758 Tasting Notes

After much debate and talking with Ben, both of us have decided that I need a sun-lamp, because my SAD is just awful. Each winter I turn into this pitiful, miserable, pain filled lump…clearly I am actually a plant, though not a coniferous, alas. I used to think I had SAD during the summer as well as winter and I would just deal with it, but thinking things through I tend to just feel grumpy and uncomfortable in summer because I loathe the heat, it is just me being a big baby, but in winter I just get kinda catatonic, one step away from hibernating. Next step is to research a good sun lamp, any SAD people out there with suggestions?

It is time to delve into the pile of notebooks from long ago, filled with tea notes of yore! Today we are looking at Monk’s Mead by SerendipiTea, a blend of Apple, Apple Flavor, Chamomile, Mango, Mango Flavor, and Rosehips, all organic and natural! This tea is supposed to evoke the taste of mead, and I have never had mead, the closest I have had is Oenomel, or Grecian Honeyed Wine, so I cannot say how close this tea gets to its goal. The aroma is pretty great, blending dried apples, honey, and the straw and vaguely fresh apple aroma of chamomile. At the very finish is a slightly citrus sour note from the rosehips, though that fades really quickly.

You know one of the things I kinda hate about chamomile? It gets sooooo stuck into the fine mesh of the steeping basket, meaning it is a real pain to clean, other than that I love the stuff. The aroma is primarily chamomile, blending straw, pollen, strawflowers, and a touch of apples. I pick up a gentle note of mango at the finish, but mostly this is all chamomile all the time. The liquid is a blend of mango and apple with a slightly sour note and a finish of pollen and strawflowers.

The first thing I noticed about this tea is the utter lack of anything but chamomile, the front taste is all chamomile all the time, with strong notes of pollen and wildflowers fading to apples. That apple note builds from a distant apple memory to a full on baked apple, with extra sweetness from the mango. At the finish there is a note of honey, with a slightly sour citrus note, it lingers for a while, making me salivate from the sourness. This is not a bad tea, it did not wow me overly much, but I found it pleasant, I think I would have liked it a lot more if it lacked the rosehips, since for me this tea shined most when it was very sweet.

For blog and (crappy old) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/serenditpitea-monks-mead-tbt-tea-review.html


Yep, mine broke when I moved, and now I need one too. It really helped me with energy during the winter.


Anyway, I don’t know whether or not they will, but I’m currently trying to convince my health insurance to cover it.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

That is actually a really good point, I should check with them to see if they will cover it since supposedly my insurance is really good (cough cough it is selective with how good it actually is)


Yeah, I think this differs a lot between insurance companies and states. I’m thinking mine was covered when I got it in a different state, but it seems to be more complicated where I live now. Basically, my family doctor hadn’t ever heard of one being prescribed here, so I had to find a psychiatrist who is willing to prescribe it and blah blah blah… It’s been a big pain.


But I think I got it pretty easily when I lived in Pennsylvania.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Ugh, that sounds immensely frustrating. It is always ‘fun’ getting doctors to work with you, especially when you have a previous setup going with a different doctor. Good luck!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

More reason for me to move back home to Pennsylvania!


Thanks. I hope it works out for you too! The funny thing is, I currently have better healthcare than I did then. But my healthcare plan was designed for graduate students, who apparently tended to get depressed in the winter on a regular basis. So they were very used to approving these things.


I got one at Costco. And it’s actually pretty nice! I don’t use it every day, because the day after a sunny day I don’t need it so much… but I do use it. http://www.amazon.com/Verilux-VT15WW1-HappyLight-Liberty-Energy/dp/B00EUF67DU/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1452224749&sr=8-3&keywords=verilux+happylight


Wow, that’’s the lowest price I’ve ever seen for one of those. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely do this if I can’t get it covered (I finally got an avatar).


I, uhh, got mine at Costco for $40CAD. hides So you see I couldn’t really pass it up even though it’s not a necessity for me.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Oh very awesome! I shall have to check my local Costco, I need an excuse to get an industrial size jar of kalamata olives again


I haven’t had one in a few years myself, but for the past 7 years I lived in the South and didn’t really need it. It gets dark much earlier where I live now, and I’ve seen a lot less of the sun. I’m checking the American Costco — it’s still a good price for these even if it’s a better price in Canada.


This is the one I had, and it was about this price before. Or at least it’s a newer version of the one I had:


It was fine while I had it but I would not get it again… The only thing that broke was the lightbulb, which would have cost $78 to replace so I just got rid of it. And I think I can find something that works just as well for less than $78 in total.

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Le Gasp! I just realized flipping through my notes that I am running low on What-Cha teas to review, jeaopordizing What-Cha Wednesdays, looks like a shopping trip is in my future, not that I need an excuse, but we are not out of teas quite yet, we still have Taiwan Medium Roast Dong Ding Qing Xin Oolong Tea for example. This tea hails from Wushe Garden in Nantou, Taiwan and is made from the Qing Xin varietal with a medium roast, the bare minimum for me to seek out a Dong Ding. No offense to green Dong Ding, I just prefer the roast, so comforting! The aroma of these leaves is really surprisingly sweet, like sesame seeds and almond paste drizzled with honey sitting next to a bouquet of honeysuckles.

Gaiwan time for the leaves, and the aroma of the soggy and unfurled leaves is really quite heady with notes of spicebush, squash flowers, orchid and honeysuckle, but blended with sesame seeds, acorn squash, and a gentle bread note at the finish. The liquid is sweet and creamy with notes of sesame seeds, acorn squash, almond paste, honey, and a finish of distant orchids.

For all the sweetness of the aroma, surprisingly the taste is only a little sweet, not at all cloying. It starts with a smooth almost oily mouthfeel and a distinct buttery note that moves to almond butter and sesame seeds. The finish is a gentle vegetation and bok choy note that lingers for a bit. This tea retains enough of its pre-roast that it shakes things up a bit, which is fun.

The second steep is intensely sweet in the nose, strong notes of honey and sesame, reminding me of sesame candies, and a nice burst of squash at the finish. The mouthfeel, like the first steep, is very smooth and almost oily, like eating cashews. In fact it has a bit of a cashew note along with the sesame seeds and almond nuttiness. This steep has more of the roasted notes I am used to with a roasted Dong Ding, notes of nuttiness with squash, honey sweetness, and mellow butteriness. At the finish is distant orchid which lingers for a bit.

Onward to the third steeping, notes of buttery spicebush and squash blend with honeysuckles and sesame greet my nose, it is sweet and gently toasty. The mouthfeel this steep is a bit dryer, with a crispness at the finish, but it is still quite smooth. The taste is sweet and toasty, notes of spicebush and cashews, sesame and honeysuckle, and a lingering gentle buttery note. This is a very mellow Dong Ding, and it hits the spot.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/what-cha-taiwan-medium-roast-dong-ding.html


I can probably share some of mine if I have any you haven’t reviewed already

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Espeon is a total goofball! On New Years Day the local thrift stores all had a half-off sale, and I decided to go hunting teaware and more importantly go hunting a new desk chair, because my previous one was barely functioning. The arm grips were ragged messes held together with duct tape, it was missing bolts so it leaned precariously to one side, and it barely rolled right anymore…it was in a sad state. Luckily I found a fantastic new chair, it rolls like a dream, is surprisingly comfy, delightfully retro (it came from 1993 or so the sticker would have me believe) and has a nice high back. This high back has become a favorite perch for Espeon, especially when I am in the chair (I fear for the teaware behind me, her tail is a menace) except she has decided the best way to go about perching is to have her back half on the chair and her front half draped across my shoulder. This is all fine, except when I move she gets sooooo mad at me, she is a spoiled little tortie!

Cat drama aside, it is time to look at another tea from Xin Mu Cha, specifically their Nonpareil Taiwan ShanLinXi Black Tea. This tea is not on their website at this time, so I don’t have much info for it other than it is a Black Tea and from Shan Lin Xi, a region that has produced many teas I have enjoyed. I always find Shan Lin Xi Oolongs to be very aromatic and crisp, so seeing the tea made into a black tea excites me, I have a weakness for teas that are usually processed a specific way being treated differently, it creates some exciting results. The aroma of the rather fluffy large leaves is intense, notes of molasses and malt, leather and apple wood, toasted peanuts, sweet potatoes, and a finish roasted beans. It has a starchy quality and a subtle sweetness.

Into the gaiwan the leaves go for their steeping, the aroma of the now soggy leaves is rich with notes of cocoa and malt, sweet potatoes, molasses. and underlying notes of gentle spice and sweetness. The liquid is quite sweet, malty and molasses notes are dominant with a touch of dry leather and cocoa. It is strong and rich, with a touch of briskness that acts as a good balance to the richness.

The first steep starts with a smooth mouthfeel, and a taste that is rich without being overpowering. The taste starts with starchy sweet potatoes and gentle spice, it has an autumnal feel to it. It then moves to malt and a lingering fruity tobacco finish, the aftertaste is honey and slightly woody and it lingers.

Onward to the second steep! The aroma is a blend of molasses and brown sugar with gentle notes of leather and cocoa. It is sweet and rich, with just the right amount of briskness to wake my nose up. The taste is very similar to the first steep, and just as smooth. Notes of ever so slightly autumnal sweet potato and pumpkin with baked fruit (specifically apple) and gentle spice. It moves to brown sugar and molasses at the finish and has a slight leather note in the aftertaste.

For the third steep, the aroma takes a bit of a creamy note with the notes of molasses and brown sugar, the leathery notes are gone and replaced with gentle fruitiness. The taste takes some notes from the aroma and has a creamy quality, any briskness from the previous steeps has left and it is all smooth sweetness all the times. It finishes with baked apples and sweet potatoes with a lingering molasses note.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/xin-mu-cha-nonpareil-taiwan-shanlinxi.html

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I have become like unto a zombie, spending all my waking time chugging tea and playing Minecraft. Ok no that is a lie, I have gone grocery shopping and I am writing this now between adding floors to my epic cliff building. It has a clock-tower. I am debating, once I get a bit more building done and expand things, I am tempted to do a Twitch livestream tour of my world, blame my mom for this idea. She is convinced I am a master builder and need to show off the skills, I want to do it as a way to document how my world evolves over time, since it seems the Xbone does not have a share screenshot to facebook function like the 360, tragic.

So the other day I over-indulged, I ate way too much gross food and just felt like my guts were covered in slime, I wanted a tea that was acidic and sour (since I was out of kalamata olives, my usual go-to for post gross food binging.) So rummaging through my stash I found BlendBee’s Lime Green With Envy and went ooooh, because citrus is my other go-to digestive aide, bingo! This tea is a blend of Sencha, China Green Tea (which is a Chun Mee) Lemon Peel, Raspberry Leaf, and Lime Extract, and I adore green tea blended with citrus, it is probably my favorite fruit to blend with green tea, it is just so refreshing! The aroma is very citrus heavy, a nice blend of lime and lemon, with lemon leaves, green fresh grass, and fluffy green notes of raspberry leaves…no really, it smells fluffy to me, can’t really describe why.

Into my pretty glass pot the tea goes, I wanted to look at it steeping because green tea is pretty. The aroma of the wet leaves is super citrus, lots of lemon and mellow lime, strong green notes of spinach and grass with undertones of lettuce. It kinda smells like a salad, and I like that since lemon juice is my favorite dressing. The liquid, however, smells much sweeter, but still has savory undertones of spinach and grass, but the citrus notes are sweet, with an undertone of nuttiness.

So, is this tea going to hit the spot and make me feel less ill? Yep, that citrus did the trick! It is not a super sweet tea, it is refreshing and sour, like eating a nice green salad with lemon and lime dressing. There are notes of grass and spinach, a touch of hay, some turnips greens, and a finish of lime that lingers for a while. This tea is definitely good hot, but letting it chill makes it amazingly refreshing, I can’t wait to cold steep this one come summer time.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/blendbee-lime-green-with-envy-tea.html


Guts covered in slime. I know the feeling. LOL

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Guess what I am doing? If you guessed playing Minecraft on my new Xbox One then you are totally correct! My beloved Ramble is now monstrously huge, with many Ocean monuments, Ice Spike biomes, jungles, and fancy roofed forests. I am very pleased with how the terrain generated on the rest of the expanded world, lots of potential for epic build, and of course lots of mountains, because Ramble wouldn’t be the same without a ton of extreme hills. I only have one complaint, there is a glitch that I assume will be fixed in the next bug fix that makes map walls totally unusable, this saddens me because the first thing I did was fill all the maps and make a map wall at spawn.

Today I am looking at a tea from Adagio Teas, a store I have a great nostalgic fondness for since they were the first tea company to show up on the blog, and the first online shop I ordered from. It was scary at first, being so used to going to Wegman’s (which is a distributor for Ito-En) and selecting based on sight and sniff, moving away meant I needed to bite the bullet if I wanted a steady flow of tea. So in a way, Adagio Teas is to thanks for my raging out of control tea stash! The particular tea I am looking at is Fujian Rain, their name for Shui Xian (or Shui Hsien, Water Sprite, Water Narcissus…so many names!) one of my favorite of the Wuyi Rock Oolongs. The aroma of the dark curly leaves is pleasantly smoky, like a campfire that has gone to smolder and not a raging smoke belching fire. There is more than fire to this tea, there is also sweetness with notes of molasses, figs, dates, and a gentle spicy nutmeg and cocoa. At the finish there is a gentle, almost too faint to notice, hint of orchids.

Into my Yancha pot the leaves go, the aroma of the soggy leaves is sharp and mineral, blending wet slate, woody stems, tobacco, and smoke with a tiny hint of cocoa at the finish. The liquid is a sweet blend of cocoa and woody tobacco with a slight hint of nutmeg and char at the finish.

The first steeping is pretty light in both taste and mouthfeel. It starts with a gentle blend of honey and tobacco and moves to char and cocoa with a hint of nutmeg. The finish is a delicate and lingering mineral and light distant flower note that wavers between lily and orchid.

Second steeping time! The aroma is a bit more floral this time, along with woody tobacco and gentle char, also a nice mineral burst at the finish, like dropping water on hot coals. The taste did not change much from the first steep, the main difference is the stronger notes of tobacco and mineral and less sweetness. If I did not know this was a Shui Xian before, I certainly do now!

Third steep, the aroma is woody tobacco and char, with a strong mineral finish and a touch of cocoa. The taste is milder this time around, primarily woody tobacco and char, with cocoa and a strong mineral finish. Wet slate and hot coals linger as the aftertaste. This is a decent Shui Xian, I wish it were a bit more potent or unique, since this is very similar to the much cheaper Sea Dyke brand that I get at my local Asian Market, but if you lack access to a super cheap everday drinker, this is a good option.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/adagio-teas-fujian-rain-tea-review.html


I like the name list! I want to learn more of the Chinese words for different teas so I can understand/classify them better.

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Contrary to popular belief, I do still read…a lot, but lately most my reading has been other subjects and when I read a tea book it is more looking for specific info rather than reading through. Time to change that, and I am starting with The Ancient Art of Tea: Wisdom From the Old Chinese Tea Masters by Warren Peltier. Reading the blurb about this book, I admit I was expecting it to be a large scholarly work, I was a bit surprised when I opened my package and found a fairly small book that was not a study on different scholarly works on tea…but more a book of quotes. Ok actually that is not really fair, it is so much more than that.

Not everyone has the head for translating archaic Chinese works, and not everyone likes reading the at times rather dry and dull translations available, so finding an abridged work that has gone through the hard work of translating works into a readable (for a more modern not necessarily academic audience) form and referencing very specific points is extremely useful. The book is organized by thematic sections, like water for tea, ways to heat the tea, tea etiquette, and so forth and these sections are further organized chronologically. This makes straight reading through very easy, and it makes looking for specific things super convenient. And for bonus tea/history/linguistic nerd credit, at the end of the book is all the texts that were translated in their original form, so you can practice your translation or copy it for calligraphy practice, tea room decor time!

The subject matter is extremely fascinating, from both a history and a tea stand, it is wonderful seeing how the philosophy behind tea, its preparation, and its enjoyment changed through the different dynasties. The parts I found most interesting were the sections of water and etiquette, specifically I really enjoyed the list of waters ranked from best to worst, and that it was not necessarily based on taste. For example, in the ranking of water, snow comes in last and not because it tastes rank but because the cold Qi is thought to be harmful, which makes me wonder if I can use it to help with inflammation, similar to drinking cooling teas when I am sick or during the summer.

As you can tell I like this book, it is short and sweet and light on art, but in this case the lack of pictures did not really bother me, I highly recommend reading if you are wanting more information on how tea was prepared throughout Chinese history and how the different dynasty’s looked at it culturally.

For blog and random pretty tea photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-ancient-art-of-tea-wisdom-from-old.html

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Happy first day of 2016! My tea themed resolutions for this year involve creating a pumidor (I have a few ideas on how to do it with limited space) explore as many types of Dancong Oolongs as possible, get some work done on my much neglected tea book, and lastly keep my stash of tea more organized. Pretty much all doable things, even if I failed at celebrating New Years by going to be before midnight. I will just have to make up for it by partying really hard for Chinese New Year, but I always do!

Today we are looking at a tea from Joy’s Teaspoon, Milk Oolong! There are two different kinds of Milk Oolong, ones that are naturally creamy and ones that are scented/flavored, both are exciting in their own way, this one is in the scented/flavored department. As much as I love my straight Jin Xuan, having a well flavored Milk Oolong is like having a bowl of ice cream, not something I want everyday, but when I am craving it watch out. The aroma of the leaves is all sorts of whoa, this tea smells like dessert. Notes of vanilla ice cream, sweet cream, coconut milk, gentle distant honeysuckles, and a finish of sesame custard. Fun fact, sesame custard in Japan is known as Kuro Goma Purin and made from black sesames…since I cannot for the life of me find black sesames (which are a bit earthier than regular golden ones) I made the custard out of toasted regular ol’ sesame seeds. I am telling you this because that is what it smells like.

Gaiwan time for the leaves, and now my tea area smells like an ice cream shop. Let’s just say I was not surprised by the hovering cats and a hovering Ben, because the aroma really permeated the area. Notes of sweet vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard rise out of the leaves, and the liquid is much the same but with a nice addition of honeysuckles and a touch of vegetation.

From the first sip the ice cream comparison is still solid (note to self, come summer time cold steep this tea) it starts with a creamy mouth feel that goes very well with the creamy sweet taste. Yes, this is a sweet tea, strong notes of sugar cane and vanilla ice cream and a finish of sesame seed custard and lingering sweetness.

Second steep time, and the aroma is still going strong with note of ice cream. Along side the ice cream sweetness is honeysuckle, sesame custard, and a bit of vegetation, which mellows out the sweetness a bit. The taste is very similar to the first steep, a little less sweet but still just as rich with strong notes of vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard. On a whim I let this cup chill a bit (ok I got distracted) and wow, super sweet when cold…good to know.

Third steep, the aroma is still very creamy and sweet, but with stronger notes of honeysuckle and vegetation, the under Jin Xuan shining through. This steeping is still very creamy and sweet, notes of mineral and vegetation blend well with the sesame custard and a very distinct note of toasted coconut, reminding me a bit of coconut custard pie, yum! Like with ice cream, this is not a tea I can indulge in all the time, but it makes a wonderful treat when I am in the mood for a decadent pile of creamy goodness.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/01/joys-teaspoon-milk-oolong-tea-review.html

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Thank my lucky stars, my camera is back and functioning again. Sadly I do have several teas where my only option was to photograph them with my phone, but it is not terrible, just not what I prefer. On a completely unrelated note, Ben challenged me to build Neuschwanstein Castle in Minecraft…ughhh that will be an undertaking. My sky castle is vaguely inspired by it, since it is my favorite castle and that little bit of Bavarian history has been a favorite area of study of mine since I was a youngin’ so you know, why not? It is not like I get tired of ridiculously huge builds or anything.

Shortly before Christmas, new to me company Xin Mu Cha contacted me to review some of their teas, this excited me immensely because they specialize in Taiwanese teas, yes, it is well known I get excited over teas from Taiwan at this point, they were my first love and have stayed at the forefront of my attention since I was a teenager. Today’s tea is Nonpareil Taiwan LaLa Shan Oolong, a green Oolong from not often talked about LaLa Shan in northern Taiwan, and let me tell you, LaLa Shan is gorgeous! From what I can tell (and I might be wrong on this one) LaLa Shan is similar to Da Yu Ling where the majority of the area is a nature preserve and there are only a few tea farms high in the mountains. From the moment I opened the little vacuum sealed pouch I was greeted with a powerfully aromatic tea. Notes of creamy custard and sesame seeds dance with cane sugar and snap peas, with an accompaniment of yeasty sweet cake batter and spring flowers.

Gaiwan time, at first I was torn between brewing this tea in a gaiwan or my XiShi, but I really wanted to see the leaves unfurl, glad I did too because there were some real beauties in this leaf pile. The aroma of the wet and slowly unfurling leaves is a powerhouse of floral, strong notes of iris, hyacinth, narcissus, dianthus, and lotus. The blend of flowers with notes of creaminess and vanilla give it a slight baby powder aroma which I found quite fascinating, it was heady and very sweet. The liquid of the first steep is sweet! Notes of honey and creamy custard blend with lots of heady floral notes, lilac, hyacinth, and dianthus with a touch of honeysuckle and a yeasty sweetness at the finish. Very spring bouquet tea going on here.

First steep is surprisingly thick on the mouthfeel, it is buttery and heavy, I feel as though I am sinking into a warm pile of flower petals. I think that is why I love these floral oolongs, they are vaguely intoxicating, much like being in a hot house full of full bloom flowers but I get to drink it in rather than just smell it. Yes, this tea is sweet and creamy, but it is very floral, strong notes of hyacinth and dianthus with a slight hint of sassafras flowers and lotus. The finish is a blend of sesame seeds and snap peas adding a touch of green to the sweet headiness.

Second steeping’s aroma is intensely heady, strong notes of lilac, dianthus, and hyacinth dance out of my cup. Tasting this tea is quite enjoyable, it starts with a thick and creamy mouthfeel and finishes with a slight dryness. The flavor begins with a strong yet delicate blend of floral notes, it is heady without overpowering with notes of hyacinth, dianthus, and lilac with accompanying notes of lotus, again it vaguely reminds me of baby powder, but you know, without soap or perfume. The finish blends sugar cane and snap peas with lingering sweetness that lasts into the aftertaste.

Third steep, the aroma is still very floral and heady, but with the previous notes of lilac and hyacinth, there are also notes of orchid and freshly broken vegetation. It smells like springtime. This steeping has much stronger green notes, fresh vegetation mix with snap peas and sugar cane. There is still a good bit of floral as well, specifically hyacinth and lilac, but it has become more balanced with green notes. The aftertaste is sugar cane and it lingers for quite a while. I pulled several more steeps out of this tea, it transitioned to green before finishing with mineral sweetness.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/xin-mu-cha-nonpareil-taiwan-lala-shan.html

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I got to paint today, yay! Yesterday I tried painting and my hands were really hurting, and they are certainly not perfect yet, but I got to get some work done and this pleases me. Winter is always wicked tough on my hands, well on my body in general, so I spend a lot of the colder season busily playing video games and reading. It is my version of hibernation.

Today I am taking a look at another tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate by way of What-Cha, a very unique tea you can only get from What-Cha…seeing this I was understandably intrigued! Malawi Livingstone’s Twist & Dry Oolong Tea is a tea with some massive leaves, seriously I think this tea has the single biggest leaf I have seen in my tea. The aroma of the twisty leaves is woody, strong notes of dry oak wood and apple wood mixed with ripe juicy plums and sweet dried peaches. The aroma is surprisingly woody, which gives it a brisk quality, however the briskness is tempered by the fruity sweetness.

I gave some thought on how to brew this tea and decided to go for gongfu, several of the teas I have tried for the Satemwa Tea Estate I have brewed in my gaiwan, and none of them have disappointed me. The aroma of the soggy leaves is a bit of leather, a bit of nuttiness, and well hello there sweet fruit! It is like sniffing peach jam with hints of lychee and a finish of burnt sugar. The liquid is honey sweet with strong notes of peach and apricot jam and undertones of wood and apples. Very sweet indeed!

There is a lot happening in the first steep! It starts with a slightly dry and tingly mouthfeel and a woody blended with mineral taste. This move to thick apricot jam and dried peaches, the sweetness transforms to a gentle spinach and leather note with a lingering honey.

Second steeping, the aroma is sweet peach and apricot jam with a touch of burnt sugar and a slight spiciness at the finish. The texture of this steep is a strange blend of buttery at the front and dry at the finish. The taste starts spicy and sweet, like gently spiced cooked plums, it moves to woody, specifically apple wood and oak wood. The finish is gentle cooked plums with a lingering bit of mineral.

The aroma of the third steeping has the same fruit jam, burn sugar, and gentle spice but with a touch of woodiness at the finish. This steep is surprisingly woody, notes of apple and oak wood with gentle notes of clean soil and a finish of burnt sugar and spinach. This is an odd tea, some of the notes seem like they would contrast, but they don’t, it blends well and is a wild ride. Plus, the leaf of epic proportions makes a wonderful hat for my teapet!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/what-cha-malawi-livingstones-twist-dry.html

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The waiting game begins!! I did it, today I ordered the Xbone and I am so full of excitement I can barely function. Really I don’t think I have been this kind of excited since I was a kid…I hearken back to Middle School where my dad pre-ordered a Playstation and I was just the hotness at school, of course I spent the entire day bouncing off the walls waiting to get home so I could play the pile of demos because I didn’t have money for the games yet. I could say I felt this kind of excitement when I got an Xbox360, but considering Ben just surprised me with it one day the excitement was a very short explosion…maybe I could compare it to being super excited about Mass Effect 3 where I went to the release party, that had a sad ending though so maybe not.

Guys, guys….guys…it is Dian Hong time!! I am addicted to Dian Hong, it is probably no secret at this point, I mean I love Hong Cha in general, but I go into full on twitchy addict mode around Dian Hong. So today why not look at White2Tea’s Bang Dong Hong Black Tea, made from big leaf Puerh varietal material but processed like a red tea, which means fun times for me! I have had other Dian Hongs that specifically are made from Puerh material and they have made me immensely happy, they have unique nuances. The aroma of the really quite enormous leaves is crisp and gently smoky, with sweet honey and cocoa undertones, a nice starchy yam note, and a slightly camphor finish. It is like sniffing a chocolate covered Sheng, and I hope everyone is as amused by that mental image as I am.

Into my red tea yixing teapot the leaves went for a water filled adventure! The aroma of the now soggy leaves is subtly sweet, with notes of malt and yams, pine resin and camphor, and a finish of honey and cocoa. It has a crispness despite the rich notes, and it is probably the camphor I have to thank for that. The liquid (or soup if you feel fancy) has a gentle and sweet aroma, blending molasses, burnt sugar, cocoa, yams, pine sap, and a tiny tiny hint of camphor at the finish. It smells more of a Dian Hong in the liquid and only has a hint of its puerh cousin.

The first steeping is smooth and sweet, starting with notes of honey and pine sap with a nice midtaste of cocoa that almost borders on chocolate, but not quite that milky sweet. Around the midtaste notes of yam and molasses appear, and the finish brings in a slightly cedar slightly camphor note. It is not cooling, more like the ghost of cedar and camphor, giving it, if anything, a bit of crispness.

Second steeping time, and the aroma is quite malty with notes of pine sap, starchy yams, and a touch of sweet cocoa. This steeping is mostly smooth, with a hint of dryness at the finish, it is not a strong unpleasant dryness, just slight. The taste is rich this steeping, strong notes of cocoa and malt mix with molasses and a slight pine wood note. It finishes with yams, honey, and molasses, the molasses taste lingers for a while after the sipping.

The aroma of the third steeping is still very malty and rich, with stronger yam notes and cocoa, the honey sweetness is not as strong, as it is more rich than sweet. Sipping the red gold (it is like gold to me!) it is all smoothness, no dryness what so ever, just smooth rich sweetness. The taste is sweet and malty, very rich with notes of yam and honey, with strong molasses and malt at the finish. I got several more steeps after this one, it is a Red Tea that keeps giving, getting sweeter after the richness,

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/12/white2tea-bang-dong-hong-black-tea-tea.html


Yea Xbone! Need to get yr gamer tag sometime after you get it.

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I am a nerdy, obsessive, crafty, tea blogging, gaming nut. Yeah, that about sums me up! Ok, you want something more informative….

I am a Geek, hardcore fan-girl Geek. It shapes my life. I spend a large chunk of my life painting miniatures and contemplating my various army layouts. I hoard dice, get obsessed with games, and will talk about whatever fandom, game, etc that I am obsessed over until I am blue in the face. I am not just a gamer girl type Geek, I also fit in the collecting knowledge and spending way too much time reading and researching category of Geek.

But there is more to me than just being a giant nerd. I love tea, always have and have just gotten more and more obsessed as I get older. I love trying new teas and then writing lengthy descriptions about them on my blog, I love reading and researching the history and culture of tea, I love collecting tea pots and fancy tea tools.

When the weather allows it, I love to go mushroom hunting. I don’t eat them, instead I use them for photography and spore prints. I love nature and worked as a Naturalist in the Northwoods one summer, it might have been the best job ever.

I have Fibromyalgia, it sucks, but I feel people who are going to interact with me should know since I tend to vanish because of it so fair warning! I do tend to not vanish very long though. Also I have some ‘social disorders’ which basically translates to I am really awkward and bad at socializing, so forgive any lack of social graces.

I also have cats, love the ocean and all aquatic life, have teal hair, love cheese, and collect hats.

My favorite tea is definitely Oolong, but I also love Japanese greens and…ok I just love tea actually :P I am not a huge fan of lemony black teas or tart fruit teas. I also loathe hibiscus (usually)

This is my actual tea wishlist, you know that I actually update and keep track of…I tend to forget Steepster’s https://www.facebook.com/notes/amanda-wilson/tea-wishlishtshopping-list-perpetually-in-progress/10152336515414411 I use my steepster WL to keep track of teas I have had and really want more of :P


Kansas City, MO



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