617 Tasting Notes


I have the house to myself this evening, everyone is out seeing a bloody musical. I mean that literally, they are out seeing Evil Dead: The Musical, and since they are right up front they had to wear old clothes in expectation of blood spattering. Oddly, this is not one of my moments of being terribly uncultured, the tickets were bought way before me coming out to visit was a definite, and have sold out. Not sure I would want to go anyway since I am rather uncultured and get very bored with most stage performances unless it is opera. Clearly we need to have Evil Dead: The Opera, I would be all over that, extra points for singing in German.

So, what does What-Cha Wednesday have in store for us today? If you read the title of the blog you already know, it is Yancha time! My addiction to the various Wuyi Rock Oolongs is making my yixing pot so happy, the smell and sheen it has developed is awesome. So of course I used it to brew Fujian Wuyi Big Red Robe ‘Da Hong Pao’ Oolong Tea, though I can say that brewing a Yancha in a gaiwan or even a basket Western style is awesome, so, how does this one compare to the others I have tasted? First off I can say that the dry leaves have a very rich aroma, a blend of char and sweet fruit, it reminds me of peaches and plums cooked over a grill and allowed to get that really yummy char and caramelized sugar aroma. There is also a distant aroma of orchids and a touch of tobacco, the finish has a slightly yeasty bread quality. Heh, maybe that is why I have recently taken a great love of DHP, it smells like baking bread, all glutinous and sweet.

Brewing the leaves really brings out the tobacco notes, I love when tea has tobacco notes, it reminds me of my dad’s ritual of smoking his pipe, especially during the cooler months, I would assist him by cleaning his pipe, the rich sweet and a touch fruity smell of tobacco that greeted my nose was always a pleasure. Enough nostalgic reminiscing, there are also notes of char and grilled plum. The liquid freed from its leafy companion is pretty creamy sweet, like molasses, spicebush flowers, cooked stonefruit, and a tiny hint of loam at the finish.

Ooh, this IS a rich DHP! The mouthfeel is creamy, it reminds me of the way warm honey coats your mouth, super smooth and heavy, it is almost hypnotic…or maybe that is just me being a bit tea drunk. The taste is rather sweet with notes of honey and stewed plums, this transitions to a mild char and grilled plums, a tiny touch of cherry is present as well. The finish is honey and tobacco, a rich finish to a definitely rich cup of tea.

The aroma of the second steep is a sweet blend of stewed fruit and a touch floral, like an orchid flower that is about to drop of the stem because it has reached the end of its life. They tend to get an intense sweetness with just a hint of a fermented honey aroma. Surprisingly there is no char in the aroma of this steep. The mouthfeel is not as creamy, it has an edge of dryness similar to eating a very dark chocolate bar (my personal favorite.) In fact the dark chocolate comparison is not far off since there are notes of char and cocoa, much like a marshmallow and graham cracker-less smore. The finish is a touch of tobacco and a nice touch of sweet cooked plum. This steep was not as sweet as the first, but still rich…or dare I say, robust?

Third dance with this tea, third and final. As you have probably noticed I only go up to three steeps with the teas as of late. Several can go longer, but I have been told that my ramblings are usually best stopped at three, that most people do not have the attention span for a ton of steeps, and I can totally respect that! Short attention spans unite…now what was I talking about…ah yes, tea! The aroma is sweet and fruity, again no char aroma is present in this steep. This steep is much like the previous one but much milder, it lacks the robust quality and presents the same flavor notes in a delicate fashion. A very apropos finish, it is always nice when the tea winds down gently instead of just up and dying.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/12/what-cha-fujian-wuyi-big-red-robe-da.html

Flavors: Char, Cocoa, Plums, Stewed Fruits, Tobacco

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Yours truly should never ever be allowed to be the final say on numbers, remember yesterday when I was so excited about the tea group being really close to 600 members? Yeah, I derped, I read 548 as 584, so not the first time I have done that either, I feel just a tiny bit sheepish about that error. But on a more positive and not me being a derp note, it is currently sleeting, we might actually get a nice icy coating and possibly some snow. Also my mom gave me a bunch (by that I mean six) of old Harney & Sons tins for storage purposes, not sure if I am going to use them for tea or paper, regardless they are very pretty.

Today’s tea is a funky twist on a classic spice tea, White Chai by the Persimmon Tree Tea Company, a blend of Ginger Root, Lemon Grass, Cinnamon Bark, White Tea, Pineapple Pieces, Cloves, Dried Coconut, Cardamom Pods, Red Peppercorn, Apple Pieces, Natural Spice Flavor, and Natural Cinnamon Flavor. The aroma starts out with a strong note of dried apples giving it a blend of sweet and just a hint of tart, this moved onto pepper, cloves, a but of cinnamon, and just a touch of cardamon and coconut at the finish. It certainly smells like a chai, but it has a tropical edge from the coconut and a much milder spice profile, as expected with a chai made from white tea, it is rather delicate.

Brewing the tea makes my little tea nook (that is what I have decided to call it while I am staying with my mom) smell very warm and comforting. A blend of classic chai spices and apple cider, there is also a touch of lemon grass and coconut giving it a tropical feel. I cannot decide if the wet leaves make me feel like I am on vacation or getting ready for winter, it smells good but also smells confusing. The liquid is all spice, apples, and a touch of coconut and lemongrass. The finish has a distinct punch of pepper that wakes up the nose, I do love a good peppery tea!

Usually with a chai I add milk or cream, but since this is a white tea I worried it would be too strong and I would not get the full effect of the tea, and it was a good idea since this tea is super mild. The most dominant taste is definitely the apples, blending the sweet apples with the chai spices make it taste like a slightly Indian mulled cider. There is a touch of citrus at the finish giving the tea a brightness. This is a Christmas Chai, oddly enough, the flavor notes remind me so much of cider and the citrus spiced teas I would drink that time of year as a kid. I did not really taste the coconut or the white tea, it was more like a fruity chai. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it, I enjoyed the taste, but wish that the white tea would have made more of a showing.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-persimmon-tree-tea-company-white.html

Flavors: Apple, Citrus, Pepper, Spices

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You know what is just crazy awesome to me? The tea group that I created back in early 2013 on facebook is 12 members shy of 600. That is mind boggling! I started it at my friend’s insistence as a place for us to babble about our shared obsession and as a place for me to teach them about tea, or at the very least point them to the books and websites I used to learn stuff. It started out pretty slow, just some friends and friends of friends, and then it really took off. Before long I enlisted the help of my mom as an admin, and it was only a couple of weeks ago that I was telling the group how awesome it was that we hit 500 members. It is a labor of love, I get frustrated with it at times but my little tea group is awesome, I have met some amazing people because of it.

So, remember back in June when I reviewed Sencha of the Summer Sun? Well, I am drinking the same tea, except this time it has been roasted into Yunomi: Obubu Tea #14 Houjicha Amber Roast. This is really exciting to me, it is like visiting a new friend who got complete facial reconstruction and is still the same person but is also totally different. Ok, that analogy failed utterly, but I hope the gist of what I am saying comes through. Unlike my experience with Obubu’s Smoky Roast and Dark Roast I did not get to know the tea pre-roasting, so being able to taste and smell the pre-roasted Sencha is pretty amazing. Enough of my tea geeking out, on to the sensory analysis of the tea leaves. Ok, the aroma of this Houjicha is fun, it starts off as sweet roasted marshmallows and a touch of campfire, it then transitions to toasted sesame, burnt grass, and lastly a tiny wisp of distant sea air. I very much so had a vision pop into my mind of roasted marshmallows on a beach, the fire made from driftwood and sea grass. What is it with roasted teas and their ability to send my brain to such wonderful places?

I decided to brew the tea in my trusty basket inside a teacup, I know I am betraying my kyusu, but when I took the tasting notes for this tea it was really close to me leaving to come out to PA and my breakable teapots were packed away, must keep safe from the cats! The nicely steeped tea smells like a seaside campfire, complete with the slight aroma of toasted seaweed. It is not as sweet as the dry leaves, mostly savory and toasty with a distinct umami. The liquid is a blend of soothing toasted sesame, a touch of seaweed (kelp, specifically) and a bit of smoke. As smoky teas go this is pretty mild, none of those strong char and burning things notes, more like a fire in the distance.

Ah, this is a nicely savory Houjicha. There are, at least that I have experienced, two kinds of Houjicha, the ones that taste sweet like roasted marhsmallows, and the ones that are savory and rich. Obviously this greatly depends on the tea, and since Sencha of the Summer Sun was not a sweet Sencha, this totally makes sense. Yunomi uses the word robust to describe this tea, and I agree, it is a good description, the umami mixture of roasted kelp and campfire washes over your tongue, again it reminds me of a seaside bonfire. At the very finish transitioning into the aftertaste you get a touch of toasted marshmallow, this delicate sweetness with a bit of smoke lingers for quite a while. I can see this being the perfect end of summer beginning of autumn tea, it reminds me so much of that last visit to the ocean before summer is over, but you can start feeling the chill in the air at night.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/12/yunomi-obubu-tea-14-houjicha-amber-roast.html

Flavors: Campfire, Marshmallow, Ocean Air, Seaweed, Smoke, Toast


What’s the FB group?


OMG, campfire, marshmallow, ocean air, smoke?! All it needs is some chocolate and grahmcrackers to be smores on the beach! Makes me a little homesick.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Ok, the idea of smores on the beach sound AMAZING. I have had them on a lake beach, but never by the sea…must do!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

OMG I derped SO HARD!!!! I read 548 as 584…I was very confused why we were suddenly at 555…I really should never be allowed near numbers.

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Bullet Hell is an insane genre of game, and I feel no shame in admitting that it is really hard. I know I spend a lot of time talking about my love of Minecraft, but before there was Minecraft, there was Bullet Hell. I have been playing Shoot em Up style games since the days of Gradius, and it makes so much sense that by brain would love the fast paced and usually very colorful style of Bullet Hell games. I haven’t played one in a while, but the new Geometry Wars game recently came out and after seeing Dusty play it, the old itch popped back up and I had to have some fun. I popped on the game Frantic 2 and am having myself a grand time.

It is a bit of a meme among gamers that we consume monstrous amounts of caffeine to keep ourselves alert for hours of gaming, and Fashionista Tea’s Organic Creamy Earl Grey could very easily fit the bill, well assuming you drink a lot of it. This is a typical Earl Grey with a creamy twist, my personal favorite way to have an earl. The aroma a nice blend of malt, creamy vanilla sweetness, and a nice bright bergamot kick at the finish. Luckily it is not a kick in the face, more of a nice zingy wake up smell rather than smelling salts like bergamot can be at times.

Brewing up the tea brings out more of the bergamot and balances it out with the rich and creamy vanilla note, there is still a malty note as well, but it is playing second fiddle to the other two more dominant smells. Must be because the malty notes are having a solo in the liquid without the leaves! It is malty and bright with a sweet vanilla undertone and a nice wisp of bergamot at the finish.

So, on the bergamot scale, this tea is definitely in the middle, not too strong and not too weak, in my opinion this polite bergamot is the perfect level of citrus zinginess. There is of course a rich and creamy sweet vanilla note with a touch of cocoa, a bit of malt, and just the tiniest hint of oak wood. The vanilla lingers long after the sip has finished, giving this tea just a hint of a dessert quality. I certainly liked it, I am not the biggest Earl Grey fan (I am pretty sure that is my boyfriend actually, such an earl snob he is!) but I can appreciate one that blends the flavors, adds that extra bit of sweetness, and does not kill me with a citrus bomb to the face.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/fashionista-tea-organic-creamy-earl.html

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Time to rejoin the real world, with much regret. I have been an overstuffed, lazy, derping in front of the TV watching stuff or gaming, lump. In order to celebrate my return to normalcy post holiday, I decided to play with rocks! I went through my mom’s (she gave me a few really pretty pieces, including a very dirty Savannah River Agate) and I collected a few of my old gemstones I had left with her for safe keeping. I then spent several hours researching the Carolina Bay’s geology and formation, spoilers, it is really cool.

So, enough about my nerding out about rocks (though don’t be surprised if they start showing up in my photos) it is time for some Oolong! Today’s tea is Teavivre’s Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea, one of Taiwan’s Gao Shan (high mountain) teas grown at an altitude of 2,000ft on Li Shan. This specific tea is called a Gao Leng (woo, I learned a new tea phrase!) meaning high (I knew that much) and cold, referring to the environment the tea is grown in, this in theory makes the tea sweeter and more valuable. The about section on the website has a lot of neat info about Taiwanese teas, including which ones are grown at different heights, difference between high and low mountain Oolong, and so forth. Li Shan is not the highest grown tea, but it is certainly up there. The aroma, well, often I find myself going ga-ga over the roasted oolongs, but wow, when I have a dance with a Gao Shan I wonder, why did I ever get seduced by roasted tea? It is so sweet and so very floral, like a bouquet of honeysuckles, hyacinth, orchids, and lilies, it is intensely floral and at the same time very delicate, no worry of being blasted in the face by a perfume shop. There are also notes of chestnut and cream with a very sweet nectar finish.

I should point out that I am still not on the best terms with the gaiwan I am using for this tea review, it is a great gaiwan from a functionality standpoint (or I would have smashed it) but it is so not ok visually, grumble grumble. May I will give it a full review tomorrow, spoilers, it won’t be pretty…but I digress. The aroma of the steeped leaves is so immensely sweet, I want to hug it with my nose but that would be just odd. Again with the flowers, it is a blend of honeysuckle as the dominant, hyacinth, lilac, and spicebush. This transitions to a bit of creaminess and honey with a finish of chestnut. The aroma of the liquid (hehe, my notes in my notebook are crooked, always a good sign) is as expected very sweet, a delicate blend of flowers, primarily honeysuckle, osmanthus, and spicebush, this transitions to a sweet finish of chestnut.

First steeping sipping time! First steeps always excite me, they are liking starting a story or journey, you get an idea of how things are going to go, but there is room to grow and evolve. The mouthfeel is quite smooth, it coats the mouth and fills it with floral, sweet, happiness. This steep is pretty mellow, a nice sweet nectar start that blooms into hyacinth, orchids, and honeysuckles. The finish is a delicate honey sweetness with a lingering floral note.

The road goes ever on and on, ok, no…Gao Shan is not really a hobbit tea, it is more a tea you would expect the Sindar who dwelt in Gondolin to sip while writing poetry about how they are better than everyone else. The aroma is again, quite yum, the floral aroma has ramped itself up from delicate to intense, there are notes of spicebush, honeysuckle, orchid, osmanthus, hyacinth. So many flowers! There are also notes of chestnuts and a touch of creaminess. And yeah, the taste is sweet and floral, as expected, where the previous steep was flower nectar, this is full on flower essence and creamy chestnut sweetness. You also get a little bit of green fresh vegetation. The aftertaste is floral honey that lingers for quite a while.

Ok, quick question, have any of you ever licked the condensation of the lid of a gaiwan after steeping tea, if you have not, really I suggest doing it because it will be the best thing ever. So super sweet and like the essence of tea distilled into tiny droplets. The aroma is so much flowers, really it smells like a pile of springtime air while visiting a fancy garden, it is so sweet and full of flower nectar that I swear I can smell spring time. The taste is crazy mellow, very smooth and floral with lots of honey and chestnut, this transitions to a touch of mineral and a finish of spicebush that lingers for a while.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/teavivire-nonpareil-taiwan-li-shan.html

Flavors: Chestnut, Flowers, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Orchid

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Ah snow, glorious glorious snow. It was foretold that we would get 4-8 inches, and maybe we did, but since it was so warm the snow was really just a pile of very pretty slush. Ah well, snow is snow, but I am a little sad my pans for building a snow fort and then having tea in said fort went down the tube. So instead I pierced my nose and caught up on past episodes of Ghost Adventures. Also, my mom is a total jerk for baking an amazing gluten free pumpkin, giving me a tiny taste, and not letting me have anymore until tomorrow. That pie is killing me, it belongs in my belly.

So today’s tea from What-Cha is a little odd, and by odd I mean purple. Specifically it is Kenya Silver needle Purple Varietal White Tea, so it is a white tea that looks purple, thanks to a funky little pigment called Anthocyanin. Where the leaves of tea are usually green, this varietal is eggplant purple (same pigment that makes said eggplants purple, along with a ton of other purple plants) and in theory give the tea even more antioxidants. As per usual I could care less about the health benefits, what I care about is the taste (and smell too of course) though it being slightly more drought, frost, and pest resistant than its green cousin is really fascinating. One more thing before I get into the sniffing of the leaves, Anthocyanin does not change the smell, but it does give a slight boost in astringency, you can thank this pigment for blood oranges being a hair more bitter than other oranges. Ok, so, how do these leaves (that look more dark grey than purple…hehe, they are Drow!) smell? Kinda funky, actually, like a blend of peony flowers and kettle corn (hello Kenyan Silver Needle) and prunes, a bit of red wine, and and sharp, dried, leaves. It smells peculiar and I kinda like it, but also find myself doing the ‘huh’ head tilt.

So, I decided to go grandpa-bowl-style for this tea, into my fancy bowl it went for a nice long winded sipping session. The aroma wafting up from my cups was again a bit odd, blending the peony blossom, sweet corn, and delicate notes of Kenyan Silver Needle with slightly tart plums, prunes, bamboo leaves, and tomato leaves. This tea has a lot of things going on, but it is surprisingly delicate and light.

At the beginning the taste is mild, a really smooth mouthtaste, surprisingly no trichome fuzz on the tongue. It starts with a light sweetness of sweet corn and peony blossom along with cooked oats and tomato leaf. As it steeps more, I never notice any bitterness, even after 20 or so minutes sitting in water, the grain quality becomes richer, but not sweeter, like corn and oats with a touch of distant flowers.

Sadly it did not survive very long, it only took one topping up of water before it was rendered mostly tasteless. I also experimented with my gaiwan and got more or less the exact same effect, steep one was nearly identical to the beginning of the bowl method, steep two like the long steep, and steep three was nothing but the ghost of a tea.

I think I would really like this tea if I never met its really hot friend Kenyan Silver Needle, I know that sounds a bit mean, but I feel like the purple varietal really wants to be Kenyan Silver Needle so badly that its own unique features get lost.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/what-cha-kenya-silver-needle-purple.html

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There was dirt today, and leaves, and lots of bugs. Just a heads up. Yeah, I got to play in the dirt today like a little kid, it was wonderful! Today might be the last warm day before snow comes and covers all of my mother’s potted plants, making all the late autumn cleaning a really mushy, gross, and cold mess. So while waiting for mom to require my assistance, I took my camera and lifted various rocks and stumps looking for bugs. I found several spiders, tons of centipedes (and centipede eggs) more pillbugs than I could count, and a terrestrial flatworm of some type. Sadly mom would not let me keep the Yellow Sac Spider in a jar since ‘enough spiders find their way inside’ which is completely true. No desk friend for me this time…yet.

So, to spare some of my more bug-phobic readers anymore heebie-jeebies, it is time for tea! Today’s tea is The Persimmon Tree Tea Company’s Wellness Blend, an herbal blend of Organic Green Rooibos, Organic Fennel, Organic Linden Flower, Organic Orange Peel, Organic Raspberries, Organic Licorice Root, Organic Neem, Organic Cinnamon, Elderberries, Echinacea, and Chili Pepper, designed as a pick me cup. It also has the added benefit of calming the nerves and getting rid of headaches, and you know, when you have chronic headaches a nice herbal sip before bedtime is always welcome. The aroma, well, with all these herbs in it is expectantly herbaceous, reminding me of a plethora of dried herbs hanging from an herb show. Of course there are floral notes, a touch of peppery warmth, and a tiny bit of celery. It reminds me a little of my mom’s kitchen during winter, her drying kitchen herbs, a pot of simmering spice potpourri, and always flowers.

The now steeped pile of plants and spices is quite soggy, and still very much so smells like herbs, but this time with a very sweet note of fruit and a slightly tart note of berries. This fades to warm spice, pepper, and woody finish. The liquid, oddly enough, smells like pie. It smells like pie crust, berry fillings, and an herbal finish.

Sadly? I do not have a headache, and I am actually quite calm, so I am unable to relay on how the tea affects that, so it will just be about how it tastes. It starts sweet and herbal, a blend of fruit and spices. Again, pie comes to mind, not entirely sure why, but each sip I take reminds me of eating a slightly spicy berry pie with herbs baked into the crust. Not that I have ever actually eaten that, but it sounds really tasty. I like this tea, it is pretty mild as herbal teas go, no kicking in the face with the taste of plant bits and flowers, so that is a good if you want something gentle while being spicy and sweet.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-persimmon-tree-tea-company-wellness.html (minor spider warning at the end, a very pretty long jawed orb weaver)

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Hooray! Celebration! Happy Dance! Ok, not so much of the happy dance, it might cause my headache to come back. Yes, I am celebrating the headache I have had…for weeks…taking a break for a bit. I can still feel it poking around, it will be back in a few hours, but a break is always a reason to celebrate. It is a thing that I have dealt with all my life, stupid week to month long splitting headaches that at times make thinking rather hard, I was so worried I was not going to be able to write this evening. So, I am glad, my pain is eased and I can do the thing I look forward to most each day…rambling about tea!

First I have to admit that I made a derp. Remember my epic road trip with my mom where we had tea in a hotel room, right about a month ago? Well, that night Teavivre contacted me to do an Oolong series on my blog, perhaps answering them after hours on the road was not the best idea…since I readily agreed…to review one of the teas I have already reviewed. So what does one do when they need to review a tea they have already reviewed (and recently so it is not even reviewing a new harvest) the review it with a different brewing style! Previously I reviewed Teavivre’s Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea Fujian the Chinese Gong Fu Method using my Gaiwan, and I will be honest, it has been over a year I think since I brewed an Oolong Western Style, as soon as I got my Gaiwans and Yixing teapots, I never went back. So, let’s have a little fun and break out the bone china teacup, shall we? The aroma of the leaves is pretty much the same as last time, a blend of sweetness, char, and richness. It starts with cocoa, tobacco, woodiness, and sweet molasses, this fades into baking bread, honey, char, and a finish of distant flowers.

Since the leaves are so big and I did not want to crush them, I tossed them into my funky thrift store find, yeah, it is part of a glass double boiler, but works really well as a small teapot, cha hai, and steeping vessel, I like using non-tea intended things as tea things. The aroma of the brewed leaves is pretty intense after that long (ok 2 minutes is not that long) of a steep, there are notes of charcoal, molasses, tobacco, wet autumn leaves, cocoa, and honey. It is thick and heavy, reminding me of a wet autumn day where the smoke hangs low in the valley. The liquid, wow, that is also pretty intense, blending the tobacco and char with the molasses and cocoa, with a tiny finish of honey.

So, this tea might have been what killed my headache, kinda like smelling salts on a fainting Victorian lady, it could not survive the potency that is Western Brewed Da Hong Pao. The taste starts off rich and stays rich till the end, with a beginning of molasses, cocoa, and spicebush. This transitions to sharp charcoal and tobacco, and oak wood with the tobacco taste lingering, giving the finish a bit of a bitter bite. Not an unpleasant bitterness, mind you, well if you are a fan of bitter things (yes, I eat kale and like my chocolate super duper dark, I love the bitter side of things) you will find this very pleasant. It is not a dry, tannic, mouth-puckering bitterness, the mouth feel is actually quite smooth.

Round two, I doubled my time and even with the longer steep noticed the aroma is milder. Not so much sweetness and richness, more woodsy with a touch of cocoa and wet leaf pile. The taste is super mild, like the aroma it is very woodsy. All the bitterness, tobacco notes, and cocoa notes are gone from this steep, I am left with oak wood, peanuts, and a touch of sweet baking bread. So the first steep was intense, I really enjoyed it, the second steep left me bored, I still prefer the journey of Gong Fu for Oolong teas, but might go Western with a Yancha next time my headache starts to rear its stupid…um…head.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/teavivire-da-hong-pao-big-red-robe-wuyi.html

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

I seem to be firing on all burners. This one, like North Winds that Ms Priss reviewed above, is also on my to-be-ordered list. Glad it knocked your headache for a loop; here’s hoping tea will keep it at bay.

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I think I have some sort of origami themed sickness, I get out my paper to work on some pieces and next thing I know hours have passed, my teacup is empty, and I am sitting in a pile of origami. Do any of my crafty friends do this? Go into a sort of half-remembered trance and then realize ‘oh, I just did a bunch of stuff’ usually because your body lets you know you need to do something else (like eat.) It is both rewarding and a little strange. Clearly I am just the Cheval for the Loa of origami, and I am actually totally ok with that.

So after that slightly strange intro (clearly I need more tea, or possibly food) we are onto today’s tea: The Persimmon Tree Tea Company’s French Vanilla Bean. This sweet sounding tea is a blend of Organic Black Teas, Vanilla Bean, Coconut, and Almonds…those are some of my favorite things in a tea, I wonder if blended together they will be as good? Ok I already know since this tea was logged in my notebook, mwahaha I have tea spoilers! Wow, I am in an odd mood! So, how does this tea smell? Good, like really good, like a vanilla bean and almond infused biscotti dipped in chocolate with a touch of coconut sitting next to a steaming cup of rich, malty, black tea. Sniffing this tea makes me feel under-dressed and lacking elegance, clearly I should be wearing something pretty while sipping this out of fine bone china in some swanky Paris cafe.

Brewing this rich tea does not make it any better, I still feel like I am in the wrong place to be drinking this tea. At least I have a fancy teacup and nifty artisan made teapot to have my tea in. The aroma is super rich, it is sweet and heady from the vanilla, much like sniffing vanilla beans and not vanilla ice cream so it has that richness without creamy heaviness. There is also a cocoa and almond note, not really picking up the coconut though. That is because it is hiding in the aroma of the liquid! It is just a touch, but you can smell the sweet and creamy note of the coconut along with the deliciously sweet vanilla and almonds. There is also a brisk hint of black tea giving the tea a bit of a bite at the finish.

Ok, tasting time, I have my fancy bone china teacup with a matching saucer (really, the saucer is a huge deal for me) and I am ready to take my first sip. It starts out mellow and smooth while retaining the richness of the aroma, it is rich while not weighing you down, kinda like how you feel weighed down by a rich fudge but not by a rich slice of angel food cake. This blooms into a decadent blend of vanilla, almonds, malt, and cocoa, oh man is that ever rich! The coconut adds a level of creaminess to the tea in both mouthfeel and taste, luckily the amount is small so the creaminess does not slide to oily like some coconut heavy teas can do. There is a slight briskness to the tea which keeps the tea from sinking into a too intense heaviness, it wakes up the mouth after the decadence has lulled it into a stupor. The cocoa notes linger in an aftertaste for a while. I was tempted to add a splash of cream to this tea, but decided that would make it too heavy, my mom did try her cup with cream and while it was good it confirmed my suspicion (though she really liked it that way.) We ended up making an afternoon of it with many cups, this is a good afternoon tea.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-persimmon-tree-tea-company-french.html


An origami voodoo power… that’s good. :)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

I need to use that in an RPG now, I have had a character that had magical origami and one that had Voodoo powers…they must be combined!


it sounds wonderful…but I don’t do coconut…drats…

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I am pretty sure I am in a relationship with a monster…or a trickster god, you might hear people talk about the 2010 Snowpocalypse and how rough it was, that was nothing compared to what I went through. Gleepocalypse. Ben thought it would be the best thing ever to seed and like all my Pandora stations (that I have had for years) with the Glee versions of songs. Pretty soon no matter what station I was on I would be bombarded with Glee! It took so much work to get my perfectly groomed stations back to normal, and I still panic that he messed something up when a Glee song pops up, of course he laughs maniacally. So, that was today’s fun story. Still don’t know why people complain about the Snowpocalypse though, that was a blast!

So, for today we are having a tea specially formulated by Plum Deluxe for people who like to sip tea while doing artsy stuff, writing, or reading…which is pretty much all I do. Reading Nook is a blend of rosebuds, lavender, chamomile, passionflowers, and cream black tea, I admit I have never seen chamomile in a black tea, what a novel idea! Ok yes, I made a terrible pun, I am sorry!! The aroma is quite interesting, very floral with a mellow blend of lavender and rosy along with the familiar straw aroma of chamomile flowers. It is like sniffing a dried flower bouquet with the hint of sweet cream and malty black tea.

The brewed leaves are sweet and creamy with very strong floral notes, it is a soothing blend of lavender and chamomile with a rich heady note of rose. Under all the creamy sweetness and floral notes is a rich malt undertone that goes really well with the flowers. The liquid is much more tea and less flowers, with a nice strong malt and molasses note and a slight oak wood briskness. There are flowers of course, the blend of rose, chamomile, and lavender adds a really mellow note to the black tea. Me likes!

The idea for this blend is a little genius, I mean when you are reading or doing artsy stuff, you want to be alert and awake, but you don’t want to be jittering out of your desk chair (at least I don’t want to!) so adding flowers mellows the black tea out, wakes up the brain and relaxes the body. The power of taste and smell on the brain is awesome! So about that taste, it is really interesting, as expected with an unusual blend. It starts with a blend of malty briskness and straw-like chamomile flowers, this moves to creamy sweetness, rose, and lavender. The finish is sweet roses that linger for a while, and honestly inspire me to romance, but roses do that to me. I like this tea, it is a really good match for reading or intellectual pursuits (what, art is intellectual) because it adds the needed caffeine, has an interesting taste and aroma, but does not overwhelm. You can sip it and do your thing, no need to worry about a powerhouse tea that takes all your focus away from said project.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/11/i-am-pretty-sure-i-am-in-relationship.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 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, 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


Kansas City, MO



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