74 Tasting Notes

drank Fire Jade by Puripan
74 tasting notes

Having posted any tasting notes in a while…
Partly because I haven’t been drinking tea until recently, and also partly because I’m not sure what a lot of my teas are anymore, or where they come from. I would have to post them as things like “Indian(?) black tea” and “Some sort of Oolong… I’m pretty sure it’s on the greener side”.

Fire Jade, though, I know comes from Puripan.
Had this tea this morning. By morning, i mean at 4PM, which was like two hours after I woke up. It was really nice to drink. I listened to Van Morrison while i drink it. He’s good too.
Know what? Everything’s good lately.
Awesome things went down in my tea/bedroom yesterday.
I’m in too good of a mood to criticize a tea.
Everyone on Steepster: Look up Puripan, and order yourselves a package of this tea. Unless you live nearby, you’ll have to call them on the telephone. And only if you live in the US.
But it’s all good! /good/

I’ll try to post more serious reviews in the future.

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drank Hadong by Puripan
74 tasting notes

Replacing a can of soda for a pot of tea, for my breakfast. Seems like in all ways a good idea. I’m not sure how long I’ve had this tea in my cupboard, but I’m pretty sure it was less than a year, and it wasn’t opened.

I’m pretty sure this green is Korean – which, if you’re curious, is mighty close to Chinese in flavor. I do, however, prefer the appearance of Korean leaves after unfurling. Not sure if there’s a specific reason, I just tend to like them, they look pretty.
If you want a description of the taste just look at the company’s description. This tea is… good, but it doesn’t excite me, so I don’t feel like getting into an all-out explanation of the complexities of the flavor and so on.

What I will say, is that I probably purchased this tea because of the name.
Ha, Dong

I’ve noticed I’ve become more sensitive to water quality. Perhaps I’m not enjoying this tea so much because I used unfiltered tap water, and not the pure water I get at the store. It’s interesting, though – I’m beginning to distinguish the flavor of the water within the tea, and then judge how it affects the tea.

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Getting this tea was a story on it’s own, but I don’t feel like telling it – because i have a better one!

So, this was my first time having this tea since I was in China, over a year ago. It was pretty good, actually – the sweetness is really an interesting touch. The first infusion was really good, and the second brew handled a vast over-steep extremely well. (I was playing a game online, and I forgot about it… I do that a lot). This is the infusion I used for the iced tea.

So, here we are, the morning after, with the continuing iced-tea concoction experiment. The ginseng really overpowers the flavor – it’s the newest, and constitutes about half of the total pitcher. So far, it’s not undrinkable. Not much to say this time – it really tastes a lot like the ginseng oolong.
Color-wise, it looks a lot like the pre-made oolongs you find in asian markets, in large plastic bottles. I love that color.

I took this tea with a vitamin, though I hate how those vitamins make me feel – they’re really big, so they give me chest pains. Also, I don’t like having lime-green pee. So, why am I taking vitamins?
To help heal…

My new piercing!
This makes number two – first was my eyebrow, this one is an industrial.
For those of you who are not familiar with the terminology, an industrial is a metal bar through the cartilage of the upper ear.
For those of you who want to know, it’s pretty painful to get – but with that good kind of pain – and it makes things awkward. Like, sleeping, washing your hair, and taking off your shirt. Of course, I had a similar experience with the brow, but this one is more fussy. Also, I have to put my ear in a glass of saltwater twice a day.
For those of you who are questioning, hell yes it was worth it.

Oh, and for those of you who are shyly curious,
it’s pretty damn sexy.

Now the fun part!
I have a very perceptive sister, and since my parents are on a roadtrip, it’s just us, her baby, and the dogs in the house. It’s become an inconsequential game of Secret Survival. Last night, the game almost ended prematurely – my sister saw my glass of salt solution in the bathroom, which I covered with the excuse that my eyebrow piercing got infected, and I was just cleaning it out. She looked at me with her narrow-eyed, “you’re hiding something” look, and told me to stick out my tongue. Fortunately, my sister is not knowledgeable in piercing concealment, so she didn’t recognize the classic “long hair over the ear” trick, nor did she understand that it’s nearly impossible to hide a tongue piercing for the first two weeks. Dodged a bullet there!
Of course, my family will have to find out eventually, but let’s see how long I can keep this going. Gods, I love getting holes in my skin.

On a related note, I’m looking at a possible career choice :)


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Step two, in my in my CrAzY cOnCoCtIoN cOnVoRtInG
Added a half-pot of white tea. We can already forget about the ratios, by the way. It’s not 50-50, or 75-25. Probably somewhere inbetween.

So, I used some white tea. I realized that Ginger Pu Erh is probably a terrible base, but whatchagonnado? I figured white tea would be a nice way to settle it out a bit – to be honest, White and Pu Erh taste kind of similar to me.
Insofar, I like how it tastes. The kick of the Ging. P. is much milder, but it’s still holding out in there. It’s kind of a high note against the low overtones of white and Pu Erh’s earthiness.
I let this refrigerate “overnight”, a period in which I did not sleep. I’ve been running 12-hour sleep sessions the past couple of days, and when that happens my body forces me into a roughly 30-hour waking binge to get me back into a normal swing. I realized this was happening after spending two hours trying to sleep.
I have a trivial story I feel like telling, so here it goes:
I went to an all-night diner at one point, to do some writing. When I got out, I noticed a s**t ton of smoke coming from nearby, (this was around 5AM), and I was like “Adventure!” So i got in my car, and went off to follow it, ‘cause "where there’s smoke, there’s fire."
Turns out, I was right.
Turns out, it was real close.
Turns out, it was an elementary school.
At least it’s summer vacation, right?
On the bright side, the event fits well into the autobiographical story I’m writing right now, so it’s not a total loss. That sounds terrible.
It was probably vandalism.
Happy 5th of July.


If an elementary school is going to be on fire, 5 a.m. on a holiday during the summer is a good time for it.


Probably not if you’re a policeman/fireman :P
There was a cop in the diner, and I considered going back in and asking if he knew what was going on, but if wasn’t aware, I’d hate to ruin his meal with news of a fire.


True, I just meant glad no kids could get hurt.

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drank Ginger Pu Erh by Puripan
74 tasting notes

Summer tea project!

Hey, it’s been a while, and I know I say this from time to time, but I’m (again) trying to get back into tea. And this time, I have something in mind to keep me going.

So, it started earlier when I had myself a pot of Ginger Pu Erh. I figured I’d try the leaves for another steep, so I prepared another potful.
- oh, a quick distraction. Since I’m getting back into tea, I gave my two cast-iron pots a good cleaning (Baking soda and boiling water, overnight). I cannot tell you how much I love the sheen it gives to my pots’ enamel. They look as good as new (on the inside, at least.)
Back to the story…
By the time the water was ready, I didn’t feel like having any more. So, I figured, instead of wasting a good steep, I’d just throw it in the fridge for later.
It’s later now.
[I’ll throw this in for sake of making this a “Tasting Note”:
It was good. Ginger adds a nice sting.]
In any case, I still have half of the half-pitcher the pot made (a quarter pitcher is left, for those of you who had trouble with word-problems in math class), and I felt like having me some hot tea – and the idea hits me. What if I just throw all my leftover tea in the pitcher, and see how it turns out?
Second thought: Summer project!
Third Thought: I wonder how this will turn out!
Fourth thought: I wonder how how bad this will turn out…
Fifth thought: I might as well keep track of this on steepster.

Next ingredient, some white tea.
I’ll keep you beezies posted.

Iced 6 min, 0 sec

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drank Amali Oolong by Teagre
74 tasting notes

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ll try to make a come back here.

As usual, I’ll ramble a bit before getting to the actual review:
I was walking around the farmer’s market yesterday, scrounging up a breakfast in free samples, when I came across a Teagre stand. I really stopped by because it was hot out, and they had iced samples… in any case, I was a bit turned off from their teas, because it seemed like it was all just flavored hibbity-jibbity (not sure where that word just came from), but then I noticed a selection of African teas, like this one. I started up a conversation with the very lovely woman working the stand, and we started talking about tea – she actually knew her stuff pretty well, and we share similar tastes, which was a pleasant surprise – and she told me about the her tea business, and that she’s opening up a shop in the area this summer. Very exciting for me.
As I’ve interpreted it, she’s taking a different approach to tea than most of the bigger tea corporations. It’s not so much about providing a cultural tea experience, or being flashy and forerunner is tea pop-culture like Teavana, though it does dip a bit into both those realms, but it’s more focused on doing business Fair-Trade. Which is why here I have a Kenyan Oolong.

In any case, I’ll skip the rest of the boring detail, and get on to the tea.
The leaf itself is CTC, which I usually don’t go for in oolongs – I’m a whole-leaf kind of guy for sure. But, this being a tea from Africa, where they’re still finding their footing in the world of tea, and producing almost exclusively teas for blending, I can’t really complain, ya know? The leaves, before and after infusion, smelled a bit like Darjeeling, but, as I’ve talked about the origins of tea, it doesn’t quite hold the same “Champagne” quality.
So, I tested it out through three infusions. A consistent, very rich amber liquor – my second brew seemed a bit paler, but that’s because I used a shorter infusion – and the flavor… wasn’t so consistent. Granted, I didn’t really use many controls in this experience. My steep times were (roughly) 30sec, 25sec, and 30sec respectively, and I only heated the water once, so the temperature was a bit lower for each brew.

So, first infusion: Rather strong, and I could tell right off the bat this was a darker oolong, near black – of course, Victoria, the business owner, told me this when I was looking at it. It had a strong kick, and I remember reading somewhere that teas in Africa usually are generally from the Assamica Sinensis (for those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s the Assamese version of the tea plant, much broader leaves, which is why Assamese teas have such a kick), so I’m going to assume it’s going to be that type. Once I got used to the strength (a little bit stronger even, because I think I burned it), I found it not unpleasant. MUCH different from the mountain peak teas you’ll find in Taiwan, and tasted more black than oolong, but still had that hint of oolonginess. Interesting.

Second infusion: Yeah, the kick died down a bit after I brewed it a second time. That’s not to say it didn’t lose drinkability, though. It was a bit weaker – notably because of a lower temp and steep time – but different flavors came out. Reiterating previous points, it doesn’t have the same evolution of taste that a Taiwanese or Chinese oolong maintains through the infusions. This one had more of a splayed outcome of tastes, but… not bad. Honestly, I liked it. Makes it more of an interesting drinking experience.

Third infusion, again a different taste – hard to explain. Very mild, and getting near the verge of losing flavor, so that’s where I stopped. I think the second infusion had a better temp, but I hit the right steep time with this one.

So, in total, not a waste of my seven dollars.
She’s opening shop in June, potentially, so expect to hear a lot more from me about Teagre in the future.

0 min, 30 sec

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Well, I needed more green oolong for seasoning my teapot. So, I bought the least expensive one the shop had – $12 for an ounce or two.

Eh… not my favorite oolong ever. I generally like green oolongs, but this one could handle a bit more oxidization. If Japan made an oolong, I have a feeling it would taste like this – it had vegetal notes very similar to the Japanese greens. Though, I would distinguish that the flavor was more of a gentle gyokuro or shin-cha than your everyday sencha. I suppose that’s an interesting flavor to find in an oolong.
I’d say this tea is much more on the green side when it comes to imperfect brewing – rather than just getting stronger and bitter, the tea became more stingy and unpleasant. Honestly, I’m much more a fan of the darker oolongs.

I’d relate this tea to wanting to hang out with a male buddy, but getting his feminine side. You’re expecting a broad, easy-going chill session, but you end up dealing with a pain-staking, sensitive personality-type. Eh.

By the time I got to the fourth brew, it was mellowed out a bit, but… by that time I was more or less done with the tea session. Oh well. Maybe I’ll learn to like it with time.

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Fourth and final tea of my night of ExpeEeEerimentAAAtiooon.

Got it for my birthday in November from my sister. The box is mostly in Chinese, so all I really know about this tea is that it’s an oolong. Also, that it’s from Taiwan. And, since my sister left the price marker on there, it’s $12 for 150g. Upon tasting, I think it’s a green oolong.

Mmm… it’s okay. Not the best tea I’ve had, but also not the worst. Though I wish I knew more about it, it’s not a terrible tea to keep around. Gentle flavor.

Third thing to research tonight – the intricacies of the differences between green and dark oolongs.
Fourth thing- a general consensus on the proper maintenance for Yixing pots.

That’s all for t’night, folks.

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drank "Pouchong Tea" by Ten Ren
74 tasting notes

Third tea of the night.

Less than enjoyable. Honestly, the first brew tasted faintly like gasoline. I brewed this twice, and poured out more than half of each infusion. I…really can’t say much more. I can see why people generally use this as a base tea for scenting and flavoring, rather than a tea on its own merit.
Granted, I know there have to be some great Pouchongs out there, somewhere, and I’m still open to trying them. As for this tea… anyone want it? Take it. Really.
The only upside to this tea is that I got it for free, from a small shop that was closing.

Second thing to research tonight – information on Pouchongs.

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drank Mugwort by Puripan
74 tasting notes

Second drink of the night – not an experiment, though.

I used this to clean my palate after the Australian black tea. I used my Lupicia tasting cup for this – haven’t used the set in a while. Nothing much to say about this – it’s always a nice herbal to keep around.
Infused it twice, had a bit of a break between them, though. My sister was in class, my five-month nephew was screaming, and my parents aren’t too good with quieting him. So, I took a break, and spent about ten minutes walking him in circles around my dark living room until he fell asleep. I guess I like the kid…

Back onto the tea – the nice thing about this herbal, as with most, is that it doesn’t really oversteep. Flavor was stronger, but still completely drinkable. Kind of an artichoke-y flavor. Like it a lot.

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Poet, Prosaist, Teaist, amateur literary critic, uhhh…. Sadomasochist?


Northridge, California; the city of suck



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