Featured & New Tasting Notes
This is a sample , part of generous package sent to me for review.
Non Smoky Lapsang Sauchong.
i used my usual parameters. Entire sample of 6g
6g 100ml porcelain gaiwan 200F
rinse/pause/ 5/3/5/7/10sec etc
This tea is rich and sweet like dark chocolate. No astringency or bitterness. Sweet and smooth and pleasure to drink. Some may add drop or two of maple syrup (I have to always mention Sil and Terri since its not my idea). it rounds up all the flavors.
Thank you so much NanNuoShan tea for your wonderful samples
I’m trying to do too much and that means it’s Friday and I’m exhausted. I can’t perk up. I need something to slap me in the face and get me going, and lbr, Sherlock is down for that. He can be such an ass. But he’s rarely subtle.
So, you know what’s crazy? I don’t write. I haven’t written since High School, and yet, SOMEHOW, I was talked into doing Camp Nanowrimo this year and that means that in April I’ve committed to writing 10,000 words. Of story. WHAT AM I DOING?
I originally signed up for a small prompt where I promised to write 500 words where two characters meet in a bar and I go from there, but now that I’m doing Camp Nano, I’m going to see if I can expand that a bit. And then maybe write bits and pieces here and there. I am definitely not going to write one cohesive work at 10k because I’ve had… let’s see… 2 days to think about this and we start writing on Wednesday, but I’ll play with a few different tropes and see how it goes!
I chose John Watson as my main character, and the second character will be RANDOMLY ASSIGNED from Supernatural, Hannibal (tv), or Saga (comics). So I can’t really even plan that part out until I get that assignment, but basically the point is to just get me writing a little each day and get better and stay confident and see where it goes! Part of being in Camp Nano is cheerleading others on so they finish and I am GOOD AT THAT SHIT, YO.
It’ll be fun. Also, I’m using Scrivener to help organize my thoughts etc, and I can totally see how this software would be amazing if I were writing a proper story because it’d keep everything straight for me, and so if I spend all month using the trial and getting good, AND I reach my 10k limit, I can buy it for $20 instead of $40. I’m a total dork for fancy software.
Hey – I think it’s working! This tea is waking me up! WOO!
When TeaVivre posted this on Instagram, I knew I had to have it. It’s just so unique! And at the time, I don’t think I even had 1 traditional gaiwan. I have one now, along with a couple of what I’d consider “easy” gaiwans. I really love brewing things gong fu style now! This is really like an in-cup infuser/gaiwan/serving pitcher. I really like the serving pitcher part, as I still don’t own one…I’ve been using a small Pyrex measuring cup for that (lame, huh?).
Anyway, this came in the mail today, so I tried it out with the Da Hong Pao sample I ordered.
The overall quality is pretty good. One thing that bothers me about one of my easy gaiwans is that the holes look unfinished and have sharp points on the inside. This one has an infuser with both holes and a fine mesh metal strainer inserted inside and the holes look nice and finished. The fine mesh strainer will be nice to catch sediment or little pieces of leaf. I found three scratches on the glass pitcher portion, which worry me a bit regarding its integrity…hopefully they won’t be a problem. The pitcher and infuser portions don’t sit as securely in the base as I expected, but it’s not terrible. I found the lid can double as place to measure out your leaf. ;)
Since you can sit the infuser in the base while you pour from the pitcher into your cup, people used to traditional gaiwans may find themselves almost pouring the water for the next steep into the infuser without putting the infuser back in the pitcher….I almost did this! That would not be wise!
Also, it’s important to watch the water level in the pitcher when pouring into the gaiwan, rather than the water level inside the infuser, as you may overfill and cause a spill. Not a problem if you’re using a gong fu tea tray, but otherwise it would be. Also, overfilling will make the top of the pitcher hotter, making it more difficult to handle/pour.
I know some folks like to agitate the leaves with the lid while brewing, but you can’t really do that with this one, as the water level in the infuser is lower than in a traditional gaiwan, and the infuser is not as wide.
I like the portability of this, as you don’t need a separate pitcher. I also really enjoy watching the color of the liquor change as it steeps, which could also be a very useful indicator of how long to brew it. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and expect to use it often!
I haven’t had a proper latte in ever so I decided to partake in one yesterday, grabbing this to keep me company while I started to clean this kitchen for the very last time. I was really excited about it because I loved making this with just plain milk at home, so I figured that DAVIDs fancy preparation will elevate this tea to another level.
Did it? Sadly, not really. I got it with a bit of sweetener and 2% milk, which is the milk I was using when I’d make them at home. Yet, for some reason, this was rather lacklustre. The tea flavour itself seemed a lot weaker, but that is probably to do with how the tea guide prepared it. Plus, the extra sweetener was a little too much. It only covered up the oh so subtle chocolate and coconut notes more rather than enhance them. Once I finish with this damn move, I’m just going to pick up more of the actual tea to enjoy at home. Man, to think how many cups I could have made at home with that $4.50!
This is one of the most interesting and delicious oolongs I’ve ever had.
The dry leaf fragrance is roasty with a hint of cannabis.
Again I steeped 2g in my 50ml gaiwan in 96C water for 1min.
The flavour of the first steep is complex – coconut, roasty, honey, granola, brazil nuts and dates. This is amazing, I love it. The finish is fairly long and carries the sweet notes through.
Second steep, 1min again, is quite smokey, almost like cigarettes except not unpleasant. The second steep lacks the complexity of the first.
Third, the complexity comes back with a layer of orchid.
I got I think five or six steeps out of this, but the first was by far the best and most interesting. I wish more of the granola qualities shone in the latter steeps – if I could get multiple steeps that were the same as the first, I’d be drinking this all the time.
I will need to try steeping western style to see what kind of results I get. Even with the less impressive subsequent steeps, I think I will need to pick up more of this.
Flavors: Cannabis, Coconut, Dates, Honey, Nuts, Oats, Orchids, Roasted, Smoke, Sweet
Urgh, I had written a note for this and accidentally closed the window before I could finish it. Starting all over!
Yesterday I decided to boil my shu puerh teapot as I thought it picked up a moldy smell after accidentally leaving water in it for a few days. Here’s the pot, looking and smelling a lot better:
This sample puerh came from the YS dark tea of the month club. I’m quite pleased with it so far. As Allan noted, there is no fermentation flavor or aroma present. I am doing short steeps in the yixing and get a sweet, creamy tea that is very smooth. No bitterness is present. The tea is chocolate-y and also went fabulously with a dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Justin’s. :)
3 steeps so far and the flavor is quite good. I would consider buying a cake of this, a good value at $30, but my tea budget is not very large at the moment.
Another one of my faaaaavorites (#39). Why was this only rated 90? It deserves higher, in my estimation, so I bumped it up. I love the flavor combos here, even if they are a bit hard to pull apart. They work for me. Even though I don’t find any of these flavors (fruits, honey) particularly Christmasy, I do associate this yarn with the holidays since it was at that time that I first had it.
Thank you so much for this sample, Tea Ave!
I have never tried an Osmanthus Oolong before, and honestly, I was a little nervous that this would be a really flowery tea (flowery teas can be hit or miss with me…). However, upon opening the sample packet, I was hit with this sweet honey stone fruit fragrance. Jammy and sweet!
The liquor is a really gorgeous golden yellow. I followed the instructions on the pouch for gaiwan brewing, using 8grams. If I were to do this again, I think I’d use less leaf. This tea is so flavourful that I really think I could personally use less leaf and still get a perfectly lovely session out of it (just a note to myself for next time).
The steeped tea itself is really wonderful… creamy, buttery mouth feel with honey, fruity loveliness. It may only be 16F outside, but I have spring in my cup. :)
The second steep yielded a darker, deeper liquor with a more vegetal base (spinach and kale, like)… this steep was almost roasty.
I truly love the finish of this, too… it’s so sweet and lingers for quite some time.
I love finding out that I like something I would’ve thought I wouldn’t… Osmanthus, you’re pretty great. :)
Wow, I’ve been working on this batch of cold brew for two days now. I added something like four teaspoons of leaf to 2 litres of water and it is actually really strong, to the point that it’s syrupy. It’s extremely tart, as well. I drank like a litre of it yesterday, then filled the jug up again and it barely even changed colour, it’s that concentrated. It’s better this morning. I’m tasting more of the citrus and not just tart hibiscus with a hint of fruitiness. Note to self: maybe only try two teaspoons next time.
OK – I’m just having a morning of surprises – this one too is not at all what I was expecting.
I’ve had flowering cones before and none of them were anything like these.
First sip – wow caramel – second sip – fruity. If I didn’t know better I would almost think this was a flavored tea. Not malty at all, zero sweet potato (there is sweet but no starchiness). It’s not at all like any straight black tea I’ve had – it’s missing the “blackness”. Almost a little salty – I really want to say salted caramel with a hint of apricot (stone fruit anyway). These are really good – strange, but I like it.
Thank you so much Sil for another interesting experience. :)
I liked this tea before, and I am liking it even more today. My daughter and I drank a liter of puerh from just one teaspoon of leaves and even the final steep has nice color and plenty of flavor. I didn’t scimp on early steeps, but made one or two of them extra bold with long steep times, because I enjoy strong puerh when it is smooth and has no bitterness.
I get the most flavor from puerh when I am patient and let it cool a bit before drinking. This is extra creamy today, especially the later steeps.
I don’t usually see puerh graded as first, second, third, etc. it is usually just named. So my first impression when I recieved the samples was that first grade was the good one and seventh would be passable. Instead, first grade is the layered and nuanced one good for quiet times, and seventh grade is the highly enjoyable daily drinker with lots of virtue of its own, my favorite at this moment being the creamy, weighty feel with its lightly cedar oiliness.
I think this would be an excellent choice for my husband’s new tea center that we are putting together for him at work.
As some of you might know, jin jun mei’s fall in to 2 categories for me – yes and no. lol They’re very hit and miss for me, but i continue to try various ones to see if there is a perfect one for me. This one, from Anlina falls on the “yes” side. this was a nice cup of tea yesterday – smooth and slightly smoky with a little sweetness on the side, sort of like sweet potatoes. All in all, a nice cup! thanks so much Anlina!
Dear God. My eleven year old niece is staying with me this weekend while her mother is out of town house hunting. I need caffeine this morning! Being single and childless, I am used to having everything stay the same. I mean, when I clean the kitchen, it stays pretty much clean unless I dirty it. Today there is a winter coat in the middle of the kitchen floor. One child sized boot is under the table, and the other is god knows where. I asked her and she got this blank look on her face and said “I don’t know.” She lost her phone twice in two hours. When she does have her phone, she’s on it texting her friends. She uses a different glass for each can of pop she’s had (she was supposed to have ONE) and leaves the glasses in the living room. As a treat I bought her PEEPS. (shudder. I hate those things) and she ate the entire package last night. She told me she gets up really early, so I showed her where the frozen French toast strips were and told her to help herself to breakfast in the morning. I got up at 7:30. She was dead asleep. I made tea (did I mention how badly I needed caffeine?) and took it and my laptop back to my room to let her sleep. At 8:30 she came to my room to tell me she was starving. I now have a far better understanding of my sister’s weariness. NO wonder she looks so frazzled all the time. I love my niece, but I am clearly not cut out for children.
WHY DON’T THEY COME WITH AN OFF SWITCH????!!!
Tea helps. A little.
5g 140ml 95C flash rinsed twice
30 sec – that was a little too long – was a little in your face aggressive, but I don’t mind bold pu’erh so did another 30 sec steep and dumped them together. Yummy. It has a little fermentation taste to it but nice and smooth. It’s rich, it’s a little malty, but it’s all shou.
Backed down the steeps a little did 20 and 25 sec – this is getting a little chocolaty, a little woody, there is some fresh forest mustiness to it.
30 and 45 – this is just getting better and better.
I don’t think it’s as good as the other StreetShop88 shou that I have
but it’s really tasty. That one is more of a cross between black tea and pu’erh. This one is all shou – and I don’t mind that at all. I would be very happy to have a cake of this in my house for those nights that you just want a big bold shou with no nasty….
Thank you so much Sil for sharing this – really happy you got some and shared it. :)
Edit: OMG steeps 9 and 10 – I’m in LOVE…..
Desperate need for comfort tea today. I’ve tried for two days to review my last Simple Loose Leaf sample, and I have a stack of What-Cha and Whymm to get to, but at the moment it is just not going to happen.
I haven’t posted much lately. Really haven’t felt well for a couple weeks. The medicine the pulmonologist put me on 6 weeks ago worked fine for a month. Got it refilled and it was like a switch flipped. I’m back to not being able to do much of anything without becoming out of breath and I’ve never smoked a day in my life. Even making tea is work at the moment.
Checked with the pharmacy, his records show the refill is from the same supplier. He exchanged the old ones for some out of a different bottle but it appears the problem is me. Guess I will be making the trip back to the doctor for a different medicine.
On top of that, I got my welcome to Medicare packet in the mail. Kind of a reality jolt. It won’t kick in until July. It takes two and a half years once you admit to yourself you are disabled to get Medicare. My doctor tried to convince me so a year sooner – stupid man pride. The last year I worked, I would sit in my car for 5 minutes after everyone else left while I waited for my blue fingers to turn pink so I could drive home. Here’s your sign.
You have to be unable to work for six months to be considered disabled by the government, then two more years before Medicare kicks in. It’s stupid. The intention is to prevent abuse I guess but really it is much easier on the abuser to go without during the waiting period. The politicians and the press have turned it into a political football. Having been on both sides of the issue, I do understand. Anyway I am feeling a little old and battered today.
Sorry for the over sharing. Just hoping it might encourage someone who is struggling to hold on. Tomorrow is a new day.
While I wait for better days ahead with some new drugs, I am enjoying this my favorite peasant tea.
Oh. My. Goodness.
This is amazing.
It’s everything I love about ripe puerh….
Mineral notes (which always come out as baked-good…almost baking powder/cream of tartar notes to me)…. raisin like, sweet and so deep…
Yes. This is a definite ‘add to cupboard when you can!’ type tea….
Thank you SO MUCH Dexter for sending this to me to try… It’s even better than I had hoped! :)
Sample from Tao Tea Leaf this morning. It’s an enjoyable tea, I would say sweet and smooth really describes it. It’s definitely a bit on the lighter side when it comes to body and has a good cocoa flavor. Amazing no bitterness or astringency at all. I steeped this for 3 minutes and it’s still a bit on the light side, overall I think I prefer black teas with a bit more heft. This was tasty but probably won’t be a repurchase for me.
This may be the only oolong, at least with Stacy’s steeping parameters, where I enjoy the first steep the most. Usually it takes somewhere between the 2nd-4th.
I’m getting quite a bit of melon and floral butter in this cup- it’s as good of a send off as I could’ve hoped for!
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Melon
I thought it was almost time to go home like an hour ago, so it’s been decided that I need a cup of this, liquid joy, to distract me while I wait out the rest of my day..
It’s so good and I will miss it.
(I’m not convinced that guayasa really wakes me up but maybe I’m just immune to everything. I mean, lbr, I drank a full cup of coffee and then napped on the couch like 5 minutes after on the weekend…)
Oh this is goooooooood. I will need to taste it again in the future and pay more attention but right now I’m just loving that it tastes and smells like chocolate covered raisins. This is the most raisiny tea I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins