Life In Teacup
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Recent Tasting Notes
Another from the sample pack.
The leaves look like bright green spears, not bright vivid green as matcha is, just bright green like grass is. The smell of the dry leaves is very light, I get only hints of something that isn’t quite smokey, roasted perhaps. It’s so light I can’t quite put my finger on it.
The wet leaves have a little stronger smell, not much, allowing me to get hints of something floral and green. The infusion is very pale and has a very light scent that just smells like tea, nothing more specific.
Taste is so very light. I tried brewing this in my 12oz mug and also in my 5oz cup. I did the 5oz cup second and with more leaves to try to coax out some more flavor. The smaller cup with more leaves did get a little more flavor but this tea is just so so light, not to be confused with weak.
Actual notes I got were floral notes in the front and a very light crispness throughout. Not much in the way of mouthfeel or aftertaste. It reminded me of an early morning with soft rays of light breaking through the clouds and warming up the dew on the grass. Bringing up one of the blades of grass and putting the little sun-warmed droplet on your tongue. So very light, so very soft.
Backlogging from yesterday.
From a sample pack, makes me glad I ordered it when I did since there were four different green tea sample packs and I believe there is one left, maybe two.
The dry leaves are green and twisted with some white leaves mixed in and smell very fresh, crisp and grassy. I even said yum out loud! The wet leaves smell buttery and grassy with the slightest hint of a roasted note hiding in there.
The taste is not quite like I’ve experienced before. It was grassy and brothy, like a miso soup, it was so good! Very umami, very yum! There was a silky-creamy texture with a nice mouthfeel. I couldn’t get over the brothiness of the tea, I’ve never experienced it quite like that, it was sooo good! I kept writing yum in my tasting notes!
This was a tea that I had been eyeballing since I saw SimpliciTEA’s review. I will definitely be getting more!
Today I thought it would be good to dig around in the sample box and try a new tea. This one caught my eye as I have been experimenting with some green tea lately and would like to try what there is to offer (slowly of course – I still have so much to try).
Dry: The leaves are very small, smooth little black rolled leaves that smell strongly of jasmine. Delightful and interesting. I have never come across a tea like this.
1st, 1.5min: Very delightful jasmine flavours coming through.. possibly a touch of the green peaking in under the jasmine. There is something strong that pops at the back sides of my tongue if I take a large sip and let it mull around. Surprising, as the tea seems so well behaved almost. Nice sweet lingering to the aftertaste too. Mmmm mellow.
2nd, 1.45min: Tastes the same as the first steep. No change what so ever in the intensity of flavours either. I can definitely get a lot more steeps out of the leaves.
Really nice jasmine tea… though I do enjoy more complex flavours, this tea satisfies the times when I just want a cup of tea and not have to think about what I’m tasting really. I probably will purchase some when LIT is back up and running (and when my tea stash diminishes a little)
Edit, 4th steep: This tea is actually really nice. I am pleased that it is changing a bit… not as strong of jasmine (not that that is bad to me), but more vegetal and ‘green’ buttery layers are present. Really nice.
Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-a-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts
I bought an ounce of this from Life in Teacup in the spring of 2012 and brewed it up days later on 6/22/2012.
Nothing stands out about the appearance of the leaf: to me the dry leaf looks like Chun Mee, and while brewing it (no in-depth analysis yet) I can see that the wet leaf has a number of torn pieces in it; still it’s relatively uniform-looking with an army green color and a number of whole leaves (looking at it while sitting in my strainer/sieve after I did the third). The aroma while steeping on the third was kind of sour (I did the third steeping pretty short after ‘sniffing’ a sour aroma), and not really very pleasant (at least to me it’s wasn’t).
Still, after having three steepings of this tea this morning, my wife and I both like the flavor of it: no smokiness, no astringency or bittterness, with a mild but good, vegetal flavor (and solid flavor even on the third). Tentatively speaking (based on this initial steeping session), this one is a possible re-buy the next time I buy tea from Life in Teacup (at $4 / OZ).
I hope to update this (and assign a numerical rating) the next time I do another steepings session on it.
Leaves smell weird. I guess the roast mart makes it like that. I never had roast tea other than black. This one could be interesting.
Tea smells less roast than the leaves. Like a typical oolong. Color is slightly darker – bit on the red side.
Tastes interesting. Like roasting killed all the green tea sourness. It’s smooth but not really sweet. Slightly nutty. It’s really really yummy.
Backlogging and based entirely on my notes
Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-a-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts
I got this as a free sample from Life in Teacup in the fall of 2011 and brewed it up on 12/14/2011.
This tea had long, dark-brown twisted leaves that reminded me of a darker roasted oolong; it had a gunpowder-y aroma similar to the Wuyi oolongs I have had, but more uplifting, rather than earthy.
I used my standard oolong steeping times and temperatures (I found this to be surprising, but I think I treated this as an oolong). There were seven grams of dry tea to three cups of water. The the liquor had a light caramel color, with a mild aroma (malty?). The flavor was good, similar to a Wuyi oolong. It had some mild flavor on the forth steeping. The wet leaf looked like any quality oolong I have seen: large, whole leaves ranging in color from dark green to dark brown.
Overall, my understanding is that this is technically a red tea (so fully oxidized), and yet it was best Wuyi-like tea I have ever tasted: it was sweeter and not as roasted as most Wuyi oolongs tend to be. I enjoyed watching the leaves slowly unfurl with each steeping. Although I stopped at four steepings, it may have had more to give. I enjoyed everything about this tea (although I’m not a big Wuyi oolong fan this one was sweeter).
The leaves don’t smell as fresh as other oolongs did these days. So I guess that this one should be quite different. But the charm of it is that you never know…
This one smells like a really hot sunny day. The kind of day thats outside right now.
First of all I steeped it on lower temperature (lazyness). Color is light green-yellowish. Smells like green tea :) It’s super smooth. Sweet and floral. I’m really surprised with the fullness of taste in my mouth. I’m loving this one!
Very delicate yummy oolong…
Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-a-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts
I wasn’t originally going to do a review for this until I brewed it up next, but, why not do a preliminary review now?
I bought an ounce this tea and received it just last weekend from Life in Teacup, brewing it up this this morning. I tried a sample of the 2011 harvest last fall, and found it good enough to warrant buying and trying an ounce of the fresh stuff this year. It looks, smells and tastes a lot like Verdant Tea’s Early Summer Laoshan green tea, except that this one doesn’t hold up on the flavor through multiple steepings as well, and the wet leaf has lots of broken leaves (making me realize this is an exception to a note I made in a review of Teavivre’s tea, stating that LiT’s green Teas never have broken pieces in them. Ooops!).
I brewed it as I do the Early Summer Laoshan, starting at 180F for two minutes. It has pretty good flavor, but not quite as good as Teavivre’s Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng we had yesterday, and not as good as I remember the Early Summer Laoshan tasting (I hope to brew that one up tomorrow to compare). It had decent flavor up through three steepings and a bit of flavor on the forth. For a decent tasting fresh green tea it’s a good value ($2.50 / OZ).
First I gotta say that my sample didn’t have this Yongchun word on the package so it was packed in red package and called Fo Shou (Bergamot) Oolong. But i’m logging it under this one…
Dry leaves smell great. Very fresh grassy. And sweet. I know weird. But it smells sweet to me :D Must be the bergamot…
Wasn’t sure how log to steep this one so I did 1 minute. Looks bright. Should have steeped it longer :) Putting the infusion back in… Two more minutes on lower temperature.
Looks green-yellow. Smells gentle. Grassy.
It’s very gentle. Smooth. Quite watery but not in a bad way. Refreshing. I can’t taste the bergamot. It’s like a very very subtle oolong. And I like this one too.
I just got finished brewing up four good pots of this. I added some peach schnapps to the forth, and the peach flavor mixed surprisingly well with the floral notes and gave the tea an unusual body provided by the schnapps syrupy consistency. I liked this tea (both with and without the schnapps).
This looks unusual. Roast green. However, leaves look darker – very dark green. But the smell is grassy. Like dry grass. Roast green – yeah smells exactly like that :)
I’m leaving the water to chill for few minutes. And I’ll go with a short first steep.
Smells like yummy green yunnan. Yellow color.
Mmmm that nutty scent that my favorite silver needle has. I love that in tea. It’s like quality green tea mixed with white silver needle to me :) Which is awesome. If it had a bit more round, maybe slightly sweeter taste it would be perfect. But I still like it a lot! Fresh, smooth, very drinkable and with a nutty note :)
Mmmmm I love it how the leaves smell. Really fresh. It’s like being on a mountain that smells of green tea and fruit :D
Hope it will taste like this too.
One minute steep, the color is very light yellow-greenish. Smells like oolong, grassy.
The taste is very full and smooth. I’m surprised with such a short steep. This is a yummy one. I love the grassy scent that it leaves behind. And it has a slightly sourish note somewhere in my mouth. But barely.
Refreshing and yummy. I’d drink this one again.
First Steep: Color is a bit like a glass of white wine. This is smooth and very bright. The primary flavor is floral, but it’s paired very nicely with a clean and fresh note. There is a very faint sweetness towards the end of the sip. Yummy!
Second Steep: Darker yellow with more of a buttery scent. It’s not overwhelmingly buttery, but it’s definitely present. Floral notes are heavier as well.
Third Steep: Buttery scent has disappeared and now it’s all about those floral smells! Smooth, but more astringent. I imagine a big, fluffy flower that unfolds with each sip.
Fourth Steep: I’m not getting a large difference from my last cup. It feels a little bit heavier on the tongue, but otherwise I am just tasting mellow floral notes.
This is a nice oolong tea to have when you aren’t craving something more specific. It’s enjoyable… I wouldn’t go out of my way for this tea, however. There are other oolongs that I like more, but this hit the spot this afternoon.
Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts I just did a substantial update of the company review
Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Amount of Leaf/Frequency Drank: received late April, 2012, brewed up not long thereafter; four grams; this is my first time I have had this particular type of tea.
Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: It looked like any other quality DaFo Long Jing (that I have seen pictures of, at least) in that it had the characteristic sword-like bud sets with uneven colored light-and-dark green hues counterpointed with tiny light brown splotches at the ends of the bud-sets; it had a fresh and strongly nutty aroma.
Brewing guidelines: Glass sixteen-oz tumbler (so I could see the leaves as they steep) with ceramic teacup saucer as lid, two cups H2O; stevia added; I then decanted the tea into a larger container using a strainer by pouring from the tumbler to our teacups.
…….….1st: 182F; 1’……..good, fresh flavor; leaves all on top
……….2nd: 180F; 1.5’….a little milder tasting, still good
……….3rd: 187F; 2’…….heavier feel in mouth, but still good
……….4th: 188F; 2.5’….milder, yet smooth; all leaves still on top
……….5th: 186F; 3’…… very mild flavor
Color of tea liquor: a very light yellow-green color which got darker on the later steepings.
Flavor of tea liquor: Delicate, pleasant, fresh, with a very small amount of astringency, (which was actually pleasant); more detail in Overall.
Appearance of wet leaf: very high quality leaf: all whole bud-sets (with what I understand to be the characteristic tiny end-buds); interesting thing is, the leaves did not open up as they normally do in buds sets after begins steeped; I have never seen this before.
Value: After inquiring about this tea, Gingko offered to give me a small sample of it; Thank you Gingko! Although it’s pricier than Tea Trekker’s (you have to buy more from them than from Life in Teacup), it’s cheaper than Seven Cup’s organic version, and the price of this one seems to be roughly what the going rate for this tea is at ~$15/OZ. UPDATE: I just checked both the Camellia Sinensis and Jing Tea Shop websites, and although they have no Dafo Long Jings, the three Long Jings each carries are about the same price (or more) than this Dafo from Life in Teacup.
Overall: For various reasons I am writing this over a month after actually tasting this tea (although most of this was already written a week after trying it), so this review is based partially on written notes and partially on memory.
I think I am getting a better handle on how fresh spring green teas compare with, for example, year-old green tea; after having had this 2012 fresh spring Dafo Long Jing from Life in Teacup and comparing it side-by-side to the taste of a 2011 harvested year-old Long Jing (one from Jing Tea shop of what I believe to be a considerably lower grade), I was able to make some distinctions. On the surface, taste-wise, I liked both of them, but for different reasons: the year-old Long Jing was heavier in my mouth (I think that’s called ‘body’?) and was flavorful, while the fresh Long Jing was much lighter, and although it was hard to describe the flavors (being somewhat unusual), they were interesting.
Describing experiences by using people/animals/objects that tend to intrigue me (for example things in nature, like birds) seems to be something that comes naturally to me, and as I am still learning what all of the technical words for describing taste are, the following is my way of describing the difference between a fresh and a year-old spring green tea (in this case, two different Long Jings). While drinking the fresh spring Long Jing: within the space where I held the Tea, I imagined a few small colorful birds, ones that differed ever-so-slightly in shape and color, flying effortlessly up, up, up, trilling out their pleasure of the day; while drinking the year-old Long Jing: I imagined a flock of larger birds, all similar in size, shape, and color, moving around with considerable effort at low altitudes within the space where I held the Tea, making familiar noises. It’s easy to take note of the larger birds (mallards perhaps?), and yet more difficult to get a glimpse of the swifter, more delicate ones (goldfinches and/or ruby-throated hummingbirds perhaps?)—but what a joy to watch them fly!
I hope to write more about the price of fresh Long Jings (and a few other things) when I write up the review about the Life in Teacup 2011 year-old version of this DaFo type of Long Jing (a sample of which I didn’t realize I had until after I brewed up and compared this tea with the year-old Jing Tea Shop Long Jing. Doooah!).
I have been studying and researching different aged puerhs to see the effect storage type has on the tea and through my experience any aged puerh tea that has white specks of puerh mold which is called aspergillus like this Tuo Cha does means that it is almost impossible for it to be dry stored. You see, a good quality wet stored puerh tea might have a very small amount of these white specks because of the humidity in the air during wet storage and they should not take up a large surface area of the cake or tuo cha for if they do it usually represents that it was stored not only wet but too wet. So basically since this Xia Guan Tuo Cha is almost completely covered with white aspergillus specks I would have to say that the claim of it being dry stored would have to be a fallacy as it is more likely EXTREMELY WET STORED. This is not just my opinion either as I had a sample of this tea with me when I went to visit one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S. and when I brought it out to show it to him and the rest of the tea enthusiasts they refused to even put their nose up to the tuo cha to smell it for fear of breathing in the vast amount of mold on it. I am not saying this is the vendor’s fault as they were probably told this was dry stored but i just wanted to state what I have found through research and experience now that I understand puerh much better than I did when I first bought it.
It has been a while since I have had my scent up and running for tea reviewing. For this reason, I have been sticking to teas that I have previously drank and have plenty of (mainly lapsang souchong and various oolongs).
It is now time for an official cuppa this. Not in my traditional style though, as I started the tea experience last night with these leaves, and I am now on to my third steep.
Dry: Like sweet earthy wheat. Chestnuts pop into mind as well. Yummmm. Small little balls the color of 60%-70% cocoa chocolate. Aka.. not really milky chocolate color, but a bit.
Liquor: initial 2 steeps (30s): From what I remember (I will obviously do a better review next time), there is a nicely roasted/toasty flavour with a pleasingly sweet aftertaste. I would like to say it would match the sweetness of almost ripe bananas. Not overly sweet – but you still get a little drying effect. It does not taste like bananas, just the mechanism of sweetness is similar. Right down to the slight drying.
3rd steep (1 min): Still nicely toasted. Reminds me of sweet bread that has been browned. Maybe some brown sugar sprinkled on the top and a light spread of butter. I get sweet flashes at the back of my throat and tongue. It is not buttery as I would associate with a milk oolong, but it has a creamy aftertaste that reminds me of it. The tea is definitely drying..But not so much that I am grabbing for water. Maybe I will play with the steeping parameters more. None the less, great cup of tea to come back to =)
This is a showdown between the superior grade LS and this grade 2 from Life in Teacup. Let’s get started ‘cause my delicious smelling tea is getting colder by the word.
Dry: Smells of light sweet smokey fire. Nicely twisted dark chocolate leaves.
Liquor (1.5min): Smells and tastes like a camp fire. But sweet bacon and a little malty at the same time. Yum..
ok I just noticed the steep times of the other tasters and mine is wayyy lower. Next round I am trying a 4 minute steep. I’m nervous. Ohhh but it will be good. Here’s the thing – I touched the wet leaves and now my hands smell like salty bacon. Now I want salty smokey sweet bacon. I don’t ever crave meat products so this is weird.
5min: I got side-tracked looking at Life in Teacup Dan Cong. Looks like I will have to order some more tea soon. sips Whoa! New tea almost. Full bodied and with a gentle sparkle feeling around my tongue. Slight drying in the throat, but nothing too bothersome. When I try and think about the sweetness (which is mid-taste for me), visions of black currants pop up in my brain for some reason. Mmmm it’s like black currant syrup on non-crispy maple smoked bacon. I’m in love.
Thank you again Gingko… Life in Teacup has wonderful customer service and I really appreciate that!
I was so excited when my Life In Teacup order arrived a little while ago. So far I have tried their TGYs and jeez are they good! I waited to try the Superior Grade Vs. their grade 2 Lapsang Souchong. After a mixup, the grade 2 had been delayed. But thanks to their fantastic customer service – I quickly received the grade 2 for comparison (along with a few generous and lovely samples – thank you so much Gingko!)
Dry: Sweet and malty leaf. It has a very very subtle smoke hint, but not in your face by any means at all.
Liquor 1.5 min: Very malty and almost dark chocolate like. There is a clean and refreshing feeling at the end of the sip at the back of the throat/tongue. It’s nice and something new to me. Nice subtle roast to it, but not stand out smokey. Very different and mild LS.
5min: Smelling the cup – I detect no smokey notes. Just malty caramel sweetness. Interesting for an LS. Smooth caramel taste with a warm blanket feeling that is amazing. This is a good tea – but comparing to their grade 2 LS.. I honestly prefer the grade 2. I appreciate the refined taste of this tea with the subtle roast flavour and caramel sweetness, but I want some smoke. I want some intensity. This tea reminds me of a sophisticated afternoon high tea with one lady being a rebel and choosing the LS instead of an unaltered straight black (even though this tea tastes almost like a straight black..).
It is good but I am glad I only got a sample as I like more intense LS flavours I guess.
First Steep: I am really loving the overwhelming sweetness. It’s floral, but does have a marshmallow-like quality. There is something fluffy, plush and soft about the flavor. I think this is the sweetest oolong I’ve tasted so far. Really delicious!
Second Steep: More floral and less of that marshmallow sweetness. Yes, it’s still tasty and sweet, but the flavor is dancing much more around flowers than anything else.
I would continue, but it’s time for food! I will update later with my thoughts on future infusions of this tea. For now, I am very happy with this tea and would honestly drink cup after cup of that first steep.
Today is a two-tea kind of morning. I got this sample a while ago from TeaEqualsBliss, but I had put off trying it. For one, I thought it was a kukicha (it was the “twig” in the name), but it turns out it is not. I have enough for a cup, so I’m hoping I get this steeping right. I looked up directions for green tea on Life in Teacup’s site and have a decent idea I think. I am steeping it in my 12oz glass mug filled halfway (so about 6oz), just leaves in the cup, no strainer, leaving them in. The directions say that when the leaves fall to the bottom the tea is ready to drink, but then again I also read that this tea sinks to the bottom right away, so I don’t know exactly when to try it. I suppose when it’s cool enough for me!
The liquor is slightly darkening and the leaves are opening. It smells nutty and vegetal, with some lovely sweet notes, and the flavors are similar. Except now some bitterness is creeping in as it sits here still steeping in the mug. I have just a little liquid left, so I’m going to resteep as suggested. This steep is less vegetables, more grassy, with some other note I can’t place. With a name that includes “Orchid” I would normally expect some florals, but there are none to speak of here.
This is a fairly nice green tea, but I do feel like I’m not getting everything I could out of it. Maybe another time I will encounter this varietal again.
A lovely Oolong. I have tried the Fo Shou Superior Grade Oolong, which I also enjoyed. the charcoal notes were not particularly strong in the first couple of infusions, but, revealed themselves in later infusions. Nutty and sweet. Smoke note in the distance. The bergamot-like flavor was very faint in the first two infusions, but in the third and fourth infusions, it seemed to really brighten the cup. Not really a strong flavor, but just a hint of citrus-like flavor.
I am very excited to try this tea. And I must say – Life In Teacup has wonderful customer service!
Dry: Leaves are full and big – not little broken up chunks. (Yay!) The smell is sweet and lightly smokey. Yum.
Liquor: YUM. Toasty and creamy. Light amberish honey liquor. This is magnificent. Staple for sure. I have the perfect activity for this tea – a dark comfy bed with a movie and popcorn. I think I will go engage in such an activity. Maybe not a movie, but It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia instead. Oh jeez I’m in love with this tea. Very comforting and roasty.
Sorry for the short note. I will make a longer one later when I catch up on sleep.
Thanks to LiberTEAS for this sample, which I randomly picked from my box tonight.
Oh man, is this ever sweet and smooth! I’m reminded of autumn leaves and jumping in a leaf pile – some other tea I had recently reminded me of this as well. Oooh, so smooth! Aftertaste is just barely of oolong, but as I’m less familiar with darker oolongs, perhaps that’s what one gets when they move away from tieguanyins. The sweetness is delicious. Almost makes me think of raisin water, i.e. the water left after plumping up raisins for baking. It’s also kind of toasty; makes me think of genmaicha for some reason.
Ok. That was a massive jumble of random thoughts. Too lazy to organize (and still teas to try!)
This one’s pretty impressive! I definitely need to try more dark oolongs. I’m excited to see what the next infusions bring!