260 Tasting Notes

75

Steepsterites, I started going through my dashboard, realized that I have way too much to catch up on, then realized that I have a lot of tea to log, and then realized that I have email from a week ago that I still needed to respond to, and then realized that it was already 1:30 AM.

When did that happen? It was 11:00 PM two minutes ago! I demand to know where all that time slipped away to. Probably somewhere on the island with Jack and Sawyer and Kate and Desmond. Mm…Desmond. But I digress. [Again.]

Anyhow, you’ll have to bear with me as I slowly, slowly, [or maybe not so much, because 14-odd days of logs is really daunting] try and catch up with what’s been going on in the Steepster-verse. I feel like I’ve finally nailed a decent rhythm so far as school goes, but I’ve got a bit of crazy week coming up and so I’m just letting you know I might be fading in and out a bit [not unlike AT&T’s wireless signal – I’m sorry but I couldn’t help it; their commercials have been driving me crazy]. Okay, on to the tea.

I’ve had some pretty bad Earl Grey in the span of my tea drinking experience. For me, most Earl Greys tend to fall in the middling to bleh range. Andrews and Dunham’s definitely doesn’t land with the majority.

Is this the best Earl Grey I’ve had? No. But it’s solid. The bergamot is visible, but not overwhelming, and I found the finish to be sweet. Overall, it was a very smooth tea, though I did notice it getting a little bitter as it cooled.

I don’t think that this is going to be an Earl Grey that knocks people over with wow factor [especially those drinkers that are more discerning in their Earl Grey tastes than I], but I also don’t think it would be disappointing. It’s one of those teas that I’ll enjoy drinking until it’s gone, but doesn’t scream for a re-order.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Mike

Is it safe to discuss the Lost premiere here? Or is this a spoiler-free tasting note?

teaplz

Hahaha, Mike, I was thinking the same thing, because WTF. I watched the entire thing with my mouth half-open. “I’m sorry you had to see me like that.”

:D And yay for Earl Grey being better-than-average! Samovar’s is still the best one I’ve tasted.

takgoti

I don’t mind no spoilers, but I’m not sure how other people feel about spoilers? But can I just throw in a mighty big WTF??? I fully trust that this season is going to rock. Hard.

Mike

I agree, generally off to a good start. Ready for more!

Ricky

^ haha, my exact reactions to Lost…. WTF?!?! Dude… John Locke…. oh man….

takgoti

@teaplz Did you cry? [I did, though not as bad as I did at last season’s finale.] I ask this because we have both pre-established that we are LOST criers. Not that Mike and Ricky couldn’t have cried, too…

Ricky

I’m honestly glad this is the last season. If it kept going, I would of been like come on already! I’m actually not 100% won over with this series. It’s good, but not amazing. Some episodes don’t hold me very well.

Oh! Of course I cried…. o.O

Umm… so I’m confused…. what is there to cry about in Lost? The last scene? Juliet?

teaplz

takgoti, I teared up pretty badly with the Locke-Jack moment at the end. Just because Locke makes me really, really upset now.

And hush, Ricky, cause Lost is amazingness! :P

Ricky

So it was that moment! I knew it =P I was just shocked and like woahhhh, nice twist.

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93
drank Kukicha by Samovar
260 tasting notes

O hai, Steepsterites.

I have been buried in school, but I wanted to stop by and say hello and catch up.

So…how’ve y’all been?

Right. Apparently I’ve forgotten how to write in my time away so you’ll have to excuse the abrupt awkwardness of this log.

Also, I can’t stop drinking this damn tea.

No, seriously, it’s buttery and grassy and sweet and I love it and I can’t stop drinking it and we’re gonna get married. The past three days of tea for me have consisted of kukicha, ryokucha, and sobacha and not much else. Cha cha cha. Hahaha.

Oh god. I…I don’t know.

This wasn’t the best time to come back here and post something. My brain is still reeling from the incomprehensible explosion of WHAT that was the Dollhouse series finale tonight. I just said it to my friend, but nobody, ain’t nobody can do bittersweet like Joss Whedon.

At least I have another addiction that I can turn to now that the book of Dollhouse has closed. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go drown my sorrows in another cup.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Jason

Oh hai! Glad to see you’re back!

teaplz

OH HAI, I missed you. Now I’m going to go cry a puddle. But I’m happy to see that you’ve been drinking awesomesauce tea! <3333

Ricky

takkkkkgot*tteaaaaaaaa*! Welcome back! Sorta.

Keemun

…you get married with Kukicha? What marvelous news…

Steve

I know what you mean by “buttery”. Does anybody know what about kukicha makes the water thicker than with normal teas?

takgoti

O. HAI EVERYONE!

@Steve I have no clue what causes it, but it’s a quality that I’ve come to love very much in certain teas.

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89

I was at a loss. I wanted to try this tea really badly, but I also had to go to class. And then I remembered that I had that travel tumbler from Teas Etc. that Steepster Select ran a while ago.

Crisis aborted.

Class actually wasn’t bad, but I was going in sleepy and I credit this tea to keeping me fully awake for three hours of lecture. This is going to have to become a regular practice of mine.

So, the tea.

The tea kapowed me in the face with scent when I opened the tin. I almost half-expected to see a little cartoon splat with WAP! in it. It was almost stronger than Samovar or Harney & Son’s Jasmine Pearl teas smell, which is kind of impressive if slightly overwhelming. I was a little bit afraid that the tea would judo chop my taste buds, but I steeped it, dumped it into my travel tumbler, and headed out into the cold.

And so I sat in class, listening about the physics of acoustics, and I unscrewed the lid on my tumbler.

Smells good. Strong, but good. It didn’t have that artificial tinge that some jasmines can have, which was a very good sign. Good good good good good.

Took a sip, tentatively. It was in that lovely temperature between hot and lukewarm that tips just a little bit closer to hot. The taste of jasmine filled my senses and, after it had been downed, that lovely perfumed sweetness tickled my breath when I exhaled. I had to suppress a little giggle and concentrate on standing waves for a bit, before returning to the tea.

I managed to time finishing the tumbler with our break in lecture [for which my bladder thanked me] and found myself wishing I had more to sip on during the rest of the lecture. It probably ended up working out well, though, because the caffeine kept me awake and I would have been wired if I’d had enough to last me through the end of class.

Jasmine Green wasn’t pretty strictly jasmine tasting, and it was not a quiet, lullaby-like taste. It was more Whitney Houston power ballad – you know, old school Whitney. I Will Always Love You Whitney. This doesn’t have some of the other notes I’ve gotten out of jasmine tea – like the cocoa notes I sometimes get in Samovar’s; it’s really a solo act. But like Kevin Gillespie in Top Chef has proven – keeping things simple and doing them well can be pretty damn effective. And this tea plays that hand with skill.

Series three has hit the ground running.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ricky

Ohhhh sounds like a winner. Series 3 is tempting… aside from the Caravan…. and the Earl Grey, but the EG might be good. I guess I’ll just have to wait for your reviews =D

wombatgirl

BTW – I should mention – I ended up buying both Series 2 and 3 because of your Jackee Muntz posting. :) I am hoping to see lots of positive reviews from you on their stuff. (Since I’ll be trying it all soon too!)

takgoti

@Ricky The EG is good, I tried it a couple of days ago and enjoyed it. Will be logging soon, I think.

@wombatgirl Aw yay! I hope you like them!

Laura

1) Hm, I’ll have to try more jasmine.
(The one I have reminds me of old ladies.)
2) You have a 3 hour physics class?? omg. I’m so sorry.
3) I’m pretty excited over your shout out to Kevin :) I don’t know who I like
more – him or his beard.

Jillian

I’m with Laura – 3 hrs of physics is nasty! Let me put it this way, I enjoyed the week or so we spend on Quantum and nuclear physics at the end of first year, but having slogged through two semesters’-worth of Newtonian physics pretty much put me off any more at that point.

takgoti

1) I highly recommend any of the ones I mentioned in the above post, though they all smell pretty strong. I don’t have the crutch of associating jasmine with old ladies, so unfortunately I can’t assess if any of them have a chance of shedding that connection for you.
2) Haha, well the professor I have this semester is a really good lecturer, so I’m hoping it will be relatively painless! Last semester involved a lot of staring at the wall.
3) Kevin was my favorite! And his beard does indeed deserve its own facebook page! Though, I have friends who’ve talked to Brian and say he’s really nice.

teaplz

FIRE BEARD! I’m sad that he didn’t win TC.

And this one sounds very pretty-like.

TeaEqualsBliss

Hi there! It seems I keep losing you on my feeds! Sorry! Always love your reviews…just wanted to swing by and say HI! Hope you are well!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Yay → DFT and Kevin all in one post!

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88
drank Ceylon Super Single by Samovar
260 tasting notes

This is going to sound awfully staged, because Auggy and I just had a small conversation about how she was wishing that Andrews & Dunham’s Ceylon had a bit of a fruity note in it. She had specifically mentioned raspberry.

I’d suspect that this could be a potential victim of the power of suggestion, if it weren’t for the fact that this tea had an undeniable note of raspberry in it. I have yet to have had a Ceylon that has had this much depth to it. Other ones I’ve tried had been rather one note. [I think teaplz likes to use the term “default black” and that is what I think of when I think Ceylon. Or was. It’s changing now.]

Every now and then, I get a little hint of bitterness that almost hinges on a kind of metallic taste [that I think is the coppery tang they reference in the description]. But otherwise, it is very smooth, with that default black taste and fruitiness.

I’ll have to watch out for the honeydew and burnt sugar next time steep this, because I was somewhat distracted when I was drinking this and didn’t make it to a second steep before having to run out and finish some errands. I know this, because my “notes” [if you can call them that] read as such:

200F | 4 minutes
pay attention next time
and steep it again
smooth
omg raspberry.

You know what? That sums it up rather nicely, so I’m just going to stop.

Oh, except to say that Samovar has samples available on some [not all] of their teas now. Holla.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Auggy

Hahaha – I love your notes so much!

Grinnyguy

You’re funny. Sounds like a wonderful tea, I’ve never got anything from Samovar, but there’s no space in the cupboard at the moment :-(

takgoti

@Auggy ♥.

@Grinnyguy Hehe, thanks! And new tea is a constant motivation for me to drink my old tea. It’s a rather vicious cycle!

Harney & Sons The Store

I was unable to actually send you a message, so I figured I’d ask here. I was wondering, do you have any baby kyusu’s? The smallest we have here is 150ml I think? I’ve heard of ones that are 50 ml but none of our vendors seem to have them.

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73
drank Thai Chai by Adagio Teas
260 tasting notes

Part of me was a little frightened that I would actually like this tea enough to cause me to actually put an order through with Adagio. I’m not sure whether I’m relieved or disappointed that it wasn’t.

Chai for me has become very much a drink that reads of warmth and comfort and that is what the base of this chai said to me. However, the lemongrass was just a little too dissonant for me. Lemongrass speaks to me of spring and summer and is a refreshing, clean taste. Chai does not. I was having trouble connecting the two in my mind. Part of me feels like it shouldn’t have difficult, because chocolate and mint are kind of in the same family of combination, but maybe it’s because chocolate and mint are so ubiquitous and I’ve gotten used to them.

Anyhow, it just wasn’t gelling. And then I got some coconut shooting through the taste and that was the clincher that made me decide I wouldn’t be ordering this again. I’m learning to like coconut [I am now in love with the macaroon], but coconut milk is still something I can’t quite cope with and that’s what I was reminded of when I tasted it in the chai. I have some hanging out in the fridge, so maybe it will make more sense to me chilled.

This is all splitting hairs and everything, because really it isn’t bad. The fnal verdict is that this is a good chai, but it’s not going to knock out any of the other ones I enjoy. I can see why people like it so much.

Laura

omg – if you love macaroons, try this recipe: http://tinyurl.com/arjr2v
it’s what made me face the fact that i don’t hate coconut afterall.
…hm. that was a bit off topic. sorry. um. go chai!

takgoti

Eeee! I will be making these. Bookmark’d! Thanks! And I don’t know how much of anything I’ve put on Steepster you have seen [that phrasing was constructed lovingly] but I am probably the reigning queen of off topic. [The Overlords must love me.] Anyway, off topic got me a recipe, so I wouldn’t care even if I did care! I WIN!

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50

What would a log of mine be without a wayward analogy? [Don’t answer that.] I’m just going to lay it out here at the start.

This tea reminds me of Sudafed. Not because they taste similar, but stay with me. When I was younger my mom used to give them to me and my brother when we were congested and I liked the way they tasted. One time I was feeling particularly petulant [possibly upset because I had to stay home and miss something fun at school – that’s not something that really happens any more] and she gave me a Sudafed and a little cup of water. I told her I wasn’t going to take it and she told me that if I didn’t I was going to be really uncomfortable that day. So I grabbed at it and put it in my mouth and stood there, pouting. Then she said, “You’d better swallow that or it’s going to taste bad.”

I did not [and still do not on occasion] deal well with people telling me to do things.

I stood there, glaring at her, arms crossed, and didn’t swallow it.

A few seconds later, I was spitting it out on the floor and rubbing my tongue with my finger. My mom laughed at me and said she’d make me some jello, and I smiled sheepishly and took another Sudafed.

If you’re wondering what this story has to do with this tea, it’s because it starts out nicely but I found that it has a kind of nasty finish. It’s a shame, too. It smells amazing – somewhere between caramel and kettle corn and I was pretty excited to drink it.

In sipping it, it starts out tasting as advertised – that delicious sweet and salty combination you get from caramel, with maybe a little bit of a roasty note swimming beneath that is reminiscent of popcorn. And then I gulped it down.

it was bitter. Sour, almost. And actually, lightly reminiscent of what Sudafed tastes like if you melt far enough through that red sugary shell. It wasn’t happy, and I found myself taking sips of the tea to try to combat it only to be greeted by the far less appetizing aftertaste on the finish. It was an unpleasant little vicious cycle it pulled me through, right to the end of the cup. I would have stopped altogether, if I hadn’t been holding out hope that it would fill out as it cooled. No such luck, I’m afraid.

All in all, the aftertaste wasn’t HORRIBLE, but it did qualify this tea as being something I’m not going to order. I have a little bit left, so I’ll try it with sugar, or maybe some honey. But I’ve got a couple of other caramel-tasting teas that treat me better, so I’ll be sticking with those unless adding some form of sweetener kicks this up to mind-blowing.

I’ve gotta thank teaplz for sending me this, because it is for sure something I would have ordered without thinking [I mean, it’s called Cream Caramel – which is the equivalent of a talking puppy jumping in front of my face yelping “CHOOSE ME!”] and would have ended in annoyance. Here’s hoping the remainder of my sample ends up sparkling.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Auggy

I had a very similar experience with Advil. Yuck. Anyway, what’s your favorite caramel tea so far? I think I’ve only had one (well, plus Jackee but I don’t think that really counts since he’s not intentionally caramel-y) and it was only okay-ish so my hunt continues!

S

You know what tastes good? Advil. The brown, sugar coated ones….mmmm.

takgoti

@Auggy Jackee is actually the only full on caramel tea that I’ve had, intentional or not. I’ve had a bagged one that did not taste like anything I’d consider to be good. Other than that, Caramelized Pear and Dawn are frontrunners. Sinharaja had some nice caramel notes in it that I enjoyed. I’m going to try the one Jack mentioned in a comment when I get around to ordering from Upton.

@Shanti Agreed! Though, I’ve learned from my Sudafed experience and typically do not suck on those too long either. [As Auggy has apparently done.]

teaplz

Sorry this was gross to you! I wasn’t getting that aftertaste, but now I sort of have to go back and see.

And yeah, brown, sugar-coated Advil is awesome. The best tasting medication by far is amoxicillin and its pink, bubble-gum goodness! My uncle’s pharmacy used to make amoxicillin with real bubble gum pieces suspended in it. Mmm.

Auggy

I’m so glad I wasn’t the only Advil lover in the group.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to find something intentionally as caramel-y as Jackee and to get it there without having to hit the magic water & ratio number? Of course, it doesn’t seem like hitting that is that hard now that it has been revealed, but I keep having the fear that it will suddenly become impossible to find. I overthink things and worry too much.

takgoti

@teaplz It was literally like drinking two completely different teas. Very weird. Also, I think I would have liked my medicine more as a child if it had contained pieces of bubblegum in it. Genius.

@Auggy That’s the dream! And having lost the caramel-taste [though it was mainly because I had no idea what the hell kind of anything I was using], losing it again is a very real fear for me, so I’m completely with you on that one. I have hopes for finding a solid caramel tea, though.

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40

Auggy was drinking this a couple of days ago, and so I decided to drink it as well, as I’d also gotten some from teaplz. [Folks, it took me literally five minutes to structure that sentence to a point where it made sense so please bear with me today. I also just typed out “sentence,” as esetnce, senetence, setence, sentece, and pony. I don’t know what’s going on this week, I’ve got a really bad case of the mental klutzes.]

I was expecting something like Decaffeinated Chai Agni. That, this was not.

I should have been expecting it after reading Auggy’s review [which I am now perusing again and is bringing me to realize I’m about two days behind on logs]. First of all, at times it smelled like Red Vines [best red licorice ever]. Red Vines, but also…peanut brittle? Maybe? It was something specific, but I couldn’t quite place it and whatever it was that I was smelling was not matching up with what I was expecting to smell.

When I started sipping it, all I could think at first was, “Yep. This isn’t chocolate.” When I began to try and place what it was, all I could think of was that toffee, caramel-like, brittle-taste. I’d almost call it butterscotch. Somewhere in that general family of tastes was where this landed for me.

And then the chili started to arrive, like a train approaching in the distance. I could feel its presence in little pwiffs on the tip of my tongue, and then it grew in volume where it was undeniably there. Luckily, it remained at a volume where it was enjoyable. In that aspect, it reminded me quite a bit of the Decaf Chai Agni [and thankfully, not of the Mayan Chocolate thing].

I’d like to say that I was able to find some chocolate in the tea, but I don’t think I did. At times, I thought I might be tasting it, but it never grabbed me enough to be able to say anything definitively. What I did taste, when I thought I was tasting it, wasn’t a dark chocolate, or a cocoa, or a good milk chocolate taste. It wasn’t Godiva, and it wasn’t even Hershey’s, it was like…Russell Stover. Or Fannie May. Not that I want to rag on those two companies, but in the hierarchy of quality chocolate I’d pin them near the bottom of the totem pole. It’s not that they’re bad, they’re just…no Scharffen Berger. So I’m going to officially unofficially declare that this tea had no chocolate taste for me.

When these two things came together [and it’s possible there were more components to it that I just wasn’t able to pick out], I didn’t really know what to think. Forgiving the absence of chocolate in a supposedly chocolate tea [which was a bit of a high hump to climb over] the tastes did not marry well in my mind. When I think butterscotch sprinkled with chili powder, I do not think, “Oooh, NOM.” And that is what I was essentially tasting. To repeat the mantra that I seem to be using for many of these types of teas that fall in this category for me, “It wasn’t bad, it was just…not good.”

The chili on its own was nice. That was at a good level. I wish I had gotten some vanilla bean from it like Auggy had, because I can see vanilla and chili possibly working together well-ish.

I can’t paint my face and jump up screaming in the stands for this tea. I’m not even sure that I’d sit there and half-heartedly wave a flag. But I’ll go to the game and drink a beer. And if they want me to hold up one of those colored cards to make some kind of picture message at some point, I’ll do that, too, even if mainly because no one likes the dead-pixel-a**hat who refuses to do even that. This metaphor is out of control. I’m going to end this log.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Carolyn

Oh my! You are a chocolate aesthete as well as a tea fanatic. That’s good to know. (Since I’m one as well.)

Auggy

I think this tea rating depends on expectations. I had to do a pretty big mental reset based on my first sip to fall in love with this tea because it was so not what I was expecting. I’m just hoping my second cup will be filled with as much love as the first since now I know what to expect. If that makes sense.

takgoti

@Carolyn Haha, I do love chocolate!

@Auggy I was thinking about this more as I was writing it, and the overall flavor of the tea just didn’t agree with me. I’m not sure what it was about it, but even with the expectation of chocolate having faded, every single sip that I took of it just wasn’t marrying well for me. There was something decidedly off about it for me throughout the entire cup and though it wasn’t so echy I didn’t want to finish the cup, the off-kilterness of it all made me feel weird. So the rating wasn’t based on the chocolate [or lack there of] expectation, though I did dock some points since it is being advertised as a chocolate tea. It was mainly due to the fact that I didn’t like the tea as a whole.

teaplz

Dead-pixel-a**hat. Awesome.

And yeah, I know what you mean about low-quality chocolate. I think I described it in one review to those Easter Bunnies that nobody eats made of that plastic-tasting chocolate. I still haven’t tried this one yet, so I can’t comment, but I wonder where my tastes will fall!

Auggy

I just realized my comment sounded like I think your rating was based on expectations and that’s not what I meant. Sorry! I was thinking of my experience with it and how it was so different from what I expected to get out of it and how that really threw me, making me want to give it something between the red face and the ‘meh’ face. And I can totally see how butterscotch would not marry well with chili. I think I lucked out in that the flavor made me think of vanilla bean which went with the chili better. Not that I think it was actually vanilla bean, just that that’s what it made my brain connect to.

Micah

Best out of control metaphor ever…

Totally with you on the bad chocolate flavors. If I had a time machine I’d destroy whoever thought it was a good idea to make chocolate flavored hard candy… And if you ever receive a sugar free Whitman’s sampler from someone, it’s safe to say that they don’t like you very much.

takgoti

@teaplz Ugh, the plastic-chocolate Easter Bunnies make me sad. So sad.

@Auggy Haha, no problem. I still have a little bit of it left, so I’m sure I’ll try it again. Maybe it will sit better for me next time. But even though I was trying to rein in my “where’s the chocolate?!” problem, I still feel like the vendor is equally at fault for billing this as a chocolate tea. I only took off about 5 points for that, but I think that those five points are going to stay off even if I end up liking it a tremendous amount more.

@Micah Hehe, I was gonna keep going and then my brain went, “Dude…stop.” And OH GOD, the Whitman samplers. I didn’t know they even made sugar free, but that just makes it even sadder. Someone cue the sad horns. Wah waaah.

TeaEqualsBliss

I seriously LOVE your reviews! And sense of humor! I have days often like that where words just don’t want to compute from my brain to my fingers to the screen, ya know!?

takgoti

Aww, thanks so much! Those days have been coming more often than I’d like lately, unfortunately! Mere annoyance when you’re trying to write a tea log; absolutely maddening when you’ve got a lab report you need to turn in!

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34

There was something off about this tea.

The smell reminded me of medicine, for one. I think that it had to do with the fact that so many medicines are “berry” flavored and the vanilla aspect of this for me contained the alcohol-ish aspect of vanilla extract.

The taste was marginally better, though what I mainly got berry out of this and I wanted more vanilla. The vanilla taste that I got, when it occasionally decided to surface, gasping for breath in the sea of nondistinctive berry flavor, didn’t really taste like vanilla. It was more extract-like, to begin with, but even the creamier aspect of it wasn’t quite vanilla flavored. Looking at the list of ingredients, I think that it’s because this contained white chocolate [which I usually like, but am not sure how I feel about it in tea]. I also think that a lot of the medicinal taste came from an unfortunate combination/balancing of the hibiscus, the rooibos, and the currant that are all supposed to be in this tea.

Maybe I just got a bad spoonful. I’m hoping that’s part of it, because I couldn’t resist trying Caramelized Pear again and it wasn’t nearly as good the second time around – not as rich and caramel-tasting, mainly pear, and the rooibos was coming through that time around. I think it was mainly because I was getting kind of the dregs [I didn’t have any apple pieces in that one, though teaplz isn’t to blame as the sample she sent me was taken from a sample].

I apologize because I’m beginning to confuse myself here as I’m kind of behind on logging the new teas I’ve been trying. To put this into some semblance of order, I tried Vanilla Berry Truffle, was disappointed, then had Caramelized Pear a couple of days later and realized that it might be because I wasn’t getting a good array of physical components into the actual tea.

Though, re-reading teaplz’s log, she wasn’t terribly happy with this tea either. So…

I don’t know. I’m having a weird day. I’ve been having these moments where I get songs stuck in my head, and then I hear them over loud-speakers when I go out or to run errands [often muzaked]. It’s been making me feel like I’m on an extremely boring version of the Truman Show. And trying to transition from doing f***-all to studying is leaving me murky and smogged. My chi has been Los Angeles’d. Does any of this even make sense? What is a horse shoe? What does a horse shoe do? Are there any horse socks? Is anybody listening to me?

I wasn’t taken away by this tea, but it wasn’t horrible. It was bizarre and imbalanced, not unlike this review. It was yellow slanty-mouth on the Steepster sliding scale. So that’s where it’s going.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 15 sec
teaplz

Sorry that your second experience with Caramelized Pear wasn’t as good as the first! I tried to make sure that you got enough of the components in there, and apple pieces were sort of scant in my sample in general.

As for this one, don’t feel weirded out by it at all! I just think it’s simply not that great of a tea. And I can definitely get on the bandwagon with the medicinal taste of this. I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to this one, since I was packaging up your tea swap box, but I know I wasn’t enjoying it.

sophistre

It sounds like everybody is having an off day! At least it’s the weekend now, neh? Better celebrate with some of the good stuff.

takgoti

@teaplz Yeah, it’s no one’s fault. You had a sample size and I think most blends suffer from scraping the bottom of a tin/box/bag/what-have-you. Also, thanks, I think I won’t be ordering VBT when I put my Art of Tea order through.

@sophistre Truer words have never been spoken. Yesterday was bizarre. Feeling better today. What to drink…

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86

I picked this up on a whim when I was in the grocery store the other day. I won’t lie, it was because I thought the box was pretty [but it also helped that I’d had a good experience with Mariage Frères previously].

The dry leaves have a strong scent, reminiscent of the great Marco Polo experience of 2009 [ah, 2009] except instead of smelling like Strawberries on Steroids [coming atcha in 2011] it smells like Cherry Blossoms on PCP. So, delicious.

The scent actually reminds me of a few things. Grenadine, for one. Also, some types of gum. Extra, maybe, or Bubblicious. But most of all, Mr. Bubble bubble bath, which my parents would not let me or my brother have anymore after one of us dumped half a container in the bathtub. [I still maintain that it was him.]

Taste wise, this tea is light, like sugared flowers. That kind of light. It’s sweet, and that stays with me in the aftertaste and pulses in intensity as I breathe in and out.

It actually reminds me of Ludens cough drops, which, as anyone who has them may be aware, can be most accurately called candy. They do not taste like cough drops. I am 98% sure they are just candy and have little to no medicinal value. They taste a hell of a lot better than regular cough drops do as a result [if you like candy, that is] and I would beg my dad to bring some home when I was sick. [He often did, on the condition that I actually ate one real cough drop for every three Ludens or something like that.] Anyhow, this tea reminds me of that, just with the volume turned down a bit.

If I were to sum up this tea in one word, it would be sparkling. It seems to shimmer with sweetness, and has this almost nectar-like quality to it.

Mariage Frères didn’t offer any insight for steeping, so I put it in for three minutes, drank about a third of the cup, stuck it in for two more, and then drank the rest. The three minute mark had more flavor, so next time I’ll try a full cup there and probably continue to play around with some more steep times and stuff. I know that I’m tired because in that previous sentence, I wrote “but so and,” so…I’m going to stop here.

Oh, except to say that this note is based on the 3 minute steeping because I liked the flavor better there.

Okay, but so and good nighting!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I’ve been known to do that too, buy something because the box was pretty. If the contents of the not so pretty box sound more interesting than the contents of the pretty box it can turn into quite a dilemma. I go by the most interesting label too when choosing wine. :)

fcmonroe

It is a beautiful tin. How come my grocery store doesn’t carry teas in pretty tins? They don’t have any loose teas at all.

Carolyn

@Angrboda I also buy the pretties.

Auggy

Looks and sounds very pretty! The thought of sugared flowers makes me happy.

teaplz

I secretly used to love getting a cold so I could eat those Ludens. I’d go through an entire bag at a time. I also used to really like the Celestial Seasonings cough drops, but they discontinued those. The berry ones were really good!

Anyway, glad this one tastes as nice as the tin looks!

JacquelineM

Wow! I want to shop at that grocery store! The tea sounds really unique and delicious.

takgoti

@everyone I’d like to say that I read through all of the descriptions and then make an at least semi-informed decision, but what happens is I start reading everything and then I forget what’s what and I get both bored and overwhelmed at the same time and so I just go “YER PURTY” and grab it if it sounds decent. Plus, Mariage Frères and some of these other people don’t name some of their teas super descriptively. I mean, “Fall in Love”?

I should also mention that I went out to Balducci’s, which is hardly my daily grocer. I don’t roll deep like that. It’s a smaller, frou-frou grocery store that I go to sometimes when I’m in need of something that’s harder to find for cooking purposes. Now I’m going to be going there for tea purposes too, it seems, since they carry a lot of good looking stuff!

@teaplz They’re so good! I don’t know if they still make them this way, but they used to have them in these little boxes with this wax paper bag inside. Something about that felt old to me, so I used to pretend that my stuffed animals were sick too and that it was their medicine when we were “out on the trail.” Except then I’d try to ford the river and our wagon would tip over and somebody would die of dysentery.

sophistre

But you always have to ford the river, because choosing any of the other options is for chumps.

Also, you always killed way more than you could carry back to your wagon. It’s not your fault you’d see nothing but rabbits for ages and then BAM, bison. I mean what can you do? Really?

takgoti

I know! Stupid bison.

I also seem to recall a spinoff of OT called Amazon Trail that was essentially exactly the same but with a graphics upgrade. [And also it was set in the Amazon.] I think there might have been some extra mini-games. If I’m remembering correctly, I also got it out of a Cheerios box. I think you got to spear fish in that one instead of shooting stuff.

teaplz

I always caulked the wagon and floated it. And sometimes it’d be too heavy because I was PARANOID AT THE GENERAL STORE and bought like, 5,000 of everything. And then the wagon would sink. PITIFUL.

There was Yukon Trail as well!

Jillian

OMG Amazon Trail! When I was in elementary school my class would play it sort of as a problem-solving lesson. I seem to recall a magical black jaguar that sent you on a quest to get things for the Inca King in the Lost City or something. And I remember that we had to take picture of animals and ID them. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had in a computer class.

And I crashed the boat. A lot. XD

takgoti

@teaplz I was going to say that I don’t think I ever played Yukon Trail, but then I wiki’d it and I remember it vaguely. I think that ten-year-old me somehow knew that there were talking jaguars on the way and thus lost interest too quickly to play much of it. That, or it might have been right around the time when I became obsessed with Duck Hunt…

@Jillian Holy crap. I remember the jaguar now. HAHAHA. And the picture taking. It was like the predecessor to Pokémon Snap. [Did anyone else see the new HAWP? Oh, man. So disturbing. And hilarious.]

@notarevolution Do it! Watch out for them squirrels!

Angrboda

You lot are inspiring. I had to pay a visit to abandonia.com last night because of you. :)

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95
drank Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea
260 tasting notes

I was thrilled to receive a tea swap package from the lovely teaplz recently and this was in it.

Oh, Steepsterites.

Pear tea is not something I’ve had a lot of good luck with. It’s my favorite fruit [thinking about the validity of that statement and deciding it’s definitely true], and therefore it’s not something that I’m going to be satisfied with if I have to reach for in a tea. [Kind of like the elusive pumpkin, I suppose.] I don’t want it to be light and floaty, though light and floaty pear done well is better than artificial or this ain’t pear. I want it to be in my face and smack me around a bit.

Oh, Steepsterites.

The fact that this combines with my favorite dessert flavor [thinking about the validity of that statement and deciding it’s definitely true] means that this tea could easily be my Icarus. It could soar up high on the warm air currents and then tumble silently before crashing fatally into the sea.

Fortunately, this tea is like Icarus’ happy ending. It’s the Icarus Remix. Pears have a relatively short season where they’re really good [or at least it seems that way because I can’t get enough of them when they’re around] and this tea is going to become like crack for me, especially when pears aren’t in season. I’m already calling it, everyone. When I get really effing weird on Steepster [weirder – that is] and start spitting nonsense, it’s going to be because I’m either out of Ryokucha or this tea. Look forward to it.

Take a second to travel to Imaginationland for a second with me here. Think about a nice, ripe, juicy pear. You know, where they’re in that state of limbo between firm and mushy and when you bite into it you have to have a towel on hand [if you care about that kind of thing] because you inevitably end up making a mess. Now, cut that pear up into little half inch cubes and stick them in a bowl. You still with me? Okay, now there’s a saucepan on the stove to your left. It’s got some caramel sauce bubbling in it – deep orange-brown, bubbling, thick, and satiny. Give it a good stir, cut off the heat, and let it cool for a minute. Excellent. Take the caramel, and pour that all over the pear bits. The whole thing. Don’t hold back. Stir everything around gently, do not smush the pear.

Now, take out a spoon. Put the spoon in your mouth. Remove your belt and wrap it around your head. Take off your shoes and go outside. There will be a bag of trash in your trashcan. Take that out, and…

I’m kidding, I’m kidding.

Okay, take the spoon. Dip into the mixture and…I think you can take it from there.

That is what this tea tasted like to me. It was rich, and the caramel and the pear were both just so very much present. Between the mouthfeel and the taste and just the absolute giddiness I got from the fact that they nailed the pear so hard it won’t see straight until the weekend. Just…AH.

The two tastes didn’t combine often. When they did, it was maybe just a smidge weird, but the majority of the time it tasted like a piece of pear coated in decadent caramel, and Zeus help me, it’s going to take an insane amount of willpower to keep this sample from disappearing before I order it.

As it cooled, the caramel started to melt away a bit and the pear came to the forefront. The only thing that could keep me from being disappointed at this is the fact that I love pear to the point that it raises eyebrows, but the fact that the tea did this for me is something that I think y’all should be aware of. [This was also true of the second steep – more pear than anything else. I let it sit for seven minutes on the second infusion, but I’ll try steeping it a little longer next time. The more mileage I can get out of this the better, I think.] Oh, and the rooibos didn’t come into the picture at all.

Anyhow, win. Just…win. It was such a win that everything else could have lost that day and I wouldn’t have cared much. The ONLY reason that this tea isn’t going to get a flat out 100 from me is unfortunately because of something that also makes it so awesome. It is sweet and rich and a full on dessert tea. I can’t drink this every day, though I wish I could. If I did, I’d get sick of it, which would make my tea self cry, and this is not a tea I want to have to take out of rotation.

Anyhow.

ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY DELICIOUS. Thanks, teaplz!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec
S

Maybe this will be my first rooibos tea…was it sour? Pencil shavings-ey?

teaplz

This review is WIN. Absolute win! I’m SO HAPPY you really adored this, because I think it’s really something special too! It’s so ridiculously identifiable as pear, I can’t take it. True, juicy pear flavor, with caramel and deliciousness.

WHEEEE! 2-2 today for my tea and you and Auggy!

Mike

See I tend to be a fan of your self-proclaimed “weirder” posts and wonder what that says about me? Also…oh man oh man oh man this tea sounds right up my alley!! s-hop-list’ed as they say.

silvermage2000

Nice review and this sounds really good.

Angrboda

When I get really effing weird on Steepster [weirder – that is] and start spitting nonsense, it’s going to be because I’m either out of Ryokucha or this tea.

You say that like it’s a bad thing!

takgoti

@shanti I highly recommend it if the caramel and pear flavors appeal to you, but I got absolutely zero taste from the rooibos in this tea. So…I’d get it regardless, but if you’re looking to get a baseline for rooibos look elsewhere!

@teaplz Ahhhh so good. I wanted to have it again last night but I held off. This is going to be an ongoing battle, I think.

@Mike HAHAHA, I think it just means that I’m in good company here on Steepster? I’m glad that my weirdness is well received.

@teadipso Apparently there are apple pieces in it? I thought that they might be pear, but upon reading the description, it’s apple. For whatever reason, it works so well.

@silvermage2000 Oh, it is!

@Angrboda HAHAHA! Yeah…well, sometimes I get so in my head that I read what I’ve been putting on the page and have to go, “Really?” at myself. Thanks for supporting my quirks!

teaplz

Yeah, Shanti, the rooibos here really doesn’t come out at all. I wouldn’t worry about it! Of course, rooibos isn’t really that scary. It has more of a woodsy sweet taste to me, and it looks like pencil shavings, but doesn’t exactly taste like them.

AND I LOVE TAKGOTI’S QUIRKINESS.

sophistre

Fun log, and exciting flavors. When some of you steepsterites are enthusiastic about a really good tea, it’s incredibly contagious. Just reading this made me want to rush out and place a new order.

Laura

ohhh, you make this sound so delicious! this is going to the top of my shopping list! and takgoti, we <3 you & your quirks.

wombatgirl

Hon, you made me buy the Andrew and Dunham Series 2 after your Jackie Muntz (? Did I get that right? I’m not looking it up right now) review – and now this has moved to the top of my list. You’re a hoot to read!

takgoti

Yeah, that didn’t work. Ate my ♥. No more less than signs, it angers the HTML gods, I think. Let’s try this again.

@teaplz THANK YOU. I LOVE YOUR QUIRKINESS. Quirkiness no longer looks like a word.

@sophistre Hehe! What can I say? Good tea gets us all frothed up and ready to infect! I just made it sound like we have rabies, didn’t I? Anyhow, thanks! And secretly, though I am telling myself I am delaying the order because I’m “budgeting,” it’s really because I got a couple of other Art of Tea samples from teaplz and I want to try them first in case I want to add something to the order.

@Laura DO IT! I’m going to have to drink it again tomorrow. It’s just too irresistible and I keep on thinking about it as I’m drinking other tea. And aww, thank you! ♥’s all around!

@wombatgirl Hehe, close! It’s Jackee Muntz [JacKEE MUNtz and ThomAS SAMpson – I saw someone out that on twitter and it blew my mind a little bit], but I won’t tell anyone. I hope you like it! My Series 3 just got here. Thanks so much!

Thanks for the warm fuzzies, everyone! I am cold. Might be time for bed soon.

Tabby

Ok, I’m sold! I am totally getting this when I get paid. <3

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Bio

Former coffeeist, turned teaite. Lover of writing, reading, photography, and music. Traveler of life. Known to be ridiculous on occasion.

Location

Virginia, USA

Website

http://takgoti.tumblr.com

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