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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m taking a few moments to enjoy a cup of this lovely one before I leap into action. This morning it is sweet, a little tangy, with a sweet potato richness. I’ll take my resteep to enjoy on the road. We got our first snow of the year this weekend, but of coarse, it wasn’t enough too cause any travel problems.
It’s been awhile since it had this one in my cupboard, so with all the recent sales, I restocked! Some of the bolder breakfast teas that I love make me queasy on an empty stomach, but Dian hong don’t share that feature. The buttery richness might be the reason, but more likely it is the lack of astringency. This is not a bold tea, but it’s not a wimp either. The ensemble it inspires In my mind is all wood, bamboo & air today: Breathy bamboo flutes of varying sizes, a variety of wood/temple blocks, rain stick (sound of running water), bamboo wind chime with a gentle breeze. Soothing, random, ambient.
Thank you to Angel @ TeaVivre for this generous sample!
My daughter Arianna is here for breakfast & tea. We started with this wonderful sample of Golden Tip Yun Nan. Yunnan teas are one of my most favorites, with their thick maltiness & sweet caramel undertones. This one does not disappoint in the least! Malty & sweet, with a bit of sweet potato in there as well. A lovely start to my morning!
Yesterday afternoon after Ari left I went on a black tea binge. In part, because I hadn’t had enough black tea to start my day properly, in part because I have a collection of tea samples to get through:
1. Assam Melody – I’ll give a proper review later, but for now I’ll say it’s Malty, Bold, somewhat acidic, and mouth watering.
2. Yunnan Gig – Cocoa brown, mahogany, and gold finely twisted strand, with a bright but malty, caramel buttery taste, and a cocoa powder finish.
3. Yunnan Noir – cool looking little cocoa brown rolled leaves, twisted into little knots, with highlights of gold. Nice deep malty taste, hints of chocolate and a peppery finish.
Ok, now that I’m caught up, this Yun nan that I just finished drinking is yummy, tasty, and smooth. It is a proper start for another busy day. I’ve already reviewed it on my tealog in greater depth, I think, so I’ll end by staying Thank You once again to TeaVivre. This is part of a sample they sent me, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.
Now, on to play a 4 gig, and then my weekend begins!
Thank you for this sample, Teavivre! Sorry for taking 3928752 years to get to it.
I wanted more white tea tonight, and realized I had a lot of unopened silver needle samples. Jasmine sounded especially nice so I brewed this one up.
This is really light after 90 seconds. And I don’t know if I like jasmine with silver needle, because it tastes so amazing by itself. I’ll give it another try at some point, because it was just too muted for me.
I feel like Goldilocks…first a white has too much flavor for what I was looking for, then the next one is too light! I’ll revisit this again soon and steep it longer.
Another sipdown of another sample!
I just got home from a performance with the UMSL University Symphony Orchestra. The highlight of the performance was a cello concerto, Schelomo. The young man who played it was amazing, I feel honored to have been part of the orchestra tonight!
So I’m having this tea to wind down, & also getting ready to start on my taxes in a few minutes. I have to tell you, this tea brewed beautifully! The chrysanthemum floated to the surface & looked so perfect, that I took a pic & posted it on my FB. If you want to see it, go to https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak.
Anyway, a beautiful evening!
I’m a little behind on my tea sampling, at least in my opinion. Of course, in my opinion I’m behind on everything (ask my sis Ms Whatsit, who just listened to me whine for 20 minutes about trying to get things done…)
So, this is from a sample from Angel & TeaVivre, and I’d like to say, “Thank You” to them for the lovely teas that I’ve enjoyed so far.
I have a bit of a love affair going with Puerh Tuochas right now. I’ve been told somewhere along the line that Tuochas are made from the lesser quality Puerh, but if that is the case, and I doubt that it’s the case for all of them, then I don’t really care. Tuochas are cute, they are aesthetically pleasing, they are convenient, and they say, “Drink me”. So I do. Yes, some are better than others.
This Tuocha is especially attractive, with it’s Chrysanthemum flower ornament. It doesn’t lend a lot of chrysanthemum flavor, but that’s ok, because the Puerh itself is a tasty one. Deep & dark, with a mellow & slightly sweet woodsy flavor, & a buttery sensation. I steeped the first 8 oz cup for 2 minutes, & the 2nd cup for 3. Both are delicious & smooth, with NO fishiness or saltiness, just a pleasant minerally brew. I wouldn’t mind a little more intensity, and since there is another Tuocha in the sample, I will brew that one at a later date in my Gaiwan.
I finally recieved my beautiful gaiwan tea set from Teavivre yesterday. This morning when I woke up I knew exactly what I was feeling ready for, a pu-erh. Now I haven’t really tried much pu-erh yet so keep that in mind.
I spent lots of time last night pouring with my gaiwan and getting a feel for brewing this style. I feel so important and involved with this process.
I’m not really sure how to review pu-erh tea. I’m not really familiar with the termonology I see other people using to describe pu-erh but I’m going to wing it here. I’m using the suggested gaiwan brewing times from Teavivre.
The first steep is curious. Not as overwhelmingly strange tasting as I was expecting it to be. It’s an interesting flavor, something I’ve never really experienced before. Maybe a tiny bit fishy? But it’s actually not offputting….very weird…
Wow. The second steep looks like a completely different tea. It’s so much darker than the first! The wet leaves smell a little smokey. This steep tastes like the first one, but with a little more oomph.
After a third steep the wet leaves are starting to smell leathery. Now I understand what people mean when they use “leathery” as a description. This steep is surprsingly sweet in a way. Much different than the previous steeps.
By the fourth steep I’m starting to get stuck on the fish smell for some reason. It doesn’t really taste fishy, but it smells just fishy enough to be getting a little weird. I’m having trouble focusing on anything else. One thing I am noticing though is that my tummy is feeling much better than it did when I woke up this morning. It could just be in my head but either way it’s a plus.
I think I’m going to have to stop here. I know I could continue steeping but I think I’ll have to dive into a few more pu-erhs before I take this one all the way. I’m going to hold off on a rating for now.
And I almost forgot to thank LiberTEAS for sending me some of this! What an interesting start to the day =) Oh, I forgot to add I haven’t burnt my fingers once yet! Woohoo!
This sample is yet again thanks to the Teavivre gang:)
This tea is not one I am inclined to have again after I am done with the sample. It’s drinkable, but only just. Frankly I got plenty of fruit teas that I enjoy alot more then this, and can get them locally. I’m thinking I should of stuck to black, greens, oolongs, and whites in my taste test, as I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons beyond the herbal, fruit and rooibos teas that have pretty much taken over my cupboard. That being said however, I am looking forward to trying the last tea of the bunch, the Apple Awakening.
1st smell out of the package: smokey. I have to admit that smell made me nervous given my reaction to the Lapsang Souchong. (Which I have not tried the 2nd steeping idea yet.)
Wet smell: Earthy. Slightly leathery aroma, (Which I’ve been told is a good thing with Pu-erh.)
1st taste without sugar: (Yes the 1st taste was with the 1st steeping. GAG. lol) So I pitched it and started boiling water for the 2nd steeping. I steeped it for 1 minute and roughly 30 seconds. Automatically added 4 packets of Apriva sweetener, (Kroger brand of Splenda.) It worked.
I taste an almost creaminess to the tea, I can see how others have gotten a caramel-ish taste in it. I am not wowed at all in this tea, however not about to judge all pu erh by it. I plan on trying out some other ones, (though not willing to yet try the ones with other flavors mixed in, like from Teavana’s)
I would not refuse a cup of this if offered from a friend, though. And now that I finished my cup, I feel mixed, because even though it didn’t wow me, I liked drinking it. How weird is that?! Maybe my palate is changing. That would be great, because I really would love to enjoy traditional teas, though I do not want to give up on my crazy love for flavored tea combos from stores such as Teavana….I don’t think my budget could afford that anyways. Heh.
My teapot came yesterday! Out of nowhere on Friday it started being tracked on USPS…in inland Massachusetts. I’m just glad it avoided this whole weather mess. It is SO cold here. I think it was windy earlier this week because of Sandy when it was near FL, and now it’s even windier because of this cold front…and it is so so so so cold.
I picked this at random from my bag of flowering teas. I’ve noticed that there are so many people who make their opinion known about how they’re just for show. Pfffttt. I would eat flowers all day long so you better believe I’ll make it and drink it, and also admire it.
This one has some fruity notes to it but obviously the strongest notes are jasmine. It’s very sweet, and the floral notes are actually quite mild. I’m not sure how to explain, it’s like it’s clearly jasmine you’re tasting but it’s not in your face, like you’re drinking perfume. The marigold lends just a bit of a different note, giving the floral taste a bit of complexity.
I love flowering teas. I also love that you can brew them so many times. And then after that’s done, I think I’ll just put room temp water in there and stare at it. And I’ve got 9 more to go!
This tea was my companion in the garden this morning. The task at hand was to water the Northwest Quadrant & dig up the rest of the garlic. While doing so, I came across a burrow of baby bunnies, in a little hollowed out place under the straw. I admire their cuteness, but didn’t touch them, & gently layer the straw back over them & went on with my work.
I grew 6 kinds of garlic this year! My whole house reeks of freshly dug garlic, & that is awesome! There’s lots of hanging & braiding to do, & hopefully I’ll never have to buy garlic again!
Lovely tea, by the way. I’ve reviewed it plenty of times, so that’s all I’m saying.
My box from Sil came today, AND my order from Yunnan Sourcing also came. This is the first tea out of Sil’s box, from a mutual order we placed with TeaVivre. I have long awaited these little pearls. Delicious!
Photos of both boxes: https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak
Note to self: When ordering from Yunnan Sourcing, don’t go with the cheap shipping unless you want to totally forget about your teas by the time they arrive. Just sayin’
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!