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Recent Tasting Notes

drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
61 tasting notes

Found this very old pack of oolong plum tea in the back of a cupboard this week. The label is half worn off so I can’t tell where this tea is from, just the name “oloong yello plum”… and a use-by date of 2014. So I guess random steepings is where I’m supposed to review this tea?

5 years past the use by date… can anyone beat that?

Smells amazing despite being so old (it was sealed up very well, although opened inside) with plum and apricot and warm black tea.

I brewed it. First few sips there’s a light fruity sweetness and earthyness that’s lovely. Then there’s what I can only describe as bin juice. To be precise, it’s the smell of the juice/liquid that’s lingering in the bottom of your bin after being too lazy to take the trash out for a few too many days. Rotting garbage and earthy and sweet, because the trash is full of sugary drink cans.

Once you’ve got that smell in your mind and what you imagine it would taste like, this tea becomes a mind battle. The more you think about the bin juice, the more you can taste it. I battled to the bottom of the cup by focusing on the taste of plums.

I’m now pretty sure the plum flavouring was added, not just a description of the natural oolong leaf flavour. I think that’s what has started to rot. Throwing this tea away now, sadly. I imagine it was delicious fresh.

Leafhopper

Mmmm, bin juice! Thanks for that description. I’m also sad when old teas are no longer drinkable.

Mastress Alita

“The more you think about the bin juice, the more you can taste it.” That just makes me think of when the weather is bad and I don’t want to haul my trash bag all the way out to the dumpster, so the next day when I do it, there is weird liquid on the kitchen floor under where the bag was sitting… I definitely would not want to imagine drinking that mystery liquid…

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Guangdong Top Brand – Yellow Grass (translated with Google Translate app)
Ingredients (translated with Google Translate app): Xihuancao, Hedyotis diffussa, Tianjihuang, Poria, Hawthorn

From huge bags, foil wrapped. Still have no idea how it will be. No instructions like steeping time, so I did about 3 minutes – as long it had nice colour all in the glass mug.

Eh, uh… the smell wasn’t bad, it was like some light black tea with some herbal notes. Taste was very herbal, but somehow light notes of tea. Actual tea! Then some earthy notes, but no taste/aroma of something undrinkable. I took a sip, afraid it will have some bad aftertaste or something and it was actually pretty good.

Not a cuppa I would return to, but it was way better than expected and actually quite tasty.

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Sheraton Hotel & Resorts – Java Breakfast TEA

I had to look what hotels are Sheraton brand. Looks quite high end, so certainly it’s not from our family.

It’s simple black tea, bit fruity notes and somehow sweet. Like Keemun? I don’t know. Another day, when describing tea is somehow hard for me.

But it is tasty and quite full bodied, for tea bag it is certainly nice.

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Huge bags section strikes again

Top Quali’Thé (brand name) – Thé à la Mûre (name of tea)

Ingredients: Tea (88,5 %), aroma mûre (blackberry or mulberry, 10.5 %), actual fruits 0,8 %, maltodextrin

Let’s see. I had to find at first what “Mûre” actually is. As I wrote earlier, apparently, blackberry or mulberry. I do not know if I had mulberry before. So I hope it will be like blackberries. A sugar there? Oh, okay – what I can do.

I really do not think it is “Top Quali’Thé” when it is in a bag, sweetened, lots of aroma… Brews cloudy brown, cheap tea colour. Aroma is indeed quite strong, but maybe because of age not somehow annoying. Tea itself was quite tasty, certainly like blackberries, but no tartness and sourness I usually recall when somebody says blackberry. Some base tea was in taste as well pronounced, some sweet notes was there as well – but not annoyingly sweet.

I have expected much worse, but actually, it is cheap tea with blackberry flavour. So, not so bad.

Blackberry teas… are they even available?

mrmopar

I have seen Black Currant around. I think I have see Raspberry leaf tea.

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Oh well,
I had yesterday a tea from Advent Calendar from Sonnentor with number 5. And today it is 10th December? Well, it is faster than I thought. During Thursday-Monday early morning I was on trip with my friend in Slovakia, so we bought some gifts and then left to Budapest for last shopping spree. But, we both weren’t very healthy, I was totally caught by flu. And with flu I have nose bleeding episodes, so it wasn’t great. Unfortunately, in the guest house we were staying there were no free kettle, so I had only teas they offered during breakfast:

Once a ginger tea with herbs, second time green tea and for third time I have decided for peppermint tea. All of them were like 75 at maximum, bit boring ones, to be honest. So, my tea everyday have got third (or fourth) blank spot. Bit sad about it, and moreover – I am behind with my advent calendar.

Yesterday I drank number 5, which was named “Pleasant Leisure Time” and only thing I noticed it was herbal tea. That’s why I did not even made special entry of the tea, because – as I am sick, I just drank it and did not notice anything but hot tea. Today I feel bit better, so I will be back with proper tasting note (as much as I can). Too bad that I spent today (it is still morning though) at home, because I miss exam time, but hey, I really could not go there – I felt so weak after I woke up.

And then I turn on the TV and hear there were mass shooting in hospital in third largest city in country and 6 were killed. Oh well. All were patients, no doctors or nurses. But still very sad. They have already a picture and (probably) a name. Weird world!

mrmopar

It is a sad world in many ways Martin. A shame that it has to be like that.

Martin Bednář

Yep, but we should look into positive things too – although they are harder to find.

ashmanra

So sorry you are sick! I pray you will feel better and stronger every hour.

Martin Bednář

Ashmanra: that is so kind of you, thank you!

Kawaii433

Feel better soon <3

Leafhopper

I hope you feel better soon and are able to take your exams. And yes, it can be a sad world.

tea-sipper

I’m sorry about the bad news and feel better soon.

Martin Bednář

Thank you all! By the way, the killer killed himself after police found him. I am afraid we will never know why he did it, but his co-workers said that he was paranoic(but only for last month) that he has got cancer and nobody wants to heal and help him.

ashmanra

That is so sad to hear, Martin. It makes me wonder if the cancer had spread to his brain and he was not at all in control of his mind at the time.

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Da Hong Pao from Teapro, from Izzy – Thank you! Prepared gong-fu, 3g per 85 ml.

As I could not find this tea on their website nor on Steepster, decided to make steeping notes here.

Dry aroma was kinda meh, nothing distinctive, maybe bit of hazelnuts, roasted aroma is there as well.

I did 10/20/30/40/40+/50+/60+ seconds long steeps and then I ran out of water. It was not a big trouble, because last steeps were weak.

First steeps were indeed nutty, but it turns to mineral notes, soil, muddy, nothing really enjoyable. It was good one, but not really my style. I expected something more mellow, maybe bit more roasted – maybe this was too aged one? I do not know.

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Holy moly! Okay, another tea from that big stash, this time from Teekanne brand. And fruit one.
But the catalogue is saying it is from 2010 (first appearance) so it can be 9 years old? Well, let’s see if it is even drinkable. It says only Früchte Geheimnis (Fruit secret). As it is so old, no chance to find out what is in. Here, a catalogue entry: https://www.catawiki.com/catalog/tea-bags-and-tea-labels/manufacturers-brands/teekanne/3210051-fruchte-geheimnis

Brews quite light tea honestly. Maybe it is not 99 per cent hibiscus and more fruits are there. But I am completelly unable to detect which ones are in.But in taste it is clear. Apples, with little of orange (zest maybe?) and hibiscus tartness. Hmm, okay – maybe the age?

Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXlBCWlv0E0

Prepared in one litre french press for everyone in family.

Mastress Alita

The secret? 9-year-old fruit flavor.

Martin Bednář

Haha. Well, it was in foil bag, so I have hoped that it will survive the age. Very probably it does not.

ashmanra

Nice music!

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A tea bag of “Dutch tea blend” with Royal Orange “brand”. By search in tea bag collectors comunnity I found out that real manufactuer is probably Axxent.

And how is the tea? Actually not bad. It is black tea mellowed with orange peel (I found it in tea bag catalogue as well). I am rather surprised it was so mellow, as I expected some bitter black tea. Maybe combination of Ceylon teas. But no. It turned out pretty good, considering it is tea bag only.

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This tea is in wonderful wrapper with some flowerin branch and a train with only text in Latin script saying: “Taiwan Alishan Tea”.

When smelled dry tea bag I think it is some kind of light roasted oolong. This was certainly noticeable after brewed. It was lighlty green with yellow notes. In taste it was floral and orchid like. Not vegetal at all, and overall, rather towards sweet notes than astringency. Good one, though only tea bag.

300ml / 3 minutes steep, just boiled water.

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I am studying for tomorrow exam. I think I would not pass it. Is it hard and I do not have a single idea what they can ask for.

But I am trying.
I took a tea bag I have from postcrossing. It is from Russia, “brand” Dolce Albero. I was trying to find anything about it, but in vain.

It just says SOURSOP, flavour green tea. Let me see how is it.
I used rather colder water (even 80 °C is on bag :O) and 3-5 minutes steep. I did about 3 minutes.

The colour is not very rewarding, cloudy yellow-greenish something. It looks like pond water.

In aroma it is cacti, artificial, maybe bit grassy.

Taste: I do not know how soursop should taste like, but tea itself is quite refreshing, sweet, lychee… and probably that soursop.

It is not bad.

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Received this little (7 grams) brick in redditgifts from Belarus. Now, it ´s time to check, if it is good, or bad.

Wrapping says, in traslation just, Top Pu-erh, 2003.

I did not wanted to make rinse, but made it. 15 seconds, maybe closer to 20. The rinse woke up all the aromas of wet rocks, earthy flavours, very mineral. I let it sip my brother and he claims it smells and tastes like something from old cottages. Maybe bit of tar, he says.

First steep is completely opaque dark brown, rather bit like black. I have oversteeped it?
It was just 20 seconds! Taste is quite drying, but actually same as aromas. Bleh, last sip was with lots of dirt.

Second steep…
I just looked into gaiwan before filling it with water. It looks quite dusty, small leaves, pieces of branches. Anyway, water in, lid on. 20 seconds. Aromas are weaker, taste milder. I like it. But still same, just not so drying.

Third;
25 seconds.
Same as second I guess. Maybe little bit more mineral.

Fourth brew:
30 seconds,
Apparently this tea is slowly over. I think one more steep. Or maybe it is just because I don´t enjoy those steeps at all. Too mineral for me, too earthy. This steep is more over muddy. Nah, I think it is over for me. It it getting more clear though. Now I feel even something cooling. Dunno, it is like mints.

Another steep, fifth – about 40+ seconds
still very dusty. Clear liquor though. More to red. It is just same as fourth. Completely same. It is just getting weaker every steep.

That´s it I guess. I probably will do more steeps, but if they don´t change flavour at all, I think – I won´t update it.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 85 ML
Martin Bednář

I made about two more steeps. It remained really same and taste was more or less dirty or muddy.

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Even I have to write a tasting note to this “tea”. I have received an awesome care package from my friend (and penpal) in Switzerland. There were teas in (this one and 3 more) and three chocolate bars. Lindt chocolate bars! She spend so much just I felt weird (and bad) and she said it is nothing, just a care package. I was really crying because it is so nice from her. I can´t even thank her enough.

I had really crazy weekend. I wanted to study but my brain is telling me that I should not care. I should enjoy the moment. WTF brain? So, I did nothing. I even took today as a free day, as I need to finish something to school. I just don´t want to though. It is already 11 am and I did literally nothing. At least I have a pot of this tea. So, let´s describe it a bit.

It is called Glücksmomente, which means “happy moments”. Yeah, I just need that! What is in? Lemon balm, orange mint, nettle, some parts (can´t translate) from fir (maybe my favourite tips?), rose hips, marigold and “Monarda didyma”.

I even put it in tea pot, not just a cup, because I fell like I need a lots of it. And boy, it smells so wonderful! Firs and balm strongly hit my nose. Then something bit spicy and fresh citrus. I guess that is the nettle with orange mint.

I think the tea is calming me down a bit. Maybe I feel bit drowsy even. But that´s okay. I took a pink grapefruit chocolate I received as well. I can´t decide what smells better. If the tea or the chocolate. Chocolate is kind of bitter, but very nice. The fresh notes of grapefruits are very interesting when combined with chocolate. The tea on the other hand is bit spicy with orange notes. The citrusy flavours due to fir parts are there too.

Aww, so great herbal blend. Thank you Fabiana.

Evol Ving Ness

How lovely! It makes me happy to hear about these thoughtful and delicious presents. Wonderful!

Martin Bednář

Evol Ving Ness – it was indeed so nice from her. And so thoughtful. She is coming for visit next month so I have to spoil her a bit :D

Evol Ving Ness

Excellent! We look forward to hearing what you have/had in store for her when she visits: virtual tourism. Hope that they will be lovely days together.

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86

Welp, I’m putting this here because while I know what kind of tea it is, it is not available to purchase except by wholesale. It’s a US FOODS tea, under their “Rituals” brand. Specifically their Citrus Green. I got about six teabags of this from a hotel we stayed at when my Grandmother passed away.

The flavor of this tea is very tasty for a teabag. I can taste the green, but it isn’t too overly astringent or grassy. The citrus shines through nicely, without it having an overpowering citric acid taste. In all, I will be sad to see this one go. This is my last of the six teabags that I brought home with me. So yeah, sad day, not just because this is the last of this tea, but because drinking it reminds me of my Grandma’s passing. All in all, a good bagged tea. If I ever stay at a hotel that stocks it again, you can best bet I will be getting more.

Flavors: Citrus

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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51
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
71 tasting notes

Coal!

In day four of my advent calendar from Sara, I got mystery cheap pu-erh. Labeled “Coal!”

I found Sara’s review of this tea, and it came in a sampler from Liquid Proust. She said:

“This one was simply labeled as ‘Cheap.’ Yup. Just that. No year, no sheng/shou differentiation, but I guess whoever got this didn’t pay much for it! Fair enough. I never judge a tea by its price anyway. Taste is what’s important!”

I boiled water, rinsed it for about 10 seconds, and steeped for two.

The aroma is neutral, very slightly eartly. The taste is kind of smoky, earthy, roasted, and like black tea. Not very good black tea… I’m getting a bit of a “Lipton” note. The aftertaste has an artichoke note.

With all the hype about this tea, I am shocked at how inoffensive it is. It’s better than plain Lipton (I haven’t tried their discontinued berry tea), and I’ve certainly had worse bagged tea in restaurants which I’ve gotten down. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I don’t hate it either, hence the 51% rating.

The taste lingers somewhat pleasantly in a “please don’t hate me” kind of a way.

Flavors: Artichoke, Earth, Roasted, Smoke, Tea

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Todd

EW. I tried a second steep. Well, a few sips of it. I found that “wet earth” flavor Sara tasted, yuck. And I tossed out the rest of that cup.

Mastress Alita

Now if you can picture the wet earth with tobacco smoke, that was pretty much my gong fu session in a nutshell.

Hehehehehe… COAL! At least you got the worst over with early in the month. No more evil Slytherin surprises, I promise. :-)

Todd

Aw, no homunculus tea?

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
632 tasting notes

Getting blasted on some shou from mrmopar. Labeled 2013 Hai Lang Hao Bulang Brick shou. Is it this: https://steepster.com/teas/hai-lang-hao-yunnan-sourcing/56059-2013-hai-lang-hao-bu-lang-old-tree-brick-ripe ? If so, I’ll transfer it over tomorrow and update after I brew this tea out.

It’s a brick, so the material is compact. I’m drinking alone with 10g in a 190mL teapot. Combine those two with this being a strong leaf — I can’t finish tonight but I do feel like making a note. I feel chest-forward. Lots of caffeine!

Dry leaf is sweet and earthy with vanilla, caramel, leather and a red berry undertone. Warmed is earth, leather, a bit of smoked meat and baked bread. A twenty second rinse brings out old books/paper again with earth and leather and the smell of baked bread in the distance. After the first steep, the steam coming from the pot has a very pungent quality almost like vinegar such that I instinctively twitch my nose and turn away. I feel silly and keep going back for more of that tangy twinge.

Smooth, mineral beginnings with the baked bread, leather and earth of the leaf and some cheesy nutritional yeast fermentation taste left behind from the rinse. Like I said, brick tea. Light clenching in the throat, warming and cooling, a bit oily. I wrote for a while after the first steep.

Second steep is clean, much darker since the material is finally opening up. I notice some wet basement, vanilla and caramel in the aroma. Same tastes but camphor dominates when the tea is still hot. It loses that quality as it cools. Tangy aftertaste with brown sugar-caramel returning sweetness. I moved from writing to getting lost in NPR Music Tiny (Ass) Desk Concerts for an hour.

Music pairing: Lizzo — NPR Music Tiny (Ass) Desk Concert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFiLdByWIDY
Watched her on Saturday Night Live last night.

Third steep is the same length as the second, 30-some seconds until the pot pours empty. The taste moves into a dominant starchy, potato-like taste and old wood with the earth and leather moving underneath. Returning sweetness develops into dates. This tea sits a bit raw in my stomach so I warmed up some soup. I read for another hour before deciding I should call it quits with tea tonight.

Book pairing: The Message Devotional Bible

And this is where I end for the evening. So far, recommended.

Preparation
Boiling 10 g 6 OZ / 190 ML
Togo

Nice, The Comet is Coming have a great Tiny Desk Concert too :)

mrmopar

It is the one.

gmathis

I like The Message translation. Helps me think about things a little differently. Happy Christmas to you!

derk

Togo: thanks for pointing that out! Their Tiny Desk is only days old. Their album Trust in the Lifeforce of Deep Mystery was well worth the purchase.

gmathis: Merry Christmas to you, too :)

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
632 tasting notes

A mellow morning cup of genmaicha provided by ashmanra, thank you! It was noted on the paper tag inside the bag that this was either from Tea ’N Joy or Tea Queens.

ashmanra sent some tasty Blackberry Jasmine green tea in a swap that had a very strong syrupy aroma. Its aroma penetrated through the bag and into the genmaicha bag, so it was almost like having a surprise second steeping of the Blackberry Jasmine with a hint of toasty rice :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kittenna

Ooh! Cross-contaminated that worked! I once had a genmaicha sample that I believe was contaminated by a vanilla tea. It was amazing.

ashmanra

Oh no! Shame on me for poor packaging. Hooray for a good cross contamination!

derk

Yeah, I was totally ok with it. Makes me wonder what the worst flavor combination teas there are out there are.

Mastress Alita

Once Todd and I decided to sample the water out of the “discarded leaf” bowl from a tea flight we had at the Chinese Gardens in Portland, which has a tea shop serving Tao of Tea teas inside. It looked like a nasty tea leaf soup… and even that didn’t taste that bad, given they were three very different tea blends, and some of the leaves had been sitting in there for nearly an hour.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
632 tasting notes

I drank an herbal tea once from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company not knowing the ingredients. Will it give me an allergic reaction, damage my organs or put me 6 feet under that tomato bed in the backyard I prepped yesterday evening?

Martin! Yes you! Unknown person from the Czech Republic. A fellow tea drinker and student of physics. The last of the teas remaining from our swap. A paper packet of “Home Herbs Mix” sealed with a couple of stickers decorated with flowers and a discretion scrawled in ominous black ink: “up to you.” I like armchair adventure. I think trust is healthy and fear not being burned. Some call it naiveté. I say boo to them, let’s do this.

Funny I put trust in a tea drinker outside of United States’ prosecution. (Unless there is some kind of extradition agreement.)

I emptied the packet into my basket strainer, about 2 grams worth of flowers and leaves, both large and crushed. Added 200F water and took a shower. Came back to my bedroom smelling of lemon and mint, that much is obvious. But what else is there? I think I let it steep too long because there was a very strong lemon balm or myrtle taste. It was very minty like a good spearmint. Is there another kind of mint in this blend? Lavender, that’s for sure. A few strips of lemongrass? And what were those beautiful big purple flowers? They kind of melted away with that long steep. I really enjoyed your blend, Martin. It was fresh and a nice nightcap, might’ve been just a bit better if I hadn’t let it steep for 20 or so minutes.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Martin Bednář

How funny. As I feel sick I took the same for myself today! Thought about making a tasting note but nah. As I remember, it was lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint… maybe a lemongrass, I can´t remember. Lavender? Not really sure. But maybe it is in. That big purple flowers are mallow flowers :-) (Malva sylvestris hopefully)

I am super glad that you have enjoyed it so much. And last thing, I am student of logistics, but struggle with Physics :)

Have a great day!

Mastress Alita

I wish I knew how to blend properly. I got an herbal blend once on Etsy but the seller stopped making teas and only does bath products now. I absolutely love it as an iced tea. I know the base is heavily spearmint, and it has lots of lavender and licorice root, but if I tried making it myself, I don’t think I’d ever figure out how to get the balance of ingredients right to duplicate it.

haptiK

@mastress, you should experiment! you never know! you might make even better flavors!

derk

Martin, I could see and smell the little lavender buds. Glad to know what the purple flowers are. I’m an environmental engineering student myself (on hold for this semester while I get my life together and make money) and also struggle with physics. I’m considering a tutor because I always feel like I’m on the edge of those “Eureka!” moments in terms of conceptual understanding but I’m not… which means I need help. The engineering coursework and mathematics are much easier for me.

derk

Mastress Alita: you seem like the type of person that would do well with approaching blending from a research viewpoint, with batch numbers, ingredient amounts, observations, etc. Repetition and tweaking.

Evol Ving Ness

^ That. Absolutely that.

Also, herb collecting and picking and blending is a thing in Eastern Europe. My mother’s line knew all about foraging and blending for healthful and flavourful purposes.

Martin Bednář

@derk – okay, I really don´t recall much what is in. It is actually my mothers´ blend – we usually just collect herbs, let it dry and then we put it into large glass. So every brew is bit different. But all of them are usually lovely. I forgot about thyme which is very probably in too.
Ad physics: well, I feel bit overloaded with all tasks to be done, so I can´t really focus on the formulas which I don´t remember on exams. More over, my panic attacks don´t help either. Maybe I need a year off too :/

@Evol Ving Ness – well it is a thing, but slowly dying. Because young people tend to run away from all “old”. And then it is opposite extreme, where are people who use herbs for everything, even as a cure for cancer, leukemia and similar.

@All – I really like that there is kind of community here and we talk about one single blend. It makes me so happy! Now, let´s brew something.

haptiK

This conversation has encouraged me to perhaps try making my own blends and seeing what I can come up with.

gmathis

I salute you scientific types. I just throw stuff in a steeping basket and then, if it’s good, bemoan the fact that I have no clue what proportions I used. Of course, I grew up with a Depression-era mom and grandma who just cooked with “hunks” and “clumps” and "a mess of … " And theirs came out right every time. Go figure.

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
632 tasting notes

A random teabag from ashmanra! Arbonne Essentials caffeine-free, unsure if this is the same as the detox tea listed on their website.

Dry bag smelled fruity like a mix of strawberry and blackberry with a light herbal component. Very small chop. Steeped the bag in 8oz of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Instantly dark brew in my mug. Tasted like a fruit tea with a tolerable rosehip or hibiscus tartness and a mix of fruity flavors hard to describe. I guess berries of sorts, maybe apple?, light hibiscus or rosehips. I wish I knew more. Fine for an evening sipper but it would be better suited for a mid-afternoon fruity-tart pick up. Thanks!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 8 OZ / 236 ML
Shanie O Maniac

Oh geez Arbonne! That’s the company I couldn’t think of for the last two years. I used to be addicted to their “Fizzy Tabs” AKA Energy Drink Tablets. I used to pop two of those in a glass of spring water every day before class. Kept me going all day! Sadly, upon looking at the site now, they are no longer available. Thanks so much for reminding me of the name!

ashmanra

Glad it you liked it! I havent even tried it yet myself! Maybe tomorrow…

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
632 tasting notes

After a decade of love/hate with peppermint teas, I finally decided to get my shit together and find a preparation that works for me. No more gross cups of stewed peppermint, ok?

1) Never buy peppermint teabags again. Ever. Buy the freshest, largest, dried leaf I can find at the co-op.
2) Use way less leaf than what’s in the bags – half teaspoon per coffee mug, that’s it.
3) Not every tisane needs boiling water, despite the directions printed on boxes by the faceless herbal tea gurus. I’m not going to die from bacteria and fungi on dried plant matter. 160-175F is good. Bonus: I don’t have to wait for it to cool enough to drink.
4) 10-15 minute steep times? Try 1 minute, 1.5 if I want it stronger. I don’t care about extracting every last molecule of peppermint oil. I’d rather have a good tasting cup.
5) Enjoy a very light, sweet peppermint tea without the stewed flavor, burps or scratchy throat.

Next project: chamomile.

Tabby

I need to heed this advice. I’ve had so many peppermint teas that came out tasting like pickles or spinach.

Mastress Alita

This is pretty much how I am with straight lavender, one of my favorite things. I only need about half a gram (if that!) of nice Farmer’s Market lavender buds and they don’t need to be steeped very long at all or they taste floral-bitter and nasty. But steeped right? Beautiful. And I love a nice lavender tea mixed with a bit of warm coconut milk, too.

Togo

I only drink fresh mint tea. My favourite combination is with some turmeric (ideally fresh as well), lemon/lime skins and sometimes (depending on the mood) a pinch of brown sugar.

derk

Mastress Alita, I remember reading about that in one of your reviews in the past few months. That’s what prompted my quest, so thanks.

derk

Togo, I’ll have to give that a try maybe with some fresh spearmint since that is widely available here.

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Today ended up being an oolong roast day. I tasted a Si Ji Chun I roasted in September after hating its vegetalness unroasted. The roast brought out some woodiness and spice reminiscent of a yancha, weirdly enough. Four or five steeps in, it had a strong brown sugar sweetness. I decided to roast it some more and see where it goes.

I also roasted an Alishan Jin Xuan that was a victim of poor storage at a cafe for a few years. I got several ounces of it ridiculously cheap because of that. Initially I tried a short refresh roast, and while it smelled great–honey, flowers, apricot–all that disappeared when I poured water on it, and the taste just wasn’t there, hardly any better than before reroasting. I roasted it a little further and I’ll check on it in a couple months.

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I roasted a couple sessions’ worth of Teavivre’s Taiwan Monkey Picked Tieguanyin a little further a few days ago, just because. Here’s session #1; #2 will be in a couple months to compare after it’s rested a bit.

In the first few infusions, the nuttiness of this tea is definitely intensified by the roasting, but it also changed from a more generic roasty, nutty flavor to a specific almond note. There’s something almost Dancong-like in this that I can’t identify. While the tea wasn’t spicy at all before, there’s now a hint of spice in the finish. It’s not strong enough to tell what it is. There’s also a mild sweet potato note. The creamy mouthfeel doesn’t seem to have changed.

It seems to lose flavor sooner, which is the opposite of what i expected. Brewing for at least a minute produces a cup of creamy sweetness with little flavor except roast by the fifth infusion. Hopefully as the new roast settles this will improve.

Flavors: Almond, Plums, Roasted, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

derk

How did you roast the tea?

RyanG

Oven at 200 (as low as mine goes) with the door slightly open to keep it from getting too hot and burning the tea. I can’t remember how long I roasted it, I paid more attention to how roasted it smelled and looked than time.

derk

I haven’t had the desire to re/roast any tea until I read your review. I might have to give it a try next time I’m in the woods for a few weeks. Cast iron wok over a low heat, low smoke fire.

RyanG

What are you planning on roasting? I’m finding that 200 degrees works well, and leaving the door open was unnecessary. 200 for 40 minutes has become my standard roast for this tea and especially Teavivre’s Huang Guanyin, which became exactly what I wanted after the roast. That’s how I’ll do the rest of what I roast of those two. I tried roasting some of the Huang Guanyin for an hour and a half and it was too roasted and mostly lost the chocolate. I don’t know how any of this information would translate to your method and whatever you want to roast (obviously it depends on how roasted it is to begin with and how roasted you want it to be), but hopefully this helps some.

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I got an ounce of some generically named “Darjeeling” (so probably a blend of estates and flushes) at a coffee shop yesterday and I’ve been drinking it all day trying to figure out how to get more flavor out of it. It’s very mild and I think it’s getting stale, but the flavor it does have I’d describe as fruity, woody, and mildly spicy (I’ve been noticing this in a lot of tea lately). It has a pretty typical Darjeeling character. There’s nothing unusual in body, astringency, etc. It probably would have been pretty good a year ago, but now it’s a bit bland.

Flavors: Fruity, Spices, Wood

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For some reason, I got an ounce of an Assam from the Mangalam Estate a few months ago at a tea shop. I rarely drink Assam because I generally prefer to make Chinese black tea in my gaiwan. I finished the Keemun I got at the same time a while ago (I really need more Keemun), while I still have enough left for a few cups of this.

This is different from what I think of as the typical Assam. I brewed it quite strongly, but it lacks the tannic bite I expect from Assam, despite being a broken grade. Instead, the texture reminds me of a smooth, full-bodied Ceylon, like something from the Kenilworth Estate. It has notes of caramel, sweet potatoes, malt, and cinnamon, and finishes with enough different spices that adding milk and sugar would probably taste like masala chai. I’ve never had such a spicy unflavored tea. It’s not just the slight peppery sharpness at the back of your throat that so many other teas have. This tea literally tastes like I added spices while I was brewing it, like I started making masala chai and then quit halfway through. This works much better than it seems like it should, and I actually really enjoy it. The spiciness lingers for a few minutes after the last sip.

Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Malt, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

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