257 Tasting Notes

87

I’ve been hoarding this tea along with many others. I guess that is what happens when you are in the “must try all the teas” mode and you obtain a large swath of tea. But I’ve also been hoarding this tea because it is delicious.

Though I may have found another reason. I think Joseph Wesley tea is no longer a thing? Which is sad because I always really enjoyed everything I’ve bought from there. Can anyone else confirm that this is the case?

Either way, even a few years old, this white tea is subtle, slightly fruit on the upsip (which might be a word I just invented?) with a hay like note, and immensely drinkable.

Flavors: Fruity, Hay

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Kittenna

Upsip. I like it.

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70

*Edit: I actually like this tea a bit more as it cools down. Could make a good black iced tea. Slight rating boost. from mid 60’s to 70.

Received this from Brenden as a sample. It is a rainy spring day here in Michigan. I had boiled some water in my electric kettle in order to make a jello brain (using a mold) for my book club tonight. We read The Hunger by Alma Katsu which is a supernatural retelling of the Donner Party so I’m making the jello brain and also providing beef jerky (heh). I’m excited to see what others bring. Anyway, I had some water on the boil at the ready so I thought, “Why not pour the rest over some tea?”

After steeping, the leaves had a smokey/char type of scent. It reminded me of a campground in the early morning. Now, that is not to say this tea tastes smokey. It doesn’t. The taste for me is… lacking a little bit. It is a perfectly acceptable tea but lacks something special. It has kind of a basic… I’m leaning towards malt but I don’t really want to say that because I associate malt with a sweeter note (right or wrong as that may be) and this doesn’t really give off sweet as a first impression for me. I also don’t want to say cardboard because while the flavor lacks and might be a bit flat it’s also not completely bland. It is somewhere between those two notes.

Either way, I’m not huge on cream and sweeteners in my teas but this one might take to it fairly well. It is a straight forward, semi-bold tea that lacks any defining character. Safe and dependable might be the way to describe it. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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84

My in-laws brought this (and one other tea) to me back from Ireland. I tried this last night and it was delightful. Light mint without being too intrusive. I’m looking forward to serving this at my book club later this week.

Flavors: Floral, Mint

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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83

Well, I originally came on here to review this tea. I don’t get a chance to sit down and drink tea and review it too often anymore. Having a toddler and two other children tends to interfere with having downtime to yourself.

But what this looks like it will turn into is a comment on the state of Steepster. The first thing I noticed was all the spam on the discussion page. Wow. I joined Steepster around 4 or 5 years ago, I think, and was entranced by all the constant reviews and vibrant discussions that seemed to be continually going on. Not to mention all the tea swaps and other sources of information and entertainment. I was very sad to see the state of the discussion board along. I decided to check out my dashboard and found much of the same. A very low amount of activity. Then I went to the people I’m following and checked in with their reviews and it seems a large majority who used to be super active haven’t posted much in the last year, if at all. (Hi to any of you who are still active here) I’m definitely guilty of this myself but it seems about a year and a half ago when I stopped coming on as often due to a new baby situation, everyone else decided that was when they stepped away as well.

I’m kind of sad to come back here and see the state of it. This was the first place that introduced me to the wide world of teas and all the knowledge that could be found here through reviews and discussion. But it seems no longer. I’m sure that is just a natural progression but it still makes me sad. I don’t know of another place that is quite like this one.

Le sigh.

Kittenna

There are still some people here! But yes, the spammers are kind of out of control, and there isn’t nearly as much activity as there once was. I have to wonder whether the discussion page being so spammy contributes to people thinking this is a junk site? Anyways, I’m back after a fairly long hiatus (funnily enough – new baby is the reason I’m able to be back, since I’m no longer working insane amounts!), and noticed the same thing, but as I find this site useful for personal records, I’m sad but undeterred :)

Evol Ving Ness

As for me, I am not so much on the discussion boards, so I manage to avoid all that nonsense. I spend my steepster time on tea reviews and casual chat on other reviews. And yes, not as much activity, but still vibrant in spots. I think many reviews are now coming up on SororiTEAs (but no comments afaik).

mtchyg

Thanks to you both for responding and commiserating. I’m trying to do my part to be more present and active. Be the change, right? For me it’s a balance between time and limited caffeine intake. Looking forward to more interactions and discussions.

Mastress Alita

I balance my caffeine by switching to herbal tea after 6pm. Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking through more herbals/tisanes than the caffeinated stuff!

mtchyg

Mastress, I definitely do this. Unfortunately I have to stagger days with caffeine. I have ulcerative colitis and too much caffeine seems to put me in a flare which is new as of a few years ago. Oh, getting older…

Mastress Alita

Hmm, I have been having more issues with comorbid-related IBS with my migraines over the last year but haven’t thought of limited my caffeine by staggering days, since I figure I don’t drink a crazy amount as it is and a small amount can be helpful for migraine. I may need to look into that…

mtchyg

Couldn’t hurt to try. I didn’t realize it was the caffeine until I took an extended break and saw improvement.

Kittenna

@mtchyg – Yes, being the change is what I’m trying to do, when I have time! I’ve consistently been drinking a fair bit of tea, it’s the time aspect that got away from me. I suspect when I return to work after mat leave I may slow down on the reviews again unless I start taking proper breaks at work and reviewing during that time.

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100

This was one of the teas I served last night at my book club and paired it with a Midnight Dark Chocolate cake I made. Dear. Lord. It was so amazing. All of those creamy, cocoa, vanilla notes came through and was just perfection. I may have made a moaning sound when I drank it because it went so well with that cake. Just perfection. Rating up, up, upped!

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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90

I am drinking this gongfu style for the first time out of my new cup… which I am also drinking out of for the first time (found here: https://yunnansourcing.com/products/pure-silver-999-and-hardwood-cup-30ml ). I’ve had my eye on that cup for a while. It is just so pretty. It reminds me of a coconut. I don’t know how much of a flavor impact the silver has but I feel happier using it because of the aesthetics. ¯\(ツ)

Back to the tea. This tea is reallllly good. It has a wonderful roast on it without being char or ashy. It is more like a caramelized flavor that comes through. My tea book club will be meeting next week to discuss Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and so this is one of the teas I picked to pair. It is not disappointing.

There are a lot of flavors going on here. I’m picking out roasted coffee, caramel, mineral, malt, and some fruit. Goes strong for at least 4 or 5 steeps. This is an overall really solid dark roasted wulong tea. If you are looking for a bash you over the head roast, this might not satisfy that desire. But I would (and soon will) gladly introduce more novice drinkers to this style using this tea.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Malt, Mineral, Roasted, Stonefruits

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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95

Yup, still reviewing this tea about two years after my first two initial reviews. I have a habit of holding on to really great teas to try and stretch out their longevity. When I looked this morning, it seemed I had about 2 gongfu sessions left in it. And since I’m apparently in the mood to finish off old teas lately, here we are.

To set the mood, it is a cold winter day with a dusting of snow and ice. My 14 month old is eating toast and peanut butter in his high chair next to me and my older two kids are just getting up and around for breakfast, savoring sleeping in for the last few days of winter break.

The tea itself: Still smells nice upon a quick rinse. That nice, thick, malty scent that lets you know it is most likely a quality black tea. Upon sipping, I do think either a) I over leafed it, which I don’t think is the case. Or b) this tea being a few years old has finally started to loose some of its luster (flavor… I mean flavor). It’s not that it is a bad cup of tea just that it has lost some of that freshness that made it pop previously. Almost verging on stale. Kinda like it steeped with a few pieces of corrugated cardboard. But other than that flavor, it has some good citrusy brightness and a big dose of malt left to give.

But even old and faded, this tea still could beat out many other black teas which is a testament to the quality with which it started. I’m not going to knock its rating just because I can’t bring myself to finish this tea when it is fresh and at peak quality.

Flavors: Cardboard, Citrus, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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82

Trying to get this one out of my tea cabinet. Not because it is bad but because the tin, while extravagant and lovely, is quite large and there isn’t a whole lot left in it (like two teapots worth). Normally I would brew this gongfu but this morning we are doing western style with cream and honey. And it is delightful.

I think my initial review mentioned this tea being a bit weak and not really a show stopper. Well, the good news is that this tea is also built really well to handle some honey and cream. The malt notes come out and pair very nicely with this method of consumption. Yessiree, this will be an enjoyable last few pots with this tea. Upping the rating.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 7 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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86

I can’t believe I’ve never reviewed this tea as I’ve had a tin of it for a while and have drank it a few times here and there. It is a nice Saturday morning around our crazy house. My wife and I were able to sleep in a bit. The 12 year old is gone at her dads. The 7 year old is up in his room playing with Legos and the 1 year old is contentedly (for now) crawling around and playing. So, it is a rare moment where I am not having to cater to anyones immediate needs. My wife is getting ready to go to work though so I’m sure this moment will be up soon haha.

This tea’s dried leaf didn’t have a big smell to me. Actually, a bit of a fairly common black tea smell which, for me, usually smells like a mix of malt and cardboard. Doesn’t sound appealing, I know, but I’ve learned that the cardboard smell doesn’t necessarily equal cardboard taste. The dried leaves are small and thin but with a high quality look to them.

Upon a flash rinse (done to my blacks to try to knock down a bit of the caffeine), the smell rising up was a malty baked bread with a hint of sweetness.

A quick 10 second steep…The flavor of the tea is mostly the same as the smell with a slight hint of something… savory? I do mean slight though. Almost undetectable but just enough to give pause and try to discern what it is. There is certainly a warm brightness as well. The tea color is a wonderful burnt orange. It also pairs very well with a Great Harvest cinnamon bread ;)

There goes the wife to work, there goes the baby letting me know his displeasure, and there goes this review :) Overall, a wonderful tea that I will continue to enjoy.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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drank Fei Zi Xiao by Verdant Tea
257 tasting notes

So, against my own better judgement, I brewed this western style and followed the suggestions on the Verdant website about doing quick 15 second steeps for western (which sounds suspiciously like gongfu…) but I think I used more water than they suggest because this was watery in flavor after the stated time. So, I plopped the tea back in the water for another 15 or so. It’s still watery but at least it is drinkable with some flavors.

I’m chalking this up to user error and withholding a rating. Normally when this happens, I mention that I’ll update it when I do brew it up properly. However, this time I have no further tea of this kind as it was a sample. But, I do think this tea has some potential. I notice some faint fruity notes in there. Seems like a fairly juicy mouthfeel, especially if I extrapolate to what a fully leafed pot would be…

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Profile

Bio

Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this

Location

Lansing, Michigan

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