520 Tasting Notes

85

So… it was in the lower 50s when I left work early today. I had to be home to get new windows installed so I went in insanely early to make sure I was getting enough done for the week and so I wouldn’t have to spend much vacation time. :)

There is a Caribou close to on the way home and I was cold so I thought this would be perfect. And it was! Again, just like a pumpkin pie with lots of ginger. Honestly, I wouldn’t call this tea of any kind and maybe it isn’t. What it is is delicious!

mj

“Honestly, I wouldn’t call this tea of any kind and maybe it isn’t”- LMAO

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100

This is the other tea I got from Green Terrace. It’s thick, fruity and bready with a little spice in the finish. Like sweet potatoes with cinnamon. It’s delicious.

It is similar to the Honey Black but different enough to be worth having both on hand. The Honey Black is way sweeter. I think if I could only keep one around it would be the Honey Black but this is an amazingly good tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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100

Oh my. Vanilla and honey and bread and yeast and fruit and wow. This is deeply sweet and definitely a honey sweet. There is a honey aftertaste as well. The dry leaf smells UH-MAZING and the steeped tea is the same. This makes me so happy I put aside my “no more tea until September” idea and got this on their sale. There will need to be more of this tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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90

(I couldn’t remember how to add teaware to the right place – thanks to some help from looseTman, this is a repost in the correct location!)

I have been using this for a little over a week now. It is a great size for use at work and I like that the minimum amount of water isn’t more than a cup. (I picked up a bigger cheaper kettle before I got this one and the minimum amount of water you can use it with is more than 2 cups.) I also like that the heating element is not exposed to the water.

It heats up quickly. The auto shut off does function as indicated. I don’t get any plastic flavor from the lid like some of the Amazon reviewers noted but I also don’t fill it up when I use it so that may have something to do with it. Dunno.

My only complaint about it is that it is kind of loud for the couple of minutes it takes to heat to boiling. A coworker turned around this morning and said “I’ve never heard a crack pipe but that’s what I imagine it sounds like. Nice start for your morning.” He was joking and said it didn’t bother him at all but it’s something to be aware of, depending on where you are going to use it.

It’s also small enough that I could see very little problem taking it on trips where I am already taking at least a carry on suitcase.

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So. Full. Of. Tea.

I have been drinking tea all day long today. I got two tiny little double wall glass tea cups from Teavivre last week. I have never been a huge fan of glass for tea cups without handles, but these were just too cute to resist. And I’m so pleased that they don’t get hot at all. Great double wall insulation I guess!

I started the day with Bi Luo Chun Black (or Golden Snail Yunnan) from Whispering Pines then moved on to Golden Fleece from Verdant – both were delish though I think I’m somewhat over Golden Fleece for now. I’ll still never turn it down, but my palate is trending towards heavier teas lately. Next was Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D, No. 9 Yunnan from Steven Smith – all reliable and good, though the Ailaoshan was by far my favorite of the group. Finished up with Golden Tippy Yunnan from Tealeaves, which unfortunately didn’t really improve much with the short multiple steeping style sessions I was using.

Almost all of the steeps were done with 1 teaspoon of tea, spring water cooled from boiling, rinse leaves, 20 seconds for 1/2 of a little cup, 45 seconds to top off the cup, then 1 1/2 minutes for second cup and leaving the tea in the pot until I was ready for the 3rd & 4th cups.

While that sounds like a lot of tea, I guess in retrospect it isn’t that much since they were all done in 6+ ounce tiny gongfu (not sure this is really gongfu) short steep sessions. I did resteep the Golden Snail so that’s…um… 42+ ounces?

Cameron B.

You must have the slosh belly! :P

boychik

And it’s all Yunnan ! I’m not that excited with GF lately. Maybe I should change the parameters.

mj

I got those double walled cups too! They’re adorable :)

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87

So… this is a sipdown, running me out of Teavivre teas before my order arrives. :) I didn’t replace these but that doesn’t mean they were bad. I had mixed results with this tea but overall I liked it more than I didn’t like it.

Sweetish, caramely, thick, malty. For me, this tea was very water and temperature dependent. Too much temp without the right water and way too much smoke came to the forefront. Maybe it isn’t smoke I get from these teas where no one else gets it, maybe it’s burned tea from my improper prep! :)

These cups today were done with Hinckley Spring Water at about 205F and I used 10 balls for 16 ounces, steeped for about 3 minutes.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML
Cameron B.

I was never really impressed with this tea for some reason. It’s good, but not something that I would order compared to some of their other black teas. :P

Cameron B.

Oh, and I wanna hear what you ordered! :D

Nicole

LOL… I got the Superfine Tan Yang & the Golden Monkey. A sample of the Jasmine Bi Luo Chun & the Bailin Gong Fu – I need to compare that to Shang’s Bailin to see if I prefer one over the other. :) So I didn’t go nuts or anything. Just enough to keep some in my cupboard!

mj

I liked the taste of this tea a lot, but it had a weird powdering texture. I know, powdery liquid? Makes no sense but that’s what it felt like. I still would have ordered some, but it was sold out :(

mj

powdering = powdery. I’m the worst with typos

Nicole

That is a good way to describe it. I noticed that in a few of my steeps as well but couldn’t come up with the right description.

Cameron B.

Those two Bai Lins seemed quite similar to me, but I didn’t drink them at the same time, so it’s hard to say. And hooray Tan Yang! <3

ashmanra

I know what you mean by powdery! I love it, though. I use it to pair with rich sweets so the tea can “cut” the sweetness of the food and you still taste the tea. I think it reminds me of what cocoa powder would feel like on your tongue.,,kind of scrape-y. Recently we settled on the feel of a wooden spoon with those little ice cream containers. :)

mj

ashmanra, cocoa powder is what I though of as well!

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98

Yup. This is still amazingly good. Deeply malty and caramely.

Having recently taken a thermometer into work to see what the actual water temp is out of the dedicated line and the coffee maker spigot, I was shocked to find how off I have been in my estimation. It is actually only about 160F. I’m amazed any of my blacks that I love turned out okay with temps this low! But… knowing this, I now give the cup a bump in the microwave before steeping till it’s bubbling.

This tea was good at work before, now it’s just as amazing as it is at home. And other teas I’ve been retrying at work have definitely improved. I’ve been switching between this, Single Origin’s Kenya Kaporet, Harney & Sons’ Indian Nimbu & Golden Blend (which was tons better at a higher temperature), and the no-name golden yunnan from Chinatown.

I haven’t been posting much since I’m just drinking down my collection and not really trying anything new. It hurts my heart because I really, really want to order two of the new Harney teas from China and my TeaVivre sale order has to be my only purchase for this month. I do get on and read reviews and discussions, though. :)

Plus, work has been nuts. It sucks since I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger for the next two months but after September, I have no idea what I’ll have to keep me occupied! I’m also working on something that could turn out to be super neat if it all turns out like I hope. I can’t say anything yet… but I am positive you folks will like it. Stay tuned. :p

boychik

I’m intrigued ;-)

looseTman

Nicole, What steeping parameters, {tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min.}, did you use for such excellent results? I see you mentioned 205*F & 3 min. in your previous note. Thanks!

Nicole

I used about 1.5 teaspoons in 10 ounces of water about 200-205F I’d guess (no thermometer at work any more but I could hold the cup for about 15 seconds before my hands got too hot and while the water wasn’t bubbly, the infuser & tea caused a brief bubble storm when I put them in) for about 2.5-3 minutes no rinse and it was filtered but not spring water.

looseTman

Thanks! I’ll have to try it.

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89

This is soooo good cold. Steeped strong hot and chilled in fridge. Wonderful dark fruity flavor.

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87

Oooo… now that I’ve had this twice more I can say with certainty that I like it quite a bit. It’s a thick, leathery, masculine Earl that still smells very feminine. The bergamot is really bold and strong. Mom noticed right away today that it also smells of roses when dry in the tin. I hadn’t picked that out before but yeah – really, really rosy. In scent only, though. In taste, this is pure bergamot with that thick, mildly malty Yunnan base.

And having tried this with 3 different preparation methods I now know how I like it. My first time was here at home with tap water. Just kind of meh and somewhat disappointing. Second time was at work with filtered water. Okay, but still underwhelming – I have since discovered that my hot water at work isn’t really hot enough for most of the teas I drink at only 150F!

This time I made it here at home with boiling spring water. That’s more like it. I no longer feel like I wasted my money buying a tin of this. :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Ysaurella

that sounds great

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80
drank Walter Bishop Honeybush by 52teas
520 tasting notes

I do like this a LOT cold brewed. I used it as a “non-tea” for the tea party at work today. Steeped 24 hours in the fridge (about 3 tablespoons to 1 1/2 quarts of water) then added slices of fresh strawberry. Yum! Upping the rating based on how much I like it cold.

No one really said much about it specifically, but everyone drank their cups down so it must have been okay. :)

http://s1165.photobucket.com/user/dagony/library/July%202014%20Tea%20at%20work?sort=3&page=1

boychik

Nicole, those pastries … Oh you teasing us right ?

Cameron B.

Aw, I wanna have a Steepster tea party with you guys! D:

Sil

i miss this tea sigh also when we get closer to st louis day we need to coordinate with terri!

mj

I wanna have a tea party too!! We should totally have a Steepstercon

Marzipan

Love that green floral teapot.

Nicole

Steepstercon! What a great idea! Needs to be somewhere with lots of restrooms… I foresee a LOT of tea being downed… :)

@Sil: did you ever pick up any of the reblend and try it to see if it matched up to the original? I got some of it, but I have been hoarding the old one and haven’t even opened the reblend up yet.

Nicole

Marzipan, that one is from Pier One. Not sure if they still carry it or not but worth checking. It pours pretty well, too.

Sil

reblend was close…but not the same :(

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Bio

Tea afficianado. I wish I could make a living creating and serving tea parties, but alas, bills prevent that possibility. :) So I make do by catering tea parties for friends and co-workers and drinking tons of tea with my cats on my lap. :)

Location

Kansas City, MO

Website

http://www.travelswithstinky.com

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