New Tasting Notes
Sipdown! Lately, I got in the habit of cold brewing a glass Contigo of this every day, sometimes every second day, until it was gone. I went from 60+ grams to done in no time.
This did lose some flavour since the summer. Fresh, it had more substance. These last couple cold brews were alright but just vaguely sweet.
I keep forgetting to add dates.
22Jan: lemony smell, tastes kind of lemon creamy vanilla. I don’t know I was quite confused by this tea and what I was tasting. Did this one in the gaiwan, but after tasting it I decided that the tea was not worth the time and effort that the gaiwan takes. I’ll finish the rest of the tea western style.
Tea fine but taste was odd. Not artificial odd, just confusing odd.
Fuzzy leaves, strongly scented with jasmine. Taste – jasmine, soft taste of whit tea with buttery mouthfeel. Relatively thick taste. Well scented – not too much, not overpowering like some jasmines can be. It never tastes overdone or over-jasmined. Scent hold through the second infusion. Taste fainter, still buttery, more of whit tea present in taste. I really like this tea. Very well done jasmine tea.
Flavors: Butter, Jasmine
This has been one of my standby teas for awhile now, but this new tin isn’t up to the usual standard for some reason. I don’t know if they changed the recipe or if this particular batch is just not mixed well. I’m seeing a lot more tea leaf, but not much of the ginger or lemongrass that’s meant to flavor it. The base tea in itself is not particularly flavorful, so the result is a bit bland. Hoping this particular tin was just a fluke.
After reading about the concept of insect feces as tea, it was only a matter of time until I drank it. This product is said to be a home made product from the early 1980’s via Chawang. A short excerpt:
“Local people put medicinal herbs and old tea leaves into a bamboo basket and let them natural fermentation to produce aroma to lure insects lay eggs, after some months larvae eat the leaves and leaving the droppings there. People take droppings out and dry them in the sun, then fry the droppings together with tea and honey in the iron pan for 20 minutes so that the final insect feces tea is ready for drinking.” (http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/1980s-guangxi-chong-shi-cha-10g.html)
How could a tea addict not let these words brew curiosity within themselves of an unknown journey that this would provide? This is something that I knew I would approach with a lot of time dedicated to the thoughts of brewing it as well as tasting it.
The first steep had a flash wash just to wake it up; I wanted my antique poop to be more alive when I tasked it! The first session I stuck with the typical 10 second steep as I would with a liubao or raw puerh I have no idea what to do with. The first thing you notice is, this is poop; just from the look alone, there is no denying that I just put poop in my teapot. The first steep I decided to sniff it awhile while it cooled. There is a medicinal smell in there mixed with a bit of that ‘dirty’ smell that luibao tends to have. The first sip took me by surprise as I was expecting more of a dirt taste and dryness. Initially I tasted some wet hay that is in the drying process. The similarities of luibao and this tea are evident from the look, smell, and taste. What I like most about this is how smooth it is. Interestingly, it leaves an oil like texture on the back of the teeth once you sip it down. That feeling is enjoyable until I remembered that it’s basically poop lubricant that I’m running my tongue across to assess the feeling.
Upon finishing the first session, I decided that I needed to go on to the next. Surprisingly this resteep very well. The next steep has a lot of the same qualities that you find in a really dried out white tea. It’s quite nice to have mixed in with the luibao taste. The oil like feeling has gone away which is unfortunate now because the after taste is quite dry. Little pieces are finding its way in my cup as they may be dissolving and getting smaller. Now I’m drinking and eating poop that’s older than me; isn’t that a weird concept?
I went ahead to four total steeps with a total of 22’ish ounces brewed and drank. In regards to the price: At $8 for 10g, it seems high but you have to keep in mind that you won’t be using 4g for a session. I think the price is lower than it could be, it’s actually a great deal for the experience and age of what it is.
2016 Sheng Olympics Group Buy. This is a nice tea. It is very smooth with little bitterness. While its got some sweet notes it does not have the apricoty sweetness of the 2011 Bang Wei Spring. It has aged into something quite pleasant though. There is no hint of wet storage in this tea yet it has aged somewhat. It has a nice dark colored tea soup. It has not yet developed any unpleasant aged flavors. It is quite good.
I steeped this twelve times in a 100ml gaiwan with 7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 mini, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Whew, its been such a long week! I’ve been drinking tea, of course, but have had no time to log it. Everyone is getting sick, and work was very stressful (curses! Just when I was starting to feel more at ease in the new job!), and so I’ve been going home and not really spending any time online.
So I thought I’d start it off right with this, which is just such a buttery, lovely blend. Its just exactly the right tea for a Saturday morning. I didn’t think I’d go for it when I first got it, and now I’m on my second pouch. If you can grab some, then you should!
It will be interesting to see what this tastes like, as it has been living in its paper sample bag in a plastic container along with other Simpson & Vails, some of which are florals, in their paper sample bags.
The dry leaves are small and medium in the tippy and curly department. They smell a little perfumey, which scares me some.
The tea steeps dark, darker than I’ve seen in most yunnans. A clear, dark mahogany. The aroma is malty-deep, slightly sweet, with just a hint of pepper. The perfume smell doesn’t carry over into the aroma, fortunately.
The flavor is surprisingly mild given the dark color and smell, but flavorful. Gentle on the stomach. There’s just the smallest amount of perfume carry-over, but not enough to give the tea an altogether different flavor from what it is. It’s not the best yunnan I’ve had, solid, but not overly interesting. It sort of reminds me of the Numi Chinese Breakfast.
I suspect I’ll sip this one down easily and quickly, both because it’s a pleasant drink and because with all the other yunnans in my cupboard that I prefer to this one, I’d rather sip down this one as a distraction from focusing on the others.
Now for the life update. No need to read if you’re in this for the tea. ;-)
Sorry I’ve been rather scarce. I’m still getting a feel for the new routine. I’ve been doing coffee first thing in the morning for the extra alertness jolt with fast preparation time, taking tea with me in the Timolino, typically a green of some sort, and always one I’ve written about before and so far there hasn’t been much to add by way of notes.
There is tea at work, by the way. There’s a full Starbucks in one of the campus buildings, and a variety of bagged Numi teas in the kitchen on my floor. I also brought some tea to work. Essentially all the bags I have left. I haven’t actually steeped any yet though. I’ve been occupied with trying to learn everything there is to learn which makes the time fly and before I know it, the day is gone and I haven’t made any tea at work again.
On the home de-cluttering front: continued success! This morning I packed up five boxes for storage, mostly my old toys I’d saved from childhood for the kids that they’ve outgrown and the toys they have sentimental attachment to but don’t play with anymore. With that, the toy project is pretty much done except for the random things that continue to turn up in weird places. I can pretty much be assured to find at least one Lego in every drawer in the house if I look hard enough. ;-)
So to recap: toys are done, office is done. What’s left? Books and clothes, mostly.
Last weekend we took some books to the library to donate. They don’t put them in the library but they sell them for fundraising. There will probably be another box or two of these coming as I finish going through the kids’ books with them, but there aren’t too many left to go through. Then there will be are a few boxes of books to store—baby favorites that they don’t want to let go but don’t look at much anymore.
The book project was pretty amusing. Who knew we had five copies of Goodnight Moon, until we looked through everything?
I’m hoping to finish some of this packing up this weekend, but I’m not going to stress about it. As long as I continue to see progress, I think I can keep motivated to finish.
The one thing that has suffered in all of this is my writing. I have several stories I’ve workshopped and need to revise, and some stories that have been sent back from magazines that need to be resubmitted. Maybe I’ll be able to make an hour or two tomorrow to work on my Writers of the Future entry for this quarter. According to my readers it only needs some minor revision, so if I can get it revised, I can set it aside until next weekend, do a reread, and submit if I can’t think of anything else to do to it.
Flavors: Floral, Malt, Molasses, Pepper
I know that I am in the minority here, but I am not a fan of this one. I had tried this one as a tea-to-go last year and remember not being impressed with it, but I decided to try it again this year. But no…..this one is not for me. I cannot taste the chocolate. All I can taste is an overwhelmingly strong but unfamiliar flavour (bergamot?) and the floral tones of the rose buds. I will not be having another cup of this. It is a pity that I picked up 100g of it, but I am sure someone will be willing to trade for it, as it seems to be well-liked and is limited edition as well.
Sipdown no. 31 of 2016 (no. 242 total). The rest of the sample.
I steeped the last of this to accompany me as I schlepp kids this morning. I find jasmine pearls incredibly calming so good for running around, or meeting new challenges.
Such as just finishing the second week at work. Time is flying by. Lots to learn, lots to do, and I’m still having a blast. I hope the honeymoon phase lasts forever, but that’s probably not realistic. At least I know myself well enough to know that I start to get disenchanted with work the minute I feel as though it is keeping me from the other things in my life that are important to me. Keeping that in mind, I plan to give myself me-time doses whenever I start to feel that way and see if I can keep the good times rolling.
But this tea. Oh but it’s sad when a jasmine pearls dies, but knowing how much I love them, there are sure to be others. This was a good solid one. Not the best, but by far not the worst I’ve had. The original note captures my feelings on this one pretty well.
Smoky is right but not too overbearing, It’s an interesting contrast to the sweet potato floating in the cup. I’m a little sad I am not getting more marshmallow since I had a few in the filter. Actually, I was expecting more of everything – more smoke, more sweet potato, etc. It’s a nice balanced cup but nothing to write home about.
I’m sitting here sipping my second infusion of this tea. I ordered a number of samples from Adagio, and they added this as a bonus for sharing on social media. I had this tea a few years ago and forgot how good it is. With this log, I
won’t forget again! Sweet, mellow, full-bodied and complex – tastes of sweet potatoes, caramel, pepper…love it. I may well re-order.
In 2015 I bought 2 cakes of this type in continental Europe from 2 different retailers. I’ll be addressing them as cake #1 and #2.
Aroma of both dry and wet leaves: #1- smoky and heavy smoke when wet while #2 slight camphor aroma
Taste: both cakes teas are copper colour, pleasant, smooth and slightly sweet. With #2 being a bit more rounded off in the mouth
Neifei: #1- none and #2- yes
Inside label: both yes but with differences and slightly different printing. #1 spelling: Chitsu pingcha, puerhcha. #2 spelling: Chitse bingcha, puechcha. Also the label of #1 is a lot more yellowish.
Leaves: #1 leaves tend to be smaller on top of the cake and they crumble a lot more with the centre of the cake unlike an iron cake. #2 leaves on top of the cake are larger and looser although the centre of the cake is very hard still almost like an iron cake. Overall appearance #1 is redder brown with #2 darker umber colour.
Wrapping: #1 was wrapped with a final flap across the diameter of the cake. #2 was wrapped radially with no final flap.
I judged this tea kind of harshly at first, maybe I have acquired a taste for it…something that happens often. The strength seems to be good, strong enough, but it won’t punch you in the face. The maltiness is at a pleasant level that is not overwhelming as well…good standard tea. The only limitation to this tea in the cost. I purchased it when it was on sale, but it was regularly $8.99 for 20 sachets. I would consider purchasing it again if it is on sale, but there are several other teas that I enjoy more that are available at half the price.
Decaf & Herbal TTB
I just got this TTB yesterday from AllanK and figured I’d have something from the box before I headed out for the night last night. This is. perfection. in. a. mug. I love tea, clearly, but I wouldn’t call this one tea. It’s much closer to hot chocolate (especially when you add a teaspoon of cream like I did) but it’s fantastic. It’s creamy (even without the cream) and chocolatey. There’s really no other flavors to it but it’s not disgustingly sweet like hot chocolate and I really enjoy that. I’m so excited to try some more things from this box later tonight after I pack up the Holidays TTB to send off!
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream
I also had this one at Starbucks and for $3, I’m pretty glad I did… This is one of the teas that I was hemming and hawing about, trying to decide if I wanted it and well… I don’t.
It’s nice, it’s peachy, sweet (a bit of stevia added in possibly? that’s a big thing with flavored teas) but there’s really nothing more to it. Even peach juice has a bit more flavor to it. I’d definitely pick up a $3 box of Celestial Seasoning’s peach tea over picking up some of this as loose leaf.
One thing to note: since both this and the Passion Tango were just not quite to par, my date suggested blending them. After telling him that was gross, we did and it was actually much better. The (over) sweetness of the peach tranquility cut the (extreme) tartness of the passion tango really well. Why is Teavana blending such a big thing? Just make a tea that tastes well on it’s own, guys…
Flavors: Peach, Sweet
I got this one yesterday at Starbucks (actually the guy I went with did and then I pretty much ended up drinking both of our teas…) and it was okay. Definitely not my favorite tea but something I might end up getting if I need something warm but not caffeinated.
This was super duper tart with a lot of hibiscus and berry flavors to it (raspberry and cranberry mostly), I can taste the passion fruit (so it’s true to it’s name) but it doesn’t really round out the cup of tea well.
Flavors: Cranberry, Hibiscus, Passion Fruits, Raspberry, Tart