2122 Tasting Notes

98

Om nom nom… while looking around Steepster in an attempt to catch up on things I saw mention of some black dragon pearls, and suddenly I had a craving for these before I even finished my (extremely delicious) cup of Bailin Gongfu. I honestly feel a bit tea crazed right now… it’s like, when I got back and still hadn’t had any tea I was just cruising along, not really super craving tea at that point. And then I had the first cup and now I definitely cannot get enough tea. YUM. Why won’t this cup cool down faster to a drinkable temp so I can drink it up??

See what I mean about a bit crazed? LOL. I think these pearls have suffered a bit from sitting in a non-airtight pouch (clipped shut, but not sealed) for 2 months, but they are still pretty tasty. I think I will up the number of pearls and steep time for my next batch to see if I can counter the effects of age, because this was the same as my first trial of these but I remember that batch being much more robust. I think it does go to show you that air tightness really does make a difference because my Bailin Gongfu black was older but still fresher when I steeped it today, and it is in an airtight pouch. Must drink teas faster!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Amariel

I loved the dragon pearls. One of my faves from Teavivre.

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92

Now watch as I survey some of my favorite teas. Going back to all of these after two whole months away is interesting. On one hand it is a revelation, I can’t believe tea can taste that good (Malagasy tea is really that bad). I also pretty much forgot how all of my teas really taste. But on the other hand they are all so familiar, like an old comfy sweater, and when I sip them its as if I had just been drinking them the other day.

This one is easily one of my favorite blacks, and I am always astounded that it is so affordable and delicious. Lovely cocoa-caramel-grainy notes that I could just drink all the time. I think I have a couple more cups of this before I need to order more, although again I am torn by the want for my staples that are gone, and the need to drink the tea I have before I order any more. My stash is kind of astoundingly big, and I think my new goal is to drink it most of the way down before I move in 4 months (this time moving out of my office, too, which is where all my tea stash is).

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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92

tap tap Is this thing on?

Yes, it’s true, Steepsterites, I have returned! After two months in remote Madagascar, I am back in the states and back in tea heaven. Malagasy tea just plain sucks (tastes like nothing no matter how long you steep it), so I have basically been tea-less for over 2 months now. My return was even delayed two days by some mega-craziness at the end of our field season.

Now I have about a million things to take care of plus I am currently homeless and not having a lot of success finding an apartment. Do you know how many problems you run up against in daily life if you don’t have a permanent address? A lot.

But yes, lovely delicious tea is now mine. It is very difficult to chose a first tea after all that time, but I didn’t spend that much time thinking about it really. And fortunately this tea is still flavorful and wonderful despite it’s advancing age. Love that floral marzipan combo, and the tasty black tea peaking out from underneath the flavors. Man it’s good to be back and having a nice cup of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
momo

Welcome back!!! Hope everything gets sorted out for you soon!

Michelle

Welcome back!! I hope you find an apartment soon

Bonnie

Welcome back, glad you are safely in tea country. All will be well!

gmathis

Good choice for your welcome-back-to-civilization tea!

SimplyJenW

You are home! Welcome back and I hope the apartment hunting is quick and fruitful!

DaisyChubb

Welcome back!!!

Will Work For Tea

Nice to see from you again! Apartment hunting is no picnic… I feel for ya!

Mercuryhime

Yay you’re back! Good luck with the apartment. :)

ashmanra

Hooray! You are back! We have been clicking on your page and whimpering now and then…we missed you! Now start drinking some good tea to make up for lost time! :)

Dylan Oxford

Welcome back! Find any dinosaurs?

TeaBrat

welcome back!

Missy

Woot there you are!

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59
drank Earl Grey by Twinings
2122 tasting notes

I am kind of confused by the myriad of Earl Greys that Twining’s seems to offer. I am now in Heathrow Airport (London) on my way to Madagascar and I had a bagged EG that wasn’t the typical yellow-pouch one but instead a black with “The Earl Grey” on it. But when I go to Twinings’ site it seems that perhaps it’s just a packaging redesign? I dunno, but I’m sticking it under here anyway.

So yeah, I haven’t had tea in it seem s like forever. I have been running around like crazy trying to get my apartment packed up and get ready to go into the field. Also, the weather decided to give me a big F-you and be exceedingly hot and humid for the last couple of days, so not hot-tea weather even if I did get a little break. But now finally I have time to relax in my layover in London and I finally got a pot of tea. Twining’s isn’t my favorite, but I actually enjoyed my pot of tea way more than I did last time. Maybe they did a slight reblend, or maybe I just appreciate the base tea more this time around, but it was nice and well rounded, and not bitter or astringent at all. Very pleasant and welcome after the plane ride.

CHAroma

Have fun in Madagascar!!! We’ll miss you while you’re gone!

ashmanra

I know the Twinings that my daughter’s boyfriend sends me from N. Ireland have different packaging than the same ones here. Maybe that is it?

DaisyChubb

Lovely! Glad your long awaited pot of tea was satisfying

Missy

Enjoy your trip!

Dinosara

Thanks guys!

ashmanra – perhaps, but confusingly Twining’s has loose leaf tins on their UK website under “Earl Greys” in both the new black design and the old yellow design, listed separately. Who knows!

Vortegne

Madagascar! That’s amazing! Have fun, good luck there!

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86

I was looking through my stash and realized I haven’t yet tried this one though I requested a sample of it with my last order. I’ve wanted to try this one for a while because I love the idea of Verdant doing a chocolate Alchemy blend, although to be honest I wasn’t totally sure about all the other odds and ends. I mean, I’m not a huge mint tea person, and I never seek out chamomile, but I was intrigued all the same. I figured this morning the black tea could help me wake up and the chamomile and mint can help calm my nerves and stress of moving.

A quick sniff of the dried leaf yields a minty and herby aroma. I started out intending to steep this with different parameters but once I saw the steeping instructions in the description here I was able to pull up and adjust before actual steeping. The steeped tea has a really interesting smell. First I get mint with perhaps a light, hayish, appley chamomile accompaniment. But then some serious chocolatey aromas come out to play. It’s definitely a little chocolate-minty in the aroma.

The combo of flavors in this tea reminds me a bit of an Andean herbal blend I got in Argentina, if it had a chocolately black tea base instead of being an herbal. That’s a good thing because that tea is also one I liked way more than I thought I would. This tea is slightly sweet, chocolately, minty, and a bit fruity (I always think chamomile tastes appley). It all works really well together. And it is having the added benefit of making me feel alert as well as calming my nerves. A good choice for this morning!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I love this blend! Soothing! Believe it or not…it makes a nice mellow iced tea. I drink it hot them steep again for iced tea.

Azzrian

I am not even a huge fan of chamomile except for medicine reasons and this tea is AMAZING!

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93
drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
2122 tasting notes

I am running around like crazy lately, so I don’t have time to say much more about this one than: every time I have this I am reminded at how freaking delicious it is, and how much it is like a fruity Coquelicot Gourmand (Dammann Freres). The almond is just amazing in this blend, sweet and creamy and almondy and fantastic. Love love love it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Same here! I understand this is one of Michael’s personal blends, and it is a favorite of mine. The almond feels like a long hug from a good friend. The cranberry is the friendship! This is my quiet, reading a book tea.

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80

I was thinking about stashbusting again this morning but I don’t think I have any black teas with just the right amount of tea in them for one cup. So I thought about teas I have had for a long time, and this one came to mind. I bought my Dammann teas a little over a year ago in Paris so I feel like I should probably drink them up (gives me an excuse to order more!). This tea is the closest to being finished of all of them.

Mm, it’s more delicious than I remembered (I guess that speaks well to the aging properties of these teas). Hazenutty, chocolatey, with a hint of citrus. A hint sweet, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Really delightful. Dammann uses such great bases to their flavored teas, and it really makes a difference. Love it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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87

Another sample stash busting! I am on a roll today. I’m not sure how I managed to drink this only once before but my sample was mostly empty today. Maybe I drank it without knowing it?

I probably ended up using a bit much leaf in my cup this time around, but it still is a very tasty cup of tea, and a very nice dian hong. Mmm, sweet potatoes and oranges. With this much leaf I’m missing out on some of the honeyed notes unfortunately, but perhaps on the resteep.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
2122 tasting notes

Ah, stashbusting feels good. I got this sample ages ago from JacquelineM and this morning when I was looking for a tea I realized I could kill this sample so I went for it.

I am glad that I held onto this tea for as long as I did because I appreciate it so much more than when I first got it. I liked it ok then, I really like it now. Can’t wait to discover Harney’s other black teas in a whole new way now that I’m a black tea drinker!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Not sure how long you have had this, but the newer harvest is even richer and more flavorful!

Dinosara

I’ve had this one for forever, so it’s definitely an older harvest. I will definitely have to try the new one!

SimpliciTEA

“Ah, stashbusting feels good.” Totally with you on that one the last few weeks. For then when the newer—and preferably better—stuff comes in, we can enjoy it that much more, no?

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71

Thanks to Fong Mong tea, who provided this free sample for review. It’s been a while since I’ve had a Dong Ding (or any oolong besides a TGY), so I am looking forward to trying this one. I am following the western steeping instructions that they provide, but I can’t bring myself to steep the tea for 6 minutes. I did bump it to 4 minutes rather than my usual 3 because the Blue Jade I tried from them didn’t seem quite full flavored at 3 minutes.

The steeped tea smells roasty, a bit floral, and a bit vegetal. I have to say that I do think this one is oversteeped, unfortunately. There is a bit of astringency and a hint of bitterness that I don’t think would be there if I had stuck to 3 minutes. Otherwise, the flavor is pretty nice… a tad roasty but not too strong, some nice oolong flavors under there. Unfortunately this bitterness is taking over more as it cools. I ended up dumping out the first steep and steeping the leaves a second time for 3 minutes. This time the flavors are nice and pleasant, no bitterness. Lighly roasty, vegetal, not very floral or buttery, but with a very slight sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. I like this dong ding pretty well, but like I said earlier I don’t love even lightly roasted oolongs. Most dong dings are lightly roasted, as I’ve found, but every once in a while you happen across an unroasted one. I enjoy this tea (now that it’s not bitter), but it’s not something I would seek out.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

Every time I read about this tea, I read it as Ding Dong Oolong (which rhymes too)! :P

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Profile

Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-86: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
85-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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