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67

Summer Vacation! My China installment tonight is a pu-erh sample I picked up from Meowster (thanks Meowster!) I have tried hardly any pu-erhs, and will admit of the few I have tried, they’ve been in flavored blends. It’s a tea I keep meaning to sample more but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

I am tired tonight, not in a great mood, and trying to fight a developing migraine (my job has been a butt to me about having chronic migraine, so if the pain keeps on I know I’ll be working through it tomorrow, even though I have FMLA on file for this condition from a migraine specialist that I have to travel two hours away to see. SIGH.) So I admit I forgot to rinse my leaf, and my brewed cup does smell just a little pu-fishy to me. Ah well. Your brain just isn’t all there when you are migraining.

As the cup cools, the aroma is a lot more earthy, a bit like fresh, wet potting soil, and my first sip has a deep, earthy flavor. It’s a very wet earth note, with a heavy mineral taste on the finish. There is also a subtle vegetal flavor, that comes off a bit like moss, likely because of all the heavy wet, earthy notes. I wish we’d get some rain as a relief from this unbarable heat, because I can imagine this would be a nice rainy day tea.

Flavors: Mineral, Moss, Wet Earth

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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72

This is about eight months old now? But I noticed no tasting notes from anyone, so I had to for the steep session today. I love the name of this blend. However, I just realized it is the name of a drink. I just liked the rhyming. It looks like such a colorful mix of goodies. The base is a green tea (though I didn’t notice much green tea in the pouch) with a mix of spices and fruits: juniper berries, elderberries, apple, hibiscus, angelica root, coriander seeds, blackberry, liqorice, lime leaves, cardamon, lemon, raspberry, strawberry. I have no idea what the alcoholic drink should taste like, as I did not know of its existence before today. It sure tastes like the mix of ingredients though, with this purple brew. To be honest, the flavor is a little more medicinal than I’d like (I want a fun fruity summer blend.) But I think it’s one of those blends that have so many ingredients but is so evenly balanced, that you can taste almost everything in the cup. It’s fruity and spicy. The hibiscus wasn’t too bad, but I’m kind of sick of seeing hibiscus in so many B&B teas. Even hot brewing, it didn’t seem overbrewed, as again, I didn’t notice much green tea. I want more fruity flavor though! I want all those berries to be ridiculous (maybe ditch that hibiscus). This is tasting the same as it did when I got it, for what it’s worth.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 32 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

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76
drank Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
138 tasting notes

This Hairy Crab Oolong is a light oolong with a floral aroma. It tastes like buttered flowers and marshmallows. It is a good tea, nice feel, no astringency, but it is just not for me.

Flavors: Butter, Flowers, Marshmallow

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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May 2018 harvest.

What a weird tea. I’ve never had something so savory.

4g/195-200F/100mL clay gaiwan. Didn’t keep track of the number of steeps or write detailed notes but it was definitely long lasting.

Dry leaf smelled like roasted peanut butter and brown sugar.

Warmed gave aromas of roasted peanut minus its butter and chocolate.

The wet leaf started out on a really pleasant note of bamboo shoot, sugarcane, vanilla and orchid. Starting with the fourth steep, that moved into a pretty sour and strong-smelling bamboo shoot.

The aroma of the liquor never contained any of the bamboo shoot notes. Rather it remained fruity with orchid and marshmallow with some chocolate coming in and out.

The taste of the liquor started out awesome with undefined fruityness moving into sugarcane, peanut, bamboo shoot, mineral and grass with butter and marshmallow in the back of the mouth. Later steepings had the addition of toasted rice and orchid with the peanut disappearing and an aftertaste of kettlecorn. Following that, it just became sour bamboo shoot and cooked ripe plantain with sweetness. The liquor was never thin. I really enjoyed the consistency ranging from oily to silky.

Really odd tea. I don’t think it was bad, just something I’ve never experienced. I’ll refrain from a rating until I try it again.

Preparation
4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Togo

That sounds very intriguing actually :)

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60

This isn’t a terrible tea. However the blueberry overpowers the green tea flavor and slightly throws it off balance. It’s hard to find a good steep time as steeping green tea too long makes it bitter, but if you don’t steep this tea long enough you can’t taste the green tea part of it. I plan to drink all of it in my spare time, but I don’t plan to re-buy or restock this tea.

Flavors: Blueberry

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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85

Full bodied flavor. Personally I enjoyed making it as a cold brew. Leaving it to steep in a pitcher of cold water for 10-14 hours makes the vanilla taste even sweeter. It very much reminds me of what cinnamon sugar popcorn tastes like. It’s super refreshing iced.
I personally add a small squirt of liquid stevia sweetener for a 2 Liter pitcher. I put about 3 tea bags in as well for the 2 Liter sized pitcher.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Licorice, Vanilla

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Late morning cuppa.

I still don’t think this screams “whiskey sour” to me; it just lacks acidity/tartness which I think is an important part to any ‘sour’ style drink. However, it’s very full bodied and thick and has really nice malt notes with hints of smoke, cocoa, and lemon peel and I can definitely really appreciate that aspect of it. That’s what I wanted this morning when I selected this – so I was happy it delivered on my flavour expectations.

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92

Oooooooh this was a lovely gift. Thank you, Terroir Tea for this sample.

I was happy to receive it because I know what a lot of people rave about this particular terroir and variety. The company describes it as “not your typical tea,” and more akin to an oolong because of its lower oxidation. Smelling it, it has the biscuit muscatel aroma of Darjeeling in the dry leaf, albeit fruity. The tasting notes are more obvious and as sweet, muscatel, and peachy as described providing 6 ample cups western. Unlike the Makula, the texture was viscous and welcoming every time. Wood, apricot, and butter popped up in the slightly subtler ending brews, yet remained sweet.

I know that I could be more original and precise with my notes, but “peachy” is sufficient, as well as “recommended.” Get it while it’s on sale.

Togo

Does your sample mention which year is it from? The website doesn’t seem to specify that.

Daylon R Thomas

The package does not. I would guess 2016 or 17, and I know they are clearing the stock so it is probably order. I am not worried myself since I drink teas so quickly.

Daylon R Thomas

Older, sorry.

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85

Opening the package, the interior of the foil lined package is covered in a rich brown dust, the “fluff” from the leaves, if you will, and the leaves are a mix of dark brown and tan, and spindly. the smell is striking, rich clover with honey, hint of cocoa. exactly what i look for in a red. i placed it in my glass steeping vessel, and brewed for 25 seconds at 200 degrees F before starting to pour.

the heated leaves now smell strongly of sweet potato with the clover underneath. the tea is a light brown with hint of red, nothing really different from many red teas.

the flavors are well balanced, with nothing trying to dominate the other. the main flavors i get are the clover and honey, with a hint of sweet potato. this tea is extremely smooth, and is modest in the flavors, as i tend to expect from a tippy tea. long aftertaste of honey and clover, also muted.

Second steeping has 10 seconds added, and is much sweeter, swinging more toward honey and clover. the flavors are a little lighter, as is normal with an iterative brewing.

third steeping has a total of 20 additional seconds added, and has lost the honey, now becoming that of clover. flavor is once again ever so slightly more muted than the last infusion, the color a bit darker red.

i feel these leaves can go for possibly 2-4 more infusions, but i will end my review here. My final thoughts are that this is a really nice tea, silky smooth, modest flavors that are well balanced with each other. this can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but imo would be best suited for a calm afternoon, or paired with a lightly flavored meal/snack later in the day, as a heavily flavored food could cause some loss in perceived flavor of the tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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Afternoon cuppa, because I was craving something sweet.

Not a bad cup, and smooth – but almost everything I’m getting this time around is an almond extract and boozey sort of flavour. I guess that is sweet so it does work with my cravings. Just, I wish this was a little creamier so as to better fit that “ice cream” label.

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66

Sipdown (638)!

Just got a REALLY large White2Tea order in the mail, so I’m feeling the pressure this afternoon to get some sipdowns in. Hence the revisit of this one so quickly after first trying it. Not really much differing thoughts about it though; I still think it definitely gives off more of a spearmint flavour than peppermint and while it’s not bad I just don’t know how I feel about spearmint and chocolate together overall. Peppermint just seems better.

Also, dentist went fine – they said it’s a purely superficial chip and while he, of course, wants to create a prosthetic to hide the chip it’s not necessary to do so. It’s not a front tooth, so I’m like 99% sure that I’m just going to be leaving it as is.

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45

One word: Underwhelming. For some more words about the tea, check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2017/04/14/sweet-mango-peach-tea-from-gypsy-soul-tea/

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57

This was a sample I got with a NecessiTeas order and at first sip it reminded me of Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA. The apple is definitely the foundation flavor of this blend, coating your tongue with its sweet and fresh cinnamon-apple note. At first it is a bit of light vanilla that sits atop the apple but that quickly is taken over by the heavier and nutty almond and chicory flavors. There is a baked good vibe here and though the different components all together sound like an apple strudel, I find in actuality this tea doesn’t come together quite how it should so instead it is a jumble of flavors. In fairness, that could be due to my negative experience of Forever Nuts and the similarity to that but as I sip, I just can’t help but think that this is not the Apple Strudel tea for me.

Check out my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2018/08/16/grandmas-apple-strudel-from-the-necessiteas/

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drank Golden flower by AdagioTeas
67 tasting notes

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76

Terroir Tea is doing a MASSIVE sale on their teas at 50% most of their main selection, so while I was on the quest for a Nepalese Oolong, I figured a $7 beauty for 100 grams would be nice. The company was even nicer with a whole host of samples that I lucked out with and am continually impressed by. Roswell Strange’s review of the Musky Thunder inspired me to try the company out, especially that tea, but alas, they were out. However, I could not say no to a cocoa roasty Himalayan Tea.

The notes of cocoa and stewed fruit were spot on, especially in the dry leaf with an extra aura of autumn and biscuits. The brewed cup western at 3 minutes shares the aroma, but the taste was slightly disappointing. It does compare to its 2nd Flush Darjeeling Counterpart very well and possesses the rich cocoa profile and autumn leaf feel that I love. Unfortunately, the mouthfeel was plain and thin compared to the other samples in the lovely order. This is shame because the tea is sophisticated. I may try it gong fu to see what more I can get out of it.

I would recommend it as a cheap alternative for a Darjeeling 2nd Flush for the time being, and I highly recommend picking up some tea from Terroir for their sale because they do have good ones available from Taiwan and India.

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95
drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
4 tasting notes

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95
drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
4 tasting notes

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95
drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
4 tasting notes

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95
drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
4 tasting notes

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I got a sample from the club order, and I missed this baby. The 2018 harvest also is delivering some great fruit notes in the first steep, like mango topped with hyacinth in a honeysuckle finish. You can expect me to write more about this soon, among others in this crazy hiatus.

derk

Color me excited to hear more.

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77

Here is another tea review from the backlog. I think I finished my one ounce pouch of this tea around the middle of June. This is the third Dancong black tea I have tried to this point in the year, and so far, I have come away with the impression that such teas are not and likely never will be for me. I have found each of the ones I have tried to be too sweet for my liking.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of pine, blood orange, lychee, and nectarine. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of malt and honey coming from the tea leaves. The first infusion introduced aromas of butter and toast. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, lychee, nectarine, honey, and toast that were balanced by impressions of cream. Subsequent infusions saw hints of cream, violet, and cherry come out on the nose. Stronger cream notes and new flavors of cherry, roasted almond, pear, violet, roasted walnut, and minerals appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of butter, nectarine, pine, and blood orange. I also noticed some subtle hints of brown sugar, cocoa, and nutmeg in the aftertaste on several of these infusions. The final infusions emphasized lingering mineral, butter, cream, and toast notes that were offset by sometimes vague impressions of pine, pear, and violet.

I know that some people like Dancong black teas quite a bit, but each of the ones I have tried have been too rich and sweet for me. To be fair, however, I am pretty sure that each of the Dancong black teas I have tried have been produced from the Mi Lan cultivar, so maybe I just need to try some Dancong black teas produced from other cultivars. With this tea, I quickly grew tired of the overwhelming fruity and creamy/buttery qualities. That being said, I do not think this was a bad tea. It displayed nice depth and complexity and respectable longevity, especially for a tea at this price point. In the end, I just don’t think that this is a sort of tea for me.

Flavors: Almond, Blood orange, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Pear, Pine, Stonefruits, Toast, Violet, Walnut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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67

First cup of the morning!

I feel like I’m probably gonna have a ton of tea today; I chipped a tooth yesterday on my lunch break at work and I’m just feeling a little hesitant to eat anything hard or chewy until I get it looked at by a dentist (doing that later this afternoon). So, lots of tea in the meantime.

This was really more of a soft, herbaceous and relaxing sage and lavender blend. I’m surprised, actually, how much I loved the tea considering how much lavender there actually was present in the cup. It was good though; woody, floral, savory… Basically all the things, apart from sweet and sour? Not a TON of juniper but I do think a lot of that woody quality probably does come from the juniper berries even if the rest of their flavour doesn’t shine through too prominently.

VariaTEA

Oh dear. Hope the chipped tooth is an easy fix. I cracked my tooth on a caramel once and it was not fun.

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69
drank Kumquat Cheesecake by 52teas
4055 tasting notes

Sipdown (354)

This is another tea I pulled while going through my tea drawers. It had one serving left and turned a year old in June so I figured it was time to finish it off. Mostly the honeybush is all the remains of this tea. It is nice and sweet but nothing unique. Plus, given I sort of forgot about this one, it would seem kumquat isn’t a flavor I reach for often.

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