Camellia Sinensis

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Recent Tasting Notes

Welcome to day 6 of little terri’s Ultimate Sipdown Extravaganza!
I’m starting the day with a tea from Sil (anybody surprised?) that I’ve had for quite some time, from one of our many awesome trades. I’ve been avoiding this one for awhile, not really sure why, maybe because it’s the first tea I’ve ever had (to my knowledge) from Camelia Sinensis, whose website I’ve loitered on quite a bit lately, drooling over teas I might order, & a yixing I really want.

I was originally thinking, “gongfu”, but then I read some of the other reviews. (I’m not ashamed to admit it. My ego isn’t tied into coming up with my own unique take on a tea, or being able to recognize some taste nobody else noticed, so although I don’t always read others’ reviews before drinking a tea, I occasionally do, to see what kind of steeping parameters they used.)

Having said all that, I went with 5G + 8oz X 4min. There was enough here to drink this tea one time, and that sounded like the most promising formula.
This tea is not particularly exciting to me. It’s very smooth, with a kind of vanilla feel. There is a gentle sweet spiciness to it, perhaps cinnamon, & kind of a bland wood taste, with a growing but light coriander in the background. So, although there is nothing wrong here, & it doesn’t taste bad, it just doesn’t really do it for me. But I’m still glad to have tried it, & maybe on another day (if I had more), I would be in the mood to enjoy a tea such as this.
Sipdown – only 370 to go!

Sil

you’ve only had it for like 6 months or so i’m guessing since i wrote mY tasting note 7 months ago lol

Terri HarpLady

haha, well, it’s gone now! :)

Angrboda

I find I get confused easily if I read other people’s thoughts on a tea before formulating my own. I think I’m easily influenced that way.

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81

Thank you, VariaTEA, for letting me try this tea :)

The aroma and flavor remind me so much of some sweets from my childhood. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I think it was, surprisingly, some hard candy! Very unusual flavor combination, I haven’t experienced these notes in any ther tea. It is kind of similar to MF’s Marco Polo in that respect. Because it’s so unique.

There’s rose in it but kind of… fruitified. More like rosehips? Also a note of caramel… But there’s also some balanced citrus in here! Very interesting.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
VariaTEA

Yay for Des Roses et Des Bonbons! I am glad you liked it. One of my favs :).

Also, it reminded OMGsrsly of a certain candy too

Kat_Maria

I guess this tea is designed to bring out some forgotten candy notes from the depths of one’s memory!

VariaTEA

Haha maybe.

Roswell Strange

Reminds me of candy too; though I’m thinking more those almost fizzy sweet hearts, not a hard candy. The Sweet Hearts were like a dense powder/tablet.

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Ah! Rose and Cherry!
When I brewed it I didn’t know what I was making really. I just figured I’d look it up later.
I’m not a huge green tea person, but I’m starting to enjoy them in the evenings more often. The change in weather helps. The warmer days just call out for greener cups.

This tea is yum. It’s a green I will easily look forward to drinking the rest of the week.

I’m watching Shield in the student lounge at work.
I’m trying to savor it.
Also, it’s Hawkeye comic day. I’m goin shoppin at lunch :)

Ozli

Yay, Hawkeye!

VariaTEA

I think I prefer the French name for this one as it just sounds happier.

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VariaTEA sent this to me labelled “just enough for one 12 oz cup”. So that’s what I’ve made!

Steeping, it smells SO GOOD. Many spices. Lots of spices. Spices, spices, spices. This is gonna be great with that whipping cream. :)

Yeah, this is seriously spice-heavy. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this way, as my sample was fairly powdered, but I kinda like it. Loads of cloves, some cinnamon. No chocolate. What? Chocolate nibs? I thought those were cardamom. Oops.

I still prefer my Mariage Freres Chandernagor, but this is still a nice chai. Different. And different is good!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML
VariaTEA

Different is definitely an apt description of this one.

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100
drank Assam Banaspaty by Camellia Sinensis
257 tasting notes

Assam Banaspaty from the plains of Assam, Banaspaty garden. India.
The dry leaf smells like malt and cacao beans. They are tiny dark black-brown twisty threads but broken into halves and tiny bits. There are a few blonde ones mixed in too.
I steeped this at 200F for 3 minutes. It created a deep red liquor with scents of malt and hints of orange.
The wet leaves look like chopped reddish brown fall leaves and smell like baked brown bread.
The flavor is good. It has a touch of astringency from a taste like orange zest but just a touch,,, not overbearing at all and would be good for people who add a splash of milk. I love this tea, it really tastes like malt and orange zest. Delicious.


I added some of my homemade almond milk to this and it is heavenly!!!! I see this as a good base for when I make Chai since it has that orange hint in there and blends with milk.
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7/19/14
Having a bit of this today with milk. Bold, citrus, malt, good.
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7/31/14
Having a cup with milk in it. It needs the milk and can take sugar too though I didn’t put any.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Orange Zest

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

From gardens in Nepal; short distance from Darjeeling.
Dry leaves are nice twisty, thick threads of light brown, cream, and dark brown with an interesting scent of a light ginger snap but not heavy on the ginger—more snap!
As it brews, it is smelling like Oriental Beauty and come to think of it,,,,those leaves look like Oriental Beauty.
I tasted this at 3 minutes and it was still faint in color and flavor so I left it steeping a total of 4 minutes at 200F.
This is a black tea that wants to be an Oriental Beauty. It has all of those qualities that are sort of indescribable about that tea. The wet leaves are mixed fall colors and the liquor is that golden orange clear hue. I think I will play with this tea because the tasting notes on Camellia Sinensis promote fruity apple and chocolate accents along with honey and rich floral perfumes. I want to bring more out of this tea. I do catch the apple as the liquor cools off a bit.
Very interesting and unexpected flavors.

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

From Nan Mei Valley, Lincang Region, China.
Absolutely Gorgeous, spicy-scented, velvety-soft, wild downy buds.
Brewed Western style at 165F. I tasted this at five minutes and it was starting to gain some lovely flavor so I steeped it for a total of 7 minutes.
The liquor is spicy-scented with notes of citrus, fresh-grated nutmeg (which is lighter and more fresh than already grated jarred nutmeg).
These wild whites are some of my favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!! So cool in appearance, scent, and of course taste!!!!
Brewed, the wet buds take on a deeper green color with accents of brown on the edges and a spicier scent.
The flavor is honey, fresh nutmeg, touches of orange zest. Very fresh and delicious. I love these wild whites in the morning, so cleansing and delicious!!!


Second Steeping – this has one more brew in it and I steeped for same temp and amount of time and it still tastes lovely!!


8/20/14
I have been aging this one and I brewed some Western style today at 165F for 5 minutes. Boy has this progressed well! It is sweeter and creamier. The spice notes are still present but it is getting a great mouthfeel and more depth. Love!
I live in a very dry climate so this one is aging well for me.

Flavors: Honey, Nutmeg, Orange Zest

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

Do they suggest such long steep times? I would never steep that long.

Lee

Yes and at such a low temp you bring out flavor.

Lee

The wild buds are huskier

Lee

Very light and subtle flavor,,,white tea lovers will like.

boychik

Interesting…

boychik

Have you tried more leaves higher temps and very short steeps?

Lee

No I do not do higher temps on white tea that is no no to me

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I have to second (seventh?) the ‘very floral’ comments as well as the ‘could be milk oolong’ note. It’s certainly the creamy, green, floral business that made me fall in love with oolong. A bit of a surprise, as I must have had a roasted Dong Ding at some point that made me expect that.

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Very strange. In the same order, I received this, the Creme des Earl Grey, and Green Earl Grey. I cannot get enough of the green and the creme and am slurping them down (and have reordered larger quantities of both). This one… I first tried it cold brew, and it was undrinkable. So, fair enough, I probably over steeped it. I tried it again, normal brew, 4 minutes, and I had a similar result. I taste a faint lemon rather than the more rounded bergamot I prefer. This isn’t working for me.

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100
drank Xue Ya by Camellia Sinensis
257 tasting notes

From China and Xue Ya means Snow Buds. This is exquisite tea.
The dry leaf smells like white tea with sweet notes and looks like a White Peony made from Silver Needle. The color has that silver/green loveliness.
I brewed this at 175F since it is a green and was able to steep a long time with no bitterness or harshness. I tasted three minutes in and it was very light so I kept in for 5 minutes total. Now the dry leaves may have tried to trick you into thinking they were a white tea,,,,the brewed leaves totally smelled like a Dragonwell-type green tea. All the leaves were two leaves and a bud,,,gorgeous and a very faint clear spring green colored liquor.

I know that the recommended 2 tsp does not bring out a lot of strong flavor but rather very subtle flavor so next time I am gonna steep a TBSP and a half or two to see how this one is. I see the other people who tried this did not get too much flavor from it either. I caught very very subtle green notes like butter bean and a bit of sweet honey.

Presentation gets a very high score and no bitterness either so next time I try this I know I will brew it to bring out lots more flavor :)

Pairs lovely with chopped salad!


Second Steeping - O.K. this is definitely one for the Gaiwan. I couldn’t wait so I got new leaves and first added a bunch to the other leaves to completely stuff my gaiwan. This wasn’t the answer bc it had the same flavor notes as Western brewing but just less time.

I got new leaves and put the recommended 2 tsp into my Gaiwan and steeped for 30 seconds, then 15 seconds, then 30 seconds. Each session produced a light spring green liquor with more color than Western and light green flavors of spring pea to honey. This is definitely a green tea that wants to be a white tea. Don’t change!!!! You are fun and delicious and beautiful the way you are!!!!


6/3/14
Steeped some in my gaiwan this afternoon and I caught a note of cinnamon that I didn’t detect last time. Peas, cinnamon, honey, bit of cream. This is lovely tea!!
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7/22/14
Having a cup of this in the morning. Very light and probably more of an afternoon tea for me usually but wanted a lighter tea than a black this morning. It is very good with subtle notes of cream, pea, spice, sweet honey. Very good white.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Peas

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100
drank Jin Die by Camellia Sinensis
257 tasting notes

From Hunan Province, China.
The dry leaves are little twisted loose golden thread balls with highlights of black. They smell like malt and honey.
I tried the liquor at 3 minutes at this brew temp and it wasn’t strong enough so I kept it in for 4:30. This created a dark brown/golden liquor with scents of caramel sugar, dates, brown sugar cake.
The brewed leaves are chocolate brown perfectly unrolled needles/bud looking leaves. Fantastic!!
The flavor is smooth malt, dates, honey. Very delicious. There are subtle subtle vegetable notes as Camellia Sinensis suggests in their tasting notes. They say corn, tomato, and artichoke hearts. I can taste a tiny tiny bit of acid tomato and starch corn. This is a really balanced and complex tea. Wonderful.
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7/20/14
Tried a bit of this Gong Fu style today,,,,this tea gives LOTS of steepings!!! Used 190F water with short steeps,,,,6-4-6-8-8-10-10 created a deep, rich, auburn light mahogany liquor with notes of crème brûlée sugar top that has been really torched so it’s not super sweet, dates, a touch of smoke. Very delicious and rich.
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7/29/14
Tried this one Western style this morning and put it up against a cup of Yunnan Sourcing’s Black Gold Bi Luo Chun from Spring of 2014. They are different size snails and the one from YS has larger snails.
This tea is bright and citrus focused when brewed this way but it is well balanced with the subtle malt and sweet notes. The YS snails had more of a focus on smoke and malt.
I found that the two size snails have completely different flavors which of course they would. It is cool to see how the different size in leaves and rolling can bring out such different flavors!

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dates, Honey, Malt

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Okay, cold brewed? Wow! This is really good as a cold brewed tea! It is bright, fruity, citrusy and delicious. There is a lot of lemon grass that takes over this cup and it reminds me of two other teas that it is very similar too that I also enjoyed! I’m liking it!

Thanks again VariaTEA!

VariaTEA

Glad you liked it. I am excited to get back to trying more samples once my exam is finished.

Dustin

Good luck on that exam! That is once nice thing about my jewelry classes… no exams!

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Whoa there is a lot of stuff in this tea! I’m surprised by the five minute steep time, too. I’m tasting mostly cherry in this cup. A little lemon grass in the beginning of the sip. This is interesting! And is that a strawberry aftertaste?! I bet this would be great cold brewed and iced!

Thanks for this sample VariaTEA!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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85

A lovely, well-made tea that has a full-bodied taste. But there is also a subtle tartness in the first infusions follwed by sweetness in the final ones for those who are paying attention.

First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.

Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 3:00 min.

Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.

Fourth infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
SFTGFOP

I love this tea! This tea was the reason why I started to like Ceylons.

sherubtse

It is a very well-made tea – both the wet and dry leaves are excellent! A touch on the strong side, though.

Best wishes,
sherubtse

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I really loved Twinings Blackcurrent in college. I was pretty sad when it started tasting a bit chemically to me. This is a great replacement. It’s a deep but still brisk base tea with a less-pronounced but deeply delicious berry note. It’s less fruity than Twinings, but in a really nice way. I bet this would make a terrific cold brew too.

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This is it, my winning Earl Grey Creme. No doubt there are plenty I haven’t tried, but no need to move on from here. The dry leaf smells like a fruity marshmallow, then brews up to a well-balanced, creamy, fruity, floral Earl Grey. The base tea is Celyon but not one of the tangiest – still, a nice offset to the creaminess. It has none of the chemical notes that can put me off some Earl Greys.

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88

Sipdown (114)!

Wow; seems like this sipdown should have happened ages ago. I mean, how old is this tea? The answer is probably well over a year old. Amazingly, it’s held up over time though! Finished this one off in a large Nordic Mug; simple and just in straight hot water. It was so lovely, mellow and fruity with just this absolutely wonderful jumble of red fruit flavours (rhubarb, strawberry, cherry) and then this light almost citrus or even possibly ‘bamboo’ finish. I don’t honestly know if I’ll pick up more of this one in the future: it did take me a long time to finish it and while I really enjoy it I don’t know that it’s something I’m still overly excited about either.

Despite definitely not being in the “try everything you can get your grubby hands on” phase of tea drinking, I still do like the idea of picking up new things. Otherwise I just get sick of things, and I’d much rather finish blends like this one off in a positive way which I’ll regard fondly in the future.

VariaTEA

I still have Des Roses et Des Bonbons. I can only imagine how old that is lol

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88

Cold Brew!

This time around I really noticed the rhubarb, lemon, and pear notes and the green tea in the base; it kind of offered up this ‘stringy’ green bean imagery, with the crispness of fresh cut grass and bamboo. It was the perfect light, fruity companion to drink while munching on a crisp Asian Pear.

Subtle, fragile, and exotic all at once.

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88

This is a queued tasting note.

Tea Soda!

This made for a really delightful tea soda; the light vegetal flavor of the white and green tea used came out very fresh, and almost bamboo-like. I’ve done bamboo tisanes as soda before, and I have to say that I really enjoy that light flavor carbonated. It makes me feel like a big panda sipping on my tea.

_Fun Fact: Did you know that giant pandas eat, on average, 84 POUNDS of bamboo a day!? _

There were also a lot of fresh fruit notes; rhubarb, strawberry, to a lesser extent cherry, and then lemon from the lemon myrtle. It was very light; like fruit infused water but much more refreshing and sweet. It almost reminded me of fresh cut fruit salad – in the best way. I’m definitely really impressed with this one as a tea soda!

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88

I was going to attempt to make a joke, but it was really weird and bad. What was it you ask? Well, if you insist…

I woke up yesterday morning with a kink in my neck; in more ways than one!

See it’s “funny” because I really did wake up with a painful kink in my neck (it’s still kind of there), but I also had a really intense and weirdly romantic/sexual dream about one of my coworkers at Sobeys. It was really, really weird though because I don’t find him attractive even a little bit. But “dream me” certainly didn’t feel the same way. Now next time I have a shift with him it’s gonna be hella difficult making eye contact. Cringe.

Anyway: this cold brew was really, really good yesterday. All of the “red things” in the blend were really present and sweet and a little candy like. So, the cherry, rhubarb, and strawberry. Reminded me of Strawberry/Rhubarb pie filling. You know what I mean: sweet and candy like, but kinda… Supple?

I also was able to just subtly pick out the pineapple and I thought MAYBE the pear too? But I’ve never tasted the pear in this one before and it’s possible that I only thought I was tasting it because I was also drinking a Golden Pear Liqueur/Spirte mix drink. So I don’t know.

I need to pay more attention to the individual flavours in this next time I have it, and less so to the flavour as a “whole” because I think I’m missing out on some of the subtler nuances to the tea.

Alexsia 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

OMG I hate when dreams like that happen!! It makes things so awkward and the entire time you are like ‘brain whyyyyyyy’

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88

In my timolino! I managed to wait the perfect amount of time in the morning after the kettle finished boiling, while getting ready for work, to make a more delicate white tea. I should really splurge/make that important investment and get myself a variable temp kettle. Anyway, this was delicious! Sweet pineapple and fruity rhubarb with just a touch of strawberry over top a sweet, flavourful honey white base. Mmm!

Sil

wait for christmas if you splurge on a variable kettle… when i picked mine up, i was able to get it for more than 100$ off

OMGsrsly

I just got one at Canadian Tire. It was about $70 and I’m still happy with it, although once it goes (and it could last ages!) I will get one I can program by degree.

VariaTEA

You drink enough tea that I think a Variable temp kettle is justified. Just keep an eye out for sales though. I know I did and got mine at a nice discount.

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88

Last tea of the night; and yeah I know I made six cups at once (shhhh, I do not have a problem) but this actually truly was the last of the night because it’s the last of those six cups that I finished – not because it was bad or anything, but because I knew this was one that would still be very good once it had gone cold, so I didn’t feel rushed to slurp it all down.

Tonight all the fruits in this really, really stood out on their own; like more so than usual, and especially after it had gone cold. The star was the very plump, ripe tasting strawberry in this but it was accented magnificently by the tropical tasting pineapples and the bright, sweet cherries and rhubarb. I even tasted the pear and lemon myrtle, both of which I find normally get lost under all the other amazing, contributing fruits.

It was like a cup of very fresh fruit salad! Or mixed fruit pie filling…

Delicious!

I put the tin away in my closet, but I feel like I may have to bring it right back out again; the one is calling out to me, telling me I better cold brew it sooner rather than later and I really don’t think I can argue with it.

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88

The super lovely VariaTEA picked me up a bunch of this before leaving Montreal, so I’m pretty well stocked for the time being but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I should be hoarding this special, special tea! I broke it out today though because today seemed like a fancier occasion, and I was craving something sweet and juicy.

I’ll be perfectly honest, I wasn’t paying the closest attention to how I steeped it. The water temperature was low but how low I couldn’t tell you. I used lots of leaf, but how much I couldn’t tell you. I steeped it maybe more than I should have but again, how much more I wouldn’t be able to say. What can I say? Well whatever combination of things it was it was the perfect one!

This was to die for, succulent mouthwatering strawberry/rhubarb and sweet pineapple. I enjoyed every last flavourful drop of it and had ZERO regrets about making a quantity tea instead of choosing to take an easier sipdown.

Tyrell also liked the smell of this one a lot, so maybe I’ll make it for him sometime…

Flavors: Pineapple, Rhubarb, Strawberry

Plunkybug

Wow, sounds yummy!

VariaTEA

No need to hoard. Worse comes to worst, you can always order it online.

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88

Sipdown (182/184)!

This tea deserves a long tasting note, but I’m exhausted and also IMing with three other people, so my attention is really divided at the moment.

I cold brewed this though and had it at work; it was stunning! I’m so pumped to be getting more of it!

JustJames

i keep forgetting i want this…… drat.

sherapop

Such a great name… Must try!

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