51 Tasting Notes
Darjeelings are not always my favorite. I’m extraordinarily picky about them. For the last two years, my absolute favorite has been from Giddapahar. While, this estate seems to be a tad greener with their processing, the flavor is just outstanding. The tea is very complex and has wonderful sweet almond notes with peach and blackberry notes. There is just so much going on and quite a variety of flavors, including wood, lemon, hay, earth, and jasmine notes. When I heard that Giddapahar was making a special limited handrolled 2nd flush, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity, especially because they only made 11 kilos worth of this tea. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I was so excited when it arrived, I tore open the package. Wow, the scent was so amazing! The taste profile is very similar to the first flush, except that there is a muscatel flavor and the green-ness is much more toned down. It’s also a much fuller body and the astringency is gone. I’m really enjoying this tea quite a bit. It has a wonderful juicy flavor. Almond, peach, jasmine, and hay notes are the most prominent. There is something else present but I can’t put my finger on it right now. Will definitely have to experiment more on this one. Since this is so limited, when it’s gone it’s gone.
In other news, I’m working on 2 new teas today, a caramel apple Gui Fei and a mimosa puerh (this may or may not be a chai). Normally, I come up with flavors then find a tea for them and modify them from there but these guys I’m working with teas that I really want to flavor and trying to develop flavors for them specifically. I have done this with our Champagne & Rose Cream but it’s not typically how I work.
Today has been a weird day. Last night I got home really late. I decided I wanted to unwind and watch a little tv before I went to bed but instead I ended up falling asleep very quickly on the couch. I was so exhausted that I woke up around 8am still on the couch with the tv on. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve done that. I felt very disoriented when I woke up and I’m still not feeling quite so normal. This week has been a trip. At least once a year I go raw for a few weeks. I started eating raw food on Monday. Unfortunately, the first day of being raw is horrible. I was so unproductive because I had a bad headache, was very mentally fuzzy, felt pretty weak, and was hungry all the time. By Tuesday I was feeling a little better but still about half productive. Wednesday, I finally felt better and was able to catch up with work. Now I’m feeling pretty good. In a couple of days I will have that raw food energy. Each time I go raw, it gets easier and I have fewer bad days before the good days start. The first time I went raw, I was miserable and extremely hungry for the first week and it wasn’t until the end of the second week that the energy kicked in. Every day I allow one cheat by having one cup of tea. This tea was my cheat today.
I’m sure this tea is even more amazing since it’s the only warm thing I consume. I love this! Honey and caramel are the main notes. It is very sweet and a little malty. I can also taste vanilla, floral, bread, peppercorn, and plum notes. There is also just a touch of chocolate. It is so very delicious! This tea, our Red Queen Cupcake (strawberry, chocolate, espresso, vanilla) tea, and Taste of India (strong breakfast blend that incorporates Assam, Darjaeeling, and Nilgiri teas) will be up on our website by tomorrow.
This is an interesting tea. While it does have some similarities in flavor to the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black it also has some of its own uniqueness. It comes from Sansia, Taiwan. That region produces predominantly green tea, so this is a bit unique. Also, a local varietal is used Ching-xin Ganzai. The leaves of this tea are also insect bitten, so it does have that honey sweetness. Such a delicious tea!
Having a nice cup of my favorite tea today on my anniversary. Today the hubby and I have been together for 20 years and this Sunday will be the 12 year anniversary of our wedding. Woo hoo! This week is really packed, we have a good friend’s birthday, our anniversary, father’s day, and a wedding. This week will certainly be busy but for now I’m relaxing and enjoying this delicious cup of chocolaty, caramely deliciousness. In other news, I noticed that the CDC came out with a list of Powerhouse (nutrient dense) Fruits and Vegetables. That’s pretty awesome, but ugh watercress, really. Guess I will have to look into some recipes that kind of hide the watercress. Here is a link for anyone interested: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2014/pdf/13_0390.pdf.
I’m loving this tea lately. It’s kind of like a cross between our Premium Taiwanese Assam and our Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black except that it would be a much stronger version of PTA. It has a bit of a stronger maltiness but yet also has the sweetness that is present in the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black. Very interesting. I overleafed a bit so I am getting a nice burst of malt, very close to astringent but not quite. There are some lovely honey, stone fruit, dark chocolate, and fresh baked bread notes. I’m also getting a slight earthiness and some raisin notes. Absolutely delicious!
Lately, I have been all about gardening. This year I planted a nice box of cabbage, basil, tomatoes, and arugula. I also planted a smaller raised box of jalapenos, tomatoes, basil, and arugula. Each year, I will be adding a new box and fruit tree in our backyard until we have too many fruits and veggies. I also planted a pear tree and a bunch of flowers this year. Yesterday, my first jalapeno was harvested and I made some nachos with homemade salsa and guac. So good! Will be starting composting soon. Very excited to get back into gardening after taking a break last year. Anyone else into gardening?
Whoa, I went very heavy on the tea and man is this strong. I was feeling very sleepy and now quite awake. While I can still taste the burned chocolate, nutty, mahogany, baked bread notes, the bergamot notes are now the strongest. I have really been loving the high quality CTCs from Kenya lately. I feel like CTCs have such a negative association but they can be really tasty.
Did you know it was world goth day? Me either. In honor of world goth day I’m now listening to Fad Gadget. While not the most gothy, I have certainly heard a lot of Fad Gadget songs at many goth clubs. Here is Life on the Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA_8nNNZqD4 If you want to see why you should never have stood in the first few rows at a Fad Gadget concert, check out Lady Shave live. hahaha. Despite being really into goth fashion and music, I don’t have many pictures from those days. I do have one from when I was phasing out of goth, so here is right after I started bleaching out the black hair dye, so it is sorta gothy (1999-ish?). http://i1094.photobucket.com/albums/i446/butikiteas/FridayDecember302005resizedCopy1_zpse89ac58f.jpg. Anyone else into goth music or fashion? I’m still really big into 1970s, 1980s and 1990s goth & industrial music.
I’m taking a short break since today is a long day and I will be working very late tonight in order to compensate for taking a shorter day tomorrow. I decided to gongfu brew some of the Banchang in a 50ml gaiwan. This time around I used a lot of leaf. I think, I prefer less leaf for this one. With less leaves, the apricot notes are very strong but here they are much lighter though still present. The spice notes are stronger now and more upfront. I’m getting a lot of clove, pepper, and cinnamon and some anise but also a nice creaminess and fuller body. Actually, I’m starting to love this despite missing the stronger apricot notes. Very delicious. The rhubarb is now making its way through a little bit. This is definitely my favorite Sheng! Shhh, don’t tell the Wild Purple Buds.
For the rest of work, I’m doing a Joy Division marathon. Unknown Pleasures followed by Closer, and finally Still. As the days are getting warmer, I’m just in more of an old school goth, industrial, and jazz mood. Just came out of a hip hop/rap mood which lasted through the harshest days of winter. Anyone else noticing their preferences shifting as it gets warmer? Here is Joy Division’s A Means to an End because it is awesome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oMFMRv5c3o. If I make it through all 3 albums then Sun Ra or Peter Brotzmann will be playing, which I can only listen to at work or with headphones.
Also, have to share this. I just funded this Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/159974695/calamityware-dinner-plate-3. This artist takes the classic Blue Willow pattern and adds ‘calamities’. Super awesome. Can’t wait to serve my guests food on this plate and see if they notice.
This tea is so interesting. I get notes that are not very common in most teas. For instance there are grilled corn notes (bordering on corn nuts but not quite) and roasted cashew nuts. Also, very strong butter and cream notes. This session, I’m also getting a light floral note at the end, maybe jasmine but it is just hardly there. This is definitely the most flavorful white tea I have ever tried. So good.
In other news, we are finishing up adding our new straight teas, so pretty soon we will start back working on flavored teas, which I am very excited about. I say that now before the frustration sets in when the flavors don’t work out how I want them but I do love creating new blends. It’s one of the tasks I most enjoy. Right now, we are working on a new chai. I have really been debating whether we go traditional or do a crazy flavored chai. Not sure yet, which way we will end up. Also, in 1-2 weeks we should finally have our new Silver Needle and Chinese greens in stock. We have been putting it off a bit but I’m excited to finally get the new harvests in.
I’m so glad this tea exists! I have such a horrid allergy/sinus headache. This tea is absolutely perfect for when I need something strong yet flavorful. Loving the burned chocolate, bergamot, and bread notes right now. Now if only this headache would go away. I’m trying to drown it out in caffeine and Excedrin.
In other news, we have been pretty darn busy. In case you missed it we added the following new teas:
Kenya Obsidian-wonderful Kenyan black tea
Baked Ali Shan-Lightly oxidized and lightly roasted
Fu Shou Shan-Lightly oxidized, very high elevation, very flavorful
Taiwanese Bi Luo Chun-very fresh, flavorful
Hong Yun Black-tastes like PTA & Mi Xian Black crossed paths
Lattakajoon Assam-Chocolatey Assam
Organic Sourenee Black Blossom-Like a chocolatey cross between Darjeeling & Assam
1994 Aged Bai Hao-Like a honey drizzled on top of baker’s chocolate. Another lovely leafhopper bitten tea
Blackberry Lime Guayusa-Steph’s idea for our Custom Blend Contest
1989 Suncha Blend-Mostly shou but some sheng. Very flavorful and smooth
Still to go-
Kenyan Silver Needle-Incredibly buttery, creamy, flavorful!
2009 Banchang-heavy Apricoty notes. This puerh has quite a story behind it. Rare.
Blueberry Purple-back soon!
Whew! We certainly have been busy in the last 3 week!!!!!
Also, if anyone is interested we are only asking for shipping charges for these lovely wooden display cases: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1470625936506048&set=a.1383480678553908.1073741827.100006759666084&type=1&theater
Thought I would give a short review of this since it came up today and we will be selling it online shortly-ish. Right now I’m doing anything to avoid working on taxes which really need to be done. Must do taxes today and not get distracted by everything else. The things I’ve done in order to avoid taxes. Definitely the worst part of this job.
On to the best part, tasting tea. This tea is somewhat similar to our Organic Sourenee Second Flush with one huge difference it is way more forgiving and less astringent. The regular version of Sourenee needs to be brewed with precision or it can taste very bitter. I think this is why we had very mixed reviews and feedback of that tea. It was difficult to get it to the precise spot where it was perfect but when you did, it was amazing. This tea is much more forgiving and based on memory it is sweeter, less astringent, and has a much fuller body. Mmmmm, this is super buttery, chocolatey, woody, with a hint of floral at the end of the sip. It is also a little bit malty. In some ways this reminds me more of an Assam than a Darjeeling until the end of the sip, which it becomes unmistakably Darjeeling. This cup is certainly hitting the spot right now. Delicious! I’m so glad we picked up this tea, even though we were really late to the game.
In addition to this tea, we have some other teas that are slated to be added to the website soon. We are bringing back the Birthday Cake herbal for a limited time but also adding a Baked Ali Shan and a Fu Shou Shan (which is our answer to missing out on the Da Yu Ling this year, really could kick myself for missing that). We still need to add the Lattakoojan Assam but there is very minimal prep work needed to be done before that goes online.
Oh man, this is such a wonderful tea! It is quite a bit more chocolaty than last year and just very smooth, yet it is malty. I’m loving the complexity of this tea. It has a variety of notes, including: cacao, sweet potato, oak, apricot, citrus, floral, bread. This is just one of those teas that you start sipping and before you know it the whole cup is done. This has to be my favorite Assam (from India, I qualify that because the Taiwanese Assam is my absolute favorite), though the Lattakajoon is a close second favorite. It is just such a high quality tea.
Today we are working on getting 5 teas together to be added to the website. They probably won’t all go up tonight but we will have a good start.
I’m also very excited because I just bought some tickets to see Beats Antique live. I enjoy a lot of their music, which is world fusion/electronic/tribal-ish but the show looks absolutely insane. It has a bizarre circusy feel, wild visuals, belly dancing, and giant inflatable animals. Here is their short little tour promo if anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32wnEGTE-8A. Love that this tour and last album was based on the works of Joseph Campbell. I’m a big fan of his work. Also, here is their song Cat Skillz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCLCZbzL3WA, which always gets me going, especially the second half of the song. It always puts me in such a great mood. Yay for great tea & great music!