Featured & New Tasting Notes
AllanK is 3 for 3 on shous from our trade! Thanks, A!
This is another winner. This tastes a little like dessert, even on the early steeps. I did one rinse, and then 10-15-25. I will probably dial it back a little to a few at 15 seconds. It even has an interesting mouthfeel, very soft and full. It gives a nice tickle on the back of the throat, too. It has some nice chocolatey notes and is only very slightly earthy. And I mean very slight.
I have a feeling that this must be pricey, which may not be so bad since I am on a strict buying hiatus anyway. I’ll say this – I definitely WOULD buy this. It’s excellent!
Ahhhhh, finally getting to enjoy PTA again. I missed it so much! Sometimes it is really nice to have a long break from one of your favorite teas just so that you appreciate it again when it’s back. Malty, caramely, chocolaty awesomeness!
I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with tea cocktails lately. So far, the reviews from friends have been very good. I’ve also been testing out cocktails against each other to see which ones are favored. The Hello Sweetie teatini is just a huge success. For anyone that is interested in the recipe, here’s a link: http://butikiteas.blogspot.com/2014/08/butiki-after-hours-hello-sweetie-teatini.html.
Last weekend I tested out the Red Queen martini and Lemon French Macaron martini. The Red Queen martini had an espresso vodka and plain vodka and had a mostly espresso flavor with strawberry at the end. This was a huge success with espresso and coffee fans. The Lemon French Martini had Frangelico and plain vodka. The combo of the lemon and fragelico (hazelnut liquor) was similar to a chocolate cake shot but more just like birthday cake. Everyone seemed to love that even people who were not fans of citrus. This one was pretty complex.
Man… Another winner from AllanK.
One rinse only, and this had just a subtle earthiness, definitely not much. It was smooth and lovely. The tea brewed up to a topaz shade. Very lovely.
I had a long and unpleasant Sunday, into today, in a war with an Ikea bed frame. I’d like to say that I won, but it was more of a tie. I’m not feeling super poetic, but this was damn good. I’m just gonna leave it at that!
Miss Marzipan was sweet enough to send me a sample of this once after she ordered a tin during their free shipping sale. Thanks Marz! :) Visually, it’s generic black tea leaves with itty bitty chunks of something, which I assume is fig? A couple of them look like they could be citrus peel, so maybe it’s both. Dry scent is delicious strong and sweet fig with vanilla – I don’t really smell lemon here. I did a 4 minute steep at 200 degrees.
Mm, the brewed aroma is also strong figs (which to me, includes a honey scent) with sweet and woody vanilla and a touch of lemon. To be totally, I’m a little bit disappointed by the level of flavor here, I could have used a little bit more. I can taste all three flavors, which is nice, but I was hoping for more fig. I added a teaspoon of honey to mine, because I feel like honey and fig is a natural combination, and it did help to bring out the flavor a little more. I actually really like the lemon here, it adds a nice top note and really freshens the whole thing up. Something in the base tea tastes a little odd to me, almost mineral? Maybe I should have stopped at a 3 minute steep. Luckily, Marz sent me enough of this to try it a few times! :)
Flavors: Fig, Lemon, Oak wood, Vanilla
I am grumpy this morning as there has been construction going on in the building across the street, Hammering noises for about 12 hours a day, every day. Even on the weekend! Argh. Luckily music seems to blot out some of it, but I might need to go to the library later to get some reading done.
Anyway this is an amazing tea… one of my favorites. I’ve already written a few tasting notes on it. This morning it reminds me of freshly baked dark bread and roasted sweet potatoes. How can it be so incredibly delicious? Yum. I should pay a visit to Red Blossom Tea soon but I can’t really afford them right now, lol!
This one was golden, as per usual. I’m running low; need to restock sooner rather than later. Don’t want to wind up in a position where I’m running out of this one.
PS. Steepster Chat is pretty amusing tonight; topic of conversation is Duck Dynasty. I may have exposed my huge thing for bearded men. Or women. Really; just beards in general. The follicle-y fortunate are my sort of people.
Had this tea last night AND this morning! So delicious.
Mostly I went for it because I have no milk of any kind, and I’m not interested in getting dressed in outside clothes to go buy milk. :)
Still, it was an excellent choice.
(1st steep 4 minutes, 2nd steep 6 minutes)
I think I am in danger as I really enjoyed this introduction to Sheng. I loved the mix of exotic woods, spice, fruit, floral notes, leather, honey, vegetal notes and cream. I also loved the warming sensation it produced in my body. Can see why people can get addicted to this style of tea. It was also really long lasting I ended up getting 27 steeps out of one tuocha steeped in a 140 ml gaiwan. Thanks so much to TeaVivre for the chance to sample this tea. It has definitely left me with a desire to sample more.
I used short steeps and near boiling water for this tea.
5s: slightly darker broth than my average green tea.
Sweet, straw like nnotes, honey, cocoa, cotton flower in the scent with flavours of cotton flower, straw, honey, cocoa, hint of ffruit, plum, and a touch of artichoke and leather. The tea had a creamy buttery texture and produced a slight tingling on the underside of the tongue.
7s deeper gold colour. With regards to the scent and taste, the leather note is stronger, with hints of aged cedar mixed with sandalwood, honey, floral notes and cocoa.
There are some vegetal green tea notes, with spinach, artichoke and spice, hint of frackensence. Plum. Creamyspicy woody, honeyed floral taste overlying some bitterness
9s frackensence, cedar, plum, floral notes, aged spicy woods, honey.
Cream, artichoke with spinach, exotic wood and spices, some honey, over some bitter tones. It presents a warming sensation in my body.
11s similar to above but a little sweeter and fruitier smelling.
Cream, spinach and artichoke frakinsence, aged cedar, allspice, honey, leather,plum, aftertaste of spice. Warming in the body, cooling in the mouth.
15s. Spice, plum, hint of spicy floral.
Cream, exotic woods and spices, indistinct savoury veg, hint of leather,
20s. Floral mixed with woody notes_ plum and artichoke.
Similar to above still spicy exotic woods, veg,plum, and honey over bitter notes, a little more drying in the mouth.
23s. Spice, cotton flower, plum, brighter than last steeps.
Even blending of above flavours exotic spices devolving into a spicy floral note cream, fruit. Gardenia.
26s similar to above but slightly more bitter and spicy floral notes are slightly biting.
30s tart intro to scent mix.
Cream honey ,veg note, gardenia, plum and a touch of exotic woods.
34s More honey and plum, bitter veg tone and gardenia mixed with exotic woods.
40s bright spice over letter, woods and greens, smell a little of perfume.
Frakinsence, cream, aged cedar, artichoke, plum.
46s. Cream, plum than other notes in succession.
54s. Plum, cream, woody notes, spice. Honey
62s same as above with some floral notes. Honey move forward with cream.
70s Much more intensely sweet with hints of licorice to the honey, plum, spice. A mild woody dryness and lots of warmth and heat produced in the. Front of the mouth yielding to a cooling.
80s similar to above but slightly creamier.
90s slightly stronger cedar, and spice notes, very warming.110s spicy exhautic woods, salt, cream, some savoury notes.
120s. above mixed with bitter sweet greens
130s honey, spice, greens, cream.
140 s similar but a little weak.
160 s same.
180s. Licorice woody notes, spice, plum
3.30min plum, woody notes, licorice, spice.4 min softer version of notes above.
5 min creamy soft with licorice appearing with spice and honey.
6 min. Honey, cream, sweet cooked greens, faint hint of spice.
Thanks again I really enjoyed it!
This tea made me so so so so so so so so so SO happy. Of happiness.
Only one rinse was needed and the color is deeper than ruby, like a garnet. And AllanK was right – zero fermentation flavor, no dirty flavors. This tastes like chocolate mushrooms. That may not sound appetizing, but I assure you, it’s the fucking BOMB, yo.
This is my new fave shou. Thanks for the sample, Allan!!!!
I did one session with three steeps, then another, then another. A total of 9 steeps, which got smoother as they went along.
From the start, I felt buzzy. At one point during the 2nd session, I realized that I dazed out. When I came to, I felt kind of dizzy and happy. Tea drunk, indeed!
I also kept staring into the cup, kind of mesmerized by the color.
To sum up: WOW. So yumz. Much happy. Wow. So garnet. Tea drunkies.
This sample from k s was welcome; as (wouldn’t you know it) I was awake hours too early on a Saturday morning—gentle rain on the roof is such an unnatural sound of late, it woke me. So I steeped this a little long and strong to get the bleary eyes open while watching a Veggie Tales kids’ show on one of the few analog channels left in our area. (Haven’t Veggied since my son was a little ‘un. They haven’t changed much.)
I’m seeing “peppery” in the reviews for this one; may be I was just too sleepy to notice that. My sleepy brain registered “starchy and crusty,” but in a good way, like rye bread toast crust.
I can’t really sleep tonight so might as well drink good tea, right?
I had this tea twice today. Such a lovely shou.
I like how sweet and smooth it is. I find myself craving it.
It’s not overly complicated and complex, but sometimes, that’s just what I’m seeking.
I have mentioned that this tea was like a hug on my last review and I stand by it. Definitely a hugger!
At this rate, the little cake won’t last very long.
Sorry Mandala for not being more eloquent tonight…
Pic from earlier:
Many thanks to my Nina’s Paris dealer VariaTEA for the sample! I’m always up for trying another of Nina’s teas – they so, so rarely ever disappoint. This one absolutely holds true to that standard, as well!
So I made this in my timolino for work. Dry and steeping I really didn’t get much of any sort of smell from this so I was going in to this with relatively low expectations but still holding onto to some hope because this is Nina’s and Nina’s Paris knows tea. And it was such a joy to sip on while I was walking home after a long day! So cheers for that!
The black base was very smooth with just the faintest floral hint to it. Bitter and Astringent are totally foreign words in regard to this one. And then marrying beautifully with the base was this very rich and juicy orange flavour with a silky creaminess to it that reminded me of a very natural creamsicle type treat (but hot). Not fake orange flavoured syrup frozen over ice cream but something much higher quality, and richer.
There’s also chocolate in this blend, but I found it to actually be very light handed; just enough to sweeten things up and keep this from feeling monotone (or rather “duotone”?). I might not have even recognized it in the blend if I hadn’t looked this one up prior to making it.
So conclusion: this is simple and pretty straight forward, but really really good! There’s no need for me to stock both Three Friends (another sweet Orange/Black) but if I was out of that one I’d be perfectly content with stocking either of these two blends. Both are masterfully executed.
Also hey – here’s a random link ( http://donottouch.org/ ) for a neat-o crowd sourced music video you should all check out! Aside from just being pretty fun, the music/song itself is kinda cool and catchy too.
Having GO at the end of the day is as satisfying as having GO in the morning.
I wasn’t planning on having it now, but a tea friend invited me to have a cup with her, so I did :-)
And let me tell you that it made a very satisfied fairy out of me.
It’s such a comfort tea, no matter what the season is. I drank it all summer long, and we’re about to spend our first autumn season together.
A pure vanilla dream it is, with plenty of chocolate gooeyness. If someone can’t get the chocolate in this well…sorry but I am totally judging you!!!
Another puerh from my mystery sample box :D
Oh wow, this sheng is SUPER smooth! I would not have guessed it is so young! I am REALLY digging on this one. It has fruity notes that I always appreciate in a sheng, as well as a brisk energy. I’m really glad I randomly chose this one this morning, it is a winner!
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Tea of the morning! I’ve been wanting to try this particular tea for a long time, mostly because of the hype it gets around here. The leaves look exactly like Laoshan Green but black. :P They’re thin and brittle and curled into little loops in some cases. Dry scent is pure cocoa, yum! I did a 3 minute steep as per usual for black teas.
Brewed, this tea smells very similar to Fujian black teas that I’ve tried – it has that same savory dill note. This tea also tastes similar to my idea of a Fujian tea. It’s strong and has robust flavors with that dill note along with dark grain and some lovely cocoa. This tea, however, has a nice burnt brown sugar or caramel flavor to it that really adds depth. And it’s a teensy bit sweeter, especially in the end and aftertaste, and there’s a touch of cinnamon.
Overall, quite good, but not mind-blowing. :)
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dill, Grain
This is a bit of a revelation. I still have half a pound of this from my hasty mega-purchase a few years ago. I constantly give it away, but it reproduces like gremlins.
Knowing its tendency to become a bit bitter and dry, I steeped it quick (about 2.5 minutes) and added a small splash of milk and a bit of honey. This brings it back to sweet, creamy, vanilla. Not my favourite and I definitely regret buying so much but this will make it really easy to drink some more at work. No re-steeping, dear heaven.
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla
I’ve progressed to book 11 of 14 WoT!!!!!!!!!!!!!.. and this tea is gone. If you think those exclamation marks are a sign of a diseased mind just you wait until I hit book 14 AND get my refill of With Open Eyes (yes, I’m going to sync these events up somehow).
Goodbye for now, steadfast tea.
Flavors: Butter, Nuts, Strawberry, Toffee
Wow. It’s been so long since I’ve written a note on steepster that I…don’t really know what to say. I feel as though I first fell off the tasting note bandwagon, and then as the summer sweltered hotter and hotter, I sort of fell off the hot tea bandwagon as well. And as my samples continued to pile up around me, I just turned a blind eye to it all (har har) and chugged water. What a mistake it was to abandon tea for so long. I had this as a latte yesterday while at DT (where I of course picked up the green carry mug, omg omg omg), and made it again for myself first thing this morning. Nothing calms an anxiety-ridden heart like a cup of tea, and that, my friends, is a scientific fact.
What this tea tastes like: my goodness, I don’t even know if I have a tea vocabulary anymore. I get the thick, almost waxy and candle-like (in the best way possible) breadiness that lends this tea so, so well to having milk or cream in it, and the flavours I generally associate with pumpkin. I am no expert on what authentic pumpkin tastes like, but I know I like this tea for it’s pumpkin flavor, chai spices (although those aren’t too strong for me, I don’t think) and the candle-y breadiness that I love so much.
Let’s see how long it is until I write again! I’ve missed you guys!
I took a gamble on this one and Garret did not lead me astray. Thanks so much, G-Mac. You picked a real beauty!
Method: 6g, 6oz, 200 degrees, rinse-10-15-20, sheng yixing and Goldie
Aroma: Smells very strongly of grape and smoked apricots, but it has a freshness that was very pleasant.
Flavor: First, this feels like butter. It’s creamy and so very smooth. It’s fruity and sweet, with almost no bitterness and only the lightest astringency on the finish. It made me feel all warm and it did not take long for my tea drunk wooziness to start. I have a sheng glow. A nuttiness starts to emerge, too.
I adore this tea. It’s amazeballs!
I was very surprised to get a Mandala box that I didn’t remember ordering. When I opened it, I found a note from Garret saying it was a surprise from my Teaplet Sarsonator and that my other Teaplet, the Lovely Tea Fairy was getting one too. At that point, this had not been released on the Mandala site and it made me cry. Sarsy went to a LOT of trouble working with Garret to make this amazing surprise happen and I heart them both a LOT.
Today we finally all three have our supply of this and we are having a Teaplet sheng party. And Holy Crap. This is so incredibly delicious.
I put 5 grams in the wee shengxing and away I went. The rinse was divine. The liquor is pale and golden and a premiere of coming attractions.
This is so fruity and smooth. It tastes like apricot jam with exactly zero astringency or bitterness. No smoke to be found either. There is that catch at the back of my throat that tells me I’m shengin’
I got a lovely and immediate full body creeping warmth and relaxation. I can’t EVEN believe this is a baby sheng. I love baby shengs, but this one tastes like it has a little age on it. It keeps getting better as I go through the steeps.
LTF remarked that it reminds her of my favorite (until now??) Mandala sheng, Wild Mountain Green and I agree in that there is a load of fruit, in this case apricot and a load of smooth and it makes for a gorgeously happy relaxed tea drunk.
THANK YOU MY DARLING SARSY!!!! And also Garret for making it happen!
It makes me feel all reverb-y y’all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4_5593-skQ
Feeling a bit exhausted. Things are a little too hectic at the moment. So I could whine, or curl up in a ball and hide, or I could just have a cup of tea (maybe six). I choose the tea. I finished off the sample. I am not sure if I have more of it somewhere or not. If so I’ll stumble on it later and be surprised. I have always really liked this one. The leaf is beautiful. The wet leaf scent is so vegetal and inviting. The best part though, is just sitting quietly with the cup and enjoying it. Excellent refresher.