373 Tasting Notes

drank Chai by Level Ground Trading
373 tasting notes

When I got this home, I was prepared to break out a clip (I’ve a box of them just for tea bags/sample bags), but I was pleasantly surprised to learn, when I turned the bag over, that there is in fact a pull-tab to rip it open (no scissors!), and then, beneath that, a ziplock to close it again.

Despite a paper outside, it is, in fact, foil-lined as well, and all-in-all I give the packaging an A.

When I actually got it open however, and then dished some out into my infuser, all I could remark was “hand-picked my ass”. It’s a step away from CTC. In fact, it might BE CTC, just not quite as “curled”; same size, but irregularly shaped instead of the usual loose “ball” shape of CTC.

At the very least, I can say if they WERE hand-picked, I don’t think they were hand-processed. It’s too broken. No whole spices either; most of the spices are broken up to the point they’re almost ground.

On the plus side, I was pleased that the first smell when I opened the bag was cardamom, not cinnamon.

I didn’t make this on the stovetop, because it’s quite late and I didn’t want to make a racket. Just didn’t want to wait ’til the morning.

Cardamom’s prominent; I think there’s ginger in there too. Brewed at four minutes, no milk, the base isn’t bitter. Solid. Bet this would be wiz on the stovetop.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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The aroma’s strong dry, but still there when brewed. Actually carries over into the taste quite well. The sweetness of the honeybush goes very well with that sort of sticky sweet taste of the apricot and peach.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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78
drank St Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
373 tasting notes

See, to me, this is everything the tea Dorian Grey should have been, but isn’t. Caramel and bergamot. Berries, though not the apple it uses instead.

Picked up a single bag of this when SOKO started carrying it, because they didn’t have the mini tins. Have you seen the next size up? Those tins are HUGE. Might grab one anyways. I’m just used to 1-2oz.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Violet by Kusmi Tea
373 tasting notes

I’ve never had anything scented with violet before. It smells fruity and sweetly floral. I’m most excited that Kusmi prefers a China base, and you can definitely taste it. Hunan maybe, possibly blended with Keemun. I’m just throwing out wild guesses.

The actual violet is a bit difficult for me to pick out, but I have no idea what violets smell like, and it is “scented” so I expected to find it more in the nose than on the tongue. It’s less fragrant brewed than dry, but it’s still there. Sweetly floral.

This was a sample given to me over and SOKO’s, since they didn’t have any of the 1oz tins (which Kusmi might not even make for Violet, anyways—I know only some of their teas come in the smaller tins). I like having a taster before committing to one of Kusmi’s jumbo tins (what are those, 4oz minimum?).

I’m still thinking on it, but I’m liking it so far. Granted, I’m still working through that tastebud-problem. I don’t know if I’ve just desensitized myself or if this is a symptom of something (as loss-of-taste often is).

As I sip (REALLY sip—full out slurping here), the China base melts away and I’m getting more of the violet, I think. Sticking with “sweetly floral” as my description. I think this would be a nice tea to have on-hand.

I only did four minutes to test, this time, but next time I’ll do five. I’ve got enough left in my sample for another cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Backlogging this one. I drank it the other day with my notebook out. Thus review will be point-form based off of notes.

Tea was loose inside the dried orange. Could be scooped out easily, did not need to be broken up. Could definitely smell the orange and the tea. Earthy zest, reminiscent of Earl Grey but sweeter.

10 sec rinse, followed by 15 second first steep. Light gold. Mild, earthy taste. Zest in the smell, not in the taste. Dirty, sometimes with a hint of zest. I think I can taste the pith? Zest on the tip of the tongue, maybe, with sweetness. The puerh itself is not spectacular. Astringency at the back of the throat.

Second Steep, 15 seconds; much darker, though not black. Wet leaf is a bakey orange smell. Tea more like tobacco—very little zest. Dirt to tobacco. Stronger, bolder, almost savory. Zest might be coming through a bit as it cools.

Photos: http://artoftea.teatra.de/2013/07/18/dan-cong-iron-buddha-orange-puerh/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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84

Made this in a mug. As always, very strongly floral, not strongly vegetal. It’s gone cold now, but it’s even great cold (I should ice it). There’s an almost cream essence when cold—mouthcoating, maybe. One of the few greener oolongs that I’m finding I quite like.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Mi Lan Xian Feng Xi by SOKO Tea House
373 tasting notes

Pretty standard, for a Mi Lan varietal, I think (though honestly I wouldn’t take my word on that—I’ve only tried about three); dark, roasty honey, sometimes sharp (though I wouldn’t say astringent or bitter).

I’d almost say it makes me think more of chestnut than honey.

Of course, most of this is from memory because my tastebuds still seem to be dead. I don’t know. Last cup of this, would like to get more though I’m leaning more towards trying other varietals, and getting a xhi lan.

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drank Lychee Red by My Cup of Tea (Montreal)
373 tasting notes

I’ve had a hard time tasting things recently. Though by “things”, I think I mean mostly tea. Maybe it’s because I’ve been purging my cupboard, so I haven’t really been paying as much attention to what I drink, but it’s really been bothering me.

The burnt tongue yesterday didn’t help.

So I made a pot of this and sat down, and have just been swishing it around my mouth and really sitting on it. It tasted like nothing and smelt like lychee at first. I think I picked up a bit of Keemun in the scent as well, so I’m guessing that’s the base. Someone else suggested that as well, I believe.

As I’ve worked my way through the pot, it’s slowly been coming back to me. The base is Chinese, definitely, the lychee not coming through as much in the taste, but there’s thick smoke and I’m definitely sure on Keemun now.

I needed this.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Lychee Red by My Cup of Tea (Montreal)
373 tasting notes

Picked this and a few other teas up from Art Knapps. Can’t really give an accurate review since I burned my tongue on soup just prior to drinking this, but the floral fruityness of the lychee’s still coming through.

There’s more than one Lychee Red on the website, but I’m assuming they’re all the same (they also have lychee-lavender and lychee-rose); mine, however, came in this package:

http://www.mcot.ca/en/catalog/product/196/PC-005/

Which is pretty creative, actually. Although once you take the plastic off, not particularly air-tight.

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drank Seven Green Treasures by Tea Desire
373 tasting notes

Whoops, guess I haven’t made any notes for this one yet.

I picked this up when I hit up Tea Desire at Metrotown during their closing sale (I should check to see if they’re still open and pick up a few more teas before they’re gone for good—they’re an underdog in the Tea Community, but they’ve still got some nice stuff, if you know what to look for). I’ve had it a few times, and I quite like it. Not their usual green-black blends, but instead a green-white blend. It takes to the pineapple and strawberry well. Pineapple’s more visible in the hot variety, but today’s post is actually about icing it.

I bought some bottled sodas last week, and kept the bottles and caps to reuse for iced tea. I bottled this and a few others (I’ll get to those when I sip them), then refrigerated ’em and forgot about ’em for a few days.

Opened this one up, sniffed it—delicious strawberry pineapple scent. Sipped it—love it. I’m inexperienced when it comes to ratios for iced tea, but I think I did pretty well for my first try. I did two heaping teaspoons for the whole bottle (355mL); steeped in about 250mL (3 minutes), and then poured in with a bit of crushed ice (as much as I could get in there—narrow necked, unfortunately), then put the bottle in an ice bath.

Very refreshing. Getting the green tea mostly. Not much of the white, as to be expected. Strawberry’s stronger than the pineapple. Didn’t use any sugar, and I’m loving it without, but as a fruity green I think it’d do well with it.

I’m going to have to make more. Bring them with me when I go camping in a few weeks.

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I change icons often, apologies. On that note, they are usually Doctor Who related (so no, that is not me pictured in the icon, it is most likely one of the Doctors).

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as usually I don’t work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

On most occasions I won’t take my tea with anything (I reserve milk for chai). Occasionally agave nectar if I want to test to see if it’ll smooth it out. Chais I will make with either the nectar or honey. Although on occasion I will sweeten unflavoured blacks the Russian way—with jam or jelly. Occasionally I will take it instead with a slice of a citrus fruit. Normally orange, occasionally lemon if I have any on hand.

I prefer Earl Greys.

Lastly, I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

Also, I am a Doctor Who fanatic. As one may have noticed by my icons. For the record, my favourite Doctor is number three, Jon Pertwee.

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann

Location

BC, Canada

Website

http://artoftea.teatra.de

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