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765 Tasting Notes

95

3 tsp. leaf to 500 ml. water in my Breville at below parameters.

I tried a sip of this plain and got a very heavy vanilla (yum) and very astringent (not so yum) tea base. So, milk and sugar were added to make this my afternoon study snack.

This really comes alive with additives! It actually reminds me of coffee (probably the french vanilla flavor), which I haven’t had in a very long time since I’m particularly sensitive to the caffeine in it. Anyway, this tea is a very welcome drink as I sit and listen to the wind whipping around outside the house.

P.S. One week until the 12 teas of Christmas! I cannot wait!!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

I can’t wait either!!! I hope mine makes it in time! : )

JoonSusanna

I hope so, too! I’ve had to put the box in the back of my tea closet so I won’t peek!

That’s one good thing about it not getting to you yet – you get to avoid temptation for just a little longer!

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94
drank Milk Oolong by thepuriTea
765 tasting notes

I got this sample when thePuritea was having their Cyber Monday sale. I’ve had it before, but I knew that this would be a new, fresh batch and I wanted to try it in the 2 cup samples so I would definitely get the amount of leaf right. Steeped the entire sample in 500 ml. of water at the below parameters in my Breville.

The liquor was a very light yellow once steeped, like I remember it being, but the smell is VERY different. I smelled grassy oolong, yes, but also strawberries and cream this time. The taste mirrors this – grassy and also lightly sweet, spun strawberry sugar or cotton candy-ish. Boyfriend gets popcorn – there is a nutty accent in the taste as well, so this could be what he’s picking up on. So very many nuances in this tea!

I understand why this is so popular – this has to be the closest thing to nature’s version of candy (besides sugar itself, of course!).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Wow, this sounds heavenly. I purchased the new batch too. Can’t wait until this cold or whatever it is passes so that I can try it and truly appreciate its flavors.

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92

Second infusion. The steeped liquor is the same greenish brown color as the first steep, but is clear rather than opaque like the first steep.

I much prefer the first brewing to this one; I think it’s because the honey note is gone and the floral-ness of the TGY overtakes that wonderful roasted buttery flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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92

Second cup of first infusion.

Luckily I was wrong about any honey sinking to the bottom of the cup and making the last few sips cloyingly sweet. The honey essence stays consistent throughout and really does compliment the TGY flavor nicely. I really, really like this!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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92

This generous sample provided to me by Teavivre.

This is the best Monday ever, followed up by the longest weekend ever – I had clinicals of two 12 hours shifts that resulted in me having to get up at 5:30 AM both days. The wake up was the worst part by far – I suspect I would not have minded so much if I could have just done nights instead of days. As it was, I had no time for anything except sleep and shoveling in food that I can’t even really remember the taste of. Certainly it was not a weekend to brew tea.

But on this Monday (the best Monday ever since I have a day all to myself to relax), I can finally sit down and have a minute to myself. I had picked this tea ahead of time as the first brew of the day – I’ve never tried an oolong with any degree of sweetener and this piqued my curiosity.

The balls of TGY were stuck together with honey, as I assumed they would be, but it’s not as messy as you might think – they were stuck to a waxy paper insert and easily peeled off into my Breville basket. I could smell both the honey and the TGY on the dry leaf, and it was fantastic. The two enclosed vaccuum packed samples were brewed in my Breville in 500 ml. of water at the below temperatures.

This brewed up a cloudy greenish brown due to the honey, I suspect. First taste is surprisingly not very sweet – I still taste honey, but not the sweetness of it, if that makes any sense. I was worried about brewing the TGY at that high of a temperature but it is not bitter and astringent in the slightest. I get more of a roasted buttery flavor than floral from this particular TGY, which I like. The other TGY I tried from Teavivre was heavier on the floral and less so on the butter, so maybe it is the temperature difference?

Anyway, I really like this one. It is such a cleansing tea to be drinking as I appreciate the calm and quiet. I haven’t gotten to the 2nd cup in my Breville yet, but I’m wondering if the honey sweetness might be waiting for me there – I will update when I get there, and when I do a second steep. But for right now – it has been just what I needed today.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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90

This was another generous sample from Teavivre!

Preparation notes: I used 4 tsp. of this (about 1.5 of the enclosed red packages) to 500 ml. water and steeped at the below parameters in my Breville.

The smell of the dry leaf is malty and rich – it smells kind of bready, too. It’s a characteristic black tea smell for me and I love it! The scent carries over into the steeped leaves, with the addition of a slightly smoky note. The steeped liquor turned a mahogany brown.

At first the taste is mildly smoky – not my favorite. But there’s a lot of complexity to it as well – a cocoa kind of smoky. Once it cools down a bit more the smoky taste goes away and just the malty, cocoa taste remains. The mouthfeel is quite thick and chewy in this, too, an added bonus and a quality I love in black teas. I’m enjoying this without sweetener, but I think this would lend itself well to honey over sugar if you must add something – I think because there’s a light honey accent in the steeped tea.

This is a very good complex tea with alot of layers, and despite the smoke I will have no problem polishing off the 2 cups. I think it is the more tolerable of smoky teas I’ve tried, and it is definitely worth drinking through til it cools to get some of the chewy cocoa flavors.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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74

Second infusion done this morning (I left the leaves overnight).

Okay, so I drastically increased the steep time in order to really extract everything out of the leaves and see if I could get the flavor better. I’m happy to say that while it didn’t seem much different when I had it hot, as it cooled the roasted notes came out a lot more.

It’s still not my favorite, but I’m glad I was able to taste some of what was supposed to be there!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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74

I took advantage of thePuritea’s Cyber Monday deal and got a whole bunch of oolong samples to explore the different types. The shipping was super quick, which was a very happy surprise, as I’m literally on the other side of the country from them and got this 2 days later!

I wanted a darker oolong to try first, so I picked this based on the name. The smell of this dry leaf was wonderful – toasted, earthy and grassy simultaneously. The smell of the brewed tea was similar – which was very comforting and cozy on a chilly night.

The main reason that I chose to try as many oolongs as I could was because I just am not familiar with them. Perhaps it is because of this lack of familiarity that I failed to get a lot of the expected flavors out of this tea. I’m putting it down to steep time (that has been the culprit a lot recently, I think), and thinking I should have pushed it up to four minutes for the first infusion. When I do a second I will really do a long steep just to see if I can improve on the texture and taste.

So mostly, the first time around I just got a grassy, sweet green with the roasted aroma teasing me. I hope that the next time around the roasty-ness will seep into the liquor too. Oh, and some of those honeyesque, vanilla, or nutty flavors – they can feel free to join in. I promise I won’t mind! :)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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95

Perfect as always, it helped me with some last minute relaxation and studying before one of my big finals.

I’m running through this a lot faster than I thought I would…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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94

2 heaping tsp. leaf to 500ml. in my Breville.

Last time I had this I steeped it at 3:30 and thought that the taste could be developed a bit more. So tonight I went with an extra 30 seconds, taking it up to 4 minutes, which is my usual steep time for black teas.

I think that this time the flavor of the tea came through even when hot – with the trade-off being that there was more astringency too.

Bottom line: I think it’s a more of an everyday black tea – the taste and smell are wonderful but there’s nothing overly complex about it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

That seems really long for a Darjeeling. I wonder why it needs such a long steep.

JoonSusanna

I followed Upton’s parameters and my own preferences for a black tea when making this. Do Darjeelings normally require shortened times, despite technically being a black tea?

Jim Marks

In my experience, Darjeeling teas are quite delicate and tend to fare better at 2 minutes, or there abouts. You’re correct, of course, Upton does recommend a longer steep for this particular leaf. I was just wondering (aloud) why that would be. Especially for a tea that Upton claims is so popular and which you found to be rather flat even when steeped sufficiently.

Maybe it is just a bad year for this leaf…

Camiah

Upton seems to recommend ridiculously long steep times as well. I’ve had some greens they recommended a five minute steep for. Let me tell you, nope. They were much better at shorter steeps.

Jim Marks

I’ve been learning recently that, for most but not all teas, a 5-30 second steep with more generous amounts of leaf, not only produces a better first cup, it allows one to produce many, many cups.

Maybe I’ll get a sample of this the next time I order my benchmark lapsang and pu-erh from Upton and do a whole series of steeps at different lengths.

JoonSusanna

@Camiah: You’re right – sometimes Upton can be a little too generous on their steeping time. I’ve noticed definite improvement before in some of their teas by cutting a minute or two off total steeping, so that is something I will try with this tea as well when I make it again.

@Jim: I don’t think it’s a bad year for the leaf – I did have it cold brewed once and the nuances of the flavors were present then, which leads me to suspect that shorter exposure to the heated water will help the tea immensely. I will aim for about a 2:30 steep time and see what happens then.

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Profile

Bio

A few of my favorite teas (in no particular order):

*Dessert flavored blacks
*Breakfast blends
*Virtually any black tea (but lapsang/keemun!)
*Dancong oolong
*Sencha
*Dragonwell

When it comes to tea, I feel like the 10th Doctor says it best:

“Tea! That’s all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses. "

Location

Atlanta, GA

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