The Tea Merchant

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Recent Tasting Notes

65

Sipdown (199)!

I’m positive this is going to be very short lived since I have four things incoming mail wise, but right now I’m just going to choose to be excited about the fact I’m currently under 200 teas!

I finished the last of VariaTEA’s sample hot at work – the profile was definitely differet from the cold brewed tea pop I had earlier in the week, but the tea wasn’t unrecognizable either. The big thing was that this hot brew was a lot more weighted towards the strawberry notes, and while sweet also had a distinct tartness too. Like slightly underripe strawberries? Definitely from the hibiscus. I would have liked to see more of a cream component in the hot brew, for sure.

All in all I definitely enjoyed this one, but in the grand scheme I anticipate it being pretty forgettable.

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65

Tea Pop!

It’s been so long since I’ve had a tea pop, but my mom has a Soda Stream so I’ve been heavily taking advantage of having the ability to make tea pop again!

This was my first one – I started by cold brewing it, and then instead of making a concentrated batch and mixing that with carbonated water I instead just directly carbonated the cold brew. I know that’s technically not recommended, but I’ve read a lot of reviews/articles about people carbonating non water liquids and after taking some of the recommended precautions I decided the risk was very minimal, and worth taking.

The payoff was great; this was super strongly flavoured with the perfect amount of fix/carbonation. The flavour was pretty solid too; very clearly defined strawberry notes with an interesting creamy undertone. Sometimes I buy Italian Sodas from Cookies by George in the mall I work in, and this tasted almost exactly like their Strawberry flavour. They even do a whipped cream topping on their Italian Sodas, and that’s exactly what the creamy element of this tea tasted like. Sweet and tasty! The only, small, negative was that the aftertaste had a very artificial quality to it. At least it wasn’t a lingering note, though.

Thanks VariaTEA!

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74

Sipdown (217)!

Made this one as an iced tea at work the other night;

The sample came from VariaTEA and I was really excited to see it in her package because I greatly enjoy cranberry teas. This was really enjoyable! I’d call it light to medium bodied, with a strong sweet cranberry flavour and then a mix of both red and green apple notes alongside the cranberry. It’s sweet and tart but not overly so in either regard. A solid tea overall!

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbQgXeY_zi4&index=4&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ

VariaTEA

It came from Africa and thought it would be a fun one to share :P

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68

Today’s Cold Brew!

Big thanks to VariaTEA who recently sent me a huge tea parcel with over thirty different teas! That’s plenty to keep me all kinds of entertained for the foreseeable future as well as cull any urges for flavoured tea orders. Also, it puts me over 200 teas which is NOT where I want to be; so all the more reason not to order.

It was a little hard to decide where to start so I just randomly chose a tea for today.

It’s not nearly as tart as I expected it to be given the massive pieces of hibiscus I saw in the dry leaf and intense red/purple liquor that looks like it’s dark and rich enough to stain any piece of clothing I own; even the black clothing. The cherry comes through strongly and clearly and I’m pleased to report it doesn’t taste medicinal at all. Mostly this is just cherry with semi tartness. Given the name I’d expect a bit of flavour diversity: black forest definitely makes me think of the cake which has chocolate in it. This doesn’t.

But for what’s here it IS enjoyable.

VariaTEA

So I didn’t realize I sent you that much tbh. I just got excited and decided to share all the things. I also didn’t actually measure out the teas I sent you so if there’s a lot of a tea and you don’t like it, obviously feel free to share.

Roswell Strange

It’s all good! It just feeds the “try all the teas” phase I seem to have reentered ;)

VariaTEA

You and me both :P

VariaTEA

So I realized I forgot to send you more Cranberry Pear in addition to the matchas. That’ll be the next box.

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66
Sil

southwestern germany… :)

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66

Having this cold brewed and it’s a generic hobby/red fruit tea. It’s maybe a little more cherry than usual but I just feel like I’ve had it before.

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66

The dry leaf of this smells crazy awesome and mouthwatering. As a teapop, this tastes like slightly sweet cherry and hibiscus. It’s pleasant enough but a little less hibby would have been nice. We’ll see how other prep methods work.

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67

This smells like strawberry and cream but the ingriedients told me that’s probably not what I’m in for…hibiscus, rosehips, orange peels…not the sweet flavors one would expect in a strawberry cream tea. I made this as a teapop and it’s weird. Carbonated strawberry water, tart though like the fruit that isn’t totally ripe, and a slight cream flavor that is a bit artificial.

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75
drank Cranberry by The Tea Merchant
3243 tasting notes

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75
drank Cranberry by The Tea Merchant
3243 tasting notes

This is the teapop I sipped on earlier while making Butternut Squash soup for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. It later dawned on me how festive that was so I was entertained. Anyways, this was a lovely fruit tea. It reminded me slightly of Hard Candy though was more fruit than jolly rancher flavored. It definitely had a cranberry tartness and was more subtly flavored than DAVIDs fruit teas tend to be but there also wasn’t any artificial sweeteners in this which makes it that much better.

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76

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76

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Asparagus, Freshly Cut Grass, Hay, Marine, Mineral, Nutty, Seaweed, Tangy, Umami

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 27 OZ / 800 ML

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85

This one smells very much like other coconut teas I’ve had before.. creamy & sweet. I’m really excited to try this one, though.

Sipping… I’m glad that this tea is a bit more unique than I was expecting. The coconut seems brighter, fresher and with floral character. For me, it also lacks the strong sour note that I often find in coconut teas.. it’s incredibly faint and I only notice it if I really search for it. The tea base blends very well with the coconut and doesn’t get in the way of the soft and creamy coconut.

This was a nice cup to have this evening, but I think I’ll need to be craving coconut before I have another cup.

TeaNTees

You make this sound quite appealing!

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80

My go-to breakfast tea to start the day

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80

Unfortunately Tea Merchant is closing, but I was lucky enough to snag some heavily discounted teaware and the owner was nice enough to include a sample of this tea. According to the label Tea Merchant’s teas are both Fair Trade and Organic, although I could only find the organic symbol on the label, not the fair trade one. For those of you who don’t know Kukicha is a tea made from a blend of stems, stalks twigs and some leaves, I first encountered this type of tea by it’s slightly less used name (I blame Lupicia). Besides the name, there are two main types of Kukicha produced in Japan, Shiraore is made from Sencha and Karigane made from Gyokuro; although I should note that it is often hard to tell if Shiaore or Karigane is made with Sencha or Gyokuro leaves, or the unused stems, stalks and twigs are mixed in with lesser grades of tea.

It’s been a while since I had a proper Japanese green tea, so I was really excited to try this one. Immediately I noted the lovely shades of yellow and white in the stems/stalks and there are a couple brownish twigs throughout. This is a very lovely tea to watch while brewing.

I had two infusions with this tea, although I could have had a third I chose not to and I noticed the Tea Merchant decided not to have suggested brewing times and temperatures, while I trust my intuition I always like having the option of either trying the vendor’s suggestions or adjusting it to my tastes.

I started off brewing at 175 °F for two minutes and for my second I brewed at 180 °F for three minutes; ultimately both infusions were almost exactly the same. I noticed the roasted aroma, it is not as roasted as a houjicha, but there were slight chocolately notes to it. The taste was a mellow woodsy as well as being floral and having a slight unami edge. It feels very much like a roasted sencha, but sweeter than you would expect.

I enjoyed this tea, while I normally don’t enjoy tea made from the factory sweepings, I am fond of Kukichas, it is interesting that you don’t see much beyond the leaves and young stems being used in teas, but this Green Kukicha is quite economic; this type of tea is perfect for those who are on a budget can’t quite afford Sencha, or for those who like a roasted green tea.

(“Amazing” photography at http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2014/10/tea-merchants-green-kukicha.html)

boychik

thank you for letting me know. he didnt credit me for the pot he never sent. im disputing it on my credit card

RahRahSan

I am sorry to hear that boycik, I also didn’t get one tea canister I purchased.

boychik

its been a while . my order was placed in August ;(

boychik

i like your blog, nice pics ;)

RahRahSan

Thank you, unfortunately my camera has been acting up, so I’ve been using my phone and I never notice how underexposed the photos are till I send them to my computer.

boychik

I use my iPhone for Instagram. It’s good enough I think ;)

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Thank you so much keychange for sharing some of this yummy vanilla earl grey! I will get more someday but every time I’ve checked it is out of stock. I normally like to wait until I’ve had it a few times or finished it before writing a note. This one, my last cup I ruined because I used the filter I normally use for my husbands chai so it has an added flavor of gingerbread. I have had better cups of this in the past and will get more in the future and maybe add more to the note.

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I think this is the third Darjeeling I’ve ever had. The first was from years ago and I remember thinking it was okay. The second was a sample of Castleton Moonlight Oolong or something last year. I remember liking it, but not enough to compel me to immediately place an order.

Anyway, I didn’t really take notes of it as I was drinking it earlier today, but I did enjoy it and resteeped it another time. Couldn’t taste anything apple-y like the other notes mentioned, but it was a nice, comforting brew with a light astringency near the end. I definitely do want to explore more Darjeelings eventually (pu’er and a few aged oolongs are mostly taking up my attention at the moment).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Wuyi by The Tea Merchant
472 tasting notes

Got this on recent 50% off sale. Just the smallest 1.5oz size. Now i wish i got more.
i really enjoyed this Wuyi oolong. The flavors are very pleasant. not bitter, not overly roasty. just right. Sweet, roasty, nutty.
usual gongfu treatment
6g 100ml 195F
rinse/pause/ 10/5/5/10/15sec etc

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100

I can’t believe I haven’t logged this. And somehow it wasn’t in my cupboard. Could have sworn it was but since it wasn’t even in the database I guess I was just imagining things.

This is a lovely chamomile. Gorgeous large flowers. It steeps up to a pale, delicate buttery yellow. Smells of honey and well… chamomile. :) There is no honey in this but the taste of it is certainly there. Chamomile is the only drink I like putting honey in, but this one doesn’t even really need it. I put less than half a teaspoon in an 8 ounce cup. I also like it a lot with a couple drops of vanilla extract added along with the honey but I didn’t put any in tonight.

On a sad note, somehow one of the Jane Fern bumble bee bone china mugs my mom got me a couple of years ago has a huge crack in it. :(

http://tinyurl.com/qy4emu9

I thought it was just stained and was telling myself to take the baking soda to it, but I inspected closer and I could feel the crack. All the way down the side. Have no idea how it could have happened. I’m always very careful with my cups. I guess I still have one but it makes me sad to lose the set.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Another one from Boychik, thanks!
No real comments about it, at least not yet, except to say that it was enjoyable.

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93

The vanilla coconut flavor is definately apparent here, I would recommend a teaspoon of honey upon brewing this delightful treat.

Preparation
2 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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