2896 Tasting Notes

Dry: it’s kind of perfumy-fruity…not something I’d probably usually go for, but I seem to recall really liking it last spring. We’ll see…

Steeped: not so perfumy, more of a cinnamon & pears aroma, & although it’s not bad, the flavor is kind of bland, lacking a any real ‘tea’ substance to it. Pleasant, but not memorable…a drop of stevia helps it out a little.

Now that I think of it, I believe this is a blend that I brewed extra strong & poured over ice. It seems like that’s what I do with most of Teavana’s teas. The flavored ones seem to all have too many ingredients, & rarely appeal to me hot (except for zingeber ginger & thai tea, those are both pretty good).

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My son Drew & I stopped by Teavana today to get some more Black Dragon Pearl. While there, I smelled all of the new blends. Most of them are too fruity & acidic smelling for my taste, but there were a few that I’ll think about. Meanwhile, they’re having a special: spend $50 & you get 2 oz of one of the discontinued teas. So I got 4 oz of Black Dragon Pearl & 2 oz of Kamaya Papaya, which I remember liking before. I also got 2 pretty canisters because they caught my eye. For my free tea, they had a bag full of already bagged options, and I picked the Celestial Temple Peaks because it’s pretty (skinny little twisties of gold, black, gray, & various shades in between) & because it smells good. Also, the other choices were mostly flavored & didn’t appeal to me.

Steeped, this is an appealing, honey colored tea, with a hint of honey in the taste & a mild maltiness. It’s not the deep & dark kind of malt & chocolate tinged tea that I go for in the morning, but it’s a pleasing cup, & I am pleased to have it!

MsWhatsit

What? Buying tea again?!! I thought you were getting help for that problem :o)

Terri HarpLady

I was! Nik & I are suppose to be sponsoring each other in Tea-buying Addicts Anonymous, but we both keeping relapsing!

HyBr1d

I like this tea as well! I would agree that Teavana has WAY too many flavored teas. I was pretty disappointed because I knew there were going to be new teas coming, but the only non flavored black/oolong/puer new tea was the yunnan puer :( Come on Teavana! Please get some new black or oolong teas please!

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, hybrid, I’m with you!

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drank Organic Assam by Butiki Teas
2896 tasting notes

Once upon a time there was a girl who drank Assam for breakfast everyday. Then she got caught up in comparing various English, Irish, Parisian, & other breakfast blends. She loved them all, & it’s so much fun comparing them, savoring them, but once in awhile it’s nice to go back to your roots!

This is a really nice Assam! It’s everything it should be, Malty, hints of chocolate, & not a touch of astringency or bitterness! Thank you, Stacy, for your lovely teas!

Finn88

What exactly do you guys mean when you say that something is astringent? I picture downing a bottle of SeaBreeze, the face astringent lol.

gmathis

Some teas leave your mouth feeling dry and your tongue feeling puckery. That’s astringent. (Sea Breeze tea…hmmm…)

Bonnie

Finn88…kudo’s to you for asking! So many people don’t ask and should. You learn things faster buy draining our brains dry (for me it won’t take long!)

Finn88

Well yuck lol I’m guessing thats a taste most people DON’T want. I imagine the seabreeze would do the same ;) Ha my brains been dry since I was about 4 :)

Terri HarpLady

Finn, I don’t think of astringency so much as a taste, but more as a sensation, which is extreme dried out mouth. Some people can handle it better than others, & it seems to be more of a problem with white, green, & oolong teas than with black & puerh, at least in my opinion. Also, I’m thinking the longer a tea is brewed (or sometimes the hotter the water), the more tannins are release, making the tea more astringent. (This is, of course, based on my own experience & imagination, so don’t quote me on it). I’m guessing that’s why a lot of teas are better brewed at short intervals in a gaiwan. IN my gaiwan experiences (so far, I’m actually pretty new at this gaiwan stuff, so I don’t really know much, just what I’ve observed), it seems like if tannins are gonna be released, that usually happens on the 3 or 4th steeping. My mouth gets dry, but if I persevere, in another steeping or 2 that’s gone, replaced by a juicier quality. At least, that’s how it seems to me…

Terri HarpLady

I hope I don’t sound like a know it all, cuz I’m still learning too!

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While reading about all of the teas on the Verdant website, my initial reaction to this tea blend was disinterest. I kind of go through phases with mint, I grow several varieties, & right now I’m just not that into them. So initially I didn’t have any interest in this one.

Then I found out the current blends were all going away, to be replaced by more fall-like blends, & it was like, “I guess I’d better at least try them all before they’re gone.” Besides, I’ve enjoyed everything from Verdant so far, so I got some of this, & a few others that also didn’t initially peak my interest.

The first steeping (3 minutes) looked like soy sauce. It was very smooth & mildly sweet, but the main thing I could taste was MINT. In my face.

  1. (5 minutes) The mint has calmed down a little, the color is a little more red, the taste a little sweeter from the fennel, the puerh & spices a little more forward. I think I was expecting a spicier brew, but it’s still nice.
  2. (7 minutes) Still substantial, smooth, & mildly minty. I’d like to add that there isn’t a single hint of bitterness here, I can tell that the Puerh base is a crystal clear brew in itself, & I’m thinking I’ll have to add that to my ‘next’ Verdant order. I think this will be especially nice cold-brewed, as the mintiness will add an extra-refreshing quality.

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I got a sample of this in my first Verdant order, & am finally getting around to trying it. Dry, it smelled like Wakame (a sea veggie). I followed the instructions on the Verdant site:
1. It looked like Coca Coca, & tasted of toasted rice, like a really nice Genmaicha, with a hint of carmel.
2. The wet leaves have a deep charcoal & smoldering sweet grass scent, & I picture a pile of leaves burning in the fall. The taste has expanded to include a hint of cinnamon.
3. Now the flavor is sweeter, with a resinous quality that reminds me of a substance I used to smoke (back in the day). I’m also getting a bad case of cotton-mouth. Tannins or dejavu?
4. Bananas Foster with Vanilla ice cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon.
5. The wet leaves now smell like banana leaves, roasting over a bed of charcoal. A juiciness is rising (cotton-mouth is gone), with a bright hint of mango.

This was a really tasty tea! I’ve been re-steeping all day,lost count, interspersed with a few other teas as counterpoints. The leaves are seriously sturdy, & willing to continue to release their flavors each time.

Claire

I just ordered this from Verdant and I am so excited to try it!

Terri HarpLady

I forgot to mention, for each steeping, I drank a sample & poured the rest into a mason jar. I wanted to drink enough of each to enjoy it, but not waterlog myself. The jar went into the frig, & now I’m enjoying the ice cold results (with a pinch of stevia): a VERY tasty amber ice tea with hints of chocolate, banana, & vanilla. Very refreshing & delicious!

Insence&Tea

The banana flavor seems interesting. Did it taste more like a fresh banana, or a banana flavoring?

gmathis

Aren’t Mason jars the most wonderful invention? I have a dozen apiece of three sizes and they are in constant use at my house—for everything from apothecary jars to drinking glasses.

Bonnie

Nice review Terri. And I have a huge mason jar sippy cup!

Terri HarpLady

insence: More like cooked banana, if that makes sense…banana pudding?
Mathis: That’s all we drink out of at my house! I have Qt, Pt, & cup size. They are great for everything!
Bonnie: Thanks! :)

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Thanks to Bonnie for this lovely sample

First, the pagodas in this tea are SO cute! Hand tied, they are round & flat bottomed, then they rise to a point. They remind me of Hershey’s kisses, chocolate brown with streaks of gold. A mild smell of maltiness.

I brewed them in my little glass pot, so I could watch them come to life. (the package says 2 – 3, but I included 5, because they reminded me of Black Dragon Pearls, & I always use more then they say).
They floated, they swam a little, then they bloomed, like sea anemones, gradually sinking to the bottom.

I tasty, mildly chocolaty tea. I drank the first cup straight, 2nd steeping I added a little stevia. I’m gonna try for a 3rd cup.

Enjoy the morning!

Bonnie

I like to serve them to my grandsons…with milk and sugar they love them. They are like sea anemonies or urchins.

Terri HarpLady

thank you! I hope you’re having a lovely day!

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I’ve had a couple of crazy days! One of my daughters came friday, we spent the day eating, gardening, & sipping tea! We started with Laochan Black (her comment, "Wow! This is a great coffee substitute). We had some of Verdant’s Hand Picked Summer Tieguanyin (which I already reviewed) with it’s wonderful orchid-like essence, S’mores from Della Terra (thank you Azzrian), & Butiki’s Coconut Cream Pie (which was my daughter’s favorite tea of the day). All of this was spread out over the day.

I spent the weekend running around playing gigs, so all of my tea drinking was deep & strong: Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei, Laoshan black, Bergamot Rose Laoshan black, & Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend. After each one was steeped 2 X, I dried the leaves & this morning I combined them all into one big brew, which was then strained off into a quart jar & refrigerated. An interesting combo, & tasty cold. Also, I only had one tsp of the WP jin jun mei, so I added a tsp of Laoshan black this morning for a nice hot cup!

What will I sip on next?

Bonnie

Sounds like a barista teaista! Party at Terri’s house, she has all the tea!

MsWhatsit

I kind of like the idea of combining previous steepings into a big jar of suicide tea. Now that I’m drinking so much of my tea hot, I’m going through it pretty fast. This would be a way to slow down the consumption a little as well as making an interesting game of tea roulette.

Terri HarpLady

LOL Bonnie! Those were all brewed over the weekend, in part because I wanted to compare them.
MsW: Previously I haven’t re-steeped teas all that much, but I’ve been doing it more lately. It was fun to put them all together!

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I’ve always loved Jasmine tea, but some are better than others. This is one of them! I’ve not always been a huge fan of white teas, often feeling that they are kind of boring, but that has been changing lately, maybe it’s just because the quality of the whites I’m drinking is better. I’ve had some really tasty white teas lately, & I’m enjoying the difference between the various varieties.

In this tea, I think the balance of the silver needle to the jasmine is perfect. The aroma is heady, without being overpowering. The silver needle is delicate, & combined with the Jasmine I picture a field of early spring bulbs, especially the white ones. I actually have 2 different potted jasmine varieties as houseplants, & when they bloom (when they’re happy), my house is like heaven! ahhhhhhh!!!

So I brewed the first small pot of this tea this morning & shared it with one of my adult harp students. I think I’ll give her some as a gift, as she was enamored with it. I shared the 2nd steeping with my 2 sons, who have come back for 2nds. I’m on the 3rd steeping now. This was a sample size, but I plan to order more!

MsWhatsit

I love jasmine tea too. And wow, you’re actually growing jasmine successfully? That’s awesome!

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Thank you, Bonnie, for this tea sample! I don’t know where you were yesterday, but I missed seeing your postings! Of course, we all have lives away from Steepster!

I was thinking I’d drink a series of Puerhs this morning, & compare them, like people do with wine. Now I’m thinking maybe that wasn’t the best idea. There are flavors that overlap, & my tongue still feels ‘full’ from the first puehr I drank today. Oh well, next time I’ll drink some other tea in between…

This is a very interesting tea! It definitely tastes like Corn! There is also the sensation of butter on my soft palate, & a tingle in the center of my tongue. I’m on the 4th steeping now. I added a drop of stevia to my cup & swirled, just to see what would happen, & carmel hints come forward, but I think I like it better plain. It’s very smooth, not bitter at all, but still grounding & soothing.

I like Puehr! Now I’m sitting here, with 2 cups, one of cornfields & one of Teaspot’s, sipping back & forth. They are both tasty, one buttery corny goodness & the other deep with a hint of chocolate. Looks like my taste experiment is a success after all!

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I don’t know how old this Puerh is, it didn’t come with a pedigree to tell me what year it was grown, or what region it came from, or anything like that. I’m fairly new to Puerh, so maybe that doesn’t matter. So far, I’ve only drank 1 straight puerh, the rest have been in blends. I got an order from The Tea Spot recently, & ordered the sample size.

Smelling the package, it reminds me of a well cooked compost, combined with a salty ocean breeze. The bricks, or tuochas, are cute, dark brown with beige streaks, kind of reminds me of my spring compost pile with a little straw mixed in. I like the Tuochas. They would be great for traveling. At first I was like, “Do I break it apart, or just drop it in the cup?” I dropped it in the cup, it fell apart when the water hit it. Now I know.

I’ve already drank the 1st cup, and it was smooth, with a mineral taste, my bones are saying “This might be really good for us”. It has a dark color, deep reddish brown, & a dark taste, a very mild hint of bitter on the edges of my tongue, but that adds to the package, as the bitter taste is good for the liver & gall bladder.

The 2nd cup has an undercurrent of alfalfa & a mild saltiness to it. I really like the ‘grounding’ feel of it, the earthiness, the solidity. I’m a person who needs to stay grounded, as I’m very ‘airy’ (friends call me Terri the Fairie), & although I’m full of great creative ideas, I’m not always the best at bringing them down to earth. Like the Walt Whitman poem about sand castles…

I like this stuff.

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Bio

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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