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9 Tasting Notes

90
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
9 tasting notes

New experiences all around here; first Verdant Tea sample, first Laoshan tea, first Chinese black tea. As a lover of all things strong, assam, and black, this was a daring experiment. My unease deepened when I saw the greenish undertones of the liquor.

Then, to complete the ominous runup to the experience, I forgot it was steeping and left it sitting there for a half an hour until half-cold. Reluctant to waste tea, I took a sip, expecting something along the lines of bitter hay. It wasn’t wonderful, but it was drinkable.

The second steeping went better; I only forgot about it for ten minutes or so. Sweetened with 3 raw sugar cubes and 5 drops of stevia, the cup had delicious malt and caramel notes. It’s un-killably smooth. The “stomach feel” is something between green and black tea, and like green tea I find myself drinking large amounts of it fast.

Back to the water boiler for a third attempt at actually making it right. 4 raw sugar cubes, no stevia. Still, that amazingly smooth, light-yet full-bodied caramel flavor. This tea must be further explored when I’m not so distracted with packing my jewelry orders.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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94
drank CTC Assam by Harney & Sons
9 tasting notes

I followed a cup of H&S Irish Breakfast with this CTC Assam as a comparison to see which I liked better. They are very different creatures; the Irish Breakfast is gentle where this is a strong black tea. I like them both, but having been in search of a basic, strong, perfect black tea this one comes out ahead.

It’s strong black tea. It’s not bitter, it’s not flavored, not overly complex. I love black tea and I love strong tea that can play well with milk and sugar. This is it! I’ll be ordering a tin once I run out of the sample, for all those times I simply want a cup of delicious, tasty, strong black tea.

I drank this with 4 cubes of raw sugar, 7 drops of stevia, and a large dash of evaporated milk. Heaven! It’s strong enough to stand alongside Chai as a “food” tea: a tea rich and full enough to feel like food rather than a beverage.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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89

After an unpleasant confrontation with Citrus Blend, I wanted something to soothe my palate and reassure my stomach that everything was going to be okay. This gentle Irish Breakfast with the addition of milk and sugar was just the right solution.

Mild but still flavorful, this is a soothing Irish Breakfast. For a bracing, strong cup, I prefer CTC Assam and that will probably be the Assam I end up ordering a full tin of. This remains a beautiful tea and one I’m happy to enjoy. Refined and peaceful, gentle but not weak.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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18
drank Citrus Blend by Harney & Sons
9 tasting notes

Citrus blend smells harsh and awkward in dry form, but I hoped that would change when brewed. Unfortunately, the brewed cup tastes bitter, unbalanced, and not at all citrus-y. If anything this is an embellished Earl Gray, without any of the refinement of a good Earl Gray.

It’s strong, which is always a positive in my book….or cup as it were. The citrus notes are an unpleasantly spicy assault on the tongue, and I cannot discern grapefruit or orange. I had it sweetened with raw sugar cubes and liquid stevia.

If anyone wants the rest of my sample, message me and I’ll send it to you, I won’t be drinking the rest. It’s fresh and only has one teaspoon missing.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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98
drank Indian Spice by Harney & Sons
9 tasting notes

Oh. My. God. This stuff is amazing. I say this after drinking three cups in rapid succession.

My experience with Chai is limited; I like Oregon Chai Concentrate very much, but when I sampled another chai at a coffee and tea stand I hated the spicy harshness of it. With that said, this is the best Chai I’ve ever experienced. I realize that’s not saying much, but seriously, it’s heaven in a cup.

Indian Spice is composed of a perfect blend of spices and black tea which is so well balanced that I can’t point to one note that overwhelms the others. It’s not spicy, it’s not flat, and it IS delicious. Harney has come up with a tea that is strong and full bodied without assaulting the palate. Indian Spice is everything I love about Oregon Chai and more.

Some other tasting notes call this tea mild, which is certainly not how I would describe it; it seems quite strong to me. My guess is that this is less spicy than many, which makes it the perfect brew for me. Individually, I dislike many of the spices used in Chai, and if they were overwhelming or if one could be tasted individually this would not be an enjoyable drinking experience.

I prepared this in an infuser with boiling water, then added Demarra sugar cubes (5 per large mug) and stevia (about 11 drops per mug). Evaporated milk was the milk component.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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79

Second H&S sample. I failed to realize this was green tea until I’d already added boiling water, so it wasn’t properly prepared. Still, it’s tasty! I live in the Willamette Valley, where the peppermint in this tea is grown. It’s some of the cleanest, most aromatic peppermint anywhere and I can tell that’s what is in this blend.

The tea smells overwhelmingly of the very best sort of peppermint. Brewed, the peppermint still dominates, but a nice, light, non-bitter green tea flavor also comes through. It doesn’t taste overpoweringly minty; it’s just right.

I’m enjoying this, but it feels like drinking herbal tea. Not quite what I was after. I think I will adore this tea iced, however. Something is not firing on all cylinders, and I think it’s the temperature.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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90

This is my first tea from my first order of samples from H&S; an inaugural tea if you will. I like my tea sweet, so I automatically added my standard 12 drops of stevia and 4 sugar cubes. My first impression was that I’d over-sweetened it, and that next time I should taste it unsweetened so I can get a feeling for the base flavor.

My second impression is that it is heavenly, regardless. I steeped it for too long, and there is still not a hint of bitterness anywhere. The flavor is sweet, well rounded, almost milky. One would swear there are calories in this! I love it.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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84

My first experience with roobios, and I’m in love! Had this with a generous scoop of honey. The mint chocolate flavor is welcoming but not overpowering. I took a sip, thought it was pretty good. A minute later my stomach was saying, “want another!” Leaves a very warm feeling in the stomach. I got a second brewing from it, although the second was milder.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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91

This was the first Chai I ever tasted. That’s not saying much, since I’ve only had two others for reference. I love it. I adore strong tea with milk and honey, and Oregon chai is made for that combination. It’s not quite sweet enough for me, so I add sugar or vanilla espresso flavoring syrup. The other chai teas I’ve tried have been way too spicy and harsh for my taste, so I’m guessing this may be mellower than others. In my area most espresso shops offer this on their menu, and it’s a favorite of mine.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Bio

Just starting to explore tea.

Location

Oregon

Website

http://www.distinctionjewelry...

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