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Life In Teacup

Recent Tasting Notes

73

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.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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85

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.

Quite nice.

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91

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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82

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!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Keemun Mao Feng by Life In Teacup
4219 tasting notes

Thank you to TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this! I love it!

Then again, I’m not surprised… I’ve not been disappointed by anything I’ve tried from Life In Teacup… at least, not to my recollection. Gingko has a knack for getting the very best! And this is definitely one of the best Keemun teas I’ve tried… smoky, but not too smoky. Sweet, but not too sweet. I love the fruity notes in the background, which are accessible because the tea overall is not too heavy or overwhelming with its robust flavors. It is a strong, hearty tea but it also allows the nuances to shine through nicely.

Excellent Keemun!

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89

Love! I absolutely adore Oolong teas, and Life In Teacup has become one of my favorite purveyors of Oolong teas (as well as other teas!) because their teas are always of utmost quality.

This is an amazing Oolong – Sweet, lightly floral, hints of toasty flavors in the distance. I definitely taste that marshmallow likeness to this, sweet and soft and yummy. A dryness toward the end of the sip, ending with a crispness that is almost mint-like. The floral notes remind me of orchid and osmanthus. Sweet and absolutely delicious. I love LOVE love this!

Azzrian

I want Life in Teacup to be my next order! Very impressed with my samples! Adding this to the list!

Dylan Oxford

That sounds like an amazing cup of tea.

QueenOfTarts

This sounds delicious!

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97

I just received this tea from Life In Teacup a few days ago, but cannot find it on their website.

When I read the label, I found the idea of a Red Tie Guan Yin to be somewhat surprising, as I’m so used to associating “Tie Guan Yin” with Oolong. But one glance at the leaves and I knew it was not a mistake, this IS a black tea. And what an amazingly good black tea it is.

SO SO SO SO SO GOOD! I love this. It reminds me quite a bit of Dawn (The Simple Leaf), it has that same deep chocolate-y note with a freshly baked cake kind of quality to it. Rich and incredibly satisfying. Caramel undertones. Sweet and smooth and delicious.

I’m off to write my rough draft review of this tea for the SororiTea Sisters!

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95

3 cups today!
YAY!

BTW…I have some upcoming giveaways over at one of my Blogs if any of you want to follow it/bookmark it!!!

http://blissfulyogajourney.blogspot.com/

It’s not tea but you will be able to ADD IT to your Tea if you wish :)

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81

I quite liked this offering. It was sweet, but complex. For the price it’s an incredible bargain. – Brad – Sarah didn’t like.

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97

This is an excellent tea. Not at all vegetal, but not dark or toasty either. Pretty much exactly what I like in an oolong. – brad.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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87

Mine is a spring 2011 tea but it is SO wonderful. It is amazing the difference between a quality cup of tea and, well, others lol. My husband loved this and sat drinking with me and that is a rare occasion – for someone who rarely drinks tea and knows nothing about it he is a total tea snob! At least he knows a good cup though!
Buttery, slightly floral but not so much as I don’t usually care for floral teas, and vegetal but not overly so this is one I really adore!
Thanks Life in Teacup for the sample!

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90

I fell in love with this oolong in Paris and have been pursuing it ever since. Very light floral notes yield to a body that fills the mouth with a very creamy bloom. This is the first Li Shan I have tasted that had notes of jasmine on the 2nd-4th steeps. What a treat! Now comes the wonderful news, this tea is usually found at $12-15/oz. Life in Teacup brings it to you for half the price. Plus, the second and third steep only improve.

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

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84

Preliminary review

I have been looking forward to brewing up and tasting the first new spring green of the year for some time now. And who better to provide it than Life in Teacup! I only had two spring green teas during April of 2011 (I also had a few during early June), so I still consider myself relatively new as to what to expect of them. I have been talking about my excitement with my wife (she saw me open the package from Life in Teacup earlier in the week), but I didn’t tell her that I would be brewing up the very first pot of this tea this morning. I sometimes don’t tell her what I’m brewing up so I get an unbiased opinion from her about the taste. For awhile there, after having a couple ‘smokier’ green teas (which she despises) her initial reaction to any green tea—especially one that has a reputation for being smokey, like Hunag Shan Mao Feng or any tea from the Yunnan province—that had a taste she was uncertain about,was, ‘I think it tastes smoky’. Needless to say, I would then give her the evil eye. : )

I like to experience the Tea with every sense possible: visually and aromatically—the appearance and aroma of the dry leaf, watching the leaves dance and co-mingle in their new watery home while I take in the aroma, smelling the wet leaves after the first steeping, then using the auditory senses—listening to the leaves jostling for position as I use a spoon to gently take them from their temporary home in the bag, or tin, or jar, and drop them into the clear glass pot with a tinkle, almost like a wind-chime, and listening to the water begin to stir in the kettle, signaling it’s time to pour the water, and then finally through taste—as the liquor rolls around in my mouth making my taste buds shiver with delight as the various flavors finally reveal themselves. The first time I steep a tea I pay a little more attention to all of these things. I guess it’s kind of a ritual. I invite my wife to participate as well, and fortunately she’s usually happy to join me.

This morning her one-word litany when encountering this spring green Tea with each of her senses was: interesting (said in that positive way as one draws out the initial ‘i’ sound when pronouncing it: in-tres-ting ); although my reactions were unspoken, all the while I was thinking the same thing (keeping my fingers crossed that she was going to find the same wonder that, so far, I have found in fresh spring greens). Our senses were telling us there was something about this tea that was different than all the other green teas we had been brewing up all winter.

When the time finally came to drink of the sweet nectar that was only moments ago locked within the curly leaves, we were rewarded with flavor that was clearly fresh and inviting. It was not flavor I would describe as strong, but rather a flavor profile that brought back memories of the spring teas I had tasted a year ago; it’s hard to describe—and I will hopefully improve as I continue to drink infusions of these wondrous Teas—but the sensation in the mouth is light and uplifting, full of zest, and I imagine it having a kind of sparkle to it. It’s like nothing I have ever had before. Still, quite honestly, I think it is somewhat of an acquired taste (my wife agrees). Not that the flavor is weird or bad in any way, it’s just delicate and subtle and can be easily unappreciated by one who doesn’t know what to look for or take the time to sit with it enough to really take it in (I am guessing this is also the case with fine wines).

And as far as staying power? This tea delivered three wonderfully flavorful steepings and still had discernible flavor on the forth and right up through the fifth. That is very impressive for a green tea at this price range ($18 / 5OZ = $3.60 / OZ). The wet leaf is about as good as it gets: all full leaf, few stems, and lots of bud sets and buds—all of an army green color. I plan to give more details later, but I wanted to sit down and write up what came up for me now rather than put notes on a note-card that would inevitably sit for weeks (or months) before I posted it. I highly recommend this tea for those that want to experience a fresh spring green tea at a very reasonable cost.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

this sounds delicous! sparkle tea :P
I wonder if it’d be a good candidate for Shinoba brewing

SimpliciTEA

It is delicious (if you like green teas, that is). I’ve had it twice, now (three times if I count blending it with one of LIT’s HSMF that I have) and it tasted even better the second time (it was great when blended, too), although I’m not sure why; it may be because I payed more attention the second time, allowing me to go deeper, in a sense, into it’s flavor profile.

I do plan to try this sometime in a smaller vessel (I bet it would taste better that way).

Bonnie

I love that you use all the senses. And the wind chimes.So right. If you fail to completely commit to the experience you miss so much. The review contained what I was wishing for.

SimpliciTEA

Thanks, Bonnie.

I tend to be more analytical (left-brain) than creative (right-brain), and I often don’t have the time (or the inclination) to write this in-depth of a review; but, admittedly, when I do have the time to take in the experience of the Tea with all of my senses, my creative side seems to really kick in, and sometimes very interesting stuff starts to come up. It can be a wonderful experience, and one of the reasons why I chase after quality Tea.

But to then take that experience and use it to write a good review there is the task (which takes a great deal of skill, I judge) of putting that almost-otherworldly experience into words that others can understand and relate to; that can be very daunting task in and of itself, for me at least.

With the other spring greens I have (and some I will be getting soon), I hope to be able to do as I have with this review. And you have spurred me on to do as such!

Bonnie

The more tea I drink the more I am drawn to that right brain expression. (Being left handed to begin with helps too) I encourage you to continue in this vein. I’ll be listening.

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96

LOVE!

This yellow tea is quite unlike other yellow teas that I’ve tried. While most of the yellow teas that I’ve had in the past have been on the delicate side, this one is not what I’d call delicate. It has a more assertive flavor to it, but, it still has a very yellow tea kind of flavor to it.

sigh how I love yellow tea.

Azzrian

Me too! The London Tea Room has a great Yellow tea but you have to call them as it is not on their menu – oh I hope they do still have some in stock I wanted to get more on payday.

Emilie

Sorry for the probably silly question, but what exactly IS yellow tea?

Azzrian

I started to explain it but realized Im not that sure so here lol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_tea

Azzrian

Oh and it is good :)

Emilie

I may have to try some! So is it sorta between a green and white tea?

LiberTEAS

Most of the time, I actually find it to be more similar to Oolong than to green, but this yellow is probably like a green, white and Oolong.

ashmanra

I saw some yellow tea at Tin Roof Teas and it looked almost exactly like my Shou Mei white tea, which tastes like an oolong. Shou Mei is supposed to be the fourth picking from the tea bushes. I love it. I wonder how close it is to yellow tea? I have never had yellow. Maybe that should be my next purchase from Tin Roof Tea!

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80

Preliminary review (updated on 6/9/2012)

There is clearly something different about this HSMF from all the others ones I have tried. Nothing about the appearance or the aroma of the dry leaf stood out. Yet, the appearance and aroma of the wet leaf and the taste of the tea liquor itself all signify that this is a quality tea; there are aromas and tastes that bare resemblance to a few other quality green teas I have tasted. I wonder if this is in part because it is semi-wild grown tea? Possibly the elevation contributes? (I just checked the elevation for the other HSMFs I tried, though, and this one is no higher than the others).

I am impressed with the quality of the pluck of this leaf, and I am really enjoying the aroma and the subtle flavors in my cup. I have found that a few of Life in Teacups’s green Teas seem to be light on flavor. That could be because there is something I am not doing right when steeping them (water not hot enough, not steeped long enough, or using too few leaves), but I am starting to believe it is more that the flavors these teas have to offer are more delicate and subtle than what I’m used to enjoying in green teas.

Next time I brew this one up, I plan to measure more carefully (I think I had too few leaves for four cups of water this time), and first try hotter water (I started at about 175F, I’ll shoot for at least 180F), and then secondly try a longer steep time (Initially I started at one minute, this time I’ll start at two). If making a singular change that doesn’t get me the results I want, I’ll try both hotter and longer (this made a difference in the flavor in Verdant Tea’s Early Summer green). Still, the entire experience with this tea—learning about Life in Teacup, and how they as a small shop buy direct and keep thing as simple as possible, my communicating with Gingko via e-mail, and how active she is on Steepster—makes drinking this tea much more meaningful than buying tea from a larger and more impersonal tea shop.

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

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90

Upping the rating and a sipdown from yesterday! D-Lish! Had 3 cups-worth

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88

This is screaming 2nd infusion so I will save it for after lunch. First infusion tho…mouth-watering, a little juicy, a slight hint of charcoal and nuttiness. This is special!

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82

I tried this again a second time and was able to focus a little more on getting the timing and temperature right. As was noted, the astringency dropped right away with shorter infusions. I did still taste the slightly roasted undertone, but not as thoroughly as my first time round. Otherwise, the flavor was much the same, but more mild and consistent.

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

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82

This was quite a pleasant tea! The scent of the dry leaves is nice and roasty. With the first infusion, there was a nice bitterness and astringency. The roasted flavor was particularly strong the first infusion, enhanced by the bitterness. There were grassy notes, almost like grass that’s been cut and has been sitting and drying for a couple days. Still pleasantly sweet, but mild.

I’ve got enough of this left to try it once more and, depending on how my tastings of the other Dong Ding Oolong samples I ordered from Life in Teacup go, I’ll make a decision about which one to order more of first!

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

you might want to try steeping at a lower temp next time. bitterness and astringency, i’ve never seem in a dong ding oolong…

Dinah Saur

I’ll be a little more careful next time. Thanks, Amy. I unfortunately don’t have a precise electric kettle at this time, so I make some estimates on occasion. :P

Dinah Saur

Thinking about it, I probably steeped it for too long. Was a little distracted at the time.

Fail!

TeaBrat

I don’t have an electric kettle either. I did have a thermometer for a while but lost it. ;)

Dinah Saur

I’ve got my eye on this electric kettle that allows you to set a precise temperature. It’s $50, so I have to budget it. But hopefully I’ll have it soon!

ScottTeaMan

If the roasted flavor was too strong on the first steep, a shorter steep time will probably help. :))

TeaBrat

which one are you getting for $50??

Dinah Saur

Uhm… it’s at Target. haha. I can’t remember the brand, but it may be Mr. Coffee or something like that, but there’s a digital display and you can set the temperature you want exactly. I can’t seem to find it on their website, but it’s in my local store and another one I was at somewhere else in CA, too.

ScottTeaMan

I used to think $50 was expensive for an electric kettle, but it’s reasonable, esp when compared to the Breville at $250. And anything less than that in todays prices lacks quality IMO.

Dinah Saur

I definitely agree, Scott. I’ve just got a limited budget and more bills than I can always afford.

The Breville is something in my distant future, I’m figuring! Unless I can make my blog SUPER popular and convince them to send me one for free to write about. Then again, even that would be distant future! ;)

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95

I haven’t had the opportunity to try many Tai Ping teas, so, my experience with them is somewhat limited. However, of the very few that I’ve tried, I can say that this one is the best of them.

The leaves are beautiful (but then, the long, flat, deep green leaves are characteristic of a Tai Ping. If I recall correctly, the others were more of a light green … almost a dusty green, these are a much deeper shade of green)

Sweet, vegetative (reminds me a bit of lima beans!) and very smooth. Very fragrant, with notes of vegetation and flowers in the aroma. What a lovely cup!

ScottTeaMan

This is one fabulous green tea!

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80

Backlogging from yesterday but I remember it well.

This smells like pu-erh but a more gentle-aroma than most. It’s a bit on the sweeter side and not as earthy per say. It also wasn’t overly strong – which was fine with me…could had just been the mood I was in yesterday…not sure. It was a nice cuppa -a nice pu-erh to have on hand especially for newbies or ones who have had negative experiences with pu-erh in the past…this one will ease them in to it a little more gentle than others. Satisfying!

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95

I LOVE the color of these leaves – dry! The aroma is a bit ‘odd’ but not in a bad way…it reminds me of plugging an old heater in after it’s been sitting a while and you get that charred-dust smell Even more ‘odd’ is that once infused the aroma morphs completely! It smells more like FRESH home-grown veggies! Ahhhh! Airy and breezy!

The color is SUPER Bright Yellow – Brilliantly Yellow! LOVE IT!

The flavor – SMOOTH…fresh, airy, clean, somewhat crisp, a little vegetal-sweet!

This is MARVYLOVING this!

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85

I’ve short steeped this one a few times before but I always got too lost in the moment to write down any tasting notes. Not the best resteepster, but still very satisfying. Okay now onto the tasting notes;

The sweetness in the first steep is very strong, which leaves behind a nice honey flavour and texture at the back of my throat. This black tea body is nice and mellow, with enough (initial) depth to keep it interesting.

Second steep was different, with a strong malty and grains flavour coming out and the sweetness toning down.

Third steep was pretty similar but with a new tart almost bitter tomato flavour appearing. This character is what really reminds me of “real” SML.

Fourth steep had a weird battle for flavour between the tomato and sweet honey. Normally the flavours are just layered or appear at the beginning or end, but the tomato and sweet honey really do fight for my sense’s attention. That’s the best way I can put it.

Fifth steep was very mild with not much of the tea flavour remaining. Just cinnamon, spices and tomato flavour.

Ending on the sixth steep, I mostly just taste sweet honey. It’s not a disappointing cup to end on, but also not interesting enough to warrant a resteep.

I quite like this small leaf cultivar SML, it’s not as memorable or amazing as SML but it’s easier to drink more often. For me, “real” SML has a strong distinct flavour that I find I can’t have too often. My purchase of this also included a small sample of SML which was a great learning experience. And while that extra SML sample is included, I highly recommend trying this out, just to taste how different the teas are.

100ml gaiwan, 2 generous tsps, 6 steeps (30s, +15s resteeps)
Up’d rating for the wonderful short steeping experience.

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

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89

Mouthwatering florally beautiful. De-lish!!! YUM! Lovely Li Shan – juicy and sweet!

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