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344 Tasting Notes

97

Since I’ve spent the better part of the weekend knee-deep in flu plague, I’ve been on a white tea kick. However, this Monday morning, I wanted to go for something a little more pu-erh-y. I split the difference and went for this “white bud pu-erh”. I use quotations on that because I’m still unsure what the difference between a white bud pu-erh and an aged white tea are? Neither really go through a wet-piling, and sometimes aged white teas (and young white teas) are compressed into cakes. So, how does one classify that?

That aside, the taste confused the issue further. It resembled – beat for beat – a young, Yunnan-grown Silver Needle. Citrus and herbal notes and all. Toward the finish, it had some of the winy properties of a sheng pu-erh, only rougher – given its young age.

I guess I’ll leave my philosophical question aside and just answer with, “NOM!”.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Doing alright with a wee bit of tea in front o’ me.

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100

It’s two days after Christmas, and this arrived with all the fanfare of an opening mailbox door. I noticed the label on the package, and immediately ducked inside. I’d been waiting to try this tea the moment I first heard about it. Heck, I was there during the initial brainstorming session. Over beer!

I’ve notched off a few barrel-scented teas, and this one is the strongest yet. The earthiness of the pu-erh is there, but it’s a runner-up to the rich, strong, smoked fruit notes of the bourbon barrel scenting. Wood, peat, gasoline, earth, and fireball sweetness all took turns pummeling my tongue. And that was just with gongfu-style.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Finally got some from Eric at Happy Luckys Tea House and the first steep was like “wow, man that’s bourbon alright!” Really enjoyable.
Having experience working in a California winery (I’m from Northern California) my brain keeps imagining tea/wine barrel combinations as well as hard liquor.

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97

Backlogging

Yesterday, I made a trip out to Smith HQ with my mother. Usually, I end up with a pot of Darjeeling, and she goes for the Lord Bergamot. This time we did TWO pots of Morning Light – a Douglas Fir tips-‘n-rosemary-laden black tea blend out for the holidays. I’ve had fir tipped teas before, and had an earlier variation of this a year prior.

This years was better by a longshot. The rosemary adds a spicy tickle to the woodsy mintiness already in play. Very relaxing and tasty.

We went through two pots of the stuff in about an hour.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ifjuly

oh, i love pine and rosemary. this sounds awesome!

Veronica

Oooh, that sounds really good.

ifjuly

you have enabled me—i just placed an order (we get SST at one of the groceries here but they never carry the more interesting stuff).

Charles Thomas Draper

I am not one for flavored tea but he Douglas Fir Tips sound delicious.

Geoffrey Norman

@IFJULY – Oh, it is. Liked it every time I’ve had it.

@Veronica – I will attest to its tasty efficacy.

@Charles – I’m not usually one for flavored either, but there’s always an outlier.

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100

Let me state for the record that I don’t normally go for peppermint. I don’t hate it per se; I just don’t care for it. For me, the mint taste is a bit too pungent and harsh. That and it gives me crazy heartburn.

So, when I received this alongside some of the other AdventureTea wares, I dismissed it as yet another peppermint. That changed when curiosity got the better of me, and I opened the bag. Now, I know candy canes are made from peppermint, but I’d never run into a peppermint leaf that smelled exactly like candy canes.

Today, I shared a pot with my mother. I’ll be struck by lightning if I don’t admit that it’s the single most perfect mint herbal I’ve ever come across. I’ve never considered mint a perfect taste, but this Northern Canadian stuff hits all the right marks – clean, refreshing, (obviously) minty, sweet and relaxing.

The perfect Christmas herbal.

gmathis

Love this note. This sounds perfect!

Geoffrey Norman

Thanks. I’ve never had peppermint quite like it.

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92
drank Aged Beauty 1979 by J-TEA
344 tasting notes

Down to my last vestiges of this. I’ve had this tea for almost a year now; I’m surprised I held onto it this long. It was the first aged oolong I ever tried. Can’t say I recognize any remnants of its Oriental Beauty heritage…but it’s still quite fantastic in its own right. The Taiwanese measure tea by the overall sensation, not just taste. And with this one, I can see why.

At first, on initial taste, the aged nature of it is a little oft-putting. But done with short steeps over a period of minutes, it lends something unique and wonderfully medicinal. Oh, and I happen to like the taste of “ancient Buddhist calm”. I can dig it.

I’m at the start of the busiest day at work I’ve had in awhile, and I needed a li’l happy juice calm. Already on my second mug.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Now that’s old! If I wasn’t so old already, I’d give aging oolongs a go. Fort Collins has a perfect climate for aging oolongs. It’s high and dry. (Not so great for Puerh without a humidor).

Geoffrey Norman

You have to give aged oolongs a try. They’ll get you tea-drunk like a partying Buddhist in ten seconds flat.

Bonnie

I already have brain issues…would be easy to do. I have a 1998 puerh and laoshan white which are my instant party in a cup tea’s. Most puerhs mello out my fibromyalgia symptoms in the brain which transfers to relief in my body. I wish I could work with a researcher on this.

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98

Just got this in the mail today. On Black Friday, no less. Oh wait, I just said it was Black Friday one post ago. Oh well, moving on.

Seems to be a Taiwanese sorta day. First a Taiwanese black tea, now a white. Nary an oolong on the tongue. How strange.

This is a very floral and leafy white tea. Brings me back to thoughts of a wild Chinese white, only lighter-bodied and more – I dunno – layered? It almost reminds me of white teas produced in the U.S.

And, yes, that’s tall praise.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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92

Black tea to get me through a Black Friday at work. Fitting. What else could impart some feeling of Zen while corralling Canadian children playing hockey in the hallways. Answer: An aged Taiwanese black tea. This stuff tastes like Buddhist chocolate. Or at least how I imagine chocolate Buddhists would taste.

I’ll stop now…this is getting weird.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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95

It being Thanksgiving Day – and given the fact that I’m working – I figured it a perfect time to down at least two pints of an American-grown tea. Not just American, one grown and processed in my own state. The leaves for this black tea were picked from a small tea garden as part of the Minto Island Growers outfit. J-TEA International purchased a heap of their leaves and processed them into a black tea product. Similar to a Taiwanese black.

This is my go-to tea when I’m on the go. I can steep it forever, and it doesn’t bitter. The taste is malty, sweet, kinda fruity and…well…’Merica.

I even had to visit the garden it was grown from once WITH the tea in question. (http://steepstories.com/2013/08/14/tea-garden/)

Happy Thanks-Teaing, Steepster.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Bonnie

begging! I would love some of this tea to try with Eric at Happy Luckys! (I was born in Portland when my dad was at Seminary after WWII and Eric went to College in Washington). We’ve been waiting for the Oregon tea’s. I’ve had the Skagit Valley tea…very nice.
Is this tea hard to get?

Geoffrey Norman

If I had more, I’d pass some on…but I’ve gone through quite a bit of it in the month I’ve had it. However, it is still available.

Link: http://jteainternational.com/tea-shop/black-tea/ (Top one.)

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100

I don’t often say to people: YOU MUST BUY THIS NAO!!! But I’m doing so here. Especially to those of you with palates that lean toward the smoky. This is a sugarcane-smoked black tea from Taiwan, and it tastes just like that description implies. It’s smoky-sweet with a floral sensation throughout, much like a Li Shan black…but without the malty kick.

I can’t sing praises about this enough.

I even roped friends into trying it with me. You can read about that here: http://www.norbutea.com/JinXuanXiaoZhong?category_id=133

Yeah, I was floored.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Eric mentioned this.

Geoffrey Norman

Probably heard it from me. heh

Bonnie

No doubt.

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43

Been awhile since I’ve talked about a tea on here…and it had to be one I didn’t like very much. Oh well. This one meant well.

This is the first blend that I’ve delved into since…uh…yesterday. (That English Breakfast teabag shouldn’t count!) First impressions: It was a blend. A green tea blend. Specifically, Chinese sencha as the base with orange and red bits strewn about. On smell, it was…well…fruit sugar. Not sure if they were aiming for apples with the aroma, but I got the impression caramel dipped apples. And we’re almost two weeks out from Halloween.

I obeyed the brewing instructions to the letter(ish) – 1 tsp. of blend in a 6oz. steeper cup, infused for three minutes. The water used was “about” 170F degrees. Couldn’t say for certain.

The liquor brewed a pale, somewhat foggy green with a leafy (but sweet) aroma invoking a sense of honey-dipped peanut butter. When I sipped it, I must say I recoiled a little. There was an unwelcomed syrupy texture on the forefront. It settled down, allowing the rest of the tea aspects to shine through, but it was definitely jarring. Like, “flavored tea” jarring. The middle was sweet and lightly floral. Some of the natural grapy lean of the Chinese sencha even poked out like a prairie dog. But…the finish.

Ugh.

No polite way to put it. The epilogue and aftertaste were…soapy. Astringent, still sweet-ish, kinda lavender-y…and just unpleasant. If only everything from the middle and top note had remained. I think that the blended elements themselves could’ve held this infusion up better without the flavoring agents. ]

A second infusion was a drastic improvement, keeping hold of the fruitier aspects, while ditching the soapy palate texture.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
NofarS

Ugh. I hate that “flavoured tea” flavour, which is why I stay far far away from flavoured tea

Geoffrey Norman

I’ve encountered some flavored teas I’ve liked. This is not one of them.

Bonnie

Hi GN come to Happy Lucky’s in Fort Collins and have some tea with Eric and I.

Geoffrey Norman

@Bonnie – I had no idea you worked there. So does another tea pal o’ mine – Eric Scott. Been to the site, seen the tour. Love the selection.

Bonnie

Nope I don’t work there, I drink TEA there with Eric and the gang. It’s my pub. I write about Happy Luckys all the time and post pictures on Facebook with Eric if you want to check it out (Bonnie Johnstone). It’s a great place!

Geoffrey Norman

Too bad I’m on the wrong side of the country.

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Profile

Bio

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

Location

Oregon

Website

http://www.lazyliteratus.com

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