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181 Tasting Notes

38
drank Comforting by Aveda
181 tasting notes

The person I’m staying with during my visit to San Francisco had this tea in her cupboard. The peppermint and herbs give it a unique aroma, and at first sip, interesting is the first word that comes to mind. It leaves you with just a trace of licorice on the insides of your teeth, and the sweetness lingers. For a long time.

In Shanti’s review, she said it tasted like “liquid herbs” and I think that’s the perfect description. I’ve had a similar experience with a rooibos/rosemary-blended tea and in both cases, the sweet finish is nice at first, but by the end of the cup gets cloying. To the point where I can’t finish the entire cup.

It’s definitely worth a try, but in the end, I personally wouldn’t go out of my way to pick up a bottle of this (it comes in a medicinal brown bottle) for my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Brandice

You were involved in creating this site and you haven’t reviewed a tea in a year?? Lol…

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83
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
181 tasting notes

This is my first Traveling Tea Box tea! And it’s very nice. The floral and fruitiness remind me of the TWG 380 tea I have, except not as overwhelming (a good thing). It’s slightly tart, and goes great with a sweet dessert. It’s perfect with French macarons—those sugary things that look like miniature hamburgers colored in food dye. This isn’t a tea I’d drink every day, but it’s phenomenal if you can find the right moment for it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
teaplz

Love macarons! I could see this going really well with those. Bouchon Bakery in Columbus Circle makes really good ones. :)

Ricky

So that’s where the marco polo went =P

Glad you enjoyed it!

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drank Golden Yunnan by Zingerman's
181 tasting notes

I knew there was a reason this smelled familiar in the store. This is a Rishi Golden Yunnan, which is one of my favorite Golden Yunnans. The leaves have almost a fruit-like smell and it’s a bold black tea that I’d recommend to coffee addicts.

For those unacquainted, the world-famous Zingerman’s is a deli/restaurant/mail-order business in Ann Arbor, MI. You can read more about them in the NY Times: http://bit.ly/6z3j68

I regret only going there once when I was in school at Michigan, but had a chance to stop in again over the weekend (I’m trying to make the most of my last week in Michigan before heading back to New York). It was fortunate, since I haven’t seen Rishi on store shelves (albeit this was dressed in Zingerman’s own playful packaging) anywhere in Southeast Michigan despite the fact that we’re just across the lake from Wisconsin.

So. Yay Zingerman’s!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Bethany

One of my bosses went to Michigan and is OBSESSED with Zingerman’s. Like, she has a portrait of the place hanging in her office.

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60

I gave this another try after Takgoti’s temp/time/cooling suggestions and she’s right! You do get caramel! I tried this at 200 and 180-degrees as well. If the water’s too hot you lose it and if it’s too cold it there, kind of, but it tastes like wet newspaper.

There’s still something off about this keemun to me and if I really wanted caramel tones, there are other teas I’d go to before this one. Maybe just I’m just not a fan of the smoky/burnt sugar taste that others have mentioned. Still, I’m bumping my rating for Jackee up a few ticks.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec
teaplz

So awesome that the caramel flavors were replicated for lots of people!

takgoti

SUCCESS! This makes me feel so relieved, I was seriously thinking I was making up the caramel thing in my head. That said, I personally have yet to come across a good “Just Caramel!” tea besides this one. Got any recommends?

takgoti

EXCELLENT. Thank you, sir!

Wiseman Tea Co.

wet newspaper! That can’t be enjoyable.

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86

Happy last-day-of-2009! It took me a couple pots to realize that this actually tastes closer to a keemun than what I’m used to from other golden monkeys. As such, it becomes a late-morning/early-afternoon tea for me. The liquid is bright reddish-orange and I can smell hints of cocoa. It’s really smooth too—I find myself wanting to lick the front of my teeth every time I take a sip.

Upton is 2 for 2 so far and quickly winning me over.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
takgoti

Happy almost New Year to you too!

LENA

Mmm, sounds good to me! Happy New Year!

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93

It snowed here in Michigan this week—just an inch or two, which is a light dusting by midwest standards and by no means a “snowpocalypse.” I shoveled the driveway this morning and it was the first time in weeks I’ve been out in the cold for more than a couple minutes (sans automobile).

Anyway, let’s get on with the tea!

This was in my first order from Upton. The other tea that came in the box was a wuyi golden monkey, which I’ll get to reviewing in the near future, but this golden tip yunnan has taken over my mornings and early afternoons. One reason is it still holds up after 3 or 4 steepings, so I just keep refilling.

The liquid is a rich brown and the taste is sweet. You can tell it’s going to be sweet just by giving the bag a whiff. I don’t get the spicy/pepperiness in the description on the site, but there is an amazing caramel (or maybe toffee… I need to get some caramels and toffees from the store to compare) finish. This really comes through at around the second infusion, and it’s so pronounced that I almost can’t believe this is an unflavored tea.

I’m leaving for a cruise (with family to the Bahamas!) tomorrow morning and considering smuggling some of this aboard in case I suffer from withdrawal. Anyone have tea-related cruise experiences?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

No, but I do take my tea w/ my when going on vacations. I think it’d be even more important on cruises because you can’t easily seek out local tea shops.

Auggy

This tea sounds yummy!
And yay cruising! I love cruises! I can’t imagine they have any of the good stuff on board but you will be in the Bahamas so you’ll just have to console yourself with that awesomeness if you don’t pack enough tea goodies. Have fun!

Atacdad

I have the perfectly miserable story about tea and cruises ;-)
Cruising is my wife and I’s favorite way to unwind and we’ve been on 4 or 5 in so many years. On cruise, about 2 years ago, was aboard a Princess Cruise Lines ship out of Galveston, TX. We had high expectations, because Princess has a very good reputation, and I was thrilled to see that they served afternoon tea! I convinced my wife to attend tea one afternoon, thinking we’d enjoy something special. I was expecting some ultra tasty oolong or darjeeling and some nice pastries from the pastry chef…what I got was a Lipton tea bag (yeah, the same one you can go down to the store and buy) and store bought shortbread cookies. Talk about a let-down :-(
So yes, Jack, by all means, take your own tea. You can ring room service and ask for a tea setting for two; you’ll get a coffee carafe of used to be hot water, a couple of mugs, and some tea bags. With some good loose tea, its salvagable. If you do this in the evening, they can send you a piece of whatever was for desert in the main dining room…makes up for it ;-) Consider hanging onto the carafe; the next evening you can take the carafe to one of the drink stations and fill it with real hot water, grab a couple of coffee mugs and serve yourself..quicker and better.

Jack

Thanks everyone! I’m going to go load up a ziplock bag right now :)

chana

Ditto the above. I’ve been on cruises where the food was out of this world and then the tea they served was generic dust in tea-bags. Be prepared. _

Cofftea

This is where fillable filter bags come in handy:)

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drank Golden Lily Oolong by Naivetea
181 tasting notes

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drank Gunpowder by Adagio Teas
181 tasting notes

I’m usually never in the mood to drink gunpowder. In the tin, it smells a little like animal dung and in the cup it tastes like tobacco. Maybe I’m doing something wrong, or maybe I just haven’t found the right occasion for it yet. Any suggestions?

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

What’s the lowest time you have tried steeping it for!?

Cofftea

Whoa, yeah… try anywhere from 30 sec to 3 min.

Jack

The lowest I’ve tried is 3 minutes (I got distracted and let it oversteep this time). I’ll try even lower, thanks!

TeaEqualsBliss

Yea…I’d try 1.5 to 2 mins maybe…you might just like it on the lighter side and not as hardcore, ya know!? I had to ‘mess’ with it a little bit too before finding my personal comfort zone.

Oolonga

It’s just this particular gunpowder is very basic and totally lacks any complexity, you can do very little to improve it, I usually brew it for 3 mins at 180F though. Try other vendors and Temple of Heaven grade in particular.

takgoti

Hee hee hee. You said dung.

Daniel

I’m not really a huge fan of gunpowder tea either.

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52
drank Holiday Chai by The Republic of Tea
181 tasting notes

Digging into the back of my real-life cupboard again. I got this last year from Whole Foods. It’s a rooibos chai that comes in a tin of 36 round teabags. It’s okay for me. A little weak, maybe because of the shelf-wear or maybe I just need to try two teabags per cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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76
drank Ginger Peach by Adagio Teas
181 tasting notes

First a disclaimer: I generally hate ginger. Okay, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word. It’s more of an intense dislike for anything more than a hint of ginger. In Japanese restaurants I don’t touch the pickled ginger that comes with the sushi. A weird couple exceptions I’ll make are for ginger candies and ginger tea (especially homemade ginger tisane, in which I boil the crap out of the fresh ginger, until it gets super-spicy). I hate cilantro too, but that’s a different story.

Anyway. I like this tea. The ginger’s not too strong, and I do get a little bit of the peach flavor coming through. I rinsed the leaves for about 15-20 seconds to wash out some of the caffeine. Looking forward to trying this iced.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Mike

Off topic- are you still on a sashimi-over-sushi binge or have you welcomed rolls back into your life?

Jack

Still get the sushi platter every time. No rolls, unless they come with the platter :)

takgoti

I’ve had those ginger candies before – they are STRONG! I also am not a huge fan of cilantro, but in these meatballs? Freaking phenomenal.

http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/02/man-who-knows-meatballs.html

Jack

Whoa, those look amazing! Thanks

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Bio

Jack of all trades, master of none. Co-creator of the site yer lookin’ at.

Location

New York, NY

Website

http://www.jackcheng.com

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