Norbu Hong Mao Feng black tea w/roasted mate. 3:2. It’s not bad.
“Yes, I drank tea today. Yes, I am lazy, but I was also busy all day, so in an effort to not post lame reviews about teas I drank hours ago, & have reviewed plenty of times, I am once again going...” Read full tasting note
“pssst....i had a bit of tea today. but it was family time with extended family in town for a day and my parents up for the weekend. more to come tomorrow afternoon once everyone is gone. Miss you...” Read full tasting note
“So Ceylon Star asked what kind of tea to mix up on facebook, and I immediately went into the kitchen and threw this desserty concoction together: 1/2 tsp Bossa Nova (oolong) from Zen Tea 1/2 tsp...” Read full tasting note
“Since I'm in the neighborhood, I stopped by press tea and had the Wild Himalayan Black Tea. Last time I had it with cream and I felt I couldn't properly gauge how the pressed tea compared to a...” Read full tasting note
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Just got back from Seattle and Northwest Washington state. We even crossed the border into Canada for a bit. It was so nice and cool and it’s tea and coffee country so I had a blast!!!!
Here are my tea notes from the week!!
6/22 classic chai tea latte hot Starbucks/Teavana PHX Sky Harbor airport
Nice tea and spice blend…not too spicy but very sweet additives so I would like less sweet
6/22 Vital Tea Leaf in Pike Place Market- Seattle- sit down tasting —http://www.vitaltealeafseattle.com
They have tastings complete with bamboo tray and gong fu style brewing. Everyone gets a little cup and you get to experience some of their most popular teas. We tried a sheng that had been aged in bamboo, a five year old shu, jasmine green tea, and a ginseng oolong. I loved all of the teas and I bought some of the ginseng oolong to take home. It had a sweet flavor and the energy and focus that it gave you was crazy awesome!!
They have cool apothecary jars filled with teas, osmanthus, giant tea pearls, flowering teas, Chinese medicine herbals for health, and so much more. They also have a wonderful selection of yixing pots, cups, bamboo gong fu trays, tea pets, and tools.
It was so fun and will definitely go to this tea room every time I am in Seattle.
6/22 – they have a big Dutch section in the grocery store in Lynden Washington,, I found a fun Fruits of the Forest tea by Pickwick that I can’t wait to try at home. I brought an infuser with me for morning tea and I have been drinking Rishi White Peony and saving the teas I buy for when I get home so I don’t open all the packages and make a travel mess in my suitcase lol.
6/22 Hotel evening- Farmer Brothers herbal tea Enchanting Moments- teabag with ingredients: chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, and orange blossoms. For a tea bag from a commercial delivery coffee co.. This was really really good.. Very good balance with no overpowering from any of the ingredients. Had a natural sweetness and a plum hue from the hibiscus.
Wood’s Coffee right by Canadian border in Lynden, Washington- iced blueberry white tea – delicious, refreshing, and you can taste the white tea with a sweet accent of blueberry. Very yummmm! Woods coffee is so nice too..staff so nice and interior is like a Cabin in the woods with dim lighting; huge, comfy leather chairs, evergreen tree, moose, and rock fireplace decor.
6/23 Hotel Farmer Brother’s herbal tea Lively Lemon teabag with ingredients: rose hips, lemongrass, lemon peel, lemon Verbena, natural flavors, hibiscus, peppermint, citric acid.
The scent is definitely lemongrass and the hue is light pink punch color from the hibiscus. Flavor is not a fruit lemon but rather a lemon more close to citronella. But hey,,this is a tea bag from a commercial delivery coffee co and I’m on vacay so it’s still pretty darn good !
Later the citronella note steps back and allows sweetness from the rose hips and hibiscus to step up. There was a refreshing feeling (but not flavor-which was good) from the peppermint so it develops into an enjoyable cup:)
6/23 Hotel Farmer Brothers herbal tea Misty Mint tea bag with ingredients: peppermint, lemongrass, spearmint. Dark golden color. Nice creamy spearmint flavor with a tiny tiny bit of a lemon accent. Nice cleansing after dinner tisane.
6/26 Starbucks Teavana shaken iced tea
ParTea!! They had half off their new shaken iced teas today and I tried the shaken green Blackberry Mojito iced tea w/o lemonade. Very good blackberry flavor and the green tea had an herbal quality to it with the mint Mojito flavor.
Then I tried the green tea iced peach lemonade . Very good peach and lemonade flavors , sweet but not too sweet. Third flavor will have to try next time, it is a Black tea lemonade
6/26 found fun teas at the local Haagen grocery store which are nice. I found Huckleberry tea from the Northwest and Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro
Fun can’t wait to try at home
Camano Island coffee and tea shop
Apricot Black tea. I could smell the apricot but by this part of the trip,, I had caught a bit of a cold and the type cold where u can’t taste which is my big hate in life. I hate not being able to taste. lol We are flying back tonight so luckily I didn’t catch this until last day lol. This tea is a dark black tea with apricot scent. It has a creamy texture and hint in the taste. I can detect a touch of bitter but my cold is not making tastes come thru correctly :( Very good even though I can’t taste it completely like I want :). The tea is making my cold feel better tho so yay! The decor in the shop is red crabs and it is close to the Skagit Bay and Puget Sound,, very cute. It is drizzly & nicely chilly outside too which, being from the desert,,, that’s what I’m here for!!!!!!!! It’s awesome!!!!!!!!
Then I tried English Breakfast w/milk. Got my two cups for the day and my cold sort of started going away. I feel lots better. yay! Attached gift shop so cute too with sea and crab items plus garden stuff,,love!
Today I’m having something black and delicious and Fuijan-esqe. Though i’m embarrassed to say I don’t know what it is. It was in a plastic baggy, probably the last of a sample from Teavivre or Yezi or something I got in a swap.
Very sweet and thick with a slight salty note. Yammy and chocoalty and has a good buttery pastry-like quality. Needless to say I’m enjoying it
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Pastries, Salt, Yams
This purely a personal note, so feel free to skip it
I had a mental meltdown today. So were really tight on money, and my financial aid is messed up, and I just found out that the tax forms that I need to fix it can’t be retrived electronically, and instead have to be shipped to my mom. So since I can’t even accept the loans I need to pay for the rest of my tuition until that’s straightened out, I can’t afford my classes.
Then, the cable and internet was out all day, and 75% of my classes are online, and classes started this week, but I couldn’t even look to see if I had any assignments.
Then, my car battery died, and I lost it. I waited until my boyfriend left for work, and then I broke down. Unless I’m alone watching a sappy scene in a show/movie, or reading a sad part of a book, I don’t really cry.
I called my dad, because he’s the one who fixes my car when it breaks usually. Since my boyfriend has work all night and works both jobs tomorrow, he came out to help me get the battery out and take it to get charged. Gets to my place, turns out that when I replaced my battery last time, I didn’t didn’t tighten the connectors all the way. He tightens it properly, the car starts no problem.
At this time it’s dinner time, and he suggests we go to this Thai place right next door that I’ve been dying to go too since I moved here. Over dinner, he tells me he’ll give me the money I need for tuition, so I don’t have to quit school.
And I got a Thai iced tea, which I’ve never had, and it was sweet and creamy, and vanilla and delicious.
And then when I got home, my internet was back on. So after such a hard day, I feel much better knowing that a lot of my problems have been handled. (:
So. Full. Of. Tea.
I have been drinking tea all day long today. I got two tiny little double wall glass tea cups from Teavivre last week. I have never been a huge fan of glass for tea cups without handles, but these were just too cute to resist. And I’m so pleased that they don’t get hot at all. Great double wall insulation I guess!
I started the day with Bi Luo Chun Black (or Golden Snail Yunnan) from Whispering Pines then moved on to Golden Fleece from Verdant – both were delish though I think I’m somewhat over Golden Fleece for now. I’ll still never turn it down, but my palate is trending towards heavier teas lately. Next was Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D, No. 9 Yunnan from Steven Smith – all reliable and good, though the Ailaoshan was by far my favorite of the group. Finished up with Golden Tippy Yunnan from Tealeaves, which unfortunately didn’t really improve much with the short multiple steeping style sessions I was using.
Almost all of the steeps were done with 1 teaspoon of tea, spring water cooled from boiling, rinse leaves, 20 seconds for 1/2 of a little cup, 45 seconds to top off the cup, then 1 1/2 minutes for second cup and leaving the tea in the pot until I was ready for the 3rd & 4th cups.
While that sounds like a lot of tea, I guess in retrospect it isn’t that much since they were all done in 6+ ounce tiny
gongfu (not sure this is really gongfu) short steep sessions. I did resteep the Golden Snail so that’s…um… 42+ ounces?
I have recently become the owner of 5, yes 5 different keemuns. For a girl who barely knew what keemuns were a month ago this astounds me how they have gravitated to me. So here is a quick summary of how my taste buds viewed all of them in comparison. I will start by saying I actually loved all of them. There are a few I would pick over others to re-buy, but all were worth drinking again and again and again.
Teavivre – Ha Ya Black Keemun
– fruity, complex flavors, smooth, rich,
Teavivre – Grade 1 Keemun
– less fruity than Ha Ya Black, middle of the road as far as the taste profile went, not fruity, not smokey. well rounded and smooth.
– most like the Pine Peak
Teavivre – Grade 2 Keenum
– tad bit of smoke, woody rich flavor
– most like China Keenum from Zen Tea Life
Zen Tea Life – China Keemun
– tad bit of smoke, less body than the Grade 2 from Teavivre
– most like Grade 2 from Teavivre
Whispering Pines – Pine Peak Keemun
– less fruity, no smoke, good body, smooth
– most like Grade 1 from Teavivre
All teas were steeped per recommended instructions. They were all great and I can see lots of keemun drinking in my future. Thanks to those that contributed to my ability to do this comparison!
At the end of this comparison i dumped all 5 together and drank the cup. The resulting brew was also amazing! I can definitely say I am a keemun convert!
I should have been tasting teas from the TTB today, but I didn’t. This morning was a trusty, well-loved jasmine tea. Lunch included Twinning’s Breakfast tea. This evening I decided to try my hand at Morrocan Mint tea, which has been bouncing around my brain since I heard about it.
Yesterday I was in the 99ranch to pick up some stuff and I wandered over to the tea area, I always do. I was looking for Gunpowder green tea. You know, despite stories of it being very popular, I had a heck of a time trying to find it, most of the teas available were sencha or long ling or some other green. No Gunpowder to be found. I actually drove over to SF market (another Asian supermarket) to go through the tea selection there. I finally settled on a ‘China Green Tea’ whose characters seemed closest to the ones Wikipedia showed me for Gunpowder. Eh, it was cheap. $4 for about 8oz? Does it remind me of gunpowder tea? Hmm, I’m not sure. I’ve only had it Gunpowder a few times, but at this point I’m just going to finish off what I started even if it’s not completely right.
My mom planted some mint in a pot in on my patio and it really really likes the weather here. The mint is thriving! (I wish I could say the same of my sad little Basil plant) I grabbed a bunch of mint and did my best approximation of Morrocan Mint tea. You know, for not knowing if I have the actual right tea, and lacking the beautiful tea pot, settling for a pot on the stove.
Well, it tastes nice. I would probably try it again.
I’m very thrilled to have had a try with the Butiki traveling teabox! thank you for starting the box! I will be writing everything for the Butiki samples in this one LONG tasting note, since there aren’t any tea shop/company names. Hopefully this teabox will educate me on the differences between some teas. I’d really like to be able to tell the difference between autumn/spring and first/second flush Darjeelings. I think the only thing missing from the box would be at least one of each sheng/shu pu-erhs for pu-erh newbies to compare. I’m not enough of a fan of raw pu-erh that I have more than one teaspoon in my possession though. I’ll be trying some of the same type side by side, especially if I want to try both.
+*Kenyan Orthodox* – 4 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I’ve tried a couple amazing Kenyan teas before. This one is good. Hints of plum and cherry that I associate with the few I’ve had. Not too much flavor, but I love the flavor that is here. Also, tomato soup, but I wish it would leave the plum and cherry alone.
+*Assam – India #1* The leaves here LOOK like the Hattialli I love from Butiki, with a ton of golden twisty leaves, but though the cup is dark, it is very difficult to even figure out with this tastes like. Definitely not like the Hattialli that I could find so many flavors. I don’t think I’ll ever taste another tea like that one again.
+*Assam – India #3* The leaves here are much darker than #1. The flavor is also darker, but still very sweet and mellow like #1. This one has plenty of that dry grass flavor.
+*China Keemun #2* A decent black tea but it lacks all of those keemun characteristics for me. I’ve had many great keemuns lately though.
+*Kenyan CTC* I accidentally left this to steep for more than the minute I wanted. I expected undrinkablity but it actually wasn’t that astringent for a usual super-strength CTC. Just like rye bread. A nice CTC.
I’m using one teaspoon of each Darjeeling but not filling the mug to the top as I usually do. I know some Butiki Darjeelings suggest two teaspoons, so maybe not filling the mug will make up the difference. I’ve also recently found out that Darjeelings are usually ruined for me with boiling water. I guess it depends on the Darjeeling.
+*Darjeeling India Autumn 2013 #1* 27 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Very squashy, which is fitting for autumn I guess! I haven’t tried this sort of tea yet. Second steep: half mug // 4 min after boiling // 2 min – completely different cup and not oversteeped so I’m still not sure what temp Darjeeling should be steeped at.
+*Darjeeling First Flush #4* 14 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I think first flushes just aren’t my thing, unless I’m steeping them wrong. The flavor is just not that great for me… what flavor there is anyway. This happened with all the first flushes I’ve ever tried. If anything with this teabox, I guess I learned which type of Darjeeling I like better!
+*Darjeeling Second Flush #6 & 7*
Maybe second flushes aren’t my thing either! These weren’t much different from the first flush, but there was slightly more flavor. But I’m not really inspired to steep a second cup OR even finish the first.
+*Dong Ding #1* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
No idea what temp to brew certain oolongs. I remember the Mandala milk oolong was a completely different tea brewed at just boiled or waiting around 20 minutes and I know with each oolong it’s different. Ooooo….I could try waiting 20 min for the first steeps of oolongs and then just boiled for the second steeps. I think this one brewed correctly though. The dark leaves of this one were bundled much bigger than the second Dong Ding. The flavor is like roasted chestnuts. Smooth but with a tiny bite to it. Second cup: nice as well.
+*Dong Ding #2* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
The leaves of this one were smaller bundles than the other Dong Ding. I wonder if that is why the brew was slightly darker. The flavor is stronger as well. More bite. Second steep: even more flavor but it also reminded me of kerosene for some reason.
+*Tie Guan Yin China Oolong* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I should have went for the parameters of my favorite tie guan yin but I realized that 15 min after boiling (just boiled, 2-3 tsps.). The flavor is lighter and it isn’t a flower garden like I expect from a good tie guan yin, but this is good. Buttery, kind of more like a milk oolong.
+*Tie Guan Yin Traditional #1* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I’ve already learned that smaller bundles and darker color means more flavor. This happened in both oolong tastings so far. This one also has something that tastes like kerosene again. Hopefully my tastesbuds aren’t like this now, but I honestly never loved roasted oolongs in the first place.
+*Mei Shan Taiwan #1* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Mei Shan oolong, at least that I’m aware of, so I had to try this one. The oolong are the biggest bundles I’ve ever seen. This has such an odd flavor that I don’t normally taste in oolong. It’s kind of like tomato soup but also tangy like some other fruit or vegetable. Not floral, milky or peachy like other oolongs. The cup color was light like an oolong usually is though.
+*Mei Shan Taiwan #2* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
The bundles with this one are slightly smaller and darker than the other Mei Shan. This one had a tomato soup flavor too, so it wasn’t just the other one. I guess it’s the characteristic of the Mei Shan. Interesting! The second cup had a really nice floral flavor to it I really liked.
+*Champagne Oolong* 15 min after boiling
This certainly is a flavor I haven’t had before. Very unique. I can’t really describe it but it’s sweet and it does have a creaminess to it. Really good.
+*Oriental Beauty Oolong #1*
I’ve had one kind of tea like this before. It supposedly had bergamot in it, but now that I’m trying this one, the base tastes like it has a sort of bergamot to it already. I wouldn’t guess this is an oolong looking at the leaves.
+*Ali Shan* I tried two of the Ali Shans but I’m not sure if either one was different from the other. It tasted like if a ton of different oolongs were mixed together – not very distinct flavoring.. hints of floral when it cooled. That’s too bad because I think these were the first Ali Shans I have tried.
+*GABA oolong #1* 10-15 min after boiling // 3 min
I’ve never tried a GABA. It’s supposed to lower anxiety, but I don’t think it helped mine. This looks like a roasted/charcoal oolong. With darker bundles with tinges of red. The flavor is so interesting, definitely not what I expected from these types of leaves. To me, it’s like the acorn squash that gets cut and half and baked with brown sugar and butter. Those are the flavor notes: tangy squash, butter, brown sugar. I like it.
+*Wen Shan Bao Zhong #1* 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Hmm.. this tastes very similar to the Bao Zhong I tried from Butiki a couple years ago! It’s very nice – light and buttery. The leaves aren’t actually bundled like a typical oolong. The leaves are long and twisty.
+*Milk Oolong #1* I wouldn’t say this is a very distinct milk oolong, and I certainly couldn’t guess it was a milk oolong in a blind taste test. I don’t think anyone should use this one to say if they like milk oolong or not.
+*Bolivia Green* 35 min after boiling // 2 min Not sure if I’ve ever tried a Bolivia green, but this one is sure interesting. Some of the green leaves are actually compacted together… I haven’t seen that before. The taste is certainly distinct but I couldn’t even say why, so I’ll leave it at that. Good though.
+*Bi Luo Chun #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This one is really nice. Super creamy breaded corn, as all the green teas seem to be to me. Good thing I love that flavor.
+*Bi Luo Chun #2* 30 min after boiling // 3 min
Even though the leaves look pretty similar, the taste on this one is much different. Weaker flavor even with a longer steep time. Seems tangier. Not terrible but the first is amazing.
+*Chinese white* 32 min after boiling // 2 min
The leaves here are all so different! The scent from the cup is lemony. The flavor is nice but not extremely distinct. Hints of lemon and cream. Must be like a bai mu dan.
+*Bai Mu Dan #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 steep
This one is kind of pickley. Not really my thing. The leaves look really nice though. Reminds me of confetti. Not the best bai mu dan now that I’ve tried some nice ones.
+*Kenya White #2* Little sickles going here – not much flavor and a lot of fuzzies in the mouth. No flavor means the fuzzies aren’t worth it. Not a fan.
+*Kenya White #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This is surprisingly the winner in the teabox for me! A WHITE TEA. My least favorite type of tea! It also figures, that this seems like the rarest tea of all, only nine results for ‘kenya white’ in the Steepster search and none of them look like this one. The leaves actually look like a black twisty Yunnan with plenty of gold. I certainly haven’t seen a white tea like this before. But the flavor that results from these leaves is definitely a white tea and possibly my favorite white tea. It has hints of lemon but the best thing about it is the syrupy texture. Not at all like those fuzzy white teas. This is the texture I wish all white teas would have. The cup of the color is a darker yellow. Two really nice steeps. I really wish Butiki would have sold this tea, or at least one like it.
OVERALL I’ve learned:
+First flush darjeelings, not my thing.
+I should look out for Kenyan white teas and GABA oolongs. I really liked being able to try a few different oolongs I haven’t knowingly tried before.
+Wow, two year old teas taste way better than I think they would. :D
+This teabox was a fantastic experience – also better than I expected! thank you so much!