Does anyone else pick ever brew up a tea just to prep their taste buds for something you really want? I often do this after eating or brushing my teeth. Sometimes its a flavored tea and I’m like “alright that was okay, now to taste some real tea”. Today it’s this. Stout, roasted, dark and bagged. Easy to brew and no commitment to reinfuse. I think a nice dark oolong or black tea will come after this. Good day to snuggle up with a blanket, book and a never ending cup of tea as snow blankets the ground.
298 Tasting Notes
Sipdown shared with my mom’s church friends. I was invited to come brew for a meeting at my mom’s house, part of a search for a new minister. I came armed with over a dozen loose leaf teas. Everyone was impressed with the selection, my mom had no idea how much I had at home until I showed her a picture of my stash “You probably have over a hundred! Well I guess that’s good in this weather” What does the weather have to do with it?
Anywho this proved to be the most popular and got reinfused several times. Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream was also enjoyed along with Verdant’s Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green and Mountain Tea’s Heritage Honey Oolong for two purists :)
I’m a bit sensitive to floral tea but this is definitely my favorite lavender tea, very light, bright and refreshing. And I would love to see it’s return in the spring. I was saving it to share and share I did! See previous note. Now I need to go brew some tea.
Rediscovered my tin of this, unlabeled, last week while organizing my cupboard. I love Wuyi oolongs, especially Shui Xian. Dark roasted stoney sweet goodness. This time round its all raisins and whiskey. Yum! This is the type of tea I would pick in the end of the world/desert island scenario, but like I said in a previous notes I do prefer Verdant’s. This is a closer second though than I thought, so I’m bumping up the rating.
Thanks to tperez I’ve been enjoying this most of the day. I’m appreciating Dian Hongs more and more especially fine soft ones like this. It has notes of honey, cinnamon, mushroom and butter but very little pepper. Unfortunately I’m not really getting the aforementioned whiskey but that’s okay. This leaves a nice cooling, powdery sensation on the tongue, a mild camphor-like zhang experience which I suppose in a way is similar to whiskey, but much less fiery. Re-infused many times.
Wireless was wonky last night when I tried to log this. This was sent by Tunes&Teas in a giant swap with dozens of teas I admit I’m having quite a hard time getting through and feel bad about (then again I have lots of Verdant and Butiki Teas I haven’t gotten to yet and a more recent swap on top of it!) But thank you Tunes! This shu was neither on Steepster nor currently on puershop.com It’s certainly not the silver tips of the same year and factory, nor is it likely the banna toucha, could be the tribute, but I’m going to trust Tune’s label and assume it sold out online and no one added it to the database (there is a 2010 of the same name).
I count myself lucky to have never experienced a “fishy” smelling or tasting shu, until yesterday. There was no mistaking that smell and at once I understood what other people referred to and why they are put off. I rinsed this twice and the third infusion was still a bit hard to palate nut was no longer fishy, but “mulchy” smelling, strong, thick and tasting a bit like coffee and cough syrup. I gave it another few infusions, it became palatable and got sweeter, especially as it cooled. But definitely not my cup of tea. Oh well.
Sip down! Found this while re-organizing the tea cupboard in a big round Teavana Forbidden Kingdom tin of all places. Decent tea but not remarkable, smelled cocoa but didn’t really taste it. Even though it was a sample to begin with I find the decupboarding a small accomplishment!
This is from Sunday and last night whilst “getting our Abbey on” at my sister’s house. We watched the season 3 premiere a week ago, the after watching the second/third episode this Sunday on PBS my sister begged my husband to download the rest of the season for us (seeing as it had already aired in the UK in the fall culminating at Christmas and she will be buying the dvds eventually).
We had had our own separate marathons of the next five episodes then got together last night, (my mum included who has watched the last three seasons in a week!) to watch the Christmas Special. Will not spoil, but very upset, poor British people having to deal with that on Christmas, hope they watched the Doctor to cheer themselves up. Brother in-law refuses to continue to watch.
Anywho, I picked this up at the grocery store along with Twinning’s Traditional Earl Grey, both of which can stay with her. It’s decent for a bagged tea, had to use two bags, nice balance of bergamot and raspberry, tea itself not the strong, but I don’t suppose that’s the point. It fit the bill and was yummy with scones!
Steepster was down the other day when I tried to log this. Thank you Stacy for including this sample order in my order! I’ll be honest, this wasn’t really my cup of tea, but the husband loved it and wanted me to order some for him, further more he now feels he can’t trust anything I recommend as our taste in tea is clearly different eye roll I dunno, this was by no means bad, I love pistachios and pistachio ice cream though it’s been awhile since I’ve had the latter. This just didn’t do it for me. It tasted more like buttery, slightly burnt popcorn. I added a pinch of brown sugar to the second infusion, but it came off thin. Still husband loved and so do a lot of folks on here, so I leave off a rating. Husband and I are both looking forward to the Traditional Plum Pudding though he refuses to try the Potato Pancakes, Eggnog or any of the fall blends (he hates pumpkin and cinnamon). I have a feeling we’ll be ordering lots of Butiki fruit blends come summer.
I was going to hold off logging this till I had done a few more steeps, I’m brewing gongfu after all and I’ve only brewed for 5-8 seconds but oh my goodness this tea is blowing my mind and I had to share. First off, thank you to tperez for sending me a big pouch of this, several ounces in fact along with many other delicious teas. When I saw this on the swap board I didn’t look it up, I just thought it was the large rolled balls of black tea. I was surprised and delighted when it arrived and I found out that it was far more unique. I think tperez mentioned it was a Taiwanese oolong processed as a black and described it as tasting similar to Teavivre’s Bailn Gongfu Black, yum! However this says it Sumatran, I once passed on a Sumatran Oolong at TeaGschwender and regretted it. Anywho!
At only five seconds this is rich and dark and sweet. I picked up dark rye, raisins and dark chocolate. Then something happened in my cup that flipped my world upside down. I had never understood how a black tea could be fruity, never experienced it beyond the wine notes or a hint of plum or raisin in Darjeeling and a few high mountain teas. But this, oh my goodness, fruit! There are berries in my cup! Raspberries and strawberries and juicy plums and now that I’m reading it, yes apples!
Mind you I didn’t read any descriptions or tasting notes before drinking my first cup. But now I’m off to brew a second and am very excited. I hope the fruit sticks around for awhile! I should probably also eat something, as my head is swimming, beyond my giddiness.
Busy day yesterday, too busy for logging tea, but not too busy to drink them. This was my cup(s) (three to be precise) of the morning. I spent a lot of time with it, letting it roll over my tongue. The first few sips I was a bit disappointed, this has some astringency when hot especially when too much hits the mouth at once and when swallow too quickly. However when it cools a bit, sipped slowly and left to sit on the tongue for a few seconds, it is pure heaven. I get these lovely cool powdery notes of cocoa, lichen and mushrooms with a bit of smoke. I did find the Keemun Congou to be easier to drink, but knowing how to approach this, it’s lovely. I think next time I shall try shorter steeps.
Thank you Stacy for sending this sample! I believe this blend was retired right after I ordered. I woke up with a bit of a sore throat this morning which has mostly gone away but I think it’s still affecting my taste buds. I spent most of morning and afternoon with a honey oolong and while I could tell it was delicious and fresh and good quality and there were things I liked about it, there was one off note that was being intensified and I’m finding the same here. I like anise but didn’t really get it on the first infusion, it just sort of read as “gum”. I added a pinch or brown sugar which brought out the juiciness of the pear. I just glanced at Bonnie’s note before logging this and I agree with the slightly rough bitter pear skin analogy, but she says it much more poetically than I.
I had the pleasure of drinking this unique offering and the Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green with my mum yesterday after I set up her Zojirushi (more on that later). I gifted my mom with four of Verdant’s green teas for Christmas as she is often talking about needing/wanting to drink more green tea (she started drinking coffee this past year!?!!) We started with the regular Laoshan Green and infused it at least six times between a walk and sweeping her patio. She had hard time tasting much the first two infusions. I told her her tongue would get used to it. But I found it very beany, sweet and creamy.
This Bilochun was immediately more savory, nutty and stronger but still creamy, sweet and with the distinct green bean quality of Laoshan’s terrior. I also kept thinking it had an almost roasted quality, even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t roasted and it maintained a very fresh greenness. Interesting what a little bit of hand rolling will do. My mom preferred this one and while I certainly enjoyed it, I think I prefer the lighter sparkling sweetness of the non-rolled, but need to try it again. I’m very curious as to how the the hand rolling might affect Laoshan Black.
I can’t wait to try the Autumn Harvest Laoshan Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green with her and see if she can pick out the cherry notes in Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell. We both got glass tumblers with flat strainers at the top for Christmas so we can sip together all day. Unfortunately the Zojirushi is not going to work out for her and I need to find another variable temperature kettle that has a 170-175 setting, will hold that temperature but does not automatically bring the water up to a boil first. But that’s more for the forums.
So I haven’t had many straight Keemuns before, one mayyybe two and they’ve turned up in blends from time to time. So when placing my Butiki order I thought I’d give this and the finest a try so I could make a more informed decision on what I think of the “Chinese breakfast tea”.
I followed the given brewing parameters hesitantly, bringing the water up to a boil, then held my breath for a few second and poured with a high arch, but I had no need to fear. I wound up with a very nice full bodied cup with little to no astringency. This is bakey, floral, a wee bit smokey and above all balanced. Oh and shroomy! Yes, here there be mushrooms.
It’s both masculine and feminine, strong and soft, malty and perfumey and very well rounded. It’s not what I normally seek in a black tea but I am beginning to appreciate what it has to offer. Sure beats harsh English Breakfast teas, as far as my palate is concerned anyway. Off to ponder, drink and compare. Mmm love what is lingering on my tongue right now! Thanks Stacy!
Oh hey, this was actually on my shopping list! It caught my eye again on the SWAPs board, thank you momo for sending this to me. I find it amusing that three of the five people reviewing this tea (not including myself) passed it on to each other until it came to me over the last two years. Which explains why as soon as I brewed it I got a familiar odor that I have a very hard time describing but comes from teas that have been passed along or perhaps been in plastic bags too long, no matter if they are green, oolong or black. Sigh.
The dry leaf smells better than the wet, the second infusion is better than the first (which I had to toss, so lets just consider it a rinse shall we?) and the tea tastes much better cool than it does hot or warm. If I let it go cold I get a nice powder sugar/tree lichen/mushroom taste/feel that lingers on the tongue and that’s about the only nice thing I can say. I get “mellow brew”, but not the full body or bouquet, there’s a bit of spice and the weird age notes are sharp at times. ::shurg::
Tis not Keemun and has lost the majority of it’s former Formosa oolong mojo that other tea drinkers took note of. So Taiwanese Assam: win, Formosa Keemun: loose. Could be the age but I’m unlikely to acquire a new batch. I also don’t know it this was fine cut to begin with or if I just got the dusty bottom of a bag of full leaf, but tis something to consider. Oh well, thanks for letting me try it momo. The good news? I have two Keemun’s from Butiki to try!
I’ll say it again “Oh myyy!” This is… swoons recovers. Okay so I admit I am a total whimp when it comes to Assam and other hearty (in my opinion harsh) breakfast teas. But this was raved about and I’m always curious about traditional tea varieties grown in other places, especially Taiwan. So I had to order it.
When I opened the bag I was greeted with a familiar smell yet it was different, smoother, sweeter, more refined? Still I chickened out and used water at 205 not boiling, set the timer to two minutes, left the room and sat down so it probably steeped for 2 and half minutes. Beautiful dark copper liquor poured out and the the steam brought the aroma of chocolate to my nose.
Chocolate! Oh goodness! This reminds me of my favorite black teas: Verdant’s Laoshan Black and Zhu Rong Yunnan Black, Teavirve’s Bailin Gongfu Black and Fong Mong’s Sun Moon Lake Black tea. They all have something in common: sweet, smooth, malty, chocolate notes! And yet it retains its Assam nature, it’s full and stout and has big malt, but none of the harshness and metallic taste I associate with Assam. I am getting cinnamon and a bit of plum as well in this first infusion!
Thank you Stacy for bringing us this wonderful find! Off to rebrew for the full 3 mins. This is one I can share with the husband who doesn’t like my “rock water” (read: mineral) gongfu brewed black teas and wants to like British teas but still finds them harsh at times. Win!
Mmmm! Wasn’t sure what to drink this evening, I’ve spend the whole day drinking summer tieguanyin and have exhausted the leaves or perhaps my tastebuds. Lasagna doesn’t go well with any tea so I had to brush my teeth and once I got the mint flavor in my mouth I have a craving for eggnog! No long gongfu session required, I can just curl up with a mug or two.
I could tell just from opening the package this would be delicious. And it is seriously spot on, minus the thickness, but it is certainly creamy. In fact I think I prefer this to the real thing, always made me a bit squeemish even though every year I find I do love the taste. I also don’t think I could drink eggnog warm but I love the warm in this!
I’ll probably still have the custard-nog once a year and brew this up the rest of the season. Oh and I love that Stacy’s blends reinfuse so well, this second mug is just as good if not better than the first. Well done!
Oh my goodness! This tea smells amaaaazing! Mmm amaretto! I want to bathe in it! I have a soft spot in my heart for amaretto though I haven’t drank it in a very long time. When the husband and I started courting there was a bottle of amaretto in his dorm closet. Perhaps courtship is not the most accurate term, but no matter.
And the blend is beautiful as well! I think this was what Teavana was aiming for with their Amandine Rose and all the incarnations that came before, but never achieved. Now that being said I was a tad disappointed on the first infusion. I used just under boiling water as recommended, normally I would used closer to 195.
I’m also not used many Indian black teas and haven’t had a Kundaly black to my knowledge. Most of what I think of as more British style blacks, whether from China, India or Ceylon walk a fine line of astringency for me.
However this reinfused well and I added a pinch of brown sugar and a splash of cream the second time round and it was lovely! Will play around with different steeping parameters in the future, because I know this has the potential for perfection!
Harney & Sons Black Currant with a bit of Cafe Vanilla brewed for my sister and brother-in-law while getting our Abbey on tonight. One might call this blend Lady Mary ;) Followed by shortbread and bourbon, like you do.
So Maple Pecan was my breakfast tea (quite literally), Pumpkin Creme Brûlée was my hello you need to eat lunch now you silly girl tea and this was my before, during and after dinner tea (apple chicken sausages, perogies, veggie pancakes- like potato pancakes and peas).
When I opened the bag it smelled very familiar and it tastes very familiar as well. My first thought was sweet white wine, then upon tasting, sparkling cider, then hard cider, sparkling white grape juice, champagne and back to wine! It’s not apple juice nor apple cider it’s not as strong and full and autumnal, it’s light and very refined and conjures up holiday memories of drinking non-alcoholic bubbly.
There are potato and buttery notes for sure, strongest in the first steep but in the second it was competing with the food which brought out its sweetness, it really was acting as the applesauce to my potato pancakes, but right now I’m lost in this effervescent mystery drink on the third, no the fourth steep! The flavor keeps on going and I’m loving it! Thanks Stacy!
This note is going to be brief as this wasn’t my favorite of the day, but I didn’t exactly follow the parameters, the toddler had run off with the timer earlier. I also made the mistake of not having protein in the morning and hypoglycemia+ caffeine sensitive=very shaky, like I have not been in forever, but I’m blaming myself and the pancakes. Plus I’m not the biggest fan of Ceylon blends and have only had one other pumpkin tea, but will give this another go or two. It wasn’t as decadent as i expected but was quite tasty as it cooled. however it was totally eclipsed by the other two amazing Butiki teas today. But logged till later.
Today was a Butiki Tea day! I received my order yesterday, thank you Stacy! My husband showed interest in Pistachio Ice Cream and Plum Pudding but it didn’t fit in last night. So this morning I woke up craving something decadent, one of the Autumn Comfort sampler teas that were on sale and Maple Pecan came into my head first. I asked the toddler if he wanted pancakes of breakfast of course he did.
Before mixing the batter I opened up my bag of tea and upon smelling and seeing the pecans uttered an “oh my!” (think George Takei). I brewed up a mug, poured a small cup for me to taste, “oh my” again, and the rest went into the batter. Thankfully it resteeps well so I had a mug with breakfast as well. The pancakes didn’t even need syrup though I drizzled just a touch.
Lovely breakfast, lovely oolong much better than the few other maple, hazelnut and other such flavored teas I’ve tried. Stacy is an awesome blender though I am also looking forward to trying the Nilgiri Frost Oolong on its own! Oh my!
Been a rather disappointing tea day before I found that I still had a serving of this left while organizing my stash. I have too many teas (not necessarily too much tea, but too many to keep track of). I added a teaspoon of Summer Harvest Laoshan Green and oh my goodness heaven! My absolute favorite mint tea, my absolute favorite green tea blend, my absolute favorite Verdant Alchemy Blend… well no okay, not that last one, but my favorite for summer! David, please, please pretty please re-blend this for late spring/summer! I’ll buy half a pound after my winter tea buying hiatus which goes into effect… Now. Mmm fennel… Yum!
Still one of my absolute favorites though I do wish I had some of Verdant’s Big Red Robe to compare, hasn’t been in stock for awhile. My sister ordered me a good amount of this and a few other teas (mostly the new alchemy blends I fell in love with) for Christmas, bless her! Now I can stop hoarding and start drinking! Still I revived this one from yesterday, because, well I can. See previous note. Me thinks I shall brew some Dan Congs this evening!
Also saw Les Mis last night with the sister and brother-in-law and we all agree it was pretty epic! We all loved Russell Crowe’s performance despite ourselves. The casting for Madame and Monsieur Thénardier (the inn keepers that were keeping Cosette) were a surprise for us and we loved them, perfect!
Ho hum! Tried this months ago and then again the other day and I really just couldn’t drink this. I don’t have much experience with Bi Luo Chun and while “soapy scent” doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t think that’s the issue. It’s a bad taste, I’ve experienced before, mostly in green teas, usually from swaps but occasionally from my own stash. I think it’s just old and *Michelle*’s tasting note confirms that for me. So I shall not rate, just want to make a note for myself.
My New Year’s resolution I already began a couple months ago: I’m drinking down my greens. I will try to stay in season this year with them, but at least drink within six months, ideally four. After I tossed this, I had a nice long glass tumbler session with some Verdant Dragonwell-style Laoshan Green. I got my mom several Verdant greens for Christmas, a glass tumbler and just bought her a Zojirushi yesterday for her birthday next week. Can’t wait to try the Laoshan Bi Lo Chun green with her!