260 Tasting Notes

61

On Monday, I made a cup of this but I came down with a headache and a fever and I felt like I wanted to vomit, so instead of activating plan A [studying and drinking tea], I activated plan B [sleep until my next class]. Consequently, this cup went cold.

Today, I decided it deserved a take two, so I made a cup of it.

It says “blend,” so I can only assume that there are multiple types of tea in this. I tasted what I thought might be some Ceylon, and than I got some nearing intense bitterness that made me think Darjeeling. The bitterness wasn’t as strong as a previous encounter with the Autumnal Darjeeling Auggy sent me, but it was familiar enough that it made me “hurm.”

I became even more suspicious when that bitterness began to sweeten in the aftertaste, and then as it cooled a bit more became even more indicative of that muscat taste.

Upon reading the description of this tea, I’m somewhat confused because I didn’t get any Keemun out of it. I didn’t really spend a lot of time smelling the leaves or the tea. I don’t know why, as I seem to be very much all about that lately. Anyway, I’ve got enough left of this to play around a bit, so I’ll be doing that.

Sorry this log is lacking in complete thoughts and cohesiveness. All I wrote down from my drink earlier today was:

DARJEELING.
ceylon?

And combined with the fact that Craig Ferguson is talking at the screen with an alligator puppet in a Cajun-Scottish accent, it’s making this difficult.

Okay, I’m done.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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79
drank Cinnamon Stonefruit by Samovar
260 tasting notes

This tea is interesting.

And I don’t mean interesting as in that thing you say when you don’t know what to say. I mean interesting as in it is full and varied and complex and it made my brain go to several different places all at once. I knew I wasn’t going to be logging this when I drank it, so I was typing down some words when I did, and every single time that I did something – smelled it, sipped it, swished it, whatever, I found something different.

I was flooded with flavors and smells and texture and memories and wow. This tea was bombarding me with so many things that I could barely keep up. And at the same time I was trying to think, and to place things I wasn’t recognizing instantaneously. It was overwhelming, yet invigorating.

So I’m going to try and piece this together, but forgive me if it comes out a little disjointed, because to me this is like launching someone up into the middle of the sky during the fireworks, bringing them back down, and then asking, “So, what was it like?”

First, this tea is strong. For what it’s worth, I put about a teaspoon and a half in ten ounces of water. This was also my very first experience with it, so I’ll probably try a shorter steep time just to see if that has any effect, though this level of flavor met me well.

There were only two components of this tea that did not strongly remind me of summer – the cinnamon and the tail of the sip that made me think of unsweetened cranberry juice. [Yes, this tea contains hibiscus. And yes, it is bold at the finish. If you can’t handle it I don’t recommend this tea, but you should be aware that this tea holds so much more than hibiscus.] As for the rest of it…

The dry leaf reminds me of peaches or apricots – ripe and juicy and slurpy – and they’re accompanied by cinnamon. Wet, the leaf takes on a bunch of different tones. Sometimes it smelled to me like fruit punch. Then it was potpourri [but not in a bad way]. Then [and it took me a bit of thought to place this] it smelled distinctly like popsicles. You know, the fruit flavored ones that come in the white paper packaging. It had that muted fruitiness, accompanied by that dryness from the ice.

And then, perhaps strangely, I smelled chlorine. I swam competitively for a pretty long time, so chlorine, though really relatively the same from pool to pool, has different connotations to me; different smells. This was summer chlorine; the smell that rises off the soaked concrete of the pool deck as the sun beats down relentlessly. We would slink out of the water, exhausted after a particularly difficult practice and lie, half-heartedly stretching to try and quell the lactic acid that would shortly turn us into human noodles. That strange, unexpected yet familiar chlorine smell was also present in the liquid, but it came and went, dodging between the scent of peach pie sprinkled with cinnamon.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to get from this exactly, so I tentatively took a quick sip. I didn’t let it sit in my mouth for very long, and just swallowed it and I quickly realized this was not going to be enough time to get anything out of it except the resulting tartness. On the next sip, I held it in my mouth and let it roam around a bit. The hibiscus taste was there, but along with it was apple – not particularly sweet, but tart apple, and something else that I couldn’t place. I gulped that sip down [the cranberry taste, as I discovered, was more apparent to me if i swallowed quickly, the hibiscus aspect clearer if I let it make it’s way down more slowly] and took another sip in.

This time, I held the tea at the front of my mouth, just tasting it with the tip of my tongue. Here, I could definitely taste the cinnamon. That was very apparent. But there was something else swirling around with it that I couldn’t quite figure out until it side-swiped my brain.

PLUM.

It was so clearly plum. I don’t know how to break it down anymore than that, I can just say that once I recognized it I nearly face-palmed.

The rest of my cup was spent holding the tea at the tip of my tongue and then pounding it down when I was ready to swallow. I seriously enjoyed that plum cinnamon-y taste, and found the cranberry tartness at the finishing strangely refreshing. I was slightly, slightly disappointed that there weren’t really any peach or apricot flavors to be found, though honestly I think that the rest of the tea was so intense I think it would have been completely drowned out.

I’m wondering if a shorter infusion will dial everything down enough to bring out more flavors, or if it will simply make for a softer cup of tea. Anyhow, this made for a really neat experience. I got a bit more complexity out of the aroma than I did the actual taste of the tea, but that plum cinnamon combination was delightful. I’ll also have to try this iced when the weather turns warmer. Anyhow, right now I’m not thinking that this is going to be a re-order for me. It’s almost too loud for me to enjoy as a tea to drink before bed [which is what I’d want it for since it’s decaf], but for the time being I think I’ll really enjoy this tin.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
S

When I saw this on the Samovar website I immediately thought of Harney & Sons Spiced Plum, which is really good (I think). I didn’t realize Cinnamon Stonefruit also had plum in it. I’ll have to add some to my next order.

teaplz

Okay, that sounds pretty awesome! Another Samovar win. I love it how different mouth positions and techniques work better for some teas more than others.

takgoti

@Shanti It’s one of the most WHAM, KAPOW, I’m-gonna-throw-some-flavors-at-you-and-I-don’t-care-if-you’re-ready teas I’ve had in a while.

@teaplz I love it, too! It keeps things interesting, fo sho.

Auggy

Okay, I love the summer chlorine description. I spent many summers by the pool and the smell of chlorine on heated concrete is just wonderful. I love this tea from afar. So much.

takgoti

@Auggy I know, right? A big part of me really enjoys the smell of chlorine. A little part of me remembers the 5 AM, 6 AM practices and swim meets and winces. But the bigger part is very much, “Ahh…memories.”

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80

Smoky
Caramel
Honey
Bitter
Thick
Chocolate
Cocoa

These are some components that I have found in unflavored black teas. If you stripped them from all of their respective counterparts, I’m pretty sure that Ceylon is what you’d be left with. It tastes like black tea without the cool stuff.

And yet, there’s something really compelling about it. It’s plain, yes, but it’s comfortable. It’s familiar. And it’s smooth, smooth, smooth.

This tea is Doug Funny.

Chik-a-pa chik-a-pa chik-a-pa boo-shwaaaaaah.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
teaplz

LOVE DOUG. I’ve seen every single episode, and my favorite is when Pattie briefly holds his hand. And then he refuses to wash it for a month. I’m not talking about ABC Doug, though. Cause that was an abomination. And yeah, Ceylon is totes “default” tea.

takgoti

Every now and then my friends and I will bust out a little “Killer Tofu” or “Bangin’ on a Trashcan.” Hehe. And yes, I completely agree about ABC Doug. It was all just so…not the same.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I remember Doug! From Nickelodeon.

takgoti

Doug is the shizz. I am not ashamed to admit that I downloaded Season 1 from iTunes.

TeaEqualsBliss

It seems I am unable to send you on PM Takgoti…hum…bummer…and you are on my follow list too…odd…

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68

Most black tea I’ve tried has this really distinct flavor that I can’t seem to pick apart, so in my head I’ve just labeled it as “black tea flavor.” This tea has that. I took a sip and it was all, “O hai! I’m in ur cup, blackin ur tea.”

It doesn’t have any smokiness, but it doesn’t quite read as “smooth” to me. It’s somewhere in between the two, which would almost be unsettling if it wasn’t sweet. It’s a pleasant kind of sweet; I enjoy it. And it helps with the bitterness that greets you at the tail of the sip.

About halfway through the cup I started to notice that it was drying my mouth out a bit. Not a ton, but enough to be noticeable. Also, the cocoa started to really come through, especially when combined with that bitter taste at the end. It was much more noticeable when I was inhaling, and if I kept my mouth closed and breathed in through my nose I could taste it a bit, too.

The last little bit of what I had in my cup got rather cool, which confirmed my suspicion that this tea runs best for me when it’s between hot and lukewarm. Overall, a pleasant tea that doesn’t really stand out all that much. Might be good for a lazy afternoon spent perusing the newspaper.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Ricky

I notice darjeeling when I’m drinking this.

TeaEqualsBliss

I still haven’t tried anything from them…I sooooooo wanted to!

Ricky

TTB, I’ll put some in there for you =]

TeaEqualsBliss

Ooooo! Thx!

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70

It’s taken me forever plus three days to get around to logging these suckers. I’d sat down to do it one day and then realized that it’d been too long since I actually drank them and wanted to wait until I tried them again before logging them.

Now that that incredibly boring explanation is out of the way, on to the tea.

This Dragonwell rates a solid second on my Dragonwell scale. It’s not a light, dancing, happy sweetness like that darned Dragonwell Spring that Carolyn sent me. It does, however, have some sweetness to it.

The first thing that struck me is that this tea brewed up into a very light yellow color. I don’t know why I made a note of this, but it was very, very light. I’ve had a lot of teas that have been brewing up near colorless lately, but it’s still novel enough for me t notice it when it happens.

Also, the leaves, and this is gonna sound kinda crazy, smelled like turkey when I sniffed them from up above. It took me a while to place it, but when I realized it I said aloud, “Holy poop, turkey!” [Except “poop” was replaced with its four-lettered cousin.] Curious, I sniffed them again closer, through the infuser, and they smelled like green beans – specifically the canned variety.

It had been long enough since I’d tried this that I couldn’t remember exactly what to expect from this [secretly, I’m using these tea logs to replace my BRAIN]. The biggest taste that I got from it was, perhaps not surprisingly, green beans. Fresher green beans than what it smelled like, but green beans. A little salty, more sweet, though. And maybe with just a hint of smoke.

I’m going to try bringing the temperature down to 160 and see what that does for it. I’ll be able to compare better now that I have it in my brain.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Auggy

Turkey? Wow. Not near as fun as Jackee’s caramel but I"m going to have to have this soon to see if I can find turkey (though honestly, I hope I don’t).

teaplz

Wow at the turkey flavor. It’s okay, cause I smelled cilantro in my Strawberry Chocolate rooibos from RoT. This sounds like a pretty good Dragonwell! The one I sent you is pretty sad.

takgoti

HAHAHA, I couldn’t taste turkey, just smelled it. I think this would have been really weird if I had tasted turkey. Though I guess no weirder than this.
http://bit.ly/6UcWDP

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I now need to go smell my Dragonwell for turkey scent and taste it for green bean taste.

takgoti

I honestly don’t know where it came from. I keep waiting for me to realize that it was some immensely stupid mistake on my part. Like that someone was cooking turkey that day. I’m gonna have to make this again soon and see if I can get a repeat performance.

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96
drank Ancient Yellow Buds by Rishi Tea
260 tasting notes

Ever since I read this: http://bit.ly/6kBYYq, I have been obsessed with trying this tea. So, when I decided it was time to put another order through with Rishi, Ancient Yellow Buds was the first tea on my list.

Not gonna lie, it’s pretty amazing.

First things first, this tea brews clear [or very nearly so]. It doesn’t look like you’ve done anything. I was thrown by this a bit, but now you know, and knowing is half the battle. [Cue shooting star rainbow swipe thingy.]

I’m going to have to agree with LENA, in that I primarily get honeysuckle out of this. Lovely, concentrated, honey combined with that almost strained sweetness from cholorphyll and a nectar-like thickness honeysuckle. It also did this crazy wonderful thing for me where, once I had swallowed the tea, I could feel the lingering honeysuckle taste actually dissolving on my tongue. Physically felt it. Like cotton candy, that kind of sensation, except not sickly sweet. Or angel food cake. It was awesome.

But the thing that kicks this tea from “love it” to “I am going to throw down some serious hyperbole and expletives until you try this” is the fact that lightly, in the aftertaste, towards the back of my tongue, I get the taste of freshly baked white bread, sweet and yeasty. This is not obvious. I like to wait in between sips of my tea, and that’s probably why I noticed it.

I did three steeps of this at varying times [gauge reflects the first one, Rishi recommends 3 minutes and then 4-5 on second and third steeps, which is what I did]. I don’t really see any need to deviate from these times, but I might since I definitely have enough to experiment a bit. Speaking of which, I bought 4 ounces of it, which I’m very glad of now because I expect that I’ll be drinking a lot of it. Anyhow, if any of this sounds even remotely appealing to you I’d suggest that you get it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Carolyn

After a description like that how can it sound anything other than OMG!-I-Have-To-Get-It?

TeaCast

i read this and immediately got hungry for honey and bread haha

Fred

@Takgoti I definitely agree that yellow tea is great. I got some Mengding Mountain Snow Buds, Huang Ya from last years crop from Tea Trekker. The infusion is really clear and to me this version sort of tastes like it has a hint of sweet asparagus(sounds disgusting but it’s not.) I think that Rishi sets the steeping temperature a bit too high because Yellow Tea is more similar to Green Tea in nature, but maybe that’s why you tasted those honeysuckle and bread tastes.

takgoti

@Carolyn I’m gonna send you some!

@TeaCast It’s good!

@Fred I prescribe to the school of thought that not all teas should necessarily be brewed the same even if they’re of the same “type” anyway. I think that slight differences in processing and whatnot can result in more delicate or more hardy teas and that a lot of it’s susceptible to personal preferences anyhow. That being said, I had zero issues with what Rishi put on the bag, but it won’t keep me from trying different things in future cups.

silvermage2000

Nice review this sounds good.

Fred

@Takgoti You’re absolutely right about the fact that certain teas can take a higher temperature. I agree with you on that one. What’s amazing and why I like tea so much is that all the differences in flavor lie with the skill of tea master who processes the tea. It is pretty amazing you can take the same leaf and get 100’s of different flavors just by processing it differently. I also deviate from directions sometimes. An example of this is I will start at steeping something that says a few short steepings at 3 minutes for first steeping 5 for second and 7 or 8 for third steeping.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I’ve never had a yellow tea before but this sounds absolutely yummy.

Carolyn

@takgoti Yay! Thank you!

teaplz

NOM NOM NOM. Ugh, this and Purple Bamboo will be part of a super-future Rishi order! And I seriously mean super-future, since the tea is about to burst out of my house and start its own website.

Cofftea

@teaplz, I completely agree! But unfortuantely Den’s Tea is being way too nice and giving away Lucky Gold Tea w/ a purchase of $30 or more. The one tea I really do need more of is, in spite of my already MASSIVE collection, matcha. I’m almost down to only having mandarin matcha left and I want to break that up w/ unflavored. So that’ll put me at $24… and I really want that Lucky Gold tea so now I have to spend another $6! Too bad… hehe;)

Ricky

Haha, my $3 coupon from Den is going to go to waste. I definitely do not need more tea for a while and it expires in January.

Cofftea

Ricky, I don’t need any more (well except matcha) either lol, but come on how many times to you get a chance to try gold plated tea? So since I’m already putting in an order, I might as well put one item into my cart:)

Ricky

I’ve been holding off on finishing my last three packs of matcha as well. I don’t want it to all go away already. Argh when I thought I was finally making process and clearing the cupboard I received a whole bunch of tea.

Cofftea

Depriving yourself of matcha is just wrong:) So order some matcha and something else to make at least $30 then indulge in Lucky Gold Tea!=D

sophistre

This review borders on the obscene. I feel like it should have been tagged NSFW. I mean…sure, yes, alright, with my wisdom teeth out there was probably some risk of me drooling on myself already anyway, but this is just over the top.

Honey and freshly baked bread? Really?

I would be feeling sort of scandalized if I weren’t so interested.

Fred

@Teaplz I just ordered 1/4 lb of Lu Shan Clouds & Mist
Spring 2009, 1/4 lb of Sweet Dew Gan Lu 2009 Pre-Qing Ming, and samples of Mengding Mountain Rock Essence 2009 Pre-Qing Ming and Everest Hand-Rolled Tips Spring 2009 organic plus a 50.7 ounce glass teapot from http://www.teatrekker.com. My wife didn’t want me to order it because she says I have too much tea and need to use what I have already. I told her if she can buy clothes I can buy tea:-). My tea drawer is overflowing lol.

takgoti

@teaplz I was gonna try and come up with some kinda clever www for your tea, but I am full of food and too complacent and full for cleverness at the moment.

@sophistre Aw, sorry. Maybe I should have topped it with a little NC-17 or somethin’. It’s really very ridiculously nommy.

Janni

As someone who bakes bread for a living, this is obviously a must for me. I’m enjoying the yerba mate I’m drinking to wake up right now, and I was totally fine with it (and with having not yet eaten breakfast) until I read this! I’m trying to clear out some room in my tea stash, too, before I even think about getting any more tea. There are little odds and ends of things need drinking, and some of it’s far too old, so I’d never even consider adding it to the TTB. Therefore, it must be drunk…but WHY then do things like this have to tempt me? WHY?!?! weeps and gnashes teeth

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88
drank Gyokuro Green Tea Uji by Teance
260 tasting notes

Auggy was kind enough to send me a little of this. This is the first gyokuro I’ve made myself and I wanted to do it up right so I got a kyusu. The tea arrived here before the kyusu did, so there was a bit of an internal battle going on until I got my Rishi stuff. I was literally, at one point, standing and staring at this tea until I caught myself and shook myself out of it.

Anyhow, I was good and I waited. I’m not sure what difference making this in the kyusu made, but I liked rocking and swishing the stuff out.

I read/heard/saw somewhere that gyokuros are supposed to sit for 5 or so minutes in cold/room temperature water to open them up and keep them from before steeping them warm. That’s something that’s stuck with me for some reason, but I’m also not sure how specific that is to the type of gyokuro, and whatnot. I’ve also read many different things about water to leaf ratios and the temperature of water that’s “supposed” to be used for hot/warm infusions. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to use water hotter than 160°F and that you should infuse in ice water. What all of this has led me to believe is that I just need to drink a lot more gyokuro and see what slams my door.

Anyway, I let this sit in some room temperature for five minutes. [I did try to drink that but it was relatively flavorless.] Then I did about four steeps at 1 minute in 140°F water, all of which tasted relatively the same. I probably could have kept going, to be honest, and I make a face as I type this – I think I might have wasted the leaves as a result. I also see that Auggy has varied her steeping times for different infusions [which is what you’re probably supposed to do]. Luckily, I have some left of this to play around with, so I’ll have to try steeping otherwise. I think I’m going to try and read some more about these before I do, because right now I’m very much saturated with conflicting information and I think some of it’s going to begin dripping out if I don’t try and filter and sort some of it.

All right, enough about my brain scream over “proper” gyokuro steeping. The tea. The tea was good! I really doubt that this truly shows the range of where this can go, but I enjoyed what I got out of it and that’s a good thing. What I was missing was that buttery taste that both the description and Auggy both mentioned. I was searching for it, and I think that maybe because I was I thought I caught a glimpse of it, but that could have been purely psychological. What I did get was a vegetal taste followed by a delicious, chlorophyll-y sweetness. The sweetness was bright and high and clear, and only grew in volume when accompanied by inhalation. It also, and I’m really not sure how to describe this accurately, it tingled. It hopped around on my tongue.

This experience has intrigued me enough to really become interested in gyokuro, so I think I’ll be trying to procure some more and do a little experimenting.

Also, should you be interested, pictures of the new kyusu begin here [they are, however, without tea]. http://bit.ly/5oRgh0

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Carolyn

Very pretty kyusu. It looks calming and minimalist. I created a place in the Discussion area for us to put pictures and video of our teapots and accessories. This would be a good one for that spot, I think. (If you don’t mind having it in two places.)

My beloved called your Sorapot video and my most recent one “tea porn”. I think he just doesn’t understand the joy of gazing at the perfect beauty of teaware. :)

takgoti

Oooh, I’ll go check that out. And so far as the tea porn, HAH, maybe I should switch the song out for a little bow chika bow wow music.

Carolyn

He expanded on his theory further, saying that your video even features a teapot strip act (when you removed it from the wrapping). He says all your video lacked was a Sorapot pole dance.

takgoti

I would totally try to figure out how to do that if I didn’t fear somehow managing to break it.

Ricky

OhHhh that kyusu looks nice! Great photos as well. I have no clue how to wing Gyokuro’s 140F. I might have to hold off on trying it.

takgoti

Thanks! I agonized over the choice, and the photos…well, I clearly like the tea pr0n. What do you mean, “wing” the 140? Do you mean you don’t have a thermometer or am I just not understanding?

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94

Auggy already commented on how to drive Jackee Muntz into Caramel City, so I’m going to take this opportunity to get a little goofy on y’all. [Like I really need an excuse.] I can’t take credit for this idea. While I’m sure it’s been done elsewhere, I’m sapping inspiration from both an episode of Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’ and a rather brilliant Yelp review a friend of mine wrote. If any of you have never stumbled across text-based games, you might not get this. So here’s something ridiculous that may or may not help: http://bit.ly/DgJqE [Homestar Runner, Dungeonman 3].

Me: Jackee, what the hell? Why don’t you taste like caramel anymore?

Jackee: I do not understand “caramel.”

Me: Cut it out. What I am doing wrong?

Jackee: What’s a “wrong”?

Me: …What?

Jackee: You are holding a glass MUG. Inside of it sit eight ounces of dark copper liquid. Steam rises from the top, swirling into nothingness. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: …
SIP TEA.

Jackee: You take a sip of the TEA and burn your TONGUE. Cursing like a sailor whose ship has chanced upon a Kraken, you bang your HEAD against the COUNTER in frustration at your stupidity. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: HEY!

Jackee: What’s a “HEY”?

Me: Grumble. LET TEA COOL.

Jackee: You sit aimlessly, watching your TEA while you wait for it to drop an appropriate amount in TEMPERATURE. Occasionally, you blow on it, though you are unsure of its effectiveness on the actual cooling process. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: You take a sip of TEA. The mouthfeel is thin, but not quite watery. The TEA is flavorful – strong, with notes of smoke and pine and a light sweetness. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: POUR TEA OUT.

Jackee: Well, that was wasteful of you. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: It’s not my fault you don’t taste good to me anymore! It’s your fault you don’t taste like caramel!

Jackee: I do not understand that command.

Me: Sigh. READ STEEPSTER.

Jackee: You log into your Steepster account. New reviews have been posted. Please click here: http://steepster.com/aug3zimm/posts/23176. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Just to walk you through my thought process at this point, now I’m really thinking. When I had Jackee the first few times, I was drinking out of a different mug and I didn’t know that my utiliTEA was messing me up temperature wise. Even when it turned, I don’t want to say bad, but “not as good” on me, I didn’t know about my utiliTEA’s little issue for the majority of my experimentation. I’d get a cup of caramel maybe one time out of five, but the parameters wouldn’t match up so I was starting to think it was all in my head.

By the time I figured out the temperature problem, I barely had any Jackee Muntz left, so I tried a few cups on the stovetop and they rendered much of the same. I also tried it in a travel mug, and the smell thing didn’t seem to fix it either. I did discover that steep time didn’t appear to have too much of an effect, though, so long as I kept it somewhere around 3:30 to 4:30, it was pretty consistent.

Part of me must have still thought I could get it back to caramel. I think that I was partially re-invigorated after the discovery of my utiliTEA temperature issue, so I re-ordered Series 2, but the first cup of the first tin was not successful either. After reading Auggy’s review, something clicked though. A lot of it had to do with the fact that she had actually found the caramel and that gave me hope [and also reassurance that I hadn’t completely lost it]. But also I was looking at the temperature [205°] and thinking about maybe it was the shape of her travel mug. But my mug hadn’t been shaped all that differently from the one I like to use now. Except…it had been a bit larger. So maybe the tea to water ratios were a bit different… No, I DON’T KNOW WHY I DIDN’T THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE.

Me: CHANGE MUG.

Jackee: Which mug would you like to change to? To see your current mugs, type INV.

Me: INV.

Jackee: BODUM MUG, CAFÉ MUG, BIG TEAL MUG NOT SUITABLE FOR DRINKING TEA, BORING STARBUCKS MUG.

This is the mug I was originally drinking tea out of, by the way – http://bit.ly/4Am3Xb – the bottom top one. Oops.

Me: CAFÉ MUG.

Jackee: You switched your BODUM MUG for your CAFÉ MUG.

Me: MAKE MORE TEA.

Jackee: You turn on your KETTLE and wait for the water to heat, measuring out a heaping teaspoon of TEA before dropping it into your INFUSER. In a few minutes, the WATER is boiling. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: LET WATER COOL 195°F.

Jackee: You wait impatiently while the water cools to the appropriate temperature. You really should learn to be a little more tolerant.

Me: SCREW YOU.

Jackee: I do not understand “SCREW.”

Me: MEASURE WATER 11 OZ.

Jackee: You measure out 11 ounces of WATER into a MEASURING CUP.

Me: POUR WATER.

Jackee: POUR WATER where?

Me: Into the mug, you idiot.

Jackee: I do not understand “idiot.”

Me: POUR WATER INTO MUG.

Jackee: You pour the WATER into your MUG.

Me: STEEP 3:15.

Jackee: Doesn’t that seem a bit short?

Me: Now you’re helpful?

Jackee: I do not understand the question.

Me: STEEP 3:45.

Jackee: You let the TEA steep for 3 MINUTES and 45 SECONDS, watching a couple of stupid VIDEOS in the the meantime before removing the INFUSER.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: You burn your TONGUE and your IQ drops another few points. You take out a FLYSWATTER and slap yourself across the face. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: LET TEA COOL.

Jackee: You sit aimlessly, watching your TEA while you wait for it to drop an appropriate amount in TEMPERATURE. Occasionally, you blow on it, though you are unsure of its effectiveness on the actual cooling process. Exits are to the NORTH, SOUTH, and WEST.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: The TEA feels heavy in your mouth. A soft note of pine hits your TONGUE, but then gently fades away. You are greeted with the taste of burnt sugar.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: The TEA feels heavy in your mouth. A soft note of pine hits your TONGUE, but then gently fades away. You are greeted with the taste of burnt sugar.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: The TEA feels heavy in your mouth. A soft note of pine hits your TONGUE, but then gently fades away. You are greeted with the taste of burnt sugar.

Me: SIP TEA.

Jackee: The taste of burnt sugar slowly melts into the background and a salty note enters the flavors sliding around on your TONGUE. Anxious, you hold the TEA a bit longer in your mouth and are greeted with the overwhelming taste of caramel.

Me: OH SWEET POSEIDON, THANK YOU!!!

Jackee: What is a “Poseidon”?

Me: I hate you.

Jackee: I do not understand that command.

Me: …
INV TEA.

Jackee: A FATAL ERROR HAS OCCURRED. NUMBER OF TEAS HAS EXCEEDED CAPACITY. PROGRAM WILL TERMINATE.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I won Thursday.

Just a few more notes on the tea, because really that’s what all that mess up there was about, I did try steeping this at around 185 and didn’t quite get there in terms of the caramel, so I think that your temperature needs to be at least around 190°F, and could probably go up to 200°F but 205°F might be pushing it. [Auggy mentioned to me that her mug was cold and so it probably temperature dropped when it was in there somewhat significantly from the 205°F.] All this being said, all I can say definitively regarding the temperature is that it should be just below boiling if you hope to achieve this. It’s possible that we’re both just mad.

In regards to the tea:water ratio, I use one of these – http://bit.ly/5SpSvE – and when I measured it against a teaspoon last night it was like…1 1/4 tsp. Give or take a bit. I fill that up that spoon with just a teensy bit over, so somewhere thereabouts. The amount of water I put in the cup is somewhere between 11 and 12 oz, closer to 11.

All of this is assuming you a) have some Jackee Muntz on hand and b) want to try to replicate the caramel taste. I usually don’t get this specific in my logs, I know, but this has been bothering me for quite some time and I’m afraid that you’re seeing the aftermath of my GEEK OUT session here.

And thus endeth the really long tea log. I’m giving Jackee the ratings bump back to where he deserves to be, now that he has realized his potential for me again.

Squee!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec
teaplz

OMG LOVE THIS.

Seriously. I’m in love with interactive fiction and text adventures, and this is a totally WIN parody of that sort of stuff.

And yay for CARAMEL!

Angrboda

♥. Just… Srsly. ♥

TeaEqualsBliss

You crack me up! :P

silvermage2000

Nice review that was so funny. And yum caramel.

LENA

niiiice. i can’t say anymore. homestarrunner is a fave of mine anyway.

Jack

What @angrboda said. I’m going to go make some caramel Jackee Muntz right now.

takgoti

@teaplz Hahaha, not gonna lie, they get kinda tedious for me. And usually there are too many players that have been doing it for yeeeeears and they just go FOOM FOOM FOOM everywhere and I’m just sitting there, all, “Nooooow, north is…”

@Everyone Aw thanks, Steepsterites! [Steeps? Denizens of Steepster?] I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun writing it.

@Jack I’m curious to hear how it turns out. I made it again this morning just because I wanted to be SURE it wasn’t going anywhere, and it worked [PHEW!]. I think I’m gonna try to dial it up to 200°F next time; might make it a bit stronger.

teaplz

Oh takgoti, I meant more of interactive fiction/text adventure than a MUD. There aren’t any players except for yourself. You use an interpreter to play them on your desktop, and they’re usually free. Zork’s the most famous one. They’re sort of like interactive stories, and you emulated one exactly in your post. They’re often filled with puzzles and narrative elements. Their hey-day was in the 80s, although people are still making them today. www.ifcomp.org is the website for the annual competition. This is what Strongbad was parodying, not the MUDs (text-based RPGs where everyone runs around killing things).

takgoti

@chrine Thank you!

@teaplz Sorry, that wasn’t clear. I was speaking generally of text-based games. The entire schema tends to bore me after a while. I’m too used to my graphics. My brain is lazy. The FOOM FOOM crazy player thing is just an added get-me-outta-here bonus for some text-based games. Though I guess that’s true for a lot of games. [Oh, WoW…]

Ricky

Haha, amazing =D. It took me a while to catch on. I’m slow :(

My bodum cups have cracks in it! It’s so sad. I have a 12oz and two 8oz ones. Every time I wash them out, I hit them on the faucet.

teaplz

Sorry for the stupidly long, long-winded explanation right there. I just geeked out cause I never get to talk about this stuff with ANYONE.

Kitch3ntools

lol i used to play a MUD with my fiancee but he was a FOOM FOOM player where i was like “ok i go west right?”

takgoti

@Ricky Eep, that blows.

@teaplz No worries.

@Kitch3ntools HAH, I know, right? I finish reading the description and I’ve finally decided which direction I want to go into and the computer’s like, “Uh…you’re dead.” I’m not much better at single player text adventures either – I die far too easily. I think that they are largely responsible for why I was terrified of dying at any given turn when MYST came out [even though I was told on several occasions that you couldn’t die – you COULD get trapped forever at one point though].

teaplz

Myst was just terrifying in general! The eerie music, those talking books… the fact that you were ALONE all the time. And those puzzles were damned hard!

TeaCast

Haha that was somewhat entertaining =]

takgoti

@teaplz Truth: I used to make one of my parents sit in the room with me when I played MYST. My dad was better because he’d actually try to help me when I played it. I also used to do the same thing with Prince of Persia when that first came out. In my defense, I was nine, but I’m still a wimp. I can’t play stuff like Bioshock or Dead Space when I’m alone. Or at night.

@TeaCast Thanks?

sophistre

Someone needs to get this girl a copy of Inform7. (Maybe it’s a higher version than 7 now, actually, that’s just the last I was aware of/obtained, admittedly).

All that was missing in this review was a grue. Grues are compulsory.

The temptation to totally overshare in this comment section is overpowering. In my Other Blog Life, I cover/review video games. Obviously, steepster needs its own fem gaming clan, or something.

teaplz

sophistre, there’s Gargoyle for Windows that’s an all-in-one interpreter. Pretty awesome. And I’d love to know your Other Blog Life! And I’ve been dying to post this somewhere, to someone that would understand, ANYONEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nigRT2KmCE

takgoti, I can’t play ANY of those games, period. I end up screaming and throwing the controller. Everyone makes fun of me. I tried to play Silent Hill once. I had to run away from the TV, and beg someone else to turn it off within 20 minutes of starting. So we are comrades in wimp-ness!

takgoti

@sophistre I had to look up what that was. Wow. [It looks like 7 is the highest version, too.] From what I skimmed it looked like a text adventure constructor program of sorts? I totally see myself becoming fascinated with the idea, losing myself halfway through, and then shoving it in the corner where half of my unfinished craft projects are.

Oh, also, I definitely typed out and deleted, “You are likely to be eaten by a grue,” about three times before deciding I might be exposing just a little too much geek on the internets. Clearly, I was wrong.

@teaplz WORD. I also refuse to watch scary movies. A couple of friends called me once and told me to come over and hang out. So I drove over there and they were watching a movie, and I asked them what it was and it was some creepy Japanese film so I definitely left. Hadn’t even gotten my shoes off. I can’t sleep when I see that stuff, and the fact that I even am thinking about it so much now is probably going to result in the need to put on something like Anchorman so I can actually go to bed. Yes, I’m that bad.

sophistre

That video was a fine way to end a very sleepless late-night-early-AM. ^^

That’s precisely what it is. It’s very intuitive about how it handles object creation (which is really all the code for text-based games is, afaik). Fun, interesting. After I discovered it, I did precisely what you’ve described above. I think I have a copy lying around on a disk somewhere, but I never did anything with it.

And alas, we three diverge on the matter of survival horror games and horror films — I am a sucker for both, despite having hated scary stuff as a kid…I suppose ‘Alien’ was probably responsible for converting me. I play them and watch them now even though playing them alone is sometimes out of the question and sleeping afterwards is usually nearly impossible. I don’t know if this makes me a masochist or what. Maybe I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush!

takgoti

@sophistre Haha, thanks! Also, so far as the horror thing goes, for me it’s mainly the creepy feeling like someone’s watching me feeling that gets me. That and the suspense thing. I totally psych myself out. The act of being scared if I’m not expecting it is something I can usually handle. It’s the expectation of being scared that is when I get freaked out. [I don’t think I actually realized this until I typed this all out.]

Funny, somewhat related story, a friend of mine used to hear the voice of Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries in her head whenever she’d go out to put the trash on the curb or something similar. “It was a normal Wednesday evening on this quiet street in Baltimore, Maryland. Jennifer Johnson was walking her trash out to the curb…”

sophistre

@teaplz – I stopped writing them for ages, but as of recently I’m sort of trying to reassemble anything that wasn’t official onto a tumblr page, which is now listed in my profile, if you’re curious. ;) I’m lazy and update the video-game specific stuff rarely though, alas. I’m pretty behind.

@takgoti – I totally psych myself out. I am able to think of infinitely more frightening things once I’m jumpy than the movie or game can throw at me, for sure. I’m not ashamed to say that there are nights when the bathroom light stays on! Thinking about it, I wonder why I do this to myself…ahh, well. That’s pretty funny about your friend. I guess for me it’d probably be Bill Curtis!

Tyler

Great post. I love the detail. I think you should do more of this. But man, that was long! :)

AJ

This’ making me feel bad that I haven’t logged onto any of my usual MUDs in a while. All of my characters have probably expired. Ahwell.

But I’m interested in the tea now. Hmmm. Very interesting read.

takgoti

@Tyler Hahaha, thanks! [Though I don’t think I’ll be writing another review like that anytime soon.] And yes, I tend to be very long winded. Oops?

@AJ Sounds like me and my relationship with WoW. Though I think/hope that my characters haven’t expired. Anyway, you should check Andrews & Dunham out! I can’t make any guarantees as to how you’ll get along with them, but I like them quite a bit.

AJ

I poked through the website a few times! It just takes me forever to purchase items online. I am a very apprehensive online shopper, despite glowing reviews. Actually, it extends offline as well. It takes me a few days of staring to decide.

sophistre

@tak: Not that I play WoW, or if I did that I would even acknowledge that sort of thing in a public forum, because I totally would not, but if that were true, I’m sure you could find me on Malorne.

__Morgana__

LOL. Reading this, I felt like I had been sucked into the Lost Treasures of Infocom. Oh, and as for where north is: you need a pencil and some graph paper. You haven’t met tedious until you’ve mapped a text adventure. Its even more tedious than mapping a pre-auto map function CRPG. ;)

Tea-Guy

I <3 You! :-D

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87
drank Orange Ginger by Samovar
260 tasting notes

I got my Samovar order in today and I am so glad this is back in my life. Like, seriously, so glad.

When I ordered this the first time, I went out on a limb and got a large tin because I love orange, I like ginger, and I trusted Samovar. It was a good thing, because this has become a tea I very often love to have to finish the day.

I put about a teaspoon and a half into 8 oz. of water, and I think I was using more water [probably closer to nine, nine and a half] before because it came out stronger. I didn’t mind it though, especially because I could actually feel the ginger warming my insides. If you’re not a huge fan of ginger, I’d recommend upping the water volume or steeping it for around 4 minutes instead [this is a tea with which I have done much experimentation] because it becomes less noticeable there.

Especially now, in the midst of winter, I’ll probably continue to brew this strong. Once it starts to warm up I’ll likely revert to something a little weaker. The main tastes that I get out of this are the citrus [mainly orange, maybe a hint of that extra puckery lemon, but just a hint] and the ginger. The licorice is barely noticeable to me, and really I think it’s just there to add depth to the sweetness.

It’s like what I think a glass of orange cider would be like. I’m a big fan. Giving it a small bump.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Bethany

Every time I read one of your Samovar reviews, I have to add another tea to my shopping list :)

takgoti

Aww! Seriously though, I don’t have a ton of non-caffeinated tea I like to drink, so I was really missing this one for a while. It’s good!

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51

Auggy’s right. This smells like Pledge. I actually smelled it and thought Pine-Sol, but those two are pretty close. Also, maybe a little bit of cedar. It’s not really a scent that inspires confidence when what you’re smelling is something you’re about to ingest.

Luckily, she’s also right in that it doesn’t taste like that. This was a milder tea for me, so far as teas go. Somehow, though, the combination of the lemon and the chamomile reminded me of potpourri. Originally, they combined to make me think I was getting a woody kind of taste, but now I’m definitely thinking it’s closer to potpourri. Eh. I can see where the thought was. Maybe if the lemon was a little bit stronger, this wouldn’t taste so strange, but…eh.

Just…eh.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Jillian

Pine-Sol, Eeeeeewwwww! D:

takgoti

Yeah, seriously. It’s very off-putting. The rating would have been pretty dismal if that had actually come through in the taste.

teaplz

Yeah, this one has a realllllly funky smell coming off it. A very artificial lemon smell… it smells a bit better than Bigelow’s Lemon Lift, if you should ever come across that one!

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Profile

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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