612 Tasting Notes

drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
612 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.

Dexter

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
612 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
612 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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Stacy is wonderful and sent me a free sample of this with my recent order—thank you!

I believe I like this one more than the Hattialli Golden Lion from last year. It seems to have more flavor, a sweeter chocolate, especially in the initial sips. Less dry wood; it’s quite smooth, polished. Still bready like the previous one. A clean bright flavor emerges towards the end of the cup too—I could just be forgetting (it’s definitely been a while!) but I don’t recall Lion having such noticeable transformative second and third acts as this one. I would recommend if you liked the Lion; you may just find you like this even more.

Butiki Teas

I agree, this harvest was is superior to the last harvest. :)

DeliriumsFrogs

I absolutely love how this tea changed with each steep….so delicious!

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reviewed Smart Soak by Mandala Tea
612 tasting notes

Brace yourselves guys, ‘cause I’m about to go full-on housewife. This stuff is as close to a miracle product, actually-like-as-seen-on-TV-demos as I’ve ever tried. I’m lazy and used to a routine with my teaware where I just rinse it out daily, and then perhaps 2 times a week I’ll go at it all with the usual suspects—baking soda, white vinegar or lemon juice, occasionally something a touch more exotic like cream of tartar or citric acid or Bon Ami etc. And it does an ok job—respectable but not squeaky,-just-out-of-the-box immaculate and bright. You know, where there’ll be a couple hard to reach spots or ridges or whatever that have faint tannin discoloration no matter what (in particular, I was convinced the tannin stains on the inner bottom of my For Life basket and the thin glass spouts of my teapots were here to stay). Also, the Breville is nice (though I would say now definitively I prefer the Zoji if you have to choose one), but one thing that’s rough is it’s a little bit of a pain to clean (to do it properly you have to leave it overnight and boil and reboil and all that, which means no insta-morning tea!) and stains very easily, with the section behind the magnetic arm that’s nearly impossible to delicately/safely reach to clean well. But I was thinking, you know…a life of tea means some slight stains on a few hard-to-reach spots you just live with. Not a big deal. But I do sometimes get self-conscious when guests are here, wondering if they think those things are filthy or something.

Well no more. Now I know if/when it really matters, bringing everything back to brand spankin’ new condition is no sweat. Today I took a tablespoon of Smart Soak and 8 cups of boiling water (straight from the Zoji!) and submerged or poured it into or onto everything that had those sorts of pesky stains—lots of pouring back and forth between teapots to reach the spouts, dunking brew baskets in and then once they came out pouring that water into tea cups, what have you. And my gosh. I didn’t even have to wait the 10 minute soak time. Everything dipped in when the water was truly hot came out sparkling, factory-new immaculate immediately (the aforementioned For Life basket is so shiny it’s like a looking glass—ALL of it too, the bottom that no amount of scrubbing or homemade remedy chemical reaction could budge, the rim, everything). !!!! I felt like that Billy whatshisname guy from the informercials. And nothing was damaged, no paint or images or anything. No harsh fumes either; simply some effervescence and watching those yellow-brown tannins instantly bleed from the gear into the water. MAGIC. I was worried I’d have to use a lot for it to be effective, or that it’d smell harsh or potentially harmful, or make a mess, or require long soak times. Nope. No cleaning product has ever delivered on what it promised to this extent. I am so, so grateful Dexter3657, Azzrian, and other Steepsters sang its praises enough to convince me to bother to try it. I don’t ever want to be without this stuff—if Mandala ever announces they’re pulling it (the horrors!), I’ll be first in line to stock up on the remaining tubs. Fantastic product (especially on stainless steel, glass, and tumblers, but really everything).

boychik

i need this ! if only something like this could be done for humans…

Garret

That’s it, you’re hired for all our infomercials :) I am so happy that you are diggin’ on this product. Your review made me smile and had me nodding my head with understanding and agreement. Thank you for writing this up!

Garret

And boychik, if you’re trying to get rid of pesky humans, just serve them really bad tea :)

ifjuly

I promise not to scream like that Billy dude in the infomercial, Garret. Tea is too calming an influence. (: And thank YOU for offering this product!

boychik, I’d be down for sending you a sample to try but I’m not sure how the post office would feel about it…mysterious white powder in a little baggie. Ehrm…

boychik

You are so funny lol. Every time I go to PO the same lady keeps asking me what’s inside. I keep saying samples. After several times she asked “samples of what?”
I decided not to mention that its tea. I changed the subject to weather is awful ….

ifjuly

yeah, i remember the first time i sent tea to canadian steepsters and the customs form, the guy’s like “loose tea? is it like, just loose in the box, or in baggies?” and i’m like “uh little baggies” and he asked how many and i was all “6 i think?” and thinking in the back of my mind “he’s probably wondering what the heck my deal is…”

__Morgana__

LOL, I was waiting to hear “it cuts, chops, serrates and makes julienne fries!”

keychange

Do you think this would be good at getting rid of scent that clings onto things? I’m specifically thinking of cilacone (the inner lid of the timolino has osme on it). This stuff sounds amazing!

ifjuly

Hm, good question! I almost tacked on a disclaimer at the end that the miraculousness referred to tea tannin stains only; my stuff was clean otherwise of other sorts of detritus. I’m not sure…the lemon juice/vinegar trick tends to work for me, so my stuff didn’t have a smell to it. I will try to remember to run a little mini test and find out, keychange!

You made me laugh, Morgana! Thanks. (:

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This was a super generous sample Stacy threw in with my order! Thank you!

So, one tea type I wouldn’t have thought to request from Butiki is Darjeeling, not because I haven’t liked the one or two I’ve tried (I definitely have—the Giddahapar Extra Special is one of my all-time favorite Darjs!), but because it’s one of those nostalgic comfort food types I don’t really need luxe versions of to enjoy, if that makes any sense. Plus, I still have approximately 8 billion different kinds from that massive Teabox sampler (I love that thing). I tend to look to Butiki for flavored stuff I can’t find anywhere else, or for some of the, to me anyway as a newbie, innovative or more niche tea types being made around the world (like, who even knew Japan makes pu erh? I didn’t!). Turns out though, this is riiiiiight up my alley. It’s all the things I love in a Darj—it’s got a clean, lightly floral element at the end of the sip, and that woody aspect I adore is so beautiful here, not so much a dry raspy woodiness (although there is that and I’m glad), but also a deeper, almost mossy, damp sort of wood, a little like wet forest bark. And you know how I’m always going on about how some of my favorite black teas straddle the line between the woody astringency of Indian legacy teas and the sweet smooth starchiness of Chinese tea? This does that beautifully; there’s a yeasted bread/grain aroma I associate with Chinese tea and a soft fullness, but it balances with those woody clean Darjeeling notes. A beautiful morning tea that inspires contemplation, ideal given today’s Friday.

ETA: I like Stacy’s description of how it almost feels more like an Assam at the beginning and a Darjeeling at the end. That’s a really good way of putting it! The first whiff is rich and sweet and hints at chocolate like a good Assam, the middle is that woodiness that is both Darj-y but beyond the usual, almost wet, then I get the starchiness, and then the end is when the sparkly clean notes one associates with Darjeeling come in full and linger.

DeliriumsFrogs

ooooh! This was in my box, too… I can’t wait to try it! Your description (the different types of woodiness are great…) has me knowing I will love it. :)

Sami Kelsh

This sounds ridiculously sexy. I want to go to there!

ifjuly

haha, i love your comments Sami Kelsh. if you like darjeeling, it’s a lovely one!

DeliriumsFrogs, we are butiki twins! i smiled when i saw your golden paw write up ’cause i had it yesterday, a freebie from Stacy. need to log it soon. i know i keep saying it but it is SO FUN getting to read your impressions now. :D

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Another fancypants JW tea from boychik, because she’s so generous like that. (:

I like this one more than the JW Dian Hong Congfu, which surprises me a little. It’s been a LONG time, like nearly a year long, since I drank Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu, but I remember it being rich, hearty, deep, and very full of the caramelized sweet potato and oat profile of nice Chinese black teas. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison is in order for this weekend; boychik sent me enough I can do that (thanks!). This one was sweet too, and had that quality of gentleness but also depth that the nicer Chinese teas often boast. I quite enjoyed it. I don’t know that these sweet potato Chinese black teas will ever be my top favorites, but they have a craft you can taste to them—how they manage to be so sweet with zero bitterness or astringency, soft but also so full of flavor—I’d never deny.

Joseph Wesley Black Tea

we’re happy to read that you enjoyed the #6. Cheers!

ifjuly

thank you, it’s a lovely tea. sounds like you made quite a splash at the festival and are generating buzz among the tea blogs! congratulations. (:

Joseph Wesley Black Tea

That’s nice of you to write. Thanks.

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drank Sweet Helen by RiverTea
612 tasting notes

Oof, this was a super thoughtful surprise gift from Dexter3657! Tried it late last night as it’s a tisane (or was it the night before? G’ah). I love a good pear “tea”—Joy’s Teaspoon’s is perhaps still my go-to—but they’re hard to get right, often either too wispy or they turn into something dangerously close to the kind of tart apple tea I for some reason can’t stand. I loved the way this one smelled brewing and the chocolate intrigued me because I adore fresh pear slices with squares of super dark chocolate (the absence of apple or beetroot in the listed ingredients also gave me hope!), but alas, it proved the latter sort of apple-y pear and I struggled to finish it because of that specific apple juice-like tartness I just can’t handle in a hot drink. Aw. What makes this whole experience great though is that there’s a MESS of “Sweet Helen” pear teas, many of them from Frenchy can’t-try-before-I-buy, a-bear-to-obtain brands, and this keeps me from finding out the hard way, buying 100g with pricey shipping. So I’m super grateful to Dexter3657, whew. I have a feeling I’ll agree with Cavocorax, that this might be quite good cold (last fall I found the Berkshire Apple and Fig tea that floats around under various brand names is undrinkably apple juice-tart to me hot, but delicious cold). I’ll coldsteep the rest of the generous sample Dex gave me when it heats up here (any moment now!) and see.

Dexter

Exactly – that’s the awesome thing about swaps, try before you buy, even the misses are learning experiences.
Sorry you didn’t like it, but happy you found out before you bought.
I agree Joy’s is probably the best I’ve tried too – thanks to you for that one.

ifjuly

yep yep! i know you’ve saved me a lot of money and headache trying to procure some. you’re the best. (:

glad you liked the joy’s! and thanks again for giving me the tip about design a tea—that was so much fun.

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drank Honey Black Tea by Health&Tea
612 tasting notes

I drank this a couple days ago, many thanks to boychik—I love that she thought to send me this given my fondness for Golden Moon’s Honey Orchid Black and honey dancongs in general. And yep, this had those delicate, lovely qualities I so enjoy in them! It was pretty late at night, alas—but I have enough for at least one more go so hopefully I will write a better note. So much tea, not enough words!

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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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