New Tasting Notes

From GCTTB Round 3 VariaTEA

This is my first time having flavored matcha, and this is super yummy! Smells like rich, buttery caramel, not exactly sure about the popcorn though. I had half a teaspoon of this in cold milk – soo good! Also feeling a bit of a energy high.. maybe should have had this in the morning instead :P

VariaTEA

Glad you enjoyed this :)

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70

Ceramic Pot Puerh – Feng Ling Tea Factory, April 2000 100gm

Dry – Earth, Clay, Wood, Sweet.
Wet – Sweet, wood and earthy.
Liquor – dark brown almost black.

1st 5secs- Earthy, tart-bitter wood notes, talc/starchy and some clay notes up front. As it goes down, it feels starchy like talc and somewhat sweet, but flat at the end.

2nd 5secs – Think earthy, woody, some spiciness, starsh/talc sensation on the tongue and some sweet up front. As it goes down, it has some earthy wood notes and sweet finish. This steep has more live than the first one.

3rd 7secs – Thick earthy, woody, more apparent spicy middle with a starsh/talc sensation up front. As it goes down, it holds its earthy and wood notes while slowly developing sweetness that linger in the finish.

Quick wrap up
This one wasn’t a hit with me. I feel like people who enjoy imperial Loose Puerh and other traditional high fermentation ripes will get a better time out of this one. I will re-visit this one when I’m more in a Shou mood.

Flavors: Clay, Earth, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
apt

It seems that the majority of pu’erh consumers feel that The Phoenix Collection is bad and not good. What’s your opinion on them?

JC

VERY honestly, I like David Hoffman, humble and nice guy. But it is a hit or miss. He does have some really good ones, but some that I’d rather not go back to. Although, some people can appreciate those. I’ve found well stored ones, but some that have been in obvious wet storage, which isn’t bad (there’s people who love them) but it would be nice before you put the money in.

apt

Seems like I should steer clear, I dislike humid storage. He seems to be a super inaccessible vendor, as his lowest amt for loose teas is 4oz and puerh is generally 1 cake minimum, and he barely describes them (I can’t even tell if it’s ripe or raw!)

JC

Ex. REally good Shou : Tibetan Brick High grade, Lao Ban Zhang Ripe, Beencha Puerh, Vietnam Been Cha, Lancang/Simao/Mensong Loose Leaf from old trees(although wierd looking). Shou I didn’t like : Tibetan Brick Standard grade (basically heicha), Yunnan Been Cha, The other Large Leaf from old trees ripes, everyday shou(blehh). I can do the same for the Sheng.

apt

I generally dislike Shou, it’s just repulsive to me, like wet-stored teas of any kind. Something about the aroma. I drank nice shou as well, I’ve tried a CNNP, a Yunnan Sourcing, and a mini-coin. I got the same vibe from a wet-stored aged Sun Moon Lake black tea.

A dry-stored sheng though, that’s gooooood.

JC

If you don’t like to talk to people stick to other vendors. I spoke to him about it, the thing is that he is mostly a whole seller so he has no need to advertise or market his Puerh, usually people go to tastings and buy on buy/order on the spot. I’m interested in visiting sometime. He has several old Puerh that is not even listed and some have been pleasant. But if you want to make sure every single is a hit, I’d advice staying with guys like Tea Urchin, White2Dog and other curators that don’t do much wholesales and describe a more limited catalog. :)

apt

yeah I was chatting with a Taiwanese Oolong wholesaler today, quite a nice selection. I e-mailed them with a question a while back, and they responded instantly. However, the lack of flexibility of sampling turns me off. I’m ordering with White2Tea very soon, actually.

JC

I’d recommend White2Dog. Paul has been very attentive and the tea has been as advertised. And I have to say, I feel you about sampling. I usually do research before buying anything and Puerh is not the exception. With Phoenix Collection it was a must because the information is limited. If lived in CA I would visit and taste on spot… I wish I could do that in all places actually LOL.

apt

I haven’t tried Paul’s teas yet, but I’ve spoken to him a bit and he’s been great to talk to. Next month (which is in 8 minutes) I’m ordering from him.

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92

Thanks Cameron B for the sample.
I’ve really been on a black tea kick the last couple days. Good thing Cameron sent me a bunch of yummy blacks! Ooh, and, guess who got an A in her Managerial Accounting class. This girl! I’m so happy, I really needed the A. I did not do so hot Spring semester, and it pulled my GPA down from 3.5 to 3.28. So, this should boost it to at least a 3.3. So of course so celebrated a wanted a good chocolately black, and this beckoned to me.

The pearls of this are so huge! I think it’s my first black pearl, and they’re so much bigger than the green dragon pearls I’ve had. This is one I really regret not steeping in my glass french press because holy expansion! I love watching leaves expand, I’m easily entertained.

I steeped all 5 pearls in 8oz of boiling water for 1 minute, and the result was a medium bodied, cocoay and malty cuppa, but theres also some woodsy taste, and leather? Mixed with the cocoa and malt, it adds depth and interest. Yummy, this is good. Second steep at 3 minutes was more full bodied, a little more cocoa, and I that note that I think you guys call Autumn leaf pile? My cup seems to keep emptying on me, I don’t understand (;

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Broke this one out as directed by Chairman Meow. The Chairman “pawed” and pointed this out tonight for me to try.
I got out 10 grams and let the Chairman approve of it and in the Gaiwan it went. I gave a quick rinse before starting. The aroma was nice and very sweet an fruity. I can’t really describe which one but very nice. I did 5 second steeps on this one. The liquor is a medium yellow level of darkness. It has a nice aroma to it. The brew has a bit of bitter bite and astringency to it but not overpowering. Not a lot of discernible smoke as in the vendor’s description. It does creep up on you and give a semi-sweet and pleasant bitter to it.
Multi- faceted in terms of flavor notes. maybe a bit more complex than my taste buds. Pleasant and very reasonably priced for a 5 year old tea. I think I should have bought more than a sample.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sarsonator

I can’t wait for my Tea Urchins to get here! I didn’t pick this one, but it does sound good!!!

JC

Sounds nice, the way you described it makes it sound calming or ‘relaxed’ enjoyment.

TeaBrat

Teaurchin looks like a great company. I wish they sold samples!

MzPriss

They do sell samples, but shipping is $20!

mrmopar

Yeah I purchased a couple of cakes and got the samples added in.

Sarsonator

MzP: if you want to try something, I can send you the list of teas I got :)

MzPriss

I <3 you so much Sarsy.

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drank Blueberry Harvest by Bigelow
2861 tasting notes

Hey Friends!
I haven’t been posting here much, still recuperating, waiting to get my full sense of taste back (I can taste sweet, & bitter, but I’m missing so many flavors), & swamped with life.

I did sample a bag of this tonight, & quite honestly, it’s better than I expected! I added a little sweetening, which set it all off, & not bad for a no-caffeine cup.

MzPriss

We missed you!

Terri HarpLady

I love you guys! I’ll get back on track soon…

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73

This tea actually tastes great, I sincerely echo earlier tasting reviews on the great flavour. Caramel, earthy tones with a great mouthfeel and aged taste, the tea in the pot certainly isn’t boring or a disappointment. However what kills if for me are the tree trunks and wirey bits and bobs stuffed in the middle of this thing. It may well add to the flavour but this ain’t no posh brick! I recommend if you arn’t bothered with sneaky low grade inner brick garbage.

Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Sweet

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drank Caramel Corn by DAVIDsTEA
482 tasting notes

Yes! I bought 4 more ounces of this today! (Don’t judge! Haha.) Really, though, it’s limited and is going away at the end of August when the Fall teas come out. Yay for Fall teas, which have the best flavors in my opinion, but I had to get my fill of this one before it’s gone. I got that annoying guy again, who over pours. Ugh. Never had that problem with other folks at the store. Anyhoo, I enjoyed a nice big cup of this afterward while I waited for our IT guys to fix my email problem at work. Yummy caramel goodness with a hint of fruit. :)

Lariel

Is there actual popcorn in the tea? It sounds good.

Roswell Strange

Yes, there is actual popcorn! Same with Movie Night :)

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70

Nice balance of flavors, nothing overpowering. Again, very good as iced tea!

Flavors: Citrus, Mint

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 8 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

Fruity flavor, but not overly sweet. Very good iced!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 8 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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86

This is like drinking pine forest. In the spring. On a nice cool day. It’s delicious.

Miss Starfish

Well that’s an awesome mental picture!

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drank Golden Yunnan by Rishi Tea
149 tasting notes

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92

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fruity oolong before. This is amazing.

I thought I would be able to identify cinnamon notes, but quite frankly, my taste buds don’t seem to pick up cinnamon much at all.

What I do get is lots of apple and peach. Oh, this is oven baked apple and peach cobbler with honey drizzle!

It’s lightly roasted and nutty, smooth, sweet and creamy, no astringency present at all.

I also get a faint heartiness mixed with some minerals…not strong minerals like from a giant rock or something, very gentle…like pebble minerals :-)

I really like this…pure oolong awesomeness.

Thank you so much Garret for this generous sample…

I love that your samples are always large enough to brew gongfu style.

Sarsonator

Oh my… this sounds just yummy! Love the review!

TheTeaFairy

Thanks Sars…I think I may need some of this in the cupboard…sigh.

Dexter

Awesome!!! Really happy that you enjoyed it, and really happy that it’s more apple, peach than cinnamon. This was the sample that I asked for with the order I received today!!!

mj

This does sound amazing! You always sell me on the teas you review though :), except the greens…but that’s not your fault!

TheTeaFairy

Dex, how funny that we both requested the same sample! I can’t wait to have your impressions. I’m surprised I did not get cinnamon…but I don’t care, that apple taste is so good and juicy.

Mj, lol, I know you haven’t crossed to the green side yet :-)

Dexter

Fairy – how did you steep this? Did you gongfu it or did you western brew it? Parameters?

Dexter

Is ok mj – stay with us over here on the dark side – that green stuff is scary. ;))

TheTeaFairy

Gongfu gaiwan. 4 oz water and it was perfect. Now I don’t remember how long, but I think I did 20s, 30, 60, 90, and then lost track. I’m terrible with that, sorry. Did about 6 steeps. Are you trying tonight?

Sarsonator

Dark siiiiiide. We don’t drink grass here! :p

TheTeaFairy

Lol, if you don’t drink it, what do you do with it? (Innocent face)

Sarsonator

Mow it? :p

mj

You don’t know the power of the Dark Side. I must obey my master.

TheTeaFairy

I’m an imposter…I play both sides, and I,m loving every minute of it….cause I want ALL THE TEA!!!!

Dexter

I’m going to go the other way and western steep it in my yixing mug. I’m going to use about half the sample and do about 3-4 minutes – see if that gives a different flavor profile. Will be back….. (if I drink this tonight I don’t need to enter it into my spreadsheet)

TheTeaFairy

Lol you know you’re addicted to tea when….?

Dexter

LOL You know you are overwhelmed with tea when….
(How am I suppose to enter "from my personal stash 2006 ripe from Yong De area?)

TheTeaFairy

The joy of spreadsheets :-o

Dexter

OHHHH I found cinnamon…. this is odd – good but strange….

TheTeaFairy

Yay, you found it!

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72

Nice iced tea. Had the pre-brewed bottled version. It wasn’t bad at all.

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98

Another of the 52 teas that I received in my sampler from Marzipan. I absolutely LOVE it! The aroma is amazing and it tastes great. Thank you Marzipan for introducing me to this wonderful brew. :)

Flavors: Cranberry, Strawberry

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76

I received this tea in my 52 teas sampler from Marzipan. Not bad but not the best, it’s much like the other white tea I drank……too weak.

Flavors: Flowers

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88

I read that the 7572 recipe is the benchmark for ripe pu erh, kind of a standard of quality used to compare other shou pu erh’s to. I bought this 2010 version over a year ago, but haven’t opened it. I prefer my shou’s to be 5+ years of aging for most cakes so I let this one sit. Today I was at a friend’s and we sat down for some tea and chose a 7572 he had just opened. We probably used 9g in a 180ml yixing, rinse and short steeps 3-5 seconds. The brew was nice and dark brown with a sweet welcoming scent. My first taste caused a reaction of ahhhhhh yeah, I see! It has a classic Menghai shou taste, rich but not too strong with flavors of mushroom and chocolate with an earthy note distant in the background. It was truly very tasty. I can see why it is the benchmark for shou quality. This could easily be a go to shou, an every day drinker for shou lovers. I’d be interested to try one with a couple more years of aging, but this is certainly an excellent shou worthy of the benchmark label.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mushrooms

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 6 OZ / 180 ML
mrmopar

Yeah this is a good one.

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88
drank With Open Eyes by Butiki Teas
35 tasting notes

This is delicious.. Although I’m not tasting any ginger. Maybe it all sank to the bottom of the bag?
It’s a tiny bit weak, but I don’t think I used enough tea.

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I was so excited when I received this as a sample with one of my ATR orders in the spring because I love coconut. I saved it just knowing I would love it iced in the summer. I was wrong; it is full of coconut taste but it’s so oily and kind of weird.

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85
drank La Rose (Loose Tea Tin) by Fauchon
1917 tasting notes

Mega exhausted after work today, so I decided to have a tea once at home, even though I would more normally be likely to have an alcoholic drink. I also needed a bit of raspberry leaf for reasons, and my favorite way to do raspberry leaf is to throw a bag into a cup of rose black tea. I still have this tea at home after picking it up at HomeGoods, so I used it. I had no fear of the raspberry leaf clouding the flavor of this tea, as it is perhaps one of the most intensely scented rose teas I’ve ever come across. That dry leaf is powerful.

I forgot that I have had this one before and enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it again. A very rosey, very nice tea, and it makes me really happy.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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87
drank Amandine Rose by Teavana
1917 tasting notes

Tis’ the end of this tea. I would be sadder about it going away (since it is discontinued) if I didn’t have another one I liked a lot more. Even if the replacement tea is limited and highly inaccessible. So it goes! This made a tasty cold brew at the end, even though there is usually more spice than I would like in an iced tea (a bit of cinnamon).

hippiechick 42

I love rose teas!

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97

Additional notes: sipdown! I just think of this as the strawberries covered in caramel tea. Yes, that good. Caramel strawberries don’t even exist because they would be too sweet. It seems this tastes the same delicious way every time… I’m not sure if I’ve tried a couple different harvests. A very odd assam in the best way possible, and it has to be my favorite Taiwanese tea.

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Thank you to Green Terrace Teas for sending me this generous sample to try.

I believe this is the first oolong of this variety that I have tried, and I am quite pleased.

Definite notes of honey and golden raisins, with a bit of grain and malt especially in the aroma. Minimal floral and astringent notes. Very enjoyable!

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90

It is time to admit defeat and take up Paper Craft. Try as I might I cannot think of a way to make a Minecraft Blaze out of Perler Beads and not have it look really bad, same with the new Guardian mobs. I simply must have these for my desk, so my other option is to buy ink for my printer, a new Xacto knife, and some decent paper and make them. The reason I have been hesitant is because I know this will turn into an obsession and next thing you know I will end up having a huge Minecraft diorama on one of my shelves…and I am not sure I can spare the space just yet. Clearly I will just have to get a new set of shelves.

Today’s tea is quite appealing to my inner child, Chocolate A-Peel (ing) actually! A blend of Kenyan black tea, Rooibos, Citrus, and Chocolate and creamy goodies from SerendipiTea, a substitute for my favorite childhood candies, chocolate oranges! You know, the kind that comes in foil that you smash onto a table to separate it into little chocolate slices, really whoever thought of mixing chocolate and oranges together was a genius. The aroma of this particular dessert tea is pretty rich, with strong notes of woody rooibos, creamy cocoa with almost a chocolate liqueur tinge to it, a bit of caramel, a bit of apple, and lastly a potent zing of oranges. It is very sweet and rich, but not too sweet, very much so the difference between a yummy slice of chocolate and a giant chocolate cake.

After submerging the leaves into their hot bath (you’re in hot water now, bub…really threatening leaves helps…ok no it doesn’t, even if it is caused Agony of the Leaf) and letting them steep, it is time to sniff some soggy leaves! The aroma is still pretty sweet, also very woody with strong notes of orange and chocolate. It is really funny, the more I sniff Rooibos the more I like it, I went through a phase a few years ago where I really disliked it, so glad that has passed. The liquid is so much chocolate, it is like sniffing a bar of chocolate with notes of malt and oranges with a slightly woody finish.

As is usual with teas that have bits of chocolate as part of their ingredients, the top has a bit of an oily film, giving it a slightly oily mouthfeel. However, the rest of the mouthfeel is quite smooth, none of the dryness that usually accompanies Rooibos. The taste is super rich, it starts out malty and woody with strong notes of chocolate and caramel, this turns into a bright zing of orange which is like a little bit of sunshine in the dense night of chocolate. Lastly the tea finishes off with lingering caramel and creamy sweetness, definitely a tea for someone with a sweet-tooth or a sugar craving (which conveniently I have both of at the moment). Although I am still craving chocolate oranges, I think I am going to have to stock up on them this holiday season and try to not eat them all before New Years.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/07/serendipitea-chocolate-peel-tea-review.html

Sarsonator

Have you had Three Friends by Butiki? Just wondering how this one compares?

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Haha, I had to check my notebook (I have too many tea notes that have not made it to the blog yet!) Three Friends is sweeter and richer with more malt and less of the caramel woodiness since there is no rooibos, I find it is even more similar to the chocolate oranges that I lust after constantly :P

Sarsonator

Thanks so much for the info! :)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Welcome! And thanks for reminding me Three Friends exists, I need to get some more of it :)

Sarsonator

I just did, at the Butiki sale! I don’t drink as many flavored teas anymore, but I really like that one!!!

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