1340 Tasting Notes

85

Buttery sourdough notes, a roasted chestnut and toasted rice nuttiness, and something sweet. I love holding up the bag of dry leaves to my nose; it smells like sourdough or pickled plums (umeboshi). Sweet & sour and, oh, so very good.

Butiki’s introductory note on steepster for this “puerh” spurred me on to make my first purchase. Yeah, that’s right.. it wasn’t the Cantaloupe & Cream but this! It sounded so intriguingly unique and, even though my experience with puerh style tea is limited, I always get a mouth-watering sensation when I see posts for them. Weird, yet it worked out for me here!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Sourdough! That’s the first time I’ve heard that adjective in a tea description. It sounds wonderful!

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Happy New Year (or New Year’s Eve, depending)!

Man, this is good! Today I finally worked up the courage to try the five second steep, gongfu method, in my measuring glass. When I made it yesterday using my wonky method it felt like the oolong was jumping from one flavour profile to the next in a chaotic array. This allowed me to taste all of the transitional stages, slowly, step by step. This is simply magical.

I let my mother smell the wet leaves and her reaction was in the negative but then I pleaded her to take a sip of the first steep, and also the fourth one, I think (when the finish became delicious). She told me it was smooth and like drinking a fine eighteen year old scotch. A positive reaction.

I haven’t kept track of how many times I’ve steeped this; I’m just enjoying the transformation of the flavours. It started out malty smooth, had a stage that tasted and smelled like fruit jam, and is now on a buttery, creamy, honey stage. I’m not getting anywhere near as much of that “roasted rice/genmaicha” flavour as I did yesterday. Where did it go?

I don’t have a gaiwan or a device to measure grams but I can do this! Yummy oolong, although I think I still prefer the greener ones.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C
Bonnie

Fun to experiment isn’t it.

CrowKettle

Yes!!! And today I was rewarded for it :)

TeaLady441

Man, I’m so tempted to get a gaiwan! They’re cheaper than I thought.

BoxerMama

I want a gaiwan.

Bonnie

I have 3 gaiwans, a fat white one 5 oz. that is easy to handle and cost $10, a purple clay that I use for shu pu-erh also 5 oz. and has a handle and built in strainer $17, and a stone looking pottery gaiwan with that’s speckled and has a spout 5 oz. also $16 that I mostly use for sheng pu-erh. All three have been great investments because I use them often.
Yunnan Sourcing U.S. (make sure it’s U.S.) is inexpensive if you don’t have a walk-in shop close to you.

TeaLady441

That sounds super reasonable! Do you have to dedicate it to one specific tea, or can you just have an oolong gaiwan, green gaiwan etc?

I’ll check out the website too. I’m in Vancouver so I thought I’d try Chinatown, but I wasn’t sure how I’d know if it’s authentic.

TeaLady441

Ah. I’m mixing up gaiwan and yixing pots, both of which I want. :p

CrowKettle

I’m on the lookout for a nice gaiwan too. Thanks for the tip Bonnie! Those don’t look too expensive. :)
Cavocorax, if you find a good place to buy either a yixing pot or gaiwan in Metro Vancouver let me know!

Bonnie

I have lists of teaware sites for handmade pieces too if anyone is interested.

CrowKettle

I’m interested!

TeaLady441

Me too! I don’t want to buy unless I know it’s ‘the one’. :P I don’t have enough room to buy extra teawares.

CrowKettle – I noticed that ZenTea has a few gaiwan’s for under $10, but idk about the patterns: http://zentealife.com/index.php/teaware/teawares-region/china/gaiwan-mugs-cups.html

They have a yixing pot I like too (with a squirrel on the lid) but it’s almost $40. :|

CrowKettle

I want to check out Zen Tea so badly. That yixing pot is cute and reasonable prices for a gaiwan. I think I’m merely being picky about patterns now.

TeaLady441

Nothing wrong with that! I’m feeling the same way!

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Bengal Spice used to be my absolute favourite hot beverage; I brought boxes of it with me when I started university away from home. It was my comfort drink. Then things got busy, I “discovered” tea, and this was pushed to the back of the cupboard. Until now.

I went to check up on my mom, and she handed me her mug and said “I think I’m spoiled on pumpkin chai.. try this.” I never thought I’d be the type of person to say “blegh”. Just awful cinnamon cardboard water in milk. We both agreed to dump the rest of it down the sink.

Maybe.. the box had gone stale (better chuck out the box). I’d like to believe that but I think the truth is that it’s not for me (or my mother) anymore. I wish I could give this a higher rating, just for old times sake, but I’m afraid my face looked very similar to that red dude on the far left of the spectrum.

Lady 0f Spaydes

Celestial seasonings is just kind of bad once you’ve had anything better. I want to like them too. :(

CrowKettle

They have such pretty boxes too.. :/

Bonnie

used to be my fav too

maldororsteagarden

I used to love this tea when I first got into Chai and one whiff of their other fruit teas takes me back to my student days. It’s just a shame that, to my refined/jaded palate, CS just tastes like overpriced dishwater.

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88

When I think of nauseating, overpowering jasmine teas this is one of them.

This pretty pink tin of twenty tea bags was given to me as a birthday gift last year. It was an incredibly sweet thought and I had never seen pearls before this. The individual sachet bags are gorgeous; the leaves themselves look like delicately rolled bits of green and white cloth. At the time, the jasmine aroma reminded me of root beer.

This tea is consistent. The jasmine is exuberantly floral. Sometimes, I pick up a pleasant “salty” sweet finish. The flavours have a tendency to overwhelm and I can’t imagine following the suggested four minute steep.

Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those teas I find myself reaching for. I still have twenty tea bags. They must have given me extra because I’ve had this at least three times in the last year.. just did a count on my gifted Paris tin and, although it says “twenty sachets”, I counted twenty-one. Lucky me!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Lady 0f Spaydes

I love super-jasmine. Jasmine has always beenn a good friend to me. When I was a kid and couldn’t sleep at night, i’d sneak outside and stare at the moon and I could smell jasmine from blocks away. :) Maybe it’s just me, but the more jasmine, the better!

greg

Hi guys, i’m new here. Just to react to this. I’ve tasted my first jasmine tea this morning (Oriental Jasmine, twinings). Steeped in a french press. 4/5 minutes. P
A great smell for my flat. But it is really bitter.
erhaps you’ve got some suggestions for me.
The first tea without sugar i’ve drank is Christmas Tea. With an absolute pleasure.

CrowKettle

I love the smell too; we even have a jasmine plant in the backyard! Embarrassingly however, jasmine, along with vanilla and honey, tend to make me feel faint. I’m a wimp.

Hi Greg, I’m somewhat of a tea novice as well! :) You could try reducing the steep time. If it’s a green or white jasmine tea you will also want to steep it in water just under boiling temperature. When I first started making green tea I always over-steeped it in boiling water and drank many bitter cups. Depending on the blend, white and green teas are often placed in temperatures anywhere from 72°C -93°C. Tea strength is impacted by steep time, temperature, and water/leaves ratio.

ashmanra

I hated jasmine until I tried Teavivre’s. did you know you can sign up for free samples on their website? They are generous, too, and I have yet to meet a Teavivre tea that was less than excellent.

greg

@crowkette thanks for your tips. I’ll give jasmine another chance next time :)

CrowKettle

@greg, no problem! :)
@ashmanra, I’ve been eyeing Teavivre’s website, and thier fancy tins, for a while. I’ve only heard good things and the have an extremely appealing shipping deal to boot. It will be a couple months before I can buy new tea though. I overspent myself badly.

ashmanra

@Crowkettle: I bet if you signed up for the free samples they would try to accommodate you if you request certain ones you are interested in! Then you could try now, buy later!

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Hybrid, eyeball estimation style steeping:

The dry leaves remind me of waffle cones: light and dried out, with a sugared vanilla sweetness. Whereas the dry leaves smell like stale, woody “waffle cones”, the hot water makes them come to life. It tastes buttered and fresh from the baker. Light waffle malt first steep.

Second steep: feels lighter than the first “awakening steep”. The honey notes are so very sweet and moist. There’s a roasted rice taste that reminds me of genmaicha. Delicious, like crispy grain goods with syrup drizzled across. Aftertaste is a fruity honey with a somewhat buttery lingering sensation.

Third steep: Lots of sweet butter and cream that pairs magically with the toasty note. Vanilla and caramel notes too? This is the best! Fourth steep is similar. The finish reminds me of Butiki’s Sparrow Tongue- where does that even come from!? I think I’m going to stop on my fifth steep today but this has at least another few left in it.

The tea has transitioned from roasted sweet malt to a rich, honey-infused, buttery cream. I’m getting the impression that Verdant Tea doesn’t deal in the simple and static.

I would’ve never picked this out for myself as I’ve not been a huge fan of the darker oolongs I’ve come across in flavoured blends. I’m grateful Verdant Tea threw this one in as my sample, though, because my preconceived notions were wrong.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Think this is better than you rated it. But,considering you don’t like this type I suppose this is a good rating. I loved it and I like the darker roasts myself too.

CrowKettle

I wish I could mark teas on multiple levels, like how I feel they hold up compared to their type, their company, other personal favourite teas, and if I would buy them again, etc. Because this tea is high at 79 for me but underrated for itself (it’s still the best roasted oolong in quality and complexity that I’ve ever had).

Kittenna

I sometimes wish it was easier to achieve objectivity in ratings, because mine totally are influenced even just by my mood some days, haha. And I realized I’ve been rating things absurdly high for the past while as well – things that I like but that are pretty mediocre belong at 67 (according to my arbitrary ratings scale)! So, many teas I like reasonably well should land between 70-80, drink often 80-90, absolutely love 90-100. But it’s hard to remember that every time… (I’m rambling. Must sleep.)

Bonnie

I’ve given up rating for now except on occasion when I run into a 100% that must be given attention.

CrowKettle

Sometimes I think about giving up ratings too; I’m constantly reevaluating them as I continue to try more tea, revisit old teas, and as my tastes change.

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85

Boosting the rating on this by a couple after steeping a lot of leaves for a minute (probably could have reduced that) in my measuring glass + mug. While the notes always taste slightly different I haven’t had a bad cup of this yet!

Today, the jasmine comes off even more banana like in flavour- it almost has a sticky sweetness to it. Delicious fruit. It reminds me of the sweet notes in the sparrow tongue- honeysuckle again? It’s so sweet…annd it’s gone. Second cup!

There will be many more cups of this today.

You know you love a tea when you push it to the multi-steep max. I’m glad I opened the Yunnan White Jasmine sample as my second Verdant Tea. I feel like the leaves are being patient and kind with me, despite my prior apprehension about working with them.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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I remember my sister making me a virgin Pina Colada in a blender as a kid when we were in Kauai. The creamy coconut and sickeningly sweet pineapple were almost unbearably rich- it’s one of those things that I feel needs something strong, like rum, to balance it out.

Why do I bring up that story? Well, despite that both it and this tea are related to Hawaii, the dry leaves remind me exactly of a Pina Colada. Luckily, unlike my virgin milkshake, Hawaiian Dream does possess that cutting strong addition that prevents it from being nauseatingly sweet. The black base is noticeable once steeped- in the odour and during mid-sip.

It’s not very astringent, and the pineapple, along with a little coconut, carry the cup. I think I may be noticing the sweet pineapple slightly more but it’s a close thing.

The one thing that prevents me from enjoying this tea to the max is the fuzzy and dry mouth. I still like the idea for the flavour combination, however, and I can’t complain about the dry leaf scent. Maybe this would taste good as an iced milk latte or slush.

Side Note: Ingredients have a tendency to settle. My coconut pieces were all at the top and I had to mix it all up.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Nicole

Ooo… hadn’t thought about making it into a latte slushy… Hm…

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85

Today this tastes… floral, creamy, and banana like.

I haven’t been using enough leaves. I need to buy a gaiwan and don’t have my gongfu pot here, but maybe I can try short steeping the rest of my sample in a measuring glass.

I like this a lot but I need to try my other samples from Verdant Tea and work on my steeping skills before I pick up more!

Edit: So far I’ve gotten four good solid steeps out of my meager serving of leaves, after reducing the water. The fourth is the creamiest and sweetest yet, with even a hint of pepper. This tea has held up well to my unintentional abuse.

2nd Edit: Made it to fifth steep and I bet there would be a sixth if I left it for around 10min. This one tastes like pines- which remind me how much I love that spruce pop (Christmas trees in a cup). Still a good dose of Jasmine left and lots of silk.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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96

Western Style. I should stop drinking tea at 2AM. School habits die hard.

First sip: It tastes like solid ordinary green oolong to me. although, I shouldn’t say that, as technically I have only tasted ONE straight oolong up to this point.

Second sip: Whoa! Did my Dad take some of the butter that he had just melted for the popcorn and dump some into my teacup? It’s extremely buttery, and there’s something like honey but softer and more floral. After experiencing that I went and double-checked the online write up of this tea and it mentions honeysuckle notes? I don’t remember what honeysuckle tastes like but maybe that’s what it is.

I’m still unsure how to describe oolong but soft buttered spinach sort of covers this one. I’m also getting something “freshening” mid sip and in the aftertaste. Apparently there is also a cinnamon note but my dead tongue only gets a hint of it if I take a gigantic mouthful and imagine hard enough.. It’s dominantly sweet butter.

Second Steep: Consistently tastes like the first steep. Buttery body and a sweet finish. The brothy “texture” continues to be thick like melted butter too.

Wow! I honestly bought this for the inclusion of “sparrow” in the tea name. I wasn’t anticipating much- I definitely wasn’t expecting to love it on first steep. I guess I’m a sucker for butter, cream, or anything that so much as mentions birds. This is definitely as delicate and mellow as a “sparrow’s tongue” and the small, scrunched up dry leaves further painted that image too. I checked Butiki’s website and apparently this tea is on sale for 33% off until January 18th. I may have to take advantage of that next week.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Your description reminds me of Bird Pick Tea and Herb’s Premium Silky Green, one of my favorite oolongs. My son won’t drink it because he says it tastes so much like melted butter that his brain won’t let him believe it is good for him!

Sil

hmmm maybe i should try this one.

CrowKettle

Ashmanra, that sounds amazing! I wish they shipped internationally. Maybe I’ll get the chance to visit a retail store if/when I head down the coast (international tea tour)!

TeaLady441

That sounds really good. I’ve never bought any Butiki teas, but am considering it!

Nicole

I love buttery oolongs, I’m discovering lately. Perhaps I need to evaluate if I need enough from Butiki to justify making an order…

Fjellrev

Yum. And I can totally relate on drinking tea late at night. Such a hard habit to break.

Butiki Teas

Sil-I don’t think this one is for you. Its on the greener side for an oolong.

CrowKettle

It is a very green oolong.. It’s funny that, although I saw a picture before purchasing, “sparrow” makes me think brown. Alas..

Sil

stacy – i know..i just feel like i need to keep trying them lol

Butiki Teas

CrowKettle-Sparrow definitely makes me think of brown. The name comes from the shape of the leaves. Apparently they are shaped like a sparrow’s tongue.

Sil-Hahaha. Well, it never hurts to try a new tea. Maybe one day your tastes will change and you will suddenly enjoy green oolongs.

TeaLady441

Well that’s that! I just made my first Butiki order, even though I don’t really have the money for it, thanks to your review. :p But there were just too many tempting teas!

Also, I have 0 willpower after 2am.

CrowKettle

Oh.. I feel strangely responsible. I hope you like them (if you don’t I’ll swap)! What did you pick out?

TeaLady441

Sparrow Tongue, 3 Friends (sounds interesting, it’s on sale AND it has a tin), Creamy Eggnog, Raspberry Truffle and Ceylon.

And I’ll keep your offer in mind, but based on the ratings and comments, I’m sure these will be quite hit! :D

CrowKettle

Those sound great. Everyone’s been raving about the Creamy Eggnog, and I’ve been meaning to pick some up too. :)

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Finished up my sample (sipdown?) and I don’t know what I did but it turned out excellent! Something involving a rinse, a measuring glass, and a mug with a steeper/strainer.

Besides the burnt redwood, which is toned way down today, the vanilla and jasmine are the most prominent (and delicious). Next is the a buttery vegetal texture and an aftertaste of berry/fruity sweetness. Everything is creamy. It’s still an intensely complex cup but it’s allowing me to enjoy it today.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Kittenna

Sipdown!!!

K S

Does TeaEqualsBliss get royalties every time we say sipdown? :)

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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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