1029 Tasting Notes

This tea, what the fuck. And reading tea notes from Sierge, another what the fuck. Funny thing about the internet is the blur between man and machine.

Yesterday started the day prior. Maybe several days before that into last week. The sky drops a stone, Sierge drops a note, or in the case of what’s actually been happening in the Garden of Derk, a mosquito drone zips up up down down left right left right b a start in my airspace, hovers over my neighbors’, slowly pivots and snaps photos (a government operative so says neighbor-across-the-way), elicits a scream from me into the windstorm of the night. I can’t sleep with… that… buzzing… in. my. ear! The ribbon-scrawls of my vibrating chords out the sliding glass door get snagged in the beak of the raven that rains the fruits of the giant date palm upon our heads and the garbage cans below with dark comedic sounds of dullish thunk and plastic clunk. The operator is an operative; it cannot sense my anguish. My calls to the operator to cease and desist are truncated by the wind changing direction and the drone slicing up the night.

A drone drops a bomb, a raven drops a date, a hawk fights above with a crow and one of them drops a third bird in the bath below. And another, and another. A quiet war in an overlain world rages for our garden. We tip the bird bath several times daily toward the cat graves under the lemon tree. The residuum of war — a stew of sun-warmed water and remnants of tiny beasts — a bony wing, a clawfoot, a spinal chord, engorged entrails, waterlogged lucent lizard skin — nourishes the seed and cultivates the strange. Rinse and refill.

A derk drops a bean and it grows.

The tendrils of weird snake their way through the days, twirling and weaving, winding and binding the feet of unaware apes. You know the sound of a growing woody vine? It crunches the large, dry leaves on the floor in its slow wake. A sound one cannot discern unless one is tuned into their own insidious nature when surrounded by silence. An arthritic hand of earth assembles itself. “It’s time,” it says and reaches out to touch tips with a fallen Buddha’s hand and the two hands, snickering as one, pull the chain of monkeys to the ground.

Somebody passed, another was born, another took hand, another retired, many resigned, an innocent question rang a bell that nobody knew needed ringing. Raw energy oozed from the crevices of the earth, crept from the cracks in our collective being. The vine was tensed, the tail was tugged, the dog had bit and we all fell to our knees, stinging palms with rocks embedded, bruised egos pounding dirt. Still, so many felt the full force but did not register the complexity. And after, we all got up and brushed ourselves off.

This week was a weird one and I think this tea precipitated from my own vessel into a teacup all these fucking weird feelings and I must keep drinking of the earth and the dark beauty of nature in order to understand. And occasionally generate some clicking sounds into the void. Humans want to make sense of things. Funny, I cannot do that with this tea.

Flavors: Berries, Campfire, Cotton Candy, Lemon, Lime, Olive Oil, Raisins, Saffron, White Wine

Togo

Love your note, thank you derk

When sense is deprived, what is left but to embrace the weirdness?

mrmopar

I loved this. Sounds like some of my days.

derk

<3 to my tea friends

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Naked and strange. A glimmering herald. A glass chrysalis. Serendipity. Words fail the day.

Sierge Krьstъ

just curious if you had a go at it the day after next eclipse in autumn, wonder if there is a pattern with moon affecting ebb flows

derk

I will try to save some for the event.

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Huh, this tastes just like eating a roll of Necco wafers with some of that yerba maté in the background. Too bad it has so much sugar – this would be my go-to carbonated flavor.

tea-sipper

Necco! Wafers! I miss them!

Cameron B.

Lol Necco Wafers! Not a good flavor for tea ha ha.

Mastress Alita

I am loving using a carbonation machine on my cold brew teas, but I can’t imagine that taste mixed with yerba mate…

derk

It’s better than that might come across. Maybe like a tamarind-lime ginger-spiced dr pepper-cola maté?

Martin Bednář

Necco wafers… can anyone tell me what they were like? :D

Mastress Alita

They’re a somewhat infamous for being a commonly disliked American candy (though they certainly do have some fans). The best way I can describe one is slightly fruity and super sweet chalk.

Cameron B.

I didn’t mind them to be honest, especially the purple anise ones. But yes, mostly chalky and sweet ha ha.

Mastress Alita

They are not my most hated candy (that goes to Circus Peanuts) but I wouldn’t ever buy them, either. Sitting around in a breakroom for free? Ya, I can eat that…

Martin Bednář

I think I can see Czech equivalent maybe… but can’t tell for sure. Into the list of things I want to try once.

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Coming back to this tea in the hopes of sipping down in the next day or two. The tannins and acidity that I can’t get away from in western style are definitely mitigated with short steeps in a gaiwan. I forgot just how complex this tea is. Lots of dried fruit, brandy, cocoa, vanilla, cedar wood, fruity tobacco, cool mountain air, camphor. Decent aroma, if a bit thin; good length to the aftertaste.

Sierge Krьstъ

There is a strange place in Laos called something like valley of jars. I am nearly sure i tasted a tea from there from a German vendor. Terroir defers a lot thru these nations but the problem these are marketed to emulate of more popular destination. I am yet to come across some Cambodian varieties. Myanmar, very clean undulated taste. With liubao being hit in Indonesia, you would expect more from surrounding markets. But at the end of the day is who knows who. The universe has plans to keep some gems secret until it is time to unveil. And steepster is part of its destiny

Leafhopper

I’m glad you’ve been able to get more out of this tea than I did when I sampled it Western. Maybe gongfu was the way to go.

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drank Nilgiri Highland Black by Ketlee.in
1029 tasting notes

Surprise freebie kindly included in my order :)

Dry leaf smells very spicy-woody-floral, lots of pine wood and rosewood, undertones of cinnamon and peppermint. The steeped aroma has notes of white grapes, rosewood, milk chocolate (or is it white?), cooked mango, rose. The taste is like a flowing spring. Fruity notes of guava and cooked peaches; a distinct, soft and warm nuttiness; floral; green chillies, spearmint. Oily, almost creamy mouthfeel that supports gentle brisk astringency and minerality. There’s an acidity to the tea that reminds me of gooseberries but it doesn’t taste sour or tart to me. Nutty-herbal-peach pit aftertaste.

Really lovely tea. Complex but not challenging, very easy to drink. I feel a sense of place drinking this.

Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Creamy, Floral, Green Pepper, Guava, Herbs, Mango, Mineral, Nuts, Nutty, Peach, Peppermint, Pine, Rose, Spearmint, Spicy, Spring Water, White Chocolate, White Grapes, Wood

Roswell Strange

How long did it take for your order to arrive? I placed an order in early April but it hasn’t shown up yet…

derk

About 6 weeks for this order which I placed first week of April. Sounds like covid/restrictions hit India pretty hard right after that. Worth the wait, tho. Hope yours shows up soon!

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12
drank 100% Natural Green by Lipton
1029 tasting notes

Oh, nooo…

Had with a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl for lunch today. The tea smelled like swamp. Scratch that. It smelled like a murky puddle thick with algal growth. It tasted like flat and sour buttery dry grass.

The food deserved better, like a basic Vietnamese jasmine green tea. The restaurant even used proper temperature water in the pot.

:(

Mastress Alita

I hate when I order tea in a restaurant and then the tea bag they bring out is a really crap brand…

Leafhopper

Blech! I guess they deserve points for getting the temperature right.

Martin Bednář

Ordering a tea in a restaurant is always a gamble, unless they have stated the brand. But it’s sad to see Lipton, or some other famous brands considered as high-end brand here sometimes.

mrmopar

We are lucky as our Chinese place has excellent tea. But places like it are far and few in between.

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drank Auburn by Chroma Tea
1029 tasting notes

First sips, I like the way this tastes well enough. I’m not sure I like the way it smells in my mug. The cypress oil is an intriguing addition to a chai-type blend but as I take more sips, I realize ultimately there’s too much going on. Not a fan of the mix of cacao and vanilla with goji and elderberry. I smell all that in the steam and it lingers in a sickly way in the aftertaste. When the mug gets to room temp, it all tastes like mustard. What the. Weird.

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drank Rooibos Poire by Lupicia
1029 tasting notes

This green rooibos is really tasty but not quite satisfying? It’s something light-bodied and juicy that I’d want to drink as an iced tea on a scorching hot day. The flavoring is like a mix of juicy yellow pear and Ace perry cider. It also kind of reminds me of both green apple and kiwi Hi-Chew candies. The green rooibos provides some kind of darker undertone that I can’t describe.

Kiki likes it and thinks it definitely tastes like juicy pear. She says it has a tartness to it. “It almost tastes like apple cider but with pears.”

Flavors: Alcohol, Apple, Apple Candy, Fruity, Green Apple, Pear, Tart

ashmanra

Green rooibos is quite pleasant to me! Might try this one as I have enjoyed the pear teas I have tried.

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Typical Indian musky-spicy smell to the dry leaf — sun-warmed hard and dry earth, rosewood, green chillies. Moderate yellow peony aroma given off by a soft sunshine yellow brew. Strong note of yellow peony and thinned honey on the sip. Very clean.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. It starts off filling the mouth and then flows over the sides of the tongue, eliciting a mouth-watering, tingly response. It swallows gently brisk-astringent, not enough to consider the tea drying. It feels playful and supple, thirst-quenching. The overall taste of the tea matches the mouthfeel very well. Delicate and well-rounded flavors that are subtly fruity, floral, woody-spice and hay-herbaceous-vegetal. Minty-spicy in throat and chest.

I wouldn’t recommend this to beginners since the flavors are tonal and not so apparent (could be construed as tasting like water). Overall, bright, sunny, warm, youthful with a knowing edge. This is a great tea that does blur the lines between a white tea and a Darjeeling-style first flush black.

Thanks for introducing a new-to-me company, Natethesnake, via your note for Ketlee’s Indian sheng. I’m looking forward to tasting through a range of tea types including green, white, black, oolong, sheng and a masala chai, representing several tea-producing regions in India. Indian teas I feel pair well with the dry season here in northern California.

Flavors: Astringent, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Rose, Round , Salt, Smooth, Spearmint, Spicy, Thick, Vegetal, Wood

Leafhopper

This company has been on my radar for a while. Looking forward to reading your reviews!

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drank Blueberry Peach Crisp by Cuppa Geek
1029 tasting notes

Deep baked-fruits aroma/flavor and sweet, pastry-like cinnamon without actually being sweet. The aroma is a bit too artificial for my liking, but it’s a nice, strong scent. The blueberry and peach are well balanced. The Lipton-like black tea brings a grounding, woody tone, while the hibiscus/rose hips/cranberries (whatever amount ends up in a mere teaspoon) bring just enough tang to brighten the brew. I think this one is really well done, well balanced. While not something I would find myself craving, I do recommend it. Of all the times I’ve brewed it, the last cup has been the best with 1 tsp to 6 ounces instead of 8.

Flavors: Artificial, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Dark Wood, Pastries, Peach, Tangy, Tea

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Bio

Always open to gifting or swapping teas. I do send international when feasible. Please follow and send a message if you see a tea in my notes or cupboard that piques your interest.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng puer, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently.

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes. I might have attention issues. One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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