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609 Tasting Notes

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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So, going into this one, I knew it had a lot to live up to as it’s Dexter3657’s favorite, go-to, accept-no-substitutes Holy Grail Big Red Robe. I was a little nervous too, because frankly I’d yet to have any Big Red Robes I adore—they’ve never been bad or anything, but they’ve also never really stood out (and I’ve tried some from excellent tea companies) despite being such a famous and revered tea type. Very grateful for Dexter3657’s willingness parting with some, thank you!

As it turns out, I can breathe a sigh of relief—this is delicious, far and away the best BRR I’ve tried. It’s roasty, cocoa-rich, smooth, and despite all that roasty delicious sweet flavor it’s not a bit heavy in an unpleasant way. I want to say it reminds me a little of Herbal Infusions’ Moose Tracks, that delectable sweet but not sugary, roasty coffee quality, but it’s been a while since I’ve had that one so I may be off…would definitely purchase this. Not quite the same as coffee, but would make a great early evening substitute nonetheless because it hits similar pleasure center buttons while still staying true to tea and its strengths (for one, that magic minerality that’s compelling, interesting, but not so strong as to be weird, just sort of melds with impeccable subtlety with the other elements, comes out at the end of the sip…and as it cools a fruitiness, I’m thinking stone fruits, the tendrils of flesh that cling to a peach pit, emerges). Hooray to Dex and hooray for my first hit with Da Hong Pao!

Dexter3657

This makes me happy. I just call them as I see them, and this is my favorite oolong. It tastes like an oolong without being over the top – it’s well balance and awesome. At least that’s how I see it. Happy that you liked it too. :))

Garret

So excited that you are enjoying this one. We are waiting for our latest shipment of it to arrive. We sold out again! Whenever we brew this one up in the shop, it sells like wildfire. People love it. And you are so right about the coffee replacement idea – so many people comment on that. Thanks for writing up your experience with it, my friend!!

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drank Black Pearl by Mandala Tea
609 tasting notes

Another wonderful, precious gift, this one from Dexter3657. Had these yesterday during husband’s band practice. The drummer, someone I consider a dear friend, didn’t have much to do (it’s not really practice and hasn’t been for months; they’re mixing the recording for an upcoming album) so we spent most of the afternoon sitting in the living room chatting while I drank cup after cup of this. This is one where the hype is warranted (or maybe I just love pearls?); 3 pearls yielded a seemingly endless stream of deliciously rich, chocolatey smooth delight I enjoyed over the course of hours. It’s sweet like an indulgence, but not cloying; it’s evened out by a textured-almost-like-plush sort of dimension that somehow makes it both eminently more easy-drinking and more interesting/compelling. Put me in a good, up-for-endless-socializing mood and may have been what powered me through a closet razing (10 garbage bags’ worth of old clothes and shoes to donate, some I had when I was still in high school, and there’s still two tiny hallway closets left to do!) that took me late into the night. I feel honored to have had the chance to try these precious, currently out of stock little wonderballs. Thanks so much Dexter3657!

boychik

This tea sounds amazing! I wonder if Mandala going to restock it, please!
I tried to clean my closet today too. Never ending story…

ifjuly

have you had pearls before? (teavivre’s, i think, right?) i loved thepuritea’s so much, drat. i think you’d love these. i could be remembering wrong but i think i saw Garret saying somewhere—maybe in a log comment thread?—he’s working on sourcing some sometime in the kinda-near future. i love watching them open up, and also how portable they are while still not being teabags.

Sil

Garrett is trying to source these again, but so far no luck. He cotinues to try though!

boychik

Yes, I have Teavivre and sample of Puritea. Love them both

Sil

i think they went away dexter..unless i’m confusing them with another company but: http://steepster.com/companies/thepuritea

Dexter3657

I took a quick look and couldn’t find a website for them. Oh well. Hope Garret works some magic and can restock these. They are just amazing. more than happy to share so that you could try them. :))

ifjuly

yeah, thepuritea had something called red dragon pearls IIRC, and they were delicious, but boychik and i discovered them just as they were going out of business (they had a huge blowout sale and it got mentioned on the boards), alas.

it was awesome you gave me so many considering it’s so up in the air whether they’ll come back…you are one generous tea buddy.

MissB

So because of this review, I went to see if I could find any Black Pearl tea – and did, on AliExpress. The picture looks almost identical to this one, so I grabbed some. If it’s as amazing as this, I’m happy to share! Ask me in a month though, after it gets here. :P

Garret

So far… nothing. The producer is not going to make them this year. The labor prices have increased 500% in the last handful of years and he can’t afford it. The stuff that I’m finding out there now is just old stock and I don’t want to buy it. Will keep pressing him. But there is killer black tea material that we have that aren’t in pearls that is incredible. The new “pure bud”. Or try the “morning sun”. And my perennial favorite the “black gold”.

MissB

Wow, good to know, and thanks for chiming in Garret.

Sil

morning sun i need to try again…pure bud i haven’t tried yet, and i like pearls better than black gold..though they’re all on the high side of delicious hehe

Dexter3657

(Pure buds and Yezi Yi Fu Chun and both in the “Sil” box for next time)

Sil

haha thanks dex!

Dexter3657

:)) will always share if I can.

ifjuly

that makes a lot of sense to me, Garret, re: labor costs. thanks for keeping us informed! and i appreciate that you don’t just buy old stock. kudos.

man, i LOVE morning sun. it’s one of my favorite fancypants breakfast teas. so good. Terri was right on the money about how it reminds one of masa harina and roasted green chile. how often can you say that about a tea?! yum.

ifjuly

and MissB, i’ll be curious to see how your aliexpress pearls are!

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This was a strange but ultimately affirming in its own way sort of weekend. Some abrupt in-law drama (will my logs ever be free of family stuff? Sorry guys), some marital tension (for sure nothing major—one of the best things about being married to R is both of us assuming there’s hardly anything that would be capital-S Serious that could come between us—but still hard to go through), some random kindness from strangers just when I needed it, surprise tea boxes from Steepsters with notes that made me a little glassy-eyed (what can I say, it’s been an emotional few days), socializing all Saturday until I literally dropped onto the bed, major spring cleaning with minor redecorating (seasonal nesting impulse), then this day never really quite got started (we, uh, didn’t actually get out of bed until 4:15pm o_O and I hadn’t eaten more than 2 slurps of leftover soup in nearly 48 hours sooo when we finally got up I proceeded to eat everything in sight…did you know Rice Krispies and banana doused in coconut-almond milk evoke delicious Thai sticky rice desserts when you’re famished?) and now we’re filing taxes and I’m trying to muster the motivation to cook like 4 stews for the week and I just can’t. Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah. One of the sunniest spots, besides those wonderful notes, was of course all the beautiful, precious tea from boychik and Dexter3657. This one comes from boychik, thank you! :D I had this for my (4:30pm :b) breakfast. It is great in the way you’d expect an A&D Keemun to be—where it’s nothing way out there different, no radical departure from what one thinks of as Keemun, yet something sets it apart, just a sense that it’s “more”. More of the expected flavors amped up, but more balance and smoothness too, as always. It does have that gorgeous subtle bright tint to it in the cup Keemuns are known for, as well as that hard-to-pinpoint aspect, that almost salty, bright-dark quality. The funny thing is, the first cup I steeped 5 minutes and it was good…the second steep I lost track of time (part of that whole “this day never really even got off its feet” thing) and it bathed for something like 20 minutes. I pretty much never do that! And it was still delicious, with that salty murky quality a little sharper, more distinct, in a good way. Downed it while eating a pear and squares from the amazing chocolate bar boychik sent along with this tea—Salazon Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Crushed Organic Coffee. I opened her right up because I woke to the rude surprise of the empty packaging from a Sourdough and Olive Oil chocobar I picked up in Portland on our trip…turns out R had eaten it. Worked in my favor though, ‘cause I doubt even that could taste better than this one—it’s TRULY salty, which too many sea salt or salted caramel confections don’t deliver on (I generally like salt and starch more than sweets). There’s an entire pebbly outer coating of chunky salt. So so good. I’m beginning to join the living again, and I owe it all to tea, chocolate, and kindness.

Sil

need this!

ifjuly

yes, i think so—i tend to consider you the queen of keemun, Sil. (:

boychik

Blame it on Spring.haha I meant season. What a coincident! Glad you liked this tea. Chocolate, well I gobbled the whole bar in 2 days. I try to have 1 square a day. It’s so good. I hope everything will settle down. cleaning or laundry works great for me when I’m mad;)

ifjuly

it is so good! (good chocolate renders me an inarticulate dummy just repeating myself, haha.) chocolate and pears (or sometimes oranges) are my favorite out-of-the-blue treat.

yes, i find folding laundry and cooking—especially kneading bread—good for when i’m angry. and angry vacuuming, ha.

Sil

i just need to get through one more day without the tea going away and i’ll be able to buy it… REALLY trying to stick to no orders in March heh

boychik

Now I want pear goat cheese salad with mandarin oranges and toasted almonds. I should make it tomorrow. You know, in old times in Russia women used to clean rugs or pillows outside. Basically they had something similar to tennis racket and were beating shit out of it. I wonder what they were thinking about…

ifjuly

oh, i’ve done that! often in spring, actually. and yes, beating rugs is therapeutic for sure. “take THAT and THAT and THAT eugggh!” ha.

that salad sounds awesome! i make a similar one with pear, cucumber, and goat cheese with pistachios and romaine. mm. i love mandarin oranges.

boychik

I think I like your version of a salad. Will try and report w/ notes;)

Kat

Oh, man, I saw A&D at the Tea Festival, and they weren’t selling this yet. I would have been pretty tempted, because no shipping, and your note makes it sound amazing. I really feel that all of their teas have that ‘more’ quality you describe. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I’m still glowing in the limelight of the assam. I’ve also found that dealing with family always makes me crave chocolate. I have no idea if the aforementioned inlaw drama lead you to chocolate, but I thought I’d comment anyway. I’m stopping now.

boychik

@Kat, thats where i picked this tea at festival. In fact, it was even cheaper – $15. if i had a chance to taste it, i would get 2 tins. they are smaller

ifjuly

Kat, you are probably right I was subconsciously self-medicating. :b It’s funny, a couple days ago I was pondering why I’m so much calmer lately and then it occurred to me it might be because I switched lip balms a few weeks ago to something whose first ingredient is pure cocoa butter, and now every day there’s a constant low-grade aroma of chocolate on my lips and lavender on my hands (hand cream). Good therapy, har.

boychik, in case you’re ever curious, here’s the two chopped salad recipes yours reminded me of. i make them often, love them.

Pear and Cranberry Chopped Salad

Serves 4 as a light entree or 6 as a side dish.

1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/4 cups)
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 ripe but firm pear cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1/2 small red onion, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 romaine heart, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
Ground black pepper

1. Combine cucumber and 1/2 teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil and vinegar together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber, bell pepper, pear, onion, and cranberries; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.

3. Add romaine, blue cheese, and pistachios; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

/

Radish and Orange Chopped Salad

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, are available at most supermarkets and natural food stores. Don’t use an overripe avocado, which will break down and make the salad gluey.

Serves 4 as a light entree or 6 as a side dish.

1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
Table salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
10 radishes , halved and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 oranges , peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, and drained (about 1 cup)
1 ripe but still firm avocado , pitted, skinned, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see note)
1/2 small red onion , minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves , roughly chopped
1 romaine heart , washed, dried, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
3 ounces Manchego cheese , shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup unsalted pepitas , toasted (see note)
Ground black pepper

1. Combine cucumber and ½ teaspoon salt in colander set over bowl and let stand 15 minutes.

2. Whisk oil, lime juice, and garlic together in large bowl. Add drained cucumber, radishes, oranges, avocado, onion, and cilantro; toss and let stand at room temperature to blend flavors, 5 minutes.

3. Add lettuce, cheese, and pepitas; toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

mm salad! i need to make yours soon.

boychik

I’m drooling already. I saved it to my recipes:)

Kat

Both those salads look amazing! Totally stupid, but I love salad recipes, because I actually eat a lot of salad, and I like recipes to let me know how I can diversify my repertoire, so to speak.

And I totally self medicate with chocolate, and I have been doing so recently, so I read that and was like— I totally do that! I love cocoa butter, too. It smells universally good to me. I seem to only like chocolate when I’m stressed, but I drift towards it very often.

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drank Creamsicle Oolong by High Garden
609 tasting notes

I s’pose I should’ve logged this weeks ago when we had it outside High Garden on a lovely early spring day (pic here: https://scontent-b-dfw.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1.0-9/1926706_10101916535704023_380764076_n.jpg like 2 seconds after R knocked the table spilling tea everywhere…oops).

I’ve been on the hunt for a creamiscle tea that really truly tastes like a creamsicle—seems orange is one of those tricky flavors where it’s easy to make it tart/zesty which combines with black tea bases a certain way that, while sometimes good in their own way, bears little resemblance, even when vanilla or cream flavor is added. What drew me to this one is they use one of the milk scented oolongs as a base, which appealed to me for two reasons: I tend to prefer fruity (esp. tart-fruity) flavors with oolong or green bases over black (I think the tannic astringency of black tea too often clashes or blunts the fruitiness or worse still, combined the two amplify each other’s astringent or bitter elements), and I thought it was genius to try to have the cream part of a creamsicle come from the tea base itself.

The verdict: we both thoroughly enjoyed this tea—it’s probably my favorite orange-and-no-other-fruits-or-sweets flavored tea right now—but it doesn’t quite evoke a creamsicle. It’s a little like those cream candies—who was it, Lifesavers?—made in the ‘90s my best friend in high school was addicted too, but less artificial. There is a creamy element, and it’s sweet and tangy. R took a couple sips and then enthused “mm, this is a good tea!” kind of loudly which was adorable. We picked some up. I’ve yet to recreate the experience at home but I hope when I do, outside on the deck some warm day soon, it’s just as enjoyable.

keychange

I’m glad this tea will always conjure up a nice memory for you. And I haven’t found a creamcicle tea yet, either.

boychik

Lovely;). Looks like spring. We had 24 F last night. I’m so tired of this winter.

ifjuly

yes, my parents still live in upstate NY and i was on the phone with them over the weekend and my mom asked me what it was like here and i said “70F” and she sighed and said it snowed again the day prior. ack.

thanks, keychange! you’re very kind. and let me know if you do!

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Have I logged this already? I forget. I grabbed some in Nashville at High Garden Tea; it wasn’t in its packaging but a glass jar with notes of what’s in it (didn’t mention the whole “coffee substitute” tack) and all that so I didn’t put two and two together that it’s the stuff I stumbled across someone raving about here on Steepster months ago and was curious about but figured I’d never actually procure. Neat, that. When I shyly asked if it’d be the sort of thing it’d be ok to add milk to, they enthusiastically went on about how they doctor it up all kinds of ways as a before-bed treat—simple syrup (sometimes infused!), honey, milk, more warm spices, you name it. Those suggestions contributed to my notion it sounded like the solution to a growing issue I was having where I craved chai before bed, enormous mugs of it, but hadn’t found a decaf/herbal version I like plus the effort to make chai so it’s good was kind of a PITA late at night. So I was pleased at the serendipity of it all.

What attracted me in the first place was the chicory root and dandelion (the beetroot gave me pause; it’s part of what I suspect is what makes me loathe those Forever Nuts-type tart apple blends), and I’m no stranger to roasted grain tisanes thanks to Lupicia and Harney. This tastes a little like those ‘80s International House Coffee blends that came in the rectangular tins—pale compared to my favorite sort of coffee (strong, rich, and robust, not very sweet)—and, I have to admit, bring to mind some kind of diet food-ish substitution of other delicious things. That said, it does capture a sort of roastiness that’s nice before bed, it’s easy as hell (just dissolves in hot water), and yeah, can easily take additions (I’ve added milk, honey, cinnamon, you name it). It’s not at the top of my mini arsenal of no-caf late night treats but I enjoy it as an option along with Harney’s Soba, Lupicia’s Orzo, etc. when plain herbal tea just isn’t what I want. Bonus, R likes it too.

caile

Sounds quite versatile and interesting!

Anna

I want to try Lupicia’s orzo stuffs!

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drank White Night by Mandala Tea
609 tasting notes

Drank this multiple times over the weekend while framing and hammering up new wall art, making soup, and continuing my old lady pose (but I think spring is shaking me awake a little…I woke up this morning with “Dancing in the Dark” in my head, due to the sentiment behind it I imagine). I still think Shang’s Silver Needle King is far and away the greatest white tea I’ve ever smelled or tasted (aiee!), but this offers that thing good whites often do, an indelibly luscious mouthfeel. It has a lot of layers going on too. Hopefully I can sit down and write a proper note about them next time, ack. Been drinking my tea all willy nilly in the midst of things (busy beaver spring cleaning and scheming and all that), without good logging. I fear I may never return to being an adequate, potentially helpful logger. :/ (beavers…logs…spring…my head’s full of fuzz!) This is becoming more and more just another diary. Whoops.

Garret

Thinking about this tea makes my mouth water. Did you get the honey aroma and flavor. I have been brewing this during the white tea part of my tea classes for sometime and everyone always swear they get honey. I know I do. This is one tea that works incredible well steeping a good long time. I do a first steep of 5 to 8 and then just keep adding hot water as I pour out a cup from the pot.

Enjoying your diary, I am!

ifjuly

definitely lots of honey, yes! that was beautiful. i think that element works really well with the amazing body, yum. i’ve been on a big honey kick the last month or so—my shampoo even smells of honeycomb, ha.

i steeped it 5 the first time, then resteeped a couple times adding a minute each time. definiely could’ve kept going but it was time to go out. (:

BTW, thanks for all you do. the note in my package was very sweet, it startled me how nice it was. you’re tops. (:

Garret

It is my privilege to count you among our customers/friends. Thank YOU!

Just stay away from the Honeycomb cereal :)

Sil

i’ll have to add this to my next order to try out

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drank Milk Caramel by Lupicia
609 tasting notes

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Ohhh, all I can say is this is a nice, nice tea—so nice I’m too busy enjoying it to think. My gosh. I like how the brassy elements one might wish to have smoothed out in a typical Indian Assam are indeed gentled or just plain not there thanks to the (what’s often for me too subtle, mind) Taiwanese style, which in turn gets amplified when given the backbone of a substantial general tea type like Assam. Wow I didn’t write that well. Hrm. The second steep yields more chocolate, delicious.

I’ve been impressed with Taiwan Tea Crafts (and grateful as always to Steepster—ain’t no way I’d have learned of them otherwise)—I love that they offer fancier teas in reasonably small amounts that make them a possibility for me, and that they have promotions and fair shipping policies if you want to try before you commit. And even when one of their teas proves generally not something I’d reach for often given my own proclivities, I have yet to encounter any where the care and quality (indeed, the craft) in producing the leaves wasn’t readily apparent from dry leaf aroma to finished cup and unfurled leaves. And some have knocked me completely off my socks (that one Red Jade!) with qualities I’ve never tasted together in a single tea before. We’re so lucky to live in this age when incredible tea is being crafted so many places AND thanks to modern transport and the internet etc. someone in a place as un-hot-tea-focused as the US has ready access to some of said tea. AND can learn and trade notes with fellow fans to boot. Awesome.

Speaking of, the dry leaf aroma on this one is a splurge. It’s rich and grapey, deep without being cloying like so many sweet grape-smelling teas. And the appearance of the wet leaves! Big and gorgeous, with these ripples of brilliant brighter red streaks here and there. I am surprised sometimes how often big, beautiful leaves can sway me. Admiring them makes tea even more of a pleasure.

Dexter3657

Really happy that you are enjoying this tea. I agree with your thoughts on how wonderful it is that we live in a time that we can experience and learn about all these wonderful teas.
Just when I thought I was beginning to understand, I see a name like this one. Sun Moon Lake is in Taiwan. Assam teas are from the Assam region of India. How can a tea from Sun Moon Lake be an Assam? It hurts my poor head. I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy it. :))

ifjuly

my (admittedly patched together, mostly from the harney book and the internet, might be wrong/off) understanding is that in the last 10 to 30 years (partly thanks embargos with china lifting which forced them to switch from simply palely imitating the chinese tea not available from china at the time to using what they had already invested in re: tea making to create new teas not meant to compete directly with chinese styles but rather offer novelty and their own branding) taiwan has really become a game changer in terms of sharing innovative new tea styles and whatnot, and one of those new things has been taking varieties of tea leaf and seeing how they do in taiwan when “mated” with native tea plants (i could be getting the specs wrong there though; it’s been a while since i looked into it). so yes, it’s weird that assam is named after where it’s grown and yet they’re growing that in taiwan now too. be kinda like taking a darjeeling plant and discovering it grows well in, i dunno, florida once you melded it with something native to florida. ha. i know TTC mentioned how leaf and what exactly it is in more detail somewhere on the site, at least they did when i bought this but it’s been a while…
not the same type (i do feel excited the mint thing is recognized in the jade teas though! i thought i was crazy!) exactly, but a quick explanation:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiwanese_tea#Black_tea

Dexter3657

Wow, ok – thanks so much for this. I feel that the more I learn, the more I realize how little I really know. I keep trying to take a tea class, and it keeps getting cancelled from lack of interest. I must be the only tea drinker here. I think I really need to find some time to do some research on my own. Thank you so much for posting this and nudging me towards learning more.

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Couldn’t resist the Mandala sale, and as always the customer care was top notch—got samples and a wonderful, surprisingly long note from Garret tucked in with my tea!

It’s no secret I love Golden Needle. Golden Monkey seems more popular in general here, but for me it’s the needle all the way (ehrm, that came out wrong). I like the way it tends to balance sweetness with a thicker body, and this is a prime example of that—the body on this is exquisite, nearly brothy. I love it. I’ve still got Shang’s in my stash to try (and can’t wait!), but it’s so great to know I’ve got a really good version of one of my favorite tea types on hand. Yay.

Been drinking my fancy straight teas in the evening while acting full on old lady, yeesh—I’m growing my hair out which has lead me down the well worn internet rabbit hole that is the Long Hair Community and next thing I know I’m on the couch drinking tea with cats on me while perusing video tutorials on bunning hair and looking up old fashioned dressing tables, all while Golden Girls serves as background noise. I’ve even had a recent resurgent interest in trashy historical romance novels of all things (trying to find someone I can stomach like Lisa Kleypas). Next I am going to wind up doilying the house if I don’t check myself, ee.

__Morgana__

LOL. Just stop at the rat thing, ok?

Anna

Haha, but I SO want you to do the doilies! So underrated! So fancy!

ifjuly

oh god, hope so Morgana!

in lieu of doilies Anna, i think i want some old fashioned hollywood-y nightgowns. i think a pod person has come and stolen me in the night, don’t recognize myself.

Anna

You would pull one of those off! Seriously! I mean, uh. You know what I mean. (But feel free to post pictures either way, hurr hurr.)

ifjuly

you are the funniest, Miss!

Anna

Oh, man – nothing is worse than being confronted by really bad jokes you forgot you made days after the fact. If anyone needs me, I’ll be under the couch.

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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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