658 Tasting Notes

My cat woke me up (for a second time) this morning, earlier than I was planning to get up. I wear an insulin pump with tubing that runs to an infusion set on my abdomen, a continuous glucose monitor sensor on my upper arm, and a medical alert bracelet for type 1 diabetes. These medical accoutrements have become targeted by him. This otherwise pretty sedentary 20-pound lug gnaws enthusiastically and mercilessly at one or all of them when he doesn’t feel he’s been fed quite recently enough. I preferred his chewing on hair phase, to be honest. Anyway, at a certain point it ruins the indulgence that was meant to be “sleeping in”.

So, I thought I would make the most of it and get up and enjoy the morning. I had my gaiwan and setup already out ready to go, so I went for the heap of Tao Tea Leaf samples I still have from a couple months ago, thinking any of them would be a sure thing.

Unfortunately, I’m having an odd experience with this one. I botched the first two infusions by not realizing I only had the Zojirushi set to 175. The leaves had a slight roasted, woody scent, and the liquor came out rich and orange-brown, but I wasn’t getting much from it. Only a slight mineral taste. I heated some water to 195 separately, for the next three infusions, but had only a slight improvement. It was a little more smokey-tasting, but still very underwhelming. Is it me? Is it the tea? Is it my water? I don’t know!

LiberTEAS

How are you steeping?

Jessie

I started at about 30 seconds and worked up to 2 and then almost 3 minutes on the last steep. This sample is apparently 5 grams, which looked like plenty (a good 1/3rd of my gaiwan).

LiberTEAS

Hmm… ok. My one thought was that maybe this was a tea that was meant for gaiwan brewing, but since you’re doing that … I don’t know!

TeaBrat

sounds like you just have a wimpy tea…

Jessie

Yeah, I think so. I’m finished this sample but have some similar ones from them, I think, so I’ll have to see how those go.

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88

This is one of two shinchas I ordered from Yuuki-cha, and it’s made up the bulk of my at-home tea drinking over the past few weeks. It’s delightful, and I am quite taken by the novelty of drinking tea harvested only a couple weeks before I receive it! Over the past several months I’ve been drinking mostly Chinese teas, so this is a nice return to Japanese greens.

The leaves, post-infusion, are the most vibrant green ever. They don’t look spent the way less fresh tea does after steeping. The liquor is also an amazingly vibrant yellow-green.

While it’s steeping, it smells like delicious freshly-cut hay. It might be odd to term any type of hay “delicious”, but I grew up spending most of my time in stables and often helping bale hay, so I have good associations with the scent and have always found it really nice, simultaneously refreshing and comforting. The liquor after the leaves are strained smells a little more earthy, and more buttery.

The butter really carries over in the flavour. It tastes like snow peas swimming in butter. It has a nice, full mouthfeel to match and a savoury-sweetness. It’s moderately astringent, but not bitter at all. So lovely! I get three really solid steeps out of this.

Bonnie

A great tea experience for you considering your fond memories.

DaisyChubb

mm this sounds like a very special tea!

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80
drank Brazillionaire by DAVIDsTEA
658 tasting notes

This one’s interesting. I kept getting a nagging voice in my head telling me I was drinking Secret Weapon, based on the scent. It’s indeed similarly nutty, obviously, but quite sweet. I like it. I’m not sure how I feel about the massive Brazil nuts, though I acknowledge that’s kind of the tea’s whole gimmick. But, how much flavour do whole nuts actually impart? All I know is nuts are heavy! Anyway. Aside from that, and the slight bitterness that came out even at 3 minutes at 200 degrees, I enjoyed it.

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87

Oh, Steepster. I’ve been quite MIA for some time now. I’m so behind on the things I’ve been drinking! I’m going to ease back in with this one, which I’ve had a few times now both iced and hot.

I found this one a really pleasant surprise! It’s a well-balanced, straight-up blueberry black. I haven’t had a blueberry tea I’ve liked, so this carries the distinction of being the first. The stevia doesn’t interfere too much (though I still find it an odd choice to be in so many blends). I’ve had it iced from the store a couple of times, and it’s flavourful enough to be satisfying while a lot of DT’s teas can be underwhelming iced in-store.

TeaBrat

I was thinking about getting this but now that I know it has stevia… ick

Jessie

You could give it a shot. I’m normally sensitive to stevia in tea/liquid because it seems to leave a weird feeling in my mouth, but I don’t really detect it in this. But I wish they’d leave it out! It seems like all the new teas have it. It doesn’t add anything but apprehension about trying them for me.

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85

Herbal Infusions very kindly included a freebie pouch of this in my order some time ago when they were sold out of a tea I’d ordered (though they also substituted a different tea for me). I’m so glad! This is delicious. It’s simple so I was prepared to be underwhelmed, but it’s the most faithful fresh apple tea I’ve had. It just tastes like apples. I’m sure it would be delicious iced, but I’ve had it hot a few times as I find it a very comforting nighttime tea.

Sadly, I don’t see it on their site anymore.

Bonnie

This may sound like a wierd name for a tea but, it is what people do drink in Turkey! I was offered this all over Turkey (not this brand granted but you get what I mean).

Jessie

Interesting! I’ve seen a few shops have teas called Turkish Apple Tea, and wondered about it as I hadn’t heard that before.

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81

Despite being totally jaded by my poor experience with Tea Leaves’ tea of the month subscription, the tea is piling up so I need to dig in. It’s now been a year since we ordered it and only 7 of the packages have arrived (and two of those were within the past two weeks!), at seemingly random intervals.

The teas are still lovely, though. I haven’t had a lot of experience with straight, unblended Keemun but I’m enjoying this as my first cup of the day. It’s sweet, and a little woodsy and smoky. I’m also getting some spicy, peppery notes from it which I’m not particularly in the mood for lately but it’s not so overbearing to be unpleasant.

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85
drank Lime Fizz by The Tea Haus
658 tasting notes

This is a crazy tea! I can’t believe how much fizz is going on here. It’s citrusy with a punch of tart lime and spice. It really tastes (and feels!) like some sort of limey carbonated beverage. I will probably save the rest to make iced, because this one is begging to be chilled.

Tina S.

Isn’t it fun? The first time I had it I almost dropped my cup in shock.

Jessie

Yes! It’s so crazy that they’re able to do that with ginger and peppercorns.

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81

I am writing this for a few reasons:
1) to celebrate that Steepster is now loading in a bearable amount of time for me (though I just lost my first bit of post as I’ve seen people mentioning)
2) to remind myself to take the term “intensive summer course” more seriously next time
3) to scold myself for not having finished last year’s shincha (and to be excited for the new shincha I have on its way soon)

That’s pretty much all. This is still quite nice. I chose wisely with the pan-fired one. It’s got some buttered veggies goodness going on, but very sweet.

TeaBrat

did you end up throwing the old stuff away?

Jessie

Oh, nope! I totally made it sound like that. This is last year’s that I was drinking, and I have probably a cup left. It’s still tasty, just not as fresh. :)

Erin

Gahh you’re taking an intensive course? You brave, brave person.

Jessie

I am! I took this one as it’s an interesting but not terribly confusing art history course, I knew the prof, and it’s the only one that met twice two days a week rather than four days a week. I’ve made it through the midterm and paper and am in the home stretch but it’s been a wild ride and it’s only been two weeks! It’s nuts.

Erin

Woww good job, seriously!! I’m struggling with a REGULAR art history course. But I’m taking intro to archaeology too.

Jessie

Two summer classes is really challenging! Good luck. I found intro to archaeology quite fun, at least (depending on who’s teaching it!).

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86
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
658 tasting notes

This is really nice! I haven’t got around to making it at home yet, but got an iced cup to go today. I contracted my first cold in a year from a friend and am miserable, but this was nice and refreshing. Very flavourful, even from the store which is pretty remarkable as it tends to be quite watered-down that way. This is straight-up pineapple/coconut, and the coconut manages not to be soapy as in some of the other pina colada blends I’ve had.

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59
drank Paradise Found by DAVIDsTEA
658 tasting notes

Cold-steeped, this improved but not markedly. The man of the house liked it a lot, but I still found it tart and weird.

Erin

I had this same experience today!

Jessie

Haha! I just saw that. At least it used up the last of mine!

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Art history and anthropology undergrad who prefers curling up with her cat and a cup of tea to writing her papers.

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Toronto

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