2664 Tasting Notes

73

I went to Haig’s Middle Eastern today which is a deli/food store full of wonderful things. In addition to food they have lots of bulk spices and the cheap Russian tea Czar Nicholas II which the BF loves for some reason. Anyway I got him some of that and I got this for myself, I am almost out of my other breakfast tea.

This says it’s a blend of Assam and an African tea, perhaps Kenyan? My cup is a dark reddish brown. At first I liked this a bit more but there is a definite bitterness present in the finish. I had to take this with vanilla soymilk this afternoon and then it was better.

This is for sure very stout and malty and will hopefully provide me with a bit of a kick in the morning even though I’m not in love with the flavor. Honestly sometimes I’m too sleepy to notice or even care. I can’t say I would ever go out of my way to find this again but at least it was inexpensive.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Ha Ha I like Czar Nikolas too…but only fixed the Russian way with sour cherry jam in it…or with a little L.S. for a smoky zing too. It is cheap! Good counter for dark chocolate. BF might like that.

TeaBrat

This has SO much bergamot and other flavorings in it, it’s like Earl Grey on steroids! I just don’t care for bergamot much myself. But it’s insanely cheap – I think I paid $8 for an 8 oz. bag.

ScottTeaMan

Did they have this blend?

http://www.amazon.com/Taylors-Harrogate-Blend-Loose-4-41-Ounce/dp/B004IS26E8/ref=dp_cp_ob_gro_title_0

This supposedly won awards for best cup of tes in Britain several years ago.

TeaBrat

Scott, I don’t remember…

Barb

Funny, I am having my first cup of loose tea from this blend, after years of drinking the bagged version. I think I didn’t steep it the full time because I was curious/impatient – maybe 3+ minutes? And I do always add 2% milk. Anyway, not getting the bitterness you describe.

Barb

(The Scottish Breakfast blend, I mean!)

TeaBrat

Barb, I definitely could not drink this plain. Maybe I will try a shorter steep next time. Everyone’s flavor palettes seem to be so different..

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93

I really like white teas and this sunny and bright afternoon seems like the perfect time for it. It’s been a while since I’ve had this but clearly there is no reason to hoard it, since it won’t stay fresh forever! I don’t know if I got the rose water the last time I tried this, but I am definitely getting it today. A delicious sweetness in the finish as well.

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

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92
drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
2664 tasting notes

I got this tea from Mandala earlier in the week but I’ve been waiting for a quiet time at home to try it. Beautiful hand rolled pearls! I love the artistry that goes into these things.

It’s recommended that you use 2-4 pearls for 8 oz. of water — I have an 18 oz. teapot and put in 7 pearls.

My first steep for 60 seconds yielded an orangish-brown clear liquor and at this point the pearls are mostly unfurled. This is a delightful tea that’s sweet and a touch malty. I am also getting hints of cocoa and brown sugar in the finish. BF says this is another tea that reminds him a bit of miso.

Second steep was for 2 minutes, the color looks quite the same but Mandala says the tea will start to reveal itself over multiple infusions. Here it has gotten a bit more buckwheat grainy, with more malt. I like the depth of the second steep but the first was nice too, hmm. Difficult to say which one is better.

I was going to steep this a third time for 5 minutes but the well-meaning Mr. Tea decided he was going to help me with the dishes and tossed out my leaves. That experiment will have to wait another day.

I liked this one a lot. Another good offering from Mandala and lovely to look at.

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

Sounds beautiful. I love malt too and cocoa!

Azzrian

I am with Bonnie – this sounds devine!

Garret

Amy!!! Did I tell you that I procured another whole bunch of these during my recent trip to China? I thought them very delicious and am pleased as punch that you are enjoying them too! I gotta tell you that it makes me really happy to have you enjoying the teas that I am finding when I am there. Makes me want to go again sooner :)

TeaBrat

Garret – you must have excellent taste! I am enjoying them all, had the Black beauty the other day but still need to do a proper review. :)

ScottTeaMan

Leaf toss…:((.

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80
drank Kuuipo by Lupicia
2664 tasting notes

I got this small tin of tea at the Lupicia store a few months ago, they gave it to me as a freebie and I more or less forgot about it until I was digging through my stash looking for something this morning.

A while ago they were doing a bunch of Hawaiian themed teas, which I think were a limited edition and have since been discontinued. But I tend to like tropical fruit flavored things, so thought I’d give this a whirl today.

The tin I got has rose petals in it and a small chunk or two of fruit. I didn’t overload the tea with leaf (as I am wont to do), but had about a respectable 2 tsp. for 12 oz or so of water.

I steeped this for 4 minutes with nearly boiling water. I was definitely a bit worried after reading the other tasting note that said the tea was bitter. Thankfully I am not picking that up here.

I liked this actually. I seriously have no clue what the base tea here is but I’m thinking after looking at the leaf it is a Ceylon or an Indian tea of some sort, perhaps a Nilgiri. My cup is fairly light, it’s kind of a dark orange-y color. The tropical fruit flavors are present but do not overwhelm you at all. I’m getting a bit of mango & papaya and the guava scent is nice. I am drinking this hot but I think it would definitely shine as an iced tea. I will have to try doing that soon!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Sounds good!

Daniel Scott

Two teaspoons in a cup sounds like so much to me! I’d generally use 1.5 teaspoons max in a 12 ounce cup, and I keep hearing things like this that make me wonder if I underleaf my teas all the time.

CHAroma

Lupicia in particular has a really weird leaf to water ratio. They say to brew their teabags, which contain about 3 grams of tea, in only 5 oz. of water.

TeaBrat

Daniel, it really depends on the tea. I know I have a tendency to over do it though. :)

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90
drank Tama Ryokucha by Teavana
2664 tasting notes

I am revisiting this one today. I got it as a part of a Teavana gift set last year for Christmas and I really need to focus on drinking the green tea I have before buying more.

This is a really nice green tea, esp. for Teavana. :-P

It’s very vegetal with a hint of berries. Has a nice clean sweetness. In a word: yummy! See previous notes for more info.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

This is a good one! I thought you rated it a 93. Did you lower your score?

ScottTeaMan

My bad! I thought maybe I did, but I scored it a 91. :))

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93
drank Dong Ding by Naivetea
2664 tasting notes

I am revisiting this tonight and not enjoying it quite as much as I remember. I don’t know if there is something up with my steeping parameters or if I just have not been drinking this fast enough and it got somewhat stale. But then I checked my email and I got this last November so I have a feeling it may just be me. How long do oolongs stay fresh? This one is 25% roasted too…

I have done 3 steeps and my leaves are fully opened and unfurled but not feeling the love as much. I got the burnt caramel flavor but the nuttiness and sweetness have gone. I did lower the rating a bit but I will not lower it anymore because it might be partially my fault… might need to cold brew this one too just to see.

Speaking of love, I have written a blog post about two novels of Theodore Dreiser if you are up late and just want to read it, here it is. This is what I do with my free time when I’m not on Steepster. :)

http://sanfrantea.teatra.de/2012/05/17/jennie-gerhardt/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

I don’t know if I’ll ever read Dreiser (for no particular reason), but I enjoyed your synopsis, and your post. :))

You said this oolong is 25% roasted, which means it is fairly green for an oolong. I like greeer oolongs, and darker ones, but find that ther greener ones do not resteep as well, IMO.

Missy

I’m with Scott here. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the two stories. I’m not sure they would be some thing I’d like to read. I really like older history, like ancient cultures. They seem so foreign they are mysterious for me.

ScottTeaMan

I’m not opposed to reading Dreiser, I just never have. Here’s another example-I’ve always wanted to read WAR AND PEACE, but I never have. There are counless other Classics I would like to, but have never read. I just end up reading other things. :))

TeaBrat

That’s ok – I read a lot of stuff that nobody else seems interested in reading. Just started something by Alexander Pushkin. ;-)

TeaBrat

Scott, I also find that green oolongs do resteep very well, especially if you use the gong fu method.

ScottTeaMan

well I have to admit I’ve only had 3 green oolongs and managed 3 good infusions. I’ll bet some of your better steeped green oolongs are from Asha.

Cheryl

Compelling enough to send me to the Kindle store (both are free there btw). Thanks : )

TeaBrat

@Cheryl – that’s one reason I got the kindle, a lot of the classics are free!

ScottTeaMan

I still like to hold a real book when I read, but they do take up alot of space. I used my Niece’s NOOK, and really liked it. What made you two decide on Kindle?

Pamela Dean

Greener oolongs are like green teas (and silver bud whites) … a lot of goodness is lost by the 6-month mark, unless vacuum-packed, frozen, or both.

TeaBrat

DPD- thanks, I am thinking the same thing… live and learn. oh well!

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76
drank Strawberry & Vanilla by Lupicia
2664 tasting notes

My interest in flavored green teas has definitely been waning, but when it comes to flavored teas, Lupicia is one of my preferred vendors. This came as a free sample in their monthly newsletter and it’s a nylon mesh pyramid teabag.

The aroma of this is very enticing – I agree it smells like strawberry quik! The tea is also very pretty with rose petals blended in.

The taste though, is somewhat lacking in the flavor department. I like the green tea base (a matcha/bancha blend) and I can definitely taste the tea underneath. The vanilla is certainly present but I am only getting a faint hint of strawberry. I suppose this could be a blessing or a curse depending on how flavored you like your teas. I was hoping for more strawberries in mine. Definitely not terrible but it’s not going on my list of things to pick up when I’m near the Lupicia store.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

LOL I just made a huge travel cup of this for my daughter for work tomorrow! Its chillin in the fridge now! I do find you have to use more leaf with this tea to get a ton of flavor that is for sure. Which is not too cost effective HOWEVER my daughter prefers lighted flavored green teas so for her its perfect but I do agree it is LIGHTLY flavored.

TeaBrat

I don’t mind lightly flavored — I just felt the strawberry was barely noticeable, I definitely got a lot of vanilla, strangely enough.

Scatterbrain

I’ve been really curious about this one and other Lupicia teas, I’m just hesitant to buy some because the reviews seem to be no more than average for the most part. What are some of your favorites from them?

TeaBrat

Kwinter, some of my faves from Lupicia for flavored tea include the Ume Vert, Pineapple Oolong, Strawberry and Rhubarb, Cinnamon Cookie Pu-erh, and Decaf Carol. The Jardin Sauvage is also nice if you like Green Rooibos blends. I hope that helps!

Scatterbrain

Thanks. :)

Bonnie

I tried to get the pineapple oolong and it was sold out so I asked Stacy at Butiki to make some! Think she’s going to. The cinnamon cookie puerh is good, several muscat tea’s are good, cookie.

TeaBrat

Also the sencha chiran is fabulous (and unflavored)

Will Work For Tea

Bonnie: I believe the Pineapple Oolong is back in stock – got an email from them last week saying they got a new shipment.

Kwinter: I really love the Cookie, Rum Raisin and Caramel Macchiato offerings. I find these are more strongly flavored, which is more to my liking. Decaf Carol, Champagne Rosé, Grapefruit Green and Strawberry Vanilla are also great choices.

TeaBrat

I just realized the Rum Raisin was back in stock & placed an order today, I’ve been dying to try it for months!

GiggleGoddess

How do you subscribe to their newsletter?

TeaBrat

I did it when I bought something at their store

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89

Thanks to ScottTeaMan for sending some of this my way!

I was interested to try this, my first tea from Goomtee. I have also been curious as to how long you can keep a FF darjeeling around. Do they age well? Do they change? Do they get stale, etc.

So I just read Scott’s tasting note to give me some clues about this tea. I steeped it up and it’s a light orange with a nice, sweet aroma. This seems to me like a classic darjeeling flavor as I’m picking up on a bit of muscatel. I think I am picking up on a bit of lime as well as some gentle spicy notes. This has a bit more astringency than is optimal for me but it’s a very relaxing and elegant tea experience.

Try #2 – Resteeping it with even cooler temperature this time around (probably 180). Steeped for only 1.5 minutes or so. I like it better this way, it is has an almost candy like sweetness…

P.S. – my tea is less furry than the one in the photo. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec
ScottTeaMan

Amy, glad you liked it! I am going to try this one gongfu soon to see how it is. After tasting the Risheehat you sent me, I was considering lowering the score of this one, but I’m not, because it is my honest representattion of the tea. Only retasting THIS tea, may reflect a rate change.

PS-Hahahahaha! Lotis is even a little less furry-he just got a haircut about a week ago.

TeaBrat

well now that I’ve been tasting so many FF darjeelings I think my definite favorites are the very flowery ones that have an essence of tropical fruit. Other people might feel differently though!

ScottTeaMan

I really like this one- fruity, flowery, lime, and I like minty Darjeelings, but the Risheehat! I ‘ll look for the pineapple next time, I just wasn’t getting any. ://

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88

New experiment here for me – I’ve only had two other yellow teas, one was from Upton and I wasn’t too keen on it, the other was from the Vital Tea Leaf and was very good. I’ve liked everything I’ve had from Mandala so far so I figured it was worth a shot.

I followed the instructions pretty carefully & used about 1 tsb of leaf in a 10 0z. cup. The tea liquor is a very light yellow (almost clear). I was pleasantly surprised to get a light floral aroma here. This is very pleasant, a bit reminiscent of a dragonwell. Some light nuttiness and a clover like flavor are what impresses me about this, as well as a hint of sweet corn. This tea is a bit light for my personal tastes but I have no doubt it’s a very quality tea. I think this will need to be cold brewed to see what else I can coax out of the gentle character, and perhaps I will use a bit more leaf even next time around!

Anyway this will be very nice to have around when I’m in a mood for something mild. I can see this would also be a nice choice on a day when I’m feeling sick because it’s nice and delicate.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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86

This has become a standard breakfast tea in our place. Mild but malty, great with a splash of soymilk, good for a gentler way to wake up. It isn’t one of those teas that will make you go wow or have major excitement. It’s kind of like a comfortable pair of slippers you really enjoy. Anyway I will be seriously tempted to get more when it runs out soon.

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Profile

Bio

My profile pic is of a pink dahlia at Golden Gate Park.

Hobbies include: tea, making art, animals, vegan things, buddhism, nature, creativity, books, writing, cooking, meditation, yoga.

I am a fan of many different teas but my favorites are blacks and oolongs, chai, also like darjeeling and pu-erh. I’n always learning and expanding my horizons!

Dislikes include: bergamot, jasmine, highly tannic or bitter teas, overly judgmental and bitter people. :)

Live in San Francisco, I’m a SINK (single income, no kids) and love the urban life, but traveling out to the middle of nowhere is always fun too.

I tend to not drink things I know I will hate so a lot of my tea ratings are on the higher side. Here’s my rating system, sorta

95-100 I love this tea and would like to keep it around

94-90 An excellent tea which I may or may not repurchase

89-80 Pretty good, above average

79-70 Acceptable

69-60 Mundane – Will probably drink it if I have it

59-50 Ick

49 and below Nasty

Location

San Frandisco

Website

http://sanfrantea.teatra.de

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