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So, I was at a PhD defense earlier this week, and picking up a titbit to munch on when the teas caught my eye. There were the usual Higgins & Burke teabags, and mixed in amongst them were some “Four O’Clock” teas! Not a company I was familiar with at all. And to top it off, they had a bagged straight white tea! So of course, I nabbed a bag and took it home with me (I of course had three partial thermoses of tea on the go then, so wasn’t planning to brew anything else up to watch the seminar).

Decided tonight/this morning was the time to brew this up before I forgot about it, so I did. Went with usual-ish white tea parameters as I really had no idea…. of course, it only just occurred to me to look on the packet for instructions, and there we go, I was good on time but a little high on temp (they recommend 85C). Ah well.

Now, I haven’t had many straight white teas, so that will make this a bit difficult (i.e. I won’t be able to tell what’s different between this bagged tea and a loose version of the same). Except… I just realized that bai mu dan is actually one white I have had straight! Hmm.

Anyhow, the flavour of this tea is rather familiar. I don’t know if it’s the same as the BMD I had previously, but that’s certainly a possibility. It’s vegetal, but not in that juicy/beany/chewy sort of way. More… grassy, almost, except that’s not accurate either. It’s a bit astringent, but I must say… it’s actually not bad at all! It certainly doesn’t taste “high quality”, but to me, it doesn’t taste bagged either – I’m getting a nice lingering “tea flavour” at the end of the sip which is not something that I’d expect with a bagged tea, though that said, I think I’ve really only drank bagged blacks before, and I don’t get “tea flavour” from blacks whether loose or bagged.

Anyhow, I’d probably pick this out again if that basket of teas reappears at the next thesis defence (which sadly, won’t be mine, although… sooooonnnnnn…….)

Apologies for this rather confusing log – my sleep schedule is impossibly out of whack, and I’m a little crazy right now…

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

You get to watch other people’s defense’s?? neat

Kittenna

Yep! There’s always a seminar that’s open to everyone, and we can stay for the questioning if we want. I just went for the seminar this time.

OMGsrsly

Haha. That’s pretty much exactly why I don’t want to do a Master’s. Sad that defending in front of random people might be my deciding factor, but I absolutely lose my brain to panic when people I don’t know are there when I’m presenting!

Fjellrev

Ha! Way to be. I need to start eyeing up the teas at the colloquia. Shifty eyes will ensue.

Kittenna

Actually OMGsrsly, I’m quite terrified of public speaking myself. It’s the major reason I opted not to transfer from a Masters to s PhD. When I’m speaking, I sometimes completely and utterly lose track of what I’m saying, and it’s really awful/embarrassing. It happens sometimes in conversations with people, but it easy to brush off/laugh about, but when speaking to your advisor/a room full of people, it’s really… not good. I’ve certainly improved, but I’m still pretty worried about four months from now! (My anticipated defense date.)

Kittenna

Incendiare – Hehe, doooooo it! I grabbed a couple Higgins & Burke samples one day, and feel like I should “collect” the rest they have. Just for curiousity/research purposes. I usually bring my own tea, so really, it’s not like I’m taking more than my fair share or anything!

OMGsrsly

Fingers crossed for you! I have a while to decide, and have 2 potential supervisors lined up already, although they’re not in the field I really really want. :)

Kittenna

Haha, thanks! Yeah, make sure you REALLY like your project…. :D I could have stayed with my supervisor for a PhD, but have opted not to do one for the time being… I’ve had enough…

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Indigobloom

You get to watch other people’s defense’s?? neat

Kittenna

Yep! There’s always a seminar that’s open to everyone, and we can stay for the questioning if we want. I just went for the seminar this time.

OMGsrsly

Haha. That’s pretty much exactly why I don’t want to do a Master’s. Sad that defending in front of random people might be my deciding factor, but I absolutely lose my brain to panic when people I don’t know are there when I’m presenting!

Fjellrev

Ha! Way to be. I need to start eyeing up the teas at the colloquia. Shifty eyes will ensue.

Kittenna

Actually OMGsrsly, I’m quite terrified of public speaking myself. It’s the major reason I opted not to transfer from a Masters to s PhD. When I’m speaking, I sometimes completely and utterly lose track of what I’m saying, and it’s really awful/embarrassing. It happens sometimes in conversations with people, but it easy to brush off/laugh about, but when speaking to your advisor/a room full of people, it’s really… not good. I’ve certainly improved, but I’m still pretty worried about four months from now! (My anticipated defense date.)

Kittenna

Incendiare – Hehe, doooooo it! I grabbed a couple Higgins & Burke samples one day, and feel like I should “collect” the rest they have. Just for curiousity/research purposes. I usually bring my own tea, so really, it’s not like I’m taking more than my fair share or anything!

OMGsrsly

Fingers crossed for you! I have a while to decide, and have 2 potential supervisors lined up already, although they’re not in the field I really really want. :)

Kittenna

Haha, thanks! Yeah, make sure you REALLY like your project…. :D I could have stayed with my supervisor for a PhD, but have opted not to do one for the time being… I’ve had enough…

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I have always been a tea fan (primarily herbals and Japanese greens/oolongs) but in the last year or so, tea has become increasingly more appealing as not only a delicious, calming drink, but as a relatively cheap, healthy reward or treat to give myself when I deserve something. I should clarify that, however; the reward is expanding my tea cupboard, not drinking tea – I place no restrictions on myself in terms of drinking anything from my cupboard as that would defeat my many goals!

My DavidsTea addiction was born in late 2011, despite having spent nearly a year intentionally avoiding their local mall location (but apparently it was just avoiding the inevitable!). I seem to have some desire to try every tea they’ve ever had, so much of my stash is from there, although I’ve recently branched out and ordered from numerous other companies.

I like to try and drink all my teas unaltered, as one of the main reasons I’m drinking tea other than for the flavour is to be healthy and increase my water intake without adding too many calories! I’ve found that the trick in this regard is to be very careful about steeping time, as most teas are quite pleasant to drink straight as long as they haven’t been oversteeped. However, I tend to be forgetful (particularly at work) when I don’t set a timer, resulting in a few horrors (The Earl’s Garden is not so pleasant after, say, 7+ minutes of steeping).

I’m currently trying to figure out which types of teas are my favourites. Herbals are no longer at the top; oolongs have thoroughly taken over that spot, with greens a reasonably close second. My preference is for straight versions of both, but I do love a good flavoured oolong (flavoured greens are really hit or miss for me). Herbals I do love iced/cold-brewed, but I drink few routinely (Mulberry Magic from DavidsTea being a notable exception). I’m learning to like straight black teas thanks to the chocolatey, malty, delicious Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea, and malty, caramelly flavoured blacks work for me, but I’m pretty picky about anything with astringency. Lately I’ve found red rooibos to be rather medicinal, which I dislike, but green rooibos and honeybush blends are tolerable. I haven’t explored pu’erh, mate, or guayasa a great deal (although I have a few options in my cupboard).

I’ve decided to institute a rating system so my ratings will be more consistent. Following the smiley/frowny faces Steepster gives us:

100: This tea is amazing and I will go out of my way to keep it in stock.

85-99: My core collection (or a tea that would be, if I was allowing myself to restock everything!) Teas I get cravings for, and drink often.

75-84: Good but not amazing; I might keep these in stock sparingly depending on current preferences.

67-74: Not bad, I’ll happily finish what I have but probably won’t ever buy it again as there’s likely something rated more highly that I prefer.

51-66: Drinkable and maybe has some aspect that I like, but not really worth picking up again.

34-50: Not for me, but I can see why others might like it. I’ll make it through the cup and maybe experiment with the rest to get rid of it.

0-33: It’s a struggle to get through the cup, if I do at all. I will not willingly consume this one again, and will attempt to get rid of the rest of the tea if I have any left.

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