Featured & New Tasting Notes

I have been drinking my matcha in a little soup bowl for years now. It is okay, but one who loves tea just needs teaware, right?

For years I admired the Zen Brush bowl at Zen Tea Life, but when I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask for one for Christmas they had stopped carrying the dark blue one and had a brown one. They had this lovely Aurora bowl in blue, though! Yes!

I love using it! I have had matcha every day. The depth is great for whisking. Also, you can swirl your tea so the particles don’t settle and it is deep enough that it doesn’t slosh over. I love the scalloped, wavy lip so you can pick your most comfortable spot to sip. It is very pretty and when it is wet from washing, the lighter blue shades almost sparkle.

Evol Ving Ness

So, one can use it directly for drinking? Yay! It sounds like the perfect thing.

ashmanra

I panicked when I read your comment. I wondered if maybe you were not supposed to drink from the bowl. I wouldn’t know as I have never seen anyone use one and I just assumed. So I googled it and indeed, it looks like one IS supposed to drink from the bowl! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Oh, no, no judgement on my part. I just wasn’t aware that that was what people do. And now I am, so thank you.

Evol Ving Ness

I have the tea and I have the bowl, but I have yet to unpack things. (Not from Zen.)

__Morgana__

I think you’re supposed to drink from the bowl because it helps you smell the tea? At least I remember reading that somewhere.

ashmanra

Evol Ving Ness – I am glad you said something so I don’t make a fool of myself! However, when we were tasting some new matcha, I did froth it in the big bowl and then dip in my tiny tasting cups and pass around sips for everyone. Matcha is too expensive to make a whole bowl per person just for testing purposes, and I am a big believer in repurposing and multipurposing!

Equusfell

I have an identical one that I got off ebay, but mine is white with small crackles. I agree that it functions very well!

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Wow guys, looking back I reviewed this 2015 tea 3 years ago. Freaking magic, yo.

BezoomnyChaiVeck

Such an uninspired shape, though.

Myssy

@BezoomnyChaiVeck THAT? Was funny!

mrmopar

Time travel is a wonderful thing!

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82

My brain seems to confuse DF blends like this one and Fleurilège because they’re creamy, nutty desserts in a cup. Yeah yeah, Fleurilège is hazelnut vanilla while this one is marzipan and biscuits but I’m drinking them back-to-back to decide if I like a certain one better for a future order. I haven’t even written about this yet either so it’s high time that I do.

Maybe it’s because I only have a couple cups worth of Fleurilège left in the bag, so it’s not as aromatic, but I swear Coquelicot Gourmand is more desserty, nuttier, like nougat. You’d think it would be the other way around.

I wouldn’t say that this tastes like marzipan. A cookie of some sort, definitely, but no marzipan. I got that fleeting raspberry note that Lala was talking about, before coming onto here and reading it too, so there was no influence there. I swear we’re gustatory twins.

This is tough. I like this but I’m not sure if I would get more. Luckily I have enough to experiment with this for a while before I make my final decision. It’s delicious, like practically all DF teas, but I feel like there are a couple of their other desserty teas that I would rather have or order if I were to limit myself to an x amount.

gmathis

I loved this one.

ashmanra

I love this, too. I can not imagine how that get that biscuit flavor in there. It is so perfectly biscuit!

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86

My other tea from this morning. I figured since i wasn’t going to be home all day, i wouldn’t bother with samples, i’d just drink up teas that i have larger quantities of. I’ll try and get back to some samples when i work from home later this week. Still love this one, especially with a splash of maple syrup. so very tasty for an “everyday” sort of tea.

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90
drank Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
1696 tasting notes

Morning tea with a little sweetener accompanied by a sausage and cheese sandwich. My tea, that has been family so long I don’t care if others like it or not. This is Earl Grey to me. The Ceylon has a pleasant amount of bitter bite and the bergamot has a perfectly pungent aroma. Thank you very much.

Thanks to all who have offered well wishes and especially prayers for my dad. The nurse finally made the doctor order tests. It will take a few days to get results. In the meantime, I am trying to be properly angered without improper behavior. It may be just another day at work for the doctor but that is MY Dad in that bed. Mom said last night she tried to talk dad out of surgery during the holidays. He just wanted it over and done. Mom has a bad heart and I’m worried about the stress on her. I’m on a walker with an oxygen tank so there isn’t a lot I can do to help. Just trying to be there. Thanks again for the prayers.

boychik

I’m so sorry. You and your family are in my thoughts

Maddy Barone

Oh, wow. Thinking good thoughts for all of you.

Evol Ving Ness

Sending good thoughts your way.

TeaExplorer

I went through something similar with my dad a couple of years ago, and I know how stressful and worrisome this can be. My thoughts are with you and your family, and I hope it works out alright for your dad.

gmathis

Peace and patience to you all while you wait!

K S

Thanks all. Dad’s family doctor checked on him today. She was more than a little unhappy. Looks like I can turn over kick some butt duties to her. The surgeon is ‘scheduled’ to make an appearance tomorrow. On the plus side, the therapist said he is making good progress with his knee despite the complications.

tigress_al

Praying for your dad to get the help and progress he needs

__Morgana__

Thinking about you and your family. Take care.

mrmopar

If you need anything let us know. Glad to help if we can, even if only for emotional support.

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Someone please remind me to do this more often. I know, I know it’s not how is should be done. There are times though that I really like ripe pu’erh western steeped – or at least not true gong fu.
I did this one about 5g 12oz 95C 1 minute – I did do a couple of quick rinses.
This is just nice – it’s mellow and soft, just a hint earthy, just a hint chocolate, some depth, some malt and all just yummy goodness….

Sil

hey uh dex…. you should do this more often

Dexter

LOL Thanks Sil….

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95

Merry Christmas… Again!

I’m currently celebrating Christmas number two of three right now. The first was the Christmas with my Dad and the third will be the one in January with my Aunt and Grandma. This one’s with my mom, and it began at the ungodly hour of six AM with my little sister jumping on my bed to wake me up.

So far, the day has consisted of banana waffles, a few Fuzzy Navels (if I’m getting up at 6AM I’m damn well pouring myself a drink; I don’t care what time it is), and openings presents! Adding to my haul from my Dad’s and what I opened last night, I got three different table top games that I had asked for: Tsuro, Dixit, and Once Upon A Time as well as an expansion pack for Once Upon a Time. We’ve already played all three and the group favourite appears to be Tsuro.

I haven’t had much tea yet today; but I made sure to start my day off right with a hot cuppa of this one before mixing my first Fuzzy Navel. In fact, I’m gonna ‘credit’ this tea with inspiring the fuzzy navels: the yummy peach notes really put me in the mood for some Schnapps. Also, beginning your day with Earl Grey (even an unconventional one such as this one) just feels right. EG is definitely a morning tea.

rosebudmelissa

Tsuro is fun, my brother-in-law has it. And I agree about earl grey. I prefer it in the morning as well.

Fjellrev

Hoy crap, that is an awesome name for a tea.

Three xmas celebrations, eh? Party on then!

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84

Enjoying the last of this before heading out. I quite enjoyed this one. Smooth base and palpable banana nut flavour. With the pound of tea that I’ve acquired in the last day, I need to work on these little odds and ends, despite these odds and ends being quite fresh anyway.

I’m almost finished all of the QTT teas I picked up from the BF order, which I received around ten days ago. $50 in under two weeks. Kind of too overly self-indulgent for my blood.

Sil

hahahaha go you!

tea-sipper Whoa haha. :D
Evol Ving Ness

That’s some serious tea drinking there! But then QTT teas are easy to drink.

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2204 tasting notes

Eldest daughter, SuperAnna, gave me this for Christmas. Sometimes she Steepster-stalks me for gift ideas, and sometimes she makes notes on what I like. She picked a winner here!

When she asked what I wanted for Christmas, I requested the beautiful Aurora matcha bowl from Zen Tea. She added this to the order and I am glad she did.

First reaction this morning was a growl as I lifted the cup. This is breakfast Keemun. Not so bold that you have to add milk and sugar, but bold enough that you are not going back to bed! (I don’t need tea to wake up – I am pretty at it once I awaken and I have to go out first thing and feed the chickens anyway, so that gets me going. If I don’t make it out quickly, the chickens “moo” annoyingly and I am afraid they will disturb the neighbors!)

There is the raspy scrape of unsweetened cocoa on my tongue and the very light hint of smoke, then as you sip, the building fruitiness. Nice tea! This would be very good with milk and sugar for those who like it that way.

gmathis

Mooing chickens! What’ll they think of next? ;)

ashmanra

Moo-ing is their morning grumpy sound, and one of them actually sounds like it is saying, “Moooooom!” I imitated it once and the kids thought I had brought her in the house. This particular chicken was named Darles Chickens but we call her Buffy most of the time. When they squeal, they are being picked on by another chicken. If they sound like geese, it means they see a flying predator.

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90
drank Yu Lu Yan Cha Black by Verdant Tea
7973 tasting notes

Finished the day yesterday at 162 teas but that’s about 100 away from my goal this year haha. There’s no way i’ll get down to my goal. but i’m not really complaining since that’s largely due to my paris trip this year that was unplanned and where i went overboard. So i figure i’ve got a week to try and get through the samples that omgsrsly and dexter sent me and see where i end up :) started out with this one to wake me up before beginning my sample journey :) still delicious and malty.

Fjellrev

162, damn. Weren’t you in the vey low 100s not long ago?

Sil

dexter and omgsrsly added 60+ teas to my cupboard lol but yes..i was near 100

OMGsrsly

Muahahaha. :D

Sil

jerks ;)

OMGsrsly

It’s how we show our love. :)

Sil

yeah yeah…. we’ll see once i get time on a weekend after the rental dog is gone. then i’ll be able to lay my tea out and package presents up for you, terri, dexter, missb and whatshesaid

OMGsrsly

Hahaha. :D I’m looking forward to it!

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95

This is my first Keemun, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It tastes similar to Golden Monkey tea to me, but not as smoky or malty, and a bit sweeter. I’m not sure where this company gets their teas, but the quality of the teas always seems very good to me. I’ll have to get the Harney & Sons English Breakfast to compare.

TeaTiff

Aw Keemun. One of my favorites. I really enjoy TeaVivre’s Hao Ya

Mike

Nice! I’ll add it to my wanted list, thanks for the recommendation! :)

Mike

I just read the description…I can see why you like it, seems amazing!

ashmanra

Mike – Keemuns can be so very different from each other! Have you ever signed up for the Teavivre free tasting activity? You could get a variety of theirs and see the differences. The Harney English Breakfast is not one of the highest quality but is a daily drinker great with milk and sugar, and okay without additions. But some Keemuns are smokey, some are sweet, some are “winey”. The Winey Keemun from Grace Rare Tea is good! Keemun Hao Ya or Hao Ya A from many companies is good, and Superfine Fragrant is especially smooth and sweet. Sometimes I like that little bite of smoke. And I find that Teavana’s Golden Monkey tastes more like a lower grade Keemun, while Harney or Teavivre’s GM tastes much more refined. Meanwhile, enjoy tasting them ALL and forming your own opinions, finding your faves! :)

ashmanra

Send me a message with your address and I will try to get some Keemun samples to you!

Mike

Awesome, thank you so much! I definitely will have to sign up, and I’ll send you a DM. I stuck to the Indian black teas at first, but I’m loving the Chinese black teas so far…very complex! :)

tigress_al

Teavivre’s Keemuns are so good!!

Mike

Awesome, I’ll definitely have to try them. Thanks!

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80

I’m not a big fan of this sheng as more of a personal taste thing, but it is still a nice sheng.

The notes are of tobacco, incense, tangy cedar and echos of smoke and camphor. Tasted like this pu’er might of been pretty smokey at one point. Later steepings I get some camphor and hint of fruityness. It’s quite complex and interesting, but I’m not a fan of the tobacco and cedar combo (I’m more of a sweeter sheng fan, at least as of this time)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank White Christmas by Stash Tea Company
1696 tasting notes

Hmmm, a Stash tea I have never tried. Back a little more than half dozen years ago, Stash was as close to high quality tea as was available locally. Goes to show there really has been some progress around my little town.

This is a bagged tea. It is predominantly peppermint in taste. Maybe I catch a hint of the ginger or probably I just think I do because I know it is in there. Kind of the same with the white tea base – except I actually do taste tea, just not well enough to say it is a white tea. Nothing amazing but pleasant enough. Thank you Ashmanra for the retro cuppa.

Non tea stuff – my 85 year old dad had a knee replacement Tuesday before Christmas. Surgery went well. His knee looks good considering, but his leg looks scary. I didn’t want him to do this during the holiday as doctors and the regular crew are hard to locate. When we do corner them, they aren’t saying much. I think he has a major infection. It doesn’t seem to be in the incision at this point but below his knee to his ankle is really concerning.

Nicole/Tea-Historic

That’s a scary situation. Hope you can get some answers soon and things are okay.

ashmanra

Oh dear! Adding your dad to our prayer list for sure! Keep us updated!

tigress_al

Oh no :(. Get that checked out asap

mrmopar

I’m with ash, added him in.

gmathis

Praying in Missouri! Know firsthand the frustration of trying to get care (in our case in a rural hospital) on holidays and weekends.

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85

This is a very tasty puerh stuffed mandarin. There is the earthy taste from the ripe puerh and the smoky taste from the mandarin. It is not quite as smoky as some I have tasted. The earthy flavor was clean and persisted for about four steeps. The smoky taste was present even in the tenth steep. Presumably because of it’s smoked nature this tea did not develop in my opinion a taste of chocolate. But it definitely developed a fruity taste as much from the mandarin as from the ripe puerh. This is a fairly expensive puerh at something like $9.50 per 30g mandarin but it is good. It has no wet storage taste to it at all.

I steeped this in a 120ml gaiwan with 9.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min. Judging by the color of the tea in the tenth steep I’d say this was nearly played out but I’m fairly certain I could get two more steeps out of it.

Flavors: Earth, Smoked, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 9 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Aged oolong seems to be my weakness and what I keep searching for. When I received this as part of the angel swooping in because my Halloween partner hasn’t appeared on Steepster again, I was quite excited.
The first thing to note is that I don’t believe this was reroasted from the original roast. The second thing to note is that the roast was a light to medium and not a full blown one. These are both initial thoughts as I looked at the leaf and smelled it. Upon brewing it I am more confident that those two things are true.

This is an aged oolong that was charcoal roasted and stored well as it has similar characteristics as that of the aged oolongs from Tea Urchin who has (from my experience) amazing storage. That being said, there is a cocoa malt mixture going on within the tea where the small buttery texture ends up becoming a way for tasting notes of mild roast to be appreciated over the flavor itself. If you steep this out you will find the mild sweetness that I refer to as the candy bar that sat in the sun for four hours and just had to taste to see what it was like to find out it lost flavor.

I used 3.5 to 4 grams of this in a small little vessel and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much better than a lot of aged TGY out there that has been roasted and wet stored for a small portion of time but is noticeable.

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87

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates, and happy holidays in general!

This is without a doubt QTT’s star of the show. The dry leaf smells wonderful: cherries dipped in coffee-flavoured chocolate. Black Forest Cake to go with that latte! I cannot seem to get the cherry that much when it comes to flavour, though. The first mug I enjoyed last night had about three cherries in the basket yet yielded a very faint hint of cherry. I sadly didn’t get to eat them afterwards because I randomly got nauseated (totally not the tea’s fault). Today, I didn’t any cherries in the basket at all. I peeked into the bag and there appears to be only one left in there together with enough leaf for two more Nordic mugs worth. So ratio-wise, that leaves one cherry for each Nordic mug of tea. Damn, had I known I would have fished out a couple from that first cup!

I absolutely love the base. So roasty and pairs beautifully with the coffee and chocolate notes. This would be the best cherry tea ever if the cherry notes were a little stronger, and I could have liked to have gotten a teensy bit more cocoa flavour, as well, but it’s understandable since it’s battling the much bolder coffee and flavourful base.

A possible easy fix would be to just add more dried cherries to the mix. They’re just so hard to find, though. The Bulk Barn near me doesn’t seem to have a place for them anymore. Unrelated, but they also took away my precious dried gooseberries. Tsk tsk tsk.

tea-sipper

This IS the star of AQtT from what I’ve tried.

Daylon R Thomas

That one also depends a lot on the ratio. I try to make sure I get more cherries and oolong in my cup, personally.

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Black Friday gift to myself…

So, I remember reading about someone stocking up on these during every Davids Tea sale because they thought they were amazing. After trying them I am going to say that jasmine doesn’t go well with malt. I view jasmine as the gentle handshake and malt as a firmer one (coffee being the body builder squeeze). That being said, these things smell great and look wonderful but the taste seems to be a battle in my mouth between a calming drink and a semi brisk black tea.

I’ve drank darker oolong with jasmine and have the same conclusion; while lighter oolong can fair with jasmine. This is also true with the jasmine shou and sheng, as sheng is the only one I’ll drink again with jasmine.

I’ll be trying this two more times and if it doesn’t grow on me I’m sure others will enjoy it as part of a swap :)

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve just got the jasmine oolong from Taiwan Sourcing, and it was actually a darker oolong and I think it would work better with a greener one. I should probably try it again since I drank WAY TOO much tea this past week. Kidneys not happy with me.

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87

When I’m sick I usually reach for lemon teas though I have to say grabbing this one off the shelf was a first for me; it’s not really the same kind of lemon tea as normal ‘sick tea’. That said; since I’m not a drippy-nosed mess confined to bed and my sense of taste isn’t that off I figured that it would still taste like it’s normal yummy self with possibly some of the benefits of lemon on a sore throat still coming into play.

I wasn’t exactly wrong and I wasn’t exactly right: this still tasted much like it normally does but without any of the ‘brilliance’ I’m accustomed to. I couldn’t taste the nuanced, layered flavour: I just tasted smooth creamy lemon. As well, this didn’t really do much for my throat but at the same time it didn’t so much do anything negative for it either…

I wouldn’t call that a ‘win win’ or a ‘lose lose’ situation. Is there a word for something in the middle? If there isn’t, we should certainly come up with one.

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67
drank Truffles by Todd & Holland
1184 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 210. The rest of the sample. Merry Christmas to those celebrating!

Fjellrev

Merry Christmas, Morgana!

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91
drank Imperial by Wooree Tea
407 tasting notes

This tea is awesome! The leaf is made up of dark forest green curls and tendrils, all chaotically tangled up. These dry leaves give off a fragrant vegetable aroma with a slight spice or pepper undertone. I warmed my kyusu and poured these in. The aroma instantly deepens to a more seaweed and roasted asparagus scent. I washed the leaves briefly and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves smell amazing! This brew is highly aromatic with nice warm tones of veggies, grass, and steamed greens. The brew is a soft yellow jade color. The taste is superb. The flavor begins with some sweet nectar then it quickly moves into buffalo grass and juicy greens. I note a brief sharp bite that compliments the sweet and vegetal flavors. The aftertaste is a long lasting thick sweetness that lingers in the mouth. I was able to pull three steeping sessions until the brew falls flat. I really enjoyed this, and it has nice little pep to it. This helped me kick a cold and get motivated.

https://www.instagram.com/p/-ZB3UQzGbb/

Flavors: Astringent, Buffalo Grass, Green, Nectar, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Haveteawilltravel

Thanks :( The ladybug posed for me

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88

Still thick, malty and Assamy after a year or more. Not going through this quickly but I am starting to see the bottom of the tin. I can see in a couple of months needing to decide if I should restock this or if the other Assam types of tea I have on hand are good enough/better.

Not lying if I say that a large part of the appeal of this tea is the company and what they are doing. I am happy to see that the site now offers bags as well as tins, though I wish they would say how much tea is in each. I am also guessing that this is now Mount Kenya Black.

Use All The Teaware for this cup is my Emma Bridgewater Badger mug.

http://tinyurl.com/qfy7gem

And since we are having pizza for dinner, Coke is kind of necessary. Assam types of tea go pretty well with pizza but I just can’t go without a Coke with it. :) And yes, I have been eating and tea-ing my way through today.

tea-sipper

I was JUST on Justea’s website today. :D

Nicole/Tea-Historic

You are a horrible influence. :)

Dexter

Mmmmmmm Coke from a bottle!!!!! Almost impossible to find glass bottles here – you don’t realize how much better it is until you can’t find them.
I really need to get more of this. It’s great tea and I too love the work they are doing in Kenya. :)

Nicole/Tea-Historic

@Dexter – And it’s Mexican Coke so it has sugar instead of corn syrup. You probably have less expensive shipping and don’t have to deal with crummy currency conversions since they are in Canada, right? … D’oh, just checked the Where to Buy link and apparently there is a store local to me that sells it! Well, I know what I’m doing next Monday!

Dexter

Shipping sucks even within Canada but being in CAD is a beautiful thing. The USD/CAD exchange is just pathetic right now. My Africa trip is sliding through my fingers because of the exchange rate – it’s just crazy expensive…..
Yay for you being able to buy it locally!!!!

Nicole/Tea-Historic

Aw, no. :( Is the exchange rate as stinky for CAD/GBP? Maybe you could find a British company to book through?

Dexter

I’m finding all the companies are quoting in USD (or courtesy conversion but must be paid in USD)
Waiting til after the holidays to look at one more compromised option – but once you’ve looked at private custom tours it’s hard to go back. You have to do what you can afford, but at what point is no longer what you want to do? Need to decide if I want to compromise or if I want to wait a year or two and see if the dollar recovers. It’s just scary to be at the mercy of exchange rate when it’s plummeting and the “experts” are saying to expect it to fall lower yet.

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85
drank Honey Black by DAVIDsTEA
1538 tasting notes

Christmas came early for me because I got the job! Will be starting after the New Year. It’s a one-hour commute and a three-month contract but I can’t complain. It’s going to look great on the resume!

In celebration, I bought some vanilla cake with whipped cream and fruit topping. Not as good as I thought it would be, but this tea goes well with it. This is slightly malty and naturally sweet. Not astringent at all. Pretty pricy but I think I’m going to get this as my free 50g next time that comes around.

Sil

woooohooo!!!

__Morgana__

Yay! Congrats! Having gone through this myself recently, I understand how good the job thing feels!

Rosehips

Congrats!

tigress_al

Congrats!

Indigobloom

congrats!!!

tea-sipper

Congrats!

Dexter

Yay!!!! Congrats on the new job!!!

OMGsrsly

YAY! Congratulations on getting that job! :)

mrmopar

Congrats! And Merry Christmas!

boychik

Congrats !!!

Fjellrev

Thank you, everyone, and hope you’re all enjoying your holidays!

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100

Additional notes: Sipping almost the last of the really great harvest of this one. Next time I’ll have to mix what’s left with the other harvest. This one was a really special tea! Probably my favorite tea ever. Haven’t found one similar (even the other harvest doesn’t compare.) Butiki, I miss you!

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78

Bought this last month in my Black Friday order. While I liked the tea there are a couple of things about it. There was a lot of fermentation taste and this taste was somewhat unpleasant if not fishy. There was also a lot of bitterness. That being said there were some good points too. I developed into something nice. It was thick and rich in the early infusions. Even if it was somewhat bitter. There were some notes of chocolate and it did develop something of a fruity taste later on. Rated on the first few steeps this was not very good. Rated on the eight steeps I gave this it was fairly tasty.

I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.5g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rest and a 10 minute rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec. Judging by the color of the tea in the eighth steep I’m sure I could have gotten another six or seven steeps out of this tea.

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
tea123

Good critique.

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