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Backlogging, and based partly on memory.

Experience buying from Art of Tea http://steepster.com/places/3023-art-of-tea-online-santa-cruz-california

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Date of Steeping: Bought eight ounces of this tea in late 2011 during their Black Friday sale in 2011. I steeped this tea a few times since I bought it (once today: 6/11/2012).

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: Looks and smells like Chun Mee green tea.

Brewing guidelines: I think I initially experimented some with the time and temperature on this one, but in general I used my standard green tea brewing guidelines.

Color of tea liquor: cloudy orange.

Flavor of tea liquor: Somewhat vegetal, strongly smoky, and astringent tasting after the second steeping (and some on the first if not brewed properly); it’s like any Chun Mee I’ve had, and I have found that I don’t particularly like the smoky flavor of them; in my experience, along with gunpowder, Chun Mee tends to be the lowest grade of a green tea that one can get.

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Like any Chun Mee I’ve seen.

Value: I got this during one of their sales for 30% with free shipping: for eight OZ it was a little over $8. Still, it was not worth it to me at this price, which averages @ $1 / OZ.

Overall: I am disappointed with this tea. I took a chance on it and it didn’t pan out (in the larger scheme of things, that’s OK, because overall I still consider myself fortunate considering the risks I have taken when it comes to buying various green teas before drinking them first). Art of Tea doesn’t call it Chun Mee, but it looks, smells and tastes like any Chun Mee I’ve ever had (I’ve tried at least two, if not three, before this one). I don’t think I would have bought this had I known it was a Chun Mee style/type green tea.

After brewing it up a few times initially it has been sitting in my cupboard all winter and spring, and I’ve been wondering how I could possibly put some use to it (I don’t like the taste of it on it’s own). Recently, I decided to get some use out of it by adding it to the second and third steepings of Teavana’s Yunnan Emerald Buds (which my wife and I both generally like), and twice I noticed a strong astringent taste which I did not get when brewing up the Yunnan Emerald Buds on their own. So, this morning I made a spontaneous decision: I composted the rest of this Yun Wu (probably about 5-6 OZ of it). This is THE FIRST TIME I have ever simply put unused tea into my compost bin (at least then the plants can get some use out of them). I’ve been using up lots of old, not-so-great tea off-and-on all year, and, quite honestly, I’m tired of ‘worrying’ about ‘wasting’ tea (I call it my ‘efficiency shadow’, as in, if I throw something out without using it, I judge it is wasteful, and for some reason I feel shame about it. ENOUGH!). I’m glad I am rid of it. Life is too short to drink sub-par tea, n’est pas (feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken about this, but I think that’s basically how you say, “is it not so?” in French)?

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Shoot I didn’t realize this is on beach street?! My daughter is going there in a couple weeks, need to have her check it out! All my grandkids were born in SantaCruz!
Hope the other tea’s are better than this one!

SimpliciTEA

I also bought the the white tea sampler in the same order, and I judge they were of decent-to-good quality (I still have to write the review for those). They also sent me a very generous sample of another green tea that was better then this Yun Wu. So, I’m still mixed about their teas, but you or your daughter may have a totally different experience. I’m sure physically walking into their shop would be a much more rewarding experience than buying from them online. If your daughter decides to visit them, I hope she has some luck finding some great teas!

Missy

Tea bath for your feet! That’s what we do with tea we feel we can’t pass on or drink.

SimpliciTEA

Really? Interesting. What does it do for your feet?

Missy

At best make your feet smell nice. It’s just like a regular foot bath. I make the water as hot as I can stand it so it really just relaxing my foot muscles and gives me good starting point for exfoliation. If you have super sensitive feet it may tickle as the leaves are settling. I’m not sure if you can soak the goodies in tea through your skin but it still feels nice. Then you can compost the leaves after that!

teataku

Lol, interesting idea. Also, I believe the way you spell that French bit is “n’est-ce pas?” (pronounced “ness pah”). :)

SimpliciTEA

Missy: Thanks for more info. Doing that may least assuage my guilt a little.

teataku: I just checked, and according to Webster, you are correct:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/n%27est-ce%20pas

Thanks!

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Bonnie

Shoot I didn’t realize this is on beach street?! My daughter is going there in a couple weeks, need to have her check it out! All my grandkids were born in SantaCruz!
Hope the other tea’s are better than this one!

SimpliciTEA

I also bought the the white tea sampler in the same order, and I judge they were of decent-to-good quality (I still have to write the review for those). They also sent me a very generous sample of another green tea that was better then this Yun Wu. So, I’m still mixed about their teas, but you or your daughter may have a totally different experience. I’m sure physically walking into their shop would be a much more rewarding experience than buying from them online. If your daughter decides to visit them, I hope she has some luck finding some great teas!

Missy

Tea bath for your feet! That’s what we do with tea we feel we can’t pass on or drink.

SimpliciTEA

Really? Interesting. What does it do for your feet?

Missy

At best make your feet smell nice. It’s just like a regular foot bath. I make the water as hot as I can stand it so it really just relaxing my foot muscles and gives me good starting point for exfoliation. If you have super sensitive feet it may tickle as the leaves are settling. I’m not sure if you can soak the goodies in tea through your skin but it still feels nice. Then you can compost the leaves after that!

teataku

Lol, interesting idea. Also, I believe the way you spell that French bit is “n’est-ce pas?” (pronounced “ness pah”). :)

SimpliciTEA

Missy: Thanks for more info. Doing that may least assuage my guilt a little.

teataku: I just checked, and according to Webster, you are correct:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/n%27est-ce%20pas

Thanks!

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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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