Featured & New Tasting Notes

22

I’m still plowing through some of the oolongs I acquired earlier in the year and toward the end of last year. This was one of them and I have to say that to this point in my life, this was the absolute worst oolong of this type I have tried. Normally, Four Season oolongs are very floral, sweet, smooth, and pleasant, but this one was thin and watery with an uneven mix of flavors and little staying power.

I gongfued this tea. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions that I had to more or less force myself to get through. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced subtle aromas of sugarcane, violet, and orchid. After the rinse, new aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, and grass were revealed. The first proper infusion more fully brought out the floral character on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered hints of grass and spinach on the entry before giving way to subtler hints of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, and orchid. Subsequent infusions brought out vanilla and spinach on the nose and violet in the mouth. I also discovered notes of green apple, Asian pear, lettuce, lily, lilac, seaweed, and minerals. There was a slight graininess to these middle infusions as well. It seemed more than a bit out of place in a tea like this. I noted that the floral aromas had a tendency of turning pungent before suddenly fading, leaving me with a thin, uneven, and unpleasant mix of savory, fruity, and vegetal characteristics coupled with something of a gritty graininess. The later infusions were buttery, though mineral, grass, seaweed, and lettuce notes remained in play. I could detect no lingering fruity or floral sweetness.

I may be being a bit harsh here, but I found this tea to be nothing short of a disaster. I kind of think this was a bad tea to begin with, but I also think it had started to fade by the time I got to it. I even noticed that the leaves looked a bit weird when I first opened the pouch, as the dry leaves were an unusually bright, dusty green. In terms of aroma and flavor, there was surprising complexity, but none of it ever came together and there was little depth. A horribly uneven drinking experience and also a flat-out bad one, I would recommend that curious drinkers pass on this tea. There are plenty of better Four Season oolongs on the market. In my opinion, What-Cha, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company, Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Floating Leaves Tea all offer much better examples of this type of tea.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grain, Grass, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

And into the oolong hall of shame it goes.

CrowKettle

Oolong hall of shame. Love it.

I appreciate your honesty, eastkyteaguy. I also appreciate your suggestions. I’ve only had a few Four Season oolongs and I found them odd/static, but I won’t write them off just yet!

LuckyMe

Sounds like it was a stale tea. The dreaded seaweed note in green oolongs is usually a good sign that it’s lost freshness.

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Yesterday, I may have spoken too soon when I posted on this tea. Today, it was ashtray like and really quite drying with an overlay of sunflower seed flavour and no caramel. Gah! Really not great.

The smoky was not a good smoky, but possibly could have provided a base flavour for the caramel to knit the smoke and the nuttiness together, but nope. Instead, it was these two disjointed flavours.

I will keep trying, of course, but I am wondering why I am having such a fickle experience when all the parameters are the same.

I don’t think I could drink another cup of something like what happened in my cup today.

Indigobloom

I wonder if some of the flavouring you find is not evenly spread among the tea, and so each cup will have random proportions of ingredients?

Evol Ving Ness

I’ve thought that too. However, yesterday I just scooped from the top of the bag while today, I shook the bag thoroughly before scooping, so perhaps today was a better measure of what is going on there.

52Teas

I’m sorry you had a bad experience with this tea today. Flavoring is pretty evenly spread because I want to avoid having a mismatch of flavors, and the tea is tumbled several times throughout the blending, curing and packaging process to help ensure mismatch of flavors. That said, though, shaking the pouch to make sure that all the ingredients are equally distributed – also I have come to realize that the same tea can taste different depending on the day and what I’ve had to drink/eat that day. Sometimes teas just don’t agree with us. I’m sorry that this one didn’t agree with you today. :(

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, 52Teas. It is bound to happen. Not all of them can be stellar. And sometimes, even the stellar ones can vary, as you say.

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40
drank Liu Bao by Ming Ming Tea
253 tasting notes

Bought this in a small paper bag from my local shop (Ming Ming Tea, who generally has pretty good tea) about a year ago. I drank it once, thought “eww” and put it into storage until now. Here goes it’s second chance.

Brews a nice deep burgundy color. Tastes of cardboard, mineral water, and rich soil. Not bad per say, just nothing enjoyable enough to make me want to keep drinking it. I choked down two infusions and then tossed the leaves.

It’s better than I remember, but still not good.

Flavors: Cardboard, Dirt, Mineral

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
looseTman

40! – Another Hall of Shame nominee!

tperez

Haha, I’ve had worse teas, but this one was pretty bad!

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78

I totally forgot about the five autumn flush Darjeelings I tacked onto my last Teabox order. The 2016 autumn flush teas had been marked down and I had been meaning to try a few more, so I figured that would be the perfect opportunity to pick up a few. I ended up with teas from Oaks, Gopaldhara, Goomtee, Giddapahar, and Jungpana, all producers whose work I greatly enjoy. This tea from the Oaks Estate was the first one I tried. Surprisingly, it was the one I enjoyed the least.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted interesting aromas of dried fruit, aged leather, and cured tobacco. After infusion, I picked up on aromas of wood, leather, tobacco, raisins, malt, and cooked greens. In the mouth, I found that the liquor opened with surprisingly prominent notes of aged leather, cured tobacco, and wood before giving way to subtler notes of brown toast, smoke, nutmeg, malt, violet, raisin, plum, and Muscatel. Notes of cooked greens gradually revealed themselves, becoming more powerful as the liquor lingered in the mouth. The finish was fairly short, emphasizing notes of malt, wood, raisin, and Muscatel, though a touch of cooked greens also remained.

After being impressed by a recent first flush tea from the Oaks Estate, I was expecting to enjoy this one equally, if not more. Sadly, that was not the case. While this tea was not bad, the way the cooked green notes built in the mouth made it seem awkward as they muddied some of the more enjoyable, nuanced notes the tea offered. Still, one trait that I found to be rather detrimental to the drinking experience did not ruin this offering for me. This was an enjoyable tea, just a rather odd and somewhat awkward one. While there are certainly more enjoyable autumn flush Darjeeling teas out there, this one was still worth a try.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Leather, Malt, Muscatel, Nutmeg, Plums, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal, Violet, Wood

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

How can I only have rated this tea at 90? What on earth was I thinking?

Toasty genmaicha, vanilla, and marshmallow. Yes, indeed.

It’s been a while since I have had this. My first cup of the day reminded me that it is the bomb.

LuckyMe

Marshmallow + genmaicha sounds amazing!

Evol Ving Ness

And it is. Highly recommend. Maybe not for every day, but for the occasional treat, it is very wow.

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drank Salted Caramel by Bigelow
2004 tasting notes

Husband knows I’m a sucker for most of Bigelow’s seasonal teas, so he grabbed a box for me at the one local store that carries them. I married an enabler.

This is foo-foo tea instead of get-your-sleepy-hindquarters-out-the-door tea, but it’s good foo-foo. The caramel scent and flavor are just right—not much “salted,” but no great loss in my opinion.

My winter wardrobe desperately needs me to start losing interest in pastry and pie, so I foresee this as a tasty and comfortable pacifier when I am craving something sticky and sweet.

Evol Ving Ness

Husband is a good man.

gmathis

I’ve probably told this story half a dozen times, but one anniversary, our “seven—tea—nth,” he filled a Rubbermaid tub for me with tea, tins, tea t-shirts, and other paraphernalia. (Economics were a little better for us that year.) I still get a little steamy thinking about it :)

Rosehips

Aww! That is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. (And this tea sounds good, too!)

Indigobloom

Your hubby is a keeper!! what did the tea-shirt say :P

gmathis

At the time, there was an indie company that did shirts with vintage tea labels on them. Oh, and one with the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

Indigobloom

aw that’s awesome!! love it

mrmopar

I got a tea tray from my better half this year.

Evol Ving Ness

Lovely story. Lovely thoughtful man.

gmathis

Mrmopar, does Better Half sip along with you? Hubby will, but only in the dead of winter and I have to steep his oolong to the consistency of engine cleaner.

Evol Ving Ness

hahahaha. No wonder you are getting all the gifts. :)

ashmanra

I don’t think I have heard that delightful story! Love it!

Lexie Aleah

Aww he sounds super sweet.

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The second tea from the festival samples that I am trying and this is my first cup of this.

Very much like Zen Tea’s Taiwan Ruby but far finer leaf and much sweeter liquid.

Magnificent. Sugar cane sweet.

Flavors: Sugarcane

Indigobloom

I don’t recall this vendor from last year. I hope this tea wins, it sounds amazing

Evol Ving Ness

First I am hearing about this vendor too. They don’t even appear to have a website. This is only not second tea that I am trying from the batch, but so far, it is a favourite.

I might have to do a side by side taste test w Zen’s Taiwan Ruby if I can track it down.

Indigobloom

Oooh!! I’d love to see that review. I haven’t had much time for tea the last few weeks. No matter what I do, my travel mugs tend to leak so I rarely take it out and about with me :/
So I live vicariously through others. (she says as she sips her Tim Hortons mouthwash tea)

Evol Ving Ness

hahhaha.

Sad thing about the tea mugs leaking. There’s a wonderful squat one called Cafe Carafe or something along those lines at Canadian Tire. Also cheap and cheerful. It has not failed me yet and keeps things hot and sealed all day. I use it to top up my other drinking carry mugs that are not as airtight and need to be upright.

Indigobloom

I will have to check that out, thanks!! I got a lift into class yesterday so was able to take my tea with me. It was glorious :P

Evol Ving Ness

Yay!

The one I am mentioning is not great for drinking out of, but good for topping up your other drinking vessel.

Indigobloom

I’d probably end up pouring it into a cup for drinking. Will have to experiment :D

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FDT is all about the texture! The broth is weighty and sticky, like drinking a bone dense stock, making for an interesting body feel of a tea session.

Flavor note wise, it is light. FDT leans on the savory side with sweet grass, vegetal, and sticky rice. It does get stewy tasting in the later infusions, but it very much drinkable. I think leafing harder than normal gives the best result, and I wouldn’t go under boiling as you’ll lose the texture and the flavor would be too weak.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-farmer-direct-tea-sheng-puer-white2tea/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 0 OZ / 12 ML

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62

So, I am finally getting to a tea that was finished less than a week ago. Isn’t everyone proud of me? I ended up buying a sample of this tea and rushed to try it ahead of schedule because I was intrigued by What-Cha’s description of it. It was presented as a low cost first flush Darjeeling “with vibrant floral notes and an apricot finish.” Not only did that sound lovely to me, but the Gopaldhara Estate has such a reputation for quality and consistency that I was eager to see how one of their lower end teas would compare to some of their rightfully lauded luxury products. All in all, this was not a bad first flush tea in the least, though I did find it to be significantly less refined and less flavorful than some of Gopaldhara’s higher end teas.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any subsequent infusions.

Prior to infusion, I noted subtle aromas of Muscatel, herbs, straw, and grass. After infusion, I found aromas of straw, grass, Muscatel, herbs, and hay. In the mouth, I noted fairly delicate flavors of herbs, cream, butter, grass, straw, hay, apricot, Muscatel, violet, dandelion, pine, almond, and spinach. The finish was smooth, yet fleeting. I noted very subdued impressions of cream, pine, Muscatel, grass, and flowers that did not linger all that long in the mouth after the swallow. I failed to note apricot on the finish. Maybe it was just me.

As stated above, this was not a bad first flush tea. I recall trying several other first flush teas from Gopaldhara and I recall them striking me as being somewhat hit or miss. At this point, I suppose I just tend to naturally favor their summer and autumn flush teas. Overall, this tea displayed admirable complexity compared to some other Darjeeling teas I have tried at or near this price point, but it did not display enough strength or longevity for my taste. Still, I could see this being a decent daily drinker or an adequate introduction to first flush Darjeelings.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Muscatel, Pine, Spinach, Straw, Violet

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Indigobloom

I have to wonder if it contains only part Darjeeling tea. The strike did some real damaga

What-Cha

It’s 100% Darjeeling, purchased before the strike even happened and direct from Gopaldhara Tea Estate, where I’m in direct contact with the garden owner.

While the strike has done definite damage, for small buyers such as myself with a long standing relationship with Gopaldhara, I’m still able to purchase teas without any issue. I’ve just ordered a very high grade Autumn Flush and pre-ordered a late Autumn/Winter Flush tea.

It’s the large wholesalers who will struggle as the quantities they require would not be available and the prices will be higher, this will then knock on to the small/medium sized retailers who buy from the wholesalers.

Indigobloom

Ah cool insight, thanks!! I attended a talk given by Deepak Banskota’s son last night, who planted the first tea garden in Nepal. He mentioned that tea retailers might not be aware that distributors are substituting other teas in the mix. Didn’t mean to say that it was your doing at all. I’m glad it doesn’t affect you! :)

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Yes, I love unsmoked Lapsangs! This LS is deep woodsy, orange, creamy, and malty. It reminds me of a chocolate orange. It does get dry and bitter in the later infusions. I got 7 reinfusions.

Full review, along with other Teabento black tea reviews, on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/black-teas-teabento/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 1 OZ / 15 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Are you gonna try the oolongs? I’ve been curious, but I am on the fence.

Oolong Owl

I have 5 of their oolongs. A review will be coming eventually.

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56
drank Bonfire Toffee by Bluebird Tea Co.
2323 tasting notes

When I have sipped this down, it will be a good day. That day is not today, but I am determined it will be soon!
This just does nothing for me. Its a watery, pale thing, not rich and flavorful as I would wish it to be.
Alas!

Evol Ving Ness

Another one that sounds like it should be good. A sad thing when the imagination is far better than the actual product.

Evol Ving Ness

And also, yay you, for getting through the ones which are less than stimulating.

Rosehips

Thank you! I am really pleased to be getting through them. I am trying to curate my cupboard in a more thoughtful way going forward.

Evol Ving Ness

Great ambitions! For me, it is all about having a great stock base of teas which I adore and also experimentation enough to make grand new discoveries. And as we know, experimentation can also lead to a good number of dogs and the vicious cycle of forced sipping down the dogs continues.

gmathis

I couldn’t agree more. Many, many dogs and their puppies to go at my house! (Tea mates and multiplies when you put it in a dark cupboard. Once I thought it was just mice giggling. Now I know better.)

Rosehips

The teas do! Suddenly you end up with weird hybrid blends all because you cannot leave tea unsupervised, lest it multiply!

Evol Ving Ness

hahahha :)

Oh, and then there’s the relentless shuffling and reshuffling of the tea cupboard and tea baskets and tea boxes and so on until the explosion is somewhat held in control.

gmathis

It’s chaos theory at my house. I can stack four tins neatly in a symmetrical row, go to bed, and in the morning two are upside down and one has mysteriously gravitated to the bottom of the basket across the room ;)

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89

Now that I have had some time to rest and have my head on somewhat straight again, let’s kick off this Sunday with a blast from the past. This was yet another tea I reviewed last month, yet like quite a few others, I never got around to posting a formal review on Steepster. So, without further ado, here goes.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of char, wood, caramelized banana, and graham cracker. The rinsed leaves presented new aromas of coffee beans and toasted rice. The first infusion showed hints of grass and fruitiness on the nose. In the mouth, I found flavors of sweetgrass, watercress, cattail shoots, cream, butter, char, graham cracker, cinnamon, wood, and caramelized banana. Subsequent infusions saw the notes of coffee and toasted rice appear in the mouth. I also picked up on hints of vanilla, elderberry, and blackberry. Subtler impressions of squash, minerals, orchid, roasted walnut, and honey flitted in and out of focus in the background. The later infusions demonstrated a more pronounced minerality on the nose and in the mouth. A touch of buttered popcorn emerged toward the end of the session, while lingering traces of wood, char, and cream remained on the palate.

As charcoal roasted oolongs go, this one was very nice. It was a complex tea, yet it was also very subtle. Each aroma and flavor component was integrated very well. If you are the type of person who prefers toasty, mellow teas, I could see this being a perfect fit for you. Personally, I greatly enjoyed this tea, but I ended up wishing that it were not so even-tempered throughout the session. In places, it was almost too mellow and balanced for my taste.

Flavors: banana, Blackberry, Butter, Char, Cinnamon, Coffee, Cream, Fruity, Graham, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Popcorn, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Ken

I really need to get some of this!

Evol Ving Ness

Where do you find cattail shoots? What are cattail shoots? How do you even know what cattail shoots taste like?

And so on.

eastkyteaguy

Evol, the term cattail refers to at least a couple of species of semi-aquatic perennial plants that are widely distributed in North America and Europe. They are sometimes referred to as bulrush, reedmace, or corn dog grass (the dry flower spikes look like corn dogs). They are generally found in ditches, along the banks of ponds, and generally, any marshy area. They’re prized by foragers, hikers, and survivalists because they are very useful. The dry stalks and flower spikes can be used as a fuel source, and top to bottom, many parts of the plant are edible. They can even be used to make flour. I know about them because I live on farmland that contains marshy drainage areas and two ponds and they grow everywhere. The plants are highly invasive and I have to cut them back every year. The shoots have a muddy, grassy aroma owing to the habitat in which they grow and kind of a starchy, but almost cucumber-like flavor. They don’t taste bad, but you should wash them very thoroughly in order to avoid sickening yourself.

eastkyteaguy

Just for clarification, the area in which I live is basically split between gently sloping, heavily forested hills and marshy lowlands. Space for commercial agriculture is and always has been pretty much nonexistent, so foraging was once a commom means of obtaining food. With hunting, fishing, and hiking being popular activities here, many people also still forage in the field partly due to it being a part of traditionally culture, but also to keep from exhausting available resources.

Evol Ving Ness

Ah, bullrushes! (And yes, they do look like corn dogs. :)

I had no idea that parts of them were edible. Nor did I know that they had other uses.

And yes, yes, google could be my friend for much of this, but I do very much appreciate your taking the time to explain. It all makes so much more sense with the information and how it pertains to your context. So, thank you.

eastkyteaguy

No problem.

Evol Ving Ness

Also, it is very helpful and interesting to understand more about the places that we all live as our environments are quite different.

Last week, I had the pleasure of being in the countryside here where there is a patch of bullrushes in a muddy, swampy place near the train tracks. Otherwise, I live in a densely populated multicultural city and have access to bullrushes only when I wander down to the ravines which thread through and under the city. This gives you an idea. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojd76550_n8

Evol Ving Ness

I am wondering why I often miss notices of your comments. Thinking to myself.

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This was a pit stop along a brief hei cha journey that actually began over a year ago. I sampled some tian jian a while ago and enjoyed it, so I invested in another tian jian, some liu bao, and some fu just to get some bearings on the hei cha world.

Much like my liu bao experience, my fu experience has required some getting used to. It is very yeasty and grainy – almost starchy – and not at all what you get from any other tea.

It’s not bad; in fact, it is intriguing because of how different it is. I had an easier time aligning tian jian with hong cha (sort of), and liu bao with ripe pu’erh. This guy, though, stands alone. Imagine putting a little brewer’s yeast into a black tea breakfast blend and you get sort of close.

Anyway, I would certainly recommend this to anyone who really enjoys exploring the breadth and depth of Chinese teas. Because it is so different from everything else, it is a necessary pit stop. It took me a full year to wrap my head around it, and I still am, to be honest. Probably not a re-purchase for me, but I’m holding a little back so I can revisit it in another year or so.
*
Dry leaf: brewer’s yeast, black tea breakfast blend. In preheated vessel – stronger aromas as before, with notes of starchy cooked yam, and hints of grape syrup and bruleed sugar

Smell: brewer’s yeast, cooked yam, dry spices

Taste: brewer’s yeast, milky mild black tea breakfast blend, hints of dark caramel. Aftertaste of hardwood, cream of wheat, with hints of lemongrass.

tanluwils

Have you tried Tibetan Kang brick or Yi Qing Yuan chunks Scott sells? They’re also quite special! Probably less yeasty and more smooth medicinal notes.

apefuzz

No, I haven’t. Thanks for the recommendations!

apefuzz

By the way, Scott just added this for those want to embark on their own hei cha journey: https://yunnansourcing.com/collections/new-products/products/hei-cha-sampler-guangxi-liu-bao-and-hunan-fu-brick

tanluwils

Yes, I’ve seen this one. I need to try the last one in particular – 2012 Gao Jia Shan “Wild Tian Jian”. The other TJs I’ve had from Scott are really interesting teas. Do you prefer any particular hei cha?

apefuzz

I can’t say I prefer anything in particular just yet. I do have some liu bao lined up for my next YS purchase. I was surprised at the quality of the experience. I have to check out your recommendations too.

Rasseru

The kang tea is waaaay different from Fu bricks, it doesnt have the yeast/cake dough thing going on at all, more of a clean fruitier.

I cant get my head around this type of tea either. I bought one and try it every once in a while and ponder it, then move on

tanluwils

Tibetan kang zhuan was the first tea I had in China that I actually wanted to purchase more of. Before that, I had only known ripe pu’er served at dim sum restaurants and jasmine green tea, which I don’t care for. Tibetan kang zhuan is probably my favorite heicha. It’s got a smooth, clean, sweet, medicinal quality to it that’s different from aged pu’er.

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90

Wow, this makes for an excellent grandpa style tea. The tea was like drinking dew on top of fresh linens near a lemon tree. As in, it was a typical white tea with a fresh, pure, sweet, and floral profile. I continue to recommend this one for white tea lovers, and it is something that I will continue to try to bring to work-because it is relaxing.

On the same note, What-Cha has MANY new offerings that I am highly willing to try; it’s just difficult because I need to minimize my finances to essentials, and hopefully investments and new skills…and following through on those efforts. I gotta admit that this week was not great, but pretty average for a teacher. Let’s see if I can get through a year.

Fjellrev

Teachers are way underpaid!

Daylon R Thomas

It’s actually a really mixed bag as to weather or not teachers are underpaid, often depending on the district and the costs of living for the area. I’ve met teachers who make around $70,000 with certifications in Social Studies and special ed., but for entry level teachers, their pay is 36,000 entering the field. The average pay of 56,000 is not bad with decent benefits and the option to have a job for the summer-but there’s the question of whether you actually have a pensions, 501 k, or some kind of investment for retirement; or better yet, how many student loans you have to pay off. I’m in student teaching right now for a full year, and I am basically paying $30,000 to work for free this year. I have full financial aid this year, but I still have my own amount of loans leftover to pay off from my actual degree. So from that perspective, teachers are definitely underpaid.

From there on, the question gets complicated. Some consider teachers to be a low skilled profession limited to education or the academic subject that person is teaching-nevermind there are several teachers with master’s degrees or at least have some skill on the side. It’s also otherwise hard to compare to other professions in terms of it being “underpaid” on paper because it has unique needs and considerations. There have been some assertions that we are paid well compared to other professionals working the same amount of hours and a few tax deductions, but again, the time “off” is typically spent on another job, lesson planning, professional develop, and continued education for the sake of what we are teaching. There are the expenses that the teacher invests in their classroom just to make sure its a good environment based on what is available to them. Otherwise, there are very few incentives to innovate depending on the school and district, and way too many opportunities for the profession to be undermined as glorified babysitting teaching students irrelevant material for the real world.

I can go on and on since the topic of education is so complicated on its own in the U.S., but I won’t go further so that we all don’t burn rubber for the sake of burning rubber.

Daylon R Thomas

Wow, my head is spinning.

Fjellrev

Right, my mom is a retired teacher, so I know the intricacies and factors involved. Simply put, after seeing the time and effort she put into her job (granted, not all teachers are nearly as devoted), and money for supplies and so on and so forth, it’s something I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

CrowKettle

My mother is also a retired teacher, and I second what Fjellrev says. :)

Teatotaler

“ The tea was like drinking dew on top of fresh linens near a lemon tree.” Love it! Wonderful description. I must have this tea!

Daylon R Thomas

It’s insane how many people on this site is related to teaching in one way or the other.

LuckyMe

I’m yet another person whose parent is a retired teacher. I echo everything people have mentioned above. The right school district with enough resources to support its teachers is often the deciding factor between whether teaching becomes a rewarding career or just another aggravating job. Best of luck to you as you embark on your new career Daylon!

apefuzz

Current teacher here; 12 years under my belt. I wish you the best of luck with your career. Student teaching can suck – paying someone so you can work is a bit disheartening, especially when you hear of college sophomores in business or engineering getting their first paid internship! Anyway, hang in there. If things don’t feel right, keep your options open.
In the meantime – keep enjoying quality tea!

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81

I’m not normally a huge green oolong fan. Probably explains why I’ve taken so long to try this one.

And while the tropical notes described are faint and more prominent on the aftertaste, this IS a very creamy and drinkable oolong. My son keeps stealing away sips. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Flavors: Creamy, Smooth

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92

You know, I took notes for a review of this tea nearly three weeks ago, but must have forgotten to post a review. Oh well, better late than never, I suppose. I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a big fan of the teas produced by the Castleton Estate, and not surprisingly, I greatly enjoyed this one.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped about 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any subsequent infusions.

Prior to infusion, I noted a mixture of hay, grass, nut, and herb aromas produced by the dry leaf material. After infusion, another sniff revealed green pepper, herb, nut, grass, wood, and malt scents. In the mouth, I found flavors of grass, hay, straw, green pepper, wood, malt, lemon, green apple, pear, roasted almond, and freshly cut flowers. The finish was smooth and pleasant, offering lingering notes of grass, hay, herbs, malt, and lemon. Unlike many Darjeelings, I did not get any Muscatel character at all. This tea was maltier, nuttier, and much more vegetal.

This was one of the most interesting first flush Darjeelings I have ever tried. I don’t really feel that it had all that much in common with some of the other teas from this region that I have been drinking lately. And as odd as the aroma and flavor components may have initially seemed, they worked together beautifully. I would definitely recommend this tea to fans of first flush Darjeelings, but I would do so with the caveat that if you are expecting an overtly fruity tea with any noteworthy amount of the telltale Darjeeling Muscatel character, you may be in for a shock.

Flavors: Almond, Flowers, Grass, Green Apple, Green Pepper, Hay, Herbs, Lemon, Malt, Pear, Straw

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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99

delicious stuff. Lovely ‘wild’ fruit taste, with less bitterness than others I have had from around this area. A hint of steamed darkened fruity leaf in there.

It just goes and goes with limited change to the taste of the steeps. Robust good leaf. Soft gummy plump mouthfeel and more candy huigan. So good :)

Flavors: Fruity

Sqt

It’s like nature’s own haribo :)
If it just had a bit more of a punch to it I would get a tong.

Rasseru

oh man, these wild teas are gorgeous but soft arent they. I like them brewed with power & sometimes chop and change to benefit from the strength of one sheng then the fruit of wilds

Sqt

I’ve been considering blending one of them with something that with a little bit more power, but that might overwhelm all those delicate notes.

Rasseru

good idea, I might try that too

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85

I’ve surprised myself by developing a craving for this one over the last couple of weeks. Pu’erh is a thing my brain is still afraid of, even though I’ve tried enough by now to know that I actually quite like it. My first experience with this one was good, as far as I can recall. My reacquaintance with it was, possibly, even better. It’s the sweetest pu’erh I’ve ever tried, with a really prominent sugar cane flavour and a decent dose of creaminess. It mellows with successive steeps, the initial heady sweetness fading as more earthy, mulchy flavours develop. It’s kinda perfect for this time of year, and I’m just a little bit addicted. I’m nearly done with my pouch, and this is one I’m (quite unexpectedly) going to miss.

Preparation
1 tsp

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94
drank Swann's Way by Liquid Proust Teas
1871 tasting notes

Sipdown :(

I got a turtle chocolate vibe from this. (here in western Canada we have a chocolate shop called Purdy’s that has the world’s best version of a turtle with high quality milk or dark chocolate, salted pecans, and amazing caramel. This is what I think of when I consider chocolate/caramel/pecans, but I suppose Turtles are a well-recognised brand in the US)

-dark chocolate and cocoa
-very nutty pecan flavour
-the second and third steep had more sweetness to them
-a complex base made from a bunch of teas that go very well together

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Nuts, Nutty, Pecan, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

A dark chocolate Turtle vibe—awesome!

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First ripe purchased in almost a year! https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ4pBGLgrBG/?taken-by=liquidproust

When you see quality leaf being fermented without the use of shovels and feet, it’s got to be worth trying right?

Well today I went into this tea after it settled for a few days and I really enjoyed it’s subtle notes. The rinse was clear and by time I hit the first brew, there was a nice ruby red tint to the liquid. Brewing this was really fun because it wasn’t harsh on the mouth. From my experiences, this will become a very lovely tea for someone with my sort of taste buds in just a few more years. As someone who enjoys aged sheng, this will approach that taste a lot better than other shou have that I have tried.

Really looking forward to trying this once a month to track it’s ability to drink on cold nights and with certain foods!

Natethesnake

I’ve never been big on shou but I got a sample of this and was quite impressed. I immediately got hungry for Peking duck.

Shine Magical

I have this one too… just broke it up and put it in a crock

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75

Tea Swap Session

I was sipping this tea for 4 days prior to quitting. When I had opened the sample bag, I saw that it was incredibly compressed. I gave it a few rinses to ‘open’ up more, but due to the compression, it mocked me by looking the same as it had when I first started the session. I steeped it a few times after the first two rinses, but nothing much happened to the compression. The flavor was a little weak, too, so I had to force the chunk apart with my fingers; which seemed to help bring the tea to life.

Day 1 Notes (4 steeps): Nothing much going on with the tea. Pretty light in flavor/color. After brewing this a few times there is still a very tight chunk of tea, so I broke it apart with my fingers and will brew tomorrow.

Day 2 Notes (3 steeps): A little more flavor. Definitely an aged tea. Has that slight basement note, but not your grandma’s basement note/smell. More like, when your mother becomes a grandma, but that hasn’t happened, yet smell/note. Nothing really mind blowing…

Day 4 Notes (Day 3 wasn’t noted; 6 steeps): Starting to lighten up again, but started out bold. Thick mouthfeel, dark liquor. Uncooked pea pods notes (?), still a hint of your mother’s basement (mildew?), and leather (?). Reminds me of a ripe (fake ‘aged’ raw).

My notes were rushed on Day 4, so I’m not really sure what I was writing/thinking. Ha-ha.

tperez

Haha “not your Grandma’s basement” :)

gmathis

Someday, when I am old and retired and have time to waste, I want to go back through the archives here and write down all my favorite tea descriptors. Grandma’s basement will definitely be in the top 10!

S.G. Sanders

Gmathis :)

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drank 2017 Turtle Dove by White2Tea
1258 tasting notes

Great to drink now grandpa style or daily drinker, or age for later. This brick is compressed very tightly and you will need to be cautious. White tea bricks are always a disaster.

The notes are hot forest floor, honey, paperback book, light molassess, and malt. Grandpa styles gives you more of a meld of malt, milk, and floral, almost like a dian hong with 6 infusions.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2017-turtle-dove-white-tea-brick-white2tea/

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 1 OZ / 18 ML
M Mack

Well that just sounds lovely.

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88

Home sick today…

I figured I’d make myself a hot cup of tea; I thought that would be really nice and comforting! The problem is that I made the tea, brought it to my room and then fell asleep before touching it. When I finally did wake up, the tea was of course cold. It still tasted delicious; like pistachio pudding! It even had a thicker and more viscous mouthfeel which emphasized that pudding quality. It just wasn’t the soothing, hot cuppa that I had envisioned…

Fjellrev

I’m home sick today too. Ugh.

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Goodness. Prune caramel high mountain assam black tea goodness.

Flavors: Caramel, Stonefruits

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