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Recent Tasting Notes

I was about ready to give up on this one until I ran across momo’s post about trying to cook with it. That inspired me to put a little kick into the turkey gravy that I was making for tonight’s dinner.

I put about half a shotglass worth of leaf in a shotglass and filled it up with water to brew. Then when it came time to add water to my pan to make my gravy, I strained the cup through a strainer and used the tea. I also used a little bit of cayanne pepper and some black pepper on the sausage because dad didn’t spice the sausage enough for my taste.

It came out pretty good! There is a different note underneath the light smokiness. I think that is the actual black tea base. It was different enough to be pleasant and went very well with the turkey sausage.

I want to make a version of this again for the whole family only instead of using a meat for the base, I want to try it with onions and mushrooms. That way I can mold the turkey sausage to look like little t-bone steaks for the family. That will surprise them.

Cooking with this tea might have saved it for now. I will have to figure out how to use it in a satisfying way.

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I had a bad first experience with Lapsang Souchong. It smelled like bacon and tasted like watered down burned bacon grease. That being said, I am a little nervous over this tea because the smell of the dried leaf came back to me very quickly. I brewed this for two minutes and it smells smokey. More like grillhouse smoker type of smoke and less campfire this time.

It isn’t bad. It isn’t what I was expecting either. Yes, it does taste like smoke but it also has a mild and barely detectable sweetness. But I mostly taste smoke and I’m not the biggest fan of that taste. It makes me feel better about Lapsang Souchong now and I know that the tea itself isn’t bad.

If you like lapsang souchong, I believe that you would really love this one. I’m not rating this one because it isn’t a bad tea. I’m just not overly fond of it.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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I know I have been absent for quite a while. September normally is one of the best if not the best surfing month of the year. And this one was of the best ever. So everything gets postponed. Sidetracked. Except for Tea. I drink it religiously. I just did not write about it. I have to tell you all about my first experience with this Sheng. I never brought a Pu-er to work before because quite frankly they can be wild. Normally it is an Oolong or a green for my 9pm tea. My friends and I enjoyed this. It provided superior flavor and mouth texture and an incredible buzz. I went to my GFs house with this feeling of utter calm and hightened state of well being. Then she gave me the soup made with black chicken, spinach and goji berries and ginseng and some other herbs. Three spoonfuls of the soup and I was sicker than sick. Apparently this is a no-no to combine a young Pu-er with what my friends call a “hot” soup. Not temperature wise but energy wise. OMG it was awful. FF to today I brewed this in my gaiwan and I lost count of the steeps. It started out slightly bitter with a golden hue and morphed into a sweeter liquid later with a flavor that seemed to linger. I feel the same euphoria as before only now I am wiser. I can only imagine how good this will be with aging.

Bonnie

I was drinking Puerh and thinking about surf and the surfers in the family and longboarders today. I’m going to write about that. Too bad you were sick after feeling so good. I love that tea high. I have a puerh that does the same for me. I call it my party puerh.

TheTeaFairy

oh my! Your girlfriend’s soup sounds really good, first time I hear about “hot soup”, guess it didn’t turn out the way she had planned :-) You know better for next time!

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My best friend came over with cheesecake today! Yay! She is a teacher and we took advantage of her day off to spend some time together even though youngest and I did NOT take the day off. We are doing a few extra days of schoolwork because she is going to Northern Ireland, Ireland, and England next month!

With sweet food, I like a contrasting tea. Nothing astringent, mind you, just something to “cut the sweet” and clear the palate so that dessert is delicious instead of cloying. One of my favorite teas to serve with really sweet food is Teavivre’s Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls. My friend had those recently at my house, so I thought we would drink this so she could try something new.

Oh, what can I say? I really love Da Hong Pao teas. One of the first ones I tried (by a different company) was anemic and uninteresting. This one has the fresh walnut flavor, the woodiness, the hints of unsweetened cocoa, that I love in DHP. The dry leaf in particular smells like a chocolate flavored tea! Steeped, the chocolate becomes a hint of cocoa and the nutty flavor comes to the forefront.

I am on the second steep and will be making at least one more with this even though I am making it western style and by the pot. So good!

Bonnie

Someday, every steepster person is going to show up on your door step at the same time for tea and dessert!

ashmanra

Come on, everybody! I would love it! :)

TeaVivre

Spending some time together with best friend can relax our body and mood. Meanwhile , enjoying a cup of tea and dessert can bring a good mood, how pleasant it is.

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This is the last of my sample from Teavivre, and once again a sample has caught me in its nefarious snare. I will probably be buying this one on my next order.

I got three steeps from this today and possibly could have made more, but I was cooking lunch and needed to get moving. This is so smooth. The leaves are very dark presteep. This is a dark oolong, not a green oolong, but it doesn’t have the mineral punch of a monkey picked (which I love big time, just saying it for comparison) but there is a lot of nutty smooth flavor.

As requested, I am posting a link to the pictures of the newly completed Tom Baker Fourth Doctor season 16-17 scarf, the largest and longest of the entire series. A scarf for Sam the puppy is now underway.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8060458307/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8060460390/in/photostream/

JacquelineM

Wonderful! and Long! and oh my Sam grew!!! :)

ashmanra

JacquelineM: I believe it is twenty feet! If not, it will get there quickly as it stretches under its own weight. That is what happened to the original. Sam is about 44 pounds now!

ashmanra

Oh my gosh! They are both great pictures but that first one with the close up of his face is PRICELESS! What a sweet kitty face! I would be smooching him all the time!

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This was a free sample included in one of my latest Teavivre orders.

I made three steeps in a row and tasted a sip of the first, then poured all three steeps into my new Chinese pot. But, OOPS! I didn’t look at the online instructions so I just used one heaping teaspoon of leaf for eight ounces of water. Now I see that they recommend much more than that. In spite of that foul up on my part, this is good tea!

I am feeling philosophical tonight and have a lot on my mind, so I lit the candle, turned on yoga radio on Pandora, and made tea. This is a great tea for such an evening. Now everyone else is abed and I more or less have the house to myself!

This oolong is rich and nutty. It doesn’t have quite as dark and roasted flavor as some oolongs, but is definitely not a green oolong. I really want to learn more about tea – the types of plants, their geographical origins and specialities. I feel inept describing this, but I can say it reminds me of a Monkey Picked TieGuanYin a bit, with the flavor leaning a bit more to walnut. There is a lovely lingering aftertaste that I find comforting.

The rice pattern Chinese pot I bought for $5 (for the whole set of pot and five cups) is handling beautifully, too. This is my inaugural use of it and I have never had a pot with the spout that goes up and then curls back downward, though I have heard they are supposed to drip less. This one pours nicely and the downward turn seems to slow the tea so you don’t splash without slowing to the point of impatience, which is how with one of my pots I end up tipping it too far to speed things up and end up spilling out of the lid. And indeed, I have not seen any dripping. So hooray for that! I needed to try it out tonight because someone is coming for tea tomorrow and I wanted to give it a test drive before using it then.

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Now I’ll be honest: I wasn’t interested in this tea, but it came as part of the oolong sampler so I figured I’d at least give it a try. Then I read the reviews here and I’ve decided it will be the tea to christen the new tiny glass teapot from my second Teavivre order that just arrived this morning!

I’m using 3.5g (half the sample pack)—that’s the same as my 1.5tsp tea scoop—for 200ml of boiling water. Steeps are 1, 2, and 3 minutes.
1st steep: Dry it is blue-green pellets with yellow flecks and more resembles small powder-coated rocks than it does tea. It has a sugary wet scent paired with straw. The wet leaf looks more crumpled than anything else after this first steep and smells of toast and well-cooked vegetables (spinach and green beans) with the same sweetness as when dry. Poured out it’s a light golden color. On the first sip I notice an acidity then astringency. On the second sip a sweet taste is added. I can taste toast, seaweed, and a sweetness like sugar cane. Then something remarkable happens: the sweetness starts moving around. It starts by feeling like a vapor that fills my mouth and then it dives to coat my mouth under my tongue! Does any of this sound bad to you? I can’t believe my first prejudiced thoughts about this tea were so wrong!
2nd steep: The leaves look like they could still handle a good bit more; they’re not fully opened for the most part, and the ones that have opened more are still very wrinkly. I don’t notice the toast scent in the wet leaf this time, but I get plenty of sweet well-cooked/roasted vegetables. This cup is more honey coloured, and I also don’t think I’m getting the toast here either. The acidity and astringency is the same, but then the sweetness takes away from that and is actually thicker! After each sip the sweetness becomes thick and honestly juicy right on the tip of my tongue! I’m going to run to the kitchen now to make the third steep….
3rd steep: I may have just been able to detect the toast scent in the wet leaf this time. Now I’m noticing that the acidity and astringency are stronger, but then they’re cut by that delicious, juicy sweetness. All three keep returning, taking turns almost for the attention, but the sugar cane flavor (and the thick feel it gives) wins out, lasting long after each sip.

I’m so glad I got to try this, and also that I can steep all of the oolongs in my new glass teapot where there is more than enough room for them to open out. I think I can safely say that this is my favorite oolong so far, not just because of how it dashed my prejudices for the better, but also because the flavor and sensation of drinking this tea are just so good. If you’re not sure about this one, then trust me: forget about not knowing if you’ll like ginseng… just try this tea!

ashmanra

I do love this one! A friend tried it at my house and told me that she didn’t understand why, but she just had to have me order some more for her! LOL! She was expecting to not like it, but instead is drinking it regularly now.

Michelle

Yum! I like this a LOT more than I thought I would!

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Forgot to log this from this weekend. Thank you to Michelle for this sample, it was on my shopping list so yay! Been awhile since I’ve had Lapsang Souchong but tis the season, happy first day of October! I only had a few sips of the first three infusions, as I poured this as an offering during a healing rite Saturday night. Between the peat moss incense and this the house was filled with lovely smokey smells.

After the ritual I indulged in a few mugs of this and it was perfect, still smokey but in a lighter, cooler, sweeter way, which is how I like it. Actually I’m not surprised this is a Wuyi. Will be coming back to this soon and will log the first infusions as I burnt my tongue on this in the kitchen trying to sneak a taste.

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It has been many months since my last review, and I hope to start writing (and posting) reviews for teas again, although probably not as often as I had previously.

Preliminary review

The leaf is stated as being harvested on March 25, 2012. I received 15 grams of this tea as one of many tea samples provided by Teavivre during the summer (thank you Angel and Teavivre!) and as the wife is out for the evening, I decided to brewed it up for the first time (she likes jasmine even less than I do, and she’s very particular about not wanting to drink a ‘type’ or ‘flavor’ of tea she previously disliked).

This tea looks like any standard silver needle tea I have seen (having had a few), and on the first inhale it smells strongly of jasmine, but not in a overpowering way. After taking a little more time to really take in all that the dry leaf aroma has to offer I could smell what I believe was the fresh white tea underneath the Jasmine scent.

I brewed about 2 full teaspoons of this tea using my standard parameters for my white teas by starting at 170F (I was actually shooting for ~165F) for 2 minutes in my new 14 OZ Glass Victorian Trading Company teapot (I absolutely love this little teapot), adding a bit of Stevia. I did three steeping sessions.

The tea liquor was a light straw color—possibly a little more yellow than what I am used to seeing in the liquor of a silver needle style white tea, with a mild jasmine scent.

It tasted light and refreshing, as any quality, fresh white tea seems to me to taste, such that the jasmine was not overpowering (as it seems to be in just about any other jasmine scented tea I have had).

The tea buds stood straight up and down—as silver needles are suppose to—while brewing; the buds smell about the same wet as dry, with a jasmine scent; interestingly enough, the buds are greener-looking than any other white tea I have seen. There are a few brownish looking buds and bud-ends, and a few stems, but otherwise the wet tea was comprised of nice-looking greenish-colored buds.

For the record, I want to emphasize that I am not a fan of jasmine flavored teas. I’ve only had a few (one or two green and one black) and I didn’t even remotely like them. So, I was leery about even agreeing to try this one (it is my first jasmine silver needle white tea). Still, after doing three steepings with it, although it’s not a tea I would choose to buy and drink, I will admit it has its appeal: it’s light and fresh, reminding me of the simple pleasure of spending a quiet sunny Sunday afternoon in a spacious garden or some high-ceiling-ed glass-walled atrium where floral scents abound. It held up well through three steepings (when I brew up the remainder of the sample at a later date I hope to push for 4, possibly 5). I am starting to think this may actually be the tea to change the way I view jasmine scented tea. Teavivre claims this tea is “the absolute highest quality scented white tea available,” and having tried many teas from them to date, and from what I have experienced here, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is indeed true.

As it’s my first type of this tea (and a preliminary review), I am leaving off the numerical rating.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

WELCOME BACK! Your presence here has been missed!

Ninavampi

Yay! Your back! :)

Spoonvonstup

Welcome back!

SimpliciTEA

Thank you all for your welcoming energy. : – )

Invader Zim

Welcome back and nice review! I’m glad you found a jasmine that you found appealing. Out of all the jasmines I’ve had, Teavivre does it the best.

SimpliciTEA

Thank you, Invader Zim.

Me growing to like quality jasmines is only half the battle around this household. My wife, I suspect, will be the harder sell.

It’s good to hear you find Teavivre’s jasmine scented teas the best. They sent me a jasmine green tea sample with my current order from them (my first!), and at first I was disappointed to discover the sample was jasmine scented. But after trying the jasmine silver needles, I am looking forward to trying their jasmine green.

DaisyChubb

Miss you friend!

SimpliciTEA

Thank you, DaisyChubb!

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I guess I didn’t make a note of this tea the first time I tried it. I made it as per the instructions on the packet, and it came out too strong. Very astringent, even bitter as it cooled.

This time, just under boiling, twenty seconds (plus a ten second rinse). This time, it’s almost sweet, becoming vaguely astringent as it cools (which seems to suit it).

Steep two: More astringent. Bit stronger overall. Darkly vegetal.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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This is sweet and clean and tasty—a welcome breath of fresh air after a visit to mom’s care center that is stuffy and not-as-fresh.

Good dragonwell restores my confidence that my tastebuds are not too far gone to appreciate green teas.

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Lovely to find a little dab of this left—it’s been a green-craving weekend, which is unusual under my roof. This is satiny and cereally and not very finicky: perfect specs as far as I’m concerned. Third steep from the same teaspoon and it has plenty of personality left.

ashmanra

I am drinking one of their Dragonwell teas tonight, too!

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This is a sweet and gentle little dragonwell; safe to drink in the evening.

(Just sniffled my way through Downton Abbey Season 3 Episode 4. I wonder what kind of tea Carson serves when…well, you know…happens.)

(Late to see it because weather messed up PBS reception last night and we got the dreaded NO SIGNAL signal. Put me in a vile mood all day until I could get my fix online. That’s just kind of pathetic, huh?)

Em

Sobbed harder than I have in a long time while watching it last night.

gmathis

…and I had even seen spoilers and knew what was coming.

Em

I’m surprised I missed spoilers. I had no clue. It felt like a personal loss to me.

JacquelineM

I’ve been crying for 24 hours now. I can’t even think about it.

Veronica

I missed the spoilers somehow, too. I was shocked and wanted to stop watching, but I couldn’t. And I cried. Good grief did I cry!

PositiviTEA

So I read this review about an hour ago while “working on homework.” I then realized that it was a perfect time to watch Episode 4, and now I’m pretty sure that I will never be able to finish me homework! I am far too emotionally compromised!

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…and this was what I made to warm up when I happily returned to my hobbit hole. Bilbo says, “I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong; that’s home.” Now I know! I’m a hobbit.

This is a little sweeter and gentler than the Boston Tea dragonwell I had earlier today. Lovely on its own; I may have a second cup with a little sugar.

The movie today reminded me that sometimes we’re called to do things that are much bigger than we are—to be light in a dark place. As I’m rocking and sipping in my favorite spot, my prayer is that God’s love and light surrounds you and gives you peace. Merry Christmas, friends.

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Needed something gentle. Talk about severe storms headed this way has gone on for several days and has rubbed my nerves raw. I may have to break down and pay a visit to the storm shelter builders about digging a hole in our backyard…

This is wonderfully gentle, a nice sweet cereal flavor, but not so light it leaves you searching for something to taste. Trying a second steep as I write this…very pale, taste buds have to work a little harder, but still OK. Its mildness is very soothing.

C’mon storms, get your work done here and move on. I could use some sleep tonight.

Nik

“…searching for something to taste.”

I love that turn of phrase!

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This smells great, both dry and steeped. Comes across as sweet and grainy to me. It’s a beautiful pale blonde in the cup, and has the temperament of a nice, friendly bowl of cereal. At first I was a little stumped about which brand of cereal, but hubby nailed it as far as I’m concerned—Sugar Pops! (Or Corn Pops or whatever politically healthily correct name it’s been given now.)

Love to my enabler ashmanra for the opportunity to try this one. Looking forward to Steep #2 in a bit!

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I’ve had a few smokey green tea before but this one is unique. It has a cool tingly sweet aftertaste that reminds me of orchid and ginseng oolongs. It didn’t come out till the second steep and is most strong in the third. I hadn’t experienced it in a green before neat! It is a bit bitter at the front and charcoaly, but the lingering taste on my tongue and in my throat are worth it. Thanks Michelle for sharing this one!

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This is my first experience with any Tie Guan Yin. So what happens now? Do I get inducted into the Brother and Sisterhood of Tea? Am I knighted, given the Order of the Dragon? Any of that? No?

Well, I like this anyway. I was surprised opening my oolong sampler pack from Teavivre when this one was vacuum-packed amongst the other regular-looking samples in the normal Teavivre large zip pack. Another surprise as I opened the sample itself: it was in yet another smaller clear plastic pack inside the foil pack! You can tell they wanted to take care of this tea. It already has a scent of cooked vegetables, artichoke, I think, and that’s when dry! I can also pick up a little sweet floral and a roasted/fired scent.

As usual, I followed Teavivre’s recommendations of using the whole sample (7g) for 200-250ml of boiling water and steeps of 1, 2 and 3 minutes.
1st steep: The wet leaf is strongly scented: buttery vegetables (artichoke and long-cooked greens), vanilla and orchid. In the cup it’s a light yellow-green and has a broth-like feel to it with a slight astringency. I get flavors of buttery vanilla and orchid with notes of vegetable and mineral.
2nd steep: The leaves pretty much filled the normally generous-sized infuser basket in my teapot, so it was a little tough to judge how much water I was pouring in. As it turned out I poured just right. It’s now a golden color in the cup and feels lighter. The astringency is stronger this time, but not too strong. I don’t get vanilla this time around, but it’s still really buttery with orchid and vegetable flavors. The mineral note is quite a bit stronger too, taking over much of the middle and finish of each sip. That’s not something I’ve had so strongly before, at least not that I’ve noticed. This is a mentally-awakening cup of tea, and that’s always a good thing!
3rd steep: Check it out! I actually got to a 3rd steep! I actually turned over the leaves in the strainer, moving the ones on top to the bottom so that the water would reach them better. I think as a result, this cup was very much like the 2nd steep.
4th steep: I can hardly believe I’m writing this. A fourth steep! Thanks, ashmanra for the commission comment below. :) But everyone, given my track record for not being able to take teas to even a third steep, I think I deserve at least a “Most Improved” ribbon! I had this cup with dinner, so I wasn’t focusing on it so much. But it was still noticeably floral and buttery with the mineral center, even though it had a thinner feel this time.

I liked this. I had read about Tie Guan Yin before, and notes of iodine, mineral, salmon and flint were mentioned. It didn’t sound too appealing to me, but everyone and his dog has had several different TGYs in their tea logs, so I had to try it. Since I got Teavivre’s oolong sampler, I chose to have this organic version first because the “Monkey Picked” version looks like one I’ll like even more. Now I’m really looking forward to it!

ashmanra

I hereby commission thee, Madame Devvyleys, übermeister of tea extraordinaire! I really do think we should at least get a badge to carry when we try our first oolong, and some sort of backstage pass to the whole world when we try our first puerh!

gmathis

Some of y’all need one of those funky Girl Scout sashes to hold all your badges ;)

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Today is probably not the best day to write about tea, but given that I find comfort in both writing and tea, here goes. I got this Milk Oolong on a recent order from Teavivre. I’d like to just reiterate how much I love Teavivre. Fast, relatively low shipping threshold, and I’m not sure if they sell a bad tea (everything I’ve tried has been delicious). My only other experience with a milk oolong was from David’s Tea. I loved every single thing about that tea. The milk flavor was strong enough that even I could taste the creamy, delicious goodness. So I had a high bar set that I was hoping Teavivre could surpass.
My first pot of tea I made according to Teavivre’s directions—2 t per 8 oz of water steeped at boiling for two minutes. What I got was overwhelmingly oolong and short on milk. Green oolongs aren’t my favorite in the first place, so that was a bit of a disappointment. I valiantly brewed a couple more resteeped pots. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for—a milk miracle, I suppose. It was a miracle that never occurred.

I decided to give it another try this morning, in the hopes that different brew parameters would help. Also, I ordered a lot of this tea. So I have quite a bit to work my way through. I brewed 1 t per 8 oz at 90 C, and low and behold. Milk! I was so happy! The smaller amount of leaves and lower temperature seems to have allowed the milk flavor to come through. I’m definitely a happier camper (tea-wise) this morning.

And if you don’t want to read about my crappy news, please stop reading now. I totally get it, since it isn’t exactly about tea. But it is weighing heavily on my mind. I found out from my vet yesterday that my dog has a very aggressive pancreatic cancer. Animals with this condition seem to only live a couple of weeks after diagnosis. She is my baby, gotten from a rescue. She was terrified of everything when we got her, and she’s come so far. She’s only seven—young for cancer. She is my tail. She follows me everywhere, and prefers me to all other company. The thought of losing my Bella is tearing me up.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

big hugs I am so sorry about your Bella. Atleast there is tea to comfort you. Don’t worry about sharing your woes here, we are one big family in my eyes

Veronica

I am so sorry to hear about your pup. Bella sounds like a joy, and it is obvious that you love her. (((hugs)))

tigress_al

Sorry to hear about your dog, they are precious creatures

Ninavampi

Oh I am so sorry… I completely understand how hard what you are going through must be. I wish you the strength to go through this and to your baby I wish and pray that she doesn’t suffer. She has a great owner that will be by her the whole way!

CHAroma

OMG I’m so sorry!! I lost my dog to cancer several years ago and just the thought of her still makes me tear up. At least you know you gave her a good life. That’s all a dog can wish for from an owner. *hugs

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