1340 Tasting Notes

91

2021 Spring Harvest

High Mountain Green Oolong types are an easy favourite, and one’s from the Shan Lin Xi area are an easy if expensive sell. I thought I’d made notes on more of them than this but they have a tendency to not stick around long enough for that! The aroma of the dry leaf and broth is (as expected) beautiful, rich, and aromatic – it’s a mixture of floral (honeysuckle), honey, and fruity notes, along with something that is quintessential oolong. Pure ambrosia.

Cream, floral and fruit components are at the right balance for me here, creating a well-rounded profile. The fruity component is kind of like pineapple and the honey-sugar qualities of persimmon. While at it’s hottest, the finish has a zesty-sweet heat. I second Daylon R Thomas’s suggestion of “ginger lily” (it’s a bit of both, ha). There’s a suggestion of creamy banana and/or persimmon as a lingering taste as well. The sweet-grass/vegetal notes, which gain prevalence as it cools, also lend to the persimmon effect.

Western Steep Count: 6

After the second steep I went to bed and carried the session into today. I think steep 4 onward tasted a bit like a natural Jin Xuan (you know that subtle vegetal cream) but with more floral. Next time I’ll try for an uninterrupted session with gongfu so I can draw it out more!

Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Ginger, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nectar, Pineapple, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tropical

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Kawaii433

Sounds delicious. What-cha has some awesome oolongs.

CrowKettle

I always like trying new tea vendors, but What-Cha’s oolong offerings are such safe bets for me. This one makes me feel spoiled :)

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76

I’m worried the tangy cream aroma is starting to age so added a shot of Bailey’s to really build that Irish Cream flavouring. It’s nice. Maybe too nice.

Flavors: Cream, Irish Cream, Tangy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Haha! We may be the same person.

The easy way for me to get around ATM withdrawal charges, which are hefty because of credit union banking, is to get cash back at grocery stores or LCBO. Bought a bottle of Bailey’s at the latter just last week.

CrowKettle

An excellent choice! ;)

I’m also with a credit union so I know this pain.. sort of (I live close to my Credit Union now but not always).

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80

Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Sunday, November 28th: National French Toast Day

I didn’t steep this long enough. Also, I’m nowhere near finishing it off but it’s National French Toast day – so here’s a cuppa! :)

I used eggnog today to make up for the weak steep. Double eggy toast.

Flavors: Bread, Cardamom, Cream, Tangy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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76

Spring 2021 Harvest

Ok, I’m trying this one gongfu style, because why not? I’m only two cups in and already encountering some vivid oddball flavours. Its like an Apple-Cherry Cobbler with a potato base, dusted with cinnamon (sort of hot fruity baked granola bread, but also with potatoes).

Continued…
No.3 smells and tastes like tart cherries. Like in my Western Steep note, I think this tea has major flavour blend potential. No.4 is still very cherry with powdered sugar, but also hints of cranberry. My good friend Roasted Oolong Ice Cream Cone is also back. No.5 is lightly cherry tart with mineral notes. No. 6 sees the return of apple (maybe pear?) and some of the cinnamon, along with the ever-present cherry. No.8 is like potato or coconut oil – thick but kind of flat except for some minor stonefruit notes; strangely, it reminds me of Potato Pancakes & Applesauce from good old Butiki.

Gongfu Style Steep Count: 9

Flavors: Apple, Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cranberry, Grain, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Pastries, Potato, Powdered Sugar, Stonefruit, Tart

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Evol Ving Ness

Wow, that sounds like quite a ride.

CrowKettle

Always an adventure with multi-steep oolong sessions!

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82

Simple but sweet. Also decent resteep value for the vanilla flavour.

Steep Count: 3 (prefer the second steep to the more earthy first steep)

Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Malt, Milk, Powdered Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla, Yams

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

This sounds really nice! Has your area dried out yet?

CrowKettle

We got more rain all evening and this morning but my community and the ones most adjacent to me are all alright! The community 33 miles away (Abbotsford) is still in dire straits though – 90 more properties evacuated today (on top of people and livestock still displaced). There is a natural drainage basin that area wants to reform (Sumas Lake) and all the infrastructure used to remove it 100 years ago (pumps, dyke) were in poor shape before this – so perfect storm :|

Everyone “milk panicked” last week but that’s ok too now.

gmathis

Glad you’re well. Praying for some sunshine for you!

CrowKettle

Thanks gmathis! Hope everything is well in your neck of the woods too :)

Evol Ving Ness

CrowKettle, all this must have been very stressful for all of you. yikes! I’m glad you are ok. I did not realize that you were so close to the very much at risk areas. Yes, more sun and drainage needed.

CrowKettle

Thanks Evol Ving Ness! Yeah, Abbotsford (and Chilliwack), for all the farming imagery, is not the boonies! They’re like a hairline from being considered part of the Metro Vancouver Regional District and are considered so informally by many anyways (MVRD area is only 2,882.68 km2/1,113.01 sq mi so we’re pretty tiny compared to other greater city regions in North America).

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75

Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Thursday, November 25th: Thanksgiving – Cookies

~also October 2021 Tea!

Sipdown. Is it a Thanksgiving cookie? Yes? No? Maybe? All I know is I tend to eat a lot of gingersnaps around this time of the year, although far less since the border closure preventing my sister from going to Trader Joe’s and buying more of “the favoured ones” (I eat hers, yes). May the gingersnaps return soon.

This has excellent ginger flavour which will be sure to dismay as many as it delights (probably a little more dismayed as ginger is one of those ingredients). The apple is a bit of a fun twist though and, while it works well, kind of comes across as a zesty apple crisp (the Darjeeling base concurs with full throttle fruit). Still good but not entirely a full cookie experience. It’s particularly nice when your throat is sore though.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Candy, Fruity, Ginger, Malt, Muscatel, Spices, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

President’s Choice used to have amazing crystallized ginger cookies. A-ma-zing. I hope they bring them back.

Lexie Aleah

Their gingersnaps are good. My mom just came back from a trip to Trader Joe’s and brought back some delicious peppermint meringues. Highly recommend if you like sweet things.

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78

Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Thursday, November 25th: Thanksgiving – Pumpkin Dessert

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today! (and a happy last Thursday of November to all us us who aren’t. November speeds by so quickly.) I’m thankful of all the amazing people in this little community – you all rock. :)

While I’m not doing anything special today, I thought it’d be fun to try to “recreate” a Thanksgiving dinner via tea sipdowns. Except it seems I’m starting with dessert (typical). I’ll probably end it with dessert too, if I actually end up drinking up more than one tea (unlikely).

I was initially a little conflicted with this tea, but then remembered that with the pre-Anne 52teas I used to understeep them for preferred results – especially the “cheesecake black teas”. Change the steep time to 2min30s @ 205F and magic! My tea now contains all the smooth tangy cheesecake notes I desire without a good portion of the tannins and bitters from tea and spicea (cheesecake is still subtle but something my brain consistently reads as cheesecake; mileage may vary though). It doesn’t need milk like this; it already tastes creamy, with an assortment of spices. It’s a pretty good way to finish this one off!

Steep Count: 3 (all around 3min and all quite good).

Flavors: Cheesecake, Cinnamon, Cloves, Creamy, Ginger, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Pepper, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice, Tangy, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

I tend to understeep all black teas too: lower temperature and fast-ish. I do probably use more leaf too as I measure using a heaping DT’s perfect spoon, which is likely designed for tea which contains heaps of non-tea.

CrowKettle

My leaf measuring varies so much from cup to cup… This cup, I think, was slightly underleafed. XD

That’s a good theory about DT’s “perfect spoon” (I always thought it was a ploy to work through more tea quickly).

Evol Ving Ness

I think both are true. I used to be quite frugal with leaf, but now the norm for me is a heaping DT’s perfect spoon and fast cool steeps. Why do you underleaf and why does it vary?

CrowKettle

I sometimes overleaf too, and it all pretty much amounts to laissez-faire measuring practices (what I “feel” looks right). It often depends on the tea company (52teas I usually underleaf because I don’t want too much flavour; this dates back to “old 52teas” preferences), the tea type (leaf size, fruit pieces), or whether or not I want a milk cup or not (milk gets more leaf).

I don’t always use a spoon to “measure out” tea leaf either. I’ve shaken it out directly from the tea package before (ex- to avoid breaking big, long leaves). I’m definitely not exact XD

CrowKettle

This one was underleafed because I reached that awkward end of the bag amount lol

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for clarifying.

Ah, that’s when I haul out my Keemun Classic to make up the difference. Or if not black, then I just overleaf to avoid having to deal with the awkward amount (or make a little tiny cup).

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92

Spring 2021 Harvest

I love Silver Needle more than words can express. It’s pure calm in a cup, it’s smoothness a balm to a turbulent day. My associations with this tea type are of cool spring rains, early bulb sprouts, new verdant grass, and the bliss of coming in to warm up in the old, red brick and cedar wood buildings in downtown Victoria.

A mouthful is like a timely visit to the spa – it’s clean cucumber water with a dash of lemon. This one has a lot of cucumber, and an increasing amount of thick, sweet melon to finish. On the fourth steep, the sweetness is so prevalent it’s almost jam-like.

Steep Count: 5 – and it was still going strong, even in western style, but then it was midnight, and this tea type actually has a lot of caffeine. I was so buzzed. Also, this tea is adaptable and forgiving – yielding flavourful cups regardless of temperature (ranging from 175F-195F).

Flavors: Citrus, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Melon, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Mastress Alita

I love Silver Needle as well!

CrowKettle

:)

I was going to ask in my note if anyone else loves this tea style like I do. It’s one of my all-time favourites and I don’t drink it enough.

Evol Ving Ness

I’m putting it on my list.

ashmanra

You got me with melon

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79
drank Eventide by August Uncommon Tea
1340 tasting notes

Sipdown! I enjoyed this one for the most part, despite being a roasted oolong. It reminded me that sometimes I need to give teas another chance with a different steeping method (western was decent but gongfu was much more fun).

Gongfu: 15 second rinse, 5-15 seconds steep times (it’s been a long time since had a gongfu session, and was with a new set, so I didn’t quite nail it).

Steep 1-2, leaves not fully expanded: these cups had a thick floral and subtle honey sweetness (not as cloying as some), infused with a slightly fruity sour tang. Reminds me most of the small soft purple plums, with a rich gold center, from our old plum tree (RIP – you were an amazing fruit tree).

Steep 3-5, new fully expanded leaves: the sweetness is slowly becoming a secondary and complimentary component to the the sour and malt notes. The vanilla aspect is now noticeably present but is a reminder that that which smells nice isn’t always “sweet” (those who’ve tasted vanilla extract know what I mean). I’m also reminded of a savoury- sweet sourdough, or a starchy banana- maybe a more savoury plantain. My fourth cup is velvety and very good – possibly enhanced by a tiny spoonful of honey I tried prior to gulping No.4 down. No. 5 has the roasted oolong note which I dub ice cream cone.

Steep 6-7, toppings for toast: the honey returns (No, I promise didn’t eat more honey)! These were nice cups, and the wet leaves went from a roasty roast wood aroma to a jam one, but unfortunately it got a bit late last night so that’s the end of that.

Across the board, the aroma is delicious – like vanilla (orchid) and heliotrope (can’t eat but smells divine), with varying levels roasted malt.

This would possibly go nicely with Cantonese style BBQ duck. It’s lovely with the Vindaloo I was eating alongside it- both have a vinegary/sour note that I’m really craving right now. The curry’s profile of roasted cinnamon, mustard seeds, cloves, and other spices really shines with the florals in general – particularly rose – but the stone fruit and vanilla notes of this tea also pair well in a pinch!

Flavors: Banana, Bread, Floral, Honey, Malt, Orchid, Plum, Roasted, Sour, Stonefruit, Tangy, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Lexie Aleah

I have yet to open my sample of this one. I’ve been tempted to SO many times though. I still have a lot more sipdowns to go before opening another tea.

CrowKettle

This is a constant battle! A small sample of oolong stretches out a long way too.

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76
drank Coconut Kiwi Green Tea by 52teas
1340 tasting notes

September 2021 Tea

Still not a big fan of Chinese Sencha. However, since it has a similar flavour profile, it does exceptionally well when paired with kiwi; the overall effect is a bit like a tropical green smoothie! I generally like coconut of all kinds and there is a lot of that here too. The flavours supports my current daydream of being on a tropical vacation, which is extremely welcome imagery in the middle of November (it’s sunny today too so the weather is working with me here too).

I enjoy this tea increasingly more as it cools.

PS- I added strawberry, banana, and pineapple to the “flavours” here because we don’t have kiwi in the database – but kiwi has similar characteristics to those three very different fruits (tart, acidic, citrusy, pithy/starchy, soft jam sweet, mellow sweet). The coconut kiwi combo kind of creates its own mock-banana note actually.

EDIT – kiwi was added to the database (Thanks Cameron B.) but I’m still keeping “banana”.

Flavors: Banana, Coconut, Fruity, Grass, Juicy, Kiwi, Sour, Spinach, Sweet, Tart, Tropical

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Cameron B.

I added “kiwi” as a flavor tag.

CrowKettle

You’re the best! :)

Cameron B.

Aw shucks ha ha…

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourites are teas like Milk Oolong, Silver Needle,and Japanese Sencha/Gyokuro, or fruity and floral flavoured ones. However, I generally enjoy ALL the teas, including a good old cup of Earl Grey or Breakfast blend.

FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS/NOTES:

DESSERT FLAVOURS
Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

FRUIT & BERRIES
Citrus Fruits, Passionfruit, Banana, Pineapple, Melons, Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Elderberry, Persimmon, Rhubarb..

SPICES
Ginger, Turmeric, Clove-forward chai, Cardamom

AROMATIC & HERBACEOUS NOTES
Sandalwood, Frankincense, Juniper, Eucalyptus, Mints

FLORALS
Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Violet, etc.

VEGGIE/GRAIN NOTES
Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:
Stevia, Apple, Cocoa Nib, Almond, Licorice, Cinnamon-forward blends, Chinese Sencha

Subjective Rating System:
I don’t give a lot of low ratings out, since a) I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me, and b) I don’t have a lot of strong dislikes.

90-100: Favourites. The Desert Island Teas.
80-89: Loved teas. Possibly staple-worthy.
70-79: Good teas, but I’m less likely to repurchase. Minor quibbles.
60-69: Ok teas. Likely a few preference and/or quality issues.
50-59: Cup of meh. Will do in a pinch.
11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea.
1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, an unholy abomination. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.

Location

BC, Canada

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