Featured & New Tasting Notes

70
drank Hello, Sofa! by Fredsted
739 tasting notes

A tea from dreamloomer, thank you a lot!

I took the bag out of foil wrapping and a cloud of spices appeared. At first I thought it was dust, but it wasn’t.

Hints of matcha should be in, but anyway, I brewed it with boiling water.
THIS IS HOT Chai!
It’s very spicy; flavours were mostly pepper and cloves… cinnamon was there as well. Base was probably from orange as it was bit sweet but still somehow tangy. Haven’t noticed the apples!

Whoo, it was maybe too much spicy for me. I am not sure if I will drink second bag or will send it to someone; as it could be lovely as Advent tea (if we decide to make advent teas for others, see discussions! )

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Orange Zest

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML
dreamloomer

Yep, it’s really spicy. Maybe try to brew it the chai way, milk will make the spiciness more mellow.

derk

Sounds good. The name is funny.

Martin Bednář

dreamloomer: maybe; or I jsut will send it somewhere or I will drink it like that.
derk: for me it was bit annoying, but I overall tend to mild flavours :) Indeed I liked the name as well!

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When I first reviewed this last year, I noted that it’s maple first, then ginger. Allow me to reverse the order. (Hey, if you’ve read my reviews over the years, I’m nothing if not inconsistent!) Gently sweet, but not overdone.

It’s still a very nice autumn option, which I need to try with milk. This would latte nicely.

ashmanra

I would prefer maple first! I wonder how it would be as a latte sweetened with maple syrup?

gmathis

Couldn’t hurt!

teaqueen

I adore this one. Perfect low maintenance fall blend.

gmathis

I am all about the low maintenance.

Inkling

I’m not usually a fan of CS, but this one actually sounds pretty tempting!

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80

Quick note: This tea is going to be discontinued from tomorrow. Anyone who wants it… it’s time for last orders!

tea-sipper

I tried voting for this one for derk anyway… but nope, it didn’t win.

Martin Bednář

Same tea-sipper; completely same (and I liked it even more than the winner)

derk

Aw, thanks you two. After placing several unnecessary orders in the past month, I’m on a mission to clear my cupboard of anything that I’m not intentionally aging, otherwise I’d order this.

Mastress Alita

The tea I voted for won… sorry for my banana betrayal :-P Probably won’t be the last time.

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82

Thank you so much for passing this along, derk!  derk wasn’t thrilled with this one and we had a swap we were building, so I requested this one.  I love these types of pu-erh that look like a candy bar that you break a piece from.  This one just happened to have lilies in it.  By the time the fourth steep had unraveled in the basket, there was an entire big lily blossom floating at the top, not to mention the smaller petals throughout.  Wow!  It’s amazing how tea unravels sometimes.  The flavor was very consistent throughout all four steeps.  A very dark shu — I couldn’t really taste anything floral per se, but the pu-erh is very delicious on it’s own.  The main note being starchy and bakey like a good rye bread.  Nothing offensive here at all. But also not terribly distinct.  I do like how dark it is though! Now that it’s cooler weather… let the great chai avalanche commence!
Steep #1  // 1 square for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling  // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 18 minutes after boiling //  2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 5 min steep
Steep #4 // just boiled // 11 min steep

ashmanra

Tea-sipper: Speaking of chai avalanche – Cuppageek has released a TON of chai blends, and a lot of the blends benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital where her son is being treated. I should have them in my hands in just a few days, so I will try to get some notes posted quickly!

tea-sipper

Oh cool, I’m looking forward to your notes on all of those!

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82

And another SIPDOWN goes to Puerh. Still lots of tea remains.

Made about 20 seconds rinse. Or — stove → my table rinse ? Haha. Yep, it was that “far”.

Rinse was fine. Bit bland and vegetal, but yes, there was some taste. Now I let the leaf absorb humidity, I think it is for 5 minutes (reading some not important things all over the internet), thinking about my cross-US trip that I want to make happen, but not anytime soon. Train stops in Elko, NV; but what to do there? There are amazing mountains, but not sure if I want hike there alone?! And where is any public transport (okay, to be honest I know I need car rental)

First steep is around 20 seconds as well. Apparently humidity entered the leaves well, as it is more flavourful, though not a big leap forward. It seems to me roasted which is weird for sheng and for that I noticed before. But pu-erhs have so weird paths sometimes. For example, wet leaf smells after jasmine, okay!

Second, I decided to make bit longer (30 seconds actually, if somebody even cares); and wet leaf aroma tends to be more malty-honey-black tea like. I feel like my nose is playing some game with me today because I couldn’t recognize twice the same stuff even it doesn’t changed since then (no additional steep or anything like that). Taste buds are feeling another vegetal notes with some menthol cooling effect. Interesting and very enjoyable.

Following steep was just a tiny bit longer. 10 seconds to be exact. Steeping slowly don’t kill the tea fast. It just keeps nice qualities and while I would say that vegetal notes aren’t great, they actually aren’t. But it suits the tea session today and yep, would like some fruits, but hey, there is nothing wrong with vegetals.

Another steep. I somehow lost myself in thoughts, and ideas and everything. Well, I actually indeed enjoy the free time and free mind I have now! And result is long, a minute long (maybe bit less) steep. Huh… Results are nice though and I got the wished fruit notes. Yes, it started getting a peach taste.

Uhh, now it is herbal. But like too much basil and nettle. Not very tasty. But it was shorter than last time.

I guess this is one of the last steeps. Little fruits and herbals. But it was at least smoother than last time.

Okay, last steep. I am steeping this tea for an hour, which isn’t a problem, but ran out of water in thermos. It was nice session, but it’s time to move on. The tea is past its best time as well. It reminds me now only a bitter water without much pleasing taste. Interesting how it can go so abruptly.

Preparation
3 g 3 OZ / 85 ML
Courtney

Love all the steeps here. Of course the most intriguing to me is the malty-honey black tea.

It will be exciting to hear more about your trip, whenever it will be able to happen!

ashmanra

We have to go to the beach, you need to stop in Branson, Missouri and then have tea GMathis on your to Cali to see derk!

mrmopar

Stop by in Virginia as well.

gmathis

(internal soundtrack playing "Get Your Kicks on Route 66…Start in St. Louis, Joplin, Missouri, Oklahoma City….)

derk

Depending on the time of year, Elko area is a stopover for migratory birds. Probably some good hikes around there. Ghost towns all along the I-80 corridor if you’re adventurous. Hell, I’d drive out to Elko, pick you up, go on some hikes so you’re not alone (you become isolated extremely quickly in NV) then chauffeur you out this way. But then I’d want to drive you to southern California for some amazing sights before bringing you here and then taking you waaaay up north where you’d see the biggest trees you might ever see in your life. Consider this a fair warning that I’ll be taking you hostage.

Mastress Alita

Martin, I live 2 hours and 31 minutes from Elko, NV. :-)

Martin Bednář

Courtney: We all have different likes. Why not the “boring” malty-honey black tea, right? I have no idea when my trip will happen though. Flying there and back is first step, but stopping by in the US is second step and so many things to do over there!

ashmanra: Yep! From beach to beach. How simple is that? But one is on Eastern coast, while second is on Western coast. Hopefully I will be able to manage it one day!
mrmopar: Okay, I will try my best :) It is by off California Zephyr and Palmetto routes. But certainly there would be a way. Maybe long, maybe would need a ride, but certainly there will be a way.
gmathis: Listened to it. It was familiar and… yes; why not listening to that while travel over the US :)
derk: I would be gladly your hostage. It seems I need a week for each state, ehm county, ehm… city/town? Yes, I know it is 15 hours from Elko by train and by car it is half; but finishing the route would be lovely (though the most interesting sites would be already behind my back). Ahh, I don’t know what to do! But as I said, being hostage will be a pleasure.
Mastress Alita: Great! Good to know. I found out that public transport around Elko is non-existent, so hitchhiking or… maybe I could rent a car. I don’t want you all being my drivers :) But automatic transmission would be tricky

ashmanra

Derk: I might have to tag along with Martin for the last half of that journey because I have wanted to see the California redwoods all my life. I think I would break down and cry uncontrollably if I stood beside one.

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49

STTB Tea

This was in a package labelled chocolate stout, which I was very excited to try. It turns out to be a herbal instead. Regardless, I thought it would make a good morning cup since I love chocolate teas.

I do like the cocoa shells, it tastes like cocoa or dark chocolate. I’m not really getting orange flavour. There is some bitter citrus rind and some citrusy herbs (lemon balm), but nothing that tastes like a Terry’s chocolate orange. I LOVE orange chocolate. It is one of my favourite chocolate flavours. This needs some vanilla and more creaminess to really sell the chocolate aspect (although, the cocoa shells are a great start). The orange flavour isn’t there. Adding some dried orange pieces or orange essence might help. I’m not sure why a blend called chocolate orange wouldn’t have any orange in it, but it really should.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more

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83

It wasn’t Steepster who ate my tasting note this time. It was my laptop who died of low batter all of sudden.

Again a celebration tea.
I passed yesterday an exam from Algorithms and programming, yes, it is that one I failed week ago. It was close-call though even this time… but I have managed it.

I overleafed badly this tea though. I have used all remaining 7 grams for my small-ish gaiwan. But somehow I wanted to get rid of it. I remembered it wasn’t much impressive as I have hoped, but today it was better actually?

Yes, I wasn’t taking much care — I just filled thermos with boiling water and slowly I was pouring it into gaiwan, did some random long steep and poured the tea to my tea cup.

Wasn’t caring about it. That led to several not so tasty steeps. But then even short ones were nice! I noticed vegetal notes, sometimes it was full of astringency and bitterness, but following shorter notes brought the cake flavours. It was creamy, cake-y, some stonefruits (as actual fruit), sometimes bit juicy. It wasn’t typical poundcake flavours which I would expect, but it was pretty much okay.

I wasn’t that impressed about this tea though. Last time I was careful and was okay, this time I wasn’t careful and it was… just nice sheng. Nice sheng that impressed me with its energy that it gave me, although I am bit trying to not associate tea with some other aspects, I noticed something similar as Togo said. I was somehow filled with all the ideas i want to make true, what places I want to visit and even I decided to check out how to travel to Ljubljana (Slovenia) as I want to visit this country with my Swiss friend (I wrote about her here few times already). It is bit weird, but I don’t want go there with my best friend. Maybe because he isn’t that much into sights and those things. Maybe I just want have vacation wihout him.

Hmm. Slovenia don’t want Czechs in their country now though. Hopefully it will get better and maybe it will be something I won’t forget. But for sure I won’t forget that promise of visit!

Raising the rating a bit.

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Stonefruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 85 ML
gmathis

Cake sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate surviving that exam! Sorry the travel plans aren’t coming together just yet. Keep hoping!

Leafhopper

Congratulations on passing your exam! Hopefully we’ll all be able to travel next year.

dreamloomer

Congratulations on your exam!

Courtney

Congratulations on your exam :)

ashmanra

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

LuckyMe

Congrats on your exam. I was a comp sci major myself, I know that course isn’t easy.

Martin Bednář

THANK YOU A LOT everyone. Unfortunately, my laptop seems to have more and more issues. Not only bad battery and long gone “g” letter. Now, left ctrl key broke in half too. Time to upgrade I guess. I am using now a small keyboard I bought earlier with a touchpad-numpad, but it is not that good.

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79
drank Vanilla Toddy by Plum Deluxe
10154 tasting notes

Cold Brew!

This is not something I would normally have as a cold brew, but I do like pushing myself out of my comfort zone with cold brews and since it does lean bubblegum-y I thought it might work out okay. The brew was interesting; it actually came out pretty thin in terms of flavour though the body and flavour of the black tea was still surprisingly robust. The thinner flavour though actually resulted in it tasting less like bubblegum and more of the spice notes coming out which resulted in more of the “toddy” like flavour that probably should have been present in the first place.

It was a nice brew and really easy to finish off, but I think I actually prefer the less accurate to the name tasting flavour that emerges when you prepare this as a hot tea.

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88

Last night I had a killer migraine from nowhere that made me want abdicate my head, neck and shoulders and go live in my stomach or something. It’s still kind of lingering on the left side but it’s not even a quarter as bad as last night. It did leave me a delightful red spot on my forehead between the eyes (this has happened before, but still fml). So, I’m a little grumpy and out of sorts today.

I decided to dive into this tea because I’ve been hoarding it for too long, holding out hope that WP would get more of this or Premium Assam in stock and not sell out in 10 minutes (never happens). It’s starting to age and today it was more tart jam than powdered sugar and baked bread (still some of that though).

This is still one of my favourite teas, along with Premium Taiwanese Assam, so I thought I’d give Taiwan Tea Crafts Yuchi Wild Mountain Black Tea a try to see if it’s comparable (what do the “lots” mean? So confused), as well as some from What-Cha that look similar. Here’s hoping (otherwise, it’s good to try new things!).

Steep Count 2

Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Dates, Malt, Plums, Powdered sugar, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

The one reason I haven’t bothered to re order from WP again. Never in stock of more than like 2 tea I want and with shipping being terrible, yeah no.

CrowKettle

Yeah, I’ve given up on WP for the time being. I received an email notifying “Assam” was back in stock and two hours later it was gone. Plus, vanilla is super inaccessible right now so the chances of WP carrying more than one tea I want that is exclusive or near-exclusive to them in the next while is slim. :|

Courtney

I am a huge fan of Yuchi Wild Mountain from TTC (for reference, I’ve now ordered three different lots and they’re quite similar, they may just be from different harvests — though I currently have two different lots in my cupboard and had planned to do a side by side comparison). I hope you enjoy it if you do go that path!

Leafhopper

I haven’t had any teas from Whispering Pines, but What-Cha’s Taiwanese Assam is amazing.

CrowKettle

Thanks Courtney and Leafhopper. This is nice to hear, especially since I already went ahead and bought tea from them the night before. lol

Sil

TTC is my go to for fruity, honeyed teas like this one. They were my replacement when butiki went poof. just hadn’t had a chance to order from them until this last week so here’s hoping they’re as tasty as they used to be. Should be here today!

Courtney

Yay for TTC arriving Sil — also, I wasn’t charged any extra duties, so fingers crossed all will go smoothly for you too! Can’t wait to see what you ordered!

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60
drank Cherry Rose Green by Tea Sparrow
5220 tasting notes

Today’s #septembersipdown prompt on Instagram is to cold brew a tea you never have before. This is a bit of a cheat because I haven’t had this tea before at all so of course that includes never having it as a cold brew.

This is fine. It’s actually on the bland side. I get sort of cherry and sort of rose and sort of green tea but it’s all really subtle. I cold brewed this for over 12 hours so it should have more flavor but it just doesn’t.

The more I drink, the more the green tea base builds and there is a little bitterness that is making me thing cough syrup with the hint of cherry. So maybe I’m not loving this so much.

Mastress Alita

I don’t use Instagram (or any social media, for that matter). Where does one find this sipdown prompt list?

VariaTEA

I’ve only seen the prompt list as a post on Instagram but I sent it to you via a private message.

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99

Had it in the afternoon, approx. 3 hours ago. I will try to recall at least something.

The dry leaf aroma was quite interesting and not that appealing for me. Noticed some sweet stonefruits as cherries, maybe tiny hints of apricots but mostly tobacco.

But I decided to brew 4 grams per 300 ml, freshly boiled water and… that’s different story.
That story is about strong malt and dried plums. Today I learned it is called prune in English. So okay, malt and prune.

The story starts with wonderful copper colour of the brew. It is dark copper with lots of shine and clear colour. I steeped it for 4 minutes and… it was just right.

First sips were somehow normal, typical malty Assam profile. But then the explosion of taste did the bang! Malt, prunes, some woody notes (eastkyteaguy noticed cedar, while I think more about sandalwood, sweet notes as molasses (another stuff I never had chance to try, but I imagine being it like that), dates and figs (as he noticed and I have to agree).

One of the most complex Assams I had. The aftertaste was long and it was very energizing! Would like more than 25 grams, but paying my one and half shift money for whole box (which looks amazing though) is way too much. But it’s worth every penny.

Thank you a lot Alistair and White Antlers. Truly exceptional tea!

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Dates, Fig, Malt, Molasses, Plums, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

Sounds delicious!

White Antlers

Doesn’t ‘dried plum’ sound so much more…I don’t know…appealing and tastier than PROON?!

tea-sipper

Wow, you make this one sound like the best tea!

Martin Bednář

It is close to I suppose :)

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80

Tried to gong-fu it today and it was bit better.
4 grams — 85 ml.

It was still quite malty, but noticed more — some hints of sweet cherries, raisins, pear, cinnamon. The last one was prounced as well in something like aftertaste, but it wasn’t much strong. I had much stronger aftertaste in other teas.

72 → 80

Flavors: Cherry, Cinnamon, Pear, Raisins

Preparation
4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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90

Interesting colour of the leaves from Alistair, behalf of White Antlers. They are brown, black, bit yellow of them; quite long and wire-like, some are more compressed, some are opened a bit. Looks indeed hand-made :) Two of them weren’t same.

I went rather carefully with tea (and I haven’t read Daylon R Thomas’s tasting note before) and haven’t used water directly off the hob as well. I have added tea bag to hot cuppa.

It wasn’t steeping rapidly. Well, I have used 3 grams only, so I have steeped it for 5 minutes.

Aroma I have expected malt, but it rather produced floral notes. Hints of sweet ones as fruit tree flowers. Daylon’s note says orange blossoms, but I never sniffed them, so I have no idea how they smell like. He says red grapes, while I would rather say white ones.

Anyway, the taste, even after that long steep, is light. Light, fruity & juicy, fresh notes of citrus fruits (but not strongly, rather hints of their peels) and in the end some very light malty and muscatel aftertaste.

Need to dig more to rate it properly.

Flavors: Citrus Zest, Fruit Tree Flowers, Grapes

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80

Another grandpa attempt of oolong today. Two teaspoons were too much though for my 300 ml glass cup.
April 2020 harvest

Tea from White Antlers again though, so THANK YOU :)

This tea tasted pretty much medicore to me. I mean, certainly it’s not bad, but I only noticed its malty profile, bit sweet notes. Haven’t noticed any stonefruits, but maybe as prepared grandpa it was lost in the malt?

As others said, it is tea that haven’t got any flaws, but overall it is just quite okay oolong without much complex flavour profile. Good for times, when you want an oolong, but you don’t want to care about all the notes that could be in.

Thanks though White Antlers and Alistair who selected it for me :) Not every tea is tea for special occasions. I haven’t expected anything, so it will be good tea for upcoming fall, when I would like to drink tea, but won’t have time to enjoy it fully!

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

It’s great to have a tea that, like spending time with a good friend, requires no thought or effort; it’s just there for you to rely on! Enjoy.

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The Great Un-Steepstering of 2020 Review #11 (08/25/20)

Rather than adding a bunch more individual entries to the (already giant and slow) database when these dry herbs essentially taste like what you would expect when you steep them in water (What, you mean lavender tastes of lavender and ginger tastes of ginger?! Stop the presses!), I’m going to collect these all here since I’ve been using my loose plain herbal infusions stash in a few different ways I want to document.

Culinary Lavender by Silver Fox Lavender Farm

As a bonified lavender fan, this is the one I’ve gotten the most creative with so far. I bought quite a bit from a stall at a Farmer’s Market in Boise (yay supporting local farmers!) so thankfully I still have quite a bit of lavender buds still in-house.

My first endeavor was making lavender-infused hot cocoa by following the recipe here (https://www.teatulia.com/recipes/earl-grey-hot-chocolate-mix.htm), only the portions were so huge (I ended up giving bags to both Todd and my sister!) that now I have copied down versions of it not only halved, but halved several more times from that, down to getting nearly a “sampler size” portion. It’s basically a way of crushing the buds in a spice grinder and mixing them with sugar and cocoa powder for hot chocolate, and the stuff is delicious!

In the winter months, hot lavender lattes are a favorite. I’ve found my favorite way to do them thus far is a half gram of buds per 1 metric cup (a little seems to go a long way!) steeped in 3 parts hot water for 3-5 minutes, then I heat/foam 1 part coconut milk, and mix together with a small dollap of Farmer’s Market honey. I really like the flavor combo of the lavender with the coconut milk! During the summer, I like to cold steep plentiful teabags of it in lemonade, as the lemon/lavender flavor combo is another favorite!

I’ve also been using it to make my own deodorizer spray for the house. I steep a strong infusion (usually a heaping teaspoon of buds in half a cup boiling water), then let the brew cool some, and put it in a small spray bottle with a teaspoon of lemon juice and top it off with water. Makes a nice air spritz and I keep a bottle near every litter box; completely natural and doesn’t bother the kitty!

Ginger by Starwest Botanicals

I’ve been using this almost exclusively to make flavored white rice! While the water for the Minute Rice was boiling, I’d put several teaspoons of the loose ginger in teabags and let them steep in the boiling water, remove the teabags, then add the rice and let it “soak up” the ginger tea to make a lightly ginger-flavored rice. I found the ginger-flavored rice extremely easy on my GI system on days when I was having issues with it due to migraine. As such, I used up my bag I brought home from a co-op on a vacation in San Franciscio quickly. I need to restock!

I also liked mixing this with the hibiscus flowers 50/50 to make a throat balm when I was starting to get a sore throat/cold… the hibiscus was full of that strong Vitamin C hit that I wanted in the early stages of a cold, while the ginger provided the throat balm, and I liked the taste of the two steeped warm together.

Hibiscus Flowers by Starwest Botanicals

I imagine I’m the only person on Steepster who willingly owns (or rather owned… I’ve now used them all up!) plain ol’ hibiscus flowers. My main use was a generous heaping teaspoon per cup cold steeped overnight in lemonade, which gave the lemonade a noticable sort of “raspberry lemonade” sort of flavor that I really liked! I also used them for the 50/50 hibiscus/ginger throat tea for colds, mentioned above.

I guess I had used up way more of my stash than I had thought, because I wanted to experiment with these in Sprite after reading about VariaTea doing so, and I had bought two different bottles of Sprite (traditional and a ginger one… I didn’t even know they made that!) but I had hardly any leaf left! I put a teabag into a tall glass of Sprite, and my findings were that other than turning the Sprite red, it really didn’t change the taste at all. At about halfway through the glass, the Sprite finally started to have a slightly “red berry/punchy” taste to it, but it was still pretty subtle against the flavor of the Sprite itself. By that point there was a) a lot less Sprite in the glass and b) the hibi teabag had been steeping for quite some time, so I guess to get any effect against the sugars/flavors of the Sprite I would’ve needed to use a lot more raw hibi leaf, and also probably done an overnight coldbrew of it. If I restock my leaf (this was another I picked up at the San Francisco co-op, and I can’t easily restock it locally without ordering online), I will have to try that out.

Peppermint by Frontier Co-Op

I had a lot of plans for this… I wanted to infuse cocoa with it, like with the lavender, to make mint cocoa as gifts at the holidays, which never happened, since I ended up using it up just making plain ol’ mint iced tea to soothe my tummy during bad GI attacks for my chronic migraine condition. The last of this from the San Francisco co-op ended up in a big pitcher and is currently in the fridge, and has been going into smoothies, mixing with the smoothie ingredients to leave a lovely fresh, minty taste! This would be nice to restock since I would still like to try out the cocoa idea, but since cheap, bagged mint tea alternatives are easily available here to make iced mint tea for the tum-tum, it isn’t as high of a priority…

Red Rose Buds and Petals by Starwest Botanicals

I still have quite a bit of this left from the San Francisco co-op haul. I have made one batch of rose-infused cocoa, which was just as lovely as the lavender, and have also used it to cold steep in lemonade, which I also really enjoy! I think I may try making another batch of rose lemonade and adding that to fruit smoothies in the future, or if I use up one of the spray bottles of lavender deodorizer and want to switch it up, I may fill one with a rose deodorizer next time.

White Antlers

I find hibiscus by itself, made into cold drink and lightly sweetened with just a tiny touch of simple syrup, is a wonderfully refreshing summer cooler. It’s served in some Mexican restaurants as ‘jamaica.’ Sometimes ginger is added. It doesn’t have a lot of medicinal benefits-mainly it can be used for hypertension. When purchasing hibiscus, the more of the flower and petals you can see, the better the tea will be. If you cold brew, it takes about 12-24 hours to extract the most flavor and color from the flowers. I’m sure you knew all of this Mastress Alita. I’m just admitting that I do own, use and enjoy hibiscus-but only by itself, not blended into anything else.

If you like the tartness of hibicus and haven’t yet experimented with dried rose hips for your Vitamin C ‘hit,’ they might be something to add to your dried herb apothecary.

Mastress Alita

Cold brewed hibiscus is lovely! I do enjoy it in dried fruit herbals, though, and tend to have plenty of those around, so I rarely cold steep it plain. I thought about getting rosehips (I like them, and I also like them mixed with hibi) but for whatever reason didn’t pick them up from that co-op when I was on that (so long ago now!) trip to the Bay Area… when I come across a chance to restock some of my dried herbs, I think I will!

White Antlers

I don’t know if you’ve used them before, but Mountain Rose Herbs (no affiliation) is a good source for the kinds of culinary/medicinal herbs you’re working with. If you have been happy with Starwest’s products, they’re good as well.

Do you make Fire Cider? I don’t use it because it’s contraindicated for my dosha type (Pitta-Hot), but if you don’t or have not, I highly recommend Rosemary Gladstar’s recipe from ‘Herbal healing for Women.’ It has to steep for about 4-6 weeks and this is the time of year I start some going for friends and clients.

Even though I live in a very big city with easy access to co-ops, farmers markets and herbal apothecaries, I still get most of my herbs and essential oils online. Something about looking forward to packages…

Mastress Alita

I know of them, and even visited their booth at the Portland Tea Fest one year. My main issue with them is the smallest size available (if I remember right) was 4 oz. and I rarely need so much of a single tea/herbal infusion in a single person household and tend to avoid any tea shops where that’s the smallest quantity I can get (I usually look for 2 oz. and smaller). That co-op in San Francisco was nice cause I could get any size I wanted and it was weighed. So I’m still hunting around for a place I can get raw herbs in quantities that better fit the storage needs of my small space/single person usage habits.

White Antlers

Ah! That makes sense. Herbs don’t keep forever. I purchase mainly for professional use so botanicals get used up quickly. For cooking, though, I always try to get the smallest quantity if it’s something I don’t use regularly because like you, my household is also single person.

ashmanra

I don’t care for hibiscus in blends that claim to be something else, like strawberry or apple but then all I taste is Hibi. I do, however, like jamaica and was wondering what the best source for loose flowers would be. All I have had is Tazo Passion, which is probably not nearly as good. It may not even be pure hibi.

White Antlers

ashmanra Tazo Passion is a fruit flavored tea (and it’s ‘tropical flavoring’, not even dried fruit pieces) primarlily hibiscus, some spices and rose hips but it’s a lower grade hibiscus; more broken up bits and pieces than whole petals. Kind of like green or black tea fannings (or ‘floor sweepings’ as I call it). To me, hibiscus tea bags are a waste of space and will tend to be low quality. A website called The Tea Spot sells good grade, organic, loose hibiscus petals and you can get a sample which is 5 servings for something like $4.00. That’s a good way to see if you like it, then you can order the next size which is 4 oz. Of course, if you have access to an herbal shop that sells in bulk, that is the ideal way to go.

derk

Lot’s of good ideas and info, Mastress Alita. Thank you for sharing! I will have to try that lavender earl grey hot chocolate when the weather cools.

White Antlers: Herbal Healing for Women is, funnily, arriving at my doorstep today. I’m also into the first chapter of House as a Mirror of Self. Explored Jung many moons ago, so it’s nice to be brought back into that fold, and with the author’s ties to the Bay Area, makes me even more interested in her text.

ashmanra

derk and White Antlers: My copy of House As A Mirror of Self is on the way! Looking forward to reading it!

I know Tazo is not high quality so I really look forward to finding some really good hibiscus flowers. My eldest daughter, Superanna on here, loves jamaica and I would love to make some for her. Just learned to make horchata because the kiddos like it!

White Antlers

derk: Hmmm. The Universe works in mysterious ways. I love both of those books. Mine are dear companions, limp and ragged from so many re-reads. So glad they will be with you. Each book has so much to give.

ashmanra: Delighted you ordered ‘House!’ Tazo has some merit and it’s a gateway tea for many folks. Try The Tea Spot’s hibiscus. My bag is down to the dregs else I’d gift you with some. Isn’t horchata a treat? Those lucky kiddos…

gmathis

I’m with derk—I am ready to try that lavender hot cocoa in a month or so!

ashmanra

White Antlers – just ordered some for me and some for my daughter!

Martin Bednář

Thank you Mastress Alita for lots of nice suggestions.

I don’t mind hibiscus nor rosehips in blends. But sometimes, usually in cheap stuff, there is too much of them making it only tart and nothing else. That makes me unhappy. But sometimes, it is just right and without it it would be, maybe just not that great?

derk

Another aside, to White Antlers: I read in Herbal Healing for Women that the namesake and original proprietor of my local apothecary in Sebastopol, Rosemary’s Garden, is in fact Rosemary Gladstar.

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Moonlight white tea with snow chrysanthemum flowers, the orange ones that as of late, I’ve realized can be a polarizing flavor due to pickle perception.

I’m not going to lie about what the dry leaf smells like. It’s stinky — perfume, stale urine and dill. Care to read further? Stewed in my work thermos with water off-boil, the tea is fantastic. Brilliant orange-red with a strong aroma. Aging white tea taste with a hearty melding of the snow chrysanthemum taste. Medicinal, savory, sweet, thick, tannic, tangy and tingly; tangelo, hay, forest floor, Demerara sugar, white florals, pastries, minty cooling, black pepper, ginger and yes, I finally taste the dill pickle, quite strongly actually.

More, please.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Citrusy, Dill, Floral, Flowers, Forest Floor, Ginger, Hot hay, Malt, Medicinal, Mineral, Mint, Pastries, Perfume, Sweet, Tangy, Tannin, Thick, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 3 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
Martin Bednář

That aroma doesn’t sound good, but the result sounds great.

White Antlers

I remember when WPT was carrying this. Many folks who purchased complained about the dill smell/taste. I think I tried a sample; the toilet paper-iness of the chrysanthemums and the negative associations I had with them from acupuncture/TCM made this a no drinker for me. So glad it worked for you, derk.

derk

A small amount will be heading your way, Martin.

White Antlers, I can see how this would be jarring to people not expecting such a flavor! The pale yellow chrysanthemum is not something I care for at all, but these orange ones… something soothing about them. Thanks for passing this one on. I did really enjoy it.

Roswell Strange

Haha, I’m with you Derk – Snow Chrysanthemum is one of my favourite straight herbs, and I adore them in this tea. Didn’t realize how polarizing they were until recently though.

tea-sipper

Oops, my fault on the pickle note! Hopefully some people actually like the flavor, now that I have pointed it out. haha

White Antlers

tea-sipper Don’t blame yourself. So many people got that dill note, not just Steepster-ites but folks who reviewed the tea on the WPT site, I’m surprised WPT didn’t rename the tea-maybe Pickle Sonata.

tea-sipper

haha. okay. I hadn’t seen any WPT reviews. Just as long as I’m not the sole ruiner!

Roswell Strange

tea-sipper I taste the dill in it too; it’s just a positive for me ;)

tea-sipper

Ros – that’s good that you enjoy it anyway!I think you also noticed the dill before I did anyway. haha

derk

Oh cool, I can see my notices now. Time to catch up on comments.

tea-sipper: annie (Where have you been annie?) also says pickles regarding the buds. And yeah, there’s a whole posse of dill or pickle proclaimers hiding in the 3 pages of reviews here for Moonlight Sonata.

If this were pressed again, I’d buy a cake for sure.

tea-sipper

OH okay. I didn’t see any other notes for this tea. I thought it was my other note recently about another Chrysanthemum tea that did it.

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82

Well, this is tea from ashmanra again. Thank you!

Well, although without caffeine, it was very delicious tea.

Bold base, although it was only carrier of nice creamy and vanilla flavours. There isn’t much to write more :). It was smooth, enjoyable; maybe I have expected more of the vanilla though. But at least it wasn’t sickly sweet.

Flavors: Creamy, Smooth, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
ashmanra

Glad you liked it!

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drank Scottish Breakfast by TeaMaze
2241 tasting notes

Family is beginning to warn me that I repeat myself…so pardon if I’ve used this analogy before. But you know those annoying alarm clocks that get louder and louder the longer you ignore them? That’s a fair description of this morning tea. The first few sips are sweet and wheaty, but as you progress, the toast turns from seven-grain to dark pumpernickel. If you aren’t awake when you take the first sip, you should be by the bottom of the cup.

derk

Yes, thanks for the chuckle.

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90

Thanks so much, Meowster!  The name is certainly intriguing, the bundles of oolong are certainly huge.  I don’t see any actual osmanthus blooms mixed in with the oolong in my small sample — not sure if there should be?  This is missing from the shop, at this point.  Maybe the name is just lovely and isn’t actually intended to taste like osmanthus?  I can’t say it really did taste like osmanthus.  But it IS a very tasty oolong anyway.  Very thick and syrupy, very smooth.  A bit of a roast.  I was hoping my oolong tasting buds were more refined by now after some weird tasting oolong months, but no, the flavor details are still a bit foggy.  But I can tell this is a high quality oolong, regardless of few details that I can pick apart.
Steep #1  // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 21 minutes after boiling  // rinse // 1 minute steep
Steep #2  // 11 minutes after boiling //  1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min

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85

I have completely no idea what is this tea. I just know I have received it (order on my address) from White Antlers. So thank you a lot, hopefully Alistair pop in here and tell us bit more, as it is not available on What-cha website at all!

So, moreover it doesn’t have even the typical white label that all What-cha teas have! It is handwritten, saying name of the tea and vintage 2019.

I took water when first bubbles started to appear. That is my rule of thumb while making temperature sensitive teas, as it is usually green teas.

I took 5 grams for my 300-400 ml mug. Bit untypical set-up but perfect for cold (around 16°C) morning. Steeped for 3 minutes which wasn’t too much but it was quite exact for perfect cup.

The tea was somehow simple in flavour, grassy/grass seed, vegetal, overall indeed typical cheap green tea without any off notes. Hints of astringency. But the palate was amazingly smooth, little bit bitter (but I think I have over-leafed & maybe too long steep). Certainly a nice tea, which I will gongfu for sure, as leaves are big and wonderful! Preparing it western, even in a big tea bag instead of strainer, is bit contempt.

Flavors: Grass, Grass Seed, Smooth, Vegetal

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

Hey Martin. I think that was one of the ‘mystery’ teas I asked Alistair to include the in order. Since I don’t even drink green tea (yuck), there is no way of me offering any guidance about it. Sometimes his mystery teas are ‘one offs’ or things so low in stock they are no longer on his website. Glad it was drinkable. : )

Martin Bednář

Sometimes it is on website, but it says “out of stock”. Not this time!

What-Cha

Hi Martin, just saw your post. When I placed an order with MANNA for their black teas, they sent me some quite generous sized samples of other teas. The green was one of them and after trying it, I had enough left over for two mystery teas!

Martin Bednář

Ah, not a big stash of tea, but still lots of to share! Wonderful I was lucky to get it :) I have different black tea from Georgia (Guria Likhauri) and well, they know how to make tea there! Thank you for clarifying it to me (and maybe others as well? :) )

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Finished a mug of this a few minutes ago and was really impressed!

It’s both a buttery and soft banana as well as a nice ripe and sweet one, and it complimented beautifully with the sweet fudge/toffee notes that were the grounded undertone carrying into a sweet finish. I want to write more, but I’m heading into a meeting so this will have to do for now – but it was honestly just really good!

Dustin

I haven’t heard of this company before! Have you tried many of their teas?

Roswell Strange

I got a sampler with ten teas, but I’ve only done four so far.

Inkling

Wow, that sounds pretty amazing!

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73

Another tea from August 2020 subscription.

Well. It is weird tea. Haven’t seen tea with: rooibos, cocoa nibs, Ceylon black tea, puffed quinoa, cat flowering tops, stevia and flavours.

Although it is pretty much creamy and dough like in taste, stevia is honestly somehow overpowering everything, although I understand that the taste can remind bit that dough.

As I don’t really know how honeycomb cookie should taste like, I can’t much say it is similar to taste. But the tea itself is somehow in the middle. I like it, but it’s sweet. But it’s called honeycomb so it is supposed to be I think. Creamy qualites are high. Missing bit of some other flavours. Maybe more cocoa nibs next time? I have just looked inside pouch and can’t see any!
Well…

Flavors: Creamy, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

Were there any flowering cats in the pouch?! :)

Martin Bednář

Ahm, a typo. Apparenly it should be a oat but the print isn’t top quality.

White Antlers

Darn. I prefer flowering cats in my tea. This IS disappointing. lol Sorry, Martn, not making fun of you.

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90

Western brewing

I have received a huge box just before my getaway. Lovely White Antlers decided to send me some teas. Ordered from What-cha, delivered here. And this tea is sample from Alistair himself. THANK YOU both!

3 minutes steeping brews wonderful golden colour tea. The aroma is indeed very sweet as it is in the description, (dry) tea was very similar to picture. Long wire-like leaves, with hints of golden colour.

Brewed… aroma was already described, as well the colour. The taste is bit drying, but sweet. Maybe sweet potatoes a bit? Hints of malt for sure. Maybe it is not one of the most complex black teas, but certainly very nice and the price is very nice as well.

For now 90/100. But it may go up or down as I am, naturally, tired. And maybe another preparation method will make the tea better. How to spend remaining 3 grams? Should I brew it gong-fu?

Flavors: Drying, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

The What Cha tea box should help you get through your first few weeks of school, Martin. Enjoy! : )

Martin Bednář

I think it will help me go through whole semester :D

White Antlers

That’s even better! YAY!

ashmanra

Wowzer! That sounds wonderful, Martin! I bet it was delicious. Keemun are da best!

derk

Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful? I have a ton of tea from White Antlers to forward soon. It’s going to come in several shipments. I don’t want you to pay customs and I know you had to once before with Farmerleaf. Is there a parcel size or weight limit?

Martin Bednář

Hehe ashmanra. Everybody got tastes different. I prefer bit more Ceylons or sometimes Darjeelings. But now, maybe I will fell in love with Keemun?

derk: Indeed she is! Well, the value of one shipment should be less than 22 EUR. That’s 26 USD. The parcel size or weight doesn’t matter, but write in the custom declaration value less or equal that 22 EUR. Note it is gift as well, because then there is no VAT to pay by myself. Declare clearly the amount of black tea and amount of green tea. If there are other teas, I don’t know how to declare it :/. They aren’t listed in the list. Maybe declare it as herbs if they are fruit/herbal? That should do no tax as well, if they decide that value is actually higher than written 22 EUR.

I don’t know how much of tea do you “have to” forward to me, but that’s it :) It isn’t easy at all, I had to read the website several times and I still think I don’t understand it properly. But the value should do the trick.

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72

The Great Un-Steepstering of 2020 Review #6 (08/15/20)

Today is the one year anniversary of me buying this house! Which was around the time I fell really behind on reading Steepster reviews, hense the year-or-so backlog I have to get through. It will also be the one-year adoptionversary for my kitty Chiya in a few days (PRIORITIES… bought the house to get a cat!) and sadly, I have to get her booster shots. I will certainly make it up to her with a special treat and I already replaced her favorite mouse that she went Mike Tyson on by ripping its ear off (and it probably won’t be long until she destroys this one… she’s a little black death machine!)

Still trying to get through my 2017 teas, which are my oldest (I got into tea late in 2016 and did a lot of bulk orders in 2017 in my enthusiam!) I especially have a lot of pure origin teas from that time, which is sad I let them get so old, but c’est la vie… Here is another from that old What-cha order, and it was a big bag! Oof, this will take a while to sip down… I’ve already made one cold brew batch and will probably be doing that a lot to work through the bag, but right now I have a warm cuppa to sip with my classy microwave eggroll lunch. 2g in 175F water, 2 minute steep.

I have tried other Bi Luo Chun’s in the past. The aroma of this one smells very floral, which my (admittedly poor) memory doesn’t recall any of the others I’ve tried being particularly floral (they were always a very savory vegetal flavor with a strong beany note, with some variances on that between the different ones I tried). I’d have to look through all different iterations to see if any of them struck strongly floral… I do smell that “beany” quality as well, though. First sip, and this definitely does have a florality to the flavor… smooth, a bit like the lilac/orchid flavor in green oolongs, not heavy or perfumy. The vegetal quality is there, and I am definitely getting that bean note lingering on my tongue after the sip. The vegetal flavor is a bit like peas/pea pods, green beans, and black beans, and comes across very savory/umami. I know I’ve had a few Bi Luo Chun that had a “meaty” taste in the past, but I’m not getting that here from the umami quality… perhaps because of the florality of the tea.

It’s a nice tea, I probably don’t need 50g of it, but it is pleasant.

Flavors: Beany, Floral, Green Beans, Orchid, Peas, Smooth, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
White Antlers

Happy Home Owner anniversary!

Mastress Alita

Thanks! It was a week ago now but was really nice… I spoiled the cat as cat mommas tend to do! (Though to be fair, I also put in a rather large tea order for myself when I’ve been barely ordering tea this year, as well, to mark the occassion, hahaha. I should’ve bought a piece of furniture or something since even after a year it is still a little barren, but, ah well!)

White Antlers

I no longer own, but when I moved cross country and back home several years ago, my place was not ‘put together’ for over a year; the cats, however, had everything where it needed to be and then some. : )

Mastress Alita

It’s put together enough to be perfectably “homey,” and I figure I have plenty of time to “decorate” over the years. I feel especially thankful I have this place at the moment; my best friend (toddashi/Todd here on Steepster) lives in California and was evacuated due to a lightning strike fire in the Santa Cruz mountains, from a home he bought maybe just a month after I bought mine (hasn’t even quite been there a year yet!) He’s having to live out of a hotel right now with the fear the fire is going to spread and take his home… I’m worrying enough for the both of us right now! A safe and happy home is the best kind. <3

White Antlers

God, I am so sorry to hear about your friend! I hope his home is spared. I had just moved to the Bay area a few months prior to the horrendous Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991. Several friends lost their homes and had to flee with just what they could grab and throw into their cars. California has been badly hit with fires the last few years. Callous as it may sound to my fellow humans, my heart always aches for the wild life killed, habitats destroyed as well as house pets who cannot be gotten to and rescued.

I have a lot of ‘stuff’ (antique tea sets, oil paintings, flow blue ware, books and so on) and even though this is a rental, I work from home so I repainted the whole interior and refloored the kitchen and the bathroom. Those things set me back with unpacking and then setting up each room to my satisfaction took on (as always) a time sucking life of its own. The real joy comes belatedly when you have been in residence for a few years and suddenly realize what a beautiful sanctuary you’ve created for yourself. If you have not read/heard of this book, may I recommend it? Clare Cooper Marcus’s “House As a Mirror of Self: Exploring the Deeper Meaning of Home.”

Mastress Alita

I haven’t heard of that book, I’m a librarian so when I’m back at work I’ll have to see if we have it!

Thankfully Todd and his son and daughter-in-law left with their two dogs and three cats (they are renting two hotel rooms and have a “doggo room” and “kitty room”). Initially they had to leave the coop of chickens behind, but after making some phone calls the next day and finding a friend who would keep the chickens for the interim, he went back into the evacuation zone for the chickens and got them out. So thankfully all the pets were able to be evacuated, too.

White Antlers

I am so glad to hear that Todd and his animals are out of harm’s way. I hope his home fares just as well.

ashmanra

Mastress Alita: I am so sorry that your best friend is having to go through this! I am so glad that they are all safe now,

White Antlers: i need to look at that book! I do sit quietly in my living room and look around with a great sense of peace. Most of what I have in there was made by us or repaired/improved by us, inherited, or was purchased at estate sales for a fraction of the retail price. I used to follow Danny Seo’s curated home articles and I think we do tend to display things that sparked our interest.

It sounds like your home is very pleasant, indeed!

White Antlers

ashmanra, it’s an excellent book. I bought it when it first came out in 2006 and have used it a lot in my work as well as gifted it to several good friends. There is a copy in my office and another one in my book basket, next to my bed. It can now be found on Amazon for a few dollars.

Your house sounds very pleasant as well-especially since you also have the sound of music in it. : ) Do I recall that a few years ago you wrote about having a beautiful old radio (the kind in a wooden cabinet) as one of your treasures?

I take my cue for decorating my house from this William Morris quote: “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

tea-sipper

I was just thinking ‘not those CA fires again’. Every year. I’m very sorry Todd is so affected by the fires this year. I hope everything works out for them and all the pets.

derk

A couple of great anniversaries to celebrate, Mastress Alita :) Glad to hear todd and his crew are safe and hope his home stays unscathed. I wish we weren’t a few hours apart.

White Antlers: I’m going to pick up that book. Sounds like it’ll fit snugly into the broad subject of interest of how natural and man-made environments effect our psyche and sense of place.

mrmopar

@Mastress Alita, Tell Todd we are keeping him in our prayers. You guys are having it rough out there.

Martin Bednář

Happy anniversary(ies) (though late)! And yes, tell Todd we are all thinking aobut him here :)

Mastress Alita

Will do, guys.

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