Featured & New Tasting Notes
So the highlight of the tea festival for me? Vanilla Matcha in….ORANGE JUICE. Yeah, i know. I would never have thought to do that but man it was like drinking and orange creamsicle and made my day. Sadly, i’m not spending 35$ on 100g of flavoured matcha. So i’m going to see what david’s version tastes like tomorrow for breakfast lol
This is as much a review of the clay boiler I got from Taiwan Sourcing as it is this tea. This was already a really good ripe, one of my absolute favorites. So improving it was setting a high bar. But I have to say, and while this isn’t scientific, the tea just tastes better with water from my Anta Pottery Clay Boiler. The tea itself is sweet with little bitterness, and notes of chocolate and fruity notes in latter steeps. I have to admit I’m not getting much qi off of this tea but then again I usually don’t get qi from ripe tea. I think that this clay boiler was a good investment, even though it was expensive. It was about $100 cheaper than it’s main competition, the Purion Kettle. The Anta Pottery kettle is the same concept as the Purion. Having never used a Purion I couldn’t say the difference. Overall, this tea tastes smoother than with my electric kettle. I definitely notice a difference.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
Morning protein smoothie infused with cold brew:
200ml coconut milk
100ml Berry Poppins
40g Syntha-6 Cinnamon Bun protein powder
122g frozen banana
I was worried it was going to be weird but it all worked out. The juicy berries ‘n’ cream from the cold brew pairs so nicely with the cinnamon and vanilla notes in the protein powder, and the banana ties it all together. Next time I’ll toss in 50g of frozen raspberries.
Ahh, I’m in a good mood. It was a long and very busy week, but it went off successfully, and today is Saturday! And the best kind of Saturday, where I’m off to something fun! Plus I’m feeling ever so much better, so it is all good.
I’ve decided that now I have working tastebuds and a nose again, its time to drink something lovely.
Oh Tower of London, I do love you. Its like the subtler sister of Paris, with the black tea accented by honeyed stone fruits. Its just lovely.
Had a nice session with this over a couple of nights. I really didn’t take down notes as I just enjoyed it for what it was. A simple tea . Brewed simply and enjoyed greatly. In times of controversy about sources and ages this is still a well sourced one. Hand picked and processed in good order as testament of the spent leaves.
Thanks again Liquid Proust for adding this tea to the box!
Blends like this are perfect for pu’erh noobs like me. I want to like pu’erh but for me, it is a bit of an aquired taste. But, I’m definitely getting to like them!
This one is fairly sweet with notes of woody earthiness from the base. I had no idea what steeping parameters to use so I just winged it… I steeped this four times (resteeps at 3.5,4,4.5 min.) and poured them all into my thermos because I was busy reading books with my toddler!. It was delicious.
Non tea related:
I got a new Bonavita kettle last night!!! My trusty old Oster kettle just has too much mineral deposits that have built up over many years of usage. So I thought I would try something different:
I was so excited to get it ready to brew tea today and learned that it doesn’t even get to 100degrees. It gets up to 99 but won’t get to a full boil. WTF? This isn’t that big of a deal because usually I drink tea at less than a boil, but sometimes I do. And what kind of kettle doesn’t even boil water???? Anyone else have this problem? I should contact the company I guess. Sorry, rant over.
Cold brew sip down. I noticed with this one and Live Wire Lemon that the ginger really comes through when you cold brew them. With both, I barely tasted the ginger hot but preparing it this way? It’s pretty much all I can taste, especially with Ginger Peach Moringa. That artificial peach that took over hot is virtually gone now. It’s much better this way but I still wouldn’t buy more. Ginger Beer exists for a reason!
this is a delicious cup. It reminds me a little of some of the TTC teas, with that sweet, almost honeylike profile up front….on the tail end i get more of an almost cocoa like, malty goodness. I am a fan of this one. I brewed it western today for a couple cups…next time i’d like to try a gonfu session as i think this one would work really well that way.
Out of all the teas I could drink when I’m upset, I chose this one. This is one of the teas I bought a sample of for the next group buy; which I am going to make quite special because I’m going to arrange all the taste and quality by testing the products first.
So, the only time I’ve ever had a black TGY was from Verdant when they had the experimental oolongs they sent out for one of the monthly subscriptions. This one, in comparison, is lighter which helps bring out the life of the TGY in it. I brewed this one with 90c instead of 100c because I wanted to pull out the subtle notes; such as floral and sweetness. Thankfully it worked out :)
This tea rebrewed over six times and probably could go more, but I moved on to sheng which had me switch.
Overall: This is a surprising tea with lots of sweet notes at the end of the taste while still having the upfront black tea taste and smell. The look of the leaf isn’t rolled/balled which was odd, but as a black tea I suppose it makes sense. This is something that I will be comparing to three other products that in the same category (it’s actually number 2) and right now I’m unsure of which of the two takes the spot… I’ve got a few months to figure this out :)
Dear God, in a meeting this morning we were informed that mandatory overtime has been extended through February and increased from 5 hours a week to 7. As soon as that meeting was over I headed to my drawer of tea. If it hadn’t been work hours it might have been something stronger that went into the cup!
This really is a lovely cup. Smooth and strong, just what a morning calls for, especially after getting news you really didn’t want.
I’m going to like that extra money on the check. Say it again: I’m going to like that extra money on the check.
(and just between us, my boss is a jerk. That has nothing to do with the overtime. It’s more about my teensy little raise. My 14.5 years in this position and the experience I bring is worth a he!! of a lot more than 1.2%)
My first AliExpress order, I thought I would try to find a cheap oolong that I could drink all the time so as not to delve into my good stuff, I thought that while it wont be remarkable it could at least be drinkable. I really wanted to like it and will try to be neutral in my review.
This is (apparently) the Autumn 2015 Mi Lan Xiang, which is a Dan Cong I really like.
I opened the bag to be greeted by a smell which I can only describe as a dusty old sofa. It really does smell like that. Perhaps a hint of pot pourri in there. okayyy.
On to the brew, I tried this twice before deciding I am just going to bin it. It doesnt just smell like an old sofa, it also tastes like one. Like, when you were a kid (or adult) and you ate the cushions of your sofa? it tastes like that. Barely perceptible aroma, and mouthfeel of sofa dust. drying and.. salty? I didnt even get much oily weirdness at the bottom of the cup where the leaves were.
Thoughts of how this stuff was stored, and/or how old it is running through my head. I dont know if im spreading misinformation as I dont have a clue how this is stored or if its old but it doesnt taste fresh and nice to me. It really smells like old dusty furniture, not a pu-warehouse storage smell at all.
I tried to brew my current fave Mi Lan to get the taste out and the damn stuff has stuck to my mouth permeating into my current tea with its pot-pourri & dust-flavour, erm, yuck.
Bin it goes :D
p.s. I could only list ‘dust’ as a flavour because ‘old sofa’ isnt on the list
p.p.s. Also, the bag wasnt vacuum sealed, as you can get with other teas, I dont know if that is ever relevant to freshness.
So, I’m rewatching The 100 right now with a coworker; and drinking herbals like this one while I’m watching it…
Basically, we just sync up Netflix at the same time and then just watch the same episode at the same time and share commentary – I know that’s not a totally ‘out there’ concept or idea, but it’s the first time I’ve ever watched a TV show at the same time as a friend without actually watching in person with them and it’s honestly been SUCH a great and fun experience. It probably helps that The 100 is a phenomenal show, and one I wouldn’t mind watching over and over a dozen times. It’s funny though; we have pretty much opposite views on all the characters for the most part…
Anyway, the point of me sharing this kind of boils down to the point of why I wanted him to watch it in the first place: I desperately need someone to watch Season 3 with/talk to about season 3 because apart from my own family I don’t know anyone actually currently watching the third season and I have SO MANY THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS I NEED TO EXPRESS!! So, Steepster – watch The 100 with me so I can talk to people about the show!
Flavors: Apple, Peach, Pleasantly Sour
This may turn out to be a mistake but I don’t even care. My wife shared her stomach virus with me and now I am trying very hard to keep lots of fluids in me. Yesterday I was too sick to care but today I need my morning matcha and cold milk. This one has a very unusual flavor that is perfect today. Its almost earthy but probably more nutty and roasted. I read Lion’s review and have to agree it has a stone flavor. Really good this morning.
Still love this one. Pulled this out today in light of the free shipping coupon. On the upside, i can use it until June, so i can save it up for a purchase in the future where maybe i pick up a limited edition tea + black sunshine. AND i can work on drinking up some of my other teas from DFT (red tailed hawk, keemun, double knit, tiger, holiday, oktoberfest…..) heh
(oh yeah, thanks for putting this in my cupboard again nicole/omgsrsly…going to share some with cavocorax this weekend!)
Surprise review from someone in hiding for months…
Based on a true story
Why is Pretty Girls a motherfucker? Is it just because of the wrapper (https://www.instagram.com/p/BBAQWzIl_lQ/?taken-by=paxl13)? Let me tell you why.
Take a chunk off of your cake. Don’t even measure it, just eyeball it to about 10g or whatever suits you. Okay, yeah, it’s pricier than your “average” shou, but what is average when you’re only spending $2 for a session of tea? Anyway. it’s not too compressed, so just a quick rinse – or even drink it if you don’t like wasting tea.
Here we go, steeps 1-6 come on strong like a pretty girl. Taste all the rich depth of flavor from the gongting and highest grade leaves. So smooth and creamy at first – notes of earthy wood and hints of chocolate tips. Keep going to later steeps, transitioning to sweetness for the long haul. You think this relationship is meant to last forever, the taste lingering on your tongue.
And then it hits you.
The lower grade leaves try to carry the flavor for a little bit longer. Reminiscent of what once was.. you find yourself on steep 15, struggling to feel the same warmth of your first few steeps of exciting energy. It’s gone. Time to move on to another tea.
And that is why Pretty Girls is a motherfucker.
I’ve had a lot of this tea for some time, and I wanted to wait to make it through all of what I had until I reviewed. The tea is beautiful! The dry leaf consists of long whole leaf curls with an array of colors. They range from brilliant green to dusted silver. These gorgeous leaves give off an intoxicating scent of daisies and winter honey. They are just sweet and flowery. I usually drink this every morning before work, and I pack my tetsubin full of this beautiful Darjeeling. This morning I did just the same. I brewed up a pot and took in the scent of the steeped leaves. They still carry that floral scent, but it’s mixed with some burnt sugar and other tannic sweetness. The cuppa is perfect. This by far one of my favorite Darjeelings to date. The brew is much darker and carries thicker tones than most First Flushes, for the tea is more oxidized. This difference in processing makes the tea a rather unique Darjeeling. The taste is phenomenal! The initial sip begins with a drying floral sweetness, and then it moves into a smooth nuttiness. I detect silky caramel in the background that moves throughout the tastes. This tea has a ton of mouth action. The brew begins with an oily base that coats the mouth and throat, and then the oil dries and leaves the mouth, throat, and belly with a wonderful cooling effect. The brew has very little astringency and carries so many complimenting flavors. The drink is crisp and cool, yet it’s also heavy and full bodied. I enjoy drinking this every morning, and I’m sorry to see it go. However, it’s getting to that time of year and I’m very excited for 2016’s harvest. I highly recommend this tea to Darjeeling connoisseurs and novices alike. You won’t be disappointed.
Also, a brief word about the company. I was recommended this tea from a friend awhile back when I was searching for the perfect Darjeeling. I looked this company up and low and behold they were local for me. If you ever in the Western New York area you must stop in. This company’s tea studio is beautiful and the owner is most hospitable. In fact, some of my most memorable tea sessions happened in that studio. The atmosphere is perfect, and the tea is top notch.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Flowers, Nectar, Nutty, Orchid, Plums, Smooth, Sweet
Knowing that I needed to take a new oolong to work, I picked this out because it was my free sample.
At first I looked at it like: thankfully I took this to work because it looks like ‘free sample’ quality to me.
So I began brewing these small beat up pieces of oolong that I wouldn’t consider to look good. The first steep was full of that sweet oolong aroma! The mouth feel was in that high zone, not the best but it is clearly noticeable. As for the texture, it’s there. This might be a bit on the salty side, but once you get through six+ steeps you will see that there are multiple leaf inside that stem that looks like it’s holding a ripped up leaf. I even found one to have 5 leaves coming from it :)
This was probably one of the better samples I’ve ever received from a vendor. This was unexpected though as it doesn’t look or smell like what it taste and smells like when it brews. I’ll be looking at the winter crop for my next order for sure because if it has some of that more woodsy notes within the backtone of floral… that’d be sweet.
Ok I just had this again and it was significantly better. I kept it to about 3 min and 15 seconds, then added half a tsp of sugar. I find it works best if I aerate it around my teeth a little the way they taught us in wine class… a smooth gentle kind of sip that catches on your breath and glides through the mouth. I’m doing a terrible job of explaining, I know! sorry :/
Bah. Seems this is merely a finicky tea. Keeping the rating as is since I have no idea if I can get this consistently. That said, it would get a bump up to about 78. As intoxicating as it is, there is also that slight lingering/burning artificial taste.
I used up the last of this sample.
I love yunnan blacks and this one is delicious. This is the first Yunnan Sourcing tea I have tried, so I am happy to try this sample. I will have to order from them sometime after I sipdown all my Butiki.
The golden needles are beautiful. This tea is smooth and complex. I taste notes of honey, malt, cocoa, and slight sweet potatoe. The mouthfeel is thick and delicious.
I resteeped at 4 minutes and it was just as delicious.
I love these types of light black teas. I knew I had to try the new one from Zen! The leaves are like tiny dark tree branches. The flavor is a great example of this types of tea: honey, hints of malt, and a lot like those chocolates with the roman nougat filling. That is exactly why I love this type of tea. It’s probably only noticeable if you’re a fan of those types of candies. Maybe to others it’s a hint of cherry (or maybe just something fruity) and nuttiness. I could wish for a little more of the roman nougat flavor, but some of these types of teas don’t have that at all, so I’m glad it’s there. The flavor is very smooth and I think perfectly steeped this way. The cup looks like it’s full of maple syrup and just as smooth!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // rinse// 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 21/2- 3 minute steep
Sipdowns: 1/25 The Tea Spot – Chocolate O
Flavors: Cherry, Honey, Nutty