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608 Tasting Notes

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
608 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
608 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.

Dexter3657

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
608 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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Today is a great tea day, even though it started with none ‘til this afternoon due to hecticness—but when I finally got a chance to breathe a bit and check the mail, my Butiki and Red Leaf (sale Caramel along with Panettone and Pistachio and Peanut Butter Pie and Butternut Pie, oh my) orders were waiting for me! Jumping up and down (in shorts no less ’cause it’s finally shorts weather!), had forgotten how much I love when Stacy’s goodies arrive—you open the mailing box and a wonderful waft of sunny lemon sugar and fruit (I stocked up on fruit oolongs, yum) hits you. And she threw in a zillion free samples, because I was silly and rattled off possible options I’d be interested in—I’ve got to stop doing that because then she sends me ALL of them when I just meant, hey, any of these would be cool…!

Anyway, on top of all that, my best IRL tea buddy deliriumsfrogs finally joined Steepster!!!!! :DDDDDD She is awesome. Don’t take my word for it though! Her note on this tea is much better than this one: http://steepster.com/deliriumsfrogs/posts/235980

Well, I should actually talk about this tea, eh? Oops. As always with Butiki flavored teas, the smell is spot on to the point of being eerie. That specific ground-up-almonds-and-sugar scent, but not marzipan gooey, and fresh bakery lemon rind, not industrial lemon cleaner (of course not—this is Butiki). I like the way the body of the white tea lends the sense of a compact macaron shell and its filling, how it’s both luscious and airy somehow (people are always so meh about whites, but a good white is all about the body and scent to me more than one distinct flavor, which is maybe what throws people). It is perfect on this, the first “spring and any minute now early summer (remember, this is Memphis) is really here and nothing’s going to stop it now” afternoon (I was greeted with a dead bug in the foyer this morning, one that only comes out in summer—it sounds weird but it was as much an announcement as any warm weather flower).

Courtney

Ooh I’m curious about the Panettone. I don’t know what that is, hence why I didn’t pick it up myself. :P I look forward to your tasting note.

Cheri

sounds delicious. I shouldn’t can’t order anything more for a while, so I hope it’s still around when I can.

ifjuly

panettone is a holiday cake-bread-like-thing from italy, hard to describe, a little like challah or king cake or kuchen, that sort of yeasted cake-bread not too crumbly or sweet deal, studded with candied or liquor-stewed fruits like raisins, orange peel, etc. it makes an excellent morning snack with coffee or tea. i’ve had a panettone flavored coffee i really liked, so i hope i like this!

Stephanie

Panettone cake is delicious. Looking forward to the matcha reviews :)

pyarkaaloo

wow. you’ve convinced me to spring for the Lemon Macaron because it just sounds exquisite. the idea of a delicate lemon flavor on white tea is so inviting. was gonna order the Hello Sweetie once i found out Butiki is offering it for the first time (officially)…what luck!

ps- are all those flavors for Matcha?? the names sound familiar but i don’t think i ever stumbled across the Panettone! runs to website (have never even tasted Panettone, only seen it, but somehow the idea of it in matcha sounds exciting. i’m just a matchaholic lol!) Pistachio seems like the perfect flavor to pair with matcha. and peanutbutter pie! peanutbutter anything is magical. Red Leaf is the absolute best.

__Morgana__

Welcome to deliriumsfrog!

__Morgana__

Or deliriumsfrogs even.

ifjuly

pyarkaaloo, yes, it took me a while to realize the first time i looked at the site that there’s a master flavor list with a bunch not shown as individual matcha options on the matcha page. it’s here: https://www.redleaftea.com/index.php?dispatch=pages.view&page_id=41 so far, every one there i’ve asked for when i order hasn’t been a problem for them to send out…

i agree about pistachio and matcha seeming like they’d be great together! yum.

Stephanie, nice to know i’m not the only panettone fan! around christmas season i’m a fiend for it for breakfast.

and hey guys, i love you for being friendly to my pal. y’all so nice. (:

DeliriumsFrogs

panettone matcha!? man, you make me more interested in flavoured matcha every day.. haha
Thanks for the ‘welcome’ Morgana! You guys are awsome….. really awesome. (and I love ya’ MB)

DeliriumsFrogs

(and, what are you talking about! you manage to hit on all the little things a tea has that I can’t ever quite put my finger on… my notes could never compare to yours!!! :) )

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Dexter3657 is nutso generous; she joked ages ago to me that she’d ordered this multiple times for herself only to then give it away in swaps, then in her “no real reason, just ‘a little something’ your way” package—the one loaded with wishlist goodies I never thought I’d actually get to try and currently-out-of-stock-or-unavailable-without-astronomical-French-shipping treasures, cough—she included some! And teased me appropriately. (:

And I regret nothing. This is in fact surprisingly good. I haven’t had anything from David’s in a year [EDIT: wait, that’s not true, duh! Lariel was my Secret Pumpkin and sent me the fall blends and I enjoyed them, whee pistachios! My bad!]—I’m glad it was there for me when I got reintroduced to tea last January and started there for loose leaf but I tend to feel like I’ve moved on (I likely wouldn’t feel this way if I had a walk-in one near me, but it’s online only and if I’m going to bother to mail order there’s just so many shops out there that, well, you know)—but this is a crowd favorite and until discovering Butiki’s Blueberry Purple Tea this winter (thanks to JustJames!) I hadn’t found a blueberry tea that was all that memorable (I like Della Terra’s Blueberry Crumble but more for the strudel/coffee cake quality of it than blueberry…it’s not what I ‘d think to dig out when I’m all “I want blueberries!”).

This is a nice easy-going treat, with a juicy lush jamminess in the berry flavor I appreciate (lots of berry teas have a harsh tart raw/fresh berry profile, which I love in a real berry because it’s countered by a watery clean bursting aspect, but in tea, not so much), almost evokes plump stickiness. The tea base is soft without contributing an irritatingly watered down feeling, you know, the one some David’s and Adagio teas possess. The biggest surprise was the resteep though—I must’ve resteeped this 4 times as we finished Slings and Arrows tonight (so bittersweet; I’m really going to miss that show) and every single steep was good! (I started with 5 minutes, then 7 ever after.)

I would drink this again for sure on a night I don’t want to get super wired (though it’s a black base it doesn’t seem to make me super jittery, and it doesn’t feel harshly bright on the stomach either) and just want something that’s easy and pleasurable, a sweet treat that delivers but doesn’t demand a lot of focus to enjoy (sometimes after dinner I feel like I can’t drink any super complex teas or I’ll feel guilty I’m “wasting” them as I’ll be distracted/preoccupied doing something else, but at the same time I still want a tasty tea!). And I know R would really enjoy this for afternoon tea sometime. Bet it’d be delicious with scones.

JustJames

this is one of two that i adore from david’s =0)…. and yes it’s good with scones…. and toast with jam, and crumpets…… =0D

Kat

I’m all over your tasting notes lately— sorry about that. But I keep thinking I may be interested in this tea. I just kind of discovered David’s Tea, which is late in the game. But whateverrrrr. I like that this tea is organic and kosher, which is useful if I need to make tea for other people. I feel like berries are hard to capture in tea without them being really fruity, though, but my boyfriend loves fruit teas, which is why I’ve even considered this tea. It sounds really good, and I did like the La La Lemon by David’s, which is also organic. So I keep thinking I may buy some. I’m glad to see you liked it! I’m also shocked you got a resteep. It never would occur to me to try to re-steep a flavored black tea. I’ve always thought they wouldn’t hold up.

I may investigate this tea further now. I think the La La Lemon for me makes me think the David’s tea organic black tea base suits me, but the lemon tea lacks any exceptional qualities. Which is why I’ve been considering this at all recently. Also, the image on the website makes it look delicious!

I also feel like I’m ‘wasting’ teas if I don’t have the time to enjoy them. I’ve been sitting on my tin of Tiger Assam for a full week now, because I just haven’t had time! I like to have a sort of generic flavored black tea I can brew and I can always enjoy without feeling like I’m wasting it, if that makes sense. My go-to was the La La Lemon, which is gone… So I get that.

And my final thing, I love afternoon tea with scones! I almost always have class in the afternoon, so I don’t always have time, but I’ve been baking a bunch of scones just to have a proper tea. I also love scones. I don’t know why my American self has such an infinity for them, but I adore them.

ifjuly

ooh, what’s the other one JustJames? i’m the same way—i’d still buy brazillionaire once in a while maybe, if they still carry it, i’m not sure. (and BTW, it’s nice to see you around…thought of you throughout this winter, i know it’s been a while since we talked…i hope you’re doing well!) i love how we always find ourselves talking about food! haha.

Kat, another bonus aspect of this one is that it contains elderberry i believe, which is good for your immune system (the last 5 or so years i get sick during cold season without fail, often multiple times, and this was the first winter i didn’t even once…i’m chalking it up to the tea, especially all the blends that had elderberry in them).

and yeah, i adore my “focused idyll” times with tea where i can drink it gongfu in a gaiwan and prepare to have my mind blown, or in a mini glass pot steeped over and over, typing notes about every flavor that emerges and transforms…but sometimes i just can’t, or i wanna plunk down with a book or a tv show, but i still want to enjoy my cuppa! good to know i’m not alone.

and dude. scones are delicious enough to transcend borders and oceans! i love how easy they are too—i can mess up a biscuit like nobody’s business with my overzealous nervous dough working, but scones are for some reason always foolproof and super tasty. ack, now i want some and it’s 2:30 in the morning. :b

JustJames

vanilla orchid is my second.

la la lemon i could never take seriously… it’s caffeinated neo citrin lol. nicer, but decidedly reminiscent!!!

i have an awfully evil recipe for scones with a whipped cream base….. awesome for this tea. =0D

keychange

oh oh oh james can I have that recipe? because I need me some evil scones in my life! ha

Sami Kelsh

Scones are brilliant! Had a hankering for scones something fierce this weekend, so for XS Malarkey (where I’m resident baker) I whipped up tiny baby buttermilk scones filled with a dollop of my own strawberry and rose jam!

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Breakfast tea of the day, courtesy boychik! Touched because apparently it may not get restocked at all this year, but she still sent me some anyway (she even weighed the bag for me!). People are wonderful.

This is rather unlike any other Assam I’ve had. The steeping aroma smells like rum or perhaps brandy to me, or like hot raisins that have been plumped with said spirits and burst with steam and sticky sugar-liquor. There is the deep, earthy, rasping wood that borders on too bitter that I associate with Indian teas (others describe it as that “powdery” mouth-drying astringency) and love (that kind of bitterness I enjoy!). It kind of evokes bittersweet chocolate. I can see how this would be a champ at taking milk and/or sugar, but I’m loving it plain right now. I like how deep and complex and serious it is. I’m tempted to say it’s one of my favorite Assams now…it has the murky depth I love in my favorite Capital Tea Ltd. Assams, less sweetness (which to me is not a bad thing, especially in the morning). I like it more than many of the Steepster faves I tried throughout last year like Tiger Assam and SST 49. The flavors are so deep but it manages to stay drinkable (for me, I couldn’t detect/appreciate the ones in Tiger Assam, too faint and smoothed out to me, and SST 49 doesn’t achieve enough complexity before it edges into undrinkably strong and unpleasant territory). And Nicole’s right; this is one of the few teas I’ve had where the aspect of bitter tang from ferment-y fizzy liquor is so strong I feel vaguely like I’m drinking beer for breakfast. Might sound gross or off-putting to some but I find it delicious.

Now I am pining for more much like boychik. This is going on my “stock this if you ever get a chance” list. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who prefers the relative softness and sweetness of Chinese black teas over the briskness and woody astringency of Indian or Ceylon legacy teas, but if you like the latter but find many lack complexity or feel a little wan, disappointingly thin, this is one to try!

boychik

I’m so happy you like it. At some point I was thinking maybe its my crazy taste buds dont appreciate SST49 or Tiger Assam enough. I’m glad we are on the same page. with Assam I need it to be strong, complex, not flat and ability to drink it without milk or sugar. This one is magic with milk and sugar too. if they ever restock…I made another call. the lady said they may get it close to June, but it will be another crop. who knows if it will be same good.

ifjuly

yeah, i smiled when i realized i felt exactly how you do about the assams in general drinking this! i know what you mean. i chalk it up for me to drinking them when i was a lot younger, just ho-hum supermarket brands, and that meaning i didn’t go into it wanting the usual smoothness/flatness and sweetness; for that tea type i want something that evokes nostalgia but is also a step up in complexity. and this definitely delivers! thanks so much for sharing it with me. going to cross my fingers they make it available somehow…

Sil

i’ll have to keep my eye out for this one

ifjuly

i’m not sure you’d like it, Sil…i could be remembering wrong but you don’t care much for darjeeling, right? and it’s because of the woody astringency? if so, this might be risky for you—it’s definitely got that woody astringency as a very upfront component. just a heads up.

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Another special tea from boychik! Thank you. (:

I had this last night. boychik was super generous enough that I can try it both Western and gongfu; last night I did it Western but I’m definitely curious to see if gongfu suits it better. Western, it’s clean and smooth and malty, with that balancing act between the cleanness and a cocoa and caramel-y rich sweetness. You know, some of that caramelized sweet potato, but not as obviously so or boring as other sweet potato teas…it resteeps very well too. I get this itchy sense there’s probably a way to coax more out of it somehow if I fiddle with steeping paramaters…slightly cooler water? More or less time? Not sure. I can see why boychik wanted input from others.

boychik

not sure about parameters, I only tried it there.

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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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