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300 Tasting Notes

97

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!

Sil

YAY!!!! I’m SOOOO happy you enjoyed this one :)

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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!

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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!

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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.

The Purrfect Cup

I like that! Will have to try it out!

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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!

Sil

Looking forward to trying this one!

Lynxiebrat

Drat…now this has got me craving potato pancakes! Though I generally prefer mine with sour cream. Hmm. I think I still got a box of them in the freezer…..

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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.

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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!

TeaBrat

this is so good!

Sil

Mmm so glad you enjoyed this one

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94

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!

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98

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!

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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!

chadao

Hi autumn, long time no chat! I hope you’ve been well. I just wanted to share my experience of “competition grade” teas vs family farm teas. I have tried a few teas entitled competition grade, and none of them matched up to the micro-lot type teas offered by such companies as verdant and seven cups. One of these is the bi luo chun. I have tried several varieties of bi luo chun, including a competition grade, and the best by far is the one by Seven Cups. Never bitter, always umami and nutty, very powerful flavor. If I could afford it, I would totally send you a sample :)

Autumn Hearth

Thanks for sharing the info and recommendation Alex, not too surprising but good to have it confirmed! I shall be sure to check out Seven Cups sometime this year, maybe after the spring harvests roll in. Hope you are doing well, have you found a new job? I’m waiting a bit, there was an organic grocery store coming to town that has been delayed and the toddler starts pre-school in the fall.

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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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