348 Tasting Notes

Birthday ==> shipment of teas!

How can you go wrong with “ancient forest”?

This is an unusual leaf. I’ve never seen sheng leaf that looks like this.

Excellently, this lack of the every day translates into the cup, as well. A thick, brothy cup is easily achieved and the flavor profile is bold and bright without being too wooly or sharp.

I picked this up on a whim as I was placing an order and I’m glad I did.

It has been raining for a week solid and forecasted for a week more (when did I get transported to Seattle) and this is a great “cozy” cup.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Scatterbrain

I have to admit, little phrases in a tea’s title can make me a lot more likely to buy the tea. “Ancient Forest” is something that would definitely lure me in.

gmathis

Rain…I vaguely remember that… (Funny; not four months ago, I was looking at a creek bank in my neighbor’s backyard; now I’m looking at shredded wheat growing in my own.)

Bonnie

MANY YEARS TO YOU!

ashmanra

Happy day to you, happy blessed year to come!

Invader Zim

Happy belated birthday! Hope many healthy years to come.

LadyLondonderry

Belated best wishes, Jim! May the year ahead be a healthy, happy and prosperous one for you!

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Today I found the upper limit of “less leaf” by exceeding it.

sad face

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Jim Marks

I was able to salvage later steeping by just not filling the pot with water.

Bonnie

I knew you would! We don’t waste good Pu’er! I just got a recipe for butter chai from roughage in the U.K. and some fine tea and Pu’er. Let me know if you want the recipe.

Invader Zim

It’s a learning experience.

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drank Bedtime by Yogi
348 tasting notes

My ailment was improving nicely until I was forced to go mow the lawn in 100 degree heat.

So, I am going back to this old stand by to ensure a deeper sleep tonight.

I try to avoid using it too often so that it remains effective, and if I stick to that, it “really works”.

Liz hates the way Yogi teas taste, but I like the licorice esque sweetness.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Bonnie

Feel better friend! Licorice esque is a cool wordishness.

Hesper June

I hope you arise tomorrow morning feeling refreshed!

ashmanra

I bought Get Some Zzz’s for hubby. Is this better? I like licorice esque, too. Hope you rest well and feel better. My hubby has been sick for almost a week with a summer cold.

Jim Marks

This works. I don’t know if that’s better or not :)

ashmanra

Just remembered I had a sample that my daughter ordered. I gave him Stress Relief instead of this one, but he said it seemed to help! He said his brain wouldn’t stop spinning when he went to bed…lots of changes at work coming, but most of them really good! Still, you need to sleep!

Jim Marks

I know that mental sensation. It is the primary reason I don’t sleep well, in general.

Fever delirium makes it much more acute for me. Ugh. fever delirium is a preview of Hell, I’m quite convinced.

Bonnie

I get that sensation regularly from my migraines …almost like vertigo or being seasick. I close my eyes and play Chant or Russian Liturgical Music very low …drink cool not cold 7 up or mint tea (first I have to drink something high in caffeine which helps migraines) ..
but for cold and nausea …sticking with brat diet (bread, rice, applesauce, tea) helps the tummy and head feel better.

Jim Marks

This is a metaphorical spinning. Thoughts that are caught in a loop going around and around. Tuesday evening I had all the hymns I’d worked hard to chant correctly “stuck” in my head as my fever got worse. Not in a calming way, but in a skipping record on the wrong speed kind of way.

During a bad migraine or fever delirium I’ll be frantically trying to compose software code in my mind to “break” the loop I’m stuck in. Of course, then the code itself becomes the loop.

Bonnie

Methinks both are horrid! I grab my Icon of the Theotokos and cling as I try to keep from spinning off the edge of the planet!

ashmanra

Ugh! I get the thoughts spinning thing sometimes, so that is why I thought Stress Relief might be the better tea for him. If he could quit thinking about work, he could go to sleep!
Next time, I will try the Bedtime tea and see what works best for him, and ask him to compare the effect of those with Get Some Zzzz’s.

Jim Marks

I steep for 10 minutes and drink it 15-20 minutes before turning in.

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Gaaaaaaah, Summer head cold.

That’s the last time I shake hands with a child.

Fighting back the congestion with pu-erh.

I can’t taste anything, sadly.

And I have to chant a vespers service this evening alone.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Spoonvonstup

Hope you feel better soon!

Bonnie

Oh no! How bout some gunpowder mint? Chanting alone with a cold is challanging! I feel sorry for my brother when his asthma is kicking up and he has to chant and is using the censor at the Alter. Part of the journey though isn’t it! God Bless you Jim!

Bonnie

Glad Vespers is relatively short!

Jim Marks

Thankfully, the frankincense does not seem to impact me the way it does with most. Our deacon seems to have a permanent head cold.

I’ve got a vaporizer full of eucalyptus oil cranking away on my desk.

Bonnie

Thankful for that! Hopefully you will recover! Those nettie pot things with saline are useful.

Jim Marks

Oooph. Those freak me out.

Charles Thomas Draper

Salt water cures everything….

Bonnie

Come on Jim…there’s the spray bottle kind…it’s not that bad and works. People with allergies and sleep apnea use them all the time. I used to. Just water with saline. NEVER regular water, has to be mineral free.

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I woke up very bleary this morning, unexpectedly, and actually drank coffee for the first time in a long time.

But as late morning begins to drag on towards lunch, it is time to settle into something softer, so here I am with the last of this free sample and it is just right.

Hopefully it will settle my stomach a bit before it is time to eat.

I am surprised I like this tea as much as I do, but I really do.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Did you still taste bell pepper and roasting pan? I tasted toasted sesame seed and some honey…grass at one point.

Jim Marks

No, brewing it this way has produced a radically softer cup. The first two steeping were very sweet, from the ginseng coating, but now that it has washed off, the liqueur from the fully opened leaves is very much like a tieguanyin.

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I enjoyed the last of this free sample yesterday and when I say enjoyed, I mean enjoyed.

Hot or iced, this is a fantastic shou.

If you have not tried iced shou, I highly recommend it. Steep it hot, and a bit stronger than you might, and then pour it over ice.

An unexpected sweetness comes out.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
ashmanra

This one gave me goose bumps. Nomnomnom…

K S

Iced? really? I have to try it that way but it has to wait – its at work.

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We’re having a big Summer thunder storm and so I brewed up a big pot of this.

I am endlessly fascinated by sheng. The size of the vessel you brew it in seems to effect the flavor. I have been using the gaiwan pair since Christmas, but they’re in the wash right now so I just went ahead and put this in the big, wide, pyrex and did two steeping of 3 cups of water each.

The resulting brew is equally big and wide. Camphor nipping at the tip of my tongue, rose mary up in my nasal passage, and an almost aged sherry type central flavor are just rolling all around like a big ball of cleared underbrush.

(I am so excited, Upton announced that they have placed their purchases for the 2012 second flush Darjeeling teas and we can expect them in September.)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Um Rosemary and aged sherry are something I’ll have to investigate. Nice comments!

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I’ve got a lot going on this week, so I’m hitting this up Western style — which is a rare thing for me these days.

There’s more bite and astringency this way. Not enough to be unpleasant, but this is not the soft, thick, gentle tea that it is when brewed gongfu style.

This tea has been a real eye opener for me over the past few months. I’ve become very focused on the teas of Southern China (wuyi, yunnan [gold, shou, sheng], lapsang souchong….) the last handful of years and I have begun to forget how much I love other teas. Both Northern and Southern India have fine teas that I used to drink quite often.

I need to plan out tea orders a bit more carefully, moving forward, I think, and ensure I get a wider variety of regions and styles.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I am the same way. Drinking Chinese tea and forgetting about what other regions have to offer….

bobL

Same here…rock oolong, dark roasted oolong, some puerhs. There are just so many flavor profiles to explore…

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drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
348 tasting notes

Yesterday a prominent priest with a popular radio broadcast, blog and twitter feed both ping-backed and re-tweeted a blog entry of mine and my site got 708 unique views in one day. I think that doubled my unique views for the lifetime of the blog (just a few months).

So I’m celebrating with Golden Fleece.

The dry leaf aroma is maturing as it rests. Sweetness and fruit, but also roasted nuts, malt, and cacao.

The wet left is almost overpowering with a kind of toasted cashew or graham cracker scent.

And yet the cup itself is gentle. A sweet start but a dry finish.

With the second steep the characteristic thickness emerges as well.

One thing I notice with this tea is that the flavor is almost entirely in the nose, not on the tongue. I wonder if that’s true of other teas and I don’t notice?

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

So who did I miss? Fr. Hopko?! I think this is a celebration tea for sure! Wonderful!

Jim Marks

Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick

ScottTeaMan

JIm…….I think that’s true of alot of what we eat and drink. I’ll pay more attention to it in the future.

Jim Marks

Yes and no.

True, our tastebuds only register the six basic flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami and spice/heat, and the nose does the rest.

But what I mean here is that my tongue isn’t registering any of those six things, from what I can tell, only the presence of the textured water in my mouth.

The whole mouth feels the slight drying astringency after swallowing, but that’s not a taste, either.

Any flavored tea is going to act directly on the tongue, I suspect, although scented teas probably don’t.

I don’t believe tea, no matter the processing, has any actual sugar or salt in it, nor spice/heat nor umami, so really the only possible tongue registering options are sour and bitter.

I’m starting to think tea is all in the nose.

ScottTeaMan

Don’t you think some teas have a natural sweetness to them w/o being sugar sweet?

Jim Marks

Well, yes, yunnan golds particularly.

But unless it is a chemical compound that the tastebuds can trigger on, it will still be in the nose, not on the tongue.

I’d have to talk to a bio-chemist who knows tea, but I don’t think any of the processing which is done to tea brings out a natural sugar of any kind. Tea is essentially zero calorie which suggests it has no sugars, naturally.

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