242 Tasting Notes

91

I am very excited to try this tea. And I must say – Life In Teacup has wonderful customer service!
Dry: Leaves are full and big – not little broken up chunks. (Yay!) The smell is sweet and lightly smokey. Yum.
Liquor: YUM. Toasty and creamy. Light amberish honey liquor. This is magnificent. Staple for sure. I have the perfect activity for this tea – a dark comfy bed with a movie and popcorn. I think I will go engage in such an activity. Maybe not a movie, but It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia instead. Oh jeez I’m in love with this tea. Very comforting and roasty.
Sorry for the short note. I will make a longer one later when I catch up on sleep.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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68

I had to get this tea after discovering I have a great soft spot for smokey tea.
Dry: Much more fragmented leaves than the Nepal black by DT. Wonderful pine notes with a deep sweet smoke. Yum.
Liquor (1.5min): A deep reddish brown. Its is molasses sweet – like homemade barbecue sauce on something recently gilled. Definite pine notes at the first taste which are very strong and smokey (a little too much so). This intensity then mellows into a sweet barbecue flavour for me. Delicious!
Overall this tea is good. I wish it had a more well rounded black tea, instead of just a high intensity flavour off the get go. I want to enjoy my cup – not have my tongue assaulted by a burning pine branch. It’s drinkable – only because I didn’t steep it as long as DT said. No way hosay would I drink this steeped at 4-6 min =\ yikes.

Preparation
Boiling
Kittenna

Might be better used as an additive for other teas? I haven’t tried it yet but am working up the courage to :P

Indigobloom

this is definitely not my fave lapsang!

Lynne-tea

Haha It’s not horrid. It’s just way too strong off the get go. It needed to subtly lead into smoke with a sweetness. Instead a few sips in and it’s already too much to handle for me.

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73

I needed a comforting cup of oolong and decided to go with this one. Looks like I am the first to review it (whoa)… so here we go!
Dry: Small leaves with a nutty smell to them. Almost like a baked whole wheat/nutty bread. I’m excited. I hope it wraps me in a big doughy ball of warmth – like a tea hug. I need it.
Liquor: 1st steep (30s): Well – I will never do 2-3tsp of oolong per 8oz steeped for 2-3 min.. then proceed to drink it. That would be way too intense for me. So instead I only steeped for about 30s instead using boiling water as they recommend (it worries me a touch… and depending on how this turns out I may drop it down – though the leaves are fully fermented so it’s probably alright). The liquor is a warm apricot colour. It’s nice. I don’t sense any floral notes at all, but a nice roasted chestnut taste. It’s slightly sweet, like a clover flower, though there is a different creaminess that isn’t a typical creamy (I’m attributing this to the chestnut taste). Oh delicious. Based on the leaves, I wasn’t expecting it to produce. How naive haha! In all honesty – this tea is still hot but I am gulping it down. I should slow it down and let it cool a bit. Hmph.
2nd steep (1 min): It’s now a deep amber apricot colour. The leaves are about 1/3 unfurled. I pick up a more floral note hidden amongst a toasty caramel smell (maybe?). At first I immediately thought citrus, then it became the caramel smell.. then coconut. I don’t know what is going on with either my nose or this tea but it’s neat (and confusing). Whoa strong. I watered it down. About an extra 1.5 oz. I am not fond of this steep. I’ll be honest. It’s a dumper. Drats!
3rd steep (30s): Intermediate colour between 1st and 2nd steep. I get a stronger clover flower smell. It’s Meh
Maybe my steeping parameters need to go back to my typical oolong steeping methods. This is way too overpowering and just tastes like strong tea with an interesting smell but a blank palate. Sad. It’s okay though – I have 100g worth to get this one right! For now I will stick with my rating – though I will seek to improve it with my steeping methods (aka – do NOT follow anywhere near their guidelines. Unless you like extremely strong tea).

PS. Warning – geek fest if you read on I was reading the description and looked up a research paper on oolong and it’s inhibitory effects on Streptococci (bacteria). Very neat: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8319255

EDIT: I let the 2nd steep cool off (I was too lazy to get up immediately and dump it).. and after giving up on steeping the leaves again, I had nothing to drink but this (and was too lazy to go to wash out the strainer for new leaves).. so I sipped it. AND GOOD. Chocolate. 70% dark chocolate. Just a touch of sweetness. I now regret ditching the leaves. I think this will be a fantastic oolong for icing in the summer. Yummy – rating goes up (had it at 61)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Kittenna

Paper looks interesting! Thanks :D

ScottTeaMan

Hhhhmmm, another possible selection when I place my order.

Lynne-tea

No problem Krystaleyn! And It is good..I need to play around with my steeping times a bit maybe or perhaps it will always just taste better cooler (Summer tea!)

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74

Finally! A sit-down with a tea. I feel like it’s been so long for some reason. I have been doing other wonderful things though so I don’t feel neglected due to lack of tea (plus I sneak good tea whenever I can). Since it’s almost 12 and I will be getting up early.. I figured a herbal tea would be much better than all my new oolongs that I am absolutely longing to try. So here we are. With Midsummer Night’s Dream. A sample I picked up from my Davids Tea trip (where I also filled up on their Quangzhou Milk Oolong..possibly more excited about that than all the other teas I got.)
Dry: Pretty – I had a large gooseberry in my tisane. I enjoy gooseberries by the way. The first smell I get is KUMQUATS. Whoa. Honestly my favourite fruit. I can eat a decent sized bag in one go. They are my crack. Sweet but yet tangy at the same time. I showed this to my sister and she wanted to take the bag. I said no way, but offered to give her a sample of my sample to try. She declined and opted for a tea party date instead. I’m excited.
Liquor: Hmm.. first sip tastes like Neocitran. Then it quickly calms into a very sweet complex flavour I am trying to figure out. The afterward mouth-feel even reminds me of kumquats, though I suspect it is the mint lingering. This tea is alright. But it’s not really tea. I want real tea. It sweetens as it cools and the citrus mellows a bit more. I don’t feel like I’m being punched in the face with citrus anymore. Because this tea does not taste like a kumquat, I am a bit displeased.
I won’t do another steep tonight, but I will save the tisane for tomorrow. The rating may change based on a cold steep (as I hear that is good..). Maybe tonight I just wanted some camilla sensis of any sort… not herbal =\

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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97

I got to mucking about and didn’t document the first two steeps (2s, 4s), but they were sweet for sure. I will make sure to take better notes on that portion next time.
3rd steep (6s): Beautiful green.. it reminds me of steamed asparagus water (except without the smell). Or perhaps spinach water? Something leafy and dark green. Definitely a sweet doughy smell to me. Very sparkly and fresh on the tongue, and somehow tastes as complex as a summer meadow would smell. Bursting with tall grasses, nectar filled flowers and a clean mountainous breeze. At the end of a sip.. the lingering aftertaste on the back of my tongue is almost like my taste buds are having some kind of wild party with champagne (you’re welcome taste buddies).
4th steep (8s): Must save for later or note later.. I’m off to see my dad!
(holding off on rating until I have a good sitdown with this.. not eating okra and sipping… x.x)

EDIT:
Okay.. so 5th steep (11s): Magic. I left the leaves sit for 7 hours and just did another infusion. Rock candy. Everywhere. All in my mouth and then it’s gone. Oddest thing. I don’t think I have ever had a tea that tastes so different from sip to sip. I’m intrigued and need more.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Geoffrey

Really happy to see you enjoying the complexity of this one. I wish we still had some. When the last of it went, I looked to see how much I had left from the purchase for my personal supply… only enough for one more drinking session. I’ll certainly have to make sure that I’m in an attentive state of mind, and have appreciative company over, the next (and last) time I’ll get to enjoy the beauty of this snowflake…

Lynne-tea

That would be very kind of you to share your last bit with appreciative others. Though I do think having good music and a relaxing atmosphere would allow you a more attentive experience. Either way you go about your last sitdown with this tea – enjoy it!
I just pulled some of the leaves out to check out and they are so beautiful. Wonderfully pristine leaves. Heavenly =)

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92
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Desire
242 tasting notes

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98

Whoops… I added this review to the 2011 previously
{Warning: Long one.. I’m sorry}
I’m going for it tonight. I’ve waited far too long to let lack of sleep get in the way of this tea. I have more to enjoy and try later on anyways. David graciously included a note. I like that very much. It truly shows an appreciation for the customer, and is much more personalized than a stereotypical printed-out ‘thank you’ page. Well, let’s get to it. To be honest – I am nervous. I have such high hopes for this tea and I feel very happy to have the ability to try…Oh man I’m drinking it already. I can’t stop drinking it. I decided to give my leaves a rinse and use traditional brewing techniques. I didn’t have a place to dispose of the rinse water so I just sipped a bit..cause it was sitting there.. (I’m a curious person okay?).. Anyway- I couldn’t stop. I found myself drifting off into a honeysuckle galaxy whilst The Antlers – Rolled Together played in the background. I’m. So. Excited.
- Sorry-.. Back on track.
Dry: The leaves are beautiful. Various shades of a forest green.. the little leaves remind me of little pieces of acrylic paint that have dried. Odd association – but the color and texture remind me of painting. The smell to me is vegetal and strongly floral, with a bright upper note I can’t place right now.
1st steep (2s): Smells very floral up front, but I find an almost vanilla jasmine smell in the background. This tea makes me smile SO much. When I was young, I grew up in an area that had a large forest that I use to play in right down the block from my house. It was honeysuckle heaven in there! This steep brings me right back there as if I had just bit the tip off the honeysuckle and drank out the sweet juice inside. I still get a jasmine note that is very strong in the scent and immediate taste. Ooh I burnt my lip! Darn I am so impatient. Even as it cools it tastes like I’m just drinking a warmed cup of delicious honeysuckle juice. Enough notes on this steep.
2nd steep (2s): Sweetness is still present, though not as prominent. Sparkly flavours on the back and sides of tongue. I do taste a little camomile.. or just a similar sweetness that I find in camomile. Delightful.
I won’t bore you with the (hopefully) 30 other steepings unless there is a major development!
Very yummy and interesting tea so far

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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drank Milky Oolong by Tea Desire
242 tasting notes

Not a true milk oolong- but a milky flavoured oolong none the less. After becoming a lover of oolong (and being nearly out of Davids Tea milk oolong), I decided to give this tea a go as I can purchase it locally.

Dry: Leaves are more broken up and more stems then Davids Tea (which is to be expected if you pay $5/50g in my opinion). Smells like condensed milk. I like that. Wet leaves unfurled rather quickly (almost all open after one steep).. though again, to be expected.
Liquor: Deeply rich carmel colour. It smells heavenly actually. Sunshine (and yellow) comes to mind for some reason when I smell this which makes me happy. Caramelly sweet smell with a touch of vanilla and camomile (random). The taste is pleasing – I can definitely taste the oolong and there is a buttery sensation/flavour as an intermediate note. No real substantial aftertaste, except a mild candy note.. like a gummy real fruit candy, except not sweet. It’s subtle but nice.
Note: I am half delirious right now due to lack of sleep and I am pretty sure I put in 1 tbsp for my whole 6oz cup. I’m not sure why I did that. Or why I let it steep longer then I usually would. At least with my trusty thermometer I now know exactly what temperature water was used (93C). Due to these factors – I will hold off on rating until I figure out my life and stop mucking up my tea! (Thank goodness I didn’t try playing with my Verdant tea yet.. I definitely need more sleep for that session!)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

I’ve been going between trying this or DT’s. Which one do you prefer?

Lynne-tea

Oh my gosh DT’s all the way. I get so caught up in just sniffing my DT tin and love the buttery taste. Such a comfort. Though the price of this one is much better. To be honest… I go between DT’s and Teavivre as I still get a buttery taste/smoothness with the TV that I adore. If you haven’t tried that one yet I highly recommend it!

Fjellrev

Thanks! I almost bought this one before so I think I’ll go for DT’s instead. :)

Lynne-tea

No problem at all! I don’t regret buying this as it was so inexpensive and therefore I don’t feel bad if I put some in a to-go tea bag.. which is something I wouldn’t do with the DT’s due to the cost. I hope you love DT’s as much as mine. It is surely one of my top 5 teas of all time (so far… I have so many more teas to taste in my lifetime yet!)

Lynne-tea

haha I meant to say “I hope you love DT’s as much as I do.” Goes to show you how a cold turns my brain into cotton-balls >.<

Fjellrev

Haha no it’s ok, I understood. Can’t believe how much DT’s is but I’m sure it’s worth it. It’s so sad. I made a trip to Edmonton this weekend, got to WEM, did some shopping (including a first visit to the new Teavana store) but I ran out of money by the time I made it to the other end of the mall where DT is. Kind of wish I went to DT first since the Teavana teas don’t taste as good as they smell! Oh well. Next time.

Lynne-tea

Hahah aww phooey! Yes next time for sure. I have been to Teavana and I wasn’t that impressed. Thankfully.. I live only by a Tea Desire (which I can easily withstand buying teas from as it is: A) A 2 hr bike ride away overall, and B) Not very good quality.. though for cheap prices (though I love their russian caravan to bits)). Therefore I am restricted to ordering online and I was familiar with DT so they became top priority when I was initially getting into it. If you are ever around a DT.. I suggest grabbing a 10-15g sample to try.. that way you can test it out before taking the plunge =) trust me – it’s worth it haha

Fjellrev

Ah, I never thought of getting samples. I am always afraid to ask haha. But I don’t know, I actually really like Tea Desire? It’s hit or miss. Some are meh, others are amazing. And you’re right, you can’t complain about the price.

Yeah, the Teavana teas I chose are ok but definitely disappointing. Too bad they bought out Teaopia. Have been meaning to try a bunch of their stuff.

Lynne-tea

Maybe it is just my experience at the tea desire store here. Trying their oolongs.. I found they used the same lower grade oolong base for all of their oolong mixes.. Then their prices jump way up for ‘better’ quality oolongs. I would much prefer to have the option of samples first before going with 50g ( I now have an excess of two oolongs I don’t really enjoy that I am trying to find ways to use.. Thankfully I liked the milky oolong!)
The staff here are also quite pushy and are not accommodating (as in a thermometer I bought from them had broke because it is cheap and they made it seem as though it was a huge thing to exchange it for another one and kept hinting i dropped it, causing the liquid to separate in the glass stem.. If i had dropped it, the glass would have broke. And I wasn’t even asking for a refund. The new thermometer I got also ended up breaking within three days and now they want to give me store credit. I just want my money back as I don’t want their tea or their cheap thermometers. Humph. Another reason I love DT – any problems no matter how small, they fix with an amazing attitude and seem genuine about it. Tea desire is like pulling teeth in those situations.)

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92
drank Russian Caravan by Tea Desire
242 tasting notes

I went for it. The very first time I smelled this tea I was amazed that someone would drink such a smokey intensely flavoured tea (other than sweet flavours, and I do recall even asking the sales woman if they actually do sell it very often). Very malty and comforting to me now, but at the time I didn’t think I would like it (back when I was an always-add-things-to-my-tea type person.. not that that is a bad thing. I just find it hides flavours sometimes.)
Anyways.. so I just finished up 4/5 final exams (YAY! ONE MORE!) and thought I should buy some tea to reward myself (even though my Verdant tea order finally arrived today so I don’t have to stalk the mail man – Yay #2!). I walked away with a lot of tea today and a thermometer.
Dry: Little twisted black leaves. Nothing fancy. Smell is addictive. Really addictive (to be honest I have smelled it over 15 times since I got it two hours ago).
Liquor: Very dark.. I steeped it for about two minutes and thought that that was good based on color. The steep was a touch weak, so I popped the leaves back in and managed to forget about it for a while (therefore, no idea on steeping times). I tried it.. Very good.. though slightly bitter (my fault!.. brewing it like a true Russian zavarka almost!) I fixed this by adding hot water. There is no bitterness to this tea anymore. It is very smokey, though not overly so. Definitely malty and rich…Aftertaste reminds me of applewood smoked gouda for some reason and I love it.

I can definitely see myself making this on an extremely regular basis (especially considering it was only $5 for 50g). I’m sold. To be honest, this will probably replace coffee in the AM for me on most days.

Preparation
Boiling
Azzrian

Mention of applewood again this time with CHEESE SIGH I want applewood smoked gouda now and this tea on the side! LOL Congrats almost done with exams!! :)

Lynne-tea

Haha Sorry! I know it’s such a good cheese (I have been on a cheese kick lately – which is odd as I don’t usually like high fat foods..) Either way – I finished my cup about 10 minutes or so ago and the taste lingers on! I knew I had been secretly craving it since the first time I smelled it. =)
And thank you very much! Soon I will be able to crawl out of my study den and back into society squints eyes

Azzrian

LOL I know the feeling -come back INTO THE LIGHT my friend! :)
Good Gawd though I would send hubby to get cheese if we were not all so ick feeling already. Its funny how impressionable I am in my weakened state! I think I have some pepper jack in the fridge SIGH its just not the same as a smoked gouda. LOL

Lynne-tea

Haha thanks again! =) It’s always nice to hear others who have made it out alive. Well when you feel good enough to venture out tea shopping, your smoked gouda cheese cravings may be solved with some Russian Caravan! (or ignited, I am not sure..? haha)

Azzrian

LOL exactly – my cravings could get WORSE! Which reminds me – there is a LOVELY cheese store about an hour from where I live, SAMPLES GALORE! I want to hit that place up next payday if I have any "extra’ (haha extra rofl) funds!

Kittenna

Interesting. Does Tea Desire sell small samples a la DavidsTea? Like 10g? There’s one in Saskatoon that I might hit up over the summer if so. But if they only sell in 50g increments, not for me.

Lynne-tea

They only sell in 50g increments =( I was a little bummed about that (for my other tea purchases). I think you can get togo cups.. maybe try it that way? I couldn’t turn it down at the price with that smell. I was much too intrigued =)

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Bio

I am very excited to delve into as many different types of tea as possible… so this should be interesting. I am really looking forwards to tasting all the wide array of flavours that can come from pure tea leaves.

Currently, I am having a love affair with oolongs. Mostly green, though I am stretching out into more oxidized oolongs. Black teas are also in my love fest as they can be so surprising sometimes (I used to drink bagged red rose x.x)
I would really love to get to know green tea a lot more and white tea.. all tea to be honest. I want to know them all.

Tea rating system:

0-50: Do people actually enjoy this?
50-60: Slight improvement, not recommendable.
60-70: Alright, though easily forgettable.
70-80: Good flavour, though not a ‘go to’ tea.
80-90: Great tea – complex and memorable.
90-100: Extremely delicious and complex teas that leave me craving more.

On top of tea, I have a love for music. Generally all music, though I am partial to indie rock/folk/pop/electronic. Follow me if you also enjoy indie music and would like to trade some artists!

I’m always open to new tea and music suggestions. Happy tea drinking to you all.

Location

Vancouver Island

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