Life In Teacup

Recent Tasting Notes

89

I was one of those fortunate to get a free sample of this through Ginkgo’s generosity. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a great deal of green tea experience which is one of the reasons I wanted to give this a try. In fact, it’s my first loose leaf green. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let that bias what I said here, but I didn’t have to worry. I think it is wonderful!

The dry leaves are, overall, a deep green color with variations in the individual leaves ranging from slightly brownish to bright, silvery flecks. They’re a medium length and generally straight, or with a tiny bit of curl. There’s a gently vegetal smell about them; I’m going to say asparagus, so Jacqueline probably wouldn’t go for it. ;-)

The liquor is tinged with light green, but otherwise almost clear. It smells much like the dry leaves, but rounder. The taste is quite sweet and vegetal, with something of a nutty undercurrent. It has a buttery feel to it, as though it is melting in my mouth. Very smooth and reminiscent of spring without being grassy, great for a day like today. I’m not getting smokiness, but I wouldn’t mind if I did.

The leaves unfurl prettily, and carry their smell with them post-steeping. The second steep worked reasonably well, too, though I can see that significantly lengthening steeping time could yield some bitterness. I went 90 seconds on the resteep and there was just a tad of bitterness in the aftertaste, but it was just enough to make things interesting rather than unpleasant.

This is going on my shopping list. I can see myself becoming fond of greens! I should add that I didn’t read the notes on how to prepare this until after I’d made it but that obviously didn’t hamper my enjoyment. I just wonder how different it would have been had I heeded them.

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

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87

Oh so pretty!

I would post a picture, but my new glass mug has my company logo on the side and I’d rather not post that on the ‘net, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

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87

Oh, it is too hot out for more caffeine that this. Please please please let my building turn on the central air soon.

Today’s photo:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cait_tea/4502757992/in/set-72157623664718933/

~lauren.

Love the cup/mug – such a pretty color!

Cait

Isn’t it a lovely mug? I got it from a renfaire years ago!

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87

Interesting! I dropped some leaves in my mug and poured down-a-bit-from-boiling water in, then spent several minutes going “ooh” as the leaves gracefully unrolled and arrowed down through the water. The water started darkening almost right away and was a pinkish sort of gold by the time most of the leaves were off the top of the mug and I could start sipping.

The first steep of this was really strong. Not bitter, but certainly harsh. I wasn’t enamored, but I figured I might as well keep going (if nothing else, the excuse to get up and walk away from the project documentation I’m writing for long enough to heat the water was a draw!).

By the second steep, all of the leaves were down on the base of the mug, but many of them were just barely touching down, like they were dancing around down there. To my surprise, this steep was very different, smoother and with a lingering sweet aftertaste to each sip. For the third steep, it’s sweet almost all the way through, with a lingering astringency and juiciness.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

I used vastly different steeping parameters, but yes it IS an interesting tea! And I like it:)

Cait

I’m always intrigued by the way Life in Teacup’s steeping suggestions are so different from the standard set, and how often there are two or three different ways to do it. It makes me want to try them all and compare!

It was also surprising to me how different each steep was, given that I wasn’t drinking the leaves dry but kept about a quarter (I never remembered to stop at a third!) of the water each time….

Cofftea

Way too complicated and type B for me… it’s funny- I’m only type A when it comes to my steeping parameters.

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86

My Life in a Teacup samples are here! I grabbed this one 1st because it’s so unique. I love bamboo shoots, but I rarely eat them so I can’t really remember what they taste like… So I’m kinda winging my description.

The sample is 6.86g. YAY for getting a large sample, but not yay that the bag isn’t resealable.

2.25g of leaf/6oz water ~200 degrees F.

Wow! what an interesting tea. The leaves look very needley like silver needle, but are much more sharp on the ends. Once I add the water, this is one of the most gorgeous non blooming/rolled teas to watch steep. The leaves start floating on top of the water, but then some of them slowly begin to drift down in a verticle position. The liquor is a wonderful golden color.

The aroma is incredibly sweet- not fruity or floral sweet, but almost honey-esk. This is the 1st time I’ve had a tea that smells like honey.

The flavor is also really sweet and honey-esk… but there’s also just a hint of something else… I just don’t know how to describe it… is it bitterness? Astringency? If it is, it’s not a bad thing. If it wasn’t there, this’d be too sweet.

It’s a very sweet tea so it’s not something I’d drink all day every day, but I will be ordering it again. Thank you, Gingko!

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

2nd infusion, 4min. Slightly lighter liquor and aroma, but still strong flavor. Still very sweet, but not honey tasting.

Cofftea

Drank this while I talked to my special someone… unfortunately the convo only lasted as long as the cuppa… 3rd infusion, 5min. Liquor is the same as the previous infusion. While not weaker, the flavor is less sweet and more smooth.

Cofftea

Um… yeah… wow… 4th infusion, 6min. The liquor fell off the roof and died… Thank GOD there is still a light, but sweet and clean, flavor. Against the opinion of my eyes, I think I may try another infusion.

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33

I finished up the last of this a few minutes ago. Overall it is a decent black tea, but nothing that really stands out. It was good while it lasted.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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33

My second infusion of this tea. Still good, but has a strange aftertaste that I can’t really place. Hmm….

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33

I am having this with breakfast and it is really good. Granted, it is a plain black tea, but a good one. I’m enjoying this with milk and sugar as I do for almost all my breakfast teas.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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76

When I requested a sample of Life in Teacup’s first picked green tea of this year, I told Gingko (LiT’s manager) to surprise me on the two other free samples he offered with the green tea. The teas on LiT are more “serious” looking than any teas I’ve had so far, it was late at night, and I love surprises. This jasmine green tea is one of the surprise samples I received (and you’ll just have to wait until I review the other one to know what it is). I should add, since this my first tea from LiT, that Gingo responded to my email quickly and I was emailed when the teas were shipped. A+ for customer service to LiT.

So, I’ve never had a jasmine tea before. I wasn’t sure I’d like a jasmine tea, or any floral tea for that matter. I worried I’d have to write a “I don’t like this” tealog for tea samples I was kindly given. Turns out I didn’t have to worry, not only did I like this jasmine green, I really liked it. I didn’t expect to like teas with smokey notes (A&D’s Yunnan and Jackee), but I did. I do have to brew them on the mild side so I don’t know if I’d like a truly smoky tea. So far, I’ve liked all new tea types I’ve tried, despite any prior expectations. Good, right? Maybe. I can only store and drink so much tea.

The tea sample packets came with no steeping instructions so I had to look on LiT’s website for them. They are also on Steepster. I did find them a bit vague. My leaves did not float mostly, only a dozen or so with most at the bottom, so I had to guess at steeping time a bit. Luckily, I seemed to have guessed pretty close to right.

I opened my sample packet and looked and smelled. The leaves were small dark, dark spring green curls. There were very few jasmine petals in my sample, but I think such is the luck of samples. The smell was all flower. I’d call it gardenia since I’ve never smelled a jasmine flower. The wet leaves lightened in color a bit and smelled like gardenia’s on a hot summer day after a rain shower. The tea had the same smell and was a warm, bright tan.

I tasted. Flower! Just what I’d expect a flower to taste like if I were to decide to eat one for some bizarre reason. I like flower taste? Really? Weird, but I do! The green tea is light with absolutely no bitterness.

I oh-so-rarely steep a second time as soon as I’ve finished my first cup, but I did. In the middle of writing this tasting note, in fact. Same steeping parameters as the first cup. Lighter in color and only slightly lighter in flavor.

I wish I’d made this tea during the day so I could have resteeped it as much as I could or until I tired of it. (Oddly, after tofu coconut curry leftovers for dinner tonight, I wanted to try this tea. It sounded like it would go with Chinese/Thai foods. As it grew later, I wasn’t even sure I would make tea tonight but I kept thinking about trying this.) Although, I might do a third steep even this late at night. Luckily, I should have two more tries out of this sample to enjoy. This tea makes me eager to try my other samples from LiT soon.

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

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90

This is an interesting tea. When I requested my sample, I thought it would have bergamot added to it, but after I did some reading, I realized that this tea has a citrusy flavor and aroma on its own. It doesn’t have that kind of Earl Grey slap in the face bergamot that I love so much, so don’t compare it to an Earl Grey. It has a citrusy aroma and a green refreshing taste. It’s a grassy kind of flavor. It reminds me of picking citrus on an unseasonably warm day in February. You’re not eating the fruit, but you know it’s there.

I’m having a little trouble explaining this tea, but I’m enjoying my sample a lot.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Have you tried your other samples yet? Mine came on Thursday but I haven’t tried them yet. The Spring Yunnan Green and two surprise samples.

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94

This is a very bright, fresh tea. There is definitely a vegetable kind of flavor, and it has a very fresh green odor. Drinking it made me feel I was doing something very good for myself. There was no trace of bitterness at all. It had a very smooth feel to the tongue. I’m very, very glad that I got to try such a wonderful tea! It made me hope that I’ll use up the teas I have quickly so I have room to order some of this tea.

It’s very good, and I’m looking forward to reading some of the other reviews. Thanks Gingko!

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23

I got this as a sample and I am really glad that I did. I wanted tea today, but I am feeling a bit too lazy to do any typical brewing…hey, my spring break starts today, I can be a bit lazy! I decided to brew this in a mug – I always thought the leaves were supposed to float to the bottom…huh….10 minutes in and the leaves are just floating away….

Okay, I think that perhaps the water wasn’t hot enough. Luckily my cup wasn’t filled very full so I added hotter water. Alright, some leaves are sinking. 5 more minutes – about 1/2 the leaves are still floating. I am going to assume this is because the water still isn’t really hot enough. I’m drinking it with a spoon to push the leaves away. When the cup was 1/3 full, I added water to try for a second infusion. These leaves are resilient little things, there is no taking them down.

Okay, on to the actual tea. It is a greener oolong than I believe I enjoy. The scent is awesome, if you know me, you know I love bergamot and this tea smells just like it. I wanted to like this tea, I really did. I tried two infusions and it does have a bergamot like taste. But it is just too “green” for me. I like green tea, but not when it has a vegetable taste and this does, however slightly, but its there. I just can’t get past it. sigh This tea has great potential, but it just isn’t for me. I guess it is to be expected that I would come across a few teas that I don’t like, but lately I have liked about everything so this is a bit disappointing.

I’m rating it right in the middle because it is a quality tea – the leaves are huge once they unfurl (one is as long as my thumb), the smell is great, and I believe this tea could go for a bunch of infusions as most of the leaves are not unfurled yet. Just isn’t for me.

Preparation
8 min or more

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75

ok
making my last 2.2g at work
12 ounces hot spigot water tempered with a bit of cold fountain water (aiming on 170)
5 min steep
tea smell: vegetal, refreshing (springy?) sweet
tea taste: vegetal, sweet, refreshing, not minty like it was last night, I blame the root beer float
it’s more a medium bodied drink than the light it was last night
aftertaste: bitter on the roof of my moth as opposed to tongue

i sorta liked the mint tang-i miss it

still a refreshing green tea, but it now has that bitter after tang i do NOT like

maybe some honey? sugar?

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec
AmazonV

i started at 1 min, it was too weak, then some servers crashed and i couldn’t get back to drinking until 5 min, 2 would likely have done better

AmazonV

second steep, with honey, 2 min, DELICIOUS, no bitter after taste just sweet vegetal refreshing tea that sniffing makes me think spring garden as opposed to the muck outside

AmazonV

third steep no additives, sweet, refreshing, vegetal and light, still enjoyable though

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75

Steep Information:
Amount: 4g
Additives: none, MilitiaJim: Honey
Water: 2 zarafina cups filtered water
Tool: Zarafina Green-Loose-Medium
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: very light bad to get very close to smell it, vegetal and sweet
Steeped Tea Smell:
AmazonV: again a very light smell, vegetal, light, sweet, minty
MilitiaJim: medicinal
Bobbie: bengay
Flavor:
AmazonV: delicate, light, sweet, minty, refreshing
MilitiaJim: earthy like an unwashed potato, maybe dirty cinnamon
Bobbie: eww
Body: Light
Aftertaste: minty, refreshing, tingly
Liquor: pale yellow-green

So Bobbie and MilitiaJim gave me their teas to finish as they did not like this tea at all. I was surprised I liked this tea and found it refreshing as I am not a green tea person.

I did find it earthier with the clover honey. Not in a bad way though.

I think this tea came though best without additives.

Post-Steep Additives: none

Resteep: Zarafina, 2 c, Green-Loose-Medium
pretty much the same as the first steep, less tingly though

images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/03/life-in-teacup-loose-leaf-green-tea_11.html

AmazonV

Resteep2: Zarafina, 2 c, Green-Loose-Strong
pretty much the same as the first steep, back to tingly

Resteep3: Zarafina, 2 c, Green-Loose-Strong
finally! watery but drinkable

AmazonV

Resteep4: Zarafina, 2 c, Green-Loose-Strong
watery, yet drinkable sigh
seriously, SO MUCH TEA, I guess this is a great tea for work, keep on going all day.

AmazonV

I was thinking. The last tea brewed here was the Root Beer Float which was kind of minty. What if the zarafina took on the minty flavor? Even after I washed it? I have enough for 1 cup left of dry leaf I can try another day though another method to see if the mint came from the root beer float.

mpierce87

How long did you initially steep this for? I had this earlier today and did not enjoy it, but also didn’t get the sweetness that you did..maybe I overdid it.

AmazonV

i let the zarafina brew it, but when i brew it manually i start taking little test sips at 30 seconds and ever 30 after that since i brew greens pretty cool (170 175 ish)

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11

The smell of the dry tea is very interesting….slightly smoky (guess that is the roast part of the name) and sweet. I admit that I didn’t read the brewing instructions before diving in, so I may have slightly oversteeped. However, I really like this tea. It definately has the taste quality of a green, but not at all bitter. The initial sip is the roasted part which is so familiar, but I can’t place it. Maybe roasted vegetables…. This tea is good without milk or sweetener, but at the same time is strange. In a good way.

After drinking more of this tea, I realize this just isn’t my cup. I believe I will be passing this on or may retry this on a different day using a shorter steep time. I enjoyed the chance to try this – the more you try, the more you understand what you really like. I’m lowering the previous rating to reflect that this just isn’t for me. It is good, but not what I’m looking for.

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec

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97

oh hi i think i made my tea too strong this morning hi there is a lot of caffeine in here yes indeed there is mmm smoky sweet caffeine it is monday

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97

Mmmmmmmmmm!

My order from Life in Teacup just got here yesterday and overwhelmed me with the shiny foil-wrapped temptations waiting within! I feel like a really need to find some time to sit down and thoroughly taste everything. Today I don’t have that time, but I do have a whole fresh pile of this lovely tea which I already know I love. Mmm, smoky and delicious.

Angrboda

I am SO curious about this one and I just discovered a lovely shipping flat rate to Europe. Veeeeeery interesting.

Cait

It is wonderfully tasty! I think I could send you a bit, if you like….

Angrboda

If you don’t mind shipping to Europe, I’d like that. Take a look at my cupboard and see if there’s anything you’d like in return. :) There are a couple of things that I don’t have enough of to share, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. :)

Cait

I’d love to try some pu-erh, if you have some to send! Everyone keeps talking about it and I have no idea where to start….

Angrboda

No problem. :) I don’t have vast amounts at the moment, but I can definitely put something together for you.

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97

Ah, there we go. That’s what I remember from that first tasting. Note to self: there’s no point in making this tea if you make it too weak!

(Further note to self: when you order more, order a lot more so you’re not tempted to try stretching it out!)

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97

Hmm. I’m not sure what I’m doing differently this time, but I’m getting much less of a smoky flavor, which is a shame — I’d really been craving the smoky/sweet taste of this one. It’s still there, but weaker. Perhaps I used too little leaf?

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

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97

Oh, this is amazing! It’s all smoky and sweet and complicated, and it’s light without being at all weak, if that makes sense. It smelled wonderful as soon as I ripped open the shiny vacuum-sealed sample packet, and it just kept getting better. I’m going back for a third steep now with my hopes very high….

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

Bumping this one up a little higher. It’s just staying so tasty!

Cait

Just for the record: fifth steep was way too strong at 40 seconds; took the sixth down to 25 seconds and it was just right. At least all of the leaves are finally unfurled!

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