Camellia Sinensis

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Recent Tasting Notes

86

If I’m being perfectly honest, I bought this tisane solely because it’s supposed to brew up purple. Not “Hibiscus” purple, mind you, but honest to goodness purple purple. When it showed up today, I did crack the bag open out of curiosity though; while I was totally suckered in by aesthetics, you have to admit that taste is still probably the most important factor…

The smell of the dry leaf is incredibly powerful and pretty darn unique; it’s like a blast of your grandma’s garden: very fresh and aromatic. However, the only part of good ol’ nana’s garden you’re smelling is the patch where she’s growing all her own spices, and then maybe the roses in their planters across the lawn since the breeze is carrying their scent over your way too. It’s very particular, and very unique.

As far as the brewing process goes, I was totally skeptical but as soon as the water hit my tea (I of course used a clear, glass mug) it started to infuse a kind of grayish blue which then gradually became a deep, sultry sort of blue/purple. Very brilliant and touching on “royal” in hue while still having that darkness that screams “It’s not a phase, mom!”. It’s a little hard to explain and holy fuck do I wish I’d had my phone with me and charged because it may just be the most beautiful infused liquor I’ve ever seen. Actually; no, it IS the most beautiful steeped liquor I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it’s incredibly stunning!

But of course I still wondered about the taste: would it taste like dear sweet Gammie was shoving her summer bumper crop of spices up in my gullet? Actually; given the intensity of the aroma I found this was pretty soft all things considered. You absolutely get a clear taste of the basil in the blend meaning this is definitely a more herbaceous/savory profile. However, that said, I also get some sweetness that reminds me of fennel or anise and there’s the soft, rose/floral undertone as well that cuts in and keeps this from literally being a mug of brewed up spices. At moments I also felt like I was getting the refreshing feeling of peppermint as well, though that’s maybe a bit of a stretch. Still it’s nice, it’s layered and it feels very romantic and poetic to be drinking it. Like I’m in my ivory tower waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come and sweep me away.

I mean, the fact I was drinking it at near midnight on my balcony while listening to the drizzle and pitter patter of rain probably doesn’t do a whole lot to hinder that imaginative imagery but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is just a really enchanting and unique tisane overall.

Super Starling!

Oh my god, I need to get in on this action. Purple’s my favorite color, and I was a ridiculous Goth. Sipping this while working on a mostly-black painting and scowling is now on my list of priorities.

Fjellrev

Freaking awesome! This is definitely on my list if I ever order from them.

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44

No matter how many times I brew this tea or how many different measurements/water temperatures I try, I can’t get it to be very flavourful. What flavour it has is pleasant, but it just doesn’t taste like much. Trying hotter water than recommended only brought out a blandly unpleasant bitterness, as did increasing the steep time too much. I’m used to better from Camellia Sinensis; their teas are usually quite exciting. Best results at 85c / 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Flavors: Hay

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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This is certainly the highest quality Indian Assam I’ve tried, though most of my Indian Assam consumption was through bulk bins at health food stores. That’s not to say this is only good by comparison. This is clearly quality tea, though it is fairly straight forward. Malty assamica notes are clear and present, but a muscatel character reveals itself along with notes of minty herbs, as well as fruity tones I normally associate with Taiwan-style black tea. The leaves are not whole, but that doesn’t affect my enjoyment, even in a gaiwan. Nice for a slightly more refined Assam experience.

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77

Hard this one on the commute to work because I found myself craving a darker, more roasty oolong this morning…

This was Western style, so it was a bit different than my Gong Fu session. Still, I found it very enjoyable and I was even able to pick out (in my sleepy early morning haze) some flavour notes that were pretty unique. The big thing with this one is that the start of the sip starts out very roasty with mineral, slight char, nutty, and wood-y notes accompanying. The body is definitely pretty unique; there’s a subtle creaminess but also a lot of more savory/umami notes like dill, sea salt, and salted butter. So much salt. Also, this is MAYBE a weird observation coming from a vegetarian who has no actual memory of what real crab/lobster tastes like and I’m told the vegetarian version doesn’t do the real flavour justice but I found the finish of the sip rather marine with crabby/crustacean-y notes. I felt like I was drinking the broth/stock for a crab based soup or stew, to be honest. Totally not a bad thing, though – it was delicious!!

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77

This is a queued tasting note.

So, we’ve all had a tea (or teas) that we bought for reasons completely unrelated to the tea itself, right? The art on the wrapper looked super cool? Or the name was really geeky? Well, I bought this one because I was looking for aged oolongs to sample and the year 1984 caught my attention as I’m a pretty big fan of Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm novels. I needed 25g of this, stat, for that reason alone. So, buckle up guys, gals, and people inbetween or otherwise ’cause the Orwellian puns in this review are gonna be doubleplusstrong!

Also, this is a stream of consciousness review, meaning I essentially just took jot notes as I was drinking of my immediate thoughts and that’s basically what I’m writing up now. Unfiltered, pretty much. Bonus, unintended Newspeak puns!

- Started with a five second rinse…

Infusion One: Less than five seconds
- Light brown/gold liquor
- Roasty/mineral aroma
- Peppery “tickle” on the forefront of my tongue and back of my throat
- Dank/wet earth and mineral notes
- Woody/vegetal; oak
- LIGHT roast overall

Infusion Two: Seven seconds
- Stronger Plusstrong roast aroma; slightly more nutty plusnutty
- Darker Plusdark brown liquor with a red tinge
- Roasty/peanut top notes
- Brothy; stewed veggie and mineral body
- Cocoa finish?
- Still woody

Infusion Three: Seven seconds
- Leaves look like black velvet w. spare brown/olive hues
- Earthy/roast/nutty aroma and same liquor colour
- Rich top notes: peanut, earth, barley, cocoa
- Very Plusnatural body; wet earth, woody, nuts
- Mushroomy and raisin finish
- Plussweet!

Infusion Four: Ten seconds
- Brothy/meaty umami aroma but still sweet
- Earthy/wet soil, musk, mushroom, peanuts, cocoa
- Slight raisin background taste
- At this point has a bordering salt flavour?
- Still some roast but it’s a little less unstrong

Infusion Five: Twelve seconds
- Liquor is lightening up in hue; it’s plusgolden again and has an unred tinge
- Smells like wet soil/rocks/leather/salt
- Reminds me of a salt lick rock I had as a small child…
- Beginning to taste doubleplussalty
- Salted peanuts and seaweed???
- Uncocoa notes and starting to be unsweet

Infusion Six: Twelve seconds (Last Infusion)
- Seasalt and earth smell
- Doubleplussalty!!! Definitely seasalt and seaweed
- A touch of a peanut taste
- Relatively monotone/flat flavour overall though

So yeah, that’s it! I think my personal sweet spot was the third infusion? I liked infusions two to four a lot though, but after infusion five the experience was definitely declining quickly. Also, a note – when I say I had a salt rock as I kid I literally mean somehow I was given something like this: http://globalendurance.com/store/products/redmond-rock-sea-salt-lick/ and for whatever reason I would carry it around and, like a horse, occasionally lick it. I think I was maybe six? Don’t remember what happened to the bloody rock or how I even got it, but yeah that’s a thing…

Also, maybe a handy reference? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Newspeak_words

Mikumofu

A doubleplus good review!

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85

This tea is quite good. There was very little bitterness. There was a bit of a green, vegetal taste early on but that did not last. What it had was a honey like sweetness without the actual intensity of real honey but the flavor. This was one good tea. In the end I only gave it eight steeps because I am really watching my caffeine but I thinnk it would have gone a few more. The tea liquid was a very light color even in the early steeps but had a lot of flavor.

I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.2g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 5 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. It had gotten quite light colored in the eighth steep but still had a lot of flavor. I think there were a couple of steeps left.

Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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90

This Sencha is from the 2015 June green tea leaves from Shouzou Japan. It has an interesting full bodied flavor. It is a light steamed green tea with a flavor aftertaste of sweet green vegetables and sweet grass and the tannins are very low. There is no bitterness and there is no astringency to this tea. This tea has a very high amount of antioxidants, around 2250 micromoles. Polyphenols is the type of antioxidants in green, black, Oolong, Pu erhs and white teas. This tea helps me relax and calms me down. This is a wonderful and good light green Sencha tea from Shouzou Japan just a little bit south of Toyko.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Sweet

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

- Steeped Western style
- Strong/potent aroma of wet earth/soil
- Reminds me of a Spring garden after rainfall in smell and taste
- Though the taste is lighter than the smell would seem to indicate
- Earthy, damp, petrichor notes
- Also a hint of a leather/“musk”
- Also evokes feelings of the underbelly of a forest
- Lighter taste than aroma, overall
- Quite pleasant!

I look forward to exploring this one Gong Fu!

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85

Bought 50g of this loose tea at the tea festival last Saturday. It is apparently not available on their website. So no picture with this tea. It is fairly good. It has a fair amount of fermentation flavor left. It’s not of the real unpleasant sort. It was dark an d rich in the early infusions tasting of dark chocolate. I can’t say it developed a fruity flavor later. It was also fairly bittersweet at first. Took a while to recede and leave the tea fairly sweet. Only gave it eight steeps because I want to move on to something else.

I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10g leaf and boiling water, I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet

Preparation
Boiling 10 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
Cwyn

I wonder if this is a ripe tea from the same area they get the raw huang pian cakes they sell.

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82

Cold Brew Sipdown (133)!

And this cold brew finishes off this sample from Camellia Sinensis. Overall, this was the worst of all three preparation styles. The brew lots that buttery, artichoke note which I personally thought was the best aspect. Instead, the smoky note got really, really strong and intense and the brew took on a bit of an overwhelmingly bitter note. Mmm, nope…

I enjoyed playing with this tea though; I got to try it in three different styles and that was really fascinating seeing how that effected the overall taste with each different method. It was a good learning experience.

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82

Brewed this one Western style for comparison with the Gong Fu session…

There were definitely strong similarities; this was very buttery and vegetal with notes that clearly reminded me of artichoke hearts and a smoky undertone. However, I feel like I also got fresh notes of garden veggies like crisp Snap Peas and maybe even cucumber peel?

I don’t know; despite noticing a few different things I think that the Gong Fu session was better overall. This was still a pleasant cup, but the evolution of flavour that I experienced with the Gong Fu session was more enjoyable.

Flavors: Artichoke, Butter, Peas, Smoke, Vegetal

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82

This is a queued tasting note.

- Gong Fu session in one of my smaller Gaiwans
- Eyeballed the measurments; approx. 2/3 of the cup
- Starts off very fresh and light tasting
- Not sure if it’s cause I’ve been drinking more Japanese greens lately…
- But this seems especially smoky to me
- Also, floral for the first two or so infusions
- As well as nutty, with a nice buttery vegetal note
- Very clean taste/profile overall
- Description teases “bitterness”
- But that wasn’t experienced until the last few infusions
- About six infusions, then it just began to feel brewed out

Flavors: Artichoke, Bitter, Butter, Floral, Nutty, Smoke, Vegetal

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Brewed this up this morning after a bowl of matcha expecting a nice roasted tea to open the day. I was rather surprised to find that this was much alike the 1989 oolong from Tea Urchin. Hints of cocoa in the background with a sweetness that mixes in the overall taste to be like a caramel taste. With a minor roast profile, this is an ideal tea for drinking now and in the future. Absolutely wonderful. For roughly $10 an ounce at bulk buy, this is a wonderful price. Easily getting 10+ steeps out this and I can easily say that this tea evolves. It slowly opens up into a earthy, woodsy, type of oolong after the sweetness fades away. Wonderful buy. Now I need to drink the other aged oolong from CS and find out which ones I will be buying a lot of.

Kirkoneill1988

i take it this is a puerh?

Rasseru

feng huang = phoenix mountain. shui xian = an oolong

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85

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85

This was offered to me as a gift from Camellia Sinensis last purchases. I love this tea. It’s little twisted leaves are well crafted and deep green with some silver tips. The dry leaves smell green goodness, spinach and Swiss chard with some sweetness to it. By contrast the wet leaves offer a very different impression. It’s still green but more cooked or boiled vegetable. The first steep develops into a very rich buttery notes with a bok choy. The second one reminds more of refined nettles or some water cress with a bit of bitterness toward the end. He following infusions are more peppery and remind me of fresh sage leaves in butter. The wet leaves are more and more bitter and over cooked vegetables striking difference with the soup. The aftertaste is long and more like chalk. A great find.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Butter, Sage, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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100

Perfectly balanced grapefruit rooibos. Zippy and bright.

Flavors: Grapefruit

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Sil

neat

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85

This tea is visually beautiful. Small and shiny balls of greenness with yellowish stems. This tea is well made already.The dry leaves smell green and grassy, fresh and strong. Each time I brew this tea in a gaiwan, I made up to 9 steeps (water at 200 for 5’ infusions, open gaiwan). each of them so different in taste and feelings. It is a very interesting green tea that evolves with time and the temperature of the tea in your cup. It has a very pleasant smoky feeling that is not overwhelming. It is first very herbal and grassy with some sweetness in it.it always has a mineral subdued taste during all infusions (pebble).During the last infusions the tea change to more floral notes (spring). The most striking with this tea is the continuous freshness of each cups. fresh and light yet with a presence and a nice energy in your mouth. a must try.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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76

Had an enjoyable afternoon with this one. Not much to say beyond the fact that it’s been a decent tea…just not one i MUST HAVE in my cupboard, so that’s good (for me at least hahaha). This of course means that i managed to hit my Feb goal of 110 teas AND i’ve hit my weight goal as well (well more than) so yay for travelling tea boxes and drinking more than i have been because of working from home :)

VariaTEA

Congrats on reaching your goals!!!

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76

this one came from omgsrsly Figured that i’d give it a shot today since i need to work on my puerhs and this one will need a couple rounds before i can consider it a sipdown heh.
On the whole this is a relatively decent puerh and one that was quite nice to visit over the course of the day. Earthy, smooth, no fermentation, light on the tail end of the sip. Not sweet, but more on that side than on a bitter side.

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74

I love the scent of this tea – it’s like a cross between rose petals and raspberry candies. The sample is showing its age so the flavour is a bit dull but I can still clearly taste the sweet rose flavour. It’s good taken either plain or with milk.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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86

Today marks one year since I joined Steepster, and I couldn’t be more happier about that choice. This has been such a great experience, and I am always happy to be surrounded by crazy tea freaks like me. I am super excited for next year, for I have learned so much in 2015. I am soooo pumped for spring harvest! Anyways, I toast my cup to another fruitful year steeped in fancy smancy tea!

This has been eyeing me lately, and I was deciding if I should give it away or keep it. I opened the punch and gave it one sniff, and I got my answer. This tea smells so good! The aroma was intense fresh fruits with a crisp sweetness. It actually reminded me of fruity pebbles when you first open the bag. I warmed my gaiwan up and dumped these sugary treats inside. The aroma immediately transformed. Now, I was picking up heavier tones of sweet malt, dry chocolate, raspberry, and wet mahogany. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The leaves turn a beautiful pale yellow jade which caught my attention. The drink itself is fairly good, but it wasn’t as grand as the dry leaf aroma. The taste begins light and sweet with a prominent woody flavor. The brew then moves into some dandelion and honey with a tangy dryness. This was a very light and smooth drink, and I really liked it. The taste finishes with some astringency and a woody tone. The qi is slight and just a basic energy burst the lingers in the eyes and moves around clearing up the head. I liked this, but I think it might be better brewed western.

Flavors: Dandelion, Drying, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Sil

happy steepsterversary!

Haveteawilltravel

Thanks Sil :D

boychik

Congrats !

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80

Tea Eggs!

Made about eight tea eggs earlier this week with the remainder of a carton of eggs; I was really craving these yummy treats but I realized after already doing my initial hard boil that I didn’t have any cinnamon sticks or clove because I’ve been using them to treat the pain from a cracked too that I can’t afford to get fixed right now.

So, I scoured the internet looking for alternative tea eggs recipes and I eventually settled on one that used soy sauce, sugar, salt, a juiced tangerine which I happened to have in the fridge, some vanilla, and peppercorns. And, of course, my tea. I picked this one because I figured the almost anise-like notes of the tea and natural fruity/orange notes I’ve experienced would compliment the rest of the flavour profile.

So, several hours later… tea eggs!

I actually quite like this alternative recipe: the eggs came out super pretty looking and they taste nice too. Of course, it’s a little tricky figuring out just how much of the flavour I’m tasting is from the added ingredients and how much is from the tea itself; but in addition to the normal flavours a hard boiled egg would have each of these also has a subtle sweetness (the vanilla?) and a light citursy/tangerine like flavour. It’s kind of different, but in a very enjoyable way.

These have kind of been my “on the go” breakfast the last few days – and now I only have two eggs left and I’m already really sad to be done with them. I go through tea eggs way too quickly.

Mookit

I just googled to see what tea eggs were, and wow those looks beautiful and delicious! I’m going to have to try this, because I love eating hard boiled eggs for breakfast too. :)

Rasseru

Tea eggs? what is this magic combination

Evol Ving Ness

Cracked tooth! Aargh! Poor thing. Here, there’s a dentistry department at the university in which you can receive dental care for either free or a nominal fee. Check this system out at your local university. I hope you can get this painful and worrying thing dealt with very very soon.

Kaylee

Aww, poor Roswell! I thought Canadian health care covered dental! Hopefully Evol’s idea works out and you can get the treatment you need soon.

Tea eggs are awesome though.

Roswell Strange

@Evol Sadly I’ve checked that out before and there just isn’t a program like that anywhere near me – I’m just gonna have to wait until I can pay for the work that needs to be done.

@Kaylee – I’m partially covered under my plan at work but the way our plan works is that I have to pay everything up front and then fill out a claim for to get reimbursed. But saving up enough to pay it all up front has been challenging on top of day to day living expenses and paying for my schooling.

Evol Ving Ness

Sorry to hear that, Ms. Strange. Here’s hoping the pennies add up quickly so that you can get this sorted asap.

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80

This is a queued tasting note.

Man, I thought it was the other Laos Pu’erh from Camellia Sinensis I’d already tried, which is why I grabbed this one. Mixed the two up though; so instead I got to try a different take on this one: Gong Fu as opposed to brewing it Western style.

This was a short Gong Fu session; only four infusions. The tea was good; that’s not why the session was cut so short. The reason it stopped when it did was because I LITERALLY fell asleep. Seriously, I woke up stretched out on our couch with my tea tray sitting on the table in front of it, and a small teacup curled up with me. Thank God neither roommate was home; that would have been an interesting sight to walk in on. I don’t think I’d be able to live it down.

The infusions, prior to my dozing off, were a nice mix of sweet licorice/anise notes and stonefruit alongside mineral notes, a buttery vegetal flavour, and hint of spice. Silky, creamy mouthfeel throughout. Yummy!

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