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Another great tea sample from Nicole! Yay! Super thanks for this.

what I wrote on FB earlier:
“think Robert gave me his durn cold (this always happens but I always act like somehow I can avoid the inevitable if I just try hard enough, alas), got the classic itch in my throat. worked like a demon early this morning so hopefully i can do a protracted gongfu tea brewing session this afternoon (someone on steepster sent me a buncha verdant oolongs, oh baby) before he comes home (and before the cold renders me tea-dumb).”

So here I am. I’m still very clumsy/ungraceful about doing things gongfu—the job gets done I guess, but with zero artfulness on my behalf alas—but I love how it forces you to really respect and pay full attention to your tea. And I am getting better at using a gaiwan without looking ridiculous, so there’s that.

In the brewing video for this one, David’s not kidding about the aroma and explosion of spring in this one. Growing up with the lilac festival in Rochester every year, this one really spoke to me as there’s tons and tons of true-floral aroma, especially of lilacs. The awesome thing is despite being very floral and spring-y, this tea is not wimpy at all. It has a lot of backbone, with some sweet, fresh-cut grass (as opposed to the harsh, older grassiness in some Japanese greens), just a little bit of hay, and pine! Reminds me of summers as a kid hiking and canoeing in Vermont around B&B country (my parents had close friends up there), farmhouses with straw in the yard and wooden bridges and rocky caverns and streams of cold, rocky but sweet water. There’s also a creamy sweetness to this which comes as a surprise with the upfront floral elements. That vanilla-y aspect lingers and grows, which is lovely and tied up with those Vermont memories in that our friends ran an antique shop with a candy store within, so this conjures up the smell of those creamy caramels along with everything else Vermont. More mineral comes out after a few steepings as well, along with a mysterious element I can’t quite name, something more savory than sweet, heady and frankly a little sexy…hm. Saffron’s listed on the site, and I can see how that might be what I’m sensing. Whatever it is I really like it, and to go into detail would possibly be TMI it’s so alluring, ha. Appropriate for spring, let’s just say.

If you could bottle these exact aromas as a perfume, with their depth and evocation and gradually unfurled complexity, I’d wear it, and I hate perfume. It would have all of that going on yet also the freshness (and mysterious flowers-and-the-whole-world’s-getting-it-on sexiness) that’s here too.

Definitely worth doing gongfu style.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

I jumped on your stream of thought and traveled through every picturesque visual bubble, delighting in how easily the words tumbled into blossoms of scent, aroma and visual memories. Great job!

ifjuly

Aw, thank you Bonnie. That means a lot to me coming from you. (:

Terri HarpLady

libido in a bottle? LOL!

ifjuly

haha, it totally was!

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Bonnie

I jumped on your stream of thought and traveled through every picturesque visual bubble, delighting in how easily the words tumbled into blossoms of scent, aroma and visual memories. Great job!

ifjuly

Aw, thank you Bonnie. That means a lot to me coming from you. (:

Terri HarpLady

libido in a bottle? LOL!

ifjuly

haha, it totally was!

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“…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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