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Sipdown no. 162 of the year 2014. I had two cups worth of leaf left, steeped in the Breville and poured over ice, then took it with me to drink while the kids had their Kung Fu lessons. I spent part of that time reading Dune Messiah on the Kindle. This was a nice accompaniment to the aforementioned activities. Flavorful but not harsh as some assams can be. Stood up well to ice. I just steeped it normally without any effort to make it more concentrated, and it took a good two cups of ice on top of the two cups of water like a trooper.
Why Dune Messiah? I read the first Dune many years ago but never got to the sequels. Now I’m in the midst of a brain cram event, trying to read as much classic SF and fantasy as I possibly can so that I’ll know as much as possible about the genres I’ve chosen for my own writing, but interspersed with more current work as well. For you OCD sympathizers, my current fiction reading regime goes something like this. Two literary short stories, two SFF short stories, an SFF novel, and start over until I finish 10 SFF novels, when I read a literary novel. When I run out of literary short stories in my collection I am planning to turn to non-fiction. (I have way more books than any person should have. Next to tea, they’re my primary buying vice.) And then I work in, as necessary, the books I have to read for my writing classes. Currently reading in literary short stories, Mark Helprin, Ellis Island. Currently reading in SFF short stories, Karin Tidbeck, Jagganath. Recently read SFF novels (the most recent grouping of 10): A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin; The Forever War, Joe Haldeman; Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein. Next up, Flowers for Algernon. I can’t believe I never read that one. I know kids in my junior high had to read it for class, but (not meaning to sound elitist) I was in the advanced classes so we didn’t read it. I think we read Brave New World instead. Or maybe something by Thomas Hardy. I read a shitload of Thomas Hardy in junior high and high school. (Why?)
Ah well. I am off to try to relax for a bit before the next round of errands in preparation for the Scotland trip. I need a carry-on on wheels that will meet airline regulations, and the kids need sneakers. Tomorrow I’m going to start packing them up (two weeks in advance, but it will make me feel more relaxed).
How is everyone’s weekend going?
Made some of this cold brewed using the same formula I used for the Grapefruit Black. It was quite good, a great thirst quencher which is really one of my main requirements for cold tea. No. 1 liked it as well.
I’m now trying cold brewing the LeafSpa Goomtee Darjeeling. I’ll let you know how it turns out sometime after 5 p.m. tomorrow.
I felt like having an unflavored black tea and realized I hadn’t yet tried this.
In the tin, the leaves have an earthy, almost cocoa smell to them which made me think Assam, but it wasn’t until steeped this that I was sure. I also did a Google search for Banaspaty to confirm, but it’s pretty clear from the aroma alone that this is an Assam.
It has what I consider to be a typical Assam aroma, sort of a sharp almost coffee ground-like note across the top with a malty undercurrent. It’s a pretty color, almost a Ceylon red.
The description says this is delicate, but to me it’s not. Then again, it’s not overly heavy either. Its got a medium-full body and is very flavorful, without being super astringent or having a lot of bite like some Assams. Something about it makes me think of trees, deciduous ones, not evergreens (it’s not piney, but it is leafy). There is a cocoa-like note and a honey-like one, and there’s a light maltiness.
I’ve honestly forgotten how and on what basis I’ve rated the Assams I’ve had in the past so I’m rating this one in something of a vacuum. It’s very nice, definitely in the high very good/low excellent range.
Sipdown no. 1 of 2016 (and no. 222 total since I started counting down).
I hoarded this one for a long time mostly because I thought it was really cool looking. The tea is twisted into these little unicorn horns that are unlike anything I’d seen before, so that made me want to hold onto it.
While I was going through my stash, I discovered I had another tea that has these twisty leaves and even refers to unicorns in its name: http://steepster.com/teas/shanti-tea/11521-blue-unicorn
So the Shanti is an oolong rather than a green, but now that I remember I have twisty leaf tea of another sort, I find it easier to come to terms with the fact that I really liked how this tea looked more than I liked how it tasted. It’s tasty, but not hoardworthy tasty.
Hi all! Generally hot weather, combined with end of school year craziness with the kids and the fact that one of my colleagues at work recently departed so (guess what) I am now doing part of his job as well are all conspirators to keep me from enjoying sitting down with a cup of tea, much less writing tasting notes. However, I’ve been coughing for the last couple of days and today, I woke up with a squeak in my voice signalling the beginning of laryngitis. Ugh.
The good news is that baseball season is almost over, one of the kids’ other activities is on hiatus until the fall, and school will be over in a couple of weeks.
This tea has now become part of my work stash, and I’m glad I had it here with me today. There really is nothing like a cup of warm tea for any throat ailment. I see more warm tea and potentially a few notes in my future. ;-)
I was cold brewing for a while and then got side tracked by some other bright shiny objects and haven’t put any up for a while, but I think I will do that tonight as well.
Hope everyone’s doing well!
Steeped this one longer this time, and it did come out with a color closer to honey. It also came out tasting an awful lot like the Eagle Nest Ever Drop. The same bready flavor, which I’m now recognizing also has a sort of a sweetness to it, like a touch of honey.
I’m vacillating on this and on the Eagle Nest, because they really do have a distinctive flavor, but it’s more of a black flavor than a green tea flavor, and when seek out a green tea it’s not really what I’m looking to drink.
I’m going to knock both of them to the same rating and call it a day.
Another LeafSpa tea I’m pretty sure I bought because of the name. I thought it was cute. And the tea itself is cute, too. Like little twisty sticks of tea. Unicorn horns of tea.
I steeped it like any other green tea, and I don’t get the honey color that other notes have described. I get a standard issue pale yellow with green tinge green tea liquor with a vegetal aroma and a light, buttery vegetal taste. Lighter even than the bi luo chun of yesterday. It’s pleasant, but not terribly distinctive or interesting.
Just for laughs I think I’ll steep it longer and hotter net time and see if it produces a honey color in the cup.
I decided to look through my tea collection and see whether any of the other companies I bought from have gone out of business besides SpecialTeas, Andao and LeafSpa.
I found one more, The Simple Leaf, a much beloved company here on Steepster years ago for its Dawn, Mountain Malt, and other teas. I think everything else is still standing, though. That makes me happy.
Sipdown no. 5 of 2016 (no. 226 total).
We drank this one in quantity during the BF’s evil grippe as well. He found it sufficiently gentle and sufficiently hot that it had medicinal value for him. Because it was being drunk in quantity, I mostly prepared it Western style, and I have to say that although I could discern a flavor some of the time, it was pretty much too subtle for me most of the time.
In the gaiwan, which I just tried again with the last little bit, I get more flavor. There’s a sweetness and a grassy/hay-like flavor. With a little bit of wood and something slightly (and oddly) marine-like as well.
I like the idea of white teas, and I think they look pretty, but I am not sure they are for me. I’ve had some really good flavored ones, but the plain ones often either have an eau de dead plant thing going on, or are just so subtle I’m not sure I’m tasting the tea to its full potential.
Perhaps I should have someone who knows how to make a good cup of white tea make one for me. My kids always say the bread and butter tastes better when I spread it than when they do.
Made a lot of this today at the BF’s request. Steeped hotter and longer, and this time the flavor was noticeably different, so much so that even with his cold he tasted the difference. What I found most interesting was a citrus note, something suggestive of mandarin orange maybe? As well as a very mild nuttiness.
The BF is coming down with something that is doing a number on his throat and asked me to make some tea. He also discovered recently that he can’t drink black tea first thing in the morning without puking unless he’s eaten first. Apparently, that is a thing. I never knew until it happened to him. Then I googled it, and yes, it’s a thing.
Having tons of this and thinking it would be a good alternative, I made some in the Breville. In looking back at my original notes, I seemed to have had trouble getting flavor out of it until I steeped it in the gaiwan.
So I laughed when I handed a cup to the BF and he said, “There’s no flavor in this at all and that’s perfect for how I feel right now.” He later amended his statement to say that despite not having flavor, it was very soothing on the throat.
On the heels of the oolong I just had, this doesn’t make a huge impression on me though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is flavorless. It’s just leaning much more toward the “mouth full of snow” flavor I thought silver needles had until I had one that wasn’t that way.
Resteeped 10 degrees hotter and 30 seconds longer. Sweeter and stronger, but still extremely subtle. Some bread in the aftertaste, to make things interesting.
Thank you so much yyz for your suggestion on steeping silver needle. I was definitely doing it wrong.
There’s flavor in them there leaves!
Steeping in the gaiwan at a minute a steep using water that started at about 175 degrees, I’m getting a definite nutty, slightly woody flavor with a sweet aftertaste. The second steep was definitely thicker, a very nice mouthfeel. No bitterness, no planty-ness, but not just like a mouthful of snow either. It’s less dewy and nectary, which is what I thought silver needle tasted like.
I now know there’s much more to it.
I heart Steepster.
Sipdown no. 133 of the year 2014. Another biggie, more than 4 oz of tea. Huzzah!
I had intended to do some methodical morning tea drinking today, but everything went pear-shaped because around 9 this morning I realized that I had left my wallet somewhere yesterday. Ugh. I had visions of spending the morning calling everyone under the sun to cancel cards, etc. Fortunately, the BF remembered seeing me holding my wallet at a place where we stopped for lunch after taking the kids to shoot baskets. I called the place and they had it! Even more impressive, everything was still in it. Crisis averted.
But as a result, I only had a cup of English Breakfast this morning, followed by this. It was an interesting tea, and it turned out to be a good commuting tea despite my misgivings given it’s hearty, almost black-tea flavor. It’s goodbye, and it’s goodbye for good because LeafSpa is gone, but because the LeaftSpa Blink Bonnie has a similar flavor, I’ll at least get to visit with a similar flavored tea for a while longer.
Today’s commuting tea. It would have been today’s commuting tea even if it wasn’t a GREEN tea in my GREEN Timolino in my GREEN car in keeping with the St. Patrick’s Day theme. But the fact that it is all those things is a bonus today. I am nearing sipdown on this one, probably later in the week at the rate it’s going.
And I’m secretly already planning what I’m going to drink on le quatorze juillet, for which I have myriad contenders already.
Drinking this while at the kids’ kung fu class. I’m a little conflicted about sipping it down, which it appears will happen sooner rather than later now that it is the default commuting tea. But for a really dumb reason. I just love the name.
It’s got the sour dough bread thing going today. It’s not a heavy breadiness such as I sometimes get from black teas. It’s more like the aftertaste of eating a really flavorful piece of hot, freshly baked sour dough.
I have to stop talking about bread now because I’m getting hungry….
This has become my commuting tea of late somewhat by default. I had hoped to co-opt the Tavalon Great White for that purpose but was disappointed by the flavor I got steeping that one western style. I suppose I could do a bunch of short steeps to toss into the Timolino but I’m usually pressed for time in the morning and that seems like a plan that would be frequently foiled.
I’ve found that in general, I tend to prefer somewhat lighter teas as companions for commuting or bopping around running errands. Greens or whites, mostly. This one is a green, but as I have mentioned, it’s a strange green in that it is much more substantial than most. It’s almost like a black tea in body and flavor.
But because of its unusual attributes, I’m not really sure when I’d drink it if I didn’t drink it in the car. It’s not hefty enough for a first morning tea, and its too hefty for an evening one. Hence the default commuting tea.
It’s actually lasting well beyond the commute because it isn’t as smooth of a sip as a Chinese or Japanese green. It’s a good tea. I’m just a little annoyed with it because I don’t like it enough to create a special time of day category for drinking it, and I’d much rather be drinking a lighter weight green on the commute.
Last time I made this in the Breville and tossed it into the Timolino and never really saw the liquor or smelled the aroma of the tea.
The liquor is actually pretty shocking. It’s a very deep, almost golden yellow and clear, but it really made me think of melted butter. The aroma made me think of baked bread in the same way the Irish Breakfast did the other day.
And the flavor today was very much liked baked bread, which is pretty amazing for a green tea. The dry leaves are also quite pretty, a dark tangly nesty looking mess. Maybe that’s how it got part of its name?
It was yum today on a rainy, rainy afternoon before no. 1’s piano lesson.
Bumping the rating. Still not sure I would really buy this again (even if LeafSpa was still around) because it’s more like black tea than a green, but I can’t penalize it for my buying decisions.
Another LeafSpa that I apparently never tried and never posted a note about.
This will be a sort of a placeholder note because I can’t really see or smell the tea as it’s in my Timolino, sitting next to me while I watch kids do kung fu classes (and homework for the one not currently in class).
I’m pretty sure I bought this one because I liked the name. What’s not to like about Eagle Nest Ever Drop? I am not sure I’ve had an Indian green tea other than a darjeeling. Maybe I have? I’ll have to check my notes.
What’s interesting to me about the taste of this is that to me it tastes like a green equivalent of an Assam. It has a bold, malty flavor and a full body for a green tea. The description mentions muscatel, but I don’t get a darjeeling-y flavor from it.
Very interesting and worth spending more time with when I have some peace and quiet to do a more full review. The one thing I’m not sure about is whether it’s really what I’m looking for in a green tea. When I drink green teas, I’m usually drinking them as alternatives to blacks, and this is a very black-like green tea.
For now, it’s a great contribution to the project of hitting 800 tasting notes at the same time as hitting 500 separate teas on which I’ve posted notes.
Sipdown no. 40 of 2016 (no. 251 total).
This had been traveling with me to work in my Timolino on a daily basis until I scraped the bottom of the container today.
It was a great tea for work. Easy to drink and not boring even when drunk on a daily basis.
My appreciation for Dragonwell has grown tremendously, in large part because of this tea. I’ve discovered it’s a great choice for when I want something green and refreshing but don’t really want something vegetally sweet.
I just realized that if I do this right, my 800th tasting note will coincide with the 500th individual tea about which I’ve written notes. I just have to make sure my next several notes are all on teas I haven’t written about yet.
So to start off that process, I’ve got another tea from the now defunct LeafSpa that I believe I’ve tasted but not written a note about before.
Dragonwell is something I’ve really wanted to like and haven’t had great luck with. The person who works next to me is from China and the only tea he drinks is Dragonwell, and he brings in a container of it every day. He really likes the sweet aftertaste. I am hoping this is one I’ll be able to relate a good experience about in our daily tea conversations.
One thing Dragonwell definitely has going for it is gorgeous dry leaves. Long, with pretty color variation. The liquor is pale yellow and clear.
I’m really liking the aroma of this one after steeping. It’s less like green vegetables than a lot of the other green teas I’ve had lately (not that I don’t like the green vegetable smell and taste) and more like a sweet, buttery grass. And that’s what I get in the flavor, too. There’s just the slightest roasty note as well, though sometimes it seems to meld into a smoky note like that of gunpowder but not nearly as strong.
The aftertaste is fresh and just slightly sweet-hay-like.
I think I probably used a lot more leaf than I’ve used in the past and that may be the trick for me and Dragonwell. In any case, this time I get it. Too bad this tea won’t be available after I drink it down. I now believe there are other Dragonwells that I’ll like, though.
We have finished our bike ride and will soon be heading out to laser tag. I’m having this in the interim.
I didn’t really get to see it the last time I had it because it went straight into the Timolino. This time I’m having it in a cup, and I can see a sunshiny yellow clear liquor. It smells like sweet, buttery, fresh hay.
I forgot to steep it shorter (I see in my previous note I meant to do that). I’m not getting as much of a bitter note this time, though. It may be because I used a bit more leaf? I’m also getting just a tad of roastiness today which is pleasant. Not quite as strong as a roasted veggie flavor, just a nice note under the surface. I’m still getting buttery vegetables in the sip and a green nuttiness in the aftertaste.
Quite nice, and feels like the right thing to put in one’s body after an hour of cycling.
Another of the many LeafSpa teas I ordered a while back (before they closed their doors).
I steeped some of this in the Breville and poured it into my brand new Timolino to take to work. (One of the several tea ware items I allowed myself to buy at my recent visit to DAVIDSTea since I wouldn’t let myself buy any tea other than what I could drink there.)
Really loving the Timolino. The best travel gadget I have. I love the fact that you can sip it from any direction without taking the lid completely off, and you don’t have to push or poke anything to get the tea to come out. But that’s beside the point.
I didn’t spend a lot of time with this prior to pouring it in the Timolino so I’ll have to do a more detailed note later invoking other sense perceptions, but for now I wanted to record my first experience of the flavor.
I think I might steep it a bit shorter next time because I get a little bitterness around the edges, but other than that, this is a very refreshing tea. It has a vegetal flavor that isn’t overly sweet or buttery but has a little of each. I’m thinking a very light bok choy? Maybe a little spinach, too. There’s a pleasant aftertaste that’s vaguely nutty, in a very light, greenish way, like the aftertaste of Brazil nuts.
I’m going to enjoy getting to know this one.