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Experience buying from Culinary Teas http://steepster.com/places/2981-culinary-teas-online-milford-indiana

Date of Purchase/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: I bought this in late 2011; there is no harvest date available; I steeped this in March 2012.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: Smells roasted, vegetal, fresh (better than another Young Hy-son I tried in a local shop); standard appearance for an inexpensive green tea: dark green, curly leaves with a few lighter green and light brown leaves mixed in.

Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot, leaf free to roam; stevia added; 6 tsp dry tea = 6 cups water.
……….1st: 160⁰F (OOPS! I was shooting for 170F); 1’
……….2nd: 170⁰F; 1.5’
……….3rd: 185⁰F; 2’
……….4th: 183⁰F; 2.5’

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Light, yellow-green color; vegetal aroma.

Flavor of tea liquor: Not much flavor on the first steeping, but that’s probably because the temp was too low. On the second steeping I accidentally used too much water (a series of unfortunate events!), so it was weak tasting, but it still had a reasonable amount of flavor, with some sweetness; the third had mild flavor, and the forth had very little. I’ll have to do this one again with better temperatures and amounts of water!

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Interesting to watch as there was lots of movement while steeping; there were a number of stems, only a few buds, and the color seemed a little faded, but almost all of the leaf was whole; standard aroma.

Value: This green tea is a great value at $7.05 for 4 OZ (That’s well under $2/OZ).

Overall: There are very few inexpensive green teas that I have come across that have what this tea has to offer: smooth, sweet flavor in the cup and leaf that is from a decent pluck (not too astringent tasting or too chopped as many green teas as this price range seem to be). I can bet this would blend well with other green teas. A final note about why I like this tea: I can buy some of it to help us get over the free shipping hurdle when we buy our next round of flavor-added black teas from Culinary Teas!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

But…when you drank it did you like it?

SimpliciTEA

Very good question. I looked back over my review, and I can understand why you would ask that. Yes, I liked it (what I remember best about the taste was that it was slightly sweet), but I am still uncertain as to how much I will like it when I brew it properly. I speculate it will taste even better, but I could be wrong. Thank you for asking me to clarify. I guess I spend so much time on the data and trying to be as objective as I can that I sometimes I forget to include my own perspective! I hope that helps answer your question. : )

Bonnie

Thank you and yes. Having worked as a Systems Analyst…I do appreciate technical detail oriented people. I tend to do the opposite and review how the tea tastes and just go on and on about my day in a touchy feely way. Must make people like you gag! Ah well. Pour another cuppa and add something stronger to it!

SimpliciTEA

“… review how the tea tastes and just go on and on about my day in a touchy feely way. Must make people like you gag!’ Not at all. There are all kinds of ways to write reviews, and I think the best ones are when we write using our strengths to honor what we find most important about our experience (I find that some of the best reviews are those when someone opens up about their day and how they are feeling). My adding the more technical stuff is often times simply done out of habit, and not necessarily because I want to. That’s why I appreciate it when others ask me questions that tend to force me to look a little differently at what I am doing. I understand many may not be interested in the technical details (which is fine to me) and thus skip straight to the Overall part in my review (one person even told me she does that). It seems to be in my nature to analyze things (I was a software engineer decades ago), and especially for samples, the details may help me to make a decision later on whether or not to buy it, and/or they help me the next time I steep a tea (especially the really finicky ones, as green teas often are). I really appreciate that you are interested enough to exchange your ideas and thoughts (and feelings) with me! : – )

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Bonnie

But…when you drank it did you like it?

SimpliciTEA

Very good question. I looked back over my review, and I can understand why you would ask that. Yes, I liked it (what I remember best about the taste was that it was slightly sweet), but I am still uncertain as to how much I will like it when I brew it properly. I speculate it will taste even better, but I could be wrong. Thank you for asking me to clarify. I guess I spend so much time on the data and trying to be as objective as I can that I sometimes I forget to include my own perspective! I hope that helps answer your question. : )

Bonnie

Thank you and yes. Having worked as a Systems Analyst…I do appreciate technical detail oriented people. I tend to do the opposite and review how the tea tastes and just go on and on about my day in a touchy feely way. Must make people like you gag! Ah well. Pour another cuppa and add something stronger to it!

SimpliciTEA

“… review how the tea tastes and just go on and on about my day in a touchy feely way. Must make people like you gag!’ Not at all. There are all kinds of ways to write reviews, and I think the best ones are when we write using our strengths to honor what we find most important about our experience (I find that some of the best reviews are those when someone opens up about their day and how they are feeling). My adding the more technical stuff is often times simply done out of habit, and not necessarily because I want to. That’s why I appreciate it when others ask me questions that tend to force me to look a little differently at what I am doing. I understand many may not be interested in the technical details (which is fine to me) and thus skip straight to the Overall part in my review (one person even told me she does that). It seems to be in my nature to analyze things (I was a software engineer decades ago), and especially for samples, the details may help me to make a decision later on whether or not to buy it, and/or they help me the next time I steep a tea (especially the really finicky ones, as green teas often are). I really appreciate that you are interested enough to exchange your ideas and thoughts (and feelings) with me! : – )

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Bio

(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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