3107 Tasting Notes

77
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
3107 tasting notes

Sipdown! Another sample from Alphakitty (Yeah, that’s right, look at me sipping things down! Woooooo!)

Partial cup of this one as well, because I didn’t leave quite enough for a full cup. No astringency, but I can taste hazelnut and chocolate, and it’s reasonably tasty. A little bit lacking in flavour, but still decent. I think I mentioned previously that this would be the most likely one for me to pick up (of Boston/Florence/Paris), but I probably wouldn’t again, as there are simply too many other desserty teas I enjoy more.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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91
drank SoHo Blend by Harney & Sons
3107 tasting notes

Deeeelicious. I didn’t have enough left of this one for a full cup, so I made half and do think that it has perhaps lost a touch of flavour… but it still tastes deliciously like a Bounty Bar. Eventually, I will acquire more of this one… Either way, SIPDOWN!

Thanks Alphakitty!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I have always assumed you lived in the US, but I am guessing you don’t since you say Bounty Bar instead of Mounds? :)

Kittenna

Haha, although I am American, I have lived in Canada most of my life, mostly in Saskatchewan and now Ontario!! :)

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45
drank Songyang White by Verdant Tea
3107 tasting notes

Ok…. in conclusion, I suck at brewing this tea. 172F for 20 (or was it 30?) seconds, and I’m literally getting tasteless water. There’s a hint… juuuuust a hint, of tastiness, but even with the fairly weak houji-genmaicha that I just drank, it’s too weak. Bleh. I think I have yet another cup’s worth of leaf left, but I’m about to give up. I’m sure that age is affecting this tea (although I see that JC logged this tea a month ago and clearly thought it was still ok).

ARGGGGHHHHHH!

ETA: Ok, half the water, 1-minute infusion at 175F for the second infusion. Best flavour yet, but it’s flirting with being too astringent. Oh! But there’s finally a nice aftertaste! Not enough for me though, unfortunately. I just don’t think this tea is for me (and it’s seemingly impossible to brew, haha, perhaps someone can offer a suggestion?)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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75
drank Houji-Genmaicha by Den's Tea
3107 tasting notes

So, tonight I brought out my box of samples from Alphakitty and hung my head in shame that I have ridiculous amounts of so many of them left. Here I was wanting to make a Harney order, and I have at least 3-4 cups’ worth left of both Tokyo and Bangkok, plus 1-2 cups of Paris and Boston. SoHo blend is now gone (note forthcoming), but… still! Bad me. I should at least finish what I have before I get more.

Anyhow, apparently last time I tried this, the tea:water ratio, even with a 1 minute infusion, was too weak for me. Tonight, in spite of just having drank a wicked cup of Mayan Chocolate Chai…. my 30-second infused cup is quite tasty! Toasted and like genmaicha, but definitely sweeter and lacking any “green-ness”. It’s more like… just the rice, with a base that’s less apparent than the usual green genmaicha base. I should try a higher leaf:water ratio just for curiousity (this is super smooth, so I think there wouldn’t be any negative effects), but I’m happy how it is tonight.

Thanks Alphakitty! I’ve decided to tackle one swap box every week or so, and make as much progress in the evenings with it as possible. I have been neglecting my samples lately, and am worried that they’re all going to get contaminated! (My samples from tea companies are of course better packaged, so less chance of contamination).

ETA: Oops, neglected this one during its second infusion…. but I am pleased to report that a 2-minute second infusion in boiling water (about 1/3 of the original volume) results in a pretty darn delicious (small) cup! No astringency, just toasty sweetness. It reminds me an awful lot of puffed wheat, like in puffed wheat squares…. I like to eat that stuff by the handful, haha. Delish!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Alphakitty

Haha, I still have samples from you left to try as well! Don’t feel bad. I also sent you like 30 or something so I’d assume it would take a while to get through.

Kittenna

I’ve been neglecting my swap boxes sooooo much.

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93

Brewed this up alongside the Dragonwell-Style Laoshan Green that I also had to look at the differences. While the Laoshan Green definitely had the beany Laoshan Green flavour, this one was more subtle and was definitely less vegetal. Of course, the same thing happened with this cup as with the Dragonwell – I drank half, and it was then forgotten and therefore had to be chucked. Luckily I also still have some of this one left!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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97

With apprehension, I had to try my 2011 Autumn version of this one again…. after the disappointment of my Laoshan Green having lost a good deal of flavour, I wanted to see if this one was also ruined. Thankfully, although it is perhaps lacking in flavour a little, it still tasted pretty darn good! Unfortunately, I only got through half a cup before I forgot about it, and green teas do NOT sit overnight well, either in an infuser or in a mug. So that’s all I got (but I still have more tea, yay!)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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45
drank Songyang White by Verdant Tea
3107 tasting notes

Ok, shame on me for not reading my previous review before trying this again. I went with the usual amount of leaf (1.5tsp) for 8 oz. water and gave it a 1 minute infusion at 180F…. definitely too much. Astringent and not very pleasant. Gotta try a 15-30s first infusion next time. This will work for me before it’s all gone!!!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
3107 tasting notes

Whoops! I have not been very good about logging teas lately! This is a backlog from Wednesday (actually… I think all four teas I missed are from Wednesday…. I guess the boy is a bit of a distraction!)

Anyhow, made myself a giant mug of this to nearly finish it off in anticipation of the next 0.5 ounce headed my way shortly! I haven’t sipped down too many Butiki teas (Gui Fei and Strawberry Oolong are it, I think), but this one will be added to the list shortly! (Of course, I’ve restocked all three of those, so net progress is still zero, hahaha).

Uh, and as usual, this was delicious, as was the resteep. I lost track of what happened to the leaves after that, but usually I only do 2 or 3 anyhow.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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91

Another travel mug favourite nearly gone! 1 mug’s worth left (plus I think I still have a cup’s worth in my 12 Days of Tea). I’ll be sad to see this one go :(

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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94
drank Cashew Turtle by 52teas
3107 tasting notes

Inching ever closer to a sipdown of this one. So sad. The caramel in here is so decadent. Probably 1-2 travel mugs’ worth left, plus a cup for Sil.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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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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