139 Tasting Notes

99

Dear Wild Monk:

I love you very very much. I love your little whiff of smoke. I love your juicy bits. I love your creamy bits. I love the way you make me feel happy and relaxed. I love you so very much that I can’t believe I’ve never written a note about you. WTH? Also, I love drinking you with the other two Wild Tea Triplets.

PS – I also love that I have a shitload of you.

Sarsonator

Mmmmmmmmm bits…. :p

MzPriss

I have a happy sheng-face

Sarsonator

Totally! I’m feeling all warm and happy

Dexter

I love this tasting note. :))

MzPriss

@Dexter – I am in serious need of a moderator. Serious. Need. Because:
http://yunnansourcing.com/en/qin-zhou-pottery/3019-qin-zhou-teapot-engraved-leaves-180ml.html

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87

Whoa this is GOOD! The LTF advised me to make it in a big mug and I’m so glad I did. If it got cold here, I would have this every single cold morning (and night). Comforting roasty yumminess. I followed LTF’s advice and added a little maple and a little almond milk and this is like drinking breakfast. Love!

Also, is it weird that I dumped the tea into a wee cup and added a little maple syrup and ate it?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
TheTeaFairy

Lol, You did good kiddo ;-) It’s all pure goodness.
And it’s dexter who introduced me to this…I am so grateful!

MzPriss

I’m still nomming this – while making my grocery list to go get buckwheat pancake supplies

TheTeaFairy

Bluberry buckwheat pankakes …that’s my favourite.

MzPriss

I will see if they have any organic blueberries at the co-op – which I am off to as I am hungry now.

TeaKlutz

This sounds like a great comfort tea!

MzPriss

It really is TK

ashmanra

My son brought me some that his Chinese roommate left behind when he moved back to China. It is good! I drank it plain, but you make me want to try it other ways, too!

Christina

Whenever I make sobacha, I try to save the grains for breakfast the next morning. Put the grains in a little bowl, mix them with yogurt, and you’re good to go.

Ubacat

I like cooked buckwheat cereal but never thought about tea grains.

MzPriss

It’s good!

Sarsonator

Ooooohh lovely! Sounds deeeelish!!!

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100

I was trying to decide what to drink first this morning. TeaFairy said, “when in doubt GO.” As is usual – she was so right.

TheTeaFairy

Haha! We are “review twins” this morning :-)

MzPriss

We might as well be, we are about everything else…

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97

I am cruising through my stash this morning. This one makes me sigh in happiness. Happy enough that I might go back to sleep after I finish it

Sarsonator

Mmmmmm I’m excited to try this one, when it arrives.

I’m shenging this AM. Happppyyyy!!!!

TheTeaFairy

Oh, what a great idea missy :-)

And I’m Ailaoshaning this morning….I’m in a good place.

Sarsy. My little fashengista ;-)

Sarsonator

Good morning, my little croissant! Aila, yums!!! How is Canada looking this beautiful AM?

TheTeaFairy

Canada is humid and grey…hmmmm. I don’t care, I have good company and good tea, weeeheee!!! And how is cha qi this morning, any sheng sweat yet?

Sarsonator

No, but I did just put my review up, and I mentioned that I feel a burn and an elevated heart rate!

When a person has those symptoms, they’re either dying or shenging, I suppose :p

TheTeaFairy

Oh, you are fooooney :-)

Sarsonator

I do try to keep you entertained :p

TheTeaFairy

It’s working!!

MzPriss

I’m back awake now and Sarsy is already shenging. I love y’all

TheTeaFairy

Sarsy Fashengista. That’s a superstar name.

Sarsonator

I love it! Shengtastic!!!!

MzPriss

Total Superstar

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95

Wow! This is one of the most uniquely flavored teas I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. The dry leaf is tightly curled and dark as the best kind of sin.

I followed the directions of 1 tsp (ok mayble a little more than 1 tsp) for 8 ounces of 180 water for 4 minutes and was rewarded with a deeply colored brew with a woody and slightly vegetal aroma.

First sip was sweet and fruity and nectary, almost a bug bitten flavor to me. There is a lot going on with this tea. There is the lovely roastiness, a woody bottom and that lilt of fruity, floral sweetness at the top that makes this tea sing. It’s bold and beautiful like Tina Turner:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj0wPrN_Y_4

I wish I had started on this gong fu style, but I have more and I will spend plenty of time with this.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sarsonator

Well someone was up bright and early! Good morning, sunshine!

TheTeaFairy

This is my beloved aged oolong. So glad you liked it!! Gongfu it, you will enter the twilight zone…

Sarsonator

I still don’t know how I missed this one at the sale. I’m such a goober sometimes!

MzPriss

I was up at 3 drank a shitload of tea, bought a minor shitload of tea (and a yixing) and then went back to sleep.

TheTeaFairy

You rock missy :-)

Sarsonator

LOL Friday night tea party!!!!

Cameron B.

Sars, I missed this one too! Waaaaaah.

donkeytiara

oooooh……one day i will oolong….

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100

My middle of the night tea again. Made in my Vanilla Dreams seasoned yixing. Sipping and shopping the Teavivre sale.

As much as I already loved this tea, I love it so so much more having it from this yixing, it makes more happiness.

Sarsonator

And what, my dearest, did you get from TeaVivre?

TheTeaFairy

(i might have placed a middle of the night Teavivre sale order myself..oops…)

TheTeaFairy

And yo, little VD pot!!! Do you have yours yet sarsy? Any of your 100 clay gaiwan dedicated for it?

Sarsonator

I am using one of my banko houhins as my vanilla teapot. I’ll snap a pic for you. :)

TheTeaFairy

Oh, yes please!

Cheri

TTF you might be in so much trouble.

MzPriss I love that you have a Vanilla Dreams yixing. YUMMY!

TheTeaFairy

Lol, cheri, I’ve been in trouble pretty much all my life, so bring it :-)

MzPriss

I got some Bailin Gongfu (a LOT) because I <3 it and the yixing that is on sale and something else, then I went back to sleep

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After my really EXCELLENT experience with the Li Shan Black from Green Terrance, I was really looking forward to this tea. Sadly, I did not have a good experience. I tried it first gong fu @ 200F 30/30/1:00/1:30/2 and at first thought I would really enjoy it as it had a gorgeous peach-apricot aroma. Sadly, on tasting each steep was really bitter until the 5th when there wasn’t much left but a hay flavor.

I had enough (the samples are REALLY generous) to do a western style cup, so I tried a tablespoon in 10 ounces of 200F water. It wasn’t bitter this way, but tasted odd and I didn’t finish the cup.

I’m wondering if I got a flawed sample. I’m going to refrain from giving this a numerical rating.

Sarsonator

Oh that’s interesting. I had a bad first experience, but it was because I oversteeped it. I had no problems with gongfu. I did a 20 and 40 with 200 degrees. I’m sorry yours didn’t turn out well. It doesn’t sound oversteeped. :(

boychik

i always do shorter steeps starting 5/10/15 etc

MzPriss

I have a wee little bit left and can try shorter steeps, but 30 isn’t a really long time. It was way bitter until the last steep. I wanted peachy apricots like it smelled.

Sarsonator

Or maybe you could put it in your beautiful tea cabinet and tell it to calm WAY down.

boychik

what about leaves/water ratio? i do find this tea sensitive, thats why i think shorter steeps would do the trick. just my 2c ;)

MzPriss

I will try it with way shorter steeps and less leaf. Thanks y’all.

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99

After a hectic 4 hour drive home (with my new tea cabinet loaded in my vehicle and stupid traffic, I am home, I am showered and I’m relaxing with my dogs and a cup of these chocolate covered cherries and contemplating the arrangement of my new cabinet. I’m about to crack open a book. Life is good.

boychik

pics pleeasee!

boychik

OMG, I’m speechless. this is so my style. Where did you get it?

MzPriss

I went to the Crate & Barrel outlet in Dallas. It was on final markdown for some unfathomable reason. There is not a scratch, nothing wobbles, the latch it perfect. It’s well made and not too huge and it was a screaming deal. So I rode home with all my things in the front of the car with the back seats down in the back and managed to fit it in. Barely.

Sarsonator

So pretty!!!! I can’t wait to see it all filled up with tea!!!!!!

MzPriss

I know!?! I need a plan I think. I did already put a box of pu on the bottom shelf

Sarsonator

Good. At least the cabinet won’t be lonely while you plan out your tea storage. :)

MzPriss

The pu is snuggling it while it adjusts to it’s new home. I wanted to avoid separation anxiety

boychik

this is awesome cabinet. you got teapots and gaiwans to decorate it with. i really like that side are glass too. enjoy!!!

Terri HarpLady

Love it! And looking forward to see it filled!

ashmanra

Oooooooooh my! Beautiful, you lucky duck!

Tea Sipper

Oh my gosh! Gorgeous cabinet! You must show a picture when it’s filled! Books & tea cabinets… fun day. :D

MzPriss

Thanks y’all. I’m trying to work out a plan for how I will put things in it. I think I need some shelving accessories.

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90

Li Shan Black is the first of three samples I received from Green Terrace Teas to review. I am out of town visiting my sisters this weekend and while I had tea, I didn’t have the hardware to brew gong fu style as recommended by Green Terrace. So I improvised.

Using a Fiesta Ware cream pitcher, a strainer and some custard cups, my sisters and I had an impromptu session with this tea.

A sniff of the dry leaf in the bag is a big malty, fruity nose-bomb. As these are two of my favorite things in a tea, I was hopeful the brewed tea would taste the way it smells and it did not disappoint.

Using just-off boiling water, we started with 1 minute steeps increasing 30 seconds and went through 5 steeps.

The first steep was malty, with honey-rose scent and a flavor we all likened to apricots. Subsequent steeps continued to provide a sweet, smooth ride. There is no astringency here, just an extremely balanced sweet and fruity medium-bodied cup.

More (including the song) on my blog at: http://atasteofmzpriss.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/li-shan-black-tea-green-terrace-teas/

Marzipan

I have been really impressed with their teas.

MzPriss

I really liked this [articular one a lot and I’m looking forward to the others.

Sarsonator

This sounds so good!!! Hope you’re having a great Sunday, my lovely!

MzPriss

I am! We are having kind of a mini family reunion with some cousins I haven’t seen in a really long time. I bought a new cabinet for my tea yesterday and stopping on the way home to pick it up

Sarsonator

Fun! And I trust that you already know that I’ll be wanting pics of this new item!!!! :)

apt

i liked this one too

TheTeaFairy

Yes, pic please. And so happy you’re having fun!
(Fruity nose-bomb…hehe)

MzPriss

Here you go girlies – on final markdown at the Crate & Barrel outlet – in perfect condition – not a scratch – it’s BEAUTIFUL in person:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/125488674@N02/14728159926/

mj

That is beautiful!! I LOVE it

MzPriss

:D thank you! At first I thought I might paint the gray bead-board back, but I decided if I do that all my black tines will just blend in and make it hard to find things – so I’ve decided it’s completely perfect.

mj

It is completely perfect. What a find!

MzPriss

Thank you!!

TheTeaFairy

Oh my, your teas are going to be so happy, the cabinet is absolutely perfect!!

Sarsonator

I’m more than a little jelly about this cabinet. Now I need to make a trip to Ikea

MzPriss

Thanks y’all! I was planning on IKEA myself. But then I saw this and it was marked down so much. I guess they just wanted the space in the outlet store because there is not one flaw. I need a cute box for my pu. Right now they’re in cardboard. Or I just need a pumidor.

Sarsonator

Mmmmmm pumidor. I have a handy step father. That may be in my future.. hopefully anyway!

mj

Handy step dads are the best :). I love mine!

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100
drank Dark Beauty by Mandala Tea
139 tasting notes

This is my 100th tasting note! I’ve been drinking plenty of tea, but I haven’t made a formal note on them because I was saving #100 for something meaningful to me. The very first what I call “real” (not grocery store tea bags) teas that I fell passionately in love with were Mandala teas. Garret was my first tea-pusher. I realize “tea-pusher” sounds a bit questionable and unromantic for the ever so charming and graceful Garret. But I mean it in the most affectionate way possible. Good tea is like the very best kind of addictive drug and dealing with Garret is an addicting experience: beautiful tea made possible by a soulful, ethical company. I will be a lifelong Mandala customer.

I’ve mentioned drinking my Dark Beauty cocktail many times and have had a few requests to add it to the database, so violà! (that was for you TeaFairy).

You won’t find “Dark Beauty” when you go visit Garret at the Mandala site because it’s a concoction of two of my very favorite teas – two great tastes that taste great together if you will. Dark Beauty is a blend of Special Dark Loose Ripe Pu’er and the sweet, mildly chocolate Black Beauty.

Both of the teas are spectacular on their own. I have Special Dark either alone or in this mixture pretty much every morning of my life. Special Dark is very different from most ripe pu’er – there is no leather that I detect, just a deep smooth bass note of heavy chocolate goodness. Black Beauty isn’t a bug bitten tea, but it has those very sweet lychee-honey notes that good bug bitten tea has.

Here’s how I make it: I take a 16 ounce cup or teapot, I put a scant tablespoon of Special Dark in whichever infuser basket I’m using. At this point, once you’ve boiled your water, you can give the SD a quick rinse if you wish. I usually don’t bother because it doesn’t seem necessary to me for this tea – sorry tea careful tea-crafters, sorry about that. I steep the SD in 16 ounces of 212 water for 3 minutes. Then I add a big pinch of the Black Beauty, give it a stir and steep for another 3 minutes.

UPDATED to add the new, lazy, awesome method. I’ve been losing patience with what I call The Dark Beauty Two-Step, so it’s time to make it simple. Now, I’m putting both teas in at the same time (and skewing the ratio slightly more to the Black Beauty side), pouring in the water and steeping it all at the same time for 4 minutes. Works a treat and less fuss If you’re a DB fan, try it this way and let me know what you think.

Yes, that is a LONG time to steep. No, it never gets bitter or astringent. It yields the deepest, darkest cup of sweet comforting awesome you can imagine. Earthy and chocolate with an undertone of caramel lurking back there, especially noticeable as it cools a little and a lilt of the floral-lychee bit from the Black Beauty at the top.

When I’m feeling particularly indulgent, I go Terri-style with this and add a little maple syrup and on occasion, a little bit of milk or almond milk. I have insomnia and lots of stress. This is the tea equivalent to me of the heavy, snuggly quilt my great-grandmother made that I cocooned myself in as a child. This is my pure comfort tea. When I drink this, I hear pretty much everything these guys ever sang: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nedEEL37Lvw

Christina

I’ve never had anything from Mandala, but this tea sounds like it would be quite the experience. Congrats on your 100th note!

mj

Happy 100 :)

MzPriss

:) thanks y’all. Christina – Mandala is all the awesome. I especially love their pu’ers

Sil

woohoo! grats on 100 notes!

Stephanie

That blend sounds amazing!

Sarsonator

Making this tonight. I specifically bought Black Beauty so I could try this!!!!!

re super! I just adore you AND your lovely tasting notes! Have a wonderful day, HoneyBelle!!!!

Sarsonator

Stupid steepster… That said You’re super!!!

And it had a heart. Steepster hates hearts!!!

MzPriss

Awwwww thanks for the <3 Sars. I adore you right back and I think you will love Dark Beauty.

boychik

Congrats on 100!!!

Garret

Dark Beauty recipe is going to go on our site soon, if that’s alright with you, Mz Priss! Naturally, I’ll credit you as the contributor. We are changing up the site over the next few months and I think this will go on the blog that I just started there and also in a recipes section. Great stuff, the Dark Beauty!!

Sarsonator

I’m making mine now!!!! Wooo hoo!!!! 30 secs left!

Garret

And the verdict, Ms Sarsonator?

Sarsonator

Reminds me of my Nana. But probably not why someone might think. LOL. I just posted my review. Yay!

MzPriss

@Garret – of course it’s alright with me – I’m glad you like it. It’s my happy place, as Sars would say: Of Happiness.

Sarsonator

Yep. That’s exactly what I would say! I think you really did a great job with this one, HoneyBelle!

MzPriss

Thanks hon. I’m enjoying my Jabber, thinking about what to put on a tortilla for dinner

Sarsonator

Beans and hummus?
Veggies and hummus?
Veggies and SPICY hummus?

MzPriss

I have both of those things. Good idea, and maybe a cup of Black Beauty w/o SD since my Jabber is allll gone

Sarsonator

I need to try the Black Beauty on it’s own. Maybe I will do that for tomorrow’s AM tea. I got excited and went right for your blend. :)

MzPriss

I love BB. It tastes bug bitten like an OB, but it’s not. It’s yummy

TheTeaFairy

Oh, what a lovely review! You make everyone want to try this beauty cocktail…and guess what? I just got my black beauty in the mail, so tonight is the night!

Haha! And thanks for “violà” much appreciated :-)

looseTman

Congrats on your 100th tasting note! Creating your own “Special” Mandala cocktail is an awesome way to celebrate #100! MzPriss, your truly an original!

MzPriss

Thanks looseTman – I hope you enjoy it if you try it :)

TheTeaFairy

I love the new Lazy DB!!! Great idea ;-)

Sarsonator

Lazy DB FTW!!! I am on my 2nd steep at 6 min. Still good!

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Profile

Bio

Love that I’m living in beautiful Central Texas – land of good fun, good friends, good food, good music and good tea (Zhi – word.) Tasting great tea makes me hear music. Very often you will see a link to the song I hear for a particular tea.

I’m now blogging about tea and food at: http://atasteofmzpriss.wordpress.com/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/atasteofmzpriss

Black/red Chinese teas and pu-erh hold the key to my heart.

I don’t care much for flavored teas, especially the fruity varieties. My exceptions are chai and Earl Grey, and apparently now vanilla. Not much love for lapsang souchong either.

I sit squarely on fence with green and white teas.

If I end up in hell, my punishment will be to drink rooibos.

Location

Texas

Website

http://atasteofmzpriss.wordpr...

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