Steven Smith Teamaker

Recent Tasting Notes

88

Drinking the last of this sample from Terri. Thanks, again, Terri. This was super tasty. And I followed the instructions to the letter, regarding the playing of opera in the background, while the tea is brewing.

Yesterday’s two cups were accompanied by “Faust” and “La Boheme,” respectively. Today’s cup is accompanied by “Le nozze di Figaro.”

Spencer

Got so caught-up in the music that I forgot to take the infuser out of the tea until eight minutes into the brew.

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88

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for this sample! I really enjoyed it.

An excerpt from my full review:
“The aromas of mixed Ceylon and Assam are touched by very gentle citrus. Truly, the smell of this infused tea does not remind me of Earl Grey in my experience. When I start sipping No. 55, the complexity of this not-Earl Grey surprises me. I say it is complex due to the different flavors, which I notice as separate but cohesive. It is at this point that I ‘lose myself’ in thoughts and tea. When my mind returns to the present, half of the mug of tea has been consumed – a sure sign of enjoyment.”

The full review will be available, later today, at CreateWriteDrink.com.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’m very pleased to present a multi-morning review of No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 from Steven Smith Teamaker, Western style without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: I confidently ordered this tea based on LiberTEAS excellent recommendations 2 years ago:
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/104708
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/135003

After placing my order, I saw that boychik cautioned 7 months ago that the recent batch of this tea maybe on the bitter side: http://steepster.com/boychik/posts/211831#comments. I then began to wonder … Does this Assam have a consistent taste profile from year to year? … Should I have blindly ordered 4 oz.?

Per: http://www.smithtea.com/shop/black/assam
“Preparation
For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. A good time to practice the sitar.”

Note: The incomplete instructions do NOT specify how much tea or water. Is one supposed to assume 1 tsp. (level, rounded, heaping?) and a 6 oz. teacup, an 8 oz. cup, or something larger?

Given boychik’s warning and the incomplete brewing instructions, I was now less certain how much I would enjoy this Assam.

Leaf: Thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.5 cm long or less with many golden tips.
Fragrance: Rich high-quality pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear brilliant copper
Aroma: Malt, caramel & sweet potato – ah!
Flavor: Malt, caramel, honey

1 tsp. (2.6 g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 5 min:
Aroma: Robust and malty.
This is a smooth, rich, malty and satisfying Assam. However, the malty flavor overshadowed any hint of caramel and there was woodiness at the end of the sip.

Having not yet achieved the same results as LiberTeas, I then looked at previous tasting notes for this Assam and tried the following brewing recommendations:

Scribbles: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / “just off boiling” (I used 208F) / 5 min:
To my taste buds, the bold malty Assam still overshadows the caramel. Near the bottom of the cool cup, the sweet caramel was more obvious. There was a dry finish with some astringency near the front of my tongue. Fortunately, the woodiness was no longer present with the lower temperature.

Resteep:
6 & 7-min. – not yet. 8-min – ? 10-min. produced a light-bodied cup with a similar flavor profile.

Nicole: 1.5 tsp. (3.5 g) / 10 oz. / 205F / 2.5 min:
Aroma: Malt with hints of both caramel & sweet potato – ah!
This preparation provided a bold, rich, and malty with a definite caramel sweetness and a dry finish. The cup was very invigorating.

Terri HarpLady: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 3-4 min:
3 min. produced a rich, smooth, full-bodied malty Assam with a yummy caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness and minimal astringency. As the cup cools there is a honey-like sweetness. Very satisfying! Now we’re talking!! Terri’s experience reviewing this tea 12 times truly paid off!

Resteep: Not recommended.

Impression: I’m very pleased to have finally found exactly what LiberTEAS so accurately described in her tasting note. No. 49 is apparently consistent and definitely Carmalicious!

Thanks to all who contributed detailed brewing tips in their tasting notes or the comments of the No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 thread. Your guidance was very helpful for this tea especially given the incomplete brewing instructions.

Recommendation Not having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Having to do so is very inefficient, wastes valuable tea, and IMHO impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration. In retrospect, it’s a very good thing that I ordered 4 ounces!

My favorite tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea every year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer (for 212F brewing)
http://steepster.com/teaware/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
LiberTEAS

I’m glad you have managed to achieve satisfactory results with this tea. I really love Steven Smith’s teas. I realize that I’m not at all precise with my eyeballing of the parameters … I guess after having brewed tea for as long as I have, I just … sort of get a feel for it, and that’s where I work from. I’m not good with timers, scales, measurements or anything like that. That said, I am happy that you found some satisfaction from this tea because it’s a good one!

Nightshifter

Wow, outstanding review!

Veronica

Great review! My grocery store sells the bagged version of this tea, but I think I want to give the loose leaf version a try.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, Agreed, SST No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 is a good one! Thanks for your recommendation!
I would be curious to know how many tsp. or Tbsp = one bamboo tea scoop?
Since you use a Breville One Touch, it provides the brewing temperature and time. Per the owner’s manual, the “glass jug” has markings for 500ml / 2 cups, 750ml / 3 cups, 1000ml / 4 cups, & 1200ml / 5 cups and a max of 41 oz. of tea.
Adding any of the known brewing parameters to your reviews would helpful. Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nightshifter!

looseTman

Thanks Veronica! The SST bagged and loose tea should be identical. However, the bagged version probably more $/oz. for the convenience. Also, with bags you can’t fine tune the amount of tea per cup unless you cut the bag open.

Doug F

Great analysis!

looseTman

Thanks Doug F!

boychik

I didn’t like it. I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters. I didn’t find mine. it was either too bitter or too weak. I had 2oz, maybe 1 or 2 tsp left

looseTman

“I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters.” Agreed! That’s why I’m a big fan of companies like TeaVivre that provide complete brewing instructions which are optimized for each crop year.

boychik

I was annoyed when I called them up to ask what am I doing wrong, the lady was keep telling me same thing over and over 5 min 212F. I love Lord Bergamot and Fez, but I’d rather buy my Assam fr Harney. Mike Harney is very helpful

looseTman

I agree, there’s no substitute for great customer service.

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – I don’t think I had the breville back when I had this tea. I could be wrong, in which case, I would say that for an Assam I probably used 205°F water and 500ml for approximately 2 bamboo scoops of tea. I would estimate that the bamboo scoop equals approximately 2 tsp. So yeah, I probably use more tea than I need … but then it’s always been my own personal preference to want a tea strong and as fully flavored as possible.

@boychik – I’m sorry that you encountered poor service from Smith Teamakers. I usually shop in their Portland tea shop, and I’ve always encountered very good service. But, yeah, it can be frustrating when you encounter poor service and I don’t blame you at all for your frustration.

looseTman

Thanks LiberTEAS! I too like strong full-flavored black teas. I’ll give your brewing parameters a try.

LiberTEAS

Oh … and with an Assam in the Breville … I always brew for 2 minutes. The reason is that the Breville does keep the water warmer than the process of pouring hot water into the tea pot does, even if you temper your tea pot and cover the tea pot with a cozy to keep it warm. This is something that I did learn from Trial and Error because my Assams would always come out bitter after steeping for 2 1/2 minutes, I realized that it’s because the Breville temp doesn’t drop the way that steeping in my tea pot did.

LiberTEAS

After making tea just now, I took a step to measure how much tea fit into my bamboo scoop. I would say it’s closer to a generously heaped teaspoon than 2 teaspoons. Of course, this also depends greatly on the leaf itself. Which is why I suppose the most accurate way to get the right amount of tea is a scale. Unfortunately, my stubbornness won’t allow me to get all accurate when it comes to tea measurement. Tea should be simple. No scales.

Nicole

Excellent review! I’ll have to try Terri’s parameters next time.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, It’s always good to know what was learned from someone else’s Trial and Error experience. Why reinvent the wheel?
OK, 1 one bamboo tea scoop = 1 generously heaped teaspoon. does this = 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 tsp.?
Any thoughts on this one? http://www.theteamerchant.net/teaware/accessories/tea-scoop/tea-scoop-and-tong/. How does it compare to yours?
Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nicole! Yes, Terri’s parameters were a big help! Steepster is a definitely wealth of info!

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – my bamboo scoop is very much like that one.

I think it would probably be closer to 1.5 tsp.

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I decided to kick start my day with a cup of this malty caramelly deliciousness. I haven’t been wanting assams very much lately, and I have quite a few of them to get through. I think once I finish up the last of my assam I’ll leave them out of cupboard for a while. I find sometimes they are a little too much for me.

This morning, however, this one hit the spot. I can’t believe how much caramel is present. If I added sugar, it would probably come across as a little syrupy. I found some floral, but more in the aroma than in taste, and it went away after a while. Or maybe I just got used to the aroma.

The first steep I let go for 5 minutes. I thought it would be too long, but it turned into a quite a flavourful cup. After such a long first steep I wondered if I would get a second steep out of it, but it was just as delicious. I kinda forgot about it, and steeped longer than 5 minutes. I noticed some bitterness in the second steep as the cup cooled, but I kind of expected that.

Gratitude and thanks to looseTman for providing the sample.

looseTman

Hi Scribbles, You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed this Assam. I see you steeped for 5 min. What were the other parameters: tsp. (g) / oz. / temp.? Thanks!

scribbles

I used teavana perfect tsp levelled in 8 oz of near boiled H20. First steep 5 min. 2nd steep 5+.

Ost

Mmm sounds delicious! I need to find more good Assam!

scribbles

This is the first one where I’ve noticed such a STRONG caramel flavour…so yumminess! :)

Ost

I love caramel flavor in anything! I’ll have to check out this tea!

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98

Yup. This is still amazingly good. Deeply malty and caramely.

Having recently taken a thermometer into work to see what the actual water temp is out of the dedicated line and the coffee maker spigot, I was shocked to find how off I have been in my estimation. It is actually only about 160F. I’m amazed any of my blacks that I love turned out okay with temps this low! But… knowing this, I now give the cup a bump in the microwave before steeping till it’s bubbling.

This tea was good at work before, now it’s just as amazing as it is at home. And other teas I’ve been retrying at work have definitely improved. I’ve been switching between this, Single Origin’s Kenya Kaporet, Harney & Sons’ Indian Nimbu & Golden Blend (which was tons better at a higher temperature), and the no-name golden yunnan from Chinatown.

I haven’t been posting much since I’m just drinking down my collection and not really trying anything new. It hurts my heart because I really, really want to order two of the new Harney teas from China and my TeaVivre sale order has to be my only purchase for this month. I do get on and read reviews and discussions, though. :)

Plus, work has been nuts. It sucks since I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger for the next two months but after September, I have no idea what I’ll have to keep me occupied! I’m also working on something that could turn out to be super neat if it all turns out like I hope. I can’t say anything yet… but I am positive you folks will like it. Stay tuned. :p

boychik

I’m intrigued ;-)

looseTman

Nicole, What steeping parameters, {tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min.}, did you use for such excellent results? I see you mentioned 205*F & 3 min. in your previous note. Thanks!

Nicole

I used about 1.5 teaspoons in 10 ounces of water about 200-205F I’d guess (no thermometer at work any more but I could hold the cup for about 15 seconds before my hands got too hot and while the water wasn’t bubbly, the infuser & tea caused a brief bubble storm when I put them in) for about 2.5-3 minutes no rinse and it was filtered but not spring water.

looseTman

Thanks! I’ll have to try it.

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88

Sipdown! (134 QQ)

I wasn’t planning on writing a note for this, but wow this came out so fruity today! It’s all about the raisins and dried apricot in both aroma and taste. It literally smells like apricot preserves! I’m not sure what I did different, but damn is this good… The fruit isn’t quite as extreme in the taste as the smell, but the stonefruit is extremely present compared to other Yunnan or black teas in general. I am amazed! I would absolutely order this one if it’s going to be like this every time! :O

The only difference in the preparation is that since I brewed it in a glass Pyrex cup, the leaves had a bit more room to unfold. But I can’t imagine that making such a difference considering they usually have plenty of room in my brew basket! So weird!

I wish I could share this cup of tea with everyone here! Lol.

Flavors: Apricot, Raisins, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

Is water the same? I only drink with spring water at Poconos.. Water here is stinky. I swear. I want to go hoooomeee

Cameron B.

Yeah, it’s from the same filter pitcher and in the same kettle. So weird! :P Little apricot fairies came and took a bath while I wasn’t looking!

boychik

I have this tea but never opened the pouch. Wanted to sipdown other teas. Looking forward to try
I luv any stone fruit notes especially apricots fresh or dried .

Cameron B.

Well, I hope the stonefruit comes out for you! My first note for this tea had no mention of stonefruit, lol. I’m reading it and thinking “this sounds like a completely different tea”…

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85

Pass the Stash TTB 2.0

I’ve been rather curious about Steven Smith’s teas. I have browsed his website many times and there are definitely several things I would like to try. I was excited to see that my local The Fresh Market has a sampler box of his teas, but it’s different from the one listed online and it’s missing a couple of the teas that was really interested in trying. So poo! This was actually one of the teas I was curious about. Luckily for me, there was a single individually-wrapped sachet in the box! Sorry guys, I had to try it. :P

I really really like this tea! It’s a lovely mix of the soft hay-like flavor of bai mudan and the lightly floral honey tones of chamomile. I have no idea what osmanthus tastes like, but I definitely get an extra floral element in here. I’m finding this extremely delicious with a little bit of honey! I would definitely buy this as a nice calming evening option.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Honey

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

I’m kind of a grumpface today… Our new roommate (and my boyfriend’s friend and coworker) has only been here a week, and he already bought tickets for some girl to come visit him. For a week. And they’re not even dating, and she’s 19 to boot (no offense meant to the younger people on here, but I generally do not like or get along with teenagers)… Seriously? And since he and my boyfriend generally work from about 8 to 5 during the week, I will most likely have the pleasure of entertaining this person all day long. Seriously? I am at a loss as to why this is going down… But you know, clearly my opinion doesn’t matter as long as he asks my boyfriend about it, who is never going to say no. So yes, grumpface.

So, on to the tea then. The leaves are what I would call “medium-sized” and twisty. They’re mostly dark with little spots of gold. They smell mildly malty with honey sweetness, yum. I did a 3 minute brew just out of habit.

The aroma is quite dark. Very malty, with a syrupy deep raisin note and something somewhere between honey and molasses. Wow, the flavor here is deep. I definitely agree with Terri about this being a manly tea. That dark raisin aroma carries over into taste, but it’s not sweet at all. Needless to say, this is quite malty. There’s tobacco and soft leather, maybe a touch of earthiness. There’s also an interesting almost bitterness that I feel is inherent to the tea (meaning not a result of incorrect brewing). It melds nicely with the leather and tobacco notes.

Nicole mentioned maybe a bit of smoke in here, and although I wouldn’t call it smoke, I can see what she’s talking about. It’s definitely dark and intense, and the earthy quality could definitely be described as almost smoky.

I quite enjoyed this tea. It’s amazing to see (or rather taste) the wide range of flavors and experiences that can come out of one region (Yunnan). The golden, fuzzy Yunnan teas are light with pastry and honey-sweetness, while the darker varieties can be very assertive and rich, with deep and developed savory flavors. Amazing! I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to try all of the different kinds, especially since most of them were from swaps! Thanks everyone, and Nicole in particular, who provided this sample, along with many others! :)

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Tobacco

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Marzipan

You know the saying, fish and guests stink after three days.

Cameron B.

HAH! I have never heard that, but you made me laugh with it. :P

mj

Totally justified in your grumpface, in my opinion! I had a friend who was in a very similar boyfriend + roommate living situation and it is tricky to say the least!

Sami Kelsh

One of my flatmates currently has her parents visiting, and while I super don’t mind at all (as I’m barely home myself on weekdays) I have to be super noise-conscious as it means my flatmate’s sleeping on the living room couch. And her folks decided to stay on an extra week, poor dear!

TeaBrat

ugh, maybe you should go somewhere while she’s here. :)

Nicole

That would make me a grumpface also. That’s just rude.

Cameron B.

Honestly, I’m sure it’ll be fine, hopefully the time will go by fast. And after talking to my boyfriend about it, I think they might work from home while she’s here so I don’t have to babysit all day. I’m just a bit peeved over the whole thing. :P

sherapop

I would recommend spending the week visiting all of your local tea houses! Carpe Diem! ;-)

Ost

Oy. Yeah, teenagers suck. Good luck you ya!

apt

teenagers are horrible

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Day 3 in Florida, 1st sip down of the day. Thanks for including this in the BBBB, TastyBrew. It is, in my opinion, a manly tea: Leather, wood, a little musty. Not as sweet as some of the Yunnan’s Ive enjoyed, but still a decent tea to drink.

Cameron B.

I have a sample of this one that I haven’t tried yet. Manly tea! :P

boychik

Terri, what’s your parameters for this tea? Hope you enjoying the trip!

Terri HarpLady

Boychik, I’ve tried it a couple of different ways:
1 tsp X 3 was ok, but kind of weak, IMO
1TB gongfu…it just wasn’t that interesting that way
1 TB 1/2/5 not much better than the gongfu
1 TB X 3 good, but a little strong
I probably should have gone with 2 t X 3. I think that would have been the sweet spot.

boychik

I should try when I get home. It’s still unopened . Thanks for the advice!

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66

After my sub par cup this morning, I wanted a proper cup. So I have cranked up the ac, made some toast with lemon curd, and poured this.
This tea is so smooth, with light and delicious layers to it. Not even a little bitter. And this pares so well with the bright aftertaste of lemon curd in my mouth from my toast. I recommend that combination!

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74

This tea definitely has a floral element. Floral and leather. Pleasant but not my favorite. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to try it so thank you Sil!! (165)

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66

My eyelids are practically glued shut. Argh. I hope this morning goes smoothly.
On to the tea! This is really good. Its smooth, and not at all bitter, with warm notes layered on top of each other.
I think that this will really come into its own when its the fall. But I’ll enjoy it until then.

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Cup from last night. Made it latte style with tiny bit of maple syrup. While it was good I probably had craved something else. If only I knew…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

Hate when that happens

boychik

Right. Also my water is different now since I’m in PA. Nothing beats NYC tap water.

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66

I am being bolder and trying more “plain” blacks. I’m a lover of flavored tea, but I can see that there is great deliciousness hiding about in their unflavored sisters.
So I picked this up. Its bagged, which is not super ideal, but I’ve liked what I’ve had from Steven Smith before, and am willing to put my tastebuds in his hands.
This is pretty good! I’m delighted with how smooth it is, and, while its not exactly sweet, it is light and refreshing and quite good indeed. I’ll enjoy having this, on the days I feel more like a classic cup of tea.

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83

Queued post, written May 18th 2014

Here is another one from my recent Auggy parcel. I’ve seen this one around before on Steepster, but it never really caught my interest enough to check it further. It just got lumped automatically into the ‘sounds nice but unavailable to me’ box and so I put it from my mind.

Now I get to have some anyway. I find the name of the blend attractive for reasons that I don’t even understand myself. If I were shopping somewhere and saw a black blend of that name, it would make me have a closer look.

This is one of those rare blends, where not only have they listed what goes in it, they’ve also done it in a more detailed way than usual. Many companies would just have put ‘Indian, Ceylon and China tea’. Some would go a little further and put ‘Assam, Ceylon and Keemun.’ This one actually specifies the two Ceylons used (Uva and Dimbula)! It made me go YAY! I wish more companies would take heed of this.

Now, Uva is a highgrown tea and Dimbula is as well. I don’t actually care much for the high-grown Ceylons although I find them easier to drink than a Darjeeling. As is my experience, though, a Darjeeling in a blend can become quite acceptable in a blend because it is tempered by the other ingredients, and this is the case with the high grown Ceylon in this blend as well. Assam and Keemun are both fairly strong teas for me. Some people classify Keemun as mild, but for me it’s not that mild. I think maybe I measure strength differently. Something with that much flavour in it feels strong to me. They both do an excellent job with keeping the Ceylon in line in this blend. It is primarily a Ceylon blend, though.

I’m actually getting very little of the characteristics of the Keemun and Assam. No grain-y notes, but a little bit of floralness which may or may not be part Keemun and part Ceylon. No cardboard-y notes from the Assam, but a great deal of body. It’s like the Assam and Keemun work to enhance the deeper notes of the Ceylons rather than add their own flavour to the mix. I find I quite like that. It makes the blend taste very balanced. It reminds me strongly of low-grown Ceylon actually.

I’m quite pleased with this one.

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85

This smells pretty much like Earl Grey to me, which is totally fine, but it meant I got out the almond milk to splash in it before even brewing. Without, bergamot tastes super soapy to me.

Anyway, with a bit of almond milk, this was fantastic. I could taste the tea, bergamot, AND almond from my milk (something I really enjoy, and why I buy almond milk in the first place). Win.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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64
drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
4818 tasting notes

this was in the BBB grab bag and since i try not to let things get back to TB, i pulled it out, figuring that if nothing else it could be shared by the numerous tea folks here. I figured i really ought to try it sooner than later so i could knock it off my list if i decided i didn’t really like it. As expected, this one’s not for me. there’s a floral note in this one that just doesn’t sit with me, and as it cooled it took on a taste that i really didn’t care for. In to the swap box it goes for others to try!

whatshesaid

You sent me some of this, didn’t you? You hadn’t tried it?

Sil

haha nope. you said you wanted to try steven smith teas so i just pulled it out :)

whatshesaid

Aww thanks, you’re magical! I think I liked it more than you, once I did it right :)

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75

This is a tea that I drink rarely, mostly because between the licorice and the stevia it is so sweet and really strong. I seem to remember that licorice is very helpful for sore throats and coughs, so I thought I would drink this one today and see if it helps. I have another licorice tea from Yogi tea, maybe I will break that one out as well. Can’t really taste much so this isn’t offending me at the moment…lol

Flavors: Cinnamon, Licorice, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I hope you feel better! Gross licorice. XP

TeaBrat

Thanks, it’s such a weird time of year to be coming down with a cold. Licorice can be gross but there’s nothing better if you have a sore throat and a cough.

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drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
368 tasting notes

I had this tea yesterday and it seemed a little bit uninspiring , so I decided to try it again brewed at a higher temperature. Darjeeling’s often seem to have different characters depending how you brew them. This one was no exception, although it did not go through as extreme a transformation as some I have had. I prefer this one brewed at boiling.

After 3 min @92 °C, I had a tea smelling of bright muscatel notes, cocoa, grainy malt and honey with a maple coloured broth.

The first note was a muscatel note that was quickly overtaken by grainy malt with a hint of honeyed cocoa and an underlying bitterness. It seemed a little more rrobust, substantial and warming than some Darjeeling’s I’ve had. Brewed this way this is not really a morning or afternoon tea for me I can picture having it when I want something soothing on a crisp night.

Brewed with boiling water for 3 minutes, the sharp fruity notes of muscatel were much stronger, the tea tasted lighter and a little bit sweeter with a touch of sharpness and a milder but slightly more bitter maltiness underneath. There is a bit of a slightly spicy and bitter floral note underneath the muscatel. At this temperature there is a more interesting blend of fruity muscatel, grainy and slightly buttery grain notes, honey and malt. It’s more of an afternoon tea now, and certainly more refreshing.

This tea doesn’t resteep exceptionally well.

Thanks Sil for the chance to try this one!

Sil

np just tried to find a few things you hadn’t tried :)

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No new notes. This is from the BBBB, courtesy of TastyBrew
A decent yunnan: earth, leather, little spice.

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77

why hello there tea that i see a certain someone hasn’t tried yet….looks like it’s one more cup of you before you go visit that person mwahahahaha. Still enjoying this one, though not nearly as much as the first time i had it. still though, happy to enjoy a nice straight cup of black today. this afternoon. it’s almost stop work time!

Final count: 208

Stephanie

Woo Friday almost quitting time!

Nicole

This is so good!

Terri HarpLady

This is from the Grab bag in the BBBB, right? I have some of this, which I brought with me to Tony’s. I’ll probably drink it tomorrow, so I hope you aren’t planning to send the rest of yours to moia… ;)

Sil

Yes Terri :)

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80

Success!

Well, sort of.

I stuck this in my mug to brew for a couple minutes (at about 85 degrees) and totally got distracted and forgot about it for at least 30-45 minutes because I wasn’t able to set my oven timer because I was cooking chicken.

So I came back to bitter town – buuuuuttttt – I poured half out in another mug, replaced what was missing with fresh water and it was great!

Last time I didn’t know I was supposed to treat a Darjeeling like a green, so this time I was prepared temperature wise. I almost totally effed it up by oversteeping but my trick saved it.

It was nutty and toasty in a way that is different from Laoshan Black (for example).

I couldn’t tell you in what way, I’m not really there.

But done right, I’d totally buy this!

Thanks Sil!!

Raising my rating up from 67.

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88

I got this sample from ifjuly – thank you.
She supplied me with some awesome samples some time ago. I haven’t finish her sample box, lotsa tea samples left. Feel guilty.
This tea is very good. I didnt read a description or reviews before I brew it(i do normally). my son had Field trip today, i left my house earlier without breakfast. As soon as i got home i had it, it was almost lunch time. i just couldnt figure out the flavor. its smooth malty creamy sweet (black tea sweet) and something. Well when i read its pine needles. Oh, its so good, who could imagine i would love some pine notes in my tea. Anyway, its a Christmas season tea, its not available right now. I can wait. My stash is huge anyway.
Btw, today is Steven Smith Bday, they offer 15% off(doesnt happen often) the code is Happy Birthday Steve
resteep was surprisingly good. More pine came thru. at 4 min

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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