Life In Teacup

Recent Tasting Notes

OK, you smoke lovers, here is one for you. Got a sample of this from Life in Teacup. They don’t try to say it is a real ban zhang. I pulled this out at random from a box, and Lo and behold, it was another smokey tea like yesterday’s White Whale. It is very much in the same vein as that tea, maybe with a bit less smoke and a bit more wood and mushroom. Very sturdy and held up to a lot of infusions. I didn’t like it, but you smokies probably will!

JC

I was going to say that I never got smoke from this one but well, we all taste and describe tastes different! lol I did get a lot of ‘Tobacco’ (not yet lit up leaves) scent and taste. The same with the white whale, although the white whale did have some smoke in the background for me.

Rich

Yeah, I also wonder if more smoke comes through in some cakes relative to others. Hard to imagine you wouldn’t taste a lot of smoke! But like you say, people taste things differently.

Cwyn

Twodog told me at the tea tasting that the heavy smoke comes from the wok.

JC

Rich, it is true. We can taste and describe things differently so, in theory there are two levels of detachment when reading other people’s notes. And as you very well said, it can change from cake to cake. I’ve had samples of teas that make me buy a bing and then when I receive the bing I feel like it lacks something or has something extra to it. To me this one has a lot of tobacco and medicinal wood notes with minor smoke on the back. Not one of my favorites though. I can appreciate it, but not my go-to Sheng.

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This is a generous sample provided by Life in Teacup. Thanks!
Dry, this tea is in nugget form, in shades of jade, forest, & other appealing greens with a sweet Nectar of the Gods aroma of yellow spring flowers. When warmed, add butter to that.

I gave it a rinse & went with 20 second steepings, immediately it was sweet rain water, in a forest with lots of Orchids. Over the next couple of steeps the sweetness grew, as did the floral, sort of like an aromatherapy bubble bath, but not too soapy or anything like that.
Other impressions, as I continued down the steeping path:
Very fresh & spring-like, like fresh linens drying in the sun.
Beautiful iridescent green leaf
Fresh Green beans with their flowers
Tongue Tingle
Long beans, also with their flowers

I haven’t been drinking my oolong teas much lately. No real reason, just too much tea & not enough time, I guess, LOL.

Sarsonator

Lovely review! Rain water, forests and orchids. I’m sold!

MzPriss

This sounds delightful

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I’m having a hard time getting motivated this morning. I’m leaving town on Thurs, & even though I’ll only be gone 5 days, there is SO MUCH TO DO before I leave, & I’m feeling overwhelmed, which only makes it harder to get started because then I can’t decide what to do first. In fact, I was also feeling a little overwhelmed about what tea to start the day with, I have so many teas I still haven’t tried. Decisions…decisions…LOL. So I relaxed, took a few deep breaths, & opened to the universe…

And chose a gongfu session with this one! I can’t remember if this was a free sample (& if it is, thank you Gingko), or if I purchased it, but anyway, I have 10 G here, so I put 5G in my tiny 4oz teapot (the pretty white porcelain one I got from Garret, with the blue lotuses on it), & gave it my usual treatment of 5G + 4oz (rinse) X 15/35/45 sec/1min/2/3/4/ etc

The first cup immediately had good color & strong energy, going straight to the throat & third eye. The flavor was sweet wood, the mouth all a tingle…ahhh I needed this!

With the 2nd cup the flavor becomes rich of toast, cedar, malt, & forest, with a camphor sensation as if I were drinking a puerh…

I combined steeps 3 & 4 into one mug. There was a slightly sour edge to this one, like a sourdough rye bread. Chewy, dense, & sweetened, but not heavily, with a dark molasses, and I can almost taste orange peel, a little clove, & other spices. This is the deep woodwind & low string group: bassoons, bass clarinet, english horn, cello, bass, marimba, wood block, bamboo wind chime…

In the 5th steep a little bitterness, but its the kind that comes with a really dark chocolate. I’ve got a really good tea buzz going on now. I love the sensation of a really good cup, spreading out into my extremities…every breath…

Next cups: Definitely a more chewy, peppery savory tea now, spicy even. The bitterness is gone.

I’d like to close my eyes & meditate. I have a nice mindfulness thing going on, a good vibe in every cell, feeling much more peaceful. I might go with a few more cups of this, but for the final note the flavors of spice & such have mellowed, & it’s a sweet creamy elixir, reminiscent of Yabao.

The rest of this sample goes to Sil, so this is a sip down.

MzPriss

Hold on to that good vibe :)

Charissa

I hear ya about leaving for a trip and having so much to do to get ready… I am feeling the exact same way. Leaving for Chicago to visit a friend in two days and I have a million things to do. I was feeling overwhelmed when I wrote out my to-do list this morning, but it’s nice to know from your post I’m not alone! And, like you, I turned to tea for help. A soothing cup of oolong did the trick! :-) Hope all goes well for you!

Terri HarpLady

You too Charissa! Most of my tasks revolve around the garden, & making sure I take care of the produce we’ve picked, & that my sons take care of things while I’m gone, so I can come home to find my garden in good shape. It’s amazing how quickly things can die!

mrmopar

Nice review Terri!

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I’ve been busy all day. My grand daughter came to visit, we made raspberry chocolate chip almond flour muffins, we had tea, & for the most part, all of the teas I drank are teas I’ve reviewed numerous times, so I’m not writing anything about them.

Then there was this!
One of the oldest teas in my collection, & merely a sample (from Life in Teacup), I’ve pulled it out a few times, ready to give it a go, only to realize that it might be better to wait. This is a tea I really want to savor, to dedicate my full attention to. So this was how I spent my afternoon & evening.

The dry leaf is compact & brown, with no real aroma.
Warming it up in a hot yixing, it bloomed into a marine aroma, but not necessarily in a bad way. Basically, it smelled a lot like spiralina, & as I breathed it in, I also smelled Matcha…
& pickles!
Pickles?
Yes, pickles!

I gave it a rinse & then started in with short steepings, with were immediately a beautiful orange amber color, & I only took a few sips before I was instantly transformed to a cosmic state of mind. The first cup or 2 tasted of aged clean straw & chalk, but with successive steeps there was a rapidly growing menthol quality, a vaporous sensation, wood, leather, & gratefully not a trace of anything undesirable.

I lost track of the number of cups I drank, but somewhere in the middle I passed through a tangy citrus/tangerine element for awhile, followed by a slightly bitter round which passed quickly, a briefly soapy taste, & then a pristine sweet spring. That’s where I’m at now, & I dare not drink any more tonight. Tomorrow I’ll probably give a rinse & see what else I can wring out of these leaves with some longer steeps. The color of the tea is still a beautiful bring amber orange. Absolutely gorgeous!

TheTeaFairy

Pickles and cosmic state of mind? Yes please!!! ;-)

Terri HarpLady

Speaking of pickles, my pickling cukes are now in production! I picked 6 today, & I predict by the end of the week I’ll start stuffing a crock of salt water with those, along with homegrown dill & garlic! Silly me, we still have cultured dills from last summer, I guess we’d better get serious about eating them!

TheTeaFairy

Mmmmm…love me some dill and pickles!

Terri HarpLady

I love dill. I plant it every couple of weeks, because it goes to seed so quickly, & so that I have a fresh supply of both herb & seed all season.

Stephanie

Shengs are cosmic!!!

Terri HarpLady

They are! I’ve had a few Shu puerhs that were also cosmic, but only a few.

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This tea is part of the Life in Teacup sample set #7, shu of 9 years & Above.

When I first sampled Puerh, it was Shu. Initially it was in blends, my favorite being the tea spot’s Bolder Breakfast. There was something about the earthy taste of it that really appealed to me, in the way that the aroma of damp earth appeals to most gardeners. I love the smell of the earth, of the compost pile in the spring, of both fresh & aged straw, of rain.
Even though the puerh was only part of those blends, it spoke of those things & I crave it.

Then I tried it alone. I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert, but I do enjoy sampling things. Some of the samples I’ve tried have reeked of ammonia or mushroom, or even fish. Others have been like sweet molasses. Other’s gave me a serious buzz! My favorite Shu are the ones that taste similar to this one. The aroma is sweet & rich, the early steepings are cream, cinnamon, & sweetness. A woody aromatic, like cedar, builds, leaving that ‘after aroma’ effect that I really like in the soft palate & sinuses. I’ve been through several steepings of this now, while watching “How to Tame Your Dragon” with my 25 year old son, so however many 4oz Yixings you can go through in a couple of hours. Currently the flavor is a very ‘clean’ forest floor, with a sweet aftertaste that reminds me of agave with a touch of Maple.
I’m sure I can get a few more rounds out of it!

mrmopar

Classic recipe.

Terri HarpLady

Very Enjoyable :)

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First tea of the day, enjoyed while I was fixing breakfast. This comes is 5 G beautiful bright red packets, & I bought 5. The leaf is a mix of black with gold, & of course, I love these small leaf Fujian teas anyway, so I’m sure I’ll love this one!
5G + 8oz X 1min/2min/& 5min
I plan to sample this tea using all of the methods that I enjoy, & see which one suites it best. I really wanted to go with the gongfu session, but I have things to do, places to go, people to see, so that will be reserved for maybe next time.
This session was very nice, & without going into to too much detail, the resulting tea was delicious: Somewhat floral, with a lightly tangy & shiny sensation on the top of my tongue, sweet & juicy underneath.

Now I’m off to move some rocks with my sons.

carol who

Move some rocks?

Terri HarpLady

Yeah! My oldest daughter & her husband, who live 1 block away, are redoing their patio again. The first time it was with a variety of sizes & shapes of rocks. Now they’ve decided to go with pavers, so they are giving me all the rocks, which is perfect, because I want them for landscaping! They’re also giving me a bunch of bricks, which I use in my garden.

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76

I must have not been into it last night when I steeped it as this oolong did not steal my heart away. It was roasty? yes. Tieguanyinny? Yes. (Tieguanyinny is totally a word meaning vegetal tasting with a these-leaves-went-through-so-much-suffering-to-bring-you-light oolong flair). Did it resteep nice? Well, it did! So what was wrong with it? Absolutely nothing.

But it did fail to steal my heart away. I think I just wasn’t in the mood. I remember some unique, salted caramely and even weak-chocolate notes trying to communicate with me last night but I just waved them away. I need to try this again soon and then remember to write about it! I should be writing “revised” or “returning” tasting notes more often. I almost never do that!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I thought this tea had at least two listing. I picked one and went with it. Then realized it was in the wrong place. I’m not OCD but I fixed it anyway.

Scouring through my drawer today I stumbled upon this one. Apologies to Life In Teacup for misplacing it. It’s all good as today was the perfect day to sit with this lovely tea. The leaf pellets are very tiny and dark but really expand. The wet leaf is highly roasted in scent. The sip is medium to light roasted. I really like this one. It is sweet and tastes like roasted honey (can you do that?). I can definitely see why some called this nutty. After reading it, I totally agree. Seems thick like milk but has more glide. Not sure that makes sense either. This is light and refreshing and not the heavy chunk of roasting I normally associate with darker oolongs. I taste the Taiwan mountain oolong in the lingering aftertaste but it isn’t super floral or latex like some. This is just all around a nice cup for a rainy dreary day.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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96

It was such a stormy day today! I believe the entire day was nothing but rain and storms, of course the plants loved all the nitrogen from the lightning. The tree buds seem to have become full leaves and everything is vibrantly verdant. Even though I was stuck in bed most the day I really enjoyed the weather and the smell of rain wafting through my window.

Today’s tea is Life In Teacup’s $1 tea sample for the month of April, 2006 Chang Tai “Seven Star-Alkaid” a Sheng Pu Erh made from Menghai leaves. I am still in the total noob stage when it comes to Sheng Pu Erh, since I have tried a grand total of five different ones, I not entirely sure how I feel about them as a whole yet, I certainly find them intriguing and want to try more! The aroma of this Pu Erh is really intriguing, blending sweet notes of anise, pine needles, hay and wet oak wood. It smells really clean and nature like, the sweetness is that of new growth and anise.

The rinsed and steeped leaves are very sweet, blending anise and pine resin, in fact there is a myrrh like resinous scent as well that blend really well with the anise aroma. There is a little bit of a wet pine wood and wet peat smell as well, I really enjoy the aroma of this Pu Erh’s wet leaves. The liquid’s aroma is a blend of sweet anise and wet wood, very light and unassuming.

First steeping sip time! The taste is very light and quite smooth in the mouth. The taste is one of sweet hay and honey that fades to a bit of peat. At the end of the taste there is a quick sourness that does that great salivary response I have come to associate with Sheng Pu Erh. Basically there is a sourness that causes you to salivate a lot, this in turn makes the remaining liquid in your mouth to taste very sweet. I believe that this sensation is called Hui Gan.

The liquid’s aroma for the second steep is much more pronounced (as expected) with stronger notes of anise and pine loam with a very faint hint of peat. The mouthfeel again is very smooth, and the taste is sweet with anise at first and fades to a rich peat taste. It has a very clean taste, which seems odd when you describe something that tastes like peat, but it tastes like clean peat and not moldy, rotten, peat.

The third steep really comes alive, the aroma of the liquid is more like the wet leaves, having notes of resin and anise with a strong peat presence. This steep has a bit of bitterness to it that fades to sourness and immediately explodes into sweetness. There is a taste of anise and cooling effect that makes this steeping very interesting. The finish is peat and earthy with a touch of old hay. I really enjoyed the complexity of this steep.

For the fourth steep’s aroma I notice that it is sweet with a bit of anise and straw, the aroma has a cooling effect on my nose which is very refreshing. The taste is sweet with an earthy backdrop. There are the notes of hay and anise, a bit of peat and a bit of loam.

The fifth and final steeping has a very warm aroma, like sun warmed hay and anise, it is much milder than the previous steep’s aroma. The taste is much milder as well, a bit of faint anise and warm hay, there is a bit of bitterness that explodes into sweetness that lingers. I really enjoyed this tea experience, certainly a good investment of a dollar!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/04/life-in-teacup-2006-chang-tai-seven.html

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88

It was last night’s sip down. There went my ounce of it. I have a whole bunch of Eco-Cha’s Dong Ding to try now, so… I’m not panicking! Dong Ding stock is under control.

However, I must bring the rating of this one down quite considerably. While this was a delicious oolong, the ounce that I got from Life in a Teacup never actually managed to excite me as much as initially did the sample of this they sent me before months ago (See the previous note). I am not sure if this was some different batch or if something happened to my taste buds then. It’s yummy, vegetal oolong with a wonderful flowery aroma, but I feel I can’t rate it 99 anymore.

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76

I have WAY too many teas on my backlog list now, so I might start reviewing them first thing since opening my laptop, right?

This oolong was a little odd. Green pearl-shaped dry leaf gave a light, straw-colored infusion that tasted pretty vegetal and a little astringent (which was that odd part – I didn’t expect it to have such a bite). I also got some milder roasty notes there. I remembered it smelled slightly funky. I am pretty sure I resteeped it at least once but the resteep didn’t yield any new notes.

It was enjoyable but nothing that could enter my Oolong Hall of Fame. But then perhaps I was too distracted when I had it. I still have more of this, so I will definitely try it again.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
keychange

haha at oolong hall of fame!

Kat_Maria

Yep, when writing this I realized I do have a hall of fame like that, but it still doesn’t have a whole lot in it.

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drank 2006 Nannuo Bama by Life In Teacup
141 tasting notes

Dry – Wood and earth notes, some thin sweetness.
Wet – Wet wood notes, some faint sweetness, faded floral.
Liquor – Dark Amber

1st 7secs – Woody, damp floor, musky and some savory notes up front. As it goes down, it has some hints of sweetness but doesn’t quite delivers much, it feels thin and somewhat flat.

2nd 7secs – Cleaner woody, damp floor and some savory ‘mushroom’ notes up front; it feels cleaner but still not that pleasant. As it goes down, it has some more sweetness, but again it is flat although over some time there’s a faint floral note.

3rd 10secs – Same body up front and going down, the finish is slightly better, but still nothing I’d look for in a Nannuo cake.

Final Notes
This cake had to be stored in wetter conditions, it has lost much of the Nannuo character for its age and it feels rather flat, while I expected something sweeter, floral and thick with some age taste. It is a good tea if you like those wetter notes with out overly aggressive notes of really humid storage.

If you have time visit my blog
http://thetinmycup.blogspot.com/2006 Nannuo Bama Arbor Tree Sheng

Preparation
Boiling
boychik

Thank you for the blog reference. Learn a lot today

TheTeaFairy

Agreed boychik, JC’s notes are always insightful :-)

JC

Thanks for taking the time to read my mini rants! LOL

boychik

Not rants, good reads;-)

Sammerz314

Very nice blog. I agree with the notion of “taste fatigue” =)

JC

Thanks for the positive feedback :) Sam, I was surprised at how I had noticed the ‘fatigue’, but never thought too much about it. When I finally did, I couldn’t describe it properly, the reddit post commenting on the beer article was perfect explaining it, and a I learned about beer.

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90

Thanks to J.C. for this one, I hope I have added my tasting note under the correct tea…

I don’t always know what to do with white teas to make them shine, I feel like they sometimes end up tasting liked boiled straw. For this tea I ended up steeping it in a gaiwan for about 45 – 60 seconds with a water temp. less than boiling. This has produced a very gentle, sweet tea which has a light creamy quality. I am liking this one very much. Something about it is very relaxing. Maybe it’s time to check out some offerings from Life in Teacup? Thanks for sending this J.C.!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
JC

Glad you liked it. I know what you mean about boiled straw lol. I feel like White Peony can have that trait. Life in teacup has great greens and Oolongs :)

gmathis

Good analogy. I need tea that wears sturdy walking shoes, not satin slippers :)

TeaBrat

I was checking out the Life in Teacup site but I want to wait until more of the 2014 teas are in!

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88

I absolutely love this. It could be my favorite oolong, as of today.

It smells like brown sugar, plus there’s a definite floral element. The way it tastes emulates the aroma almost in every detail. Sophisticated vegetal-floral sweetness that just stays in your mouth for a while after each sip. It gets itty-bitty bitter as it cools down (but that is barely detectable) and the smell of it turns even sweeter. An amazing experience.

I swear that some oolongs feel more like desserts than the “dessert teas”.

I can’t wait for another steeping of this, but before I make another cup I will take a nice relaxing bath… Oh, this is going to be a lovely weekend. I hope it is going to be just as good, or better, for all the Steepsterites :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TheTeaFairy

Sounds yummy, nice review :-)

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Quite smooth. Nice aroma. Notes of fruit-like sweetness and wood. This is a surprisingly calming tea. Lasting, pleasant throat.
Update: I’m about thirteen or so infusions in… does this tea ever end? Wow…

Slight side note: I just want all my sheng to age about 40-50 years… like…. right now. Gosh, that would be heavenly.

JC

I know right?! I want to grow really old just to keep drinking more tea. lol

boychik

JC, lets hope when we grow really old we won’t forget to drink it:-)

JC

LOL! ‘why are there disc shaped compost piles all over my house?’

mrmopar

I prefer the grass Frisbee description.

Tea Pet

Funny note: Just an hour ago, my SO asked me if we could use pu-erh as Frisbees… :-/

mrmopar

Hah that is funny! I told my bestie that they could double as birds nests if needed be. At least it helps me justify my cupboard. LOL!

JC

Lol. Well, in all fairness I have bought some Puerh that would work best as a frisbee than tea :P

mrmopar

Yeah got some of that too.

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So first of all, I totally blew it on my database, leaving out teas (that thought I’d already added) from 3 friends. Now that my negligence has been corrected, my actual starting teacount for today was 382 teas (shut up, Sil, I can hear you laughing all the way in St. Louis!)

This is sipdown # 5 for today, # 39 overall since Saturday, and my NEW total, subtracting everying I drank today so far, is 377.

This is a sample gererously sent to me from KS. Thanks! I’ve wanted to try teas from Life in Teacup for awhile. The description says this is a traditional green oolong. The dry leaf of this smelled a bit like Nori to me. Warmed up, the leaf smelled of wonderful caramelized stone fruits & charcoal. There wasn’t really any fruit flavor to the tea itself, more of a bready charcoal taste, with an after feel of mintiness.

Sil

hahaha hey at least you were under 400? riiight? :)

mrmopar

Hah don’t check how many I have.

Terri HarpLady

I just re-read my review, which makes it sound like the tea wasn’t very good. I rather enjoyed it.

Terri HarpLady

Sil, I don’t know how you ever got down to under 200 teas!
Mr M, you probably shouldn’t encourage me! The sad truth is, there are SO many teas in my collection that I won’t be able to live without now. And I just keep discovering new ones, that I at least have to try!

Sil

Terri. Sheeeeeer willpower. I’m a VERY stubborn only child.

Terri HarpLady

Hey Sil, remember a year ago when we were first talking about a trade, & I kept talking about cleaning my office? I’m still working on it…

mrmopar

I am in enough trouble so I can’t order anymore tea…. Yeah right! Intercept the mail and I am good. I just have to remember to get rid of the boxes before cleaning day!

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85

Backlog:

OK, folks, I feel like I’m slowly getting caught up. I’m only like two months behind at this point. It’s happening … I’ll get caught up. No matter what Sil says! hahaha!

A gentle, earthy aroma to the dry leaf of this tea. Not an off-putting earthiness. It’s a subtle and even a sweet earthy kind of scent.

The flavor is gently earthy, sweet, woodsy … with even … a slight “wild” sort of taste to it. Notes of fruit. A pleasant, mellow Sheng.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/12/02/2005-lao-lin-cang-ancient-arbor-sheng-pu-erh-tea-from-life-in-teacup/

Sil

:) I’d hate for you to catch up and not post as much lol

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88

Just finished a cup of this and immediately made another. I’m impressed. I ordered a few of the free samples from Life and Teacup and so fr I’m 2 for 2. Absolutely delicious! Very smooth and fantastic quality. I think this is one of the best oolongs I’ve tried so far. I will probably be purchasing a few ozs of this in the next week.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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this is a nice mellow Phoenix tea…it is probably the least astringent one I have tried…the flavor profile is typical Mi Lan Xiang(slightly subdued)with good qi…it’s quite easy to brew and it would be a great introduction into the realm of Phoenix/Dancong teas…110ml gaiwan 7g tea…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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