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344 Tasting Notes


Major backlogging here

The first thing I noticed about this roasted bancha was…well…how roastly and – uh – bancha-like it smelled. All leaves and burnt nuts – a very autumn smell. The leaves basically looked like cut leaves – brown and oxidized-looking. All pleasantries and no pomp, regardless of circumstance. It reminded me of a San Nen (three-year-aged) bancha I had some three years back. Whoah, how fitting!

The Tealet profile on this bancha recommended bringing water to a boil, letting it cool for up to three minutes, then steeping for about the same time. I cut the “wait” part out and just waited until the water came to almost-a-boil before stopping the kettle. However, I did adhere to the three-minute steep.

The liquor brewed dark amber instead of radioactive green (like other senchas). The aroma was just as autumnal as the dry presentation, all nuts, leaf, and…tartness? Okay, now I had to sip this to make sure that was what I smelled. Oh my, yes it was. This was both roasty and tart, not unlike another bancha I tried – an awabancha (pickled green tea). However, this didn’t taste like pickles – just like a green with a dash of hibiscus on the palate. I first noticed the tartness in the middle, but it continued with the trail-off to the finish. The aftertaste lingered on the roasty notes but still had a bit of zest to it. Very unusual…-ly wonderful.

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/post/81024471310/teacuplets-tealet-kyoto-obubu-kyobancha

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

OK, and triple Golden Slasher Bonus Points for Teacuplets. (I’m not sure where that phrase came from…something my husband made me listen to when we were dating and I pretended to like it, I think :)

Geoffrey Norman

“TeaCuplets” was the name for a segment I just started for the Tumblr I just opened – tea reviews…with a rhyming scheme. There was no better name for it.

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drank Golden Curls by O5 Tea
344 tasting notes

The cat woke me at the crack of 8
Begging for water, attention or some other ill-fate.
Since sleeping in was no longer the ideal,
I figured I’d start the day with a liquid meal.

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/post/80892039954/teacuplets-o5-tea-yunnan-golden-curls

Flavors: Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

And a gold star for the whimsy! (If Tazo slept that late, we would do the dance of joy. His body clock starts ticking between 4:30 and 5:00.)

Geoffrey Norman

@Gmathis – Thanks! I’m playing around with a review style to notch off teas at a far quicker rate.

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Let’s get the “dirty” outta the way.

I’m kinda drunk as I write this..today?

I needed a tea capper for an evening well spent.

Joseph Wesley was where I paid my black rent.

TeaCuplets: http://lazyliteratus.tumblr.com/post/80849224791/teacuplets-joseph-wesley-tea-no-3-chinese-classic

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I was having a conversation with A Gift of Tea earlier this eve – via Twitter – about pomelo-scented black teas. Then I remembered, Oh yeah! I have one!

So…I brewed it up.

Unlike jasmine, honeysuckle, rose congou-ish, or other flower-scented teas, this one had a distinct taste of fruit to go along with the honey-ish lean of the Bai Lin Gong Fu black tea base. It lasted a good four steeps at three minutes each, and the sweetness was thirst-quenching.

In the running for my favorite floral-scented tea.

Pic: http://instagram.com/p/l8XRgRknfS/

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

That sounds wonderful!

Geoffrey Norman

I was happy with the results.

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I needed some caffeine as the sis, niece and I plopped down to watch American Hustle. No idea why I felt a white tea was necessary for this viewing, but I’m glad I went with it. First off, it’s a resilient white tea. There was even a steep that I forgot about for an hour, and the brew still turned out good.

Second, the taste: Holy whoah.

I’ve had wild and semi-wild white teas before, but this was the best of the lot. It was fruity, herbal, and just altogether robustly awesome. I can’t think of anything more fitting or flowery to say other than that. The perfect nightcap tea.

Now, if only I could find a way to go to sleep.

Pic: http://instagram.com/p/l8l-zoknSo/#

175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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My morning started off on a down-note. I called up a tea company, following up on a resume I submitted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t news I wanted to hear. And…that put me in a foul mood. The type of mood that only alcohol would cure.

Well, it was only 10AM, so that would’ve looked a little – um – sad. So, I went with something moderately fermented, but far less damaging. A young sheng pu-erh. This was a loose sample I received back in January, but was just now getting to a write-up on.

As a lot of young sheng pus go, it’s very youthful in its flavor presentation – a lot like a green tea but without the bitterness that comes with it. That and it holds up to boiling water well. No vegetal kick. It was all fruit, earth and flowers. Oh, and youth.

A good way to start the day and kick away job-related doldrums.

Blog featuring this tea: “Do Tea Drinkers Dream of Electric Kettles?” – http://steepstories.com/2014/03/24/tea-drinkers-dream-electric-kettles/

Instagram pic: http://instagram.com/p/l719Laknc_/#

Flavors: Earth, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapes

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

aw, sorry about your rough morning. wishing you luck with future pursuits.


begining the day with bad news is rough. So if one day you would still need “alcohol” in your tea I recommend Jamaïque from Mariage Frères :)

Geoffrey Norman

@IFJuly – Luck is appreciated. Looking ahead.

@Ysaurella – I’m guessing that’s a hibiscus blend. Sounds like it would go great with Campari.

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This is the first Quanzhou milk oolong I’ve had in awhile. I’ve always been fascinated by all the care that goes into making an oolong that reminds me of buttered popcorn. Seriously, that’s what it tastes like – well, minus that feeling of artery-hardening failure afterwards…and greasy hands. Great way to start the mornin’.

TeaCuplets: Forthcoming

Flavors: Butter

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Yet another tea I forgot I even had. This is starting to become a trend. Not sure how I missed the giant bag! this was in…but whatever…

I hadn’t opened these little suckers from their vacuum-sealed packages since I got them. And that was back in 2011. So, in theory, they’ve been accidentally “aging” since then – airtight. Three years ago. That’s a long time to forget about a tea.

The results?

Straight butter and lotus blossoms. I’m not usually a fan of the Iron Goddess, but given three years to cool down and she’s as sweet as the rest of ‘em. I should forget about teas more often…but I don’t think I’d have the patience for it.

Picture: http://instagram.com/p/lspFDtkneC/#

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Mum and I ended up at Smith HQ today, and – contrary to my usual sensibilities – I was craving Chinese tea. On a sunny day like this, I usually aim for Darjeeling…but for some reason I itchin’ for robust wood-sweetness. Who knew?

Anywho, I ended up with a wonderful two-person pot of the stuff, and sipped it rather deliberately. Not spoiling one cup of it. Meditative yet wakeful.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I moonlight as a procrastinating writer and daylight as a trader of jack. I appreciate good tea, good beer, and food that is bad for me. Someday I’ll write the great American novel. And it’ll probably have something to do with tea or beer…or both. In the meantime, I subsist.

Tea Blog: http://www.steepstories.com





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