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Recent Tasting Notes
Happy Thursday, internet! Yours truly had a long and tiring day of playtesting and I am greatly glad to be home and only a few short hours away from sleep. I got very little of the Zzzzz’s last night because someone poisoned me (or I caught a stomach bug) but it sounds more dramatic to yell ‘who hath poisoned me?!?’ than ‘where did this virus come from?’ it is always about which is more dramatic. I think when this playtesting and such is over I am going to take a vacation, just not do anything for a week other than drink tea and maybe play Minecraft, and lay in bed a lot. It will be gloriously lazy.
Today’s tea is SerendipiTea’s Dahl House, inspired by much loved novelist Roald Dahl, I was never a huge fan of his work, but I can certainly say they were influential and helped shape many children’s lives. One of these work’s was James and the Giant Peach, I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of sailing away inside of a giant peach, I am pretty sure that is every Southern child’s dream (or at the very least mine) especially with talking bugs. The first thing I notice about the aroma is the real, fresh, peach smell that is wafting out of the dry leaves. I love when peach flavored teas actually smell like peaches and not peach candy, it makes for a happy me. There are also notes of malt, honey, and a really nice zingy ginger aroma that makes the tea smell very warm.
Into the steeping basket the leaves go, and the aroma of peaches and ginger fill the room. I admit, I miss my tea lair, but I do no miss the basement at all, so dingy…so many spiders…ok I liked the spiders. The peaches still smell like warm, juicy, fresh peaches but with an addition of ginger and malt, with a slight bit of oak wood at the finish. The liquid is super peachy and sweet, though the ginger is milder, a tickling warmth at the back of the nose. The malt is right up there with peaches in strength, making for a very rich aroma.
The first thing noticed upon sipping this tea is it is very rich and malty, with a delicate honey sweetness and a tiny hint of roasted peanuts…but where is the peach…wait, found it! Not even to the midtaste, the peaches explode, much like biting into a ripe very juicy peach. This is no sad peach you bought at the super market when you had a 2 A.M. craving, no this is a fresh from the orchard roadside-stand in the middle of South Carolina peach! A very real distinction that we Southerners get bent out of shape over, we are a bit obsessive with our peaches. After that massive pile of peach to the face the flavor has a wonderful warming ginger burn that lasts into the aftertaste where it lingers as a nice tingly feeling in the belly. I was quite fond of this tea, it reminded me of home, and I liked the addition of ginger, it blended nicely with the peach!
For blog and (not very good) photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/05/serendipitea-dahl-house-tbt-tea-review.html
I absolutely love this tea iced or hot! I’ve been on a huge kick with it lately and its pretty much all I have been drinking this week. I like that the Jasmine isn’t too strong and you can taste the apple as well as you smell it. I also have forgotten that I was steeping this tea until like 30 minutes later and it did not pick up too much bitterness so that’s definitely a plus for me. I use 3 teaspoons of tea in 2 cups of water for my iced tea because I like it really strong but as a hot tea a teaspoon to 8oz is good.
Pleasantly surprised with this! I was alittle hesitant about this blend because on the sample bag it says there’s hibiscus in this, which I’m not a fan of. But happily the apple and mango are mainly dominant over the hibiscus and rose hips. A really good blend
Flavors: Apple, Mango
I’m brewing this Gongfu style. This is a pretty strongly roasted oolong. In fact, it is so heavily roasted that the flavor reminds me of Houjicha. I don’t taste anything distinctly “oolong” about it, or maybe there’s the subtlest hint of flowers in the background. Compared to most other rolled oolongs I’ve tried, this one overbrews quite easily. It has a bit of a drying, astringent finish only two or three infusions in, and as dry as it leaves my mouth feeling, I’m not too compelled to do a fourth infusion. I will anyway, for the sake of curiosity…
The fourth infusion seems to have really lost flavor for the most part. I’m not getting much out of it, but it is still really dry feeling in the mouth, and has a bitter finish like orange blossom tea.
Other than the first infusion, I didn’t enjoy this tea at all. The first infusion was great and reminded me of some of the better Houjicha I’ve had, but after that there were some astringent and sour qualities that were so overwhelming to me I didn’t really feel compelled to try to describe the subtleties. It’s not that I don’t like the roasted flavors this tea has… it’s just that I’ve had lots of other teas that have similar roasted flavors without all the biting qualities of this one, so to me… I wouldn’t revisit this tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Roasted
How did I never review this? I’m usually so good about that.
I bought some of this from Shab Row Tea Emporium in Frederick, MD. It’s nice. Minty with the feel (if not quite the taste) of chocolate. Sugar doesn’t really add much to this tea, though I do like adding a bit of Herbal Infusions Cacao Tea to up the chocolate taste. It’s nice but not really something I’ll get again.
Flavors: Chocolate, Peppermint
Funny that some of the other reviews say too much jasmine, because I’m finding it to be too little jasmine. There is only a hint of jasmine and I like really strong jasmine flavor. The rest of the tea seems really well balanced, but it just doesn’t pack enough punch for me.
There has been a role reversal in the house today, instead of Ben having to take care of my sickly self, I got to take care of him today. Poor sickly thing either picked up a super nasty cold or the flu, chances are I am going to get it what with the fever and sore throat I have had all day, but it has not hit me as hard as it has him. I feel really bad since he has one of those amazing immune systems and never gets sick, he just does not know how to deal with it. I have been giving him loads of tea which seems to be helping.
Today’s tea is Fu Man Chu, by Serendipitea, a blend of Organic Jasmine Petals, Organic Pouchong, and Organic Pu-erh. I need to start this review by saying that I have always wanted a Fu Man Chu mustache, I mean it is just so cool! Yeah I am one of those nerdy chicks with mustache envy, I think because it just looks fun to twirl while contemplating, I could twirl it while contemplating this tea! The aroma of this tea is quite unique, a blend of heady jasmine and earthy pu-erh. It is like a blend of blooming flowers and a garden after rain, it has that mineral and wet earth aroma. This tea smells like laying on one’s back in a summer garden, a very interesting concept.
Once the tea has been brewed the wet leaves get a bit of that market smell that I associate with some pu-erh, it is a bit metallic, earthy, and has a tiny bit of a wet river mud aroma at the finish. There is also a pretty potent jasmine aroma followed by a honeysuckle sweetness. The liquid is a heady blend of jasmine and orchid with an underlying earthiness and honey sweetness. It is pretty intense!
The taste if this tea is certainly interesting! It starts off sweet and heady, with a strong taste of orchid, honeysuckle, and jasmine. This transitions to earthy pu-erh with a touch of metallic and a slightly bitter finish. Sadly, even though I am always a fan of the unusual, I did not find this particular blend worked for me. It was too contrasting of tastes for me. I do recommend giving it a try though, it is so unusual that it is a tea that needs to be experienced at least once!
It has been one of those days, you know, the day that starts out kinda ok and then turns out bad because pain decides to slam you in the guts. Literally. The only thing I can do is take it easy and hope tomorrow will be better. If it isn’t I plan on spending the day doing something crafty. Actually, even if I do feel wonderful tomorrow I am going to spend it doing something crafty, I have not had a craft day in a while.
Today’s tea from SerendipiTea is definitely one for those who like the chocolate, or so the name Cocoa Power would have me believe. This tea is a blend of Cocoa Beans, Cocoa Powder, Chocolate Bits, Natural Chocolate Flavoring, Natural Cream Flavoring, Organic Pu-erh, Organic Rooibos, Natural Vanilla Flavoring, and White Chocolate Bits. This tea probably wins the award for the most amount of chocolaty things in a tea that I have looked at (so far) it is impressive how many types of chocolate related ingredients are in this tea. And good googly moogly, chocolate power indeed! The aroma is a great blend of earthy pu-erh, woody sweet rooibos, vanilla sweetness, and loads of chocolate. It is a blend of sweet chocolate candy and rich cocoa powder, mixing the sweet and bittersweet aspects of chocolate. I am glad that it is sweet, but not cloyingly so.
The now steeped leaves have an intensely rich aroma, not at all sweet though. There are notes of cocoa, earthiness, the tea smells heavy. This seems like an odd description, but it has a real weight to the aroma. The liquid is a bit cloudy from all the cocoa powder, almost making it like tea and hot cocoa. The aroma has the same heaviness to it, but it has caramel, chocolate, and woodiness, alongside the cocoa and earthiness.
This tea is a cup of cocoa decadence, that is, if you are a fan of dark chocolate. If you prefer the more milkier chocolate you might find yourself reaching for cream and sugar! This is not a very sweet chocolate tea, it starts smooth and rich, much like eating into an 80% cocoa dark chocolate bar (which if you have not done, I would seriously recommend) it has a slightly oily mouthfeel from the white chocolate bits as well. After the initial dark chocolate taste, it turns into earthy pu-erh with a slightly metallic and mineral taste at the finish, which is a very interesting contrast to the cocoa. I am not sure this is my favorite chocolate tea ever, but it is certainly very rich and unique!
Ooh, I love this. If not for the fact that I can see rooibos (both in the dry tea and the fact that the brew is red), I would barely know this is a rooibos at all. It really is a garden, with chamomile, lavender, mint, and rose blended perfectly so that I can taste each one. This is a super-relaxing herbal and I might have to get some for when my headaches are bothering me or I can’t get to sleep. Delicious!
I am so close to have the bedroom redone that I can almost taste it, not in a ‘I have been licking the furniture’ way either! There will be much rejoicing when I am finished because it has been taking so much time and energy, also the cats are in a tizzy over all the moving furniture. Pretty much all I have left to do now is put everything away and think of an official name for my new tea area, it just doesn’t feel right calling it a lair if I am not longer underground.
Today’s tea is an herbal blend from SerendipiTea, Fellini’s Folly, named for director Frederico Fellini. I am not too familiar with his work (not much of a film person) but his inspired tea caught my eye because of its ingredients: Rooibos, Peppermint, Golden Raisins, Anise, Orange Peel, and Licorice Root (all organic)…specifically the golden raisins (SULTANAS!) I love golden raisins, much more so than their darker counterparts which I will not even acknowledge. The aroma is quite strong, a potent chill of mint, sweet woodiness, a touch of licorice, a touch of anise, and a finish of raisins. It manages to be cooling and warming at the same time, an interesting contradiction.
Giving the tea a nice steeping brings out the sweeter notes. The wet leaves have an aroma that is a blend of honey, caramel, wood, and anise. There is a finish of citrus and then a nice pop of mint that lingers and cleans the sinuses. The liquid is a bit more subtle than the leaves, it has more or less the same notes, but they are gentle and a touch sweeter. I do believe that the aroma of sultanas is much stronger now, which makes me happy.
Tasting this tea is quite interesting! It starts off with a cooling sensation from the mint that cools all the way down my esophagus, but as soon as it passes into my stomach it blooms into soothing warmth. The taste, after the initial mint coolness fades, is sweet with notes of caramel, anise, and sultanas. There is a bit of licorice sweetness at the finish, but it is faint and not at all cloying like licorice can be. One thing I really liked about this tea is that the mint seemed to counteract the dryness from the rooibos that is usually present.
Happy Monday everyone, I feel absolutely awful, when I go to the Rheumatologist next week I am going to have to have a long conversation on why the medication he gave me stopped working and why I keep progressively feeling worse. Despite the pain I am in a good mood, I feel creative and inspired to do crafty things, a positive outlook (and copious amounts of tea) does make things better in the long run.
Today’s Tea is SerendipiTea’s Really Goethe, an award winning tea inspired by famous writer, philosopher, and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. This tea blends together Chinese Green Tea, Jasmine Petals, Laurel, Lemon Myrtle, and Rose Petals for a very pretty looking pile of leaves. The aroma is very floral and refreshing, with notes of heady roses and jasmine and a strong citrus note from the lemon myrtle. There are hints of honey sweetness and fresh vegetation as well.
The brewed tea has a nice zing of lemon myrtle, it is a fascinating scent blending the aroma of fresh lemon and a touch of crushed leaves. There are also hints of roses and jasmine with a touch of honey. The liquid is gently sweet and herbaceous with accompanying notes of roses and lemon myrtle.
Tasting the tea, it is quite delicate and refreshing, it blends the taste of fresh herbs and vegetation, floral notes and a bright citrus. It starts unassuming with the green notes and then transitions to roses and jasmine (like journeying from stem to blossom) and then finishes with lemon and a sweet, flower nectar aftertaste. This tea is really good on a day when you want something flavorful while not being overpowering, something that is gentle on the senses.
It is time to admit defeat and take up Paper Craft. Try as I might I cannot think of a way to make a Minecraft Blaze out of Perler Beads and not have it look really bad, same with the new Guardian mobs. I simply must have these for my desk, so my other option is to buy ink for my printer, a new Xacto knife, and some decent paper and make them. The reason I have been hesitant is because I know this will turn into an obsession and next thing you know I will end up having a huge Minecraft diorama on one of my shelves…and I am not sure I can spare the space just yet. Clearly I will just have to get a new set of shelves.
Today’s tea is quite appealing to my inner child, Chocolate A-Peel (ing) actually! A blend of Kenyan black tea, Rooibos, Citrus, and Chocolate and creamy goodies from SerendipiTea, a substitute for my favorite childhood candies, chocolate oranges! You know, the kind that comes in foil that you smash onto a table to separate it into little chocolate slices, really whoever thought of mixing chocolate and oranges together was a genius. The aroma of this particular dessert tea is pretty rich, with strong notes of woody rooibos, creamy cocoa with almost a chocolate liqueur tinge to it, a bit of caramel, a bit of apple, and lastly a potent zing of oranges. It is very sweet and rich, but not too sweet, very much so the difference between a yummy slice of chocolate and a giant chocolate cake.
After submerging the leaves into their hot bath (you’re in hot water now, bub…really threatening leaves helps…ok no it doesn’t, even if it is caused Agony of the Leaf) and letting them steep, it is time to sniff some soggy leaves! The aroma is still pretty sweet, also very woody with strong notes of orange and chocolate. It is really funny, the more I sniff Rooibos the more I like it, I went through a phase a few years ago where I really disliked it, so glad that has passed. The liquid is so much chocolate, it is like sniffing a bar of chocolate with notes of malt and oranges with a slightly woody finish.
As is usual with teas that have bits of chocolate as part of their ingredients, the top has a bit of an oily film, giving it a slightly oily mouthfeel. However, the rest of the mouthfeel is quite smooth, none of the dryness that usually accompanies Rooibos. The taste is super rich, it starts out malty and woody with strong notes of chocolate and caramel, this turns into a bright zing of orange which is like a little bit of sunshine in the dense night of chocolate. Lastly the tea finishes off with lingering caramel and creamy sweetness, definitely a tea for someone with a sweet-tooth or a sugar craving (which conveniently I have both of at the moment). Although I am still craving chocolate oranges, I think I am going to have to stock up on them this holiday season and try to not eat them all before New Years.
Remember how about a week or so ago I was lamenting my hands and wrists hurting because of writing too much? Well after getting myself some very swank looking wrist guards (I look like a Mortal Kombat Ninja) and only writing when necessary, my wrists are finally pain free. This is extra exciting because I can get back to folding my origami, which I have missed immensely. First thing to work on is my garland of Toshie’s Jewels for my Tea Lair and then I think I am going to make some stars. My Lucky Star jars are totally empty after they all found a new home, so time to refill them.
Today’s tea is Buddha’s Fingers from SerendipiTea, a nice amber oolong (meaning it has a higher oxidation than some of its more vibrantly green friends) from Wen Shan in northern Taiwan. The aroma of the little curled leaves is toasty and tasty! It is a blend of toasted sesame stems and tobacco with a touch of freshly broken green stems and a finish of coal. The aroma is more savory than sweet, reminding me of autumn fires at the end of a day.
Into the gaiwan it goes (fun fact, this was the first time I used this gaiwan after it arrived in the mail) for a nice steeping and slight unfurling. The aroma of the now soggy leaves is quite rich with notes of smoke, tobacco, toasted sesame seeds, and an underlying sweetness. This sweetness is like old orchids and a touch of wildflower honey. The liquid is mild with notes of sweet yeasty bread, butter, toasted sesame seeds, and a tiny touch of orchids at the finish.
This is a smooth tea in mouthfeel but slightly sharp in taste, it is an interesting contrast. The taste starts out with sharp, almost bitter, tabacco and rich toasted sesame seeds. This fades to a caramelized nut taste that lingers for quite a while as a sweet aftertaste.
For the second steeps’s aroma my nose was greeted with a very toasty roasty kick, like a blend of toasted bread and roasted nuts, along with a sweet caramelized sugar finish. The taste is pretty potent, starting out with an almost sour tabacco taste that causes me to salivate a lot, which in turn makes the taste come off as very sweet. After that initial fun flip-flop the taste is toasted sesame and caramelized sugar with a slightly dry finish. This is a pretty potent tea, not for the faint of heart, which I like, and find myself wondering how this tea would hold up to Grandpa Style Brewing.
Flavors: Caramel, Roasted, Toasty, Tobacco
Well here I am, mostly back in the proverbial tea saddle, by which I mean my desk chair and not lounging in bed. I am still a bit out of it from my Endoscopy and of course have to wait for the results of my biopsy, but first impressions have pros and cons. It looks like I may not have Celiac disease, just Gluten Intolerance and IBS…which is the good part, bad part is my stomach has some nasty inflammation and ulceration, if I am lucky it is just from medication or bile reflux, if I am unlucky the H. pylori never did get knocked out of my system all the way. I will never wish that infection on anyone, the methods to remove it are as bad as the infection, at least it was to me. No use counting evil chickens before they hatch though, for now I am just going to relax with tea.
And speaking of tea we have today’s tea from SerendipiTea (whose name makes me smile) who recently sent me a nice pile of samples to try out, I wanted something relaxing so I decided The Big Sleep was the way to go today. An herbal blend of Anise, Brahmi, Coconut, Honeybush, Pomegranate Peel, and Vanilla Bean (all organic) blended with the aim of putting the sipper into a nice dream state. I really like SerendipiTea’s use of references, as a massive Geek I always appreciate them, even if I have not read The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (or seen the movie inspired by the book) I certainly recognize the reference. The aroma of the dry leaves is pretty interesting, a blend of herbaceous and spice notes with a touch of sweet vanilla, nutty coconut, woody honeybush, and a hint of fruity tartness at the finish. It is quite unlike any blend I have sniffed before, I especially like how well the anise and coconut compliment each other.
Giving the tea a nice long steeping (which is so unusual when I do so much Gongfu brewing, it feels just so long!) the aroma from the wet leaves waft up to my nose. The aroma is a blend of sweetness and spices, it reminds me of my favorite Indian market’s spice aisle, but with an addition of coconuts. It smells soothing it me, but that could be because I am having a nice nostalgia. The liquid without its leafy friends (or more herbs and spice friends) has an aroma very similar to the wet leaves, but it is woodier.
Ahh, this tea is quite soothing. It has an oily coating from the coconut and dryness from the honeybush, it is an interesting mouthfeel, since it starts out oily and fades to dry at the finish. The taste is a mild blend of sweet vanilla and caramel and gentle anise. There is an herbal taste to it as well that reminds me a bit of fennel seeds. I am not sure if it is the tea or convenient luck, but I am feeling very relaxed and wanting to go curl up and nap. There is also a slight tingly feeling in my throat, similar to the tingling of cloves, which is nice. This is a nice sipping before sleep tea, it is tasty without being overpowering.
Flavors: Anise, Caramel, Coconut, Fennel Seed, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood