250 Tasting Notes

72

Nettle Resumé:

*10 years of experience receiving stinging lashes by 6ft tall Urtica dioica plants.
*4 hours of nursing the pain inflicted by wading through patches of stinging nettles.
*Collection of 2 plants for mounting.
*1 evening with a teabag.

Despite all that time romping around in stinging nettles’ damp environs, I never bothered to harvest them for food because why would I want to mess with something that hurt me. Somebody did the hard work for me here, yay.

The dry bag smells like, haha, flake fish food. Nutritious! Steeped, there is still a whiff of that but it is joined by a sweetness and wet green hay, russet potato, earth and grains. In the mouth it is smooth and a little oily, with tastes of citric tartness, minerals and wet green hay. It possesses more of a vegetal and grassy taste than an herbal, leafy one. My mouth is left a little slick and my tongue feels plump and tingly on the sides. The tartness persists long after finishing the mug. Interesting. I find this a nice evening drink. It feels healthy.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

This jujube leaf is remarkably similar to the one offered by Verdant Tea. The dry leaf smelled a little different but it had all the same taste notes using the same parameters with short steeps in a gaiwan at 175F. I picked up on roasted broccoli, potato skins, potato, brownies, edamame, light sweet cream, a red fruit, vanillin and a pleasant lingering sourness.

The only noteworthy difference between the two was this YS jujube was much less sweet, which I greatly appreciated. I feel like that allowed for a silkier body to come through, still reminiscent of a lightly sweetened, watered down vanilla oatmilk. This one also seemed like a better herbal replacement for green tea.

I’m definitely inclined to purchase YS’s jujube over Verdant’s, but if you like your teas super sweet like Verdant’s other Laoshan offerings, I say go for that one. I’m going to have to drop my rating on that one to compensate for how much I appreciate the lack of persistent sweetness in this YS offering.

Thanks for the pleasant nightcap, Togo.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
eastkyteaguy

I was tempted to lower my rating for Verdant’s gan zao ye myself after trying this one.

derk

little devil derk on your shoulder prods doooo iiiiit

I get the feeling you don’t respond to peer pressure.

eastkyteaguy

derk, you would be correct.

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76
drank 2017 Impression by Yunnan Sourcing
250 tasting notes

It’s a relief to move away from bagged teas finally and back into the puerh realm. I have a sample of 2017 Impression from the benevolent Togo. Thanks, Togo :)

The dry leaf on this is very impressive, shimmering and velvety in the light. It reminds me of a rock covered in lichen, twigs and dirt. It smells like mineral soil and stonefruit. Warming the leaf brings out a date sweetness with the stonefruit and soil. After the rinse, I can smell artichoke, dates, baked apricot and soil.

The first pour is a clear gold with a soft and fruity aroma. It’s dominated by a clean vegetal tone and finishes with peach and apricot. The aftertaste is of apricot and faint pine. Moving along, some bitterness comes in but it is smooth and not penetrating, complementary to the tastes. The texture remains light in the mouth but never lacking. The liquor transitions into tastes of a pleasant leafy and dry grass brassiness, which to me is evidence of autumn material, and the stonefruit finish turns into faint florals. Astringency picks up in the seventh steep and I ended at the ninth, feeling the tea had not much more to offer. The energy is light and calming.

2017 Impression is drinkable now and caused no stomach discomfort. Based on the initial review by Oolong Owl, the bitterness is already taming, or maybe I’m less sensitive to bitter. It seems to be suitable for daily drinking given its smoothness, longevity and energy.

Edit: Am I crazy for thinking this is drinkable now? HA!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

What can you say about bagged chamomile?

It’s a decent chamomile bag. Fresh, not woody. On the Chamomile Flavor Spectrum®, this one lies more toward the earthy end than the apple end. Good enough to drink again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML
__Morgana__

That it loved Bach and the Beatles? LOL

derk

If only the teabag had told me its music preferences before I drank it out of existence, then I would have been inclined to rate it higher.

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75
drank Moroccan Mint by Stash Tea Company
250 tasting notes

Stash’s Moroccan Mint Green is well balanced and pretty smooth. I appreciate that I can taste the green tea – Young Hyson – which I’ve never knowingly drank. I think I got a nutty impression from it. The spearmint and peppermint are both present and mingle appropriately, never overwhelming. The lemongrass is thankfully light and adds just the right amount of citrus touch. Pretty good for a bagged green tea and nice to have after a second Thanksgiving meal.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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54
drank Pumpkin Spice by The Republic of Tea
250 tasting notes

Generic pumpkin spice tea. It smells delicious, yes, like creamy, sweet pumpkin pie filling, but in the mouth it’s rather flat. Neither creamy not sweet and no pumpkin flavor. It tastes mostly of pumpkin pie spice flavoring mixed with a floral black tea base that has a propensity toward bitterness, which I find an odd combination with the spice but not bad. Mix that flavor with some sweet Yunnan black and it’d be much better.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

Yunnan makes everything better.

derk

Yeah and I think the sweet potato flavor often found in Yunnan blacks would really elevate this tea since RoT pretty much nailed the spice here.

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24

I got this as part of a 3-tin stack of seasonal blends including Hot Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice. In the stack, this one is called Hibiscus Cranberry, but it’s the same tea as Cranberry Spice Hibiscus. Idk what’s up with that.

The dry bag smells like hibiscus and cranberry with spices. Aroma is strong cranberry spice, like Yankee Candle levels. One small cup permeates my entire living room. I do not object. The taste is exactly as advertised in the name – cranberry and hibiscus foremost with a light spice flavor underneath. I can’t pick out individual spices. The dark berry red tea is drying and very tart. I like hibiscus but this one is so tart it gives me reflux which I rarely get. Very glad there are only 12 bags per tin because this one is kind of brutal. Definitely won’t be looking for Hibiscus Cranberry next season.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

I’ve never tried it with a spiced hibi blend, but cold-steeping hibi in lemonade can work wonders on the tartest of hibi blends, since the lemonade adds a counter-balancing sweetness. The citrus is a nice accompanying flavor and I find it kind of tastes like raspberry lemonade afterwards.

derk

I was going to cold brew the remainder so I will take this suggestion into consideration. Thanks.

derk

I cold brewed 3 bags to a liter overnight and the flavors are so intense it’s like drinking a candle. Wtf. If Cranberry Hibiscus doesn’t play nice cold brewed in lemonade, this tin is going on the community table in the lobby.

Mastress Alita

I’ve had some oddly surprising results with it, which is why even during winter I tend to keep at least one cheap lemonade concentrate in my freezer, heh.

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49
drank Sing Your Song by Artful Tea
250 tasting notes

This is another normally-sold-as-loose tisane from ArtfulTea that I have as a sample in an unbleached filter bag.

Love the look of the chunky material in the bag. Brewed up, it’s mostly lemongrass tasting and sweet from the licorice root. Not sure, but I can maybe pick up on the ginger and peppermint in the aroma. It is warming from the ginger, though, and I do feel my sinuses opening up from the peppermint. The green cardamom pods are doing nothing for me even though I can smell them in the steeped bag. In my opinion, cardamom seeds need to be crushed.

Somebody out there will enjoy this, I’m sure, but for some reason I don’t like dried lemongrass even though I like other lemony herbs. Fresh, though, hell yeah. This tea isn’t bad – it’s smooth just not my taste.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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78
drank Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings
250 tasting notes

My aunt gave me an opened box of this to take home since it’s only 2 months from the Best By date. I’m a little bit of a scavenger by nature so I ain’t complainin’. She does this with wine, too, which doesn’t have a best by date. She just gives me all the red wine she receives as gifts that she doesn’t think she’ll like. Definitely not complainin’ about that one.

For being opened for who knows how long and so close to the Best By date, it’s still very potent. It’s mostly a drying cinnamon oil and clove spicy herbal tea with a decent chocolatey carob note and a hint of vanilla. Carob and caramel sweetness settle at the bottom of the mug for a nice ending. It’s warming and tasty enough to drink two cups in a row. I let the bag do its thing while I sip. Glad I can still find some joy in grocery store tea.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 10 OZ / 295 ML
Mastress Alita

This is one of the few grocery store teas I still enjoy. I like it in vanilla almond milk, too.

derk

Oh man, I bet some fresh and creamy vanilla almond milk would be amazing. Too bad it’s so expensive. I’ll try it with the Blue Diamond stuff soon since I have some in the fridge.

derk

I’m actually on me third bag of the evening. It’s kind of addicting.

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85

Rejoice! First day of the rainy season! Let there be oil-slicked roads and accidents, landslides, lakes on 101 that span 3 lanes and potholes lurking underneath that eat cars for breakfast. Wash away the stench of months of… nevermind. It’s gray and wet, the air is clean once again, I am happy.

Wild Boar. April 2018 harvest. Gone western. 2.5g (2tsp), 8oz, 205F, 3 steeps at 3/5/11m.

The dry leaf is fragrant with dark fruit notes such as prune, blueberry, blackberry and cherry. There is a rose floral note that sits just beneath the dark fruits and an undertone of cedar and malt.

After the first steep, the wet leaf smells like prune, blackberry and a faint menthol. These also show up in the the liquor aroma with additions of cedar, amber and another incense. The first thing I notice about the liquor is not the tastes but the body. It is s full, robust and brisk with an interesting tingly, astringent mouthfeel I’ve never experienced before, pleasurable and reminiscent of a Ceylon but not quite. It’s lightly bitter, tart and mineral.

Once I get used to what’s going on in my mouth, I can focus on the tastes which are almost like a Darjeeling. I pick up on berry, cypress?, autumn leaf, salt, cherry, raisin, rye and faint malt, walnut, rose and incense. There’s a gentle menthol cooling quality to this tea that opens my sinuses. I can breathe clearly again. A moderate to strong, delayed returning sweetness appears. In the second steep, I can also pick up some butter and an odd impression of creaminess in the body. That becomes more prominent in the third steep. The aftertaste is pleasant and tart with some salivation.

Wild Boar is an interesting, unique tea. It offers a kind of simplistic quality upfront, but once I take the time to appreciate it, the scents and tastes really open up with some complexity – something that makes me want to try this brewed in a gaiwan. It has a great body and robustness that makes this a nice breakfast/morning tea. It’s not mind-blowing but for the price, this kind of quality is hard to beat.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
__Morgana__

LOL @ oil-slicked roads and accidents… lakes on 101…

derk

Stay safe if you’re travelling!

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Profile

Bio

Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy. Message me if you want to try something :)

Most enjoyment: Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng and shou puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, Laoshan green. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes. I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog or matcha latte. I generally steep a tea until it has no more to give.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings. Just nothing cloying especially banana, caramel, coconut, cinnamon or maple.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Won’t buy again.
59-1: Lacking several elements, has off flavors, lacks flavor, or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Location

San Francisco, California, USA

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