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In Pursuit of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

97

Not quite a tasting note here but I wanted to report on my tea eggs—a complete success! I’d never had them before but I wanted to give it a try. I used this tea, a splash of soy sauce, a handful each of peppercorns, cinnamon bark, and cardamom, and a dash of garlic powder for five eggs. They’re nice and lightly aromatic but the egg taste isn’t overshadowed. The tea is definitely present too, and just how I remembered: floral, light, a little honeyed. I may give in and buy this one eventually.

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Welcome to Day 2 of little terri’s Sipdown Extravaganza!
This is my first sipdown of the day, sipdown # 6 overall.
Of course, it’s also from the Steepster Select collection.
I had originally planned to give this one the gongfu treatment (humorous break…my autocorrect just turned gongfu into gong flu, heh), but I didn’t. Instead I gave it 3 min, with a resteep of 5 min.

The dry leaf of this tea is very aromatic! Upon opening the package, the air is filled with a rich tobacco & hay scent. The first cup was thick with tobacco, bee pollen, & a tangy apricot-like sweetness. It also gave me the impression of a really fine & creamy sheep’s milk feta, something I love, but haven’t had for years, due to allergies.

The 2nd cup was less tobacco, more honey, with a tingle on the tip of my tongue. I’m getting an image of newly baled hay. As the cup cools, it takes on a creaminess.

TheTeaFairy

Ok, now I want tea AND food really badly!!! Let’s see if I have dried apricots somewhere to eat with my feta, but no bee pollen around I’m afraid…well honey will do, lol!

Terri HarpLady

OMG, that sounds SO delicious!

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77

This is a very classic Golden Yunnan. I enjoyed it. It has lovely honey notes that really appealed to me :)

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83

As always with yunnans, I think the dry leaf of this tea is absolutely beautiful. I love the mix of dark and golden slightly curly leaves. After steeping this up, I would agree with others that there is a definite tobacco smell. Luckily, I’ve had tobacco-y teas before and enjoyed them so it didn’t scare me off. I tried it without additions and it was rich with a slightly creamy texture. The flavor was good, but I tend to like my morning teas with a teensy bit of sugar and a splash of milk. The flavors are still shining through after the additions which proves to me that this is a great quality, richly flavored tea. I’m looking forward to at least one more infusion of this one today.

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80

This is the fourth tea I’ve decided to try from my December Steepster Select Box (whoo)! I’ve been decently happy with all of them so far, but thought that this tea deserved my first review from the box.

My favorite way to drink higher-grade tea is gaiwan style, just pouring the leaves straight into my cup with water and using my mouth as a filter. I used this technique for my first go-around with this tea, and it produced a relatively light flavor, not overwhelmingly floral or dry like other greener oolongs I’ve tried. All in all, a very pleasant taste.

Today, I decided to give it a shot with a proper gong fu short-steeping series of infusions. I haven’t been able to do such a thing with my teas lately, as my zisha was out of commission for a short time before I reseasoned it. (Just…don’t make chai or mint teas in a clay pot, please, learn from my mistakes! Just buy a cheap second pot. Or, if you insist on doing so, at least don’t let the steeped leaves marinate in the pot overnight.) I gave the pot and leaves a good rinse, and was instantly greeted with a deep, oily scent that reminds me of some well-made Chinese cuisine.

First steeping (15 seconds): I’m in love with how light this tea is. When prepared with short steepings, it’s almost as delicate in flavor as bai mu dan. Mouth feel is only very slightly dry, mostly creamy, with a certain sweetness about the flavor that blends nicely with the overall nutty taste. Floral notes come through at the very end, but only briefly.

Second steeping (30 seconds): Taste is slightly stronger (may be due to water being slightly hotter this time around), but overall hasn’t changed or become more nuanced as I expected. Mouthfeel is slightly drier and less creamy. No complaints here; still enjoying the tea on the 2nd round, even without surprises!

Third steeping (55 seconds): This accidentally went a little longer than I planned, but turned out great regardless! Flavor wasn’t any weaker than the second steeping, but the flavors themselves were a little different; more woodsy and less floral, but it’s still there. Mouthfeel is thinner.

Overall, this is one of the best and most complex oolongs I’ve had, but nothing I would go out of my way to purchase again without a discount (it seems In Pursuit of Tea only sells in 4oz quantities, ugh).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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67

I’d drink this again but it wasn’t my favorite oolong. It has a floral note, but overall I found it a little mild with almost a soapy feeling on the finish.

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89

Tea from the December Steepster Select box…

I like green oolongs but I haven’t been buying too many because I can’t seem to drink them quickly enough. Le sigh

This has an intense floral aroma with nutty and buttery flavors, so nice for a gray and dreary day like we are having today, it’s like sunshine in a cup. :)

I might try to gong fu the remainder of this sample at home but it’s quite tasty. I may like the aroma a bit better than the flavor though… I doubt I would order this but I’ve really enjoyed trying it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Steepster select!

I’m undecided on this oolong. I love how the floral in it is different than the usual floral flavors – this one has lilac in it giving a relaxing vibe similar to lavender. The floral gets stronger as the tea cools, with that, I could see this being a tasty cold steeped tea (which I’d try once the weather is better).

At the same time, the floral gives me a “bath product” feel to it, which is more of a personal thing.

Full review of the Steepster Select Dec 2013 box on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/steepster-select-january-2014-teas-oolong-owl-tea-review/

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75

Steepster select reviews!

A nice, loaded with flavor yunnan black! Mostly tasting like rich tobacco, with a little fluff, burnt caramel and cocoa. A little astringency at the end. I let my cup cool and found the creamy perked up more.
Overall, not bad, I’m not a huge fan of the tobacco flavor and I prefer a more creamy tea.

Full review of the Steepster Select Dec 2013 box on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/steepster-select-january-2014-teas-oolong-owl-tea-review/

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95

Today is not shaping up to be the best day (not the worst either, but still), so I wanted to go for something that would taste good guaranteed. I remembered this tea from the Steepster Select box, so I brewed it up and it is just as good (if not better) than I remembered. I think it might actually be my favorite oolong so far. It has the perfect balance of roasted and floral notes and is so creamy. I just checked their website, and it seems they only sell in 4 oz quantities. Normally, I wouldn’t get that much of one tea at once, but this is so delicious that I might just…

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68

Rich and bold without being over powering. The musty tobacco notes are at the forefront but it also has a strong sweetness that I’m not sure I really like simply because it finishes much sweeter than I would like. I wouldn’t buy this tea.

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I was hesitant to try this one because “tobacco” and “honey” aren’t usually taste descriptions that appeal to me. The dry leaf smelled like damp earth, which is probably the tobacco part of it. The tea also tastes like damp earth that is mellowed out by the sweetness from the honey. It seems like a nice tea, but it doesn’t fit my tastes.

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Thanks, Jason, for this sample!

Backlog from yesterday morning. Leathery smooth with a coppery brightness. It really hits me in the roof of the mouth and middle of the tongue. A silky metallic aftertaste hits me in the nose afterward.

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98

I occasionally regret my decision to become a sophisticated loose-leaf tea-drinker, especially when all I want is a nice, bitter cup of tea to stave off weariness. I love a full bodied tea, where the flavors hit your tongue fast and heavy, like one often finds with CTC bagged teas. I’m not always up to the intellectual task of sorting out what tastes like water and what tastes like tea, as I frequently find myself doing with the best of loose-leafs (read: Verdant).

This tea is the best of both worlds – a full, bitter black tea that hits your palate like a battering ram, but with a complicated, almost sweet, tobaccoey finish. Beautiful.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I hear you! Occasionally I grow nostalgic for the simplicity of bagged tea, then I have a cup (usually at a restaurant, or maybe a friend’s house), & I’m like, “What the hell is this swill?”
I’m afraid my simple bag of tea days are ruined forever.
;)

BookLion

That is absolutely true. I’m sure its a nostalgia issue; whenever I actually drink bagged tea these days I always taste strange chemicals at the end. So I guess that means i’ll just have to buy a lot of this Golden Yunnan for those nostalgic moments!

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84

ok giving this a shot as my all day (or at least all morning) oolong. i’d tried it before, don’t recall what i thought, but i wasn’t really ready for oolongs yet at that time.

it certainly smells delightful! the taste of this here first cuppa is light and fresh and green, and thankfully the perfume doesn’t overwhelm the flavor (or i’d be SO outta here!). perfect wake up tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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97

Had this just before heading off to the doctor’s today—still very perfume-y to me in the best possible way. This is probably one of the most complex teas I’ve had, but I like it a lot. I don’t know if I’ll be buying this anytime soon; In Pursuit of Tea doesn’t seem to have size choices, and 4 oz. of this is on the expensive side for me just now. However I like it more the more I drink it, and would definitely reach for it if it was available to me.

In other news my allergies have all apparently disappeared even though I still feel them all. Hmm. I’m a medical mystery.

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88

This is a pretty nice oolong! Very creamy and green. I’m only on steep #1 so I’m not sure if the lilac flavors are going to show up or not, but overall I’m quite happy with this offering from Steepster Select! I brewed this packet western style but perhaps I’ll save the other one for a time I can do it gongfu.

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91

Ooh, this I like! I’m not usually too big on green oolongs and I don’t think I’ve had a Four Season oolong before – but this is so good! Light, but flavorful – slightly floral and very creamy. The texture almost reminds me of a milk oolong I’ve had before. Looking forward to several steeps and having this possibly show up on my shopping list.

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47

I was excited to try this tea since I am a big Tung Ting fan. Compared to others I’ve had, this one isn’t as flavorful to me. I still enjoyed the cup, but even after a second steeping it was a little too subdued for my taste. I would say it’s probably a good first Tung Ting since it’s not overpowering and doesn’t hit you in the face with florals or butteryness but if you’re looking for a stronger flavor I’d try something else.

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97

Not sure why but I’m all about black tea today. Perhaps I oolonged (which is definitely a verb, because I said so) too much a few days ago, although the Passion Fruit Wulong is also calling my name…

Oh right, the tea. This is another Select offering. This one smells like perfume when I open the pouch! As it steeps it’s another strong caramel scent. This one is also very pretty to look at. It has a very creamy finish. I haven’t done anything to it but it tastes like there’s milk in it! There’s definitely a caramel and a floral note to it; it’s significantly sweeter than I would have guessed from the description, although there are some smoky and woody notes in there. Mm!

Kat_Maria

As I was reading, I could have sworn you were going to say “I oolonged for too long”, which has an extraordinary rhythm to it!

bluebelle

It really does! Now I’m disappointed in myself for not going that route. Perhaps you could say I “toolonged”? ;)

Kat_Maria

Seems like an extremely versatile word :D

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87

Pretty yummy. Although by now I’ve learned not to read any review that contains the word “mouthfeel”. Puts me off whatever.

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85

I used two Steepster Select sample packs in a 170 teapot. The very soft aromas out of the package are reminiscent of snapdragon and hay. I brewed this for a coworker and myself so I married the first two steeps. The brewed aromas are more pronounced with a hint of sugar cookie in the air. The flavor is bountiful of lilac? gardenia? oh what is the flowers name? Great mouth feel and a superb golden color soup.

3rd and 4th infusions are even better and it continued to steep out for 10 times before trailing off.

All in all not a bad representation of a green oolong that can be your every day or special something. I would add that the sample pack says to brew at 200F for 3 minutes for what I’m assuming is a 4g pack, yet the website calls for boiling water. There is also instruction to use short steepings in the descriptive paragraph. I like how some sites give directions for both Gong Fu and Western preparation. Makes it easier for the not so sure, new to tea crowd like I was.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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96

This is my second tea from the Steepster Select box.

First impression – I began steeping this tea and within a few seconds the smell of this tea was absolutely amazing. It has a lush honey smell with a sweet fresh cut tobacco undertone.

First sip – Crisp and sweet with absolutely no bitterness. Nice and mild and quite fragrant (in a good way).

It has some of the flavors that I like in a good green tea but with a much sweeter base and a nice deep tobacco flavor. I like this quite well without any sugar or cream. It’s a nice flavor and a great tea. I think this is a new favorite. Highest rating i have given a tea yet.

Edit – This tea gets even sweeter as it cools! Yummmmm!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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