321 Tasting Notes

85
drank Sencha by The Tea Merchant
321 tasting notes

Thanks so much to The Tea Merchant for the sample of this!

Yesterday, my friend came over about an hour early to prep for our tea party together. While she was there, I got two packages of tea! One I had expected – the tins from Epi to photograph (beautiful tins, by the way) and this one came as a total surprise.

Ariana was a bit surprised that I wasn’t more surprised… tea just shows up every once in awhile. What can I say, except that I love it!

We have a friend who’s… not a hippy, that’s the wrong word, but who’s very open to other cultures. That in itself is a poor description. He’s a wonderful guy, and he just loves learning as much as he can. To the last tea party Ariana and I hosted, he wore a full Scottish kilt, including a “ceremonial knife-shaped object,” as he called it. I called it a knife, but, you know, semantics.

He calls about a half hour before the tea party’s scheduled to start, inquiring about the dress code. I tell him to wear “Whatever you’re most comfortable in.”

He shows up about twenty minutes late… in full Japanese regalia. He had a kimono tucked into a pair of (very billowy) pants which I think were called hikama. Continuing the trend, he brought a “ceremonial sword-shaped object.” I called it a sword. It was really cool to watch him sheath and unsheath it – I had no idea there was so much tradition and skill and art housed in just that one simple movement!

I hadn’t thought up a tea plan for this party – I figured we’d just drink whatever I felt like! Ha. We started with a Chinese black, and then, in honor of Cam, I broke out this sencha which had just arrived.

It might be the largest sample size I’ve ever received. I didn’t know how big our teapot was, so I followed the British rule of “one teaspoon per person plus one for the pot” which might not be totally accurate, but it worked out fine. And there’s still what I would call a typical sample-size of tea left in the pouch. Fantastic! I get to brew it now, and then sit down with it later.

The instructions on the package say 3-4 minutes. Without a temperature guide, and never having tasted this tea before, I went on the conservative side. It took me a little while to like sencha, because I had to figure out how to brew it right. I didn’t want to be hosting a tea party and feeding my guests tea that I liked but they didn’t! So I went for ~175F for 2 minutes.

Even with not so specific steeping parameters, it’s still pretty good. The liquor is bright, bright green – Kate compared it to “hot Powerade,” and Cam called it “buttergrass water.”

It’s a very bright tasting tea. It’s vegetal, but not heavy like that flavor profile can be. It’s sort of like lettuce and – I’m blanking on the name, but it’s a little weed that looks like clover, only it’s heart-shaped, and you can eat them. There’s a little bit of buttery sweetness at supporting the flavor.

I’m going to rate this now because even the way I brewed it, I still really really liked it, and I can’t wait to sit down and try it for real!

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Hope it’s OK if I’m grinning at the thought of admitting a guest in full costume :) There’s not a person that adventurous for miles around here!

Bonnie

I like the idea. In fact, I have a red robe from China that my friend bought me about 10 years ago when she visited there and I’ve never worn it. Hum, maybe I should try it on.

Autumn Hearth

Sounds like my kinda guy! I’m guessing the knife was either a dirk or sgina dubh, say the not really hippy who is into other cultures ;)

Autumn Hearth

Is it a big red robe Bonnie?

Bonnie

Not as big as I used to be! I can wear it now that I shrunk almost 60lbs! U R Funny!

Autumn Hearth

I didn’t mean to insinuate anything about weight, just couldn’t pass up tea humor

ashmanra

Bonnie: LOL! That red robe would be a great tea pun! Da Hong Pao translates to Big Red Robe because a little tea legend about a magistrate or nobleman spreading is robe over the tea bushes to honor them because the tea saved his son’s life! You could wear it and then dramatically keep whooshing it over the shrubs!

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87

This is so much better than I’d ever dreamed. I think it’s the fastest I’ve ever finished a tea. I bought three ounces about a week or two ago, and it’s almost gone. I know I’ve been swapping and sharing, but still! I can’t decide if I want more of this or if I want to try some new ones. Probably an order of both :)

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74
drank Earl Grey Creme by Teavana
321 tasting notes

Decupboarding this now because I’ve only got about a teaspoon left, so if I don’t do it now, I’ll forget to :)

Last night I coldbrewed this in the fridge. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with an EG before. This one has a history of tasting artificial to me, but I figured why not, what the hey.

It’s really good coldbrewed. I did about 18 hours, I think, about 3tsp for maybe 24oz of water.

The liquor is a really pale, light gold. It’s strikingly beautiful for a black tea, and not at all what I expect an Earl Grey to be. I have to save the rest of this pitcher – I want to take photos tomorrow. (In other news, my photographic lightbox came in, along with a couple studio lights. I’m so excited to start playing with them!)

But yeah. Actually a really good tea like this. I wouldn’t buy it again, but I’m glad I figured out how to drink it (although how come I always figure out how to make it good just as I’m running out? Not fair.).

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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81
drank Rooibos de Provence by DAVIDsTEA
321 tasting notes

The more I drink this, the more I like it. I’m putting this on the shopping list!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Hazelnut by Adagio Teas
321 tasting notes

It’s a creamy, rich taste. Made this into a latte. No sugar needed! Burned myself on the ingenuiTEA (it’s stuck open and I didn’t realize) so I emailed Adagio – hopefully they’ll be able to replace it with a working one! If not, I suppose I’ll just buy a new one :)

Yum.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
JC

Have you tried the honeybush hazelnut? If so how does it compare? I tried the honeybush version… Hazelnut is my favorite… I almost cried.

JC

Just in case it wasn’t out of happiness. :P

Michelle

Haha :)

There’s Honeybush Hazelnut in The Woman blend, but I’ve never tried it on my own.

JC

Let me know if you ever do. If you feel the black tea version is better I might try it. To me Honeybush doesn’t make that good of a ‘base’ to add flavors as some black teas do. After I posted my comment I had to get some Nutella to kill the hazelnut crave.

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83

Received this in a swap from someone, I think, and I’m pretty sure they’re not on Steepster.

I was feeling lazy tonight, and I know I like this tea, it’s just not good enough for me to keep around all the time.

It’s mostly apple-y with chamomile (which has a kind of flowery apple flavor anyway) and then the cinnamon is behind that. It’s good and relaxing. Which I needed trying to schedule my classes.

I was in three that I wanted / needed, and one I registered for just so I’d have a fourth class, and it sounded interesting. But then the book list came out and suddenly a class on Baroque-Classical Music with a $200+ book list that didn’t count for any of my majors? No thank you.

But now I’m in Psych, Shakespeare’s Tragedies (those two are back-to-back MWF in the same classroom!), American Drama (with my amazing advisor as my professor – he’s wonderful) and Creative Writing (which I tried to get back during regular scheduling but couldn’t).

So basically I’m free between 11-3 MWF and free after 10 on TuTh, which is great. And the book list is fairly affordable now, which I was kind of panicking over.

And I’m in classes that I like and all of them go towards my majors/minor, and I was accepted into the Education Program, which is also cool.

So not much of a tasting note but mostly I just wanted to share. :)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Helena

Sharing is always good :D

gmathis

It’s nice to have a schedule you can groove with. Just went through the book list cardiac failure thing with my son! I think something easy and relaxing was a perfect choice to wind down from that experience.

Michelle

Books are CRAZY! What sort of classes is your son taking?

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88

Thanks to Teavivre and Angel especially for the sample of this!

Steeped for awhile – probably about 4 minutes, so it’s a bit more grassy than I’d ordinarily like. But it’s a credit to this tea that it’s still perfectly drinkable, just different.

It has such a unique, pure flavor that I’m struggling to describe it with any words other than “Strong Dragonwell.”

Dragonwell is my favorite kind of green tea, though. I haven’t been drinking looseleaf for very long, so most of my teas have been come-and-go. Dragonwell (Teavana variety) is the only one I’ve repurchased over and over.

I trained a girl at work today, because I’m apparently the star cashier. It’s not because I’m particularly good at my job; I’ve just been there longer and I actually do my job, as opposed to some of the boys / high school kids who just kind of stand up there and text the whole time. Training is lovely, but exhausting. We’re busy for BTS anyway, and when I’m training I don’t even have the lull in between customers to myself. But she’s good, and she’s sweet, and I’m hoping she’ll learn quickly and well.

So this tea is really good to just curl up in bed with and watch old DW episodes :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Strawberry Misaki by Teavana
321 tasting notes

Going through my cupboard and deleting a ton of teas I’ve sipped down but not removed yet. I haven’t updated it to the ones I still have in the cupboard, but at least it’s a bit more accurate now.

This is a really old tasting note – I ordered this tea some time around February or March, and haven’t had it in months.

I remember that it smelled like strawberries and chocolate and cream. The taste was very, very light. It was pretty, but didn’t taste like much at all. And what it did taste like was artificial.

I’m leaving the rating off because it’s been so long, but it’s definitely not a tea I really want to try again.

Bonnie

shhhhhushhhhh alex might see this

Michelle

Alex? Haha

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91
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
321 tasting notes

The last time I had this, I found it to be very astringent, very malty, and wheaty.

Rifling through my stash, I was searching for the Jing Xuan by Red Blossom Tea Co, but it wasn’t in the box it should have been in and I didn’t have the time to search through the other box. So I grabbed this one, thinking, It’s okay, but it’ll do.

Steeped under decidedly unscientific parameters: slightly less than boiling water, a pinch of silky leaves, for maybe two to three minutes tops. I didn’t time it or look at a clock, so I’m not sure. I’m estimating more on the two minute side.

And I actually really like it. It’s not as heavy or dark as it was before. It sparkles with a mineral sort of sweetness. It’s kind of reminiscent of the Jing Xuan. The bready notes are there, but they don’t dominate the flavor.

I’m starting to believe in picking the right tea by fate, or whatever you call it – a tea that you grab because it’s the only one available, or you don’t have time to search for the one you want that turns out being perfect – it’s not what I wanted, but it was what I needed. It’s happened twice now. But maybe I’m just more grateful for fantastic tea or more sensitive to flavors in times like this.

momo

I love when that happens. After you drink it, it almost always results in wondering why you were looking for that other tea in the first place.

Michelle

Exactly! I finally see what everyone else sees in this one.

Bonnie

Second chances in tea often prove to be good ones. Sometimes it’s our mood or how we brewed the tea that one time that threw us off, the second time can be so different. Either better than ever (sometimes though you wonder why you liked a tea).

gmathis

Any time I see malty, wheaty, or bready in a description I start droling. This sounds lovely!

Michelle

It’s not something I like a lot of, but in moderation it can be good!

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74

This has been sitting in my pitcher in the fridge for about a week now. I’d forgotten what kind of tea it was! I’m 90% sure this is it :)

It’s good iced, but it’s not a favorite. I think what I really want to do is blend it with some cream or vanilla (or, you know, just order some The Lemon Is In Play from Adagio – another Cara McGee and Cabin Pressure is by far my favorite fandom) because the lemon’s a bit weak and the creaminess isn’t too strong either.

But it’s decent.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Kiaharii

Aaaaand now I’ve bought Cabin Pressure on iTunes, about time though. :)

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Michelle, 24. Freelance writer, Indiana.

A little bit lost in life.

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