513 Tasting Notes

This is a backlog from this morning. It’s actually been fairly hectic at work today, and more than anything, I’m sort of looking forward to doing nothing.
Anyway, I brewed this up this morning in an attempt to get through as many samples as possible. actually, I’m not “getting through” them so much as I’m just tasting them and moving on, but it is what it is.

This is a black-green blend, and so I was a wee bit nervous as I’m not typically drawn to anything green. Nevertheless, I brewed it as per keychangeness.
The dry leaf smells of a generic tropical fruit concoction. Having said that, it doesn’t smell at all artificially flavoured or scented. I let it steep for five minutes, and the result was sort of like a hot tropical punch (although it was a bit creamy thanks to, you know, the cream that I added). It sort of reminded me of a hot version of a bubble tea; I could definitely picture it having tapioca balls floating around in it. I can’t really taste the black or green base, nor can I really detect any jasmine. having said all of this, it’s a perfectly acceptable tea, and is actually quite pleasant. I imagine it would actually be quite delightful iced, but I don’t ever ice my teas, so I’m either going to happily finish up the sample (but not repurchase as I’m not a huge fruit tea fan), or put it in a swap pile to send it off to someone who will enjoy cold-brewing it.

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drank Sugar and Spice by DAVIDsTEA
513 tasting notes

You know that wonderful feeling you get when you’ve finally struck pay-dirt and figured out the perfect brewing parameters for a given tea? And then you try it again and follow the same steps and it actually tastes the same? Perfect feeling. I’ve figured out that for this tea, I need one of David’s teaspoons, as well as one of Teavana’s teaspoons, some cream and rock sugar, and my timolino. It is warming, with lots of ginger and cloves, and the cream thickens it up nicely and really gives the whole thing a very bready feel. I’m definitely going to have to stock up on this next time I’m at David’s.

And somehow I placed an order with the tea merchant (for French earl grey and biodynamic Darjeeling) and barely realized I was doing it! Next thing I knew, there was a confirmation email in my inbox and I was like “huh? how’d this get here?” I think I was feeling a bit idle and listless at work, and well..I suppose we all know what happens when I’m like that now right?
Ok, work day over in a few hours, then achingly long seminar, and then finally, thankfully, I get to go home. I’ve been dreading the length of this day since last week!

Anna

Home! Home to your teas. Oh, I know that feeling.

keychange

Yeah. I persevered! mmm delish. want some?

Anna

Most kind, but it’s too spicy for me. You’ve already spoiled me enough!

Nightshifter

Sounds wonderful! I’m going to try my sample the exact same way. :)

keychange

@Anna: alrighty :D
@nightshifter: I hope you love it! I found that a full seven-minute steep was perfect (it never gets bitter, although I’m sure the sugar and cream help with that).

JustJames

biodynamic darjeeling? hmmm, curiouser and curiouser!

keychange

justJames: I actually tried art of tea’s biodynamic darj and loved it to an unbelievable extent, and so I figured I’d try another darj for comparison’s sake. Mmmm. I think I’m getting like 2 oz of the tea merchant darj, so let me know if you want any.

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drank English Breakfast by Art of Tea
513 tasting notes

Despite waking up feeling refreshed this morning, I wanted a cup of tea that didn’t require much thought or appreciation from me, so I chose this one. Like I said before, it’s a decent English breakfast, and it’ll do on mornings like this. everyone needs a few teas they can just drink without having too many feelings about them. I only have enough left for a few cups, and that’s just fine by me. Paired beautifully with my hash brown mmm.

In other news, my H and S order (via Chapters) indeed arrived yesterday, and I happily tore into the box. I ordered Vanilla Comoro, Hot Cinnamon Sunset, and Parris. The great thing too is that they’re all in separate (square! omg) tins, and because they’re in sachets, they all smell distinctly different so there’s no need to fuss with facetime and such. Win win.
I have a question about the sachets, though. Are they intended for about 12 oz of water? I heard somewhere that they’re better suited to larger mugs of tea, and not your typical 8 oz cup. Thoughts?

Anyway, I’m going to be at work today until 8:00 tonight, which is kind of painful if you think about it for longer than a nanosecond. Especially because it isn’t actually work; it’s one of those professional development seminar type things. Aaaaaahhhhh.

Lala

I would say the sachets are good for 12-16 oz. they are quite large and resteep really well. I have a 20 oz tea pot and will only use one sachet for it.

Cavocorax

Glad your order came in! Those sound like great options!

Cavocorax

Also, I’m sorry you have to stay stuck in seminars all evening! Paid, or unpaid, they’re never fun.

keychange

No, they definitely aren’t. I jus thope I manage to stay awake! and lala, oh wow. I didn’t realize they were good for that much water!

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drank English Breakfast by Art of Tea
513 tasting notes

Despite waking up feeling refreshed this morning, I wanted a cup of tea that didn’t require much thought or appreciation from me, so I chose this one. Like I said before, it’s a decent English breakfast, and it’ll do on mornings like this. everyone needs a few teas they can just drink without having too many feelings about them. I only have enough left for a few cups, and that’s just fine by me. Paired beautifully with my hash brown mmm.

In other news, my H and S order (via Chapters) indeed arrived yesterday, and I happily tore into the box. I ordered Vanilla Comoro, Hot Cinnamon Sunset, and Parris. The great thing too is that they’re all in separate (square! omg) tins, and because they’re in sachets, they all smell distinctly different so there’s no need to fuss with facetime and such. Win win.
I have a question about the sachets, though. Are they intended for about 12 oz of water? I heard somewhere that they’re better suited to larger mugs of tea, and not your typical 8 oz cup. Thoughts?

Anyway, I’m going to be at work today until 8:00 tonight, which is kind of painful if you think about it for longer than a nanosecond. Especially because it isn’t actually work; it’s one of those professional development seminar type things. Aaaaaahhhhh.

Dinosara

The sachets are intended for 12oz of water, I and prefer them that way. For what it’s worth, there is about 2 tsp of leaf inside the sachets.

keychange

Oh, good to know. I actually prefer it that way also, because I like my tea strong.

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Much to my horror, our cream had turned by this morning, and so my already weepy mood was only intensified as I resigned myself (I’ve been doing a lot of resigning, haven’t I?) to the fact that I’d have creamless tea. But i have to say that if any tea doesn’t “need” cream, it’s this one. Took it in my timolino to work and enjoyed every sip. I might even use a little less sugar next time, although it’s hard to say. Now, I typically brew it for four and a half minutes, but would it be horrible if I brewed it even longer? or, would that make it seem bitter? Stacy? Paging Stacy? LOL
Anyway, this worked reasonably well with only sugar, although for some reason it wasn’t nearly as strong as I’ve had it in the past, although again, that could be because the sugar dominated a bit too much.

Oh oh oh! and it looks as though my H and s order has arrived! (well, the website says it was “delivered successfully”), so I’ll take it! woo can’t wait to go home and plow through those boxes.
…otherwise, the end of the day can’t come soon enough. I feel fragile and irritated and sad and I just want to go home and hide.

Anna

Aw. Feel better. And I think as long as it’s you, it’s okay to steep for lots and lots of minutes. One might even say it’s expected.

Butiki Teas

Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. You might be able to steep it that long. Too long and it will get bitter.

keychange

hahaha at “lots and lots of minutes”. And thanks, I’m already feeling a bit better!

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drank Peppermint Patty by Butiki Teas
513 tasting notes

It’s unbelievable the lengths I had to go to to even sample this tea. Of course, Stacy very generously included it with my order, along with a few other samples. The difficulty, of course, is in being able to tell the various samples apart. When I order samples or larger amounts of tea online, I always label the bags as soon as I get them, because I know I’ll be using them several times. But since my labels are sort of difficult to acquire, I don’t tend to use them on one-use samples. So then of course you get last night, when I wanted a decaf pre-bed time delicious option. I had it narrowed down to two: I knew that the two things I had were Moroccan mint and peppermint patty, but I could keep convincing myself that I wasn’t sure which was which. Plus, the samples were in the same box as all my other Butiki teas, so they didn’t smell entirely of whatever they were—they sort of “picked up” on the smells of the other tea. Fair enough, but which oh which was peppermint patty?
So then I decided I’d facetime my friend on the IPhone. Apple is committed to making all of their products accessible to blind people, and this is done without the need to install additional software—go, universal design! Anyway, so we try and facetime, but of course the phone says it’s “connecting” even though it very clearly isn’t. We try this several times, then I give up. So I head upstairs to see if my neighbor (who I don’t know well at all) is at home, and she obviously wasn’t there, so back downstairs I came. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t get this tea, but then I had the brilliant idea of disabling wifi on my phone and facetiming over the LTE network. It turns out that that solved my problem, as our wireless had been acting up. Uggh Rogers.

Anyway, the tea. It smells as you might expect it to (you know, once you know what it is). Minty chocolate, reminiscent of winter somehow. I brewed it for seven minutes because we all know how I am, and added in some rock sugar. The people who described this as a legitimate peppermint patty are spot on, complete with that crisp, cool finish. I was actually very pleasantly surprised, because most mint teas have a way of making my stomach turn, but this one didn’t (perhaps because it’s peppermint?). Anyway, I actually wanted to add a bit of cream to it but our cream has gone bad (!), so sugar it was. delicious, and I think I might actually add a half ounce to my next order to experiment with it further. The minty part comes at the end of the sip—I’m getting mostly chocolate during the main “body” of the sip. Definitely one to try if you’re on the hunt for a good minty chocolate herbal!

Anna

Hahaha, I love it – seriously, the lengths we go to to get our greedy little hands on the right Butiki tea…

keychange

Isn’t it nuts? I was on the verge of throwing a tantrum, complete with kicking my feet.

Butiki Teas

Wow, that was some serious effort! Glad it didn’t turn your stomach. I have that same issue with mint. Its not all the time but certain mints.

keychange

I’m glad it didn’t, either. I don’t know what it is about some mints, but thankfully this wasn’t one of them!

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I’m always excited to try a tea that even suggests that it might taste like a creamcicle, since creamcicles are among my favourite things in the world. The most accurate attempt, actually, was Tim Horton’s Orange Creamcicle hot smoothie from a million years ago, and I can’t for the life of me understand why they got rid of them and never brought them back. Oh well.

I think I’m coming to realize that I need to overleaf most of dellaterra’s teas, as a teaspoon and a bit still yielded a pretty mild cup for me, and I steeped for about four and a half minutes. It tasted orangey for sure, and there may have even been a slight burnt note lingering there somewhere, although I had to try hard to find it. It was just fine. I don’t know if I’ll try it again—maybe use more leaf, and revolutionize the whole ordeal with some vanilla creamer. I also got a sample of oranges and cream, although I’m terrified to try it since it’s a rooibos and so far I haven’t been able to stand them. I wish I could say more about this tea, but I’m just not feeling it today.

In other news, my latest emotional rollercoaster…on the tea front:
Me: gee, it sucks that Harney & sons tea isn’t available in Canada
cavocorax: it sure is! It’s at Chapters! see?
Me: screams. Screams again. Rush over to website. Sure enough, it’s there.
add things to cart in a frenzied rush lest it all disappear and Chapters go out of business within the next ten seconds.
Qualify for free shipping! Feel very proud for incidentally saving some money, even if I’m spending in the process.
Then the website was inaccessible, and my spirits plummeted. I know I can call their customer service people from work on Monday, but I’ll still be within earshot of like everyone.
“Hello? Yes, hi there. I’m furious because I’m blind and your website is inaccessible, but I’d like to place an—”
Boss: “Hey keychange, how’s that memo coming along? Have you finished preparing that statement?”
aaaaaaaahhhhh!
Not fair!

JustJames

yay! and oh no! all at the same time!

creamsicles are grand.i frequently over leaf and oversteep…. most of the time on purpose? lol

keychange

oh yeah. I’m a chronic over leafer and over steeper. I almost never steep for the recommended time because I know i’ll find it weak.

JustJames

yeah, then there’s the one exception that spanks you and calls you a fool for being hardheaded, usually in the form of a one cup sized sample so you can’t try it again. … …. …… not that that’s ever happened to me…..

Anna

keyckange, are you sure you’re not actually a drinker of fairly weak coffee?

keychange

hahahahaha! nope, I’m not a fan of coffee, although when I do drink it, I load it up with cream and sugar :D
and JustJames, I know what you mean about screwing up the one cup samples. well, not personally, you know…

JustJames

i think it’s become my M/O….. sigh. i endlessly muddle the samples from butiki. you know, the little ones in the mini baggies? yeah.

keychange

I know! and they’re perfect for one cup! I think I’m about to go screw one up momentarily. Peppermint patty here I come!

JustJames

ooh, do let me know how it goes…. i’ve heard that one’s great.

Cavocorax

I’m with you there – I can’t drink coffee unless it has cream and sugar in it. Copious amounts. The coffee is just a vehicle for all those calories. :P But tea I can drink plain after a week of weaning myself off additives. (For most teas – there are always exceptions that just “pop” if you tweak them)

I hope you’re able to place your order – wouldn’t you be able to place the call during a coffee break or something? I guess it depends where you work. I’ve placed plenty of personal calls, but within reason. But yeah, it REALLY sucks when you have other people listening in while you’re in cubicle-land.

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drank Keemun Hao Ya A by Art of Tea
513 tasting notes

I actually ordered my art of tea sampler before I joined steepster, and was surprised that it wasn’t all the rage once I perused the boards. No one has anything overwhelmingly negative to say about it in particular, but it’s just not the company that many people obsess about. I actually learned of it because I follow a really popular fragrance blog, and one of the writers there suggested it as a house for loose tea beginners. I’m still glad I did.

I’ll be honest and admit that I don’t really know what a Keemun really is. I mean, I know it’s a black tea, and that it’s somehow different from other types of black tea, but I wouldn’t have known how. But it came with the black sampler pack, and I figured today was as good a day as any to try it. It’s rather dreary out, and there’s a coldness that’s settled into my bones that I’m trying to rid myself of.

First sniff: black tea, but different, somehow. More character than, say, your average English breakfast.
Second, deeper sniff: definite hints of…barnyard?
Third sniff: yup, definitely barnyard. Complete with hay, animals, and maybe even some leather saddles over in some far-off corner. Maybe. But definitely a distinct barnyard.
Well, I thought, a little barnyard never hurt anybody, right? and so I brewed this per the instructions. As it brewed, the barn yard smell persisted, and so I made sure to cap the brewing at four minutes (instead of five) just in case the taste profile was too strong. I added in my required cream and sugar, and took my first sip.
I could definitely detect the black tea-ness about it, and it certainly isn’t all bad. And if someone took the essence of barnyard and infused it into a tea and it tasted this decent, then I’m convinced you can make a tea taste like any smell in the world and absolutely make it work. It didn’t taste bad at all. The barn yard taste did linger, and certainly was not overshadowed by anything, but it sort of tasted more like barn yard black tea and not just straight up barn yard, you know? and I think adding milk and sugar helped, because it sort of smoothed out any rough edges. I felt as though I was perhaps sipping black tea while having been in a barn yard all day, but not necessarily as though I was thrust unceremoniously into a barn yard and then firmly instructed that I must now roll and tussle with the livestock. You know what I mean?

Sooo. This is definitely going into my swap basket, because the great thing about the tea world is that you can love a tea that someone else abhors and vice versa. I would still drink this again if it were offered, as it’s a solid tea that tastes good enough, but I don’t feel compelled to finish this sample or restock. I’m all about the biodynamic Darjeeling when it comes to art of tea.

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100

Despite having received my Butiki order in the mail well over a week ago, I knew that I couldn’t have this tea right away, despite the fact that it’s by far my favourite tea in the world. I’m talking, like, desert island, last tea of my life, all that sort of thing. Anyway, this tea is not one that you can just have in the morning as you’re rushing off to work, and you most certainly cannot have it in a travel mug; this tea would absolutely not sing if caged, and that’s just a scientific fact. Not only do the precious leaves need like fifteen metres to bloom, the taste, oh just the taste…I would never want to associate it with anything other than beauty, upliftment, calm.

My hands were nearly shaking as I put the leaves into the brewing basket. i was so scared that I somehow miss-remembered my original experience with this tea. and what if it wasn’t nearly as beautiful as I remembered? but I felt the familiar slight weakening of my knees as I smelled it brew, and that old sense of awe washed over me again. And I just felt so lucky for being in a world, in a lifetime, where such a thing exists.

I let it steep for six minutes instead of four, and added in a touch of cream and some rock sugar. It was as perfect as I’d remembered it: I felt as though I was drinking a bouquet of flowers, and my busy mind calmed down, and I felt transported to a time and place where the next thing on my schedule would be to take my lunch with the queen in a lush palatial garden. The beauty of this tea almost has with it an ability to make me feel embarrassed. Like I should be better dressed, somehow more worthy of this unbelievable tea.
So if you’re in the market for an incredible floral tea that will blow you away and make you reimagine your life, get this get this get this.

Oh, and the second infusion indeed comes through at an epic level of potency!

Anna

<3! I hesitated a bit and in the end did not add this to my Butiki order. Next time, promise.

keychange

Have you tried it? would you like some? I feel very evangelical about this tea!

Anna

I totally would, actually – I’ll send you a PM.

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51
drank Vanilla Orchid by DAVIDsTEA
513 tasting notes

…I can’t think of any other way to write this note.

Conversation between this tea and me:
Tea: mmm key change, you’re so sexy.
me: …thanks?
tea: mmm yeah!
me: …
Tea: what’s wrong?
me: Nothing!
Tea: No seriously. You’re different. What is it?
me: no, you’re different. I think we need a break. Maybe start seeing other people.
tea: what are you talking about? didn’t you just drink me last week and have your love all reaffirmed?
me: but that’s just it. You’re not reliable. not consistent. And I need me a tea that’s dependable, you know? I just never know which version of you I’m going to get.
Tea: Well is it my fault that that you are steep challenged?
Me: It probably is, actually
Tea: That’s always been the problem with you, hasn’t it. It’s always someone else’s fault.
me: are you seriously giving me attitude? You have, like, a mood disorder or something.
Tea: there you go being judgmental again.

…and so that’s it. Finishing up the tin, but no repurchasing, even though it’s very possible that I’ll have it next time and be completely enthralled all over again. I honestly don’t know what really accounts for the drastic changes this tea goes through in my life, but I do know that I don’t appreciate a tea that’s this temperamental. If I have a love/hate relationship with a tea, we simply can’t last together, you know? Especially because my tea needs to be my guaranteed bit of enjoyment, and if the guarantee is all up in the air, it ‘aint gonna happen. So, we’re breaking up. No second chances. No friends with benefits. We’re through.

keychange

ahhhh just finished what was left in my timolino. So gross. Can someone please bring me better tea so my day can be redeemed?

Anna

Maybe that pastry will help?

keychange

It just might!

keychange

ugggggh so gross.

Rosehips

Ha! Conversations with tea. Perfect.

ashmanra

Lol! I have been known to whisper rather impassionated sweet nothings to my tea. My daughters look at me weird when I do. I should make a record of my next tea break-up conversation.

keychange

Oh yes! I’m glad i’m not the only one who talks to (and listens to) my tea. Please do share tea breakups and marriages freely here.

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Profile

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.

Location

Ontario, Canada

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