213 Tasting Notes

82
drank Lung Ching by Harney & Sons
213 tasting notes

This is a backlog from forever ago (= 2 nights ago).

It seems to me that I like dragonwell greens a lot. Every time I have them I am pleasantly surprised by how sweet they actually are. They always taste like sweet green vegetables. I also enjoy the way the dry leaf looks – it is the most beautiful hue of green.

This one from Harney & Sons definitely delivers on all levels. Very vegetal, practically not astringent at all, even on consecutive steeps. I think if I were to make one straight green my “everyday” green it would be Dragon Well AKA Lung Ching AKA Long Jing. Not necessarily from Harney & Sons, although it might turn out to be the best bang for the buck. I would like to try it from different companies first, though, especially now that there’s spring and there might be fresh harvests coming up (Am I right?).

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

I got this tea in a mystery pack from MissB. Thank you! :)

Okay, so the only tea from 52teas I actually own (And, I believe, the only one I had tried before this one) is Napalm Ferret. When I opened the bag of Cinnamon Roll and got a whiff, it smelled exactly like the Ferret. I was like “Why in the world does it smell like the Napalm Ferret???”. But then I realized that it’s the cinnamon that does it. Apparently this company uses very specific and pretty spicy cinnamon that you can recognize anywhere and that I am going to call Ferret Cinnamon from now on.

It was an enjoyable honeybush blend, I prefer my honeybushes and rooiboses citrusy and fruity, but a little bit of spice won’t hurt either. I did not get the “roll” part at all, however, and I did not find anything creamy about it.

I think I should just call it Ferret Cinnamon Honeybush instead, but not for long since I only have like a serving left, and I won’t be buying more any time soon.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

I have no idea why I decided to order exactly this tea since I am not the greatest fan of dark oolongs, and I definitely have had no luck with the flavored blends that consist of dark oolongs. Of course, my experience is that a blend from Butiki would be different. But still, dark oolong… I must have just thought this sounded really good at the time of ordering.

Well, either way, I am glad I got it, dark oolong or not. I had it last night. I was pretty surprised at huge pecan chunks. The oolong leaves were fragrant, graphite black and wiry. The brew was not too overwhelmingly fragrant but I could definitely find hints of the sweetness of maple and the nuttiness of pecans.

Oh, it was yummy! It was like eating a pecan pie only FAR, FAR better because pecan pies are drastically too sweet for me. And the flavoring, as always with Butiki teas, tastes sooo natural. I don’t think it will ever cease to amaze me how their teas are done. The base oolong was marvellous and I can see how its smokiness adds to the nuttiness, how it actually becomes the pecan notes.

The best thing about blenders as awesome as Stacy is that you can actually experience how they figured out this or that would make a great combination with this or that base, see how perfectly logical it is, and how obvious, and at the same time you know you could never really come up with it yourself. It’s like with literature or paintings, you read a poem, you see a painting and you’re like “This is so simple, and so obvious to put it this way, now that I see it” – and yet, you know you would never do the same thing. Something else, maybe. But not THIS.

Haha, this tea inspires musings even though I had it last over 13 hours ago :D :D

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

Thank you, Anna, for a sample of this tea!

This tea smells delicious as a dry leaf as well as a ready steep. Fruity and floral, delicate and mysterious.

Each sip gives you a slight shock at first because the Chinese green tea base seems to be pretty definite and strong. But then it studdenly smoothens out and you detect nearly everything that the aroma promised – fruity sweetness and blossoms. There’s a hint of some sort of candy, makes me think of a lollipop in particular :D It’s probably not the most complex cup but to hell with that. Fruity, refreshing, yummy. That’s all I need right now!

This tea is just perfect for a sunny late afternoon like the one I am enjoying now.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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73

Perhaps I am not much of a seasoned earl greyer but I do not find anything supreme about this tea.

I mean, it’s good. It’s a very decent EG. I am quite content sipping it right now. The base is somewhat strong and astringent, and that is fine with me. The bergamot flavor is not too pushy, it blends well with the rest, doesn’t bully the base tea notes and instead plays along nicely with them. Good clean bergamot fun.

But I guess I expected something extraordinary and stupendous, something SUPREME. All it might mean, though, is that it is just a notch (or two) better than Harney & Son’s standard EG, which I have never had, so I can’t know the difference.

It’s okay. I wouldn’t invest in a tin of it, though.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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50
drank Key Lime Ceylon by Fusion Teas
213 tasting notes

I decided to go with this tea as my first tea of the day. A beautiful day, I might add. I must have had it before but I don’t remember anything about it. I really have to sip this one down, it’s one of the older teas that I own (5 months old?).

However, as soon as I opened the tin, I realized why I am so reluctant to have this one… Because it smells godawful. There’s this extremely artifical smell that the leaves and, subsequently, the steep have. I tried not to smell it. It was like… a bunch of lime zest that you just found under an old carpet.

The flavor was slightly better but there was still so much of fakeness to it. On the whole it tasted like some kind of earl grey cream gone very wrong. Because you get this lime that tastes like a really nasty bergamot and then there’s some creamy notes – which was the only thing that positively surprised me about this tea.

Fusion Teas have some really awesome offerings (Caribbean Nectar Rooibos, Raspberry Champagne White) but this, IMHO, is not one of them.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Jennkay

“under an old carpet”? I don’t even think I would try the tea if it came out smelling like that!

Kat_Maria

haha, right? I might just give this one away one day.

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98
drank Fragrant Bud by Zen Tea
213 tasting notes

Backlog.

Beautiful straw-grey, long and swirly leaves brew into copper-brown liquor of a VERY tantalizing aroma. It sure is fragrant, they got that right!

And the taste… It tastes like the sweetest Chinese black tea you can imagine, but it is even more graceful and delicate. Which doesn’t make it less full-bodied. Every sip is smooth. And SO sweet. The flavors I detect are fruit tree blossoms, perhaps very sweet melon, maybe even a perfectly ripe avocado.

It has this other flavor to it that is hard to describe but that embodies “tea flavor” in general. It’s like tea flavoring in drinks or sweets, except it is perfectly natural. Imagine that a tea plant can actually grow edible apple-like fruit. They would taste like this tea.

This could be one of the best teas I have had so far. It is also my first yellow tea. I wonder if they are all this wonderful?

I re-steeped it three times and all the steeps were delicious, although on the third steep it seemed to have lost its ethereal blossom sweetness and started to get a little bolder instead (still not astrigent at all).

It seems like Zen Tea have it on sale right now and I am so tempted to get a massive amount of it… But it will have to wait.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
MissLena

Wow this sounds wonderful! adds to shopping list

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73
drank Té de Frutas by Lupicia
213 tasting notes

While I like this tea a little bit more than Lupicia’s Lychee, it is not anything particularly striking my fancy. It has all these nice fruit in there but somehow it is kind of… boring. Like an aunt’s birthday party kind of boring. You know, there’s all these good homemade pastries and cakes but then… damn, does it drag and the clock must have frozen!

Mabe it’s because its decaf? It’s good to have a decaf tea that pretends to be a black blend though, once in a while every tea drinker needs something like that.

I think I’ll move on to some oolongs soon today. It’s time!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
213 tasting notes

This tea… is gorgeous!

It tastes just like red-berry concentrated syrups that my grandmother used to make. You would add water to it to get a nice, refreshing juice. The last time I had it was probably nearly 20 years ago.

There exist some blends that try to imitate this kind of syrup, at least in Poland I’ve known some, they are usually herbal and bagged teas. Needless to say, they all would taste quite artificial. This one does not.

It retains this berry syrup flavor but also charms you with its delicately astringent base. And it feels like drinking this refreshing juice when I was a little girl. So amazing. I would not, not in a million years, expect this tea to take me back to an almost forgotten flavor of my childhood. Thank you, Mariage Frères!

And thank you, Anna, for a sample of this! I am glad that I like this one so much because it seems to be one of the more US-available of the French teas :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Anna

…and you’re officially a Mariage Frères fan! My devious plan worked!

Kat_Maria

And I have so many more from them to try, the sheer thought of it makes me want to squeal! :D

Sil

so wish i’d had time to organise MF with you before you left anna… though with terris teas it’s the last thing i need lol

Anna

Haha, aw, there’s always time, Sil!

Oh, and Kat – I got your package! It was there waiting for me when I came back on Sunday, so it got there some time last week. You sent me SO MUCH STUFF, and wow, thank you for being so thoughtful concerning my Tea Projects. ll be so much fun trying everything – thanks again!

Kat_Maria

Hell yeah, I am so glad you got it! I hope you will enjoy the teas! I am surely enjoying the ones from you. I was just getting ready to choose a green one from your swap :)

Anna

Oh, the site ate part of my note because I made a heart, haha. Steepster can be SO unromantic sometimes. I think it just said, ’I’m writing notes for everything as soon as I get a chance to try it, and it’ll be…’ and the rest you have there. =)

And yeah, also totally glad it arrived. I love sending packages, because it’s always like a small act of faith – it’s traveling, on its own, all intrepid. I usually think of my packages as the milk carton in that Blur video, but I’m terrible about anthropomorphing things.

Anyway, let me know if you’d like some more of this – I hardcore prefer the green one, and doubt I’ll use up all of the black.

Kat_Maria

You are right about packages. While I hate the idea of them getting lost, I kind of like the risk of that involved. The way that sending them makes you feel, like you have no control over it any more, even with tracking, anything might happen to it, really. And you cannot say that about many things in this digital age. We always know where our friends and family are, we can always stay in touch, no matter what. Whenever you send a bigger package it’s like people sending their children to faraway boarding school in the 19th century – hopefully they’ll get a letter back from them, 2 weeks later, in which kids say they are okay ;)

But yeah, anyway! I would love some more of this. We might organize another swap :D I just ordered from Lupicia a few days ago and I think you might be interested in some of my picks :)

Kat_Maria

Oh, and the milk carton in the Blur video mention (here I would put a heart, but I remembered it’s better not to).

Anna

Ooooh. You said Lupicia! Well, I’m all over this now, haha.

And thanks for nailing my ambiguous package feels so perfectly.

Kat_Maria

Great, it’s set then! I actually got a notice not so long ago from Lupicia that they’ve shipped my order. Now I just have to wait so that it crawls from west to east. I am NOT good at waiting ;D

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70
drank Lychee by Lupicia
213 tasting notes

I guess this tea is slightly better than I initially thought. It made a nice Saturday morning beverage, especially since the sun is shining nicely.

The lychee flavoring composes well with a nice day (A DAY OFF, too – very needed) and the black base seemed more definite this time around.

Anna

We already talked about the lychee oolong, right?

Kat_Maria

Haha, yeah, we did! I think it’s going to grow on me a little more, although it will never be my favorite or anything.

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Bio

ME & TEA

I started drinking tea when I was a teenager, my dad used to make tea a million times a day as it was (and still is!) good for his health. So he would make it for the entire family. Usually it was Lipton with a teaspoon of sugar per cup and a slice of lemon. I was fond of it made this way then a lot.

Then I would have occasional loose leaf teas, I slowly got into green tea… I would mostly stick to bagged tea though. It was just convenient.

Only recently, in the middle of 2013, did I start getting seriously into all kinds of loose leaf tea.

[LOVES]:
- Chinese black teas
- green oolongs
- super-fruity rooibos/honeybush “teas”
- interesting dessert teas

[LIKES]:
- green teas
- white teas
- dark oolongs
- non-Chinese black teas
- earl greys
- pu-erhs
- anything else that is missing from other categories

[IS INDIFFERENT ABOUT]:
- chai teas
- herbal teas
- fruit teas

[DISLIKES]:
- mint in blends (it’s ok as straight mint)

JUST ME
Apart from tea, I love reading, board-gaming with my husband, learning foreign languages (currently Spanish and Portuguese) and listening to lots and lots of music!

And if we just stick to food-related stuff I am also a great aficionado of good craft beer and dark chocolate :)

MY FAVORITE TEA COMPANIES (so far):
Whispering Pines Tea Co.
Butiki
Shang Tea
Yezi Tea
Golden Moon Tea
Lupicia
Harney & Sons

You can also find me here:
On Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/dairy_queen
On Last.fm http://www.last.fm/user/poziomka
On Untappd https://untappd.com/user/poziomka

Location

PA

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