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939 Tasting Notes

82

I steeped this one a little hotter this time, at 190, and I think that really brought out the orange flavor nicely. I have to confess I don’t think I’ve ever had a Dreamsicle. I’m more of a Fudgesicle person when the ice cream man comes around. But I’ve certainly seen others having them and the flavor of this—orangy and slightly milky—does evoke the ice cream product.

Another that should be an enjoyable journey toward sipdown.

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79
drank Red Hot Cinnamon by 52teas
939 tasting notes

Today’s second morning tea, and now positioned for sipdown tomorrow. Not a difficult sipdown at all, but will make me feel less like I’m overdoing it when I open Mike-the-Nerd’s Irish Cream in anticipation of St. Patrick’s day, which I expect to do tomorrow or the next day.

I am slowly but surely making my way through all my old 52Teas packets. I will likely hit a speed bump soon because I have three of their chocolate chais. Since I’m dieting, I’m lucky if I can make room for one chai in my week, and seems like two is the most I can fit in. Of course, I could exercise and then I’d be able to fit in more, but it’s so hard to get started when you haven’t been doing it in a while and have lost all your aerobic capacity…

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79

Sipdown no. 113 of the year 2013, and it was a big tin. Almost 5 oz. Yay for progress!

It’s also my first LeafSpa sipdown and I suppose I should be sad because once these are gone, they’re gone, but I can’t be sad about getting out from under more tea. And it’s a nice big reusable canister, too. If I can get the gum off after removing the label. My Samovar canister repurposed from the Yerba Mate was a sticky mess. Last night I took the nail polish remover to it and it only marginally improved the situation. The BF said he was breathing the atmosphere of planet Acetone.

In any case, this was a perfectly fine example of an Earl Grey. It didn’t make it into my top tier but I drank it happily.

Oh, and I realized I do have tea from one more company that has disappeared. The Chicago Tea Garden, which had those little tuo chas in the mandarin oranges. Sad.

OMGsrsly

I find alcohol (rubbing alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl, etc) works pretty well if you soak a paper towel and lay it over top. Might be better than acetone. :D

__Morgana__

It turns out we had some Goo Gone, so I used that and it worked like a charm!

OMGsrsly

Even better! :) Yay for re-using tins!

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58
drank Sleep Tight by TeaGschwendner
939 tasting notes

If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit I really don’t like this as much as most of the other herbal blends I have in my stash at the moment.

It’s not nearly as problematic as the Teavana Tulsi Dosha Chai, because at least it doesn’t taste like something it has no business tasting like, i.e., something that should not be consumed by humans. But it’s too far to the savory side to be something I truly enjoy.

I think I’ve discovered I don’t really care for savory teas, or at least not savory herbal blends. I like floral, or fruity, or mint, or some really well done rooibos or honeybush where I don’t taste the rooibos or honeybush too much but it serves as a dessert flavor delivery mechanism. But not so much the brothy and the salty in my herbal blends.

There are some teas that have a savory note to them that I have enjoyed, but when it becomes the focus, it’s a little much for me. I really can’t escape the feeling that if I wanted a hot beverage with a savory flavor I would rather have a really nice soup, complete with veggies and some form of protein. Or at the very least I could just drink a cup of bouillon which I have been moved to do maybe four or five times in my life.

Bumping it down to ok land. Because it really is ok, it’s just not a top choice for me. It’s going into the sipdown soon pile right behind the Tulsi.

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40
drank Tulsi Dosha Chai by Teavana
939 tasting notes

It really is a shame this one doesn’t taste as good as it looks. It’s quite pretty. There was a big honking cylinder of cinnamon in my mix tonight. Seriously, I wanted to crawl through it like a culvert. And some gorgeous red peppercorns that looked like little berries or Christmas ornaments, and all on a backdrop of other colorful stuff. I went very heavy on the mix tonight because (1) I thought it might help the flavor and (2) I want to sip this sucker down asap.

Alas, the extra mix provided no improvement to the lotiony aroma, and only slight improvement to the flavor. I do think it is a bit less lotiony than last evening, but perhaps I’m just more used to it? I’m getting more clove tonight which may be helping to cut the lotion flavor. Clove masks and/or cuts most everything, sometimes in less than optimal ways.

The good news is I’m pretty sure I only have one more big-ass pot of this and I can say goodbye.

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75
drank Jasmine #12 by Adagio Teas
939 tasting notes

Is it wrong to be seriously considering seasoning a Yixing pot for jasmine scented oolong?

I read pretty much every Yixing related thread on the discussion board and so I know that at least a couple of folks around here drink jasmine oolong out of Yixing clay implements. I like jasmine flavored tea quite a bit, so I don’t think it would be a waste in that sense as I’d surely use it. The main question I have is whether it would be a waste in the sense of not really providing much addition to the flavor since there’s not as much variation in jasmine flavored teas as there there seems to be in their unflavored equivalents.

Something to ponder.

In any case, today is apparently national pancake day or some such nonsense and they’re giving away free pancakes at IHOP. When the BF brought no. 1 home from baseball practice, I’d already shed my work clothes and got into my PJs, as had no. 2, but the BF decided everyone should go for pancakes. I declined citing the fact I’d have to get dressed, but no. 2 went in his PJs. It’s so great being 8. You can do stuff like that without getting arrested or thrown out of Walmart or whatever it was that was so scandalous about the woman in her bathrobe a while back.

With the house quiet and everyone gone, I can oolong-out. I came very close to trying the maestro version of the Adagio jasmine pearls, the Fujian Jasmine, which is sitting on my counter along with the rest of my Adagio samples, which are getting to be fewer and fewer. But I decided to do this one so as to bring another sample closer to sipdown range.

I really like steeping pearls in the gaiwan because they stay put, whereas other teas squirm out when I shift the lid and pour. I may have mentioned my gaiwan style leaves much to be desired. Tonight, these are fresh, floral, and calming and I’m too blissed out to be annoyed by the slightly bitter downturn in the aftersip.

Now can I please go on vacation?

carol who

Yes! You’ve been a good little girl Now go on vacation :D Please take me with you!

__Morgana__

I want to go somewhere that smells like jasmine!

OMGsrsly

Haha! I go out in pjs fairly regularly with my BFF. But my pjs tend to be flannel trousers, tshirt, and some old and decrepit oversized sweatshirt. Throw on a scarf and some sneakers, and dinner awaits! ;)

__Morgana__

Ah well, that you can get away with even after the age of 8. ;-) I have some of those as well but tonight I’m more in the flannel nightshirt camp.

OMGsrsly

Oh yeah. Tea & nopants > going out. :D

pyarkaaloo

at least police can’t arrest you for wearing pj’s in your own house ;p
there’s one positive thing i can cite in adulthood..

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79

I decided to try this first in the gaiwan so that I could get to know it before trying it in the Yixing, in the hopes of seeing whether and to what extent the Yixing changes the flavor.

I get a leathery, fish oil smell from the dry leaf, which is smoothed out some after rinsing and steeping but is still a bit fishier than the other Adagio shu I’ve had, the Dante. The steeped leaves smell like raw white mushrooms.

I was doing homework with no. 2 while sipping this and he sniffed it and said “smells like salmon.” A few seconds later he said, “I don’t like salmon.”

I do like salmon as it happens, but I am not sure what I think about this tea. Those with far more sophisticated palates when it comes to pu-erh than I, with respect to which I freely admit to being a novice compared to some other tea types, have pretty much unanimously liked this one judging by the notes. But to me it doesn’t have as much flavor as the Dante. It’s smoother, for sure, and earthier where the Dante is more leathery. (This doesn’t taste like salmon, regardless of aroma.)

Perhaps the problem is I expected it to taste more like the Dante than it does, or more like the Emperor’s Pu-erh from Numi, both of which have the more leathery flavor.

This is a deeper flavor, more like mossy tree bark than leather. I put it through about seven steeps starting at 15 seconds and working up to around 50.

I think I need to try it again in the gaiwan now that I’m prepared for it to be different than the others I’ve had and see how it tastes before I graduate to the Yixing with it.

Not rating for now.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
OMGsrsly

If you like the leather, one of Butiki’s puerh, I think purple buds, is soooooo leathery. An interesting experience for me, but not a favourite. :)

__Morgana__

That sounds like an interesting one, for sure. I like leathery okay, but it isn’t something I can do often and I have to be in the mood for it, sort of like really smoky flavors. I’m mostly surprised to taste such a variation between pu-erhs, though I shouldn’t be—I’m just at the beginning stages of learning to appreciate them. I’ve only had the Numi, the Adagio and the Samovar so far, and I have a ton more to try.

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78
drank Tropical Peony by Tavalon Tea
939 tasting notes

I reread the label on this one and discovered that Tavalon recommends using more leaf than I was. Sort of. They recommend two teaspoons per 8 oz water.

I’m using a spoon that’s a bit larger than a teaspoon and I tend to use heaping (or at least not level) teaspoons so I’m actually using more than a teaspoon. But just for fun, I put in twice as much tea as I’d been using, same amount of water, same temp and same steeping time. Then I threw it in the Timolino and drove to work.

I really didn’t notice a difference. It didn’t seem twice as strong as it was yesterday, although there might have been a bit more of the underlying tea. But the fruit and coconut flavoring wasn’t stronger.

Still liking it as a commuting tea, though.

keychange

Popping in to say that I’m a heeper too! a shameless one. More tea!

carol who

Depending on the tea, sometimes you just have to. It can make such a difference. Something that tastes insipid the first time and can really come alive. I find that a lot with the Teavana herbals. I also think that many companies just routinely say 1 tsp/8 oz.

moraiwe

Heapers unite!

Memily

I like playing around with quantities but I have to admit I get annoyed when I get home with a tea purchase and only then read that the recommended amount is 2tsp instead of 1tsp. I can be ridiculously scroogey sometimes and it feels like I’m being ripped off?

OMGsrsly

I started loose leafing with Silk Road, and they commend 1 tsp per 16 oz. Using 2 was a big adjustment to make!

__Morgana__

Yay for heaping! Carol, with the Teavana fruit blends you have to put in twice as much as you would ordinarily. I pretty much do that automatically now on the first try. Mem, I would probably feel that way too if I wasn’t up to my ears in tea, but I’m sort of secretly relieved when I find out I could be using more since I’m in sipdown mode. ;-) OMG, did you find 1 tsp per 16 oz enough? I have some Silk Road teas in my collection, I should see what they say.

OMGsrsly

Haha. I prefer a lot of my Silk Road teas that way. Maybe it’s familiarity, maybe they’re truly good that way! :)

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80

Sipdown no. 112 of the year 2014. A sample.

A colorful, geometric (because of the lemongrass), attractive mix. The dry leaf smells very minty, with a little citrus.

The liquor is tawny, like a dark lion color. The aroma is herbal—mostly minty.

Mine is a little on the thin side, and as I’ve used my entire sample I can’t go back and adjust leaf/water/time and temp to test whether this was just a one-off result or a general characteristic of this tea. I mostly taste the mint and a little lemon. I don’t taste much black tea, but I do get an undercurrent.

I can see this being a really nice iced tea, and I think I’d quite enjoy it hot as well if I could get it a bit stronger. There’s nothing at all offensive about it—on the contrary, it has a really nice mint flavor that’s mellowed slightly by the lemon and vice versa.

I can’t rate it extremely high based on this one experience, but I like it well enough to put it on the wish list if I ever get out of lockdown and order from Teas Etc. again.

Preparation
2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Memily

Ahhh, just saw your reference to lockdown. Now your high sipdown count makes sense ;)

__Morgana__

Yes, I’m desperately trying to reduce my collection by about 80 percent. It’s going to take a while. ;-)

Memily

And I thought mine was bad! =P I’m a novice when it comes to overwhelming tea collections. Steepster makes me feel better…

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79
drank Red Hot Cinnamon by 52teas
939 tasting notes

Second tea of the morning after the LeafSpa Earl Grey, which is now positioned for sipdown tomorrow. It was a big tin, so that’s a rather major one coming up.

Truly, Red Hot Cinnamon is much better hot, as I’m having it today. I’m enjoying the little pops of sweet cinnamon flavor where the red hot concentration must have been higher in the mix.

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Profile

Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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