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300 Tasting Notes

93

Sipdown. I’ve been drinking this tea all day, like since before breakfast. Over a dozen infusions and trips to the bathroom, just kept adding more water to the Zojirushi and only now has it started to go “flat”.

It’s a lovely tea, truly lovely. I had Verdant’s Taiwanese Dong Ding yesterday evening and while it was nice and green and bakey it was only after six infusions that it got the nice sweet notes that this has from the beginning.

I imagine they’re processed different, this tastes more roasted than Verdant’s but not nearly as much as the Tung Ting I had at a Essencha Tea House in Cincinnati. All wonderful teas, but this was a great companion today.

I’m recovering from another cold, this one picked up in Indiana visiting the in-laws, but you know what after, a three week cold last month, this time I said to hell with only drinking certain tea and have allowed myself white, green and greener oolongs which is good because I have sooo much tea to drink through and I’m feeling much better for it.

Kashyap

tung ting/dong ding/frozen summit are some of my favorite oolongs. The buttery, sweet, blushing creamy profile has a vibrant place in my palate

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I’ve been drinking almost exclusively green and herbal teas for the last three weeks due to cold turned flu turned cold and lingering crud. No fancy oolongs or pu-erh for me until today. This is nice, smokey, roasty, sweet with a parchment-like quality. I did three short infusions, mostly offered at our kitchen shrine, but I got a few sips of each.

I’m a little shaken at the moment, my dad is going to be having quadruple bypass surgery sometime this week, they just did the analysis this morning, he did not have any sort of cardiac episode, just some tightness in the chest which led him to take a stress test and another test which showed some blockage, turns out its 80% in two areas. So he’s fine and in good spirits and hopefully it will all go smoothly, though he will have to rest for 4-6 weeks and not travel for his work. I’ve had two uncles who have had stints put in, my dad’s brother has had more than one heart attack, their father survived several though he had some very debilitating strokes, but I’m trying not to think about that as a possibility.

Any positive thoughts or prayers for our family would be appreciated, though no worrying please. Hope you and yours are all well.

Sil

oh no. All my happy, positive thoughts are yours for you and your family.

K S

^^Ditto

Indigobloom

Hugs and love going your way Autumn, and to the family

Kashyap

I am holding space in my head and heart for your father and I hope all goes well. As a person who had a cardiac ablation and who has had a family history of odd heart conditions, I deeply empathize and wish you and your family the best.

Butiki Teas

So sorry to hear that. I hope your father has a speedy recovery. Sending some positive thoughts your way.

Autumn Hearth

Thank you all. I’ll update when I know more.

ashmanra

Praying, and not worrying! It is actually so encouraging that they caught this before he had any sort of major episode! My doctor gave me quite a scare last year saying one of my tests showed that I had a congenital heart defect, but it hadn’t shown up in the test before and hasn’t shown up since, so….oh well! And oh yay! I hope everyone involved has peace and that the procedure goes grand!

Fjellrev

Positive thoughts to your family.

Autumn Hearth

Yes it is very good they caught it now. :)

mrmopar

Prayers your way!

Autumn Hearth

Successful quintuple bypass this morning/afternoon. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

Kashyap

huzzah!!! heal, recover, and back to vibrating life!

TheTeaFairy

Sending good vibes you way Autumn… Glad to hear all went well :-)

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Boo my browser crashed during this note. Thanks to tperez for sending this in our swap. I was excited to see it included as I love the yabao from Verdant and this is very similar. Herbaceous and coniferous notes that remind me of sweet grass, rosemary, pine and artichoke. The only thing I can tell without doing a side by side brewing is that this doesn’t have the sparkling quality Verdant’s does, still wonderful though!

Last night I attempted to get tea drunk but did not get very far as it was close to Rowan’s bedtime and I was exhausted and ended up staying upstairs. I have revived the buds this morning and its just as good. I had an emotional breakdown yesterday after registering Rowan for preschool, not because I’m emotional about him growing up but because the class we wanted was closed and I had to choose between the morning class 8:15-11:15 or an afternoon class at a different location. I chose the latter initially for my sanity and sleep (we have some major schedule adjusting, Rowan is hard to get dressed and out the door and even though they are both three hours, 11 am seems like less of a break in my day. However this other location while part of our school district is technically in Cleveland on road I don’t care for and not at the brand new elementary school just 5 mins away).

I started sobbing on the way home, I pulled over to call the office saying I’d made the wrong decision but they had just closed so I left a message and sobbed some more, on the phone with the husband and my mom, through the drive-thru and over my shamrock shake. Anywho the lady called back this morning and switched him to the morning class at Grindstone. Crisis averted, going out to the Brew Kettle with my sister tonight anyway, beer not tea, she said there was a lot on tap right now that I would like.

Fjellrev

Whew, glad that was taken care of!

momo

Glad that worked out! I’d be curious to know what you drink beer-wise later that you liked, I love your taste in tea so I will also take suggestions in other drinks :D

Shmiracles

Ooo are we gonna talk beer?!?! I’m shmiracles on untapped too :)

Autumn Hearth

Thanks. Hmm untapped may have to check that out, I’m not on any beer sites, though I have reviewed a chai beer on here and would love to try other tea beer combos, would love to brew some too. It’s funny because I have siblings that are all around a decade older than me give or take that are beer snobs, I never drank light or cheap beer and went straight into the local and craft beer. I like mostly dark beers with high abv’s porters, stouts etc. especially bourbon barrel. I like red and brown ales too, winter warmers and beers with herbs and apices. I used to avoid IPA’s and things with lots of hops, however I recently sipped on an extra hop ale my sister was drinking and noticed coniferous notes like in Yabao and I really appreciated it (just like I didn’t like Chardonnay until someone mentioned buttery notes and I was able to draw a parallel with buttery tea). I don’t have a large vocab or technical knowledge compared to many. But will certainly let you all know what I enjoy tonight. And can share some more specific beers I like by name when I have time to make a list. As always I’ll be doing a flight.

Shmiracles

maybe my favorite beer is the Founders Breakfast Stout.
and this past weekend I had a Green Tea Imperal Stout by Flying Dog brewery that was mighty delicious. (and my friend who knows me well saw it on the menu and immediately texted me cuz it was tea & beer TOGETHER! hah he knows me well)

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I was going to write this in my Dragonwell note, but I figured that’s not fair. I’ve been having some bum sessions with pu’erh and oolongs, ones I should like, that I know are good quality, but they haven’t shined for me lately, nothing has stood out. Perhaps it’s my water?

On a more uplifting note either Friday or Saturday, Rowan suggested we have a tea party. He brought me his little cup and creamer and even grabbed my little silver filigree over the cup strainer. He wanted tea with milk as opposed to raspberry tea which is his usually request. So I gave him options, he chose Baker Street Blend from Upton Tea. He chose this not for his love of Sherlock Holmes, but because we live on Baker Street.

He thoroughly enjoyed it and kept asking for more, I probably reinfused it four times, though his tiny cup was usually half full with milk. I don’t think I had tried this one with milk before, but it was quite nice. So after tea and waffles Rowan announces he wants to play a game, Jenga and Clue together. Now this is something we’ve played before though more often than not we play them separately.

Yes, my three and a half year old loves playing Clue though it has taken a lot to get him to not say what he has out loud and mark his sheet correctly (it is a 8 yr+ game). And he mostly just loves building wonky towers with the Jenga blocks. However the first time Rowan saw these two games we were playing them together at my sisters house. Now due to the irony of the tea and the game I had to explain the Sherlock- Baker Street thing to him. He’s seen Great Mouse Detective but I don’t think he’s ready for BBC or Robert Downey Jr.

Shmiracles

seriously?!? this is the best post!
i loved Clue when i was young and my sisters and i played it often. over and over on a repeat loop. (either that or if we wanted more action we would go for Trapdoor.)
And you live on Baker Street hah so cool!
(i have plans to re-taste this tea very soon soon soon)

ashmanra

My youngest daughter just finished her large tin of Baker Street that I bought for her in September. I bought the Rafferty song on iTunes when I first got this tea. Ha! She liked the Holmes reference but she really, really loves the tea. Once she drinks down some more of her Lapsang, I will order her more.

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I keep on meaning to get on here an log some tea, this one which I enjoyed on Sunday, has stood out the most in the last couple weeks. Sunday was beautiful, sunny and in the 60’s, it felt very much like spring and we took Rowan to a playground and out for ice cream.

But before that, I threw open all the windows and brewed this tea and it was perfect! Bright and fresh and sweet with notes of cherries! I didn’t take notes but I thoroughly enjoyed it over several infusions. Thank you tperez for sharing a sample with me, I have another serving left that I shall be sure to savor.

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Before I forget I drank this one Saturday, the day after the worst migraine I’ve had it months, so I didn’t want to try anything aged or too roasted. I thought this would be greener but it was actually a perfect middle ground. Cute little pellets unfurling into delicious orchid candy-like tea. It tasted very familiar and maybe I had actually brewed it once before but it had a lot of the qualities I like. Will definitely revisit soon, perhaps western style. Yum.

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This is seriously delicious. Brewed gongfu style the first three steeps were very savory and even smokey with signature wuyi mineral sweetness. Spice, nuts and even chocolate notes slowly emerged and now the tea is dessert like. As others have noted honey roasted nuts, orchid and yes banana notes. It’s another winner from Verdant, glad I ordered the 2oz. Going to spend the rest of the evening with it and maybe try the aged oolong or dong ding tomorrow. Husband is home early today which I am especially grateful for since he spent last night laying nauseous in the hallway. He’s better today, they just ran out of mail trucks.

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99

Tea of three days ago (actually three and two days ago). I haven’t been posting as much as I would like, been occupied with re-reading the Silmarillion while pinning art from it on Pinterest, because if it’s not Steepster it’s Pinterest. I just got a Verdant order yesterday so there should be more notes here, but I wanted to get around to some of the straight Butiki oolongs I had been so excited to order almost two months ago, but hadn’t gotten around to.

This tea smells sooo amazing, I knew I would love it the moment the vapors reached my nostrils. I’ve had one or two similar smelling teas before a very roasted Tung Ting and Rou Gei, so this felt familiar and at the same time very unique. I brewed it gongfu style and it was perfect for me, but will be sure to try the recommended western brewing parameters. I had a big migraine yesterday and between that and not taking notes this log will have to be brief for now. I remember it being sweet and roasty, woodsy and a tad fruity as well as spicey, but a very sweet spice like cloves, star anise, cinnamon and almonds but with none of those notes dominating. I steeped it for a day and half and the leaves just kept on giving! This should definitely be a staple in my cupboard.

Donna A

I love Gui Fei-it may be my favorite oolong. This tea, and a few other Butiki offerings are leafhopper teas. The insects eat at the edges of the leaves and affect the flavor in a very nice way.

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This tea smells immediately different from what I’ve had recently (which are savory Yunnan’s and dark malty black teas). The leaves are beautiful twisted loose curls, not golden nor black but silvered brown. The scent of the dry leaves are very hard to describe but the wet leaves smell floral and “dry”. The first sip is light and bright with a brief hint of cocoa and then sparkle, sparkle, sparkle, that fine mineral sparkle so lovely and cooling.

The second infusion is indeed dry but in a wonderful way like scotch. There are woodsy notes as well as the floral and bit of smoke. My thought is that this tea must indeed be made by a master. It reminds me more of Oriental Beauty and sheng than any Chinese black teas I’ve had experience with. Herbaceous notes and camphor pop up every now and then, with whispers of that first cocoa and prickles of pepper on the sides of the tongue.

Third infusion is herbaceous and peppery. Cooling and warming at the same time. Turns a bit savory and salty in the middle of the sip but not as much as the Jin Jun Mei I had yesterday and this morning, it is still floral in the beginning and in the finish and aftertaste. Now there is a battle on my tongue competing notes of sweet and salty, floral and peppery, cool and dry causing it to tingle and pulse.

In the first few sips of the fourth infusion, all the tastes of the third infusion are present only stonger and more solid. The tea is developing more body and less effervescence. And as the body develops, a slight butteriness is born and yet the tongue buzzes and the sensation from the tea is so thick and heavy you could bite into it. There is a hint of fruit here at the end of cup, that reminds me of gum and kiwi? And the buzzing of my tongue is spreading to the base of my neck and down my spine and arms and I am reminded that I must eat. Break.

Note that I wrote this note without looking at the tea’s description or other tasting notes (besides reading them a month ago) but now after reading, I realize now that the butteriness is more like olive oil and the notes I was finding similar to Oriental Beauty were muscatel and the fruit notes did have a grape and apple (gum) I got the sheng on my own though. Yay for sitting and listening to tea, it’s been awhile and this was certainly an intense experience that I hope to resume after food.

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Just riding back from historic Naples Florida where my mother and I had lunch at Brambles English Tea Room, while Rowan and grandpa went to the park. The owners were Brits and our waitress Jasmine had a lovely accent from I’m not sure where. It was Victorian in decor, pink floral wallpaper and floral china tea cups and small pots. They served almost exclusively Taylor’s of Harrogate (a brand I had heard mentioned the opening weekend of our Teavana store by a busy body tea anglophile customer who just wanted to name drop an talk about who was drinking what) with the exception of a few house blends. My mom had their take on a Royal Wedding Tea with strawberries, kiwi and mango with a salmon salad I had this Lapsang Souchong with my Cornish Pasty which were a fine paring. The tea was medium on the smoke, slightly sweet and quite smooth. It was a bag but whatever. I asked what kind of oolong and she just tried to explain what an oolong was to me but in doing so described it as green and mild so that answered my question. I picked up an over the cup strainer to replace my one that was blackening, this one has a stainless steel mesh body and its own drip base so that’s fabulous. I also picked the husband up some Japanese Cherry Tea just because and treated my mom to some Royal Wedding Tea for at home. I accidentally tipped 20% on the subtotal (three items from the gift shop on top of the meal) tipping the final total to $81, oh well hopefully Jasmine enjoy, she taught is how to pronounce pasty. Lovely afternoon.

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Bio

Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.

Location

Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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