579 Tasting Notes

drank Autumn Song by Mandala Tea
579 tasting notes

My last sample from the raw sampler. This one tested my patience. That artichoke vegetal bitterness I usually get in sheng started on steep two and lasted for a bunch of steepings, rather than the usual 2-3. Once it faded, there were some nice citrus and green bell pepper notes, as promised by the description, but pretty mild in flavor overall. The texture was nice and smooth. I’m glad I got to try it, but again, I think Heart of the Old Tree wins out.

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drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
579 tasting notes

Was feeling very peevish this morning regarding work, but I made a cup of this over the stovetop and I feel better now. Nice and creamy and comforting. I think I can make it through Monday now!

boychik

thru explorer;)

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My first puerh cake! I’m so excited! I don’t have a pick yet, so I picked through (haha!) my cupboard and came up with some tool that I can’t remember the use for. Cheese pick? It’s got two little spikes at the end. It worked really well on this cake, but I’m worried it cut the tea leaves, rather than prying them apart. I did end up with a few still-together chunks, so that should be good.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/97273956@N03/15199416980/in/photostream/

Holy crap this is dark! The cake is dark, and it brews up dark right away! Once the leaves are wet, they’re so black! The brew is pretty dark too, kind of a burgundy color.

15sec rinse
15sec steep: I was afraid to start with 30 seconds, seeing how dark it is. It’s incredibly smooth. There’s a hint of that cedar note I find in most ripe puerh.
30sec: super dark!! Cedar.
45sec: cedar is fading…a little sweeter, maybe bread-like?
1min: a little sweeter, still very dark, a little mineral-tasting and aha! I get that copper twinge at the end.
1min15sec: wow, this just stays dark! Sweet…cinnamon?
1min30sec: I don’t know why, but I think I’m getting cinnamon sugar, and that’s okay with me!
1min45sec: the color is finally starting to lighten up. Still getting cinnamon sugar notes. Woot!
2min/2min30/3min30/5min: creamy, cinnamon sugar water!

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my first cake from the JalamTeas subscription. Thanks to Pureleaf for mentioning it in the discussion thread! Can’t wait for October’s tea and I’m certainly going to enjoy the rest of this cake!

Parsifal

Thanks for the pictures! Sounds like a really nice pu erh… I will check out Jalam Teas :)

TheTeaFairy

Congrats on first cake!! This was fun to read :-)

Tealizzy

Thanks, TTF!!

KittyLovesTea

There is a lot of joy to be had stabbing away at a Pu Erh cake :) The cheese pick tool sounds perfect for the job.

boychik

Sounds delicious, i should check them out!

Tealizzy

KittyLovesTea – it IS fun!!

Parsifal and boychik – I don’t see too many folks posting about their teas on steepster yet and I love seeing how different people find different flavors in the same tea, so I hope you do check them out. :)

Cheri

I probably don’t need another subscription, but I’ve thought about this one….

Tealizzy

Cheri- this is my first subscription…I figured it would be easier if someone else picked puerh for me. It’s kind of overwhelming, otherwise!

DigniTea

Do you have a fine screwdriver? That would work. I also know that some have used a letter opener. I share your concern for the pronged tool breaking far too many leaves – one of the pleasures of fine puerh cakes is looking to see if you have whole leaves as you “pick” the cake and in the tea vessel after they have unfurled (or maybe I’m just weird that way – simple pleasures).

Tealizzy

DigniTea: ya, I have a screwdriver, but was thinking it might not be clean enough for food prep! I’ll probably get something specifically suited to puerh at some point. :)

mrmopar

Nice review! I started with a “scratch awl” to break cakes with. Even with a proper “pick” I still have a hard time breaking them properly. These big old hands don’t do so well with the good breaking technique.

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That moment when you reach for what you think will be the last couple of sips in your cup, only to be greeted by one drop…

That’s what always happens with this tea. Gone too soon! I reach for this one so often! It sneaks into being your favorite…you don’t even realize it is until you find yourself reaching for it over and over again!! Gotta have that sweet potato goodness! :)

Fjellrev

Ha! That moment always seems to happen with really good teas, or any yummy beverage in general. :)

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Made this to-go in my travel mug to enjoy on the drive up to Apple Hill yesterday. That’s right! It was time for our annual trip up to Apple Goodie Land!!! This tea was still amazingly delicious in my travel mug…again, chocolate-y with a hint of smoke. The drive up there is about an hour and a half and so worth it! I was worried it was going to rain, but it stayed dry the whole time! We met friends there, and they just got a new puppy, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, who we got to meet. Super cute!!

As I always do when we go up to Apple Hill, I inhaled an apple dumpling with cider sauce and vanilla ice cream first thing. We also bought two trays of apple strudel, apples, apple chipotle grilling sauce, apple pumpkin butter, honey, a pumpkin,…oh, and my favorite soap vendor is up there too! So fun!!! I wish we could do this more than once a year. Maybe I can sneak in one more visit!

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Another tea from the raw sampler. This one was much more enjoyable up front, but too mild for me in the later steepings. I did a 10-second rinse and then steeped 10/10/15/15/25/25/35/45sec/1:30/2:30/5min. In the early steeps, I enjoyed mild camphor, fruity, and even a bit buttery notes. There was a bite to a couple of these steeps. After the bite receded, I was left with a mild sweetness, but nothing too exciting. I think I like Heart of the Old Tree better. Not bad, and certainly, the first steeps were good, but not memorable to me.

boychik

I want to try it w/ boil water. What was your temp ?

Tealizzy

I used 195 degrees. Good luck!

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I’m back in the Land of Good Tea (i.e. home)!!! Yay!!! Had to have a good black tea this morning to wash away all the crappy cups of tea I had this week. This one doesn’t disappoint. Pretty smokey today, actually, but solid. I’m looking forward to a puerh session in a few. I took today off, so I can have all the tea I want ! And my hubby made me breakfast! Woot! Maybe my JalamTeas subscription will come today…crossing my fingers!!

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So, I’m on work travel in Arizona, and I just can’t get a good cup of tea around here! I even brought some teas from home, mostly sample sachets from Lupicia, but drinking tea out of styrofoam cups really ruins the flavor. I should have brought a travel mug, but I wasn’t sure if it was okay to take that on the plane. My coworker said he’s done it, so next time, I’m totally bringing one! Also, the tap water around here has a funny taste. And to top it all, I tried to make tea in my hotel room with the coffee pot, but even after two “rinses” of the pot, it still had coffee residual taste. That, coupled with the funny tasting water and a styrofoam cup…oh man, I should just give up! One more day…I can make it!!!

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I had a nice session this afternoon with this tea. I’m trying to enjoy some good stuff before I travel tomorrow. I’ve got my little travel bag of tea to take with me…all sample sachets that I keep around for such an occasion, but it’s going to be hard to be away from the good stuff!

This tea was very nice. I did one 10-second rinse and then 10/10/15/15/25/25/35/35/45/1:15/1:45/2:30 steeps. Overall, this is a nice and sweet, juicy tea, with some tobacco in early steeps, and later, some sweet grape notes. The tea became a bit bitter in a couple of the early steeps, but the bitterness didn’t stay long…it wasn’t terrible either…reminds me of that pungency you sometimes get when eating artichoke leaves. I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to try the others in the sampler!

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I think I ordered this as a sample in an order long ago and have since forgotten I had it. I decided to brew it gong fu style. Verdict: amazing buttery, creamy, vegetables!!! There is also a bit of a floral note, but it’s not too overpowering. Yum! I think I might just gong fu all my oolongs from now on. I love it!!

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Profile

Bio

Another profile facelift! My tastes have changed a lot from when I first discovered loose leaf tea.

I can trace my tea journey back to October 2012, when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed high tea at An Afternoon to Remember, which has since closed.

I went through a period of wanting to try all the teas, and was really into flavored teas, especially dessert blacks, but my tastes have substantially changed over time.

I still enjoy the occasional flavored black or rooibos, but I’m more into unflavored black teas right now and recently, puerh. Chinese black teas are amazing…with their notes of chocolate or sweet potato, who needs a flavored tea? I had a much steeper learning curve when it came to puerh. I used to dump out cups of puerh for tasting like leather. Now, I am really enjoying them. I think it took finding good quality puerh and steeping them gong fu style to really enjoy them.

I also, on occasion, enjoy a good oolong, white, or green tea.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Mandala, Teavivre, Butiki, Golden Moon, Lupicia, and DavidsTea (for teaware mostly).

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

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