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Life In Teacup

Recent Tasting Notes

52

I guess this is the tea I’m about to drink now.

Looks like it’s made out of 3 kinds of various leaves. They smell like the smell of what they sell in stores as indian black tea. You know filtered not very good kind. There’s also an additional smell that i cant define.

I steeped it rather short as it says up here. Looks too bright. Yeah I’m putting the tea back in. After like 2 min it’s still quite yellow and light for an oolong. But I guess it’s how it is.
Idk this one isn’t very tasteful. It’s not bad either. It’s just very mild and undefinable to me.

Wouldn’t get this one again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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99

I have had this tea for a while and have been sharing it with friends.. mostly a friend from shanghai who really enjoys it.
The smell of the leaves remind me of sweet peas. I did a rinse of the leaves to open them up a touch before proceeding with a 3sec steep. The results you ask?
A very faint golden green liquor that smells of sweet peas and honeysuckle. Taste? Honeysuckle and sweet peas. With a mineral velvety edge. My taste buds keep yelling for more and I completely agree! This tea is scrumptious!
What does the second steep (6sec) taste like?
….my gosh it tastes like rock sugar and honeysuckle. There is a drying on my tongue, almost like honey has when it covers your tongue and kind of tingles in sweetness and thickness. The taste lingers in my mouth for a while too.. and when breathing through my mouth, its like my mouth is coated in something warm and thick. A sensation that lingers.

For the third terrific steep (of 10 seconds)… there is a lovely vegetal edge that is creeping into the tea ever so subtly. It tastes like a slow transition between sweet floral to vegetal butteriness. I will have to see what the future steepings bring to me.

This is a truly lovely tea. I hope anyone who likes TGY’s gets to try this one!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
ScottTeaMan

I don’t know how I missed this review…….sounds like a really great tea.:D

Lynne-tea

It really is delicious! Very happy I bought some.

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95

Leaves didn’t stink as much as usual :)

I rinsed a few times and then steeped for 10 seconds. Color is red, Smells like pu-erh but not too strong.
It’s very yummy and gentle for a pu-erh. Leaves a lasting nice scent in my mouth. It’s hard tho for me to compare this to anything other than other pu-ehrs.
Anyways nice one. I like it a lot!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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81

Another from the sample pack.

Dry leaves are long and twisted with some white ones mixed in and smell of spinach and something floral. Wet leaves turn a nice bright green and smell slightly floral with a grassy-spinach note. The infusion is golden and smells a hint floral.

Taste is notes of orchid and grassy-spinach. There is also a slight creamy texture that I presume goes along with the orchid notes. There isn’t really a distinctive note of grass, but the spinach isn’t quite like you’d get from the store. It’s almost like it’s wild spinach that picked up scents of the grasses that grow around it.

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

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76

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.

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

Sounds like you glass brew frequently. I haven’t found a Gaiwan that I’m reedy to commit to, so usually brew using the tall glass method in two different size double wall tumblers that I have. I prefer this method, though with more delicate teas, unless they will clog it, I use a glass tea infuser (glass w/ slits within a pitcher kinda thing). Great reviews BTW! Added a few of your teas to my shopping list!

Invader Zim

I don’t actually glass brew, where you keep the leaves in the cup. I always use an infuser, I’m too afraid of the tea becoming bitter to leave the tea in.

As for a gaiwan I don’t have one, I just use a small cup (5oz) with an infuser and a lid with short steeps. I like to refer to it as gaiwanish style. :)

I hope you enjoy the teas you’ve added to your list when you get them. It’s always nice to know that others are enjoying the reviews and being inspired to try news ones. Thank you.

Mark B

I glass brew, but decant. My tumblers have removable filters.I too worry about the tea becoming bitter. Sometimes I let the last steep sit a good long time though. Often pleased with the results. Best to you!

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92

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!

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

Yum! Even the name sounds delicious. I love umami very much and will have to get my hands on some of this once they are back up and running =) Thanks for the review!

SimpliciTEA

I’m glad you liked this one. It is still the strongest tasting of all of the pure green teas I have had from Life in Teacup so far; I’m almost out, and will be sad when it’s gone.

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89

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
ScottTeaMan

Have you ever tried Jasmone Pearls?? I really enjoy them, I think you would too. :))

Lynne-tea

Not yet! But they have been on my list for a long time. I believe I will be getting a sample of them from Teavivre soon :D I am so excited for that!

ScottTeaMan

ONE OF MY FAVORITE TEAS!

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Preliminary review

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.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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95

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.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 15 sec

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74

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).

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96

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…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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74

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).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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82

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.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

Experience buying from Life in Teacup http://steepster.com/places/2861-life-in-a-teacup-online-easthampton-massachusetts

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).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

Sounds like a good evening ahead!

SimpliciTEA

Yeah, well after dinner while listening to some Peter Gabriel I was singing just a tad louder than a normally do. : )

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93

A nicely done LS without being too smoky! It’s also a little bake-E and Cakey! Make no mistake-E…this is a goodie!

(Sorry…it’s been a week…I need to be a little goofy or might just cry!)

Azzrian

LOL that was cute.

MegWesley

We all need to be goofy once in a while. It is no fun (and stressful) to be serious all of the time.

Kittenna

Hope everything’s ok :)

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks everyone! It was a rough week! A family member has been having health problems

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89

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 :)

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

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79

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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79

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.

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80

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!).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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17

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.

Respectfully,
Nick-

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

I respectfully disagree. I believe it’s not about who to disagree with, but what opinion to disagree with.

I can only guess the “white stuff” you are talking about is the crystallization on the surface of the tea. The formation of crystallization on the surface of old tea is significantly different from white mold. Even the crystallization is tiny and modest in my eyes, and probably one has to be very sensitive to feel the cake is “entirely covered” by it. This tea doesn’t have a taste of wet storage. In fact, that’s what some wet-stored-puerh lovers complain about this tea – they think the storage of this tea is too dry for their taste preference. To be honest, I thought it’s pretty easy to distinguish a purely dry-stored tea (like this one) and an “extremely wet stored” tea. And I had thought the major complaint received by this tea would be its “too dry” taste.

Mold is the number 1 thing we try to avoid for any of our puerh. Without being against wet-stored puerh, we choose to deal with dry storage puerh only. Although there are some wet-stored-puerh lovers, we choose to cater to dry-stored-puerh lovers.

MarshalN

Have you tried using a magnifier to look at the white specks? If it’s mold, you should see the little mushroom shape of the mold.

MarshalN

If the photos on the website are at all accurate, this is not extremely wet stored, at all. In fact, I wouldn’t say, based on those pictures again, that this is at all wet stored. Wet stored tea looks very different. Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?

Nick305

Let’s just say the last time I was in New Yor visiting my absolute favorite tea ROOM the proprietor and a fellow tea blogger both grabbed the chunk of Tuo Cha I had of this tea and refused to even put their nose close to it because it is covered in white specks and they said they wouldn’t even try it and told me not to as well because it’s almost certainly mold but then I told them it was sold as dry stored and they told me that there is no way. Perhaps i got one that didn’t match what was displayed on the website but I trust these two authorities quite readily about almost all subjects tea related and I think you should know who I am talking about by my language!

Nick305

By the way this is ImmortaliTEA from teachat nice speaking with you again MarshalN. I have been reading your blog for some time now and have learned so much from you! I will post the two names of the authorities that I met with in NY in person when they inspected my Tuo Cha sample if you feel it’s appropriate!

MarshalN

I think I know who they are. I just talked to one of them about this, in fact, and it seems like there may be a little bit of confusion here – could it be that you got the wrong thing in the mail? That person’s description is that it smelled bad, and since they had other things to drink, it’s not something they were too desperate to try. The pictures, however, don’t seem to suggest that it’s wet stored, at all, nor suggest that it would smell nast in any way (and the few other reviews floating out there suggest the same). So perhaps gingko can send you another sample and maybe it’ll all clear up (hope you’re still reading this thread, gingko). Sometimes mistakes do happen!

Nick305

It’s certainly possible that I got the wrong thing in the mail, however I still have the bag with part of the sample in it and it is labeled correctly as the 96’ Xiaguan Butterfly Tuo Cha. Since this website doesn’t appear to have many more Tuo Cha’s besides the one in question I highly doubt it’s a mistake but it definitely possible. I took some pictures of my sample that I would like you to see so whats the best way I can show them to you?

Nick305

http://www.flickr.com/photos/68772416@N07/7873454116/in/photostream/
Here is a picture of the exact sample that they saw in New York and said what they said about!

MarshalN

Hmm, doesn’t look wet stored just from the pic. The white spots look more consistent with damage from using a pick to break the tuo apart than mold. Hard to say for sure, of course, without seeing it in person. Did you ever try drinking it? I noticed your initial comments didn’t include any notes from tasting it.

Nick305

Yes I tasted it and it seems to have some serious mustiness to it especially compared to other dry stored teas I have tried around this age. It does have some astringency still so perhaps the appearance just threw people off or I got a different piece than what is represented on the vendor’s website. I was not trying to discredit this seller in any way but just wanted to let other tea drinker’s know what was said about it!

Nick305

The only reason I decided to go with what was said is because I know those who gave their opinion have much more experience with everything tea related than I do. I apologize if it was out of line and I will make sure to take better tasting notes and get more opinions before posting another negative review such as this!

MarshalN

A few others have chimed in, here and there, about having tried the tea, and it seems like everyone thinks it’s very dry. So, it could be you got a bad piece, it could be you got the wrong thing…. either way, your piece seems an outlier of some sort or another

Ben1

Dear All, after purchasing a sample of this tea last year, I bought a whole Tuo. My Tuo is filled with mold, white spots everywhere. My sample was quite different. My whole Tuo is very mellow, like a wet-stored tea. the sample I first ordered had a lot more astringency. I am pretty sure that my Tuo was wet stored. I recently broke it up, and there is white mold, and some yellow too, all throughout the dense Tuo. I guess I am saying that Nick ain’t nuts, far from it…..Ben

Nick305

Thanks Ben1 I was beginning to feel like I got the wrong tea in the mail or that I was the only one who got an example with white aspergillus spots. Ok so perhaps what’s going on here is that the purveyor has different Butterfly Tuo’s that have varying storage types or perhaps some other explanation that could possibly explain why some feel it’s too dry and more than one have an example that is covered in white spots!

MarshalN

A most interesting case, since now we have two people getting moldy tea, not just one, which seriously diminishes the possibility that the moldy tea is a fluke. Hmmm

unfurl

Hmmmmm I was looking at Life in a Teacup’s page and found this. I just find it funny that the only person agreeing with ‘the mold’ is practically non existent in steepster and just agreed in this comment out of nowhere…

Nick305

Considering the fact that I have never heard from Ben1 prior to posting this review, I am going to have to agree with MarshalN in that since now it’s confirmed by two distinct separate intstances, the likelihood of moldy tea is much greater. I am in no way trying to “pull the wool over” anyone’s eyes, just trying to document my experience with this tea in particular. I have had nothing but great experiences with this vendor on all other products besides this tea and a mediocre Shui Xian, so I thought it interesting that the dry stored claim seems to be conflicted by the white specks. So I guess an appropriate question here would be, is it possible for completely dry stored tea to have white specks of aspergillus all too common in wet stored tea? Or how often has someone seen a completely dry stored tea with white specks? Thanks for your comments!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Many thanks for those who are interested in this tea and those who have keenly followed this discussion.

Before giving further comments, I would like to say that I don’t believe Ben and Nick are connected in any way. I could tell from his writing here and on teachat that Ben’s comments are all out of good intention. I do believe Ben is confused about what’s mold and what’s not. He seemed to express that this tea is full of yellow and white mold and he thoroughly enjoy it this way – this is just impossible. A tea full of mold is toxic and by no means enjoyable. But I do believe Ben is a good tea drinker and simply wanted to express what he thought.

I don’t mind people giving truthful critics on our tea. In fact, I would love to hear them all whether or not I agree with each of them. Some of the negative comments we’ve got from tea friends were made out of the best intention and were the most helpful to us.

My previous comment here was made before I realized who Nick is and where he is from. If I had known, I would have refused to discuss with him about tea before he fulfills his obligation of simply paying for his GREEN TEA purchase OF $214.60 on June 3, 2012. Below are my updated comments on Nick (aka Nick305, also ImmortaliTEA on teachat, as mentioned by Nick himself in above comments):

[We will not release any of our clients’ personal information. None of the text below contains Nick’s personal identifiable information. All online activities mentioned below are either from public online records viewable by anybody or released by Nick himself on public websites. ]

• June 3, 2012, Nick placed a $214.60 order of green tea with Life in Teacup, paid by echeck and suggested that he would like the package to be shipped as soon as possible.
• June 6, 2012, Nick’s echeck on paypal was declined by Nick’s bank, and we emailed Nick about this.
• June 6, 2012, Nick replied and explained that it was a small mistake and was already fixed. He made another echeck payment of $214.60 and convinced us it would go through this time.
• June 8, 2012, we shipped Nick’s order despite that his echeck was not cleared yet. At this point, if you call me stupid, I wouldn’t object it. But we usually trust enthusiastic tea drinkers without a second thought, and almost everybody else deserved our trust.
• June 14, 2012, Nick’s second echeck payment was delined by Nick’s bank again and we emailed Nick again about this, fully believing Nick would soon respond and make a good payment. We didn’t get any response from Nick.
• June 18, 2012, we sent Nick an invoice to remind him of his payment. We didn’t get any response from Nick.
• In the following months, Life in Teacup was temporarily closed due to my personal reasons. Sometime between 2012 and 2013, we figured out that Nick who owed us money is the Nick305, aka ImmortaliTEA who has been active in online tea community. We are upset about this, but chose not to embarrass Nick by bringing this issue to the public. Instead, we sent Nick a couple of more invoices. We didn’t get any responses.
• June 16, 2012, another invoice was sent to Nick. We didn’t get any response. At that point, I figured it’s so hard to get hold of an online ID while the person behind it is completely irresponsive. So I decided to put this issue aside.
• November 14, 2013, after seeing Nick’s November 10th post on Tea Swap board of Teachat, I sent him the invoice of his order again through a private message on Teachat. We are not waiting for the $214.60 to pay our food and rent. At this point, the money Nick owed us is no longer our primary focus. But we believe one shouldn’t BOTH commit fraudulent payment AND still present himself as a trustworthy tea enthusiast in the tea community.
• November 18, 2013 and November 22, 2013, online records reflected that Nick visited Teachat for multiple times and got the private message I sent to him. But as always, he made no responses.

Now when I come back to review what Nick said here and on teachat about THIS tea, I’m no longer interested in what he said about the tea but rather interested in what he said about PEOPLE. Oddly, with them mentioned repetitively by Nick on teachat and on a relevant post of Tea Closet blog, the “4 teachatters” and “4 of the most knowledgeable members (of teachat)” that he said he met in New York City (who commented on this tea to him) have never seemed to show up in the relevant teachat discussion on this tea (it was a huge discussion!). Why wouldn’t 4 devoted teachat members and 4 of the most knowledgeable teachat members never speak up in a big teachat discussion where they were mentioned? I have full faith of our online tea community and especially communities like teatra.de, steepster and teachat. My question is, do these “4 teachatters” even know they are listed as witnesses by Nick?
Similarly, the “one of the most well known Chinese tea authorities in the U.S.” mentioned by Nick in the above comments never got his/her name mentioned while conveniently cited by Nick as his witness. Does that person even know s/he was listed as witness by Nick? No wonder MarshalN asked in his earlier comment “Who is this nameless “tea authority” you speak of?”
I wouldn’t mind it if there are really the most well known authority and the most knowledgeable tea drinkers who agree with Nick on this tea. But what I see here is Nick is keen on pulling a whole crowd behind himself and presenting himself as a popular member in tea community who has close friendship with the most well known authority and most knowledgeable teachatters. Well, if an honest person just feels like to present him in that way, there is no problem. But it’s absolutely not OK to BOTH commit fraud AND keep presenting oneself as an innocent tea enthusiast.

P.S.,
This is not business. This is personal. We believe we deserve to get paid for the tea we sold. But our business doesn’t rely on this $214.60 to survive. Discussion on this tea triggered by Nick didn’t bring us negative influence on our business. It only kindled more interest in this tea and our other teas. Even during the close up period of our business from summer of 2012 to spring of 2013, we kept receiving inquiries and sample orders of this tea and our other teas. For this, I’m thoroughly grateful to all the friends and tea drinkers who have been so kind to us.

I said this is personal, because I don’t believe Nick should keep presenting himself as an innocent tea enthusiast without fulfilling his obligation of paying for his tea and fixing his wrong deeds. I’m fully aware that if Nick remains irresponsive, my comments on Nick’s online IDs wouldn’t be able to force him to pay the debt. But I would do all I could to prevent him from playing an innocent tea drinker under these IDs. On the other hand, it’s not of my interest to make Nick look like a bad person. As long as Nick makes things right and pays for his tea order made in June 2012, I would delete all my negative comments on him.

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89

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 =)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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96

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!

Preparation
Boiling
ScottTeaMan

For the LS, I think shorter steeps would work for me.

If you’ve never tried a Dan Cong, I recommend more leaf than called for, water temp below boiling (175-185 to start), and shorter steeps (45,35-45), and a glass teapot with an infuser. Any teapot will do, as long as it’s large enough, and has a large enough infuser too. Dan Congs are oolongs with long, twisted leaves that need room to expand. Keep steep times shorter for the first 3 infusions, then gradually increase steep time & temp. for future steeps. Dan congs can easily become bitter if oversteeped.

Hope this helps. :)) It has always worked well for me.

Lynne-tea

Sorry for my late reply! I missed this when Steepster was so slow.

I did enjoy my initial steep with 1.5 min, though I found when I had the 5min steep.. it was so rich and full bodied! I think I tend to do shorter steeping times for most teas, but I think a longer steep time is more delicious for this LS in my opinion =) It’s amazing how different peoples tea methods are.

Thank you very much for your recommendation for the Dan Cong steeping times and methods. It seems that tea is a little high maintenance, though I am really wanting to master them and see what types of flavour I can get. So intriguing.

ScottTeaMan

Yes…….short steeps are important for Dan Congs. You can always increase times if you want to. :))

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90

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.

Preparation
Boiling

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86

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.

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