661 Tasting Notes

85

I tried to go with a shorter steep time as boychik recommended but I kind of lost track… I was at work at the time and got distracted. Oops. This was pretty bold as a result, but not bitter. There was a tiny bit of sharpness at the end but that’s it. It smells great. I’ll have to try it again and vary some steeping parameters. At this point, I prefer Shang’s Bai Lin Kung Fu but I would not hesitate to toss this in my cart with my next Teavivre order.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

Glad you liked it. I like short steeps with Chinese teas

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80

This smells like it should pack quite a bite, but it is surprisingly smooth despite that. I’d say it’s medium smooth. A deep mahogany brew that is Assam-like but not that malty. I find myself wanting to try this alongside a Nilgiri. Thanks, boychik, for sharing!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sil

maaaaaaan…so impatient for my samples of this from terri to get here

boychik

I love tin design.

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100

This is so phenomenal. Stunningly smooth, rich, thick, yeasty… I get the feel of having cream in my tea without actually putting cream in my tea. Which is good, since I’ve been dabbling a little too much cream in my tea of late. :) After ifjuly mentioned it on my last review it makes sense that I love this so much – if tan yang and pan yang are really the same things, because I lust for Harney’s Panyang Golden Tips but can’t justify the price.

Ysaurella

ohhh it should be really exceptionally smooth so if you have the feeling to get cream in !

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97

Okay, so I fell off the wagon on buying tea. But my Mom wanted some of their Pudina Darjeeling Chai and when I got there to check the prices, the Darjeelings were ON SALE! It was practically a moral imperative to order something.

And I’m very glad I did. This is a super good Autumnal Darj. Beautiful dry and steeped, delicious scent. Very, very low astringency, subtly sweet and musky. That said, I did err on the side of Darjeeling common sense and didn’t steep very long just in case. :)

I do however, have 250 grams of it since that was the smallest amount as this is on clearance. So… I can and will share. Or, until the supply is gone, it is 60% off at Norbu and you can get your own 250 grams. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Courtney

I know nothing about Darjeelings, but I got one in a swap and it’s amazing! I don’t know what season it’s from though, so I’ve no idea how to get more of something similar.

Nicole

Do you remember the name of it? I have several and would be happy to send some samples along. Personally I prefer the autumnal or 2nd flushes. The 1st flushes tend to be lighter and more delicate, IMO.

Nicole

Well, upon a quick flip through some of your tasting notes, it looks like it was a first flush so I’m probably not the best swap partner for those. Though I would still be happy to send along some of what I have. :)

Sil

Nicole…may hit you up to try this later :)

boychik

I should not read this. I keep ordering nonstop. I’m going to NYC tea festival on March 22 .

Courtney

No worries! I thought maybe you;d have some suggestions more than swapping.

Nicole

-boychik: Well, I’m glad I broke my resolve (tenuous though it was) for this one. :)

-Courtney: I can’t really recommend any 1st flushes. I can tell you that Puttabong is the name of the estate your tea you reviewed came from, though you may already know that. Castleton, Margaret’s Hope, Namring, Sungma, Thurbo… those are some of the estates that pop up pretty frequently when I’m looking at Darjeelings. Maybe try Upton Tea and look for first flushes. Their samples are a good, affordable way to try stuff.

-Sil: I’m sure I’ll probably have some around. :)

Courtney

Thanks! I appreciate the info. I will definitely check out places for 1st flushes. What are the major differences between flushes?

Nicole

I’m certainly not an expert – there are folks around here who know far more than I about this – but here is a link: http://coffeetea.about.com/od/advancedtea/a/Tea-Flushes-In-Darjeeling.htm

In short, the flushes refer to the seasons when the tea is plucked. 1st flushes are lighter and more floral. 2nd and Autumnals have a deeper flavor and usually more of the characteristic muscatel flavor of Darjeelings.

Courtney

Thanks :) Perhaps a new tea area to explore.

TeaBrat

The 2014 first flushes should be starting to come out soon and Upton is a really great place to look for them :)

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80
drank Earl Grey Tea Time by Fauchon
661 tasting notes

I know… I said I wasn’t going to try any swaps lest I be tempted to buy something else. But boychik sent such an awesome swap package, I couldn’t help myself!

I have been wanting to try some of Fauchon’s teas. They all smell so awesome I have high hopes! :)

This one is the super perfumey kind of bergamot. The base wasn’t a standout, but it wasn’t bad either. Mainly this was bergamot. So if you aren’t a perfumey bergamot fan, this is not one to get. But if you are… get some! :)

1.5 tsp per 10 oz.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sil

Bleeeerg!

Nicole

Yeah, this would so not be your cup of tea, Sil. :)

boychik

I haven’t tried it yet

Sil

also nicole…did you want me to send you a couple of the fauchon teas i have to try?

Nicole

I think I’m good for now, Sil, but thanks. Boychik sent several Fauchon!

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100
drank Tangerine Blossom by Shang Tea
661 tasting notes

I think a rating of 100 says it all and nothing has changed for me – this is still just a heavenly, lightly floral, stunningly smooth tea. I did use less leaf than normal this time and shortened up the steep time just a tad to see what would happen. It is still a marvelous tea but the shorter steep time makes the floral not quite as in your face. I like it both ways!

I mainly just wanted to add that it is a very good swap for jasmine tea with Chinese food. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
boychik

I like this more than jasmine tea

Sil

Blech…you and your jasmine lol

Kat_Maria

Ooh, I got my Shang Tea order today. Apart from the awesome sampler, I ordered an ounce of a black (red) that is not included in the sampler. I am sure it’s going to be as delicious as the rest of them :)

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75
drank Timolino 16 oz. Ingeni by Teaware
661 tasting notes

This works fine. You can pop out the bottom strainer to clean it if needed and get any stuck leaves loose, which was touted to me as a selling point. I think the filter in my Ingenuitea popped out as well, but I never knew that until it fell off of the counter and the handle shattered off! The filter popped out at that time as well, but went right back in. Wasn’t a problem for me that it didn’t come out, I don’t really worry much about tea stains and leaves never got stuck along the sides or under the filter. The Timolino does get leaves caught at the sides of the strainer from time to time, which doesn’t please me terribly but I can live with it. :) You can also put this whole thing in the microwave, unlike the metal mesh strainer in the Ingenuitea, but I use a kettle for my water, not the microwave, so again, not a big selling point for me over any other gravity infuser. I do think I prefer the metal mesh from the Ingenuitea – it just seemed sturdier. :)

So, I went to a local tea place where I bought my Ingenuitea hoping to replace it. All she had were these Timolinos. I figured it would cost about the same as the Ingenuitea and holy cow was I wrong. I should have just walked away – I could have replaced from Adagio online and cost less even with shipping. This is also about half the price on Amazon that I paid for it locally. But I hate to have someone ring something up and then change my mind, so I paid for taking the path of least resistance and not looking at the tag before putting it on the counter. Ah, well. Supporting the local economy counts for something. And I didn’t have to go back to filter basket in the cup for my tea until a replacement arrived. So hooray for local instant gratification. :)

UPDATE: Lowering rating because this leaks if you leave liquid in it for more than a couple of hours. I normally don’t, but I had just a little bit that wouldn’t fit in the cup a couple of times in the past weeks and each time, when I went back to pick it up, empty it, etc., it had leaked all over the counter. If you are just worried about drips, the coaster with the little lip on it that comes with the Timolino takes care of them but don’t let more than a couple of tablespoons sit in this for long or things will get… wet. I now have some paperwork that looks like authentically aged parchment…

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90

Wow, this takes me back. I had a horse when I was in junior high/high school. Add another vote for a match on “fresh brushed horses” and “barnyard aroma.” Lightly sweet, golden malt… this is a really good, really smooth Yunnan.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Ysaurella

you had a horse…I won’t say that to my daughter otherwise she will request me to get one…
This tea seems very nice.I didn’t drink very much Yunnans, for no special reasons, I think I should explore these teas one of these days.

Nicole

Seems like all young girls want horses at some point. :) A horse is an awful lot of work, though. Just tell your daughter that when she asks for one. :) If you need a Yunnan sampler, just let me know. I’ve been obsessing about them for a while now and have several that could be shared. :)

gmathis

Did you binge on horse books? That was my coping mechanism in 3rd grade: Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, National Velvet, and miscellaneous dime store hardbacks with teenagers in plaid shirts and bandannas…

Nicole

I binged on cheap plastic horse models from the local farm & home store. My Barbies rode in style. :) And before I had a horse, I was lucky enough to have a pony – when I was young enough to not be expected to do much of the hard upkeep. :)

gmathis

I remember those plastic horses. But if I had them there wouldn’t be room on the bookshelves for my Trixie Belden collection. Am I dating myself here or what?

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90

Man, this is some good tea. The blend on this is just fantastic. And with the addition of some cream – madly good.

This is a dangerous sipdown. I have sworn off buying any more for a loooong time – I don’t have a problem with having a large stash of tea, but I don’t need to spend any more money on tea. This one will make it hard to stick to that vow since I can just pick up a tin locally. Such a problem to have. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
carol who

I think that we all have that problem. Just a little more tea, just a little more tea, repeat ad infinitum. Should we adopt the old anti-drug slogan “Just Say NO” Yeah, right :)

Nicole

Yeah, I have made it a week without buying tea. I consider that a victory since I have made out 3 online orders in that time and not followed through with them. :)

Terri HarpLady

Good girl! You have much more restraint than I do. I received a couple of nice payments on paypal last night, & the next thing you know I’m perusing yixing pots, tea, etc… I haven’t spent anything…yet…I might allow myself a small present…or not!

This is how you end up with 400+ teas in your collection, BTW, although due to good behavior I’m somewhere below 350 right now, I think.
I did place a Verdant order a few days ago, because I had tea cash to spend by the 28th, haha

Nicole

LOL… I always feel better when I hear about some of the stashes others on Steepster have. I haven’t counted but most of what I have is in my cupboard here and I’m not even at 100. I just feel excessive since they are almost exclusively blacks… My last order was a must place though so it doesn’t count – I had to pick up Golden Fleece while it was still in stock. So my most recent order was with Verdant as well. :)

Terri HarpLady

My stash is very Black Tea heavy as well.
Now I’m sitting on Camellea Sinensis’ website…lol

looseTman

“I just feel excessive since they are almost exclusively blacks…”
“My stash is very Black Tea heavy as well.”
Is there a problem with that? :-)

Terri HarpLady

Nicole, I didn’t realize you were in KC!! We’re neighbors!

Nicole

I know! And some time I’ll make it over your way. Coworker is having a wedding reception over your way in April I think… not sure when exactly though. I can bring a tin of FS for you when I come. :)

Terri HarpLady

That would be awesome!
Tony comes to KC for a few days each month. He keeps inviting me to come with him, so one of these weeks I’ll have to come & meet you & TeaTiff!

Nicole

That would be schweet! :)

TeaTiff

A tea party :)

Nicole

You read my mind!! I have been contemplating having a tea party and inviting all the KC Steepster peeps. I see no reason why the St. Louis ones can’t be included. :) We’ll have to think on timing… :)

Terri HarpLady

Who else is in KC?
As far as I know I’m the only Steepsterite in St. Louis, although I brag about steepster to my friends all the time, LOL.

Nicole

Me, TeaTiff, Amanda Wilson, JustJames & used to be wombatgirl but she hasn’t been online in ages. Not sure if there is anyone else.

Nicole

Gah, make that JustJohn. :)

Nicole

Oh, and Azzrian is within driving distance but also hasn’t been online in ages.

Terri HarpLady

Cool! When I decide to come over there with Tony, I’ll let you guys know. He usually drives there on a monday, meets with clients tues & weds, & then comes home on a thurs. The hardest part for me will be scheduling make up lessons for all of my student, but it would be nice to get away for a few days.

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87

I have never had a tea that changed so radically with a change in water. My mom was up last night and she always says she can taste my water when I steep tea for her. So I did this for us with bottled water, refrigerator cold level, heated to boiling. Allowed to cool about 45 seconds then steeped 8 balls in 16 ounces of water for about 5 minutes.

The very first, immediate flavor I got was a faceful of brown sugar. Sweet, dense, sticky brown sugar. Not even caramel but brown sugar. Then the next flavor that hit me in the face was the alcohol malt. Both Mom & I sat and snuffled into our cups, trying to identify the smell we both were finding strongly but couldn’t name. All of a sudden it hit me – it was like inhaling in a warm summer room where malt alcohol has been spilled for years. Wood infused with malt.

Then I took it into work today to share with Tea Coworker. Hot water from filtered system, put into microwave and heated to just below boiling. 12 balls for 24 ounces. Steeped about 5 minutes. Didn’t get any brown sugar and the malt wasn’t as strong, but it was still more present than my first steeping with tap water and at a slightly lower temperature. We both still liked it a lot and Tea Coworker said it was a pretty amazing tea. But I want to try again here at home to reproduce the second set of parameters – that was truly the most amazing result.

Edit: just realized that I never wrote a note for the first steeping. Oops. The first steeping was malty, cocoa-y and very good. It was done at 190F with tap water and for about 3.5 minutes. Nothing super awesome, but good enough. Glad I tried again though with different water, temp and time – it revealed something beyond good enough. :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaVivre

Different water, temp and time can affect the taste, and you can get different taste each time.

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Bio

Tea afficianado & founder of the Midwest Tea Festival. 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.midwestteafest.com

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