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Recent Tasting Notes
I received a sample of this tea from a coworker who is from China and has a stocked tea cabinet at work. She described it as a panda poop fertilized green tea. It came in a really cute little gold toned tin with a peel-off metal top. I steeped at 175 for 1 minute for the first steep, and it is really surprisingly nice. The steeped leaves smell a little bit too umami oceany kind of scent for me, but the tea itself is just very light umami with a subtle richness in mouth feel, and without too much of the Marine flavors that I don’t care for in green teas.
Would drink again. (I’m actually going to do a few steeps to really give it a go.)
After Westholme we enjoyed spending the rest of our day driving around some of the areas outside of Victoria, including some forest bathing and stopping at one of the many wharfs in the area – not the infamous one actually in Victoria though – that was another day.
While at the wharf we stumbled upon a fantastic little pottery shop where I bought a yunomi cup, and we also grabbed lunch at the cafe in the area. I ordered a matcha latte with a shot of caramel syrup in it, and it was actually really fantastic. Just sweet enough with the golden caramel complimenting the more umami notes of the matcha and the creamy, frothy milk really well. Cannot for the life of me remember the name of the cafe though since it was just a little pit stop in the otherwise packed trip – not somewhere we had intentionally sought to visit.
Hopefully ashmanra won’t mind if I piggyback off this tea entry instead of creating a new one, even though this isn’t related to what she had originally written about.
I’ve been really wracking my brain to try to remember where in the heck I acquired these leaves eons ago… can’t do it. Lapsang souchong is one of my earliest tea loves, and I always kept a half-decent offering on hand. It has sort of fallen by the wayside lately, what with all the exploration and mind-blowing I’ve been indulging in. I grabbed my old container and brewed some up western, both yestermorn and this… it’s just really tasty and cozy and feels like a sort of home (or a good corner I can tuck into, anyway). I’m positive this isn’t a super high-quality offering, but the base is solid, with some floral and cream notes layered through the woodsmoke.
It’s made me think (shocking, said no tea drinker ever) I should poke around the genre a bit more… I’ve tried YS’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, but I know there are alternate wood smokes and whatever other artistry out there to discover.
In due time, little wallet… in due time.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Smoke, Wood
Rarely do I crave jasmine tea, but I was, so I did. I may have reviewed these cute little pearls under Random Steepings previously, but the notes under that heading are way too overwhelming to sort through. All I know about their provenance is that they came from the Waikiki Tea Room (souvenir from a friend), there was a silver Lady M Cakes label on the bag, and Lady M Cakes don’t promote teas on their website except for a green tea crepe cake that looks really intriguing.The jasmine is sweet and natural, not perfumey, the (white? green?) tea base is wispy and mild, and it’s just what a body needed on a rainy evening after a long, long week.
Mixed this 50/50 with some Spiced lapsang from W2T with a touch of oat milk to test out a friend’s weed sugar recipe. The resulting brew was so decadent! the sweet hay and light floral elements of the bai mu dan was simmering in the middle ground throughout, bookended by the more malty and brown sugar notes of the black tea. The sugar and the oatmillk tied it all together to make a wonderful dessert in a cup. the sugar hit just right too ;)
Drank this tea with ashmanra’s prompt : “Tea with three words in the name”
Another fun concept for the sipdown challenge! The possibilities are so vast! In the end I chose this random white tea that has been chilling in an ornate metal tin in my cupboard for a while. I truly do not know where I got this tea , all I know is that it is a Chinese bai mu dan. I suppose, what more do I need to know?
The scent of this tea on the dry leaf is a gentle melon – refreshing, delicate and creamy. Brewed this up in my gaiwan, only to be hit with the most uncanny watermelon flavor on the nose as well as the brew. Like, straight up fresh cut watermelon from a roadside stand, heavy and ready to be sliced into. So intensely juicy that it made me wonder if this is a flavored blend! On further inspection, the watermelon is too subtle and not like any watermelon flavoring i’ve ever had. It leans on the side of the last bite of watermelon before the rind. It’s got me wondering how good a cold brew application will treat this tea… hmmmm
Flavors: Hay, Melon, Watermelon
My godson is home from college where he is working on his PhD and came for a visit today. He and my daughter went out for Thai food and since he has fallen in love with Thai tea, I asked that they bring me one back to try as I have never had one.
Wow. This is…orange. This is sweet. Like major, major sweet. They opted to sit outside to dine because the restaurant was so crowded, so I go out to see them and daughter has an orange smile. I stick out my tongue. Orange.
Verdict – it tastes good I guess? Exotic to this Southern bumpkin. If I made it at home I would use less sugar and no food coloring.
Fun to try something I have never had!
Found some shou pu tuocha in the tea cupboard at work. Was feeling a little squirrelly and bored, so I decided to poor man gongfu it in my CS porcelain tumbler. I actually found the box of these tuos a couple months ago, but decided to let sleeping pu lie. I know it couldn’t be good news when it comes to mystery label puerh in an (American) office, but I love a little mystery.
Oh. Oh no. Turned out to be an immediate dirty, fishy mess. Even with a hearty double rinse. What did I expect?
I’m going to grab this Dong Ding descriptor for a review, although we purchased it at TeaMaze in Branson MO…it’s not shown on their website and there’s a typo on its label (spelled Donding High Mountain Tea).
Despite the iffy provenance and labeling quirks, the contents of the packet are really good. It held up well to my sloppy steeping (4 minutes at … somewhat just under boiling water) and tasted woody and twiggy with a little brown sugar finish. It had a nice, substantial texture on the tongue as well.
Y’all have heard my hard luck stories about trying to find an unfruity, unfloral oolong (above and beyond the Bigelow bagged variety) to please the husband. I let him take a trial sip this morning—mind you, this is even with a weaker but perfectly acceptable second steep—and he responded “Now, that’s more like it.” Success. Kind of.
I am working through some tea bags from recent swaps and decided to start this morning with this black tea from Devon Bartholomew. It only says “100% Natural Black Tea” on the wrapper so I’m not sure which brand it is. I’m looking forward to a good, strong black tea this morning though so I hope this fits the bill. It’s a perfect shade with cream, so fingers crossed for a good cup.
Yes, very good. A bit astringent but nice and caramelly-tasting.
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel
This is the tea that is going to make me finally take seriously not over-heating water and not over-extracting. I don’t think I would have been a good candidate for loving chai anyway, especially in the summer, but this tea was a struggle to even finish, I disliked it so much. I have a tolerance for most flavors, known as “will eat anything”, and I didn’t care for this. Purchased it from an open bin at Horrocks, so reserving judgements on all chai.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Ginger
G is for …. Green Tea! (Ode to Tea)
This one’s a mystery!! I have a had a couple mystery green teas gifted to me a little bit ago now that I have just stuffed away and slowly picked at. Well today’s the day I will be drinking the last of that back and all I know is that this blend is made by Harney and Sons. Love crossing empties off my list and being able to add physical items into my discard basket, this time its a baggie that use to hold some miscellaneous green tea bags!
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Rose, Sweet
Typed in “Matcha Unkown” to see if any entry already existed, and what do you know! One did! So even though this hasn’t been used in a few years I’m going to co-opt it for my tasting note…
A few months back, because Montreal went back into more heavy lockdown, I had the chance to “work from home” at one of my coworker’s houses – not for much of a particular reason, other than it’s nice to spend time with other people and because we’re already “exposed to” each other in our office it wasn’t adding to either of our Covid risk/circles. While I was there, throughout the day, her partner made matcha for us to have a matcha tasting! He’s actually a bigger tea drinker than she is, despite working for a tea company, and he recently had a friend in Japan mail him about a half dozen types of matcha (each from different regions of Japan) to taste through. It was very kind of him to share in his matcha haul, and it was a really nice activity for throughout the day.
We didn’t taste through all six regions that he had matcha from, but we did make it through four of them over the course of the day! I was definitely getting the matcha shakes by the time I went home. I, sadly, don’t remember what the regions were but here are some notes I jotted down for each of the four matchas!
- Sweet and fresh with floral elderflower/peony notes
- Refreshing garden snap pea finish; vegetal but juicy sweet vegetal
- This was my favourite tasting matcha
- The creamiest of the four both in terms of mouthfeel and flavour
- More umami underneath the initial creamy notes
- A bit flat in terms of taste with a thinner mouthfeel
- Pleasant taste with umami/bok choy notes
- Courser mouthfeel though; a touch gritty/grainy
Very general tasting notes, as you can see – but I wanted to capture it because it was a really nice experience and a very special moment of friendship and tea community nestled in between the dumpster fire that has been 2020.
After cavorting with kids (10 of ’em, fresh out of fourth grade and squirrely!) then coming home to sterilize the rubber pig and chicken and wash my marbles (there are a couple tasks I never expected to do!) I was ready to put my feet up and enjoy something light and uncomplicated.
I don’t know much about the provenance of this dragonwell. It was passed along by a friend; a cellophane-wrapped packet in a little green box with absolutely no English on it whatsoever. And yes, I know I should have taken a picture to run by the experts before I sipped it down and pitched it. Que sera. But I enjoyed every cup of it—it definitely led with the extremely green spinach and kale vibe, but there was a sweet spot at the end of every swallow. Like getting dessert after eating your veggies.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am drinking dumpster tea. Youngest found this dumpster diving at college as people moved out. Mind you, this wasn’t in a pile of banana peels and old rice, but piled with furniture and rugs and such. She found three teas, all sealed and unused. One was a yingde black – not very good but great for making gallons of sweet tea and nearly all gone now. One was a Long Jing that I haven’t tried yet.
This one was completely unlabeled, just in a sealed foil pouch. The leaves were medium length, thin, slightly twisted and very dark. I thought it might be black tea but it smelled like Chun Mee, which is not a favorite green for me.
I made it by black tea parameters, saw the wet leaves turn bright green, tasted the nasty astringency, and started over.
Made as a green tea, I think this probably IS Chun Mee. I might try to find a way to use it – sweet and flavored maybe? But since it was free tea and I know nothing of its origins, I might just toss it. It is not terrible, but I will definitely reach around this for the greens I love and then it will just be taking up space.
Thanks for the adventure, ”Youngest”!
This one is labelled “Thailand – Mariage Freres” only I can’t find this tea on their website or on steepster.
It’s a super mega fine CTC black tea. Very strong. Would be so good with sweetened condensed milk. But I’m drinking it with vanilla sugar and regular milk.
From TTB 2019/2020.
Last tea from the TTB and it’s a great one to end on. I think I associate rose hips with hibiscus for some reason so I was expecting this to steep up really red but it didn’t. It’s nice and fruity, reminiscent of those natural fruit leathers you can get at the health foods store.
From TTB 2019/2020.
I had no idea that honeysuckle is so good for you! I read up on it a bit to figure out the best way to steep it, and apparently it has all sorts of health benefits. We used to pick honeysuckle flowers all the time as kids, but I don’t see them much anymore. I think my dad may have one in the woods near his house. I’ll have to look next time I’m there to see if I might pick and dry a few.
The flavor is not anything like I expected. I expected sweet and nectar-like, like I have experienced in the past with the fresh flowers. This is vegetal. In fact, it smells exactly like lima beans after steeping. The taste is bitter and also dusty. Just completely different than anything else I’ve tasted!
I’m certainly glad I was able to try this and also learn that honeysuckle can be steeped as a tisane. I’ll be interested to see if other companies might have honeysuckle that tastes different. Teasenz has one that looks really beautiful. I wouldn’t mind trying that one.
Flavors: Bitter, Dust, Lima Beans, Vegetal