2229 Tasting Notes

72
drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
2229 tasting notes

Um, I think I may have stepped into “too weird for me” territory with this one.

The smell is… really weird. Kind of familiar, but not from any teas I’ve been drinking. I think it’s a plant smell, though. Not sure it’s a smell I want in my mouth, but my level of caring is definitely low enough right now that I’ll do it.

Sooooo here goes…

Ok, it’s sweet. And the sweetness cuts some of the “weird”, but it’s still there. It almost like… a green branch taste?? Actually, I wonder if what it’s reminding me of is apple tree cuttings. My mom would prune the apple trees in our yard in the spring, and when the cuttings were still supple (and we were young), my sister and I would sometimes take them and strip off the bark to reach green fibrous tissue underneath. Beneath that was the wood, which we’d then use as, say, walking sticks for our Barbies (which often went camping in the garden). My plant brain isn’t working tonight; I should know what those two parts are, oh well. So yeah, the green fibrous stuff would get under our fingernails, and I probably chewed on the branch to get it off sometimes. I think that’s the flavour I’m tasting. Makes a bit of sense, really, given that these are buds.

Gotta say though, even knowing that, this tea is still weird. It’s not bad, but… I don’t think it’s one for me. I will say that it’s grown on me through drinking this cup, and I’ll probably go for another couple infusions, but still, it’s weird :P (Side note: I can taste the “tea” flavour lightly at the end of the sip, which is nice, but not enough for me.)

ETA: Yeah, it’s two days later and wanted to clear out my infuser so I could drink some green teas, but couldn’t bear to throw these once-used buds out… so gave it another shot.

Second infusion (boiling/4min): The buds seem to have lost some of their “weird” smell and smell much sweeter, with a background of “tea”. Yep, I’m very descriptive tonight. The steeped tea smells more like a sweet white tea now, which is much more appealing. The taste is definitely similar to the previous, but with the aforementioned switch from predominantly weird to predominantly sweet and white-tea-like. I think I’ve finally figured out part of what I’m tasting though – this tea is peppery. Like steeped black pepper, but only a touch, which comes with a light zing. I actually like this particular infusion. I wonder if perhaps I should have just rinsed the leaves a bit longer in the beginning. I really need to look up proper rinsing technique. I also almost want to say that I’m almost tasting juniper. Both the pepperiness and juniper would have been present in that first infusion, just unidentified. Based on this infusion alone, I’m bumping the rating; perhaps this is not my cup of tea, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Third infusion (boiling/4min):
After this infusion was finished, I smelled the wet buds and got that intense “weird” aroma again, and was quite worried that this cup would be back to a flavour I don’t like. Luckily, not true. It’s very much like a lighter version of infusion 2. Pleasant lingering white tea aftertaste, delicious sweetness. I should have also mentioned that there’s no hint whatsoever of astringency or bitterness.

So, it looks like perhaps I just need to begin with a longer first rinse for this tea, or maybe steep it for a couple minutes and discard that infusion, to let the strange flavours weaken a bit. This ended up being quite an interesting experience, as it turned out! Glad I only bought the budset sampler though :)

ETA again: Another quick note – the sweetness in this tea lingers like that from fennel/anise/licorice. I seem to dislike that, so I suppose that’s another unappealing factor for me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Yunnan Golden Buds by Verdant Tea
2229 tasting notes

Hmm, black tea at 10:30pm? Why not. I have a ton of stuff to do before tomorrow anyhow.

I got this one as part of the budset sampler (and also as a sample, because I’m rather dimwitted and asked for it without realizing I’d be receiving it anyways). So, lots to try!

To be honest, the smell just screams “black tea” to me. It’s a familiar smell, but I can’t place it to anything other than “a black tea that I have tried previously”. shrugs There is a hint of sweetness though, so it does smell like a black tea I might enjoy.

Ok. Too hot. Will continue this later. First sip was good, though I can’t place anything. Definitely some astringency. But I’m not risking another now. Stay tuned.

First infusion: Oooh. Finally cool enough to drink, and I’m getting such a full-bodied flavour. Almost some hints of caramel… burnt caramel, perhaps. There’s definitely astringency, more than I would like, so I should go with a shorter infusion next time. It’s not bitter though. Hmm, what’s this like with additions… + cream, + a bit of agave … Ok, regretting the agave. The flavour, even with such a small bit, is overwhelming. Still a good cup, but anything special about the black tea is now kind of lost. Oh well, next time.

Second infusion, same parameters: Almost no smell?! Weird. Taste is very light. I’m not sure how this is supposed to go to 3? 4? infusions western-style. I think I’m done with two. Again, there’s sweetness. Less astringency. A little on the weak side for me though.

I’m not sure whether I’m still iffy on blacks because of too much on Monday, or if blacks just aren’t my thing (thinking a combination of the two), but this didn’t do it for me tonight. Not really disappointed. I did like the Laoshan Black, if I recall correctly, so should try that one again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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97

Got my third/fourth Verdant order(s) today. I haven’t been into flavoured teas a lot lately, so it was perfect timing!

This is my first dragonwell, I think (or at least the first that I’ve drank knowing it was a dragonwell). I made sure to check the instructions on Verdant’s website before brewing this one up – so used a bit more than 1 tsp of leaf in my 1 cup infuser. The instructions recommended 1 minute of infusion, but I goofed and hit 1:30 the first time, and 2:15 the second (but you’ll see below that it wasn’t a problem).

First infusion (175F/1:30):
There’s not a lot of aroma; I didn’t really notice if there was one. Very light and sweet, definitely getting rock sugar with hints of vegetal.

Second infusion (172F/2:15):
Wow. Still so sweet! Sweetness is the predominant flavour I’m getting, maybe with a bit of nuttiness.

Third infusion (175F/4:45):
Sweet, but a bit of a different flavour. A bit of a green peas aftertaste.

I think I’d use a bit more leaf next time just to amp up the flavour a bit (it was VERY subtle), but this one’s very tasty. Azzrian, why don’t you give my parameters a try?? They seemed to work really well.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Yogini Undefined

This sounds quite lovely.

Kittenna

It is! Surprisingly less vegetal than I expected. Definitely need to try with more leaf though, so the flavour’s a little stronger.

Lynne-tea

That sounds delicious! I am now craving a naturally sweet tea.. mostly this one.

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98

Put some of this in to cold-brew on Monday evening (the remainder of my packet, maybe 1.5 tsp, with 8oz. water) and promptly forgot about it, because in the past month, life has dealt me a pretty bad hand, and everything pretty much fell apart on Tuesday. It’s thunderstorming rather wickedly outside right now. Wish it would last a bit longer – we’ve had about 3 minutes of torrential rains, and it’s already tapering off. Disappointing. Kind of matched my mood.

Anyhow, I didn’t have high hopes for this three-days-brewed tea. But to my surprise, it’s pretty delicious. A bit of tea smell, and tea taste, but most of all the aftertaste is deliciously oolong. There’s a bit of astringency/bitterness in the tea (yeah, probably owing to the three days?!), but as I don’t typically savour cold drinks, and instead gulp them down, it’s less of a problem.

I’m not sure I’ll make cold-brewing oolongs a habit, since I feel like I can get more hot cups out of the leaves than I can cold (and it’s kind of expensive), but it was an interesting experiment. I also am not sure how much this would quench my thirst on a hot day, although for sipping purposes it would be lovely.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Bonnie

As far as Steepster, your cup runneth over! We cheer you on and wish only good for you!

Yogini Undefined

I really hope things improve for you soon and sending you good energy and luck!

Indigobloom

BIG hugs!!!
Sorry to hear things aren’t going so well. We’re here for you! xx

Missy

Hope things get better!

Kittenna

Thanks guys. Things are going to get a good deal worse before they get better, I think :/ Currently working on a way to deal with it all, sigh.

Dylan Oxford

Awww, I hope things get better!

Lynne-tea

Awh No! I hope you find the silver linings on any dark clouds which have overtaken your life right now! Positive thoughts your way Krystaleyn.

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87

The last light tea for the evening. Anything hereafter will just be a re-steep, of which there must be at least nine remaining between the three teas I’ve been drinking this evening.

The aroma of the steeped tea is lightly sweet and of strawberries.

Um…. yeah, this is pretty frigging delicious. The chunks of freeze-dried strawberry are heavenly, and I got a light strawberry ice cream flavour from my first sip. It’s a bit reminiscent of Strawberry Pancake from 52teas, but that’s probably from the strawberry (duh). I’m not getting any white tea in the flavour, although I’m positive it’s there; perhaps I should have steeped for longer. Maybe I’ll go for a second infusion of 2 minutes.

I don’t have a clear memory right now of how Strawberry White from DavidsTea tastes, but would like to compare the two. I think this tea might be a bit more on thecandy-flavoured side, and the DT offering a bit less sweet. But I’m not positive.

Either way, definitely delicious, but out of my price range for re-stocking in my cupboard.

ETA: Second and third infusions, admittedly steeped two days later, tasted EXACTLY like pink cotton candy. I kid you not. It was delicious, and doubly so because I knew I wasn’t ingesting copious amounts of sugar in the process.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Yeah the price is a killer but OHHHH SOOOO GOOD!

Kittenna

Did you ever get a cotton candy flavour from it? See my ETA

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86

Continuing with straight teas. Oolong!

Too lazy to brew this sequentially tonight.

The scent is mellow and creamy. I’m really not getting any floral notes, which is ok – I didn’t want that tonight particularly, I just wanted some good oolong aftertaste :P

The flavour is pretty good – mellow and creamy with an oolong aftertaste. Really not floral at all. Wish I had tried this one before making up your packet, Missy/Dylan! But I have no energy to undo it and swap things out now, nor do I have enough sample to send out, given that I only bought 10g.

Although this is good, as Uniquity mentioned in her tasting note, it’s hard for an untrained palate to distinguish this from DavidsTea’s tieguanyin. So I probably won’t get this one again, although I do have enough for a side by side comparison when I am feeling ambitious (although I just put the rest of my tieguanyin in to cold-steep, so I’ll have to refill that one first).

Anyways, this one’s hitting the spot tonight. :)

ETA: Got another two good infusions out of these leaves. I’ll have to watch the infusion time though, because the second infusion, for two minutes, was verging on astringent, and I would really prefer to have none if possible (and I believe it’s so).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Missy

Woot added it to the shopping list. Thanks for the heads up!

Kittenna

I really wish I could remember how it compared to the tie kwan yin, because it’s pretty expensive, especially for you to be buying 50g of. I’m hoping the Dong Ding I sent will give you the oolong flavour without the floral.

Missy

That’s a cool name even if it is floral. I’m drinking dong ding tea. I’d probably try to be funny and mess it up, I’m drinking ding dong tea… :D

Kittenna

I can only keep it straight because it’s opposite from the usual way you’d say it, “ding dong”. :D

Dylan Oxford

We got a high mountain oolong from a local tea shop (Mad Hat), and Missy wasn’t terribly fond of it. They had a little note by the shelf where these were stored that it was very similar to a tieguanyin, but not quite ‘as good’. So it seemed like a good entry level oolong, in my head :)

Kittenna

Haha, so maybe keep it off the shopping list then? Perhaps she/both of you just aren’t fans of green oolongs. :)

Dylan Oxford

She thinks there might be some differences, but then again she didn’t get the same flavors when she tried it as I did (she sent it to work with me when she decided she didn’t want to try drinking it anymore). It was pretty distinctly a juniper flavor when I was drinking it, not like an overpowering juniper, but definitely there in the like final notes of the drink.

Kittenna

I have yet to encounter juniper flavours in a tea (even the tea containing juniper). I suspect I wouldn’t like it, since I loathe gin. This one had none of that. Tasted like a good basic oolong to me.

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90

So given the still-unhappy state of my stomach, and queasiness that comes with thoughts of any sort of flavoured tea (by that I mean confectionary-flavoured; fruity or jasmine is fine), I opted for a few light options tonight. Straight greens sounded particularly appealing, but whites and an oolong won out since I’ve had a few greens over the last couple nights.

So, finishing up the second 1/3 of my generous sample of this sent along with my first order. It’s not like I don’t have another 0.5 oz. coming… hahaha. As usual, absolutely delicious. Definitely will be my go-to jasmine for a while. I love that when I smell it I instantly think of my favourite chinese restaurant, but then when I sip it it’s the same flavour, only lighter, more delicate, and with no scratchy astringency that always happens near the end of the meal, when the tea has been steeping far too long.

(Uh oh. Exhaustion definitely just hit. Hopefully I will get through all these teas!)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

feel better soon xx

Missy

That happens to me too when I sit after a long day. I’m fine until I sit still then boom! I feel like I can hibernate.

Kittenna

Haha, I’ve been yawning on and off but yeah. Up for 18h now, which is certainly no record for me, but my body is acting like it’s been more like 38 hours.

Kittenna

And thanks Indigobloom :) Just need to sleep…

Indigobloom

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

ScottTeaMan

I really <3 white Jasmine teas.:))

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88
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
2229 tasting notes

Brewed this up today with the last of my filtered water. And boy, was it fantastic. This is definitely a 52teas hit for me. The HUGE pieces of coconut show up so nicely in the flavour and aroma.

Unfortunately, I think I overdid it on the black teas today, or made poor food choices… either way, I ended up not being able to finish this straight (the thought made me queasy), and mixed it with agave and some cream once I got home, which turned it into something just short of heaven. In spite of that though, stomach STILL wouldn’t play nice, so I think I’ll be off black teas for a while. Might have been the cloudy Jane Austen Mafia that did it. Lessons learned: a) bring healthy food to the field station and b) bring a few waterbottles full of filtered water for tea.

Sob story aside, it was obvious that it was an unhappy stomach thing today, and not a dislike of the tea, so rating is going up :) I’m very pleased with this one; hopefully next time I will enjoy it more!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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24
drank Wild Blueberry by Tealish
2229 tasting notes

Wanted something a little easier on the stomach… although if I want caffeine for the ride home, I’m going to have to finish it quickly to get something going! So thanks for the sample of this tasty-smelling one, Indigobloom!

Now, silly me forgot how much rooibos gets into my cup when I make a rooibos with my tea ball. Sigh. So there are floaters everywhere. Icky. But I guess I’ll drink around them…

Dry, the smell is definitely blueberry rooibos. Unmistakeable (well, except for rooibos of another dark berry variety. Perhaps blackberry. I digress.)

Steeped, the smell is really… odd. Tart, and not… not really in a good way. Maybe there is hibiscus in here, Indigobloom??

The flavour is definitely pretty tart, which I wasn’t really expecting, since the blueberry teas I’ve had lately have been more of the hot baked blueberry variety, not the tart fresh wild blueberry variety.

I should also note that although the water impacted this morning’s cup of Jane Austen Mafia, it’s not a factor in this one – I used filtered water out of my waterbottle this time instead of tap water. I had to gag down the last of my earlier cup because it was murky and cloudy and… yeah.

Egh, the more I drink of this, the weirder I feel about it. I don’t know if it’s the rooibos or the blueberries, or something else lurking in there, but… egh. I think I’d rather brew up some 52teas Coconut Cream Pie quickly than finish this one. So into the sink it shall go.

On the plus(?) side, it’s nowhere close to beating the nastiness of that Pina Colada tea from Saturday evening….

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Missy

We have a blueberry tea like this that is better by far with the addition of some vanilla powder. I think it’s just a bit too tangy some times, maybe tart is a better word. The vanilla powder makes it kind of creamy and adds the all powerful vanilla goodness.

Indigobloom

yep definitely some hibby in this one, but I didn’t really notice it much? maybe you got a few extra stray leaves…
Try it with milk if you can, it really transformed it for me. (and a dash of sugar helped to lol)

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88

This seems to be one of my favourite reliable morning teas. I just love the blackberry and cream in this one, and will be sad to see it go…. which luckily won’t be for at least looks 4-5 more cups since Azzrian sent me oh so much of it!!

Unfortunately today it’s a bit off, but I’m 100% certain that’s because the water is hard here, and I didn’t steep it long enough (or the water wasn’t as hot as I thought). Pitfalls of being away from one’s home/office. It still smells amazing though :D I am in such a mood for cream and sugar right now; I would love to try it that way. It could only be spectacular.

Bonnie

I just love the name!

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Bio

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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