513 Tasting Notes

100

Ok, I’ve been having far too much fun on facebook and steepster this morning, and I really should try and get some work done. But I feel it absolutely vital to tell you all that I enjoyed the queen with my bagel and cream cheese breakfast this morning. Mr. keychange and I make it a point to have breakfast together on Friday mornings, so there was also great conversation. And I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.

As I leaned over the cup and inhaled the queen, I literally spoke out loud: Oh Queen, I remember you! i remember how we sat there, legs curled up under ourselves as we sat in Muskoka chairs around the embers of last night’s fire, commenting on how it had rained last night, and how the smell of smoke and rain and wind was so perfectly romantic. Don’t you remember, Queen?

And then Mr. keychange was like “You would never have that conversation, though. You hate camping.”
And i was like stop ruining it!

Long live the queen!

Marzipan

This is my theme song today: I don’t wanna work, I just wanna talk about tea all day!
(You know that song?)

Cheri

Hahahah! I love the smells of camping, and honestly sitting near a campfire or bonfire is such a wonderful feeling. I just hate hate hate camping.

And I really like the fact that you and your Mr. have breakfast together on Fridays. How wonderful!

keychange

I do know that song! great song! I should go listen to it immediately. And yes, I abhor camping as well. But I love the smell of rain and campfires and good memories.

Sil

too much time on FB… haha the only time i am ever on there is for the antics you saw haha

keychange

Haha! these antics get me through the day!

OMGsrsly

I need to get my act together and stop being distracted by TEA, and GO to work!

Marzipan

It’s like ADTEA (get it?)

Anna

You should probably follow DeliriumsFrogs and then you all can have a special secret Queen fanclub. Pfff! http://steepster.com/deliriumsfrogs/posts/238178

keychange

Thanks Anna! The Queen needs us to band together!

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I’m almost at sipdown status for this tea, and although it was absolutely my first Butiki love (I distinctly remember waking up in the middle of the night craving this), it’s tasting a bit bitter in my travel mug at work, although that’s only true for the last few sips of it—and I think that can be said about getting the bottom of the tea in many a travel mug—things just “settle” there so to speak and the last few sips often don’t mirror the rest of the tea. I was surprised at how well this one fared, especially because I’m always afraid of scent contamination with these silly silacone lids (seriously, not even denture tablets are doing the trick for me—someone help!). I also really liked that this particular brew allowed me to taste the white tea base against the cantaloupe, which is different from my past experiences with this tea.

I’m not yet sure if I’ll reorder this one right away, or wait until I’ve exhausted my love affairs with other melon teas and then come back to this with my tail between my legs.

TheTeaFairy

«waking up in the middle of the night craving this»… Lol, you know you’re addicted to tea when?

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
513 tasting notes

Thanks to sami kelsh’s urging, as well as Garret’s encouragement, I tried this tea a different way this morning. The keychange way! that’s right—that means there was milk and sugar. And I found that to make a pretty big difference for me. It tasted sweeter and creamier, and I could pick up on distant floral notes that without additions seemed to be missing. And I love floral notes, so this made me very happy indeed.

Sipdown! thanks, Stephanie, for giving some of this to me to try. I may eventually be persuaded to visit this tea again.

And thanks, Garret, for such a thoughtful response to my original tasting note.

Sami Kelsh

Yay! I’m glad the milk and sugar improved this one for you. It really does make a difference!

keychange

Oh yeah, it can really revolutionize a tea for me.

Garret

Smiling right now!

Cheri

Yay! I’m glad you found a way to make it a good tea for you. There are reasons we add things like salt to food: it’s brings out flavors. The same with adding milk and sweetener to your tea. It’s all good as long as it tastes good to you.

keychange

That’s exactly it. You don’t hear people saying that they want their burger without any toppings because that would spoil the point of the burger.

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And that’s a sipdown of this tin. Honestly, this tea has been consistently tasty and warming, and has fared wonderfully in a travel mug, and has suffered all sorts of random steeping parameters. And it still holds its own. I’m not at all surprised that this is Harney’s most popular tea, and it will absolutely be making a reappearance in my cupboard next fall and winter. For now, it’s a perfect farewell to a great winter tea.

Courtney

I need to add this to my list for my next H&S order.

keychange

I’m glad. it’s such a forgiving, warming tea.

Stephanie

Yeah, this is my fave cinnamon tea :)

CHAroma

This was your 400th tasting note! Congrats!

keychange

Thanks!! and yes, this is likewise my favourite cinnamon tea!

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I must say that I’m feeling a lot better this morning. I felt a lot better yesterday afternoon, actually. I obviously can’t get into too much detail, but suffice it to say that the entire world seems like such a different place when you are disabled and actually have the tools to do your work accessibly. i was in a right panic yesterday morning, and was on the verge of a most unsightly meltdown (those are necessary sometimes, actually), but managed to resolve the situation without feeling like running away to some sort of Victorian novel fantasy island. But when isn’t that in the works? haha.

I’d read such amazing reviews on this tea, and charlotte0 was so thoughtful to include it in the package she sent me. I have to admit I was a bit hesitant, simply because I think I largely fall into the “if i want to be drinking chocolate, I’ll have hot chocolate with all the fixings!” category. But I also know that MF knows what they’re doing, so I took a chance. Brewed it up for about four minutes, threw in some milk and sugar, and set to work enjoying it. And my my, this is a most delicious cup of tea. The chocolate blends so perfectly with the base. By that I mean that you know how with some teas, you’re like “oh hello flavour. Oh, hello there, base!”? but with this, I knew I was drinking a chocolate flavoured tea, but the base was just there, all unobtrusive and coy, and not being like “ooooh! guess what base I am! guess guess! where am I from? what do I do? who do I know??!! come on! heelloooooo!!”. And the chocolate tasted as though it was of the highest quality and I felt quite spoiled indeed.

Thank you, charlotte 0. This is going straight on my shopping list for my eventual mf haul!

Stephanie

Glad you are feeling better! And this tea sounds great :D

keychange

Thanks! yes, it feels as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. And this tea is all shades of fantastic!

Rosehips

A victorian novel fantasy island sounds like my sort of place. Glad things are going better.

keychange

We should all go there! and thanks. I feel loads better.

OMGsrsly

Ooo… Victorian novel fantasy island. Sounds lovely today. :) Glad things are going better for you!

keychange

Yes to the island! and thank you. Thanks so much!

Christina / BooksandTea

I totally get what you mean when you’re not sure what the base tea is, and trying to figure it out. Glad that this tea was smooth and comforting!

Cheri

I’m so glad to hear that you finally got things fixed at work so you can work. :) and this tea sounds heavenly.

keychange

This tea is ideal!

pyarkaaloo

sounds amazing!! what a tea.. how about a tea island?

keychange

The tea is amazing! and a tea island would be even better. No problems allowed. Not even under the guise of “learning” or “personal growth” or “maturing”. Just. No. Problems.

Sami Kelsh

Tea island sounds magical. I want to go to there too.

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
513 tasting notes

Ok, so I’ll say it: I think I may be the only person in the universe who hasn’t had a good experience with this tea (yet). Stephanie was kind enough to send me a sample of this, which is awesome because I’m always excited to try a steepster beloved. I steeped this Western style, for about four minutes. It tasted fine, although I must admit I was itching to add milk and/or sugar. It did taste milky and a bit sweet, but I just wasn’t blown away. I’m convinced it was something I did though, because i find it peculiar that everyone and their mother swoons over this tea and I can’t seem to make it work. Maybe unflavoured oolongs (sans additions) simply aren’t for me?
I have enough left for another cup due to Stephanie’s generosity, but I’m hesitant to brew it until someone tells me what to do differently LOL.

Stephanie

I like this one, but it isn’t my favorite oolong, honestly. Nor is it my favorite Mandala tea!

keychange

Oh good. I’m glad I’m not the only one who won’t, like, offer to sell my soul for this tea.

Stephanie

Hahaha, totally :)

Cheri

I want to try it because almost everyone raves so much about it, but if I don’t like it, does it mean there’s something wrong with me? I hope not, because I don’t think there’s something wrong with either of you. ;-)

keychange

haha. I just mean that there might be something different that I can do to make this tea more likeable to me. That’s the beauty of playing with brewing. But I agree—ultimately no tea is for everyone, so it’s ok.

Sami Kelsh

I haven’t had this particular milk oolong, but when I do, I do a 2-3 minute steep and (shock, horror) add a packet of sugar, and sometimes, if I’m feeling really crazy, a splash of milk. Which is probably super wrong, but you know what? I like it that way.

Cheri

I think that’s the secret to enjoying tea: drink it how you like it.

keychange

Ok, I’ve gotten all the encouragement I need. I’m going to milk and sugar this baby!

Garret

Hi!! I had written a reply and then posted it and then the darned thing disappeared :(

Not every tea can be everyone’s cup of tea, that is for sure. Some things most definitely make a difference – water temp (I like this at 195 and increase temp as steepings go by), water type (not distilled, not reverse osmosis, not something sitting in soft plastic jug for weeks on end).

While I prefer to brew most of my teas gongfu style, this is one that some of our customers brew up “grandpa style” in a cup or tea thermos, letting the tea leaves sit in the hot water as they sip and adding more hot water as the water level gets down to just covering the leaves. Western style, some will do one 3 to 5 minute steep, others do 1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute steepings combined into a pitcher. It is so up to us to prepare it a myriad of different ways.

We are sitting here in the tea shop right now experimenting with a brand new sheng pu’er we had pressed a couple of months ago. We have brewed it up 3 different ways so far, each way providing us with different glimpses into the aromas and flavors of the young tea.

Also… as with wines, teas will have different characteristics due to weather and picking time, etc. This may dramatically affect the experience one has.

But still…. despite brewing many ways, one might still find that a particular tea is just not for them. No problemo at all! There are thousands of teas. It’s like a book – pick one up and if by page 50 you’re not into it, put it down and start something else. Just be prepared to pick that same book up some day and totally love it. The way we look at things, the way we taste things changes, just like our moods, though oft times more slowly.

Alot of Americans think Busch Light is good beer…. but me, I’ll take turpentine, thank you. Good discussion here, friends!! Thanks!

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100

For a variety of reasons (some of which make sense and some of which don’t), the past few days have been really difficult for me. When Stacy said they were pulling this tea, my immediate reaction was to panic and horde what I have. But when deciding what to have with breakfast this morning, I realized that the only tea that could stand a chance at helping me out was this one. And it was just as lovely as it’s always been: just as full of innocence and promises and hope and comfort. I can’t tell you how distraught I am over the pulling of this tea. I even contacted naivetea, who also make a rose violet calendula oolong, but they, too, have pulled it.

Have a good day, guys. Things have to get better eventually, I tell myself.

teaqueen

:( I’m sorry to hear this, keychange. I hope your week improves and you are able to find a new tea to love as much as you love this one.

Sami Kelsh

I hope things mellow out and get better for you! And that Stacy changes her mind about the tea… hugs

keychange

I hope both you fine ladies are right on all counts!

Stephanie

OH bummer, this one is quite good. I guess not enough people go for the florals :(

Memily

And now I have to read such brilliant reviews like this knowing I can never taste this wonderful tea… it sounds divine, right up my alley. Ah, I hate when wonderful things are over. I understand completely.

keychange

I know. This tea was utter perfection. I don’t even know if stacy can ever bring it back.

Memily

Point her in the direction of the reviews! WE NEED THIS TEA! Will our bitter tears of sadness help? I’ll get a bucket.

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drank Irish Cream by Red Leaf Tea
513 tasting notes

I got this sample from sil, and was eager to try it because of the good reviews. The dry leaf smells amazing. it kind of smells as though it should be one of those Irish cream cappuccinos you can get at coffee shops, that are boldly flavoured. i wanted so much for the taste of the brew to reflect the smell, but alas it fell short. It’s funny, because the brewed aroma is still of a reasonably strong Irish cream, but it tastes very much like a generic black tea, with perhaps a hint of cream at the end of the sip. I brewed for three minutes, and wonder if I should have perhaps brewed for longer. I have enough left for another cup, and might just do that. Those of you who enjoy this tea: how have you prepared it for maximum flavour?

Bottom line: I’m open to trying it again and brewing it differently, but for now at least, I’ll just build my cart on rlt’s site with matcha only. Thanks again, sil!

Sami Kelsh

I hope you figure out the formula for getting this tea all delicious, because man, Irish cream is the business, for real.

keychange

I hope so too! it must live up to its smell!

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I am so, so happy that I have two full pouches of this. Frank, there’s just something about your banana, and that’s a scientific fact. There are other banana blends from Frank, but they all have other things that get in between me and the banana. But not this one. This one lets me have the banana all to myself. All of it. No sharing with butterscotch or cinnamon or watermelon. Just delicious, thick banana.

mmm

Ok ok I’ll stop. That was fun.

Oh, and this seems to shine at a brew time of three minutes. Any longer and the base gets in the way a little. And you know how i feel about things coming between me and the banana.

Kat_Maria

:D You’re hilarious, keychange!

I must say I haven’t had much luck with 52teas so far, they mostly leave me underwhelmed and wanting for more… of something. I should get a hold of this tea, though, perhaps I will get just as entranced by the banana.

keychange

This really is flavourful and very full of banana! mmm! I will beg and beg until Frank reblends this and then buy him out of stock.

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drank Two Friends by Custom (Butiki)
513 tasting notes

Sipdown! The second time around, this cup was even more delicious. A little less sugar, and I really felt the subtle chocolate orange taste. And omg the base tea is so malty and present and mmmm. Sorry, not feeling very articulate at the moment. But I may just want to get in when a reorder is put in on this one!

Sil

:) careful…that might just be an orange tea you like hahaha

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Bio

Well, it’s been slightly over six months since I’ve joined steepster, and I can’t say enough wonderful things about this community. Like many of you, I began my foray into the world of loose-leaf tea by discovering David’s Tea, and although I’ve ventured out and have discovered many other companies that I’m extremely fond of, there are still many of David’s teas that I hold close to my heart and I will always appreciate it as a starting point for my journey.

As for my preferences, I tend to prefer bold black tea, flavoured and unflavoured alike, and I almost always take my blacks with cream and sugar. This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good, flavoured white though, and I’m slowly making my way through the incredibly confusing world of oolongs and greens. I am also not a fan of rooibos, although I am starting to suspect green rooibos may be ok, but you know how it is: when you’ve decided you detest a certain ingredient, you’ll notice it everywhere—perhaps even where it doesn’t exist!

Things other than tea: I’m engaged to be married to my best friend, and feel like the richest woman on the planet because of it. I am also a veracious reader, and I also happen to have an obsession with fragrances, and have amassed quite a collection, although it pales in comparison to some collections out there! As a result of this obsession, I also follow several fragrance blogs, and am always up for a chat about scent. I’m also almost completely blind, and this does indeed mean that I come complete with a guide dog, who unlike me, hales from the sunny California campus of Guide dogs for the Blind. I think I’ve rambled on long enough, but if there’s anything you’d like to know or if you just feel like chatting to someone, please don’t hesitate to send me a message.

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Ontario, Canada

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