409 Tasting Notes

95

You are probably at this point (or even earlier) wondering what happened to Tea Book Sunday, well it has not died, it has evolved to Tea Stuff Sunday to encompass all those things that are related to tea but not exactly tea. I figure I will run out of tea books eventually, and there are some weeks when I am too swamped reading books for review purposes on Netgalley or Goodreads that I just don’t have time to read a tea book (tragic, I know.) So have no fear, there will be more books, but there will also be other cool tea themed things.

Like today! I am looking at the newest addition to my tea gear collection, Jing De Gongfu Porcelain Plum Blossom Bamboo Gaiwan Tea Set from ebay, it was a birthday present (by way of a monetary gift) from my grandparents (fun fact, while visiting them I taught my grandmother how to use a gaiwan, she loves it!) I added this unusual collection to my wishlist months ago, but ended up buying the bat gaiwan instead because it would be more versatile.

This set is very much so not perfect for all teas, well that is not true, the cha hai and cups work for anything, but the gaiwan is more specialized. I bought it specifically for ‘needle’ teas, long curly leafed teas, and basically ones that do not need room to unfurl. Not a gaiwan suited for my much loved balled up oolongs, that is for sure. While some people might consider this limitation a negative, I love it because it means I have a gaiwan with a really unique shape. Also, the width of the gaiwan’s lip means I have not once burned myself with it.

The cha hai might be my favorite part of this set (even if it oddly lacks the red coloring on the plum blossoms) because it reminds me of a calla lily, each time I pour with it I feel like I am pouring nectar from a flower. It adds a bit of whimsy into my tea brewing, which I love. It also has a mostly clean pour, the only time it drips is if I goof and hold it at a weird angle while pouring

The cups are lovely, they are a tiny bit translucent in their thinness, and this is beautiful. It does also mean that the heat transference is pretty intense and they get scalding hot quickly, so I really have to be quick if I am handing the cup off to someone (so far that someone has been my dear mother) and even then there is usually a chorus of the both of us going ‘ow ow ow’ the whole time.

As a fun finish, I am including a video I recorded, fair warning it is not professional quality! I filmed it with my camera which makes mediocre movies, and I have no idea how to edit things so you get to hear instead of just read my rambling. This video shows my gaiwan technique (a facebook friend asked how I do it) and some practice methods I recommend if you are just starting out.

For blog, photos, and video: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/jing-de-gongfu-porcelain-plum-blossom.html

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97

Today has been kind of an odd day, I have had a headache all day and my energy level has gone from bouncing around to falling asleep in my chair. And speaking of chairs, I got a new one today for the desk my mom set up for me while I was visiting. Sadly her chairs suck (plus I cannot function without a spinning chair) so I got myself a super cheap desk chair that is especially comfy. I also visited one of my favorite bookstores (Cupboard Maker Books) and they had so many amazing dude cats that absolutely loved my mom and myself as we browsed the books. I was there to pick up a quick gift, but certainly plan to go back.

So today’s tea is a little different than my usual reviews, since I did not buy this for myself or receive it to review, it came as part of the Summer Tasting Event held by Hancha Teahouse, an event geared towards spreading tea culture, not to advertise tea. As someone who is obsessed with spreading tea culture, this seemed right up my alley, so today we are looking at Qilai Mountain, Taiwanese High Altitude Oolong Tea. I admit to not knowing much about Qilai Mountain, from what I gathered from some (brief) research, is the highest point in its range, and is quite popular with mountain climbers. The tea came in a little cloth teabag, but you know me, given the option to brew it in a gaiwan I will, so I took the tightly balled leaves out of their pouch and placed them on a proper sniffing dish. The aroma of the leaves is pretty intense, very sweet floral notes of honeysuckle, orchid, lilac, and even a bit of lily waft out of the leaves. There are also notes of yeasty honey bread and a touch of toasted sesame seed. It has been a while since I did the tea dance with a green oolong, once again I am reminded why I love them!

Brewing the leaves brings out an underlying green vegetation aroma and a nose explosion of sweetness, it is very much so sweet yeasty bread with tons of flower nectar. Imagine eating honey biscuits in a flower filled conservatory and you have the aroma of the wet leaves. The liquid’s aroma is creamy and slightly buttery with intense floral notes of orchid and honeysuckle, there is a hint of fresh bread and nutmeg at the finish.

The first steep is mellow, a very creamy mouth feel and a taste that starts sweet and full of flower nectar and honey. This transitions to smooth and buttery, and lastly if finished with fresh vegetation and a hint of dryness at the finish. The aftertaste was sweet chestnuts. I, as usual with oolongs, look forward to seeing how this tea blooms in flavor.

So this is going to be one of those weird moments where I compare the aroma of the tea to something completely out of left field, the aroma reminds me of Destroying Angel Mushrooms. This is a huge compliment (and not the first time I have compared an oolong to this mushroom) because even though it is deadly toxic, it smells delicious, just like a mix of baking bread, yeast, and a touch of lilies. Aromas are compared to things I know, and I really know mushrooms. The taste is really super sweet, a mix of flower nectars (like sipping honeysuckle nectar) and freshly baked yeasty bread. The finish is a tad bit dry, but there is a lingering floral sweetness that seemed to last for ages.

The aroma of the third steep is less mushroom and more growing green things and broken stems in late summer. There is of course still a strong floral aroma, but it is diminishing now. The taste is not as sweet as the previous steeps, more buttery and mellow with a distinct leafy quality. There is a hint of orchid at the finish and a lingering sweetness. This tea was just what I needed, a headily floral oolong to remind me there are more than just roasted oolongs and yancha in the realm of my favorite tea.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/hancha-teahouse-qilai-mountain-tea.html

The Cookie Lady

This was so interesting to read!

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100

Today was the perfect day for tea, the real epitome of autumns in the Appalachian mountains (ok, valley between the Blue Mountain and South Mountain Ridges.) It has been chilly with alternating rounds fog and rain, the sky has been dark, and I definitely broke out my fuzzy coral colored sweater. It clashes pretty badly with my teal hair, which of course makes me love it all the more. The only thing that would have made it better would have been having my cats around to snuggle with, but exposing my mom to new and exciting teas was equally enjoyable.

Since today was the epitome of autumn, I decided to review a tea that makes me think of autumn every time I drink it, and not just because it looks like a pile of leaves I pulled out of the backyard! M&K’s Tea Company presents Organic Kyobancha, from the Nakai Seichajo Tea Farm, Wazuko, Kyoto, Japan. This bancha is a favorite of mine, named for its place of production (or Harubancha for spring time) it is created by leaving the tea leaves on the plant all winter and then plucking them in spring and giving them a good roasted. It is low in caffeine, meaning I love drinking it before I got to sleep or on days I feel really icky, it is a feel good tea. The aroma is so perfect for this time of year, it is roasted and sweet, there is a hint of smoke, a bit of leaf loam and autumn leaf pile, and possibly my favorite note; marshmallows. Yeah, this tea smells like roasting marshmallows, making it the sweetest of the two Kyobancha I have experienced so far. My sweet-tooth is excited.

I could have brewed this in my new (vintage) Kyusu, but I really wanted to try out the gaiwan I got for my birthday because it looked like it would make a perfect Houhin! The brewed leaves are quite rich and nicely roasted, it reminds me of the aroma of distant bonfires on an autumn evening, there is also a bit of loam and marshmallow sweetness. The liquid, oh wow, it is super sweet! It smells just like toasted marshmallow and toasted bread, maybe even a marshmallow on toast!

So, my plan of using this gaiwan as a Houhin works perfectly, so yay! The taste is WONDERFUL! It is quite different from the other Kyobancha I have had, that one had mild sweetness but it was much more roasted almost to the point of savory. This one however is delightfully sweet, it tastes just like a fire roasted marshmallow, with a rich note of toasted tea and dried autumn leaves (not the wet taste of loam.) The mouthfeel is very smooth and well rounded, it goes down so easily…I find I need to make a whole pot of this tea because I enjoy it that much.

The second steep is much milder, both in taste and aroma, even though it is milder it is still quite enjoyable. The smoke notes are entirely gone, replaced with toasted tea and marshmallow. The taste is pretty much identical to the smell, which is always entertaining! I really enjoy the sweetness in this tea, naturally sweet teas are delightful, plus it being so evocative of autumn makes me happy, especially on those days when I am longing for autumn.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/m-tea-company-organic-kyobancha-tea.html

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Loam, Marshmallow, Smoke, Toasty

Shae

This sounds really wonderful! You had me at roasted marshmallows. ;)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Hehe, yeah, I was pretty much lost in this tea when it hit the roasted marshmallows

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91

My mother and I did one of our patented ‘things’ today, we re-arranged the house. We have this compulsion to re-arrange our stuff every month or so on the quest for perfection (see also: control, order, chi flow) and organization. See we both have more stuff than our current space can really hold, and since we do not want to get rid of it, we go to Tetris levels of efficient stacking and sorting, that way it is organized and accessible. My mom and I, well, we are very silly, but at least with have fun with our obsessions.

And speaking of obsessions, it is time for What-Cha Wednesday! I recently placed an order and received a bunch of samples along with the teas I ordered, so What-Cha Wednesdays will be continuing for quite a while, which is fine by me! Today’s tea is Malawi Satemwa Antlers White Tea, a tea made entirely from slightly velvety (it is where the antler part of the name comes from) sticks! Other than hearing about the Satemwa Tea Estate randomly when looking at tea, I do not know much about them, which means it was time for a bit of research. The Satemwa Tea Estate, a family owned estate created in the 20s, was the first tea estate in Malawi to become fair trade certified, combine that with other certifications and some unique and experimental teas, you have yourself a fascinating tea company. And this is a fascinating tea, it is not often that you see a tea that is made entirely of the stems, even Kukicha, Japan’s stem tea, does not seem as ‘stick-like’ as this tea. The aroma is rather rich yet subtle, with sweet notes of plum, a touch of nuts, and of course sticks. It smells like plant matter, freshly broken sticks while walking in a forest, this tea smells like nature and reminds me of walks in the forest.

I found myself at a bit of a confused point on how to brew this tea, do I do Western Style or Gongfu Style, and I decided to go with my gaiwan, simply because I wanted to use the new gaiwan I got as a birthday present. The aroma of the now soggy sticks is really sweet and fruity! There are note of lychee, fresh juicy plums, and raisins, this transitions into rich earthiness and fresh wet wood. The liquid’s aroma has a real richness to it, blending fruity lychee and plums with raw honey and freshly broken leaves.

Whoa! That first steep is sweet! The mouthfeel is light on the tongue, but really well rounded, it sensation of this tea fills my mouth, much like biting into a sweet, juicy, fruit. And speaking of fruit, the fruity notes are present, there are notes of lychee and plums, it starts like fresh fruit and transitions into stewed fruits with a tiny bit of smoke at the finish. The aftertaste is one of lingering plums.

For the second steep, the aroma is still quite rich, sweet, and fruity, much like the first. The taste is much richer this time around, just like the darkening of the color, the flavor becomes more intense. There are notes of stewed stone fruit and a touch of lychees, this transitions to fresh hay and raw honey, the finish is a delicate floral and freshly broken stick note.

Third time’s the charm, though this tea already had me charmed from the moment I opened the pouch, what can I say, sticks are endearing. Even though the color is darker, the aroma is lighter, there are notes of honey and plum, and that is about it. The taste is much milder, like the first and second steep, the sensation of the tea is very filling, I love the way this tea coats my mouth. There are notes of honey, fresh hay, and a nice finish of plums that linger. I find this tea fascinating and want to experiment with it, next time I go out and about I will put these sticks into my travel infuser and see how they ‘long steep’ and maybe I will even try cold steeping it (though we are getting to the chilly part of the year and cold drinks are not as fun) the Satemwa Estate website even recommends steeping them in sparkling water all day long in a tall champagne glass!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/what-cha-malawi-satemwa-antlers-white.html

Flavors: Hay, Honey, Lychee, Plums, Stems

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90

Two very important things happened today, I unpacked all my origami paper and started working on some projects, and I realized the reason I have been feeling really out of it the last couple days is I am having a Fibromyalgia flair. I started off really grumpy about it because it basically meant my plans are botched and I feel rotten, but then I realized, it has been a while since I flaired and I have been doing A LOT! Probably more things have been done by me in the last month than I have done in the last year. Ok body, you deserve a little pampering and I will take it easy for a bit. That means more time for crafts and tea!

Clearly when one feels icky, they need a tea that is comforting and warm, and that brings us to today’s tea from Tea Horse Road, Rooibos Roasted Corn. This ingenious little blend mixes Organic Rooibos and Roasted Corn, that is it! I love roasted corn, this is probably the only blend I have seen using it as an ingredient, and naturally that got me excited, and honestly mixing it with Rooibos just seems natural. The aroma is a blend of sweet woody, caramel notes and roasted, nutty, popcorn notes. They blend together really well, vaguely reminding me of caramel corn, one of my favorite autumn snacks, not sure why but I crave it this time of year.

When brewed the wet leaves are much more in favor of the Rooibos, there are notes of woody sweetness and a mellow undertone of roasted corn. It is a great blend of two wonderful smells, even though I tend to get frustrated by Rooibos in blends at times (it is a potent smelling leaf!) I do really enjoy it on its own and in simpler blends. The liquid has more of the corn in it, very roasted and rich, like popcorn and caramel with a delicate underlying woodiness.

Time for tasting! I am actually drinking this right now too, even though the notes are from my tea notebook and my photos are from earlier, writing about this tea made me want to have some, my insides needed a hug and sipping from my new bone china teacup makes me feel fancy. So, the flavor of this herbal tea is quite autumnal! Take a mix of caramel corn, toast, and woodiness and you have this tea, it reminds me of autumn nights eating those popcorn balls with distant fires, very evocative of childhood. Now I am going to curl up in my fuzzy robe with my cup of tea and finish my Skeletal Dodecahedron.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/tea-horse-road-rooibos-roasted-corn-tea.html

Flavors: Caramel, Popcorn, Toasty, Wood

Cameron B.

This sounds so good… I was disappointed to see that they don’t seem to ship outside New Zealand.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Hmm, you might want to send them an email since I do not live in New Zealand and have gotten two orders from them.

Cameron B.

Huh, odd. They just don’t have an option to calculate shipping to anywhere else.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

That is very odd! I should say that I did not order from them, one was a prize in the a contest and the other a gift for judging a different contest…but they encourage outside people to enter them, so, who knows?

Cameron B.

Yeah, I’ll have to send them an email when I’m actually buying tea again. :)

Cheri

This tea does sound good. I love roasted corn!

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88

Guys, I cooked, I made dinner, and it wasn’t a disaster! In fact I can safely say this is my first Italian style pasta sauce I have ever made, yay for pasta puttanesca. The inspiration for this dish hit me this afternoon when I was grocery shopping and missing Ben’s food (he is a bit famous for his various sauces) my version was very different, but turned out delicious. Plus the corn pasta I used could have fooled everyone into thinking they were getting regular pasta. so that is always a win. In case any of my cheese loving friends are curious, I also picked up a large (and I mean really large) block of Smoked Gouda to experiment with and see which teas go best with my favorite cheese.

Today’s tea is a fun little tisane that blends two archenemies, coffee and tea (I guess it is more of a cold war really since you always see them hanging out together in the same beverage places and grocery store aisles) really they should just get along. Wize Monkey’s Coffee Leaf Tea: Armando’s Original Blend is pretty much an olive branch between the warring factions, it is an herbal tea made from the leaves of the coffee plant. One of the things that caught my attention (other than the offer of samples on the steepster forum) was calling attention to the humble leaf of the coffee plant, and using it to hopefully increase the livelihood of coffee farmers. They have a Kickstarter starting in a few days, just in case any of my curious friends are interested. So let me tell you about these leaves, their aroma is pretty unique, it is a pungent blend of green unroasted coffee, hemp, and a sharpness reminiscent of green tea. It reminds me of summers, specifically in the 90s where beach themed hemp bracelets were all the rage and you wore them constantly, they would heat up and the woody and slightly earthy aroma would waft out of them. I only ever enjoyed wearing the blasted things because the smell was fun, and so this tea also was fun.

Brewing time! I took it out of the little ‘fill your own’ style tea bag it came in and used my basket, it might mean I get some bits in my cup, but when has that ever bothered me? The aroma is pretty strong, the kitchen smells like hemp, green beans, a little bit of that distinctive black tea briskness you get, and very earthy quality of peat. There was also another note right at the end that took me quite a bit of memory searching before I isolated it, oak galls, oddly as a kid I would collect them and use them for ink, they have a very sharp, tannic smell, and it is kinda enjoyable. The liquid without said leaves has a blend of cooked (and slightly burnt) pinto beans, peat, and a finishing note of dark chocolate. This is a very unusual thing and I find it fascinating.

Ok, so the taste, it is a bit unlike anything I have experienced before (which is always very exciting) it starts off with an herbaceous note of thyme, bay and a tiny bit of sage. This transfers to a bit of a medicinal herbal taste, it is not bitter like medicine, but it has a medicinal tone to it, combine this with the surprising internal cooling effect and it ends up reminding me of mint but without the ‘mintiness’ to it and yes, that is totally a word now. There is also a really fun note towards the end that had me almost giggling, it tastes exactly like the way Vitex smells, once upon a time my mother had a huge Vitex in her yard and I would hover around it because I loved its sharp, almost peppery aroma. The finish is wildflower honey sweet with a hint of straw, the honey tones lingered for a bit. This was an unusual drink, I found myself enjoying it despite (or maybe because of) its strangeness. I will say that it does not mix well with corn chips and salsa, sadly, but I have not found a tea yet that does.

For blog, photos, and a link to what a Vitex is: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/wize-monkey-coffee-leaf-tea-armandos.html

Cheri

I was hoping for pictures of dinner. Hah. Sounds like it was good.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Oh derp, I totally took a photo and forgot to add it!!

MaxR

Thanks for the review Amanda, very detailed. You make me want to drink some right now, hehe clink

MushroomBugg

Cheese and tea? This thought intrigues me!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Cheese is my favorite food, so I am always trying to match it with tea. So far I have found that Smoked Gouda goes really well with Lapsang Souchong, very complimentary :D

MushroomBugg

I must get to a point in my tasting where this is tried! It sounds like a wonderful time.

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75

Happy My Favorite Holiday, everyone! All the really fun Halloween themed stuff happened yesterday, so today I am just chilling and listening to music, and of course waiting for tomorrow when the candy goes on sale. Actually my breakfast was really scary this morning, it is getting close to grocery shopping time, so I improvised a meal of mustard covered sardines and a can of beanie weenies…yeah, it was nasty-good. Pennsylvania having a different day for ‘Halloween’ than actual Halloween will always throw my groove of, how am I supposed to go ghost hunting if they were all out yesterday?

You know what the scariest part of Halloween really is, the amount of time I spend searching out the perfect tea to review for the event. So many pumpkin themed teas out there, and honestly I don’t really like most of them because they lack a crucial gourdish element. Imagine my squee of glee when I saw M&K’s Tea Company’s Pumpkin Patch Spice, it has that most excellent element I was so missing. An herbal tea, it is a blend of: Butternut Squash (I totally had that for dinner last night actually), Green Rooibos, Pumpkin Seeds, Cloves, Chinese Cinnamon, Alfalfa, Honey, Pumpkin Powder, Vanilla Extract, and Natural Pumpkin Pie Flavor Blend, quite the impressive list of ingredients. Before I get into the tea itself, I have to say I find the packaging used by this company to be awesome, it is eye-catching and full of useful information, I love when labels are loaded with details. Ok, ghosts and ghouls, it is time for tea analysis, so get out your best costume noses! The aroma of the dry leaves is, well, it is pretty great, you can definitely smell the pumpkin and squash, along with the sweetness of honey and richness of spices, there is also a slightly nutty aroma making me think of crust. Don’t mind me, I am just going to drool a little thinking of pumpkin pie, because wow, this tea makes me think of it.

Time for steeping! Since it is an herbal tea I have a few minutes to kill (currently working on a very silly playlist describing one of my RPG character’s romantic angst) but the aroma wafting up is killing me, so good! The wet leaves smell like cooked pumpkin and squash, lots of spices and a touch of sweetness, it reminds me a little of the way I eat cooked butternut squash, just a hint of spices and a bit of maple syrup. The liquid is quite spicy and sweet, there is of course the aroma of cooked pumpkin and squash and just a hint of greenness at the finish.

Tasting time was fun, I shared a cup with everyone in the house and we sat and watched some Youtube weirdness while sipping. I will start by saying this is the best Pumpkin themed tea I have had, hands down, it is not perfection (I have a very distinct idea in my head, oddly enough, something I do not usually do) but really close to it. The taste is great, the squash and pumpkin have a real presence, I feel very much so like I am drinking Pumpkin Juice (yes from Harry Potter) it is not overwhelmingly sweet, just the right amount of a honey taste. The spices are really well balanced, not overwhelming and none of the mouth burning belly ache that I get from overly cinnamoned teas, so that was a love. The only thing this tea was missing was foundation, it is very gentle at the midtaste and I wish it had a little more body. I found myself thinking that maybe a little rooibos (the red more so than the green) or even a bit of a roasted green tea would give that rounding out that I crave. It was a small thing, but since I am on the perpetual quest for the perfect pumpkin tea, I feel a bit ok being super picky. I feel this would be a great tea to sip when getting over an illness or right before bed, or maybe even to accompany a piece of pie?

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/m-tea-company-pumpkin-patch-spice-tea.html

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cinnamon, Clove, Pumpkin, Spices

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec
Tealizzy

Yum! It is really hard to find the perfect pumpkin tea!

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75

Tonight was Trick or Treat night in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania has this strange habit of having their candy nights on random days in the various small townships, half the time it is never on Halloween. As much as this weirds me out, tonight was a blast thanks to a ghost and an exorcist. My mom dressed like a ghost (much like the ghost figures in the game Ghost Story) and I whipped together a very awkward dress in imitation of a Hanfu, grabbed my old wooden Bokken, and donned my Raiden hat and did my best Exorcism stance. Sadly I did not create any seals, my sword was not peach wood, and I did not have enough Chi, so in the long run, the ghost won. Our crazy antics were a huge hit, and all our candy mysteriously disappeared!

But enough about my mother and my antics, it is time for tea! Today we have Organic Masala Chai by Fashionista Tea, a blend of Assam, Cardamon, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cloves, all organic. I have to be careful with my Chai consumption, it usually is stuffed towards the back of my tea shelves, because left alone with Chai, I will drink all of it. The various Indian restaurants I visit in Kansas City know me not by my brilliantly teal hair, but as the girl who drinks at least four cups of Chai and never says no to a refill and always loves a to go cup. The one time I decided to get a lassi instead of a Chai at my favorite restaurant, I think I about gave the server a heart-attack out of shock, and she brought me a Chai on the house anyway! So as you can see, I really love this spicy, rich, drink. The aroma from my little pile of CTC leaves and spices is sweet, spicy, and malty! There is a strong ginger note, a moderately strong note of cardamon, and lastly a mellow note of malt and a finish of cinnamon.

Into the hot water and steeping basket the leaves go! After a steeping it is time to sniff the soggy leaves, and wow are they bright! A blend of almost effervescent ginger with the slightly brisk and malty notes really wakes up the nose, add the undertones of cinnamon and cardamon and you have for an enjoyable sniff. The liquid is a nice blend of malt, ginger, and cinnamon, I am saddened by the lack of cardamon, but I am a cardamon fiend (yes I eat the pods after I get done steeping them…don’t judge me.)

This is a very mellow Chai, taken traditionally with milk (ok I use Half & Half since I love creaminess) and sugar, I can say that this is a Chai that is very chill. It just brings its spices over and sits down next to you, no massive punches of cinnamon or ginger, it just eases you into the spices. The Assam is bold and malty, it really shows off its true colors, usually in Chai the tea accents the spices, this time the spices accent the tea. There is an aftertaste of ginger that lingers for a while and leaves you feeling warm and slightly tingly. I am not sure this is my favorite Chai ever, I really like a lot of kick and of course lots of Cardamon, but it is a good ‘background noise’ Chai, much like the music I am listening to, it is enjoyable but not my main focus. So if you want a Chai with a bold base tea and mellow spices, this is the tea for you!

For blog and photos (oooh spooky ghost!): http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/fashionista-tea-organic-masala-chai-tea.html

carol who

Adorable costumes! It looks like you had fun!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

:D Thank you! We had quite a blast, especially since this was all very last minute.

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90

Today was going to be my relax and catch up on reading day, all that travel meant that I am really behind on the various blogs and Steepster friends that I follow, instead it was a day of Steampunk Creepers. My mom got a text this morning about the Steampunk texture pack on the Xbox, we both looked at each other and more or less ran to the console. While she is not as a big of a fan of the Steampunk aesthetic as I am, my mom does enjoy it, plus we always get a kick out of new texture packs. After playing Minecraft we decorated for Halloween, and I am still not caught up on my reading!

It is Wednesday, so that means it is time for What-Cha, specifically their Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from Greenland Organic Farm in the shadow of Mt. Kancghenjunga. I absolutely love the shape of these little tea balls, I am not sure why it is called Cannon Ball except that maybe it is a play off of Gunpowder Green, and these are bigger so they are cannon balls? Until corrected, that shall be my head cannon (yes I am a terrible person for making that pun, no regrets.) The aroma of the leaf balls is very green and quite sweet, there are notes of cut grass, freshly broken green stems, a tiny bit of hay, and a nice sharp finishing note of citrus. It has a very refreshing aroma that I hope carries over to the brewed tea.

Watching the little leaf balls slowly turn into a pile of small leaves is rather entertaining, they did not so much unfurl as fall apart, much like a cannon ball hitting a fortress wall. The aroma of the soggy leaf pile is a blend of freshly squeezed citrus (reminds me a bit of Yuzu, actually) and cut grass. The liquid once liberated from the leaves is very fresh and refreshing, the aroma has notes of light citrus, fresh grass, and a very mild touch of pepper at the finish.

The first steep can be summed up best as odd yet refreshing! As with the other teas I have had from What-Cha’s Nepal selection, it has a real clean spring water taste to it, I am not sure if it is a terroir thing or a farm specific trait, but I love it. Now I cannot tell you if I love this because of the taste or because it instantly transports me to one of my favorite places, ever, either way it is a powerful effect. There is more than just spring water to this tea, there is also a strong middle presence of green in the middle, it cools my mouth and tastes like broken stems and grass. This passes to citrus at the finish, adding a brightness to the tea and a touch of sweetness.

The second steep’s aroma is much like the first, it smells clean and fresh with a strong presence of green grass and citrus, no pepper this time though. The taste is brisk, not brisk like a black tea, but brisk like a stroll on a cool spring evening, it is refreshing and invigorating. There are notes of spinach and cut grass at the front, this transitions to lettuce and broken stems in the middle, and lastly the tea fades to citrus and sweet hay with a slight aftertaste of saltiness that I found pretty neat. With a lot of types of tea you start to see a pattern, similar tasting notes, similar aromas, so I always get a real kick out of teas that shake me out of similarities.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/what-cha-nepal-2nd-flush-2014-cannon.html

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My Rating Guide, This is a personal rating and not necessarily a reflection of the tea’s quality
100-Must have on hand, it is one of my favorite teas
85-99-Really good teas, like exquisitely good
65-84-Not bad, they can be good but generic, or just teas that I found enjoyably ok.
40-64-Not a favorite, but not terrible. I would drink it if it was in front of me but I doubt I would seek it out on my own.
20-40-Not the best tea ever, either it was not to my liking or it was really bland. Chances are I would turn this one down unless I was really thirsty.
0-19-No, just no. Either there was something wrong with this tea or it was utterly undrinkable by me.

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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Kansas City, MO

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http://ramblingbutterflythoug...

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