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Recent Tasting Notes
This was my daily cold brew today!
It was really good; strong, sweet jasmine notes along with very mild notes of hay and a crispness that reminded me of cucumber. However, after steeping so long the jasmine got pretty concentrated, and in the aftertaste after all the other flavours have faded it was a little much. Not artificial or chemical; but just too concentrated.
Still, a nice companion to sip on all day regardless!
There’s nothing better to relax your nerves before an important job interview than a cup of Jasmine Silver Needle; it’s probably the most relaxing tea I can think of, at this moment. Better than Genmaicha, better than Chamomille…
And obviously it did the trick; I nailed my interview and was hired on the spot at $11.00 as a cashier (made 11.20 at Dollarama as a supervisor, and had a much more stressful job and responsibility). I found out yesterday that the bulk of the cashiers they hired are only making $10.20 (Saskatchewan minimum wage) so I’m tickled pink.
Besides, Sobeys is a company that frequently gives raises to employees in good standing (typically like 10-20 cents every three or so months after probationary period), and Dollarama doesn’t give out raises/promotions at all…
Cold Brewed for a long, extended 30 hour period.
I was worried it’d be over the top floral but it was actually great! Sweet jasmine and honey; very relaxing and very refreshing with a really full bodied flavour. I have lots and lots of this leaf left so I’ll probably do this again!
Also; I feel like a terrible person. Today is my day off and I spent the first part of it mailing out tea stuff, and then going to the liquor store and grocery shopping. I got way too many groceries to reasonably carry home, but I attempted it anyway. On the walk home I passed an abandoned grocery cart from Safeway and because I was struggling so much to carry stuff I took it…
I FEEL REALLY GUILTY. Even though I didn’t take it from the store myself, I still kinda stole a grocery cart, which is now sitting in my backyard. I mean, I will definitely return it tomorrow! But still – such a dick move. And Tre made it worse by telling Rob (our landlord) when he got home today. Whyyyyyyy…
I feel judged by everyone.
Was inspired to make a cup of this late into the evening after reblogging a chain of Silver Needle photos on Tumblr; and this was serene and calming, with a noticeable cream flavour alongside the soothing jasmine – a flavour note which has not been prominent in past infusions of this blend.
I’m cheating a bit today with my campaign to only drink teas that I wish to sipdown immediately/soon and I’ve set aside some whites that I just want to have including this one, Sweet Strawberry, and Watermelon Xylophone. I don’t know how many I’ll get to because I am still trying to find a balance between whites in the sipdown drawer and whites in my closet/cupboard but I made sure to take the time for this one!
Mmm! Sweet Jasmine! I love the graceful simpleness of this one; there’s beauty in it. Delicious! It’s a nice switch up from the Cucumber Mango but not in a jarringly drastic way.
Flavors: Flowers, Jasmine
I have a few backlogged teas to get through so I guess I’m gonna slowly work my way through that over the next few hours. Thankfully I have all of today and tomorrow off from work. I certainly appreciate it after my nine and a half hour shift yesterday.
You know what else was yesterday? Tre’s Birthday! He turned 20. To celebrate I brought home a bunch of different alcohol and we drank/had cheesecake. That’d be why I have all the backlog; I fell asleep after getting a bit hammered.
Anyway, this tea is actually from two nights ago. It was my final tea of the night and just something really calm and serene to wind down with. Nothing special or different about the usual taste; although I did notice the needles looked… “frothy” while they were steeping? Meh, whatever I guess.
I just had sort of the best and worst day of work, simultaneously. For those who don’t already know, I was hired at Tea Desire and today was my first shift. It was absolutely incredible getting to work so closely with teas, recommending blends for people, scooping tea, and everything else. Even doing manual labor like mopping or compacting cardboard was great. It was basically a dream job.
The “worst work day” part comes in right at the end of my shift. After spending the entire day training, learning how to work the till, soaking up information on tea blends and memorizing tea ingredients, and being given forms to fill out and bring back, my trainer pulled me aside and told me that they had found someone more qualified to fill the position and consequently no longer had a spot for me.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m really disappointed and I feel like I was “led on” all throughout the day, but I also understand completely. So, they paid me for the day’s work and I sadly departed. Now I’m back to browsing job listings online, and it’s really disheartening. Most of all, I know my Mom is likely going to call any day now to ask how everything went (I was so excited to be working there) and I’m not sure how to tell her I’m back to job hunting…
Regardless, it was an incredible experience and I enjoyed my time there (and of course I’m going to be continuing to drink their blends – I feel like that doesn’t even need to be said, they’re too good to not drink) – and if anyone here has the opportunity to work in a tea store, if only for a day, I highly recommend doing it!
Silverlining, I suppose, is now I have more time to write tasting notes while job hunting so that I can beat VariaTEA in our competition.
Anyway, this was one of three blends I took with me today. This was the one of three that I drank cold, and it was just perfect. Sweet and floral and yummy! I’m so glad I bought 100g of this to drink whenever I want! Mmm!
Sort of sipdown (161)?
Sort of in that I’ve already placed an order for 100g more (like, weeks ago) that’s on the way – so I’ll soon have more to enjoy! Also, sort of in that I still have enough leaf left for one more cup, but I promised my Dad I’d save it and make it for him tomorrow.
I was perhaps being overly cautious of my water temperature (here at my Dad’s I have no way of measuring the temperature without guesstimating), and as a result I believe I used water which was too cold – so I don’t think I got the full flavour potential this cup could have had. I suppose that’s better than using too hot of water, though.
Anyway, I’m getting lovely and delicate jasmine and silky notes of sweet white tea; like honeysuckle! It’s still amazing, even if it’s not at its best. I’m excited to be receiving lots more! So thank you Lala for sending this to me – I’ve really managed to make the sample last, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each cup!
Unrelated, I just got back from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and it was a truly astounding and breathtaking movie! 10/10 would recommend to just about anyone! Seriously – amazing acting, and plot, and a killer soundtrack. More people should see it (and keep in mind this praise is coming from someone who worked at a movie theatre for over a year, and who saw a lot of free movies). I’d gladly watch this again.
Plus, it was really nice to go to the theatre I used to work at and visit with all my old co-workers! I got pretty emotional, I’ll be honest. I knew I missed them, but I just didn’t realize how much. I’m still trying to not care about the fact that Kevin (my former “best friend” who helped bring me out of my depression and who basically acted as an older brother to me for months) has ignored me since moving, and then tonight refused to look me in face and acknowledge I was there, though…
That hurt, and was kind of cold…
Teavivre Sample #4!!!
Yay! This is the last of the Teavivre samples that Lala sent me! I think I saved a good one for last. It’s jasmine (and I really liked the jasmine dragon pearls), and it’s silver needle – both of which I seem to like. My favourite flavoured whites all use a silver needle base tea, so I have high hopes! Trying this sample also means that I can reward myself with the last Butiki sample that Lala sent me (Cantaloupes and Cream – I can’t wait!). I’ll probably have that tomorrow with breakfast.
Dry leaf for this one smells so good! Gah! It makes me want a nice, LONG jasmine scented bubble bath while I drink yummy jasmine tea. But maybe I’m also dying for a bubble bath because A) Our apartment only has a shower and B) the hot water heater broke sometime this morning (and the plumber won’t be here to check it out until tomorrow afternoon) so I only had an ice cold shower earlier today… I tried to tough my way through it by telling myself that it was preparation for when I’m finally on Big Brother (a girl’s gotta dream big – any other Steepsterites who’re also Big Brother fans?): Odds are that I’ll end up a have not at least once, right?
Steeped 1 1/2 tsp. in 6 oz. of water for a minute and a half.
The tea smells exactly like it did as dry leaf. And I mean exactly.
First few sips are really good. The taste of jasmine is definitely really strong and bold, but it still comes across as delicate. In between sips with the aftertaste hanging in my mouth, I’m reminded of honey. I bet a cup of this with a slice of toast w. honey would make a marvellous breakfast!
Honestly, I had to go back to my review of the jasmine pearls – just going by memory the two teas seem really similar. The only thing that kept me from scoring the pearls higher was the vegetal taste, and this tea doesn’t have that at all. So, it gets a slightly higher rating. I’d love to do a comparison of the two teas to see exactly how different they are.
Definitely holding onto the leaves since I remember I got a really good second and third steeping out of the pearls, and I imagine I’m going to get at least a second steeping from these leaves. Blah. I need jasmine tea in a larger quantity so I don’t have to ration…
The last time I had this, it was during writers’ group and I was hustling around keeping the tea cups filled and making more steeps, etc. This time I got to really sit down, take my time, and enjoy!
I tasted this tonight with my son’s girlfriend who only started drinking tea when she met us. My son started her drinking Teavivre’s ripened puerh and tonight I invited her to taste this with me. We warmed my tiny pot, enjoyed the aroma of the warmed leaves, and made a number of short steeps. She was fascinated. I smiled when I smelled this because she is a vegetarian and I know what her favorite vegetables are. I asked her what she thought the tea smelled like and she said, “Steamed kale!” I agree!
I wanted her to get the full experience of a tea tasting, so when I took my first sip I slurped and aerated the tea like I have heard the professionals do when they are shopping for tea. When she sipped it, she gave a nice slurp even though I hadn’t explained why we were doing that.I asked her if she liked it. She said she liked it very much, although she found it very strange that tea would taste and smell like kale. The tea became more creamy and more buttery, losing a bit of the kale aroma and taste as we made additional steeps. She was shocked at the way the leaves had gone in as a little spoonful of pellets and had turned into a bulging mass of leaves. We even took some leaves out and examined them, and tore off a small, soft piece and ate it. I think she will probably be requesting this in the future, so I think I will have to put it on my Black Friday order.
This is one of the best oolongs I have had in a long time. Buttery, vegetal, smooth, and creamy… steep after steep.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the opportunity to try this!
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Kale
Last night was Writers’ Group night at my house. Everyone has come to expect unlimited tea! We are trying to come up with a good name for our group and want to incorporate a reference to tea, so if anyone has ideas, let me know!
We had Golden Monkey from Harney and Sons first and everyone liked it but I have found that these folks really prefer oolongs and greens.
From one delicious smelling packet of leaves, we made about 100 ounces of this tea. If it hadn’t been so late when we started drinking it I would have had to open another packet, and we even had one member missing last night. Seriously, I inhaled the aroma of those dry leaves deeply into my lungs over and over, it was sooo good.
This was definitely their favorite. When the first person sipped it, she held out her cup almost reverentially and breathed, “Oh, THIS is GOOD!”
The color was quite pale, paler than many greens, and the flavor was silky, milky, buttery, and super smooth.
Thank you, Teavivre, for this exquisite sample!
This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you!
This is a green oolong with dark, tightly rolled leaves. The leaves are enormous when they expand.
I tried it both in a gaiwan and western style, and it was very good both ways. I think I most preferred it in the gaiwan, steeped for about thirty seconds or perhaps a little less.
The taste is milky, smooth, and creamy and leaves a sweet aftertaste. If you oversteep there is a hint of grass and a slight sour taste. I mention that because sometimes you WANT that little bite, like a Chun Mee gives.
Thank you for sending this so I can fill my morning with lovely tea! I can tell it still has some good steeps left in it, too.
I had to buy samples of the 2015 harvest of Teavivre’s Golden Monkey! This tastes similar to me as other havests. If you love this Golden Monkey, you can be thrilled that this harvest hasn’t changed much. Not quite as dark chocolate as I would wish my favorite Golden Monkey to be, but milk chocolate. There are also hints of a flavor like keemun, slightly smoky, malty and dark. The dry leaves look the same: dark and twisty with hints of gold. The brew also has the color of milk chocolate. Both steeps had the exact same flavor.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for mug // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Additional notes: Having this one again to think about ordering it for Teavivre’s sale. It’s so so good. I’m just happy this one isn’t tasting like tomato soup like other black teas have been lately. It HAS seemed to adapt that maple syrup like quality I noticed in the red dragon pearls the other day. How nice! It adds a sweetness to that dark. malty, chocolate deliciousness. I love how this one evolves: the first steep is for breakfast: sweet, malty, chocolate. The second steep is much different, almost for lunch or afternoon: a little bit brisker, tougher, bready, hints of cedar. The second steep doesn’t really have the maple or chocolate. Would I like the second steep to be like the first? Yes. But the second cup is really good too. This one will be difficult not to order.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 10 min after boiling // rinse // 2 min
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 3 min
Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup
Additional notes: I’m trying this again with more accurate steep parameters… two teaspoons, waited 10 mins after boiling, rinse, two minutes. This cup is a LOT better than the last time I had it. This Golden Monkey still isn’t as chocolatey as I’m used to, but there is a taste to it that reminds me of wine, or maybe like the muscatel from Darjeeling, but only slightly to make it different than most other Golden Monkey teas. There is slight chocolate flavor, but not like dark or bittersweet chocolate – more like a candybar. MUCH tastier than the last time I had this tea. Teavivre teas are usually the best, but they also seem to be the most changing depending on how you steep them.
A sample from Teavivre! Thank you so much! I may have let the water cool too long.. and I also forgot to boil enough water for a rinse, so I wouldn’t say this steep was by Teavivre’s parameters. I did use the suggested two teaspoons though.
First steep // 1 min 30 sec // water cooled around 20 mins
I can tell this one could have done better with hotter water and a rinse. The flavor seems oaky somehow. I definitely expected a little bit more chocolate flavor… there is a hint. It’s a good cup but I know it can be a lot better if I steeped it correctly. (I recently tried the Bailin Gongfu and it was ridiculously better when I steeped it by Teavivre’s parameters.)
Second steep // 3 min // five mins after boiling
This is much deeper and darker and what I was thinking of. I wouldn’t necessarily call it chocolate though.. I’d just call it a deep dark flavor! No longer oaky. Very good! The second steep was supposed to be only for two minutes but I wasn’t going to resteep the leaves.
I will try to get it closer to Teavivre’s steeping parameters next time but this is still a delicious tea. I really like this blend. I’d call it in the middle of some of Teavivre’s teas – it isn’t quite sweet potato and it isn’t quite dark chocolate. Teavivre has a tea for you no matter which flavor profile you love… I just happen to love all of Teavivre’s teas!
Ditto about making a placeholder so I can log this properly later as I enjoyed it tonight but am dead tired…
I love how the more you steep it the creamier the texture gets—I’m a big fan of the smoothness of huang shan mao fengs. The flavor is nutty and sweet, and gets more floral upon resteep. I think for me, dragon wells in general are more immediately satisfying/gratifying and straightforward than HSMFs but HSMFs have a nuance and gradually unfolding loveliness that is, in the right mood/context, more enchanting. I really like both, hooray.