1287 Tasting Notes

90
drank Nine Lotus by Mandala Tea
1287 tasting notes

Orchids everywhere. Whispers of bitter greens, sweetgrass and mossy granite. Silky with some interest provided by refined astringency. Long, gripping floral aftertaste. A unique feeling in the body. Muscles feel energized but I’m also encouraged to meditate. Subtly powerful.

Flavors: Astringent, Buffalo Grass, Floral, Kale, Moss, Orchid, Roasted Nuts, Silky, Wet Rocks

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64
drank Laurel by Chroma Tea
1287 tasting notes

Mild tea with a moderate, muddled flavor. I was surprised with sweetness, which at first thought was the result of licorice root but there is none here. Only fennel seeds and the two mints can produce the little bit of syrupy quality. A little grounding I’d attribute to the burdock root. I do wish the tulsi was noticeable. Laurel is decent as a lukewarm nighttime cup but I would like to try the remainder as an iced tea.

Flavors: Fennel Seed, Herbaceous, Mint, Soft, Sweet

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98
drank Aquamarine by Chroma Tea
1287 tasting notes

Chroma finally blended a new batch and I was so happy that I bought 50g a few months ago. There is no difference between the two batches. Impressive.

I keep trying to think of a way to describe how this tea makes me feel but fall short of the accurate marketing-speak:

“Inspired by old apothecary blends- the kind you might find in a movie stumbling into a dimly-lit shop to find a blue-green glass bottle on the highest shelf behind a pile of books.”

The best I can conjure is a cool stream emerging from the dark mystery of a rainforest, carrying the rich, earthy and spicy scents of the flora and terra, flowing gently into a shallow and clear warm sea under a cloudy winter sky. Have you ever felt the confluence of those two energies? Similar to the way it feels when you swim through tepid waters and suddenly a warm current envelops you in a momentary womb, or a cold current provides a blood-moving shock to the senses. This tea captures both of those aquatic sensations but is at the same time undeniably grounding.

Following Chroma’s parameters of 5g to a mug (in my case, it’s 10oz), I get three fully flavored steeps. It’s a worthwhile commitment.

ashmanra

I felt the water…

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58

After trying ice-brewing again, I decided it wasn’t for me. Since I have so many teas at home I’d rather drink, this had the potential to become severely neglected. It’s good enough that I didn’t want to toss the leaf, so I took it to work to see what I could do with it there.

Turns out the key to my appreciation for this tea lies in a much lower leaf-to-water ratio than is custom for gyokuro. I let the cup of dispenser hot water sit while I dive into these involved projects I’m working on and by the time I come up for a breather, the water has cooled to gyokuro brewing temperature or lower. Take a big pinch of leaf (3-4g) and let it steep for several minutes (a 2nd steep, too). The resulting cup effects my mood and work pace in a very beneficial way. I detect almost no bitterness and the low, deep, thick and rich umami is lightened enough that my body and tastebuds do not protest.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Sunburst by Chroma Tea
1287 tasting notes

Figured I should open this and drink it before the last hot days of the year fade away — praise the glorb!

I’m with Roswell Strange here — this is a really unique blend! Ros had a few great descriptions that mirrored my experience and I agree that this tastes Thai-inspired, almost like a pineapple curry? It tastes so natural without any added flavoring.

I feel sunshine, warmth, happiness, a lightness of being with a hint of grounding from the turmeric. The coconut gives such a nice barely there fatty mouthfeel, and when combined with vanilla, softens any sharp edges the unsweetened pineapple, lemongrass and yuzu oil might have. The cinnamon reminds me of the feeling of sun-warmed skin.

I ate all the pineapple afterward <3

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Coconut, Fruity, Juicy, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Savory, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical, Turmeric, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
TeaEarleGreyHot

You ate the spent pineapple? Waste-not, want-not! Reminds me of the folks who eat their dragonwell leaf, post-steep! I suppose anything is better than rooibos!

derk

I can imagine the misery of a mouthful of rooibos.

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A tisane so well blended that nothing stands out which makes it a great cup before bed. Nutty and herbal with a tangy, tingly-clean finish. Lightly cooling.

Flavors: Herbal, Mint, Nutty, Salty, Tangy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Martin Bednář

I agree with you and along with Relax from Bird and Blend it really relaxes me. It is hard to find relaxing teas without St John’s wort which I can’t use.

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100

Upfront and penetrating aromas (osmanthus!!) and tastes. Bright and deep, fruity and sweet, fluid and full, smooth, almost sticky but leaning more soft and oily. I don’t know how to say this without turning people away, but it has a strong cat pee character. Reframe that as black currant, ginseng and hops and you’ll be in love. Throw in strawberry, grapes, mango, apricot, banana and dates and I guarantee you won’t turn your nose up at it. There’s probably some tropical fruit out there that embodies this melange. Turns more honeyed plum and passion fruit with forgotten steeps. Long, cooling finish and savory-fruity osmanthus aftertaste with spice notes. Also, it’s very easy to brew and long-lasting. I know a lot of people brew leaf only once but if you do that with this tea, I will weep at your folly. This is what it sounds like when a derk cries.

Now a word about the energy. This is powerful stuff. It knocked my socks off, unscrewed my head, screwed it back on straight and had me FLYING. Intensely uplifting, beautifully intimidating. I’m scared to try this gongfu with more leaf.

Highly recommended for anybody that can appreciate the, um, black currant character.

Album pairing: AIR — Moon Safari

Flavors: Allspice, Apricot, Banana, Black Currant, Bread, Dates, Fruity, Ginseng, Grapes, Herbal, Hops, Licorice Root, Mango, Mineral, Mint, Nutmeg, Oily, Orange Zest, Osmanthus, Passion Fruit, Plum, Soft, Sweet, Tropical, Winter Honey

Preparation
3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

That may make me chuckle all day!

mrmopar

I need to try this one. I have a sample tucked away. Maybe anniversary week in the mountains of NC near Traphill.

TeaEarleGreyHot

Oh yum!,
Absolutely, I must get my paws on some of this cat pee tea! Pardon my litterbox humor, ha!

derk

I would be happy to send you some, TeaEarleGreyHot. Send me a PM if you’d like. Essence of Tea has so many good teas that I do suggest an order, especially for you as a lover of pu’er.

derk

Today I brewed a cup for a coworker who drinks coffee but not tea. He said the tea was ‘doing things inside of me, hitting many systems at once. It’s filling my whole body. It is sticking with me." He’s sensitive to these feelings. I could sense the energy moving within him, and while he seemed overwhelmed by it, he kept commenting on how good it made him feel.

ashmanra

That’s impressive!

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drank 2017 Beidou 北斗 by Wuyi Origin
1287 tasting notes

This seems to be right on the edge of needing to be reroasted. The first few steeps have that aging oolong sourness creeping in along with a perfumey air. But it all smooths out as the steeps progress, lightly exhibiting an incense character with an orange tone in the midground. Vaporous notes of chocolate syrup, orange zest, coconut/husk and charcoal are supported by that lowdown and earthy Wuyi wet rock minerality I find so fascinating. In the final steep, spearmint and vanilla are the most apparent. Mild aftertaste. Mouthfeel never comes to mind. I am calm and grounded but also with a stimulation that has me feeling like I’m elevated and being pulled forward while my toes sweep the ground. Interesting experience. I haven’t felt an energy like this from tea for a while.

Thanks for today’s wonderful complement, Leafhopper :)

Song pairing: Prince — Controversy

Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Charcoal, Chocolate, Coconut, Coconut Husk, Earthy, Incense, Mineral, Oak, Orange, Orange Zest, Peach, Perfume, Pleasantly Sour, Spearmint, Vanilla, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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82

Spring 2022 harvest

Shines western in glass with shorter steeps, like 1 minute or less. I tried brewing in a tiny pot but that was a disaster, very bitter and drying even thought I was caring for the leaf. Bowl brewing is quite good. A manageable bitterness can sit at the bottom.

Leaf in hand smells like roasted chestnuts, understated caramel-vanilla-cream, blanched nettles and a surprising heavy undertone of cinnamon, not sharp but like it’s part of a dish that’s been cooked for hours. The brewed aroma is of roasted nuts, sweet and soft roasted chestnut, soybean and seafood umami.

Lightly viscous, clean and sweet vegetal-nutty-umami taste. Notes of soybean, pistachio, oats, cashew, stewed green bean and spinach, grass, seafood broth and a creamy tone reminiscent of cauliflower. No notable aftertaste or energy.

It’s less refined? than the Imperial Grade I went crazy about 4 years ago. More rounded and nutty, more seafood umami, less vibrant structure to the taste. I miss the sharpness of leeks, the chicken broth umami, the feeling of being surrounded by cypress trees on a foggy coastal cliff.

This has good longevity, though, and is very easy to drink.

edited: Had a lot of pent up emotion. Talking and writing weren’t cutting it. Typing it out was all i needed to clear my mind, as well as some kind words. Thanks :) I got this.

Flavors: Caramel, Cashew, Cauliflower, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Creamy, Fish Broth, Grass, Green Beans, Herbs, Mineral, Nutty, Oats, Pistachio, Roasted Nuts, Round, Shellfish, Soybean, Spinach, Sweet, Tannin, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Viscous

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

Praying for you to be full of guts, gumption, and grace over the next few weeks!

derk

Thank you, that means a lot.

ashmanra

Praying and available if you need a listening ear!

Martin Bednář

derk I am sending you hugs and prayers… and…
Something about me:
I was in the very same boat as you. Never asking for help, because it felt like confessing I am weak and can’t do it myself. I was trying and trying and failing so often. School stuff, my panic attacks (I can beat them myself!), even some DIYs, driving and such. I CAN DO IT MYSELF in the best way.

Hell no! And I found that not so long ago. At work. That it is completely normal to say “I do not know.” “I need help.” or something like that. Be kind to others and others will be kind to you. Don’t forget to say thank you even for small things.

And now… yes — I do not do sales, but I have to decide for many things. How to pack things (hazmats too), which transport mode to use. How to label it accordingly. How to do not forgot to do anything. So many decisions are on my chest and sometimes it feels “yikes” but sometimes it fills me with pride that I was able to do it. The responsibility is hard for me though. I would be rather somewhere in the back-office where noone knows about me. Sometimes. Also, it’s up to me to write most of the English emails to everyone. From shipping issues, to fulfilling the orders from our subsidiary companies. Because “you are young and know English better than everyone.” So I just had to ask for credit note… while finances are nothing I want to work with.

Be strong and I am also available if you need to be listened by someone else. Ashmanra knows my rants :) but it is necessary.

mrmopar

We are just an email away if you need anything.

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drank Royal Grape by Richard
1287 tasting notes

Second grape tea of the day, this one brewed with water dispenser hot water. I had to go into work today :(

This is very similar to 1001 and 1 Royal Nights and again reminds me of a Dammann Frères tea. It’s just as bright and sparkling candylike with a soft rose addition, but with none of the strawberry or cheap green tea notes. More robust and with slightly more tannin texture since it’s an all black tea. Second steep with less water was fine but really the bag’s only good for one because fannings.

Between the two teas this morning, my craving for something grape flavored has been satisfied. But I still want some red wine :)

Flavors: Candy, Fruity, Grapes, Juicy, Muscatel, Rose, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML
gmathis

Bet that would be good on ice!

Martin Bednář

I am glad to read theey were good for you as well :)

derk

Likely so, gmathis. And thank you, Martin.

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Bio

Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Always on the lookout for teas from countries and regions not commonly known for tea production or those that are not well represented in the western market. I seek these teas to gain an understanding, however vague, of how this plant performs in different climates.

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Sonoma County, CA

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