I thought I’d try doing my own Tea Trials. Why? Because ever since I was sick (a month or so ago), it seems like my taste buds are a little out of sync. It’s not that I can’t taste things, it’s just that I’m having some trouble defining what I’m tasting. I’ll taste something, and it’s familiar, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. So, with that in mind, I though comparing some teas might help.

Naturally, with my tendency to go overboard, I set out a lineup of every oolong I had in stock: 10 in total, LOL! I told my sister, Ms Whatzit, of my plan, and she laughed & suggested I narrow it down. So I did. I steeped side by side steepings of Verdant’s Hand Picked Summer Tieguanyin & their Hand picked Autumn one too.

After 3 steepings of both, I realized that although I can taste differences, describing those differences may not be as easy as I thought!

So, regarding this lovely Summer Tea (which I’ve probably reviewed before), closing my eyes I taste the yellow flowers of summer. It is a very yellow green in color, with a floral taste & definitely has an after taste of almond! I’m on cup 7 now (4 oz cups), and it’s a mouth watering cup, with buttery notes, but throat drying at the same time.
I’ll come back to it later, as it can be resteeped 18 times (although I confess, I rarely make it that far).

Nik

I am going to have to Google oolong preparation. I don’t understand the methodology behind multiple steeps. I mean, I’ve re-steeped leaves before, but that’s different: I have a variable-temperature kettle, and I have my teacup. I heat water, stick the infuser in the teacup, steep for X amount of time and drink my tea. To re-steep, I simply repeat the process. But this business of multiple, 30-second steeps (up to 18!), I just don’t get it. I imagine having to keep heating fresh water in the kettle and just standing there as I drink all this tea. That doesn’t sound very relaxing. If not, doesn’t the water get cold? I have a couple of oolongs in my stash, I think, and have held off on drinking them because I feel like I can’t prepare them “properly.” I’ve been patiently reading all these tasting notes about oolongs and pu-erhs and other leaves that lend themselves well to several infusions, but now I’m starting to feel the itch to try it myself. =)

Terri HarpLady

LOL & LOL some more, Nik! Up until I joined Steepster, everything got brewed for 3 minutes (or a little more or less, if there were suggested brewing times). Then I started reading other people’s Tealogs, & visited the Verdant website. I think my first or 2nd posting here starts with “I need a Gaiwan…”.

I still steep most teas for 3 or 4 minutes, but I figure if I’m paying for these really high quality teas, I should follow their suggestions, at least once. I usually do the multiple short steepings on days when I’m sitting around teaching all day, because I can slip into the kitchen while a student is warming up, heat my water, do 4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back, & now I have 4 little mini cups of tea to sip throughout that student’s lesson, sometimes offering a cup to the student. When that lesson ends I steep another round. Spread out over a few hours it can be nice, & of course, it’s interesting to see how the tea develops from one steep to another. It also might keep me from ingesting cup after cup of caffeine, as I’m thinking that the caffeine level drops after the first steep or 2, but you usually start out with more tea to begin with, so I guess that’s a moot point, right?

On the other hand, sometimes I just don’t feel like drinking that many cups of the same thing, regardless of the mild nuances! I often drink 4 mini-cups, then drink something else for awhile, returning to the gaiwan later (or sometimes the next day…as long as the damp leaves still smell good).

Is there a reason for all this madness? :D
Personally, I thing it’s ‘novelty’, just another way to do things, an experiment. However, when it comes to green teas, & their tendency towards astringency & bitterness, I think maybe short steeps help to avoid that, or at least you can dump out the mini-cup or 2 that hold most of the tannins (seems like it’s usually cup 3 or 4, & then it’s gone). I’ve also been experimenting with comparing the ‘gongfu’ method vs the ‘American’ method with the same tea, to see which way I prefer. Mostly it just depends on my mood, and the amount of time I have to kill.

Right now my kitchen counter looks like some mad scientist’s experimental lab. I have the Gaiwan with the Shui Xian leaves in it, my little koolaid 12 oz pitcher with the 2nd brewing of Puerh Poe (which I haven’t commented on yet), a cup of Wanja tea that I’m almost finished with, a variety of steeping baskets sitting everywhere, & various little plates, spoons, etc.

Nik

Thanks for taking the time to write that, Terri! See, it’s statements like “…4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back…” that confuse me. Do you have something keeping these cups warm as you sip them throughout the lesson, or do you just not mind cold tea? It’s about 58F or so in the house right now, and it’s only November. My tea cools within moments, so I’m quick to gulp it down as quickly as I can. This isn’t very relaxing or enjoyable, which is why I love my mugs that keep my tea warm for over 12 hours, but they’re too big for in-house tea tastings. So I’m trying to find something much smaller that’ll serve a similar purpose, because a normal teacup just isn’t working out.

I searched the Verdant Tea web site for helpful information and did find the “no-frills gongfu” post (http://verdanttea.com/wang-yanxin-style-no-frills-gongfu/), but that didn’t seem to be what I should have been looking for. Bah. All this is doing my head in!

Terri HarpLady

honestly, the 4 cups of tea get sipped pretty quickly!

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Nik

I am going to have to Google oolong preparation. I don’t understand the methodology behind multiple steeps. I mean, I’ve re-steeped leaves before, but that’s different: I have a variable-temperature kettle, and I have my teacup. I heat water, stick the infuser in the teacup, steep for X amount of time and drink my tea. To re-steep, I simply repeat the process. But this business of multiple, 30-second steeps (up to 18!), I just don’t get it. I imagine having to keep heating fresh water in the kettle and just standing there as I drink all this tea. That doesn’t sound very relaxing. If not, doesn’t the water get cold? I have a couple of oolongs in my stash, I think, and have held off on drinking them because I feel like I can’t prepare them “properly.” I’ve been patiently reading all these tasting notes about oolongs and pu-erhs and other leaves that lend themselves well to several infusions, but now I’m starting to feel the itch to try it myself. =)

Terri HarpLady

LOL & LOL some more, Nik! Up until I joined Steepster, everything got brewed for 3 minutes (or a little more or less, if there were suggested brewing times). Then I started reading other people’s Tealogs, & visited the Verdant website. I think my first or 2nd posting here starts with “I need a Gaiwan…”.

I still steep most teas for 3 or 4 minutes, but I figure if I’m paying for these really high quality teas, I should follow their suggestions, at least once. I usually do the multiple short steepings on days when I’m sitting around teaching all day, because I can slip into the kitchen while a student is warming up, heat my water, do 4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back, & now I have 4 little mini cups of tea to sip throughout that student’s lesson, sometimes offering a cup to the student. When that lesson ends I steep another round. Spread out over a few hours it can be nice, & of course, it’s interesting to see how the tea develops from one steep to another. It also might keep me from ingesting cup after cup of caffeine, as I’m thinking that the caffeine level drops after the first steep or 2, but you usually start out with more tea to begin with, so I guess that’s a moot point, right?

On the other hand, sometimes I just don’t feel like drinking that many cups of the same thing, regardless of the mild nuances! I often drink 4 mini-cups, then drink something else for awhile, returning to the gaiwan later (or sometimes the next day…as long as the damp leaves still smell good).

Is there a reason for all this madness? :D
Personally, I thing it’s ‘novelty’, just another way to do things, an experiment. However, when it comes to green teas, & their tendency towards astringency & bitterness, I think maybe short steeps help to avoid that, or at least you can dump out the mini-cup or 2 that hold most of the tannins (seems like it’s usually cup 3 or 4, & then it’s gone). I’ve also been experimenting with comparing the ‘gongfu’ method vs the ‘American’ method with the same tea, to see which way I prefer. Mostly it just depends on my mood, and the amount of time I have to kill.

Right now my kitchen counter looks like some mad scientist’s experimental lab. I have the Gaiwan with the Shui Xian leaves in it, my little koolaid 12 oz pitcher with the 2nd brewing of Puerh Poe (which I haven’t commented on yet), a cup of Wanja tea that I’m almost finished with, a variety of steeping baskets sitting everywhere, & various little plates, spoons, etc.

Nik

Thanks for taking the time to write that, Terri! See, it’s statements like “…4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back…” that confuse me. Do you have something keeping these cups warm as you sip them throughout the lesson, or do you just not mind cold tea? It’s about 58F or so in the house right now, and it’s only November. My tea cools within moments, so I’m quick to gulp it down as quickly as I can. This isn’t very relaxing or enjoyable, which is why I love my mugs that keep my tea warm for over 12 hours, but they’re too big for in-house tea tastings. So I’m trying to find something much smaller that’ll serve a similar purpose, because a normal teacup just isn’t working out.

I searched the Verdant Tea web site for helpful information and did find the “no-frills gongfu” post (http://verdanttea.com/wang-yanxin-style-no-frills-gongfu/), but that didn’t seem to be what I should have been looking for. Bah. All this is doing my head in!

Terri HarpLady

honestly, the 4 cups of tea get sipped pretty quickly!

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I’m so excited to have found this community! I’m a self-employed Harpist (acoustic & electric – Originals, Classical, Rock, Jazz, etc) & Singer/Songwriter. My days & nights revolve around teaching at home, playing gigs, gardening,& fixing awesome food to eat. My schedule is different everyday, but I just go with the flow, & I sip a lot of tea!

My love of Tea began with Herbals back in the 70’s. One of my favorites was a licorice blend from House of Hezekiah, an old tea shop in Kansas City. There was also a tea with mint, rose petals, chamomile, etc called Nuclear Casual Tea.
In the 80’s I gave up caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, (& a few illicit substances…), and brewed medicinal blends & tinctures to support 4 pregnancies (all children born at home). In the 90’s my love affair with green teas began when I discovered ‘The Republic of Tea’. Their beautiful teas & packaging inspired my original song, “TeaMind”, from my CD “Zen Breakfast”. If you’d like to hear the song for free, drop by my website.

In general, I drink my teas straight, but occasionally I add a pinch of Stevia & maybe some coconut or almond milk (I’m allergic to dairy, gluten, & various other things & avoid most sweets.)

I’ve explored a variety of teas:
Whites tend to be a little bland…sorry
Oolongs – wonderfully sensual
Roobios – I’m not a fan in general
Puehr – a fairly new direction for me
I’m not a huge fan of flavored teas, but I do make exceptions, & I’ll try just about anything once.

And Black Tea, Oh how I love thee!!
I am on a quest for the most wonderful breakfast cup! I will find you, my Love!

Location

St. Louis, MO

Website

http://www.harpsinger.net

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