318 Tasting Notes

91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
318 tasting notes

Last night I went bowling with a group of friends. I’ve only ever bowled candlepin (little balls), but most of the other people had bowled regular. I think candlepin is a MA thing… ah well. I wasn’t the worst, so that’s okay.

We all came back to our room afterwards, and I (of course) offered everyone tea. My friend Ana said to me “Hey, can you show me how to drink not-bagged tea?”

I was so proud.

I brewed a pot of this for us, and she loved it. Another tea convert…

There’s a DAVIDsTea 3 hours away, just over the Canadian border. I sense a road trip in our future.

ashmanra

Hooray! A convert!

gmathis

I might could handle your kind of bowling. I can barely Wii bowl conventionally ;)

Michelle

Haha I’m awful at Wii bowling!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve noticed that once someone tried loose tea, they immediately become loose tea drinkers. haha :)

Michelle

True! It’s just SO much better than bagged.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I think that bagged tea CAN be REALLLLY good, but it’s rare. Most people that drink bagged tea have a mouthgasm when they try loose tea, probably because they have been drinking mainstream teas (horrid, haha).

Michelle

No, it’s true. I drink bagged tea too, it has its place. But you can’t beat the depth of loose.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Yep! I also enjoy (maybe a bit too much?) the whole process of brewing a single cup of loose tea. It’s one of those practices that can turn a bad day around, just taking your time, making a cup and relaxing with it, maybe even having a personal tea party! :)

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62
drank Pure Green Tea by Twinings
318 tasting notes

Every Friday night I go over to my friends’ room to watch British drama (currently we’re 4/5 of the way through Parade’s End – SO GOOD). After this finishes I think I’m starting them on Doctor Who and they’re starting me on Game of Thrones. Although if I can convince them not to start that until I’ve read the books, well…

Caitlin offered me a “hot beverage” and so I went with this. It’s okay, more of a warm cup than anything, but it’s not something I particularly care for. It’s not bad, it’s better than some bagged teas, but meh.

Terri HarpLady

I love Dr Who, & I love Game of Thrones! I read the entire G of TH series this summer…it took forever, & now it will probably be 5 years before he finishes the next book…

Autumn Hearth

Like the British drama night, not so much the meh tea

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96

Verdant tea – spring 2012 Laoshan Dragonwell style green

I received this in a very generous swap from Autumn Hearth. As much as I love Dragonwells, I know that this one is special, and so I decidedly didn’t drink it until I had a chance to sit down and really savor it (especially since it’s no longer available).

Upon opening the little envelope, I’m struck by how thin the leaves are, and how pure the olive-green color is. The scent is similar to that of snow peas or sugar snap peas. It’s somehow very rich.

I might be a bit stingy with my leaf, but I don’t have a scale and I want this to last as long as possible. I tip a little bit into the tasting cup, just enough to mostly cover the bottom. I figure that’s enough.

I ruined the first steep, at least according to David’s suggested guidelines. I forgot that I left my tasting bowl at home, and only brought the brewing vessel. In my search for an appropriate substitute, I pulled out one of my Amsterdam teacups. This is about the same size as the bowl, and has about the same rim thickness (important to me). But then as I began pouring, I realized it was pink. Oh no. Scrambled around and found my English teacup – white ceramic inside, but a very thin rim. What I’m going to do is decant into the English and then pour into the Amsterdam to drink. Messy, but I think this is better. But in all my scrambling around for cups, I let it steep about ~7-10s, instead of his recommended 3.

First steep: ~7s. The liquor is almost white. There’s a barely-noticeable ecru (how’s that for color vocabulary?) tinge to it. It tastes sort of like the way grass smells after there’s been a rainstorm, or very early in the morning when you’re crossing a field covered in dew. Although the tea is hot, the taste is a “cold” taste.

Second steep: 3s. The liquor is lighter than the previous steep, and I feel this is as it ought to be. Very, very pale; hardly distinguishable color. The scent is definitely green, almost a sort of baby spinach note. The taste is perfectly replicated in the aroma. It’s definitely a very light tea, but the flavor is fully developed. Although it’s delicate, I don’t feel as though I’m missing anything.

Third steep: 3s. The liquor is the same color as the previous steep. I’m getting the taste of the peas I smelled in the leaves.

I looked inside at the leaves lying limp in the tasting cup. They are a bright green olive color. It’s really cool how I can see the plant itself: many of the leaves consist of two leaves and a stem.

Fourth steep: 7s. As I poured this from the brewing vessel into the teacup, one tiny leaf attached to a stem slipped into the cup and swam around like a little fish. It’s currently floating, stem at the surface of the water and the tip of the leaf just barely standing on the bottom. On a couple sips, I get a very strong sweetness, kind of like a floral honey. But it’s elusive, and I don’t taste it often. One touch and it’s gone.

As I finish the cup I take the leaf that is floating in the bottom out. It is perfectly formed, with the leaf spreading out from where it is almost folded into the stem. It’s oval-shaped with a pointed end, and maybe half an inch long. I’ve never seen a tea leaf like this. It feels smooth and rubbery and delicately veined. It is fully expanded from its time spent stewing in the cup, unlike its still-folded brethren in the brewing vessel

Fifth steep: 10s. The liquor is still white. I love this. It’s beautiful. I’m getting more and more of that elusive honeysuckle. Good

Sixth steep: 13s. There’s something really sweet surrounding this, like a nut that’s been dipped in chocolate. Only it’s sort of a grass that’s been dipped in honey

I’m going to end this review here, as I’m already at six hundred plus words.. but know that this is one phenomenal tea. I don’t have much from Verdant because really I always want to give them the respect they deserve, and I’m often running around like a madman, but I want to do an order soon (when I start working again.. heh) and get a variety of teas, maybe in one ounce sizes so that I do have teas that will stand up well to this sort of extended session.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C
Bonnie

It’s such a pleasure to spend time looking at tea, the color and aroma, and then each phase of flavor. You really took the time to enjoy this Dragonwell. You can tell that the tea was giving you a rich experience.

Daniel Scott

Awesome review! How many ounces are you drinking per steep? Six steeps seems like a lot of fluid, but are your cups very small?

Michelle

IThis is the tasting set I have :http://www.adagio.com/teaware/tasting_set.html?SID=8a6aa0c326a6d1cd8fb2f544f66cc865 … Adagio says 5oz, which is bigger than I thought it was.

Bonnie

I have 2 of these sets from my local shop which makes it easy to pour two oolongs for instance and compare them for tasting with a friend. Nice smaller size.

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84
drank Hazelnut by Adagio Teas
318 tasting notes

Needed a bit of a kick in the pants this morning. I was “supposed” to be in bed by 9:30. I ended up going to bed at 12:30 after spending three hours working on poetry critiques. The downside to being in an intro to creative writing class is that, even though it’s a prereq for the higher levels, there are a lot of beginning writers. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but I spent SO much time in high school as editor in chief of our literary mag reading bad poetry that I’m a bit sick of it. I’m sure there are people in the class that are very good, we just haven’t gotten to them yet.

And then of course I had to be up at 6 for my 7:15 education seminar. The plus side is that I’m done with classes by 10:10… the downside is that I am NOT a morning person. Or I am, I just need my sleep. And I start student teaching today, so I went shopping and bought “professional” clothes… I feel like a kid playing dressup. But I LOOK LIKE AN ADULT. I don’t understand. I put on makeup and painted my nails and thought about jewelry and oh my goodness how is this me?!

http://hundredottertarget.tumblr.com/post/31462859618/do-i-look-like-a-teacher-yet

Just a bit stressed. I’m sure it’ll be fine. T-minutes two hours until I meet my teacher.

Sigh, tea.

I like this one. Hazelnut is one of the few nuts I’m not especially allergic to – I don’t even know if I am allergic, but after walnuts I get a terrible headache.

it’s bold and nutty and really good in the morning. Not a very good tasting note but I just had to rant.

:)

Song of the day: Safe to Shore by Of Monsters and Men.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Zoltar

Good luck with the student teaching. Nuts allergy is one of the worst i’m not sure i would take the chance of drinking something with nuts inside if i was having any kind of reaction from other nutty thing but nutty tea are good

Michelle

Yeah, it’s weird. Walnuts on their own are okay as long as I don’t have too many, but if I eat them cooked or in conjunction with chocolate I get a weird sort of headache. I tried Forever Nuts from David’s and I got the same feeling, but I don’t get it from hazelnut or almond teas. But I’ve never had any sort of allergic reaction, which is good!

Terri HarpLady

Very teacherly looking photo, Michelle, & I like the Dr. Who reference! :) Have fun today!

Zoltar

there is nuts intolerance which is less severe than a allergy and nuts are not all the same you should probably get a allergy test sometime to be sure which one to avoid ( i read myself and i do sound like a old man giving lesson to kids shouting stop running around the pool! lol but that was not the purpose i did see what nuts can do within minute with a real allergy so it’s more of a general concern to fellow steepsters be aware of what in teas)

As for the picture you do not look like the teachers i have last time i was in school ( 10 years ago) but that a compliment

ashmanra

At least it isn’t Vogon poetry. Paula Nancy Millstone isn’t in that class, is she? And you do look VERY adult, not like a kid playing dress up at all! Your teacher will be impressed!

Lynne-tea

OMAM is delightful! =) You do look like an adult! Just rock it.. have faith in your abilities and a commanding presence and everyone wont be able to help but see you as an adult.

Michelle

Thank all you guys! It actually went really well today, and I’m excited and not terrified for the rest of the semester, haha :)

Ninavampi

Yay! Congrats!

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75
drank Birthday Tea by Adagio Teas
318 tasting notes

Started my day off with this because hey, it’s my birthday, I do what I want. Adagio kindly included it as a sample with my last order, so that was exciting.

The dry leaves smell like vanilla cake, but I can smell the flavoring. Steeped 1tsp/8oz/212/2minutes; added a bit of milk and sugar.

The flavor is surprisingly light, but it’s still a decent tea. Not my favorite though… I think I’ll be celebrating for reals with a fancy oolong later on!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
momo

Happy birthday!

gmathis

Can’t sing to you because people would look at me funny, but I’m thinking to you. How’s that?

KallieBoo!

Happy Birthday!

ashmanra

Happy birthday!

Zoltar

Happy birthday!

TeaBrat

Happy birthday!

TassieTeaGirl

Happy Birthday! I go by the concept of birthday week (why only one day?) so today I get my first present – I’m going to a concert tonight! Have a great day!

tigress_al

Happy birthday!

Sil

woot! Happy Birthday! I hope you had an amazing day!

Michelle

@gmathis: That works perfectly fine,thank you dear :)
@TassieTeaGirl: YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT. I may adopt that! Enjoy your concert!!
@AllTheRestOfYouLovelyPeople: Thank you! <3

Hesper June

Happy Birthday!!!

mrmopar

happy birthday!!!

Lynne-tea

Happy Birthday! I hope it is memorable and filled with great people and TEA!.. (even if it is only a Tuesday!)

Ninavampi

Happy birthday!!!!! :)

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97
drank Golden Imperial Lotus by Teavana
318 tasting notes

Thanks again to Autumn for a sample of this! I feel as though I’m going to be thanking her in every tasting note for a long while now :)

I very nearly bought a tin of this last December, and when she said she had some, I asked if she would send a bloom or two. She graciously sent a mini tin full of these beautiful little discs.

The tea is flat and sewn together, like a pressed flower. When it’s put into water, however, it becomes a spiky ball like a sea urchin or a dandelion. It’s beautiful.

The liquor is a deep reddish brown. It’s certainly in the mahogany/walnut color family.

Oh, the taste! At first, when it was too hot to really taste, I thought it was just another malty, chocolaty black tea. Good, but not remarkable.

Was I wrong!

There’s that, sure, but there’s something new here! I’m struggling to describe it. It’s very creamy. I first went to some sort of ice cream – mint chocolate? No… vanilla? Not quite… now I’m thinking of creme brulee. I’ve never actually had creme brulee. So I’m not entirely sure if it’s accurate. But the flavor profile here seems to match what I’ve heard of that dessert.

There’s something creamy and heavy and sweet here, as though I’m not just drinking what is effectively flavored water. It’s almost a little bit banana, or dulce de leche. It’s not quite caramel, though. It has that sort of feeling on the tip of your tongue when you’ve just eaten a spoonful of melted ice cream.

Ohh, I do look forward to puzzling this one out.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec
James R

I picked that up when they had their last heavenly sale, I regret only buying one tin I’m out! Really good tea!!

If you want a similar tea, http://www.teavivre.com/premium-yunnan-black-tea/ tastes almost identical! It’s currently on sale. If you want I can send you a few cups worth.

ashmanra

James, you are quite right! They are very similar and quite delicious!

Autumn Hearth

I still have quite a bit of this left, bought two tins at the sale and one for my husband earlier at 40% off. One bag is still sealed and is available for trade. I’ve been taking out of my other tin which is still half full, I realize the husband will never get through his in time to need mine. I mostly bought it for the black dragon tins ;)

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87
drank Silk Dragon by The Tea Merchant
318 tasting notes

This came as a free sample from The Tea Merchant – thanks!

The more I drink this, the more I seem to like it. It’s rich and creamy and develops over several steepings. I don’t really have the energy to write a ton about it at the moment (in between talking to The Boy and doing Education homework, my mind is a bit fragmented) but it’s nice and soothing.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Sil

Really need to try this one, it’s gotten some good reviews lately

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69

I won this in one of Della Terra’s Facebook giveaways – they are the best!

This is the second time I’ve tried this, but I held off logging it the first time around.

The aroma in the pouch is astounding. It smells like pure maple syrup. There are little blocks of what look like wood. Curious, I picked one out and ate it – it’s maple candy! Yum.

Maple’s not my favorite flavor, so the first time I steeped it, I did 5 minutes. The liquor was a slightly murky brown-gold. The smell was still maple, but much less strong. The taste was much the same as the smell. It didn’t taste like much of anything, unfortunately.

This time, I steeped for 10 minutes. It smells stronger and tastes more like maple. Still, though, I’m finding that the tea itself is lacking in the taste department. It smells really authentic, but I don’t really want to put maple syrup into the tea to sweeten it. I also used ~2tsp/8-10oz, so I don’t think I’m under-steeping it.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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59
drank Raspberry Soiree by Teavana
318 tasting notes

Thank you to Autumn Hearth for this!

On opening the tin, there’s a sort of tart scent that I don’t immediately associate with raspberries, but there’s a big dried raspberry sitting on the top. Cool.

I put the filter in my cup (I’m doing little cups because I have SO MUCH TEA to try!) and pour water over; it immediately turns bright red as it passes through the tea.

Unfortunately, hibiscus is listed as the first ingredient, and it shows. It’s okay, I mean. But it’s not really raspberry, just sort of a generic hibiscus fruity blend. This could be a tisane for all the tea I taste in here. I’ll definitely drink the tin, but it’s not something I want to spend my money on.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Autumn Hearth

I guess I should have asked where you stand on hibiscus before I sent this and the Sakura. This and the Nine Dragon are retired so no money spending ;)

Autumn Hearth

Oh also I apologize for not putting temps and times on the packets. We keep this one at a minute for 175, so perhaps for next time?

Michelle

I’m okay with hibiscus, I’m just not a huge fan of it. But sometimes, that’s what I want! :) I just went by Teavana’s general steeping parameters. My kettle only does 180 and 212, so I’ll let it cool off a bit the next time I try it.

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drank Sour Apple by Adagio Teas
318 tasting notes

I got this as a free sample in the last Adagio order I placed.

Opening it – wow. That’s sour. It almost reminds me of smelling a bag of Sour Patch Kids or Warheads. I love sour things, but I’m not good at a lot all at once. Still, I’m really intrigued.

1tsp/8oz, 5 minutes, boiling water.

It’s immediately starting to turn a bright red, probably from the hibiscus. Cool. It’s a really pretty tea.

The tea doesn’t smell as strongly sour when brewed as it does steeped, although I still smell it.

It doesn’t taste that sour either. I think I’m going to make another cup but steep for ~10 minutes, and see how that changes it. Leaving off the rating for the moment.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Michelle, 19. College student: upstate NY.

I really enjoy tea, British television and theatre. I read a lot, write a lot, dream a lot.

Location

Geneva, NY, United States

Website

http://michellefedaphotograph...

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