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Recent Tasting Notes
I spent the late afternoon & early evening drinking a tea from Sil. It’s one of the teas Verdant sent out as a ‘reserve’ tea in their rewards program.
Xuejiao Longcai 2010 Sheng
4G + 4oz yixing (rinse) 10sec/20/30/etc on & on…
This started our pretty mellow, with a mild citrus & chalk taste. The wet leaf on the other hand had a very vibrant herbaceous sinus tingling aroma, perhaps eucalyptus & tangerine.
Throughout the steeps, the tea energy built quickly, I could feel it moving through my lymph glands. The tea became a beautiful amber color, lightly sweet with a slight bitterness. Over time it developed a cashew milk taste, mineral chalky taste, and lime, but here I’m talking about limestone, not limes (the fruit).
I would say overall that although there were some citrus elements to this tea, I would consider it to be a alkaline brew. It had a ‘matte’ quality, in the way that paint can have a matte finish. I know that probably doesn’t make sense to normal people, but that’s my experience. And it’s a sipdown (324)
I did something… well… slightly nuts.
I had brewed my lovely An Ji Bai Cha and had that in my tumbler. However, I was in the mood for Jin Pin (as I usually am XD) and thus I brewed some up in my gaiwan. I didn’t want to go all the way to the office kitchen to pour out the wash and so I poured the wash into my An Ji Bai Cha.
The result: AMAZING. I could not believe how well the two teas complimented each other. The notes of the tea are so rhythmic, at first it’s the vegetal note of the An Ji Bai Cha and then it mingles with the malty Jin Pin which takes over as the prominent note, and then again, the vegetal note comes back. I have to do this again! I hope that the Tea Gods are merciful and do not punish me too severely for this…
sooo i’m lazy and can’t seem to find a tea sent to me by VariaTEA (indirectly from Roswell Strange) soooo here it goes.
Joie de Vivre from Camelia S. I dind’t think i would like this one much given that it is a green and appeared to be floral in nature. Most people who have ever swapped with me know though, that i’ll try nearly anything…as evidenced by the alarming number of teas with bergamot in them that i’ve tried. BLECH. :) This one, was as i expected…a little too floral in nature for me in addition to the green base. I can handle small amounts of floral with black bases, but otherwise they generally make me cringe. However, as always…love trying new teas so thank you VariaTEA (and Roswell Strange)
Tonight I mixed 2 parts Guayusa with 1 part Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble.
I always make the fatal error of steeping guayusa when I’m already exhausted. By that time, there’s no turning back. Tonight is no exception. It’s only 9pm and I’m fighting to keep my eyes open.
I hope my matcha order shows up on Wednesday. I would say tomorrow, but it’s still in Chicago, with the last update on Friday. I’m so impatient.
Realized I haven’t written about my past few teas >.> Bad me.
Anyway, tonight I brewed up a blend I’m super happy with.
1 teaspoon (plus dried orange slice) of Winter Spice by Fava Tea
0.5 teaspoon (plus an extra clove) of Aries by Adagio
8 oz of water, 4 minutes.
I can’t tell you the exact temperature of the water as I had to put it in the microwave on beverage mode (cries) as our electric kettle 2.0 seems down for the count.
Anyway, this tea is absolutely delightful, delicious and soothing – something I really needed tonight. Rating somewhere in the 90s (it’s been a rough day so I don’t feel like particulars) and would definitely recommend.
First time I’ve ever used this, and it’s odd.
The show I went to last night was a primarily metal concert which is very much outside of my comfort zone (live music in general is outside my comfort zone – but I know nothing about heavy metal as well), but Kristina really wanted to get me out of the house and meeting people, and the metal communities in Saskatoon and Regina are both ones she’s heavily involved in. She knew a few of the people who played last night personally.
Normally, I wouldn’t be able to go to a show because they’re typically in bars and for thirteen more days I’m still underage – but this one was held in this really beautiful and lovely cafe called The Underground Cafe. It had tons of art and paintings on the wall from local artists and a giant fish tank with tons of really neat fish, and the barista who was hosting the event was really friendly and took time to talk to everyone who showed up and introduce himself and it was just a very cool atmosphere in general. It kind of reminded me of Roca House, in Regina.
Kristina and I have already decided we want to come back during the day sometime; I’m interested in trying the vegetarian sandwiches when they have the lunch bar open. The vegetarian menu was pretty extensive (always a plus) – and everything was named after The Beatles or their songs, which was a neat touch.
As far as food/drink goes, I ended up getting a cup of Chocolate Truffle black tea after talking with the Barista and confirming it was loose leaf and such (it was Chocolate Truffle or Blood Orange). Overall, it was pretty good; light black base and a fudgey chocolate taste. I think that they used leaf from Tea Desire because it tasted nearly identical to the identically named blend from Tea Desire – but I can’t be sure which is why I’m posting it here.
It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch; they certainly have access to Tea Desire blends – and it’s not uncommon for people to label Pu’Erh as “Black” teas. But again, I’m not totally sure which is why I’m posting it here.
The concert itself was really interesting. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really into it until the second band did an amazing cover of The Cat Came Back, which is a really neat song. It was sort of “popularized” by Fred Penner as a folk/children song but it’s much older than that (it’s from 1893). I know this because I studied the origins of the song for an art piece in my advanced art course (I was doing children’s songs/poetry/story inspired Disasterware in the style of Shel Silverstein on plates). Originally it was titled The Cat Came Back: A Nigger Absurdity. It’s very much not a child’s song so it makes sense that metal bands are drawn to this as a cover piece (I know a few who cover it, thanks to Kristina).
After that, I think I enjoyed the concert a lot more, and got a lot more into it (thought not as into it as she got). The other interesting cover they did was a heavy metal cover of a Bob Dylan song…
Also, for those who are curious – here are some really neat pictures of Distasterware, which is the art style I mentioned/one of my favourite art styles. The man who pioneered the art style is ironically more famous for one of the teapots he made in the art style (the first link):
I find the art style just fascinating. Basically, it’s defined as: Ceramic art using traditional ceramic decorative styles to capture modern disasters or horrific images. Krafft also uses a technique called “Spone” where he turns human bone remains into ceramics.
Apologies for the art geek out.
EDIT: I forgot the best/worst part of the fishtank! There was a dead fish floating in the corner of the tank the whole time we were there (five fucking hours) – and the barista was freaking out because he had just bought it for the tank; he even crawled on to the table (in the weirdest position) to get a better look – like, while we were eating there. And then, halfway through the show all the snails from the bottom of the tank gathered near the dead fish and by the end of the show this dead fish was covered in about four or five snails.
I just couldn’t help but think how “metal” the whole thing was.
Yes, I drank tea today. Yes, I am lazy, but I was also busy all day, so in an effort to not post lame reviews about teas I drank hours ago, & have reviewed plenty of times, I am once again going to lump them all into one summary. And here it is, at least in order:
- Irish Breakfast – Butiki – I’m not totally sure, but I think I like this one better than Malty Irish Breakfast, but then again, as I said before, I love the one I’m drinking while I’m drinking it.
- Elderberry – Cheryl’s Herbs – This morning I woke feeling a little flu-like. Elderberry rocks!
- Golden Monkey Black – Teavivre…sigh…oh, beautiful delicious tea…
- Black Beauty – Mandala – oh, other beautiful delicious tea…
- Premium Taiwanese Assam – oh….you get this picture here, right?
I pretty much made a point of pampering myself with delicious teas, good food, & just chilling out doing office work all day. Now I’m drinking a pot of Pumpkin Spice (Rooibos) from Harney & sons. My only complaint is the gross ‘silk’ bags. I hate those.
I had my morning cup of Irish Cream Breakfast, but I didn’t write a note for it. I didn’t bring tea to school today, so now I’ve arrived home and I’m making a resteep of Japon with 1/2 tsp. of Cacao for a little extra oomph.
My stepdad called me today to invite my to Jamaica from March 28-April 3! I was so excited, then it hit me I present my conservation poster to the department March 28. And I have a psychology presentation April 3. Of course. I plan on speaking with both profs tomorrow to see if I can’t present a day or two early. What do you guys think?
A really busy day, even though I’m self-employed & was working for myself, I actually worked & got some things done. I also drank some tea, but & don’t really have much to say about the teas I drank. I enjoyed them, I’ve reviewed them before, so here they are, because I’m lazy:
Tiger Assam – Andrews & Dunham – yup, it’s still damn fine tea!
Double Knit Blend – also Andrews & dunham, & damn fine!
Yunnan Forest – Traveling Tea – Traveling Tea is a local company. Her shop is 3 minutes or less from my house. I’m pretty sure she gets most of her teas from The Art of Tea. I used to order from the Art of Tea, & have enjoyed some of their teas quite a bit. This one doesn’t resemble any of the yunnan teas I have at all. I’m not getting the rich yunnan taste that I’ve come to expect. It’s not bad, it just lacks personality. I’m glad I only bought a sample, & I’ll send the rest to Sil (hahahah) & see if she likes it better. So there’s a sipdown!
I steeped up 2 parts Laoshan Black and 1 part Cacao this morning. This tea is delightful. I do so love both teas on their own, and usually I wouldn’t think to mix Laoshan Black with something, but my friend gave me this idea, and I’m quite happy with it.
I specifically woke up bright and early this morning, solely so I could sit and enjoy a cup of tea before going to work. Saturday is the only day I work all day, so I like to have a perfect start to the day in case I have to deal with idiots. :P
I didn’t get all my papers read last night, but I have only two to go. I still felt good about that. I tried so hard to read those last ones, but I was at the stage where my head was held up by my hand and I would doze off and fall off my hand, causing me to wake up. Not a good scene. But I’m thinking I’ll be able to read one before I leave for work and fit in one at some point during the day. Yes!
Today I experimented…I wanted something caffeinated but also good for an ouchy potentially crabby self.
Here’s what I ended up with:
1.5 tsp honeyroo vanilla (my own blend of honeyroo by spice and tea exchange and honeybush vanilla by teavana)
1 tsp chocolate by adagio
1 drop vanilla
8 oz water, 200 degrees, 4 minutes
My honeyroo vanilla is starting to lose its vanilla notes and the rooibos is becoming more prominent. It smelled quite medicinal when I pulled it out. Hence why I decided to add an extra drop of vanilla. The nice thing about this tea though, is it’s great for the achy ouchies…especially PCOS fueled ones.
The chocolate was just because I needed a) something caffeinated, b) to work through the chocolate I have and, c) because I thought it would blend well with the vanilla.
I’m pretty happy with the results. I think half the reason I like it is because it’s strong and hot and it’s crazy windy cold outside, but yeah. It’s tasty enough, I’m slightly more awake and a bit less achy.
I have a new student who’s Mom is from Taiwan. When she found out I was a tea drinker & saw my collection of teas & tea paraphenalia, she said, “I will send you some tea.”
Yesterday her husband & child arrived, bringing a bag. In that bag there was a lovely stainless steel tea caddy (although the inside of it smells as if perfume has been stored in it), a pretty glass steeping lid, & a 200 gram (maybe 250) foil bag of Taiwanese Oolong, that has already been opened, but is still mostly full. I think it’s a medium roasted dong ding type, or maybe a gui fei, although honestly, I’m no expert! The only writing on the colorful package that I can read says ‘from Taiwan Tea’. This was my first tea of the day, & it was a pleasant series of cups, with the earlier steeps having essence of honey & peach, & a toasty flavor. There is a hint of bug-bite flavor, & a bit of a citrus edge.
(Here I go complaining again) It’s very windy this afternoon, & the power keeps going off. It doesn’t stay off, but of course, the computer shuts off momentarily, & I’m trying to bake sweet potatoes for dinner, & the over keeps shutting off, even though it’s a gas oven.
I did fill my stove top kettle & light a burner with a match, so there is still tea, regardless.
I’m drinking another tea from awkward soul, this one is creme brulee black, by Simple Loose Leaf. Nobody has added it to the database, & I’m sorry for being a grumpus, but I’m not going to add it either. As for the tea, it’s ok. I’m counting it as another sipdown, since I’m sending it to Sil, mwahahaha
Other teas from Awkward Soul that are also going to Sil include a milk oolong, because she likes those, what’s left of the Ginseng Oolong, which I sampled awhile back, Raspberry Vanilla Mint Green, which I just can’t get myself to sample, & a few others that I haven’t tried yet, but will before I send them.
It’s been a busy day! I left the house at 9:30 am to go play for a lunch event, dragging the following teas along with me (all which I have reviewed multiple times):
Zhu Rong (Verdant) – to drink in the car, yes, I still love you
Caramel Vanilla Assam (Butiki) to drink during my first set
Laoshan Chocolate Genmaicha (Verdant) – in a thermos mug, to drink during 2nd set.
When I got home I also drank resteeps of all of them, LOL.
I did a rather random cold steep last night. Turns out it’s seriously excellent.
1 tbsp Bear Trap by DavidsTea.
1 tbsp Goji Chokeberry Strawberry by Zen Tea
1 tbsp Strawberry Cream (fruit) by Zen Tea
So. Good. Strawberry heaven. I have half of it in a water bottle at work, and when I get home I’m probably going to end up chugging the rest.
Yes, it’s snowing, and I’m drinking iced tea (although, not at my desk). I also have my desk heater on, am wearing 3 layers plus a scarf, and when I get up to do work rather than facebook, steepster and analysis, I put on a lab coat as well. :)
I’m actually having some straight matcha, prepared the traditional way, for once!
It is intensely vegetal, and a little bitter, though it might be my fault. It is probably getting pretty old, and I may have scorched it with too hot water.
Oh well, hurrying to sip up this cup so I can make some of my new Mandala teas that just came in the mail!!!!! What do I try first?? :)
1 bag of Tulsi, 1 bag Wild Berry Zinger. 12 oz water. A touch of honey.
Much, MUCH better than the last. Tusli goes so well with fruity blends.
(Yes, it is somewhat hibiscusy, but it’s bearable this way. I bought the zinger tea last year for cold steeping, but then lost it in the back of my cupboard.)
I want to apologize in advance, because there is not listing for this tea, & it’s been in my cupboard for awhile, sent to me from Sil. I’m busy being a desk diva, answering phone calls, emails, I’ve booked 2 gigs & now I’m printing hundreds of biz cards, so I’m just gonna use the random steepings heading for this one. Sorry!
It is sipdown no. 89 (yeah! only 11 to go to reach my goal!) & although it’s not bad, it’s not something I’d purchase, as is pretty much the same as the other Monk’s blends I’ve had from a few other places. Now back to work!