612 Tasting Notes

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.

boychik

its baaaaccckkkk!!!!!!

ifjuly

i’m drinking some as we speak! delicious. can’t thank you enough for tipping me off to it; it’s become a morning staple. :D

boychik

i just ordered a couple tins:)

Sil

ifjuly… but i like trying teas…and that makes my happy. :)

Sil

(appreciate the heads up though…)

boychik

Sil, do you want a sample of it?

Sil

is it bad that right now i’m going YES! no! YES! NO! yes NO! lol my poor cupboard. lol I really do appreciate the offer but i am so crazy insanely busy lately i wouldn’t be able to return the favour in any sort of speed. Thanks a ton though for the offer!

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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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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!

Dexter

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
612 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

Dexter

Puritea?

Sil

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

Dexter

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

Dexter

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

Sil

haha thanks dex!

Dexter

:)) 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
612 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
612 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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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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