145 Tasting Notes

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
145 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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97

Somewhere out in the Wild Piney Woods dwells a Tea Hobbit, Brendenol PinePeaker. He spends his days in his wild piney woods collecting pine needles to roast, picking mushrooms and dreaming up dreamy teas.

One recent morning, he chortled to himself as he mixed:

“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

I was chortling the same thing as I sipped this tea. The very first thing you notice as you sip is the sweetness. The honey-nectary sweetness rolls around with the warm bready bottom while a wee bit of minty freshness breezes through at the end. The sweet fruity-floral to me is very slightly reminiscent of that bug-bitten/Oriental Beauty sort of flavor. My beloved malt makes an appearance to keep everything reassuringly grounded.

The Lovely Tea Fairy (LTF) and I were given this tea to preview. As is usual for our first try, we followed the steeping instructions Brenden provided to the letter: ½ tablespoon of tea to 8 ounces of 205 degree water , steeped for 3 minutes – no more, no less. LTF and I are both what I call “heapers and steepers” in that we generally use more tea than called for and we frequently steep for a longer bit of time. We agreed Brenden’s parameters for this were perfect. On the first sip, the following conversation ensued:

LTF: “Oh crap, not another one.”
MzP: “yep.”

I don’t know how The Tea Whiz of the Woods keeps dreaming up these amazing teas that demand a permanent place in my cupboard. But he does. When he says he is a Tea Mixologist, he speaks the truth.

I know the base of Jabberwocky is Fujian Black and I know some of the high mountain wild picked purple leaf tea that is in Port is in there as well. This is not a big chocolate fudge bomb – there might be a very light waft of chocolate here and there, but you don’t immediately think chocolate. This is a medium bodied tea that will serve multiple purposes for me – a sweet comfort after a hard work day, a sprightly little wake up or a nice afternoon treat. This could easily be a daily drinker.

As I write this, I’m sipping on my last little bit, but I know I have more on the way (maybe even today or tomorrow) so I’m not sad, but I am savoring every mouthful, rolling it around my tongue and inhaling the malty-sweet updraft and enjoying that fresh little breeze at the end. It makes me hear this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFvXvfUF-Co&feature=kp

And because I think everyone should read The Jabberwocky as often as possible:
http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html

This tea? ‘Tis brillig.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Eucalyptus, Honey, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 0 OZ / 0 ML
TheTeaFairy

Haha!! Oh crap is right :-) you crack me up!!!!

TheTeaFairy

Oh, and you have all my admiration for doing this on tiny wee iphone!!!

MzPriss

My darling LTF – it was a mofo! And I have to fix stuff when I get home :)

whatshesaid

Another great WP review!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Such a lovely review :)

Sarsonator

Wonderful, as always. You both get to keep your Teacret Agent titles :p

Roughage

Thanks for a superb and entertaining review. You really make me want to try this.

MzPriss

Awwww thanks y’all so much. I love this tea

@Roughage – I’m glad to entertain and I think you will like it very much if you try it. It’s happy face tea for me and Pudding Mouth for the Fairy :)

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Did I say you crack me up?

Roughage

Happy face and Pudding Mouth? Most excellent. :)

MzPriss

No YOU crack ME up schmoopie!

Sarsonator

Schmoopie is one of my fave pet names LOL. That and PookiePie

TheTeaFairy

Oh! I love being called schmoopie :-)

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99

I’m drinking the last of my preview sample which would be sad except I know Brenden mailed my new supply yesterday so it will be here soon and I can have all the chocolate covered cherry tea I want. I think this one will also do that thing Golden Orchid does: it starts out incredibly awesome and then it sits around with that vanilla bean and it gets better and better ad better. This will be a chocolate morning as I have (FINALLY!) Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha. Hopefully all this chocolate will compensate for not enough sleep. I’m really about to lick my cup on this one

TheTeaFairy

Hey, it was officially declared “cuplicker” by you after all…so don’t be shy, go ahead!
(Not enough sleep sucks!)

MzPriss

Yes, but at least I got some. It was in pieces, but I got some. I’m staring at this empty cup and thinking LBCG!!!!!

MzPriss

I even really like CA as it cools down.

TeaTiff

How did I miss this one. Chocolate and cherries. Sounds yummy. I think my next WP order will have to involved a few of the blends. Sorry about not enough sleep. I hope you are able to catch some down time today.

MzPriss

It’s brand new and just came out – go check out TTF’s and my notes on it

TeaTiff

Oh man, I just read through them all. You guys are like WP ultimate sales team:) It makes me want to go order this right now!

TeaTiff

Oh man, I just read through them all. You guys are like WP ultimate sales team:) It makes me want to go order this right now!

MzPriss

I promise that you want some. When my box gets here, I can send you some

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95

This is one of my go-to morning teas and right now I’m going to it. And it is good. See previous notes for more.

Cheri

While I want to try all the teas, I also just love having teas that are my go to for whatever teas. I have go to comfort teas and sleepy time teas, but I am still really looking for a go to morning tea.

boychik

Cheri, I absolutely adore this tea. When in doubt, sad or happy always delivers. I HEART Yunnan everything.

MzPriss

I have several go-tos, including this and Special Dark and quite a few others. I also have a deep live for the Yunnans

MzPriss

Love. Not live.

TeaTiff

I love this tea! Cheri did I send you a sample with the milk oolongs? I usually send this to everyone, but I think at the time I noticed you weren’t digging blacks. Let me know if you are interested in a sample and I can send some your way.

MzPriss

It really helps if you have any tiger-taming you need to do

Cheri

TeaTiff You didn’t send this one to me. I’m trying black teas now, and I’ve found a few I like. Slowly….

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95

I am sincerely hoping that my local herb shop does not run out of dried elderberries because I will be drinking this bad boy ALL SUMMER LONG – and kats and kitties – summer lasts a LONG time in Central Texas.

I make a quart of this a day and I drink it all and then hold the jar upside down so every drop goes on my tongue. I do not share.

This combination of my very favorite tea blend, the much-beloved Golden Orchid, maple syrup and dried elderberries is just the smoothest most lovely and satisfying thirst quencher I can imagine.

The vanilla fudge bomb of the Golden Orchid with the concentrated fruit of the elderberries is already amazing and the maple syrup makes it hum. Perhaps I should note that I never drink sweetener in iced tea. Yes, I’m southern but I dislike sweet tea. This is so beyond tooth-achingly sweet Lipton. This is ambrosia.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I also dislike sweet tea…but this really is SO much different :)

Cheri

This sounds amazingly good. I will have to see if I can get elderberries….and Golden Orchid.

Sarsonator

Driving to the hiking location now. Well, the boyfriend is driving actually. And there’s 48 ounces of this cooling in the fridge for when we get home! I’m excited to try it!!! :)

MzPriss

You will do the dance of joy when you do.

TheTeaFairy

This is amazing. Never had real sweet tea, cause I can’t have anything overly sweet and I have a feeling it must have a ton of white sugar!

MzPriss

It does and it is GODAWFUL! For iced tea – I drink really strong Luzianne unsweeted with a big fat lemon or lime slice and sometimes a mint sprig. Hate sweet tea.

MzPriss

I have to go get a birthday card and run to a birthday lunch. I’m taking my Dark Beauty with me. I’ll check in later

Terri HarpLady

I need to restock on elderberries, or else I’d be drinking this today. Luckily he herb shop is 5 minutes from my house…

MzPriss

Having this right now.

Sarsonator

I am doing the happy dance….

MzPriss

Tole ya….

Sarsonator

I never doubted you for a minute!

Nightshifter

Any suggestions for where to get elderberries without an herb shop nearby? Want to try this. :)

Nightshifter

Woo, thanks ladies! :)

MzPriss

I would buy the one that wasn’t Amamzon.

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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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