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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
First off, I love Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls. That’s actually one of the only teas I buy from them, & the convenience of being able to zip over to the mall & get some is pretty nice. It’s a yummy malty breakfast tea that I enjoy. SO I thought I would brew a cup of that alongside Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls, just to see if there was really any difference.
Dry, the difference was noticeable. The Fengqings were smaller, but more aromatic, with a little more of a malty smell. I used 6 of the teavana pearls in one 8 oz cup, and 8 of the Teavivre in another. The main difference I noticed in taste was that the Fengqing had a bit of a berry flavor, & then I realized that I had ruined the taste test. Damn!
You see, last night I made a cup of decaf blackberry vanilla black from some local tea company. It was a gift from one of my students a few years ago, & I was really just trying to use it up to get it out of my cupboard. I ended up dumping it out, it just wasn’t really a tea that I enjoyed. I swear I washed my tea strainer well! But somehow that flavor stuck, & ended up in the morning’s cup.
SO…the taste comparison was ruined! Luckily, there was enough tea left for another sample, & although I’m not doing another comparison test, I will say that this is a very tasty, malty, satisfying cup of tea, with chocolate croissant undertones, just the way I like it. It is delicious & smooth plain, & also quite tasty with stevia! Yum!
KS posted about this a little while ago, & I realized I still had one Tuocha left, and with the damp & cool weather we are having (which I’m not complaining about, my garden loves it, even if my body doesn’t), this seemed like the perfect choice for my next cup.
Thanks KS for bringing it to mind, and thanks again to Angel @ TeaVivre for the sample. As soon as my finances allow, I am planning a TeaVivre order, & I’d like to get some of this I think.
It’s a very soothing, earthy, grounding cup. The flavor is of a really well aged compost, tobacco, a hint of vanilla. I wish the rose flavor was more prominent, as I do like my roses!
It’s a sipdown. I’ll resteep a few times, of course.
*Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this lovely sample!
There are 2 of this adorable mini tuochas in the sample bag. They are wrapped in white paper, and opening one, I find a little birdnest, with a rose petals pressed into the bottom of it. The smell is similar to the other shu puerh’s I’ve tried thus far: earth, mineral, ocean.
I’m brewing the first tuocha americano style, in my cute little glass pot, so I can watch the tea fall apart & swim around, & really see the color. The disintegration is spectacular, with particles almost exploding in all directions! The tea was finely chopped before being tightly compressed, or so it seems, as the pieces are very small.
This made for a very dark & potent cup, & although I was hoping for a little more rose flavor & aroma (as I do like that), it isn’t really there. What is there is a deep, satisfying puerh that brings to mind an old, old forest with ancient trees & layer upon layer of decomposed leaves, acorns, wood, & moss. I have to leave the house for the afternoon, but when I return, I shall re-steep!
That means NO students for 2 weeks, no getting up at 5am either.
Of course, I have hundreds of things to do to get caught up over the next couple of weeks, & I already know I won’t get to most of them, but Ms Theresa is making her lists & checking them twice. To be honest, my main goal is to enjoy drinking tea, to catch up on sleep, & try to organize my office so that it is once again functional. The highest priority on my list is practicing for a recording with a vocalist. We were gonna try to go into the studio today, but I think Friday will be a better day for it, so that’s what I’ll be doing all week. And a late night xmas eve gig.
This is a solid & delicious Yunnan, a perfect start to my day. I brewed a cup that went with me to physical therapy, & although the resteep isn’t as good as the first cup, it’s still solid & was great with breakfast.
Yesterday I started the day with Teavivre’s YunNan Dian Hong Golden tip, today I’m starting off this one. They are both delicious & satisfying, & maybe eventually I’ll compare them side by side, but for now, I enjoy them both.
Today is my Daughter Jessica’s 31st birthday! She is my oldest child, lives a block away with her hubby & 2 kids, is a paralegal, & I’m super proud of her. She’s really more like a best friend, & I’d better start cooking, cuz she’s coming over for a Mom-made breakfast!
I think the next time I drink this tea, it will be a sipdown probably. I originally tried this several months ago when Angel sent me some samples. I enjoyed it so much that I purchase 100 G of it, along with some of TeaVivre’s other tasty teas, & I haven’t regretted that purchase, not one bit! This is a gentle, sweet & somewhat malty tea, with a nice clean & thick linen mouth, & a little bit of a sweet potato taste to it as well. Very tasty!
First cup of the day!
This is a lovely Dian Hong, not too bold, but sweetly smooth, & a nice wakeup to enjoy whilst fixing my breakfast. The flavor is full & rich, but mellow, with a caramel & sweet potato essence, & a linen thick mouthfeel. I steeped the 1st cup for 2 minutes, 2nd cup for 3. Both are delicious & satisfying (I guess that’s my word of the week!).
Recently I cataloged all of my teas (including samples & trades), & am checking them off as I drink them, in an effort to work my way through everything on a regular basis. I have 18 straight unflavored black teas, with 4 more on the way. Here’s the analysis of my drinking habit over the past week (probably really just 5 days), just for fun. The number represents either a cup of that tea, or in the case of teas that were brewed in a gaiwan, a session:
White – 0
Green – 2
Oolong (any style, flavored or plain) – 1
Black (plain) – 14 (on some I cheated & drank them more than once, but I’m not counting the cheats)
Black (flavored) – 12
Puer (shu) – 1 (I really like shu, & I have plenty, just been busy)
Puer (Sheng) – 2 (same as above)
Puer (flavored)- 3
TOMC samples that don’t fit: 3
Samples from friends: 8
So we can see where my true allegiances lie, where teas are concerned.
This is a wonderful tea with a creamy smooth textures, hints of butter and chocolate. Really, there is so much more depth to it than that, but I’m not always the best at describing these things. Let’s just say that it is incredibly satisfying today!
I’ve already had a long day. I got up At 5, left the house at 6 for a Gig, armed with a 12 oz cup of this & a 16oz of Shagadelic English Breakfast (tea spot). When I arrived at the Gig, which was the lobby of an office building, I immediately noticed a Starbucks just off the lobby. Now, I’m not a real frequenter of that place, as I don’t drink coffee, although they do have some decent gear for hauling your beverages around. I once had a Tazo iced Chai habit that required me to either stock cartons of the stuff, or visit starbucks often, and as we say in 12 step programs, addiction runs deep. My 12 oz cup was empty and was miraculously immediately filled with a hot soy Chai. It had been awhile, and let me tell you, that was a serious sip down, because in the 10 minutes it took to tune my harp, I had already drank it and started on another one. I nursed that one, and the Shagadelic, throughout the gig. Now I’m home, and just polished off a re-steep of the Yun Nan, & it held up well for a 2nd cup!
Now off to get a massage…I love being self-employed!
Thank you to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
These are among the most beautiful tea leaves I’ve seen. Perfectly straight, in shades of olive, wheat, charcoal, & rust. Wet, they swell up lushly, taking on a copper color, with an olive undertone.
The scent is of chocolate & peppercorn, & the flavor satisfies: bold without being bitter, deep & smooth, essence of chocolate, a little spice, & there is the ‘clean’ sensation of linen, but it’s not an astringent type sensation, & it’s not so much a taste either, more a freshness, like sheets drying in the sun on the line. This is the kind of tea I like to start my day with!
I drank the first cup & a half plain, thought I’d add a little stevia to the 2nd half of the 2nd cup, just to see what it brought up, & it ruined it for me. :p
Not so much that I couldn’t polish it off & go for one more steeping, though, & the leaves delivered.
I got this in a swap with Queen of Tarts and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it work for me. Right now I’ve found the tea works best on the lowest temperature setting on my kettle (below the green). I’ve also found I have to steep my tea a minute or under or else it gets too bitter too quickly.
But I’m still trying to figure out the ideal leaf for 8 oz of water. Teavivre says 7g which seems awfully high! I’ve been using 4-ish which isn’t bad. I don’t know. I want to make sure I’m getting the most out of it.
What have everyone else’s experiences been with this tea?
Although my knitting hobby is currently on hold, my friend that’s teaching me to knit gave me an amazingly intricate alpaca shawl. I had admired it whenever I saw her wearing it, & when she developed an allergy to alpaca, she gave it to me. Its a full circle that you fold in half to wear, heirloom quality, with luxurious texture, & super comforting, which is why I’m wearing it now, cuz my day, make that my weekend, is all about comfort.
That’s why I’m drinking this tea. It’s a rich, familiar, sweet comforting cup.
I think I’m one cup away from a sipdown…sigh…
Day 4 of the Qimen Quandery!
I’ve already drank every Keemun in my collection, including sipdowns on grade 1 & 2 from Teavivre. I’m starting over with the ones I still have, mainly because I realized that I didn’t necessarily use the same parameters, nor did I decide on my preferred parameters with each one either. So this one:
I’ve tried it using 1T + 8oz X 2min/3 re-steep, & that was a little too floral for my taste. If I try it again using that quantity, I’ll go for 1min/2/3.
1tsp X 2/ 3 was nice, but a little weak.
2 tsp x 2/3 = a nice rich, slightly floral cup. I’ll probably continue my experiments, including 2tsp X 1 min, 1 tsp X 2, etc. If this one is steeped too long it takes on an edge that I’ve realized I don’t really care much for. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this one, but I have noticed that.
In other news, I plan to get some Keemun from the London Tea Room tomorrow (along with some Kenyan Kaproret, to share with Nofar, Sil, & Tasty Brew), AND the Steepster Select box just arrived, with another Keemun that I can include in the mix!
Part 2 of Ms Theresa’s new protocol, which is to drink & compare Keemuns, since we have several in our collection. So after breakfast teas, Keemuns are sort of the black tea of the week. I’m not gonna try to drink them all in one day, I’ve decided the flavors get muddled in my tastebuds if I do it that way. I’ll just drink my way through them as my 2nd tea of the day for awhile.
This one is the current favorite, a lovely smooth tea with a subtle taste of chocolate & a hint of roses. Some Keemuns are more smoke & brown sugar, which I also love, but this one is not.