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608 Tasting Notes

drank Grape Oolong by Butiki Teas
608 tasting notes

Drank this all afternoon, and the last steep I combined with a banana, a couple ice cubes, and some coconut milk. Half-awake late night immersion blender smoothie. More delicious than you might guess given how random a flavor combo it is, ha.

TheTeaFairy

I add tea to my smoothies all the time ;-)

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An awesome surprise gift from Dexter3657, who knows of my affection for the Frenchy teas, particularly DF and Fauchon. Thank you! :D

This is a boozy, sweet-tart cherry tea. As with so many DF blends, it smells amazing as soon as you open the bag and continues to be heady through steeping and finished cup. I love it—it reminds me a little of the liquor-steeped cherries I put in my highball drinks in springtime. Lemony tart like a Corpse Reviver, but a little plush and jammy too, where there’s a burst of juicy bright red cherry to balance it, keep it from being too puckery. It’s not like a dried fruit thing, nor like a straight fresh cherry…kind of like a pickled fruit (and Ysaurella ‘s right, it’s more like a red berry profile too, not just cherry). It’s weird, I hate tartness in tea with stuff like apples…but I don’t mind it with this jammy cherry profile…guess I’ve learned something new about my tastes!

I really like this one. Thankfully for me I’m not getting any cherry cough medicine associations (it’s nowhere near that kind of pinpointy plastic sweet), though I can kind of envision how someone could. It’s perfect for this afternoon—beginning of a long weekend, going to see a play tonight (feeling FANCY Anna! ha), another festival tomorrow, lots of time to just relax and chase each other around the house and play some more with perfume. A little luxurious but fun too. Exactly right for my mood.

DeliriumsFrogs

You and Anna are both SOoooooooooo fancy. :)
This review put me in such a happy mood….

Anna

I think this tea proves ifjuly is WAY fancier than me!

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This was a super generous sample from Stacy (I only see now it says it’s not eligible as a sample but she sent me one anyway because I mentioned it, eeek and whoops). Big ups!

I’ve been curious about this one for a while, because I had no idea such a thing was being made at all in Japan. It’s not like other pu erhs I’ve tried (granted, I’m still a newb). It has a rather strong brown rice element, kind of nutty and grainy, with a mildly sour-sweet finish. I can see what they’re getting at when they mention chestnut—there’s a mouthfeel at the end of the sip that has that sort of creamy-grainy texture which, combined with the nutty brown rice flavor, evokes chestnuts, particularly that…I don’t have a good word for it, not quite plasticky but you know…that element chestnuts have other nuts don’t (some people dislike that part, but I love it!). (ETA: I think this is perhaps the same thing Sil is ingeniously describing as “tasting like the texture of a prune”, yes.) Never had a tea quite like this one, where it has a sweetness and cleanness, yes, but it almost feels savory somehow. And the copy’s right; this also mysteriously manages to feel like something to get your motor going like old fashioned gas station coffee, but I can’t quite describe why or how because it doesn’t resemble a brisk black tea at all (something about it reminds me a teensy bit of either the Khongea Assam or the Four Season Oolong though, which both have that deep but specific, “narrow” “blackness” too).

It might just be fanciful notions racing in the head thanks to knowing it’s from Japan (you know how that can be!), but something about this also makes me think of big spreads of Korean or Japanese dishes, pickled and fermented vegetables and a big basket full of steaming rice…salty fish broth…seaweed wrappers and buckwheat noodles. Like I’m in the back room of the Korean restaurant my college TA worked at, smelling steam that smells like all those ingredients that go in those dishes—rice, sesame, fresh clean smelling fish. It’s not that it actually smells or tastes like these things. But somehow it makes me think of those meals and those kitchens. I’m guessing it’s that powerful roasted rice element.

I also think Terri is on the money when she mentions hojicha (and someone else mentioned genmaicha, yes) and sourdough. (I love when other Steepsters are better at IDing things I can taste and smell but can’t shuffle through my mental archives precisely enough to name myself!)

Pouring it from my gongfu glass teapot, I notice the color through the spout is marvelously reddish-pink-tinged, almost like rose wine. Collected in the cup, it’s a bright burnt sienna, reddish-brown umbery tones.

I’m really glad I got to try it. It grows on me the more I sit here. I think it’d be delicious with or after a big Korean or Japanese meal.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
CelebriTEA

This sounds really good…mmmmm…..

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Another fantastic surprise gift from boychik. Thank you!

This tea is unbelievable. It makes me wonder aloud “why does anyone make dessert tea with anything but pu erh?!” To be honest, I’ve been drifting away from flavored teas—hoping it’s just a phase as I focus my attention on pu erh mostly, and because this tends to happen when it starts to warm up—but maaaan this is just the thing to snap me right back. As soon as I opened the bag I was hit with the best rich deep caramel aroma I’ve ever smelled in a tea, and then while rinsing, steeping, and putting my nose to the finished cup it just kept delivering. The body is somewhat full but not rough, and the flavor has this ever-so-slight raspiness that keeps that deep, heady caramel aroma from turning too cloying or gummy—it’s a grounded, toasty caramel, not those individually wrapped light colored candies with cream in the center, not that milky. I reckon this is so people who like it nice and toasty can revel in it (deep deep deep!), and those who want that milky sweetness can add cream and/or sugar to taste. I love how it’s so decadent yet it still definitely tastes like TEA, full of that dark, mysterious, murky wonder.

I feel teased because I’m too broke for even something so reasonably priced right now (or anything for that matter), but let me tell you, as soon as I have a chance to I’m ordering this one. It has the potential to ruin me for any other dessert tea, gadzooks. boychik really knows how to find stuff that hits it out of the park! If you love deep dark rich breakfast blends with sweet treat hints (which I loved about Butiki’s Irish Cream Cheesecake, wish there were more morning blends like that that can wake you up but also make you feel a little indulgent) as well as the sweet rich shu pu erhs and maybe even the roasty coffee-chocolatey Wuyi oolongs, I have a feeling you’d be smitten. It is a little like Herbal Infusions’ Moose Tracks meets Butiki’s Irish Cream Cheesecake meets Mandala’s Big Red Robe Fancy Grade. And something about the end of the sip, how it’s thinner and clean, kind of reminds me a little of Lupicia’s dessert flavored Orzo tisanes.

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

You are such fabulous reviewer. You are so free with words. Amazing;). Thank you, it simply made my morning.

whatshesaid

Sounds amazing!

DeliriumsFrogs

As boychik said, you are such a fabulous reviewer. This was so much fun to read. :) This sounds beyond fantastic.

Sil

you can get this from a number of vendors…thus far all of them have been tasty that i’ve tried, if this version isn’t easily accessible

whatshesaid

Which vendors?

ifjuly

aw, thanks boychik and DF! love you guys and seeing you when i get up here. (:

yeah Sil, i was poking around angelina’s on the steepster DB and their site (because i like to torture myself) and i noticed there was overlap, the whole metropolitan tea scattered to the winds thing. good to have confirmation.

ifjuly

whatshesaid, i notice a lot of the time if you type just the tea name and no vendor in the steepster search box you will find a lot of different companies with what looks to be the same tea (often sourced by metropolitan if i’m remembering right).

whatshesaid

Ohhhh really, interesting! Never heard of this metropolitan company before…

Sil

majesteas in toronto has it… uh london tea room….uh….a bunch.
lol

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A wonderful surprise gift from boychik. This tea is unlike anything I’ve had, I reckon. It’s smooth and sweet and has some satisfying rich black tea flavor, yet there’s a freshness, almost a green element to it too, a little plant-like. The sweetness is a kind I’m not at all used to with black tea; it’s more like the kind I love and associate with greens like Laoshan Green and good bilochuns. I wonder if that’s the cane sugar they describe in the unusual quick-fried process. Whatever it is, it’s delicious and unique (and perfect for the season, which can’t make up its mind if it’s still winter or going to honestly stay spring—this is how I feel right now: https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/t1.0-9/10154100_622880174469069_8744260657632339606_n.jpg ). Later steeps bring out an oat bran smell I’m digging. Man, I may have to procure a bunch of this. Awesome find, boychik! And thank you so much for sharing it (and so much of it! Gosh) with me. :D

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML
boychik

i had to surprise you with something unusual. I remember i resteeped it many times.

ifjuly

yeah, i’ve had 3 cups so far…i love it. i have a confession to make—i’ve been distracted from tea logging thanks to perfume sample logging—but tonight, this tea definitely beat the pants off the perfume i tried (just ho-hum vanilla, cinnamon, and cooked apple). really wonderful. thank you so much for sharing it with me! i’m not sure i’d want to, in your shoes, ha.

boychik

Ok now you have to share that perfume logging;). I love reading abt perfume

ifjuly

right now i’ve been haphazardly posting them along with everything else on facebook. i should put them in a dedicated spot i reckon, before they get too unruly…

ifjuly

ok, here we go: http://absolution.livejournal.com/1334655.html if you push the “forward” arrow at the top it’ll keep paging through to the next log. i’ve only got maybe 4 up right now—i haven’t logged perfume in years ‘cause i don’t play with it while weightlifting, and just got back into it. so you like perfume too? do you have favorites? do tell! (:

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drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
608 tasting notes

Rained all day and cold—frost advisory tonight despite the 80F sunglasses n’ crawfish weekend—had this as a remedy when R got home for afternoon tea with Orange Chocolate Chippers (here: http://atlantishome.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/07/orange-chocolate-chippers.html the fresh crumb is what makes them; it’s a little like a drop biscuit or scone at first, pale and piled somewhat high in jumbles, not like a flat chip cookie, plus the orange oil works well with a nice not-too-sweet chocolate without being tart or fruit juice kid-like…the only thing I’d change in the future is maybe cutting back on the number of chocolate chips—seems extravagant to me though husband thinks not, ha). Not a heady vanilla tea at all, just mellow, lets your baked goods shine as it stands back gracefully in the wings. Not exciting and I doubt I’d want it solo very often, but good when you kind of want something black, mild, sweet, and blandly comforting to go with early dessert. Doesn’t have that alcohol burn some vanilla teas do, which is a bonus.

DeliriumsFrogs

Those cookies look like they’d be perfect with that tea! (and your mention of ‘no alcohol burn’ is great, since I really hate that in vanilla teas…). Lovely.

Stephanie

We’ve got a frost advisory too…so glad I didn’t plant my seedlings! hides them in the house

ifjuly

DF, vanilla burn is THE WORST! yuck. in anything…

phew, Stephanie! sadly my neighbors spent Saturday and Sunday doing the whole front of the house. ahh.

boychik

This looks so yummy. Thanks for the recipe. I’m off to baking;)

ifjuly

i hope you like them, boychik! they are not very sweet, as a heads up. and they make a zillion, at least i thought so (though with a full family maybe that’s not a problem for you :)—next time since it’s just the two of us i’m going to split the recipe. it made 2 and a half trays, 50 small cookies for me.

TheTeaFairy

OMG! You made me look at the forecast and here too…cold with snow possibly, WTF?!??

boychik

We are Cookie Monsters! I have to hide sweets fr hubby and kids;)
We made them. Soo delicious. Everybody liked them. I put some away for tomorrow ;)
Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe;)

ifjuly

TheTeaFairy, i am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news. :/

boychik, i love to hear you guys liked them! yay cookie party!

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
608 tasting notes

Still super boring thanks to lack of a working nose. Got all these amazing teas to enjoy from Butiki and Shang and Mandala and Harney but grrrr.

Been drinking this every day ‘cause I finally restocked it (yay) so I don’t feel terrible using a cup’s worth of leaves each day (resteep champion!) on this stuffed up, phlegmy, voiceless bag o’ guts. This Friday marks the beginning of what traditionally has been the ushering of For Real Now, No Foolin’, No Turning Back Spring here—the crawfish festival and art walk. Still can’t taste much, still feel blegh. Stupid weeklong cold! But I am looking forward to when I feel better, any moment now, so I can dive into the warm weather, new tea, perfume, and recently mildly redecorated house. So there.

And I’m so grateful for this tea. I can still smell the leather and chocolate and roasty notes, delicious. I’m not sure I’d ever have thought to use pu erh as a sickness tea, but it works rather well.

Cheri

I hope you start feeling better soon! I’ve been in a similar boat where I can’t taste some of my teas. Certain flavors were just GONE. BLERGH.

boychik

Puerh is for everything. for better sleep and for those days, for stomach aches. this is my remedy! hopefully you will feel better soon. Today is official spring break. Kids are home till apr22:)

ifjuly

oh, that’s the worst Cheri! i’ve had a couple of those moments. i find taking a break from tea for a while and going back to it helps…or trying tea types i’d never had before. sometimes you just kinda get burned out.

do you have any fun activities planned for your kids, boychik? yay spring break! and i agree, pu erh is surprisingly therapeutic.

boychik

We should go to Poconos to turn the heat off. then I planned to come back. its so much to do in a city, why go anywhere? plus my older one have to finally take off her braces on 17th. she cant wait nomore.

Dexter3657

Crawfish festival? I am SOOOOOOoooo jealous!!! Hope the hot sauce helps to clear you sinuses. Have fun and I hope that you feel better.

ifjuly

so charmed to learn you’re a fellow crawfish fan, Dexter3657! yes, it’s lovely…it’s usually the first solid gorgeous spring day of the year (has been the last 3 or 4 years at least), and it’s down the street from my apartment (one of those events where they block off the roads and people who live on this street offer visitors parking space in their driveway for a fee!), and i walk down in shorts and sit in the sun eating crawfish and drinking fizzy lemony beer. i love it. simple pleasures. thank you for the well wishes, by the way. yes, spices—we had a thai curry for dinner last night which helped clear things up a bit, ha.

that sounds like a big event for your daughter, boychik! i never had braces but i can imagine i’d be counting the days if i were her, ha. and you’re so right about NY—super jealous you live there. (:

DeliriumsFrogs

Fizzy lemony beer and a short walk (down your street!) to a crawfish festival!? Oh dear, that is heaven!!
And I love your perfume knowledge… scents are magical (which we all know, since we love tea so much…), and perfume has always seemed so mystical to me. Why does it have to give me headaches!? (do you think that’s just cheap perfume?).

ifjuly

i think it’s a really common issue, DF! it’s why i don’t wear perfume out much, because i know lots and lots of people who are sensitive to it, like allergic. perhaps all-synthetic cheaper stuff is the worst, i’m not sure, but i know it’s hard to find a perfume these days that lacks something synthetic, even the pricey ones.

i’m actually not knowledgeable at all about perfume—my friend Kate in california is way more of an expert—but it’s a fun hobby once in a while! i like little private sense-memory treats, which is probably why i like tea so much too. (:

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92

So I have all these beautiful perfume samples headed my way (I’m taking a weightlifting hiatus which means I can indulge my olfactory sense; when trying to hit a new PR I abstain due to some hearsay, possibly superstitious, about scent affecting hormone levels over time), and splendid tea samples from Stacy, and I’ve been boasting about this being one of the only winters on record I managed to stay well, which means naturally over the weekend I (and my husband) developed a cold that renders my entire head a mere repository for snot. Of course. (At least there’s an obvious reason—we went to the drugstore yesterday for more Nyquil and the lady carded us and then looked at me sympathetically and said “aw, you the sick one?” and I said “yeah, I managed to stay fine all winter and then…” and she goes “yeah, well jeez, this weather’ll do it…can you believe it went from 65F to 40F in a single hour the other day??”)

Been combatting it with my usual—insane amounts of Stash White Christmas (white tea, peppermint, ginger), a box of Kleenex a day, a sack of oranges, chicken soup—but I was so sick of not being able to smell anything! And my illnesses always progress the same way, downward really—they start with congestion and pressure behind my eyes and nose, sinuses, then after a couple days it moves down to my throat, then a full body ache usually with a fever, then finally to my chest/lungs. I’d progressed to “sore muscles” last night and decided to take a long bath. L’Occitane sent me a free “bath sugar cube” a while back, with rosemary, mint, and pine, so last night I soaked in that with a cup of this tea, a Paddywax candle, and Julie Doiron on the stereo low and soft. It was marvelous.

I chose this tea because I have so much of it I don’t feel bad using some while ill/not up to snuff senses-wise, and it resteeps well, and I missed “black tea taste” but knew it’s usually smooth and round enough to keep from upsetting my stomach or throat. And it was perfect. Through the wall of snot (sorry to be gross guys!) I can taste this, TEA, and it soothed me so. So I had some this morning too. I know I’m missing its full glory, but this one’s always been like a blanket, comforting like a hug (I just realized my first note for this was about the time the in-wall space heater could’ve killed us all—this really seems to be what I reach for when things are not their best!). I love how reliable it is.

keychange

I’m sorry you’ve been sick, but…well, there’s something about being sick (and the subsequent recovery) that makes spoiling yourself feel so special: lying under a pile of blankets in bed never feels nearly as good when you’re well; scented baths never feel nearly as therapeutic; tea never feels as lovely against your very sore throat.

boychik

ifjuly, so sorry you are sick. even when you sick you are hilarious. haha
my entire head a mere repository for snot. i love your descriptions for anything :)
Pls feel better soon. lots of fun is coming up

ifjuly

you guys are way too kind! what i failed to mention is (and my husband could attest), i’m a HUGE whiny baby when i get sick. even a minor headcold like this and i’m all waaaaah woe is me. which is weird because i otherwise have a fairly stout disposition when it comes to pain. dunno why i’m like this! but you guys are ace at making me feel better. (:

Stephanie

Spring colds are annoying…its such a frustrating time to not feel 100%!

ifjuly

yeah, agree Stephanie! i mean, i’d be whining no matter when it was (see above about my whiny baby syndrome), like i hate how cold and flu season tends to be exactly when you’re super busy traveling, seeing people you’ve not seen in ages, and trying to gift shop and decorate and wrap presents, and want to be able to smell/taste and enjoy holiday goodies, but still. warm weather colds are super annoying. nobody wants to be struck in PJs on the couch while the world grows sunny finally.

DeliriumsFrogs

I am SO sorry you’re under the weather! (but, as boychik said, even when sick, you’re hilarious. lol). Your bath sounded heavenly, and I’m really glad you had this tea for comfort. Warm hugs from tea are the best.

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
608 tasting notes

Last night I was rereading the Harney tea book and getting the strongest craving for a cup of this (our spring continues to be a halting process—one day it’s 75F and I’m in shorts, the next it’s pouring, overcast, and the heater kicks on as I wake with a stuffy head), but it was too late to entertain. So I woke up today and that minisecond when you’re lying in bed anticipating the day was spent dreaming of this, as well as cold pizza and pistachio gelato for breakfast (don’t judge).

I get out of bed to find the freezer door’s been left open, the gelato is melted, and I can’t find my Mandala pu erhs anywhere. Begin panicking because despite how MUCH tea I have, I’m pretty durn organized about it, so losing track of a favorite is hard to believe. Begin combing through everything, still not finding it, getting more agitated by the drawer, all that jazz. Finally find it—hidden behind some tins of Verdant blacks in the hallway curio, tucked into a green box I was seeing past because I don’t store anything else but pu erhs in boxes. Phew.

Enjoying it with milk and a little bourbon smoked sugar (sacrilegious maybe I know, but it’s such a gloomy day, cut me a break!), dreamy eyed, calming down and beginning to get that pu erh buzz. R sniffs the air and asks about it, I laugh and offer him the second steep unsure of what he’ll make of it (he’s never had pu erh), he shyly says “well, if you really don’t mind sharing…” and the next thing I know his nose is buried in his mug, comically glued like a dog in his food bowl, and he’s all “MMMM!” inhaling and happy. Husband likes pu erh! Who’dathunkit. Today’s nice revelation. (Oh, and this is an especially sweet one because he can’t eat most chocolate but he loves the stuff—so this is a heavenly cheat for him!)

whatshesaid

Would this be a good place to start for someone oh has never tried pu’erh?

ifjuly

i think so, yes, because Mandala’s are very “clean” as far as pu erhs go from what i understand, but also full of flavors often associated with favorite black teas—this one for example to me tastes like darkdark, almost burnt it’s so dark, chocolate and espresso, with some bready notes, among other things.

my biggest piece of advice to someone new to pu erh is to RINSE FIRST, ALWAYS. as in, the first “steep” is really only like 10 seconds, and doesn’t have to be a lot of water, then pour it out and let the tea sit a moment damp. then proceed. my first attempt at pu erh i disregarded that, and i’m not alone apparently going by rating logs, and it compounded the weirdness which you want to avoid for your first foray into a new tea type, i think. even if a pu erh’s packaging doesn’t say to rinse, i always rinse now (and usually i don’t bother with any other tea type). also, shu pu erh like this one wants to be bathed in the hottest water possible. that was the other thing. and, for this one, don’t be afraid of tempering it with a little milk and/or sugar. i almost never put anything in my black tea so i didn’t with this one at first, but i love it even more with milk and a dab of sugar. it can definitely withstand it. also, pu erh is a good resteeper.

whatshesaid

That’s great advice, thanks!

TeaBrat

bourbon smoked sugar? OMG

__Morgana__

Hah, I read sugar as cigar for some reason. Which would also be interesting…

DeliriumsFrogs

The fact that you were able to turn melted gelato into a happy moment is magical (and, I would never judge you. ha! I eat ice cream sundaes for lunch, as you know…).
This whole note was so much fun to read…and I would never try adding milk or sugar to a pu erh, but you’ve got me curious now (and extremely interested in this particular pu erh).

also, I second TeaBrat….. bourbon smoked sugar?!

ifjuly

picked up the sugar during a Harney clearance sale over the holidays; i think they still carry it, but right now it’s back to full price (quite a lot for sugar…but yeah, really lovely sugar). it’s a finishing sugar, but i like a tiny bit in certain very hefty teas that can handle it (again, no judging! :). and yes DF, i like that you understand my need for an occasional ice cream-based meal. (:

i never would’ve either re: milk and sugar in pu erh except someone i quite admire, a longtimer here, Bonnie, mentioned she does it all the time. it gave me the courage to. with this one, it makes sense to me especially; this is like a little cup of espresso and a square of the darkest eating chocolate, with some leather/pu erh-y aromatic depth. i don’t do it with the lincang/phatty cake as it has a mint element and lots of library-ish and forest smells i think i’d lose if i did. experimentation! s’fun. (:

whatshesaid, no prob! seriously, my number one piece of advice is rinse first always. and yeah, mandala is a great place to start bc their pu erhs are sweet, rich, and not too funky. best of luck finding something you like! (and welcome back! :)

Sami Kelsh

I milk and sugar in pu’erh too, especially if it’s a very dark one. No shame, it’s good! Sweet, creamy deep farm flavour? Get in!!!

whatshesaid

Thanks :) it’s been added to my ‘to buy’ list!
Happy to be back!!

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drank White Rhino by Butiki Teas
608 tasting notes

This is a good example of why the world of tea is such an awesome one. This is nothing like what you think of when you imagine a white—it lives in this magical, Venn Diagram overlap sweet spot where it has elements of black tea, white tea, oolong tea, just…remarkable. A white tea with the spunky, almost smoldering but clean character of an Indian black (think second flush Darjeeling, with nuttiness)! But the body and tang of a good white (and the hay too)! And the softness and enchanting aroma of an oolong! From Kenya(I love Harney’s Kangaita OP and have been so impressed with Justea’s Kenyan Black, but generally a tea noob would associate Kenya with CTC blacks still, I reckon)! Tea never ceases to surprise me.

As Sil notes, this would make an excellent addition to one’s afternoon tea rotation, a nice option when you’re in the mood for a sparkly light Darjeeling but also a little restless, in want of something different, special.

DeliriumsFrogs

Oooooh! This sounds fantastic!

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Profile

Bio

“…you can never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”
-Julia Child on food and cooking, and I think it applies to tea as well!

note: i am currently taking a break from swapping/mail of any kind as money is rather tight. i apologize! i do love to swap but i can’t afford to right now. hopefully in a month things will change.

my cupboard includes any tea i’ve ever owned, including things i’ve sipped down, in order to facilitate swaps with people and keep a record—this way i don’t get redundant samples/order duplicates to try. if you are interested in swapping, i have a separate ever-updated list of teas i actually have on hand i can PM.

i like strong, rich blacks (including some choice old skool CTCs); juicy-fruity flavored green blends; buttery chinese greens; light floral oolongs; flavored oolongs (how sacrilegious!); earl greys; smoky blends; second flush muscatel darjeelings; verdant’s straight oolongs steeped in a gaiwan (mind altering!); anything from laoshan village it seems.

favorite notes include lavender, bergamot, violet, fennel, cardamom, melon, honey, sandalwood, smoke, nuts, roasty/toasty stuff, malt, wood, leather, creamy lemon, steamed rice, artichoke, garden-sweet snap veggies, earth/soil, forest and wet bark, and mushroom.

notes i generally can’t stand (at least in tea) include jasmine, rose (ok in small doses but i often find it overpowering and then everything just smells like musty old lady perfume), astringent apple (and general fruitiness really unless it’s with green tea), and chamomile (unless i’m congested or tired).

my current favorite tea vendors are butiki and harney and sons. i’ve also found some delicious teas and/or had good customer service experiences with the following companies: capital tea ltd., the devotea, verdant, mandala, golden moon, teavivre, lupicia, taiwan tea crafts, yezi tea, den’s tea, the tea merchant, norbu, fauchon paris, tao tea leaf, zen tea, fortnum and mason, townshend’s tea, joy’s teaspoon, new mexico tea company, persimmon tree, teajo teas, whispering pines, della terra, upton imports, mariage freres, samovar, justea, teabox, american tea room, steven smith, steap shoppe, utopia tea, and andrews and dunham damn fine tea. when i’m at the grocery store my “you could do worse” brands include stash, bigelow, tazo, taylors of harrogate, whittard of chelsea, and pg tips. and it’s a fact: you can’t make classic southern sweet tea without luzianne.

top picks, fall 2013

black:
verdant zhu rong yunnan black
verdant laoshan black
thepuriTea hong jing luo (no longer available :( )
thepuriTea red dragon pearl (no longer available :( )
mandala morning sun
golden moon honey orchid
verdant golden fleece
taiwan tea crafts red jade
yezi tea zheng shan xiao zhong “scotch” tea
capital tea borsapori estate assam tgfop1 (spl)
butiki khongea golden tippy assam
butiki giddahapar darjeeling extra special
upton imports fikkal estate
golden moon sinharaja
harney and sons new vithanakande
persimmon tree vintage black
teajo teas black manas
justea kenyan black
harney and sons kangaita op

morning blends:
butiki the black lotus
harney and sons queen catherine
harney and sons eight at the fort
harney and sons big red sun
harney and sons scottish morn
golden moon irish breakfast
harney and sons irish breakfast
utopia tea english breakfast
fortnum and mason breakfast blend (needs milk!)
andrews and dunham double knit blend
steven smith no. 25 morning light
butiki irish cream cheesecake

earl greys and scented afternoon blends:
teajo teas silky earl grey
harney and sons viennese earl grey
upton imports lavender earl grey
american tea room victoria
lupicia earl grey grand classic
harney and sons tower of london
tao tea leaf cream earl grey
zen tea earl grey cream
della terra earl grey creme
upton imports season’s pick earl grey creme vanilla
upton imports baker street afternoon blend
harney and sons russian country
della terra professor grey
verdant earl of anxi

flavored black:
herbal infusions moose tracks
american tea room brioche
steap shoppe cinnamon swirl bread
della terra oatmeal raisin cookie
butiki nutmeg cream
kusmi caramel
david’s tea brazillionaire
lupicia banane chocolat
butiki hello sweetie
fauchon paris raspberry macaron
butiki blueberry purple tea
herbal infusions marshmallow snowflake earl grey
herbal infusions creme brulee chai

pu erh:
mandala loose and luscious lincang 2007 shu/ripe pu erh
mandala special dark 2006 shu/ripe pu erh

oolong:
verdant shui jin gui wuyi oolong
verdant hand-picked early spring tieguanyin
butiki 2003 reserve four season oolong
harney and sons formosa oolong
tea merchant silk dragon
golden moon coconut pouchong
zen tea coconut oolong
american tea room coconut oolong
teavivre taiwan jin xuan milk oolong
butiki flowery pineapple oolong
butiki lychee oolong
lupicia momo oolong supergrade
butiki strawberry oolong
butiki pumpkin milkshake darjeeling oolong
52teas tiramisu oolong

green:
verdant laoshan bilochun green
verdant autumn harvest laoshan green
tao tea leaf hou kui
harney and sons tencha
harney and sons gyokuro
new mexico casablanca
butiki with open eyes
american tea room nirvana
joy’s teaspoon mahalo
den’s tea pineapple sencha
harney and sons tokyo
butiki potato pancakes and applesauce
butiki holiday eggnog and pralines
den’s tea organic genmaicha with matcha
golden moon hojicha

white:
butiki cantaloupe and cream
butiki champagne and rose cream

no caf:
harney and sons soba buckwheat
butiki birthday cake
della terra lemon chiffon
52teas strawberry pie honeybush
butiki mango lassi
joy’s teaspoon italian dream
butiki coconut cream pie rooibos
butiki peppermint patty
persimmon tree mint chocolate chip rooibos
art of tea velvet tea
fusion teas chocolate cake honeybush
american tea room choco-late
steven smith no. 40 bon bon
townshend’s tea dark forest chai
utopia tea decaffeinated earl grey cream

sleep aid/medicinal/therapeutic:
new mexico extra sleepy bear
stash white christmas
verdant ginger sage winter spa blend
samovar turmeric spice
butiki the killer’s vanilla guayusa

coldsteeped wonders:
whispering pines manistee moonrise
harney and sons fruits d’alsace
utopia tea berkshire apple and fig
culinary teas peaches and cream
butiki peach hoppiTea
butiki ruby pie
whispering pines gingerade

besides tea

born in seoul, raised in new england and upstate new york, went to college in pittsburgh, currently in memphis with an eye toward philadelphia, portland, or asheville eventually.

i like cats, most beverages really (i also like good freshly roasted coffee, craft beer, wine, whiskey and gin-based cocktails, and soda/soft drinks like agua fresca), art (mainly writing but also visual and music) and critical theory, feminism/genderqueer politics, historiography, statistics, children’s literature and librarianship, travel, and food/cooking. also have recently gotten into weightlifting (mark rippetoe and stumptuous!) and sprint training (HIIT, plyometrics) and i love it.

Location

Memphis, TN

Website

http://facebook.com/ifjuly

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