268 Tasting Notes

83

Inspired by the darjeeling discussions that have been popping up on Steepster lately, I pulled out this sample that was sent to me by the lovely Virginia. Thank you! (I have a been of a sample backlog problem, I know).
I eschewed the instructions that came with it and went with 190F water rather than 212F. The tea came out at a bright golden color that smelled of sweet grape. The main note was also a bright grape over hints of hay with a honey suckle finish. It has only a little astringency. It has that fresh mountain air quality that I love about first flush darjeelings! Overall, a very pleasant darjeeling but not mind blowing.

Flavors: Grapes, Hay, Honeysuckle

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I haven’t had this in months and I forgot how much I like it. The main body of the tea is chamomile with an added sweetness from the honey. The tulsi adds a really nice base for this tisane and is a great balance for the sweetness of the chamomile and honey. I have to admit that I’m a little sentimental towards it too because my good friend Lucky brought it to me all the way from India :-)
I almost added this to the swap for Cameron B so she could try tulsi, but I know how she feels about florals ;-)

TeaBrat

I love me some tulsi :)

Cameron B.

I actually like chamomile! :P

mj

Well damn, I should have gone for it then!

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73
drank Mango black tea by Caribou Coffee
268 tasting notes

There is a Caribou coffee in a building adjacent to the building I work in which I almost never go to. I had this today as a tea latte, because if I’m going to pay $2+ for a cup of tea, I’m going to at least make them steam some milk for me hehe. This was actually kinda good. The mango was bright and juicy tasting, although the black base was forgettable. The milk added a creaminess and it was much better than I’m used to getting at coffee shops.
I miss my kettle at work. I miss my work teas.

Flavors: Mango

sherapop

Good point on the mark-up of brewed tea. lol

Megan

I have a coworker that gets a black tea from starbucks every morning. I can’t believe he pays for that! What happened to your kettle at work? :/

mj

Right? And Starbucks tea is not good. Although I have found that a sprinkle of nutmeg makes an “awake” black tea latte much more tolerable.
The kettle was left in the common area for anyone to use. Someone broke it, put a red piece of tape tape on it that said “broken” and then hid it behind a bunch of stuff in the back of a cabinet for me to find. I have to say that some of my coworkers do not have the strongest social skills

Megan

Ugh that’s frustrating! I definitely have some coworkers like that too.

Nicole

I have liked several of the tea lattes I’ve had from Caribou. I’m not sure about all of their teas but I am pretty positive that at least the cinnamon spice is a relabeled Harney. :) Soon it will be time for their pumpkin spice tea latte – which is fantastic, if not very tea-y. :)

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85
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
268 tasting notes

So I came by this tea by way of one of my friends, Joe. It was given to his boss by a former employee, but his boss doesn’t like tea so he gave it to Joe. There were two canisters, so he gave one to me. I put up a discussion and with help from lovely Steepster-ites, especially Rie T, it was identified as an Alishan high mountain oolong. How lucky for me! I tried to post some pictures but for some reason I can’t paste links in this review. Weird.
Anyway, I brewed it at 90C for 3 min because it seemed like the thing to do? If anyone has suggestions, send them my way please :)
The main feature of this tea is a thick creamy mouthfeel for the majority of the sip with a subtle creamy flavor. However, the finish is tiny pop of citrus rather like a clementine followed by a pronounced rush of clean sweetness that I would associate with honeysuckle. Overall pretty pleasant and the best part of all is that it was FREE and I have a ton.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

Gongfu
4-5g 4 oz glass pot 195F
Rinse/5/10/15 sec etc see how you like it. You can combine steeps in one mug. But I would taste first. Increase or decrease time based on how you like it:)

Cheri

Sounds YUMMY!

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90
drank Traditional Tieguanyin by Verdant Tea
268 tasting notes

I stopped by Verdant today to pick up some Minnesota Blend for Cameron, and then I bought more oolong (not this one, the hand picked spring 2014 TGY). I blame her :-P

But also thanks to Cameron, I had a cup of this tea free in the store. If you spend $25 in loose leaf- presto! – free cup of tea :). I’m a little sad that I didn’t buy this one and I may go back for it. I’ve been all about the green oolongs lately and not really into the roasted ones, but this is pretty damn tasty. To me, the main note is buttery corn, specifically roasted buttered end-of summer sweet white corn which is one of my favorite things ever. There’s also a pleasant nuttiness hanging in the background, I’m thinking almond- also with butter! It’s a very unique and complex oolong! Yes, I’ll probably go back to buy some. Here’s a shot of Verdant’s tasting room, which is very zen:
http://instagram.com/p/sioDE1Kmw_/

Also, I didn’t realize this until afterwards, but Lily Duckler was the one who helped me in store. She was ever so nice and accommodating, not to mention extremely knowledgeable of course (which is what made me suspect that it was not just any employee who helped me). Thanks Lily for helping me with all my troublesome requests!

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Kettle Corn, Sweet

Cameron B.

Sounds awesome, I want to go! And this tea sounds delicious too. :) Thanks again dear!

AllanK

I wish I could convince Verdant to open a store on Long Island. Must be nice to be able to drive to Verdant Tea!

mj

Cameron, no problem! Happy to tea mule :).

Allan, I don’t take advantage of it as much as I should, but I am lucky to that close!

darby

I don’t either! It really needs to be on my priority list.

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80

If you want a super creamy mouthfeel, this is the tea for you! It’s so thick that pudding mouth doesn’t really cover it….maybe custard mouth. I do enjoy that a lot in an oolong, but unfortunately other than that it’s a bit boring. It’s mainly creamy feeling without venturing into milk oolong territory in terms of taste with a mineral quality to it and a sweet finish. It’s nice but bland. I’m glad though because I can’t be in love with ALL of the green oolongs.

Flavors: Creamy, Mineral, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
sherapop

Yum—cannot wait to try it now! ;-)

mj

LOL

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90

I’m drinking this at the same time as Alishan and Shan Lin Xi, all from Green Terrace. They all have quite distinct personalities! I started with the Alishan and this was quite the departure from that oolong. This oolong is crazy fruity to me. There’s a hint of a creamy mouthfeel and then BAM, mango in my mouth. I honestly couldn’t believe it when I took the first sip. I’m getting not only mango with some sweetness, but also a subtly spicy finish. I kept thinking that it reminded me of a dessert I had had, but couldn’t remember what. I finally figured it out- it reminds me a lot of mango mousse that is served in Indian restaurants. Yum! I don’t know if all Li Shans are like this, but it was definitely a unique experience for me.
Also, when did Green Terrace change so that the minimum quantity of tea is 150g? I just bought 10g of a bunch of their teas to try and would like to buy more, but that’s honestly a huge deterrent.

Flavors: Creamy, Mango, Spices

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

Yeah, I noticed that too… They got rid of the sample sizes and changed the minimum to 150g for rolled oolongs and 50g for everything else. :(

Anlina

Not being able to buy small quantities irks me so much. I will happily try 10-25g of almost anything, but if I have to buy 50 or more then I have to know I love it or I have to be very, very intrigued.

mj

It definitely irks me too! I actually know that I love their Alishan enough to buy it, but I don’t want 150g at once. I have way too many other teas to be able to drink all that before it gets too old! I emailed the company to suggest that they bring back the smaller sizes, but I haven’t heard back.

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94

I’m finally able to dig into my Green Terrace teas, which arrived while I was away (I have awesome neighbors to keep my tea safe for me). I’m very happy I started with this one. Ok, fine, I started with this one as one of three brewed at once because I have become an oolong fiend. I haven’t started selling my possessions to buy oolong yet, but I’m headed that way ;-).
This is my kind of oolong! The tightly rolled green leaves are beautiful and yield a delicate yellow brew. The sip is mainly a wonderful creamy mouthfeel with a somewhat more subtle cream taste until almost the end when it is swept away by a fresh clean finish infused with balmy, graceful florals; which in turn sweeps me right off my oolong-loving feet. The florals are fresh above all else, calling to mind a cool breeze sweeping over a meadow of wildflowers through which a sparkling stream meanders. I’m twitterpated over this oolong!

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

Ewwwwwww floral… :P

Tealizzy

Twitterpated! :)

mj

More floral oolongs for me then, Cameron ;-)

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85
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
268 tasting notes

Hey Steepster, it’s been a while! I’ve missed y’all! Is Steepster back to normal? I hope so!

My parents came for a visit for five days, so there wasn’t as much time for tea drinking and practically none for reviewing. The next day, I left for the east coast and just got back tonight. I need more vacation to recover, although I had a fabulous time!

While the parents were in town, I introduced my mom to GO, which she loved of course. I made her some of my David’s Teas as well as she’s not really into tea and prefers the flavored to unflavored. She particularly enjoyed chocolate rocket and I sent her home with a box of Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride since she declared that she couldn’t be bothered with loose leaf. And she helped me organize all my teas and they’re now in labeled boxes on a nifty tea cart, which I think is adorable.

The day my parents left, I got home from work late but wanted to sit down and enjoy one tea damnit. I picked the Jabberwocky, which for some unfathomable reason I’ve been ignoring. Mmmm, bready, buttery, caramel-y, chocolately goodness with a fresh breeze finish. That tea is fantastic!

The next day I had to arrive at work super early to leave by noon to catch my plane to Maryland. I road tripped with the BF up the east coast to Boston and spent most of the time there, which was AWESOME! I love Boston so much and I want to move there STAT.
I did indulge in a little tea tourism there, stopping by Tealuxe (thanks to a stellar recommendation from christeana1) and David’s Tea, because I’ve never been to an actual location before.

At Tealuxe, I had my first bubble tea and the ever-patient BF was quite pleased to introduce me to a type of tea I hadn’t had before. I had the Caramel Creme Brulee black tea and the BF got the Strawberry sencha green (both as bubble teas). The caramel creme brulee was pleasant and the flavor was subtly done, not too in your face at all. I have to say that I mainly got caramel and was missed that burnt sugar taste, but I liked it and the bubbles were fun. The strawberry sencha green bubble tea tasted just like strawberry milk, like the employee told me it would. Props to Tealuxe for having friendly, knowledgeable employees and a super cute store that reminded me of Ollivander’s wand shop in the best way! I picked up some Darjeeling Silver Tips that I’m excited to try.

http://instagram.com/p/sVkIgWKm0d/

The main goal at David’s Tea was to sign up for the frequent steeper program, which was accomplished. I tried a couple of the new fall teas while I was there, maple sugar and sweet apple cider. Both were tasty and pretty much what you’d expect. I did enjoy the apple element to the maple sugar and the BF liked it too. He just sat in a corner and was like “Go talk about tea with people, I’ll be over here” lol. So I did. Again, the employees were very knowledgeable and friendly even though the store was pretty busy. One wanted to know how I found out about David’s and I told him about Steepster, which he said he probably needed to join! Their new multicolor leaf mug and raccoon mug are super cute, but I managed to resist. It was easier to resist because the BF did buy me an absolutely beautiful (if I do say so myself) new mug at the Museum of Fine Art gift shop like the day before:
http://instagram.com/p/sbdA4FKmzJ/
Also, the MFA had a whole teapot exhibit! Squeeee!!
http://instagram.com/p/sVS6P3Km-o/
Anyway, back to David’s Tea. Their new dandelion teapot and cups are ADORABLE and I want them, but didn’t buy them. No room for lots of teaware :(. I did pick up some oolong though, their pouchong and tie kwan yin. I haven’t really tried any of their plain oolongs yet, so I’m looking forward to that. Their store was also quite cute:
http://instagram.com/p/sYlA2zKm3E/

We had dim sum today before I left and I really liked the oolong so I inquired what tea it was. The waiter looked in the pot and said “oolong”, to which I replied “I know, but what kind of oolong?”. He looked it the pot again and said some string of gibberish that may or may not have been actual words, finished by “this oolong”. Um, thanks? LOL

I’m back home now and hanging with one of my favorite teas, yunnan silver needle by whispering pines. Just what I need to relax with before I have to go back to work (boo hiss).

TheTeaFairy

That review was so entertaining, thanks for sharing!
And yo, gibberish oolong? That’s one I’ve never tried, LOL!!!

mj

Thanks TTF :). LOL, too bad about the gibberish oolong. It was quite pleasant and probably economical too.

boychik

i wish my hubby was so patient;) Glad you had fun ;-)

mj

boychik, he is ever so patient. It’s one of the things that’s great about him! And thanks, I had a blast!

hippiechick 42

Love this review!

christeana1

Im so glad you enjoyed boston! I loved reading this review!

mj

Thanks, hippiechick and christeana!

Hillel

Well damn! I wish I’d know you were in town. We could have arranged a tea party. Sounds like you got your fill of tea while you were here though. When’s the next time you’re coming through?

mj

Hey Hillel! This trip was crazy because the BF was in the middle of moving to Boston and we didn’t have any of his stuff yet so we were basically camping in his empty apartment (with no way to make tea!). That’s why I didn’t try to set anything up. I don’t have my next trip planned yet, but I’ll probably be visiting every month or two. We should totally have a tea party! I think Sherapop and Christeana1 are also in/near Boston.

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89

This is the other oolong I ordered from Teavivre and it is also quite good. It has tightly rolled, dark green leaves that smell very floral. The color of the brewed tea is a spring green and very floral. There is also a strong mineral component to the taste with a buttery background, finishing with just a tiny hint of spinach. Initially, there is a creamy mouthfeel feel only at the finish, but the creaminess builds as you sip until it is both more intense and present throughout the sip. Another great green oolong from Teavivre, although I do slightly prefer the Anxi Monkey King TGY

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Mineral, Spinach

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Profile

Bio

Tea-obsessed, book worm scientist.

I love black tea, especially Chinese black tea- I’m looking at you Fujians and Yunnans! I also enjoy Indian teas, mostly first flush darjeelings (and a select few assams).
I think I’m recently starting to like oolongs better though- gasp! I’ve been cheating on my black teas with all these lovely, alluring green floral oolongs. Sorry I’m not sorry.
White tea gets a lot of love too! I am particularly fond of silver needle whites.
I can’t seem to appreciate green teas and rooibos is foul, IMO.

Other interests: Books! Board games! Nerdy entertainment like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones, Sherlock, all the nature documentaries, etc etc. Also Disney!

I’m up for swaps!

Follow me on instagram if you like tea, food, and animal pics plus some other randomness:
http://instagram.com/mj1851

Location

Minneapolis, MN

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