I’m the same – I don’t think of “without equal.” I think of the chocolate discs with the sprinkles on them. :)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I wonder if the people at Teavivre are aware of the other use?

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91

I had quite the spider related adventure yesterday, sitting at my desk I noticed a leggy specimen scuttling up the curtain, so I snagged a jar and popped it in. Turns out I had no idea what this spider was, it had legs like a crab spider and the body of a baby fishing spider and the coloring of a fishing spider. I was stumped so I posted photos on facebook which made my mom and grandmother worried it was a brown recluse (I live in the Brown Recluse Belt apparently, yikes) and I was pretty sure it wasn’t (what with it being black and gray and not matching in other aspects) but to be sure I posted photos of it on Bug Guide, a great place to get mystery buggies and arachnids identified. They were able to ID him as the Running Crab Spider (I knew those legs looked crabby!) from the family Philodromidae. I think that my basement lair will be seeing a lot more spiders as it warms up.

Today’s tea only has one thing in common with spiders, they both are found in trees. Fengqing Arbor Tree Ripened Puerh Cake Tea 2010 is made from the leaves of arbor trees that are 50-100 years old, I find that pretty awesome. Hailing from the Puerh home of Yunnan, China, this tea was picked in 2008 and given a nice dry storage for two years. The aroma of these compressed leaves has a great blend of loam, wet pine wood, and leather. There is a sweetness about the leaves that resembles sap, specifically pine sap, and a touch of caramelized sugar. I think my favorite thing about Puerh tea is how they seem to frequently remind me of forests, this one has a forest floor quality.

Once the tea is given a double rinse (first time I have ever done that) and steeped the aroma is much sweeter with notes of caramelized sugar and molasses with warm woody quality and a finish of loam. The liquid also has a sweet quality with notes of cocoa and molasses, and finishes on a warm loam and earthy notes.

The first steeping starts off quite strong with a mix of earthiness and loam. The midtaste is like leather and a hint of pine wood. The finish is molasses like and has a sweet aftertaste. This tea has a very smooth start and is quite tasty.

The aroma of the leaves for the second steeping is sweet and loamy, there is a tiny hint of mushroom at the finish really tying in the forest floor imagery in my head. The liquid also is quite loamy but it also has notes of pine wood and leather. The taste is quite strong, rich leather and loam with a warm finish of pine sap that leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth.

For the third steep the aroma of the leaves is all loam all the time, it is very foresty and quite nice. The liquid however is mostly pine themed, with a blend of wet pine wood and pine needles. The taste of this steep has a bit of bitterness, a bitter earthiness to be exact, but it fades to loam pretty quickly. The aftertaste is sweet and piney.

I should apologize, according to Teavivre’s website this tea can be steeped up to eleven times, but I only got to four because yours truly decided to leave the tea lair for a snack and then promptly got distracted and then fell asleep. I was going to start all over and redo the steepings today, but with my throat being so sore I worry I could not do it justice. The aroma of the leaves is much the same as the previous steeping, as is the aroma of the liquid. The taste however has much stronger pine qualites giving it a woody sweetness that is fantastic. I have become rather enamored of Puerh tea that tastes like a pine forest and strongly recommend this tea if you are a fan of all things pine. I can certainly see this tea lasting for much longer.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/02/teavivre-fengqing-arbor-tree-ripened.html

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Leather, Loam, Pine, Wood

Nicole

Oh, yeah. Spiders would be one sure way to keep me out of a basement lair. :)

Anna

Bug Guide are the best.

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90

Well it finally happened, I saw the inevitable coming for months now, but it seems the end has finally arrived. My iron has kicked the bucket. Of course it decided to die in the middle of fusing a massive project (luckily it was for myself and not for my shop or worse, a custom order) so my epic tea mat is fused unevenly. It is frustrating but salvageable (I think) when I am able to get a new iron (no idea when that will be, curse you lack of money!!) but I am mostly frustrated because I was feeling inspired to make some awesome perler creations and mini hama creations and now I can’t. Darn. Ah well, at least I still have my origami stars and of course tea to occupy myself with.

Today’s tea from Teavivre is Fengqing Zhuan Cha Raw Puerh Brick Tea 2005 and has the honor of being the oldest Puerh that I have tried. This lovely tea hails from the land of Yunnan, China, an area that is famous for its tea (especially Puerh), it is made from 30-40 year old large leaf arbor tea trees and was picked between May and June of 2005. The aroma of the dry and compressed leaves is sweet like pine wood, loam, and vegetation. It smells like a forest in late summer, mixing abundant growth and decay, humidity and wood. It is a wonderful smell for someone who spent many a day like that deep in a forest drinking up the various aromas that nature provides. I think the best teas are the one’s whose taste or aroma transport you to a place in your memory. Poetic waxing aside, there is a finish of peanuts and cocoa that is extremely faint, almost the ghost of a smell.

Once I rinse and give the leaves a brief steeping the aroma becomes a blend of cooked spinach, rich oak loam, sweet old hay, and a touch of barnyard. This tea took a walking tour of the forest and walked into a farm, a fascinating transition. The liquid is sweet hay in both appearance and aroma, with a sprinkling of pine needles giving it a slightly sharp green and pine sap aroma as well.

Ok, I hope you all are ready because I got a whopping seven steepings out of this tea and I took notes on them all! The first steeping is nothing short of fascinating (I feel I will use this word a lot with this tea) the mouthfeel is thick, not oily, but thick. It feels like with each sip my mouth fills with saliva along with the tea, it is an odd sensation but not unpleasant. The initial taste is faint, like old straw, but by the time it reaches the midtaste it picks up notes of spinach and peanuts. The aftertaste is bold and lingers leaving the taste of faintly sweet peanuts and mild vegetal.

The second steeping has a powerfully vegetal aroma, mixing cooked spinach and beans, it took me a moment to place the specific bean but to me it smells like lima beans. There is also the loam and forest aroma from previously. The liquid, well in my notebook I wrote ‘it smells like hay and liquid gold joy’, I still think it is an accurate description. The taste is still a blend of peanuts, cooked spinach and lima beans, but there is a sourness, like a hint of tamarind, which certainly makes me salivate a lot. It fades to a subtle sweetness at the end.

Third time around the aroma of the leaves and liquid is much the same as the second, except there is a honey quality to the liquid that was not there previously. The taste is a blend of old hay and lima beans with a slightly metallic quality. The midtaste is vegetal like cooked spinach and the aftertaste is sweet and like fresh hay.

The fourth steeping’s leaves are mildly vegetal and fresh hay, not as potent as the previous steeps but still full of aromas. The liquid is honey sweet and fresh hay, golden and pretty. This steep was pretty interesting, there is a bitterness that was not present before, vegetal qualities of lima beans and cooked spinach, it is quite the savory veggie broth. The mouthfeel has gone back to being thick, like the first steep, and the aftertaste is like loam.

The fifth steeping has a faint vegetal and mild, slightly sweet hay aroma to its wet leaves, the liquid has very little aroma, just a hint of sweetness and hay. The taste is initially sweeter, it fades to a sweet vegetal decay (it sounds gross, but think Black Trumpet mushrooms, so yummy) and hay. It now has a dry mouthfeel and sourness to it that lasts into the aftertaste.

The sixth steeping’s leaves have only the aroma of faint vegetal left, the liquid is the same as last steep, faint and barely there. This is the first time the tea starts to loose its footing, it is starting to taste watery with hints of lima beans, spinach, and hay. The aftertaste is faintly sour.

The final steeping is truly the finished tea, there is very little aroma left at all, just the ghost of previous scents. The taste is faint honey sweet hay and a hint of sourness, that is all. This tea was fascinating, I am not really sure I liked it, but I did certainly enjoy the experience. I spent the entire day with this tea and I do not regret it, especially since it gave me a little golden piece of summer.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/02/teavivre-fengqing-zhuan-cha-raw-puerh.html

Flavors: Lima Beans

Stephanie

I’m super jealous you had a chance to try this! It sounds so good! :)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Well I have enough for another steeping session, PM me your address and I can send it to you :)

Stephanie

Aww, I’d hate to take the last of it from you though! I’ll probably make a Teavivre order at some point, I can just get some then :) But I’d be happy to do a swap sometime.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I wouldn’t mind it at all, I mean you did send me that amazing sencha which I have been enjoying immensely.

Stephanie

Oh I’m glad to hear you are enjoying it! :D I’ll PM you my addy just in case ;)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

;) It has been excellent, just what I needed to keep my winter blues away.

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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 lot of time making things out of perler beads and I bet you can guess what inspires them. Other than the obsessive pixelizing of things I spend a large portion of my time doing origami (especially Lucky Stars and modular geometric designs) it is an equal obsession. 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, 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. It is my dream to one day become a Mycologist studying slime molds.

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 also have cats, love the ocean and all aquatic life, 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 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

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