Life In Teacup

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

Got my free samples from Life In Teacup today – very exciting! Yunnan Gold Bud is indeed composed of lovely golden buds (the picture is quite accurate). I used 2.1g in my little 4oz pot (the whole sample was about 5g, so there’s enough for another strong serving) and I’ve steeped it twice so far for 1 minute each. Both steeps are a lovely honey-brown color. It smells sweet, and very tea-ish (unhelpful, I know, but it’s that true “black tea” scent) and a little earthy, like the hay flavor I get from pu-erh and white tea sometimes.

Oh, that just coats my mouth in a kind of savory honey flavor. Very full and smooth mouthfeel; zero bitterness with these steeping parameters. This is really reminding me of a milder sweeter pu-erh, which is funny because I haven’t liked pu-erh that much and I love this. I’ll add a rating after a couple more steeps :) I’m impressed. I’ve steeped this six times now, adding 30 seconds on each pair, and it’s still good (though it finally started to lose a little color on the 6th). This is like a cross between a sweet black and a lightly roasted oolong.

ETA: I ended up steeping this twice more this morning, for a total of eight steeps or four 8oz cups. From 2 grams of tea leaves. Seriously folks, this totally evens out the $8/oz price point. (If you’re interested, it comes out to 15¢ per 8oz cup if you include the multiple steeps, 60¢ if you don’t).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Jaime

I’m so excited to try this!!

teabird

It’s pretty great – I’m on my sixth steep!

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86

Gentle and Beautiful…lovely taste. Smooth and semi juicy. A Delight!

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85

Incredibly sweet yet vegetal. The thing that draws me to this tea is the look of the leaves before infusion…they are almost a gray color and very unique. This is a yummy tea.

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82

This has a cloud texture to it but the flavor is really good!

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82

These are some of the most lovely Yunnan Golden Bud-type leaves I have ever seen…almost PERFECT. It infuses to a manly-brown. The taste is smooth but sweet and a true black tea. Very pure tasting. With a juicy after-taste. YUM!

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90

Sweet, honey, floral, light, , maybe a touch of grass/herb – perfect summer tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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86

After a warmup infusion (95C, immediately drain water after filling small (~100ml) pot), first infusion used 92C water for 15 sec. It has a nice golden color, and a delicious roasted flavor that almost reminds me of a houjicha. It’s fairly appetizing. Brewed the second infusion the same way. All the flavor from the first infusion is still there, nearly identical to the previous cup. Third infusion, still the same, but maybe with a slightly less roasted aftertaste. I enjoyed this!

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

Only 15 seconds? Must be some seriously strong stuff!

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78

I have had good Chinese green teas recently and yellow tea has always been at the top of my list so this one really hits the mark in that it immediately presents characteristics of both. There is an intriguing interplay between the brothy, green aspect and an underlying succulent fruitiness. One takes a fleeting prevalence over the other as the flavor moves but in the end any vegetal notes are enveloped and eventually vanquished by a syrupy muscatel.

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78

Dry leaf aroma is of typical warm citrus and the wet leaf smells like a baked plum tart. The liquor strikes immediately with bright, fruity notes that are very forward though not sharp in the least and is somewhat complex without being very deep. The mouthfeel is ultra smooth and lingers with an aftertaste of peach candy and delicate butterscotch. It’s a very interesting tea that has the fruity characteristics of yellow tea and a the soft malt and slightly metallic immediacy of red tea all the while carrying the typical exotic and amiable flamboyance of its namesake.

Considering the story behind this tea (read Ginko’s blog) and the pains taken by the grower to salvage an otherwise devastated crop, we are now privy to what I consider to be a unique gem, albeit cloudy and roughly cut. Enjoy in this cup not only the tea itself but also the deftness and earnest attitude of its producer. Much thanks to Gingko for sharing this with us. For the price I suggest everyone try some as I feel it will be hard not to love and appreciate.

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88

This is a good green tea for the price. At first it is somewhat savory, which fades after a couple seconds to an astringent note, that quickly subsides into a more unique flavor that is somewhat food-like; delicately sweet, it almost reminds me of gingerbread. This is a very subtle aftertaste though.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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87

This is a very interesting Chinese green tea! 90% of the taste of this tea is in the aftertaste – as the tea leaves your mouth, a tangy and somewhat astringent flavor arises from the sides and back of your mouth. There are some savory undertones, but they seem to quickly dissipate. In my experience, this has been much more flavorful than most Chinese green teas – just make sure you like tangy notes!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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76

Full and briny with a celery stock wetness and long, toasty aftertaste.

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87

Fresh, pungent grassy flavor with a distinct spearmint finish. A relatively bold and smooth tea for a pretty good price ($4 oz).

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78

Earthy and toasty. A nice breakfast tea for me. The 2nd steep was a little smoother and better than the first.

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63

I had this at a friend’s house this weekend. It’s a nice Oolong. I’m not sure what the ‘Grade II’ is all about, but it’s good. It’s just a hair green tea tasting (almost too fresh), which I prefer a little more rustic taste. I’m not sure if I’d buy it myself, but I’d have another cup of someone else’s!

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90

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91

Clear cup but full-bodied. Aroma is dominantly woody, with some fruity and floral tones, and a hint of skunkiness. The aroma is more reminiscent of more oxidized teas, even black tea, than is common for most oolongs this light.

Good for multiple infusions, even with a long infusion time and less leaf. I like using fairly hot water.

First infusion is fruitier, like apricots. Second is more woody, skunky, and herbaceous. All infusions have a fair amount of bitterness, which I find pleasant.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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94

This is FAB!

Semi-Peppery Buttered Veggies aroma fill my cup and a sweet green with buttery-smooth end and after taste makes this tea! Lovely! I really like this!

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83

I’ve had this sample for a while now and I’m finding myself on a rather aggressive, unplanned plan to whittle down my samples. I’d like to reach an equilibrium where I have made enough determinations about what I like and what I can pass on from each company I’ve got samples from so I can start focusing on the nuances of the things that have made the initial cut.

Seems like that is still a long way off, though. I think it’s fair to say I’ve accomplished that goal with The NecessiTeas and am close to accomplishing it with TeaFrog. I’m probably there with Herbal Infusions and The Jade Teapot as well. Oh, and Golden Moon. But I’m a long way away with pretty much everyone else.

I’m looking forward to this, though, because I have yet to have a Life In Teacup experience that has been disappointing. And I have a lot of their stuff left to try.

I could smell smokiness when I opened up the packet. A gentle smokiness, not lapsang or even Russian smokiness. The leaves are dark for the most part, with some lighter brown ones.

The aroma of the steeped tea isn’t noticeably smoky. It does have a warm bread thing going on, though. Very nice. Comforting. There’s a bit of woodiness to it as well.

The taste is really interesting. V. complex. I can taste some smoke around the edges. I am actually visualizing pastrami, strange as it sounds — with that smoky outline/border around the meat. The tea, however, does not taste like pastrami. It has a little initial sharpness, but after the first few sips it is generally fairly smooth, with a sweetness in the tail. There’s that woodiness that was in the aroma, and the warm bread flavor too. The two together have a toasty quality to them. I’d almost say there’s some fruit in there as well. A little apricot maybe? Though it’s smooth and complex, it isn’t full bodied in how I think of that term, it seems more medium bodied to me. The mouth feel has a briskness that militates against a full bodied experience as well.

Another great experience from Life In Teacup. This will go on my shopping list for sure.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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94

A translucent cinnamon bark and honey sweetness wrap around the nectar of persimmon and white grape producing a harmony of mid-range sine waves that never touch the earth yet do not peak to unpleasant, astringent brassiness.

The word of the day is “superlative”.

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98

This tea came packaged up with the Number 3 brew I enjoyed so much yesterday, thank to RABS and her incredible, creative, ingenious, wonderful Geek Tea Prize. In following the rules of the game, I have certainly consumed this tea within 24 hours but it may be longer for me to have posted this tasting note.

(Parenthetically: my mother in law is visiting and I’m feeling slightly deprived of computer time: I won’t have much access to the computer for the next week but I will be peeking in. We are going to take her on a road trip to meet up with another one of her sons. If you had told me a year ago that my biggest fears and trepidations about a roadtrip would not be car crashes or bed bugs, or a diet of fast food but rather no control over water temperatures for my teas, I may not have believed you). I hope that this deprivation will be good for my moral fibre.

This is a WONDERFUL tea. All of the tasting notes rave about this tea. I am now on infusion 4 or 5 and it’s going very strong. For those who do not like green tea, this might be one to sample. This tea never seems to get that bitterness that some greens have if they are not coddled. Perhaps because it is Chinese instead of Japanese? I am not sure.

As others have written, I can attest: this tea opens up to a floral/vegetal buttery aroma that is simply devastatingly wonderful. It seems to have a lighter touch than many greens in terms of going full-fledged vegetal—that is, I don’t have any sense that there is spinach or asparagus in my tea (are you listening to me, JacquelineM?). At the same time, perhaps paradoxically, I taste this tea as richer and deeper than many greens but more towards the floral side.

Like the An Xi Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Oolong of yesterday, this green counterpart is a miracle of tea growth. This plantation must be a spectacular place. This tea comes in a small package and yet contains within it a full canvas of artistic splendour.

I really have to agree with Morgana: newborn babes really smell exquisite. They have not accumulated bacteria. IF they sweat or burp or engage in other bodily functions there is a pureness to it. Stench is acquired with age! And this tea has that kind of brand-new purity and freshness and lightness. It tastes as if it has never been contaminated with man-made “stuff”. Other-worldly, I would say.

I really cannot thank Rabs enough for her kindness. Life in Teacup will hear from me, eager to place an order, when they return from holiday in August.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec
__Morgana__

LOL, stench is acquired with age may become my new motto. Right after retirement is wasted on the old. ;-)

Rabs

I think I’ll make that my motto as well ;)

Doulton: I’m also really pleased that you liked this one. I wasn’t sure how you felt about oolongs so I put these two together. I guess I didn’t make clear in the instructions that if there’s more than one tea in an envelope then you get to chose which one is the “must have” and the other may be opened at your leisure.

Ewa

Man the more I hear about this game, the more awesome it sounds and the more I wish I was clever enough to think of something like it :P

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93

Thank you Rabs for this lovely sample! This is a really good oolong, it’s vegetal and sweet, very light floral taste to it as well and maybe a very slight buttery hint in there somewhere. Very clean and pure tasting and not bitter at all, very well done!

Rabs

So glad that you liked it! I’ve discovered that it’s a bit nerve-wracking to send out samples of teas that I adore since I’m hoping that the receiver enjoys it too. There’s that fear that someone will think my favorite’s a 1. Silly, but true ;)

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