300 Tasting Notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Yunnan Noir by Adagio Teas
300 tasting notes

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!

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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!

darby

I just ordered the DVD’s myself so I can catchup!

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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.

Sil

Autumn…but the eggnog..it’s so delicious and creamy and wonderful and this is coming from me and i HATE eggnog lol

Autumn Hearth

I know, I love the eggnog as well but he refuses, that and the Potato Pancakes & Apple Sauce (he keeps referring to it as “pork chop & whatever” even though I keep yelling, "no pork it’s a Hanukkah blend! And it’s vegan!) are too “weird” but pistachio ice cream tea isn’t apparently. Big stick in the mud!

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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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Azzrian

I just really feel you can’t go wrong with teas from this company!

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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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Exotic Pear by Butiki Teas
300 tasting notes

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.

Kittenna

I’m honestly not too sad to see this one being replaced by a different pear tea. I only received a sample of it myself, and I no longer really remember how it tasted except that I could taste the anise and therefore didn’t like it.

Sil

I’m with kittena on this one. Stacy’s poached pear sounds wonderful! Or at least like ill love it better than this one :)

Autumn Hearth

Yes the poached pear does sound amazing, I think it’s supposed to be with caramel

Kittenna

Yeah, and given her blend execution….. (my hopes are probably way too high, haha).

Kittenna

OH WOW. I just re-read that and it totally sounds mean!! To clarify, I mean that because her execution is so amazing, my hopes are through the roof! Probably unachievably so, even by such an awesome blender!! Wow. O.o Glad I caught that before someone else thought I was just a jerk.

Sil

autumn…yes..yes it WILL have caramel…i’m SUPER excited to see how stacy does caramel. I have a weakness for caramel… sigh

Autumn Hearth

Kittenna, I read it right the first time ;)

Kittenna

Whew. I just wanted no misunderstanding!

Terri HarpLady

I’m not a big fan of the exotic pear, but am also looking forward to the poached pears with caramel…

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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.

Sil

the breville variable temp kettle has a 175 setting and doesn’t go to boiling first. Because it’s not “exact” the range is within a few degrees. I’m really enjoying mine

Autumn Hearth

Thanks for the experience Sil, that’s exactly what I was hoping to hear. Now to search for a good deal or wait till my friends store gets it back it stock so I can use their discount.

Sil

i managed to snag mine in boxing day specials for 115 (so in the us the price would likely have been around 100). Pricey but in addition to having the temp settings, I love that it holds the temperature AND is big! Unlike my previous kettle, i can fill both my travel mugs at the same time and still have water left over for a small cup :)

Azzrian

Which Zojirushi did you get? Mine holds at 175 as well as other temps. Maybe you can exchange for the correct one?

Autumn Hearth

Not sure which model it is as the box is at my moms house and it doesn’t say on receipt. It’s gold, 4L and not the hybrid. It does hold the temp at 175 however it insists on bringing the water up to boiling first then gradually dropping it down which takes forever. So I can either boil less water and then add more filtered water to even out the temp, or let it start to boil and unplugg it briefly at 180 then it goes into keep warm mode which is what I want. This is too complex for my mom, but with a little fiddling once a day I can have my water at the perfect temp all day and since I got it at 50% and its likely not inte Teavana system anymore since its discontinued and the whole Starbucks acquisition, I’m probably going to keep the Zojirushi for myself, buy my mom a Breville and give my sister my electric kettle which has the different temps but doesn’t hold, because she doesn’t even has a stove top kettle right now. Azzrian I may still want to pick your brain to see if there is a simpler way to get it right to 175, like does your model have the reboil button and the Keep Warm button which moves the arrow next to the temps and in what order do you press them (I’ve read the whole instruction manual but its telling me it boils then goes it keep warm mode). Thanks for responding!

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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!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

Stacy sent me a sample of this! Looking forward to seeing how it compares to the others that i’ve had :)

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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!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Ugh. I couldn’t do this tea at all. It was weak and tasteless :(

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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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