2686 Tasting Notes

drank Black Cask Bourbon by Harney & Sons
2686 tasting notes

According to Sheldon Cooper, it is fair copyright use to quote snippets of another writer’s work in the context of a review (watch the closet reorganizing episode).
Therefore, I’m going to respectfully borrow a spot-on description from teaqueen’s review a few months ago: the flavor is not as smoke-forward as the dry leaf and the ingredients list suggest. It’s smooth, slightly sweet, with notes of honey, caramel, cocoa, pine, and earth, with a very light touch on the smoke.

Having used my first sample of lapsang years ago as compost for my zinnias, who’da thunk I’d be deliberately choosing to sip some on purpose?

ashmanra

This one just felt like plain Lapsang to me, and not the best Lapsang I have had. I was hoping for bourbon taste up front and couldn’t find it at all. I think the O’Connor’s Cream from Teageschwendner spoiled me for boozy tea.

Harney had a truly amazing limited Lapsang they carried years ago that was absolutely tops for all Lapsang I ever had. This one didn’t even make the charts.

ashmanra

Found it! The awesome one was called Wuyi Shan Lapsang.

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89
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
2686 tasting notes

I can’t remember the last time I woke up and was disappointed that it didn’t snow the predicted 6 inches…was all primed for snow day serendipity, and it turned out to be just another cloudy workday with slush. :o{

So…something heavy duty was needed to yank my eyes open and my backside out the door. I had some TeaMaze Coffee (puerh/cocoa/coffee beans) leaves left from yesterday—it’s a great second steeper—and combined it with a rollicking spoonful of Braveheart (Savoy Tea; blend of Chinese, Indian, and Sri Lankan black teas). The straight-up breakfast blend cut the cocoa sweetness and made it lean more toward an actual cup of java.

Result: I still want to go back to bed, but the home brew was tasty.

Jen vB

Disappointing Snow Storms are no fun and seem to the be story for my part of the world this winter. I’ve been pulling out all the cozy teas to make up for it.

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drank Dong Ding by TeaMaze
2686 tasting notes

I’m almost hesitant to add yet another semi-anonymous Dong Ding to the lineup here, but it is definitely noteworthy—hands down, my husband’s favorite oolong. And, unfortunately, no longer in the TeaMaze lineup, so we are using it judiciously.

But the afternoon atmosphere was perfect for it: it’s the damp, just-above-freezing cold that soaks into your bones and makes you want to light candles and change into your jammies and watch the cats snooze while you sip earthenware cups of quality oolong. (Which we did, as well as watching the first installment of the old Shogun miniseries from the 70’s.)

What’s notable, as far as my sweetie is concerned, about this Dong Ding is its roastiness. It hits the savory/umami zones, with almost no floral hints whatsoever. You can almost feel the warmth from the charcoal.

ashmanra

I have heard good reports of Shogun but never saw it. We did watch the first episode of No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency today! Have you seen it?

gmathis

My mom and I watched Shogun together when miniseries were a big deal. She had a thing for Richard Chamberlain. And I for John Rhys-Davies.

Haven’t seen any of the No. 1’s … I had a feeling they might be terrible. Your review?

ashmanra Precious was very good, Grace Makutsi played her role to perfection. Ashman was told he didn’t have to watch it when I figured out that the pilot was two hours but he said the characters were likable and engaging and he wanted to watch it. We saw it on YouTube.

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This was part of last fall’s anniversary surprise, and I left the mini-tin sealed until now. However, the label said just plain “cacao,” so when we opened and got a whiff of peppermint, I went to the website and confirmed that they do sell a mint version—just a labeling boo-boo. (I emailed the company to see if they would consider making good on what was originally ordered…results yet unknown.)

But, all that said, let’s talk cacao mint. Oliver Pluff has done well with the blend—crunched up the cacao enough that it steeps richly and smoothly. The mint is neither too mild nor too spicy to overshadow the cacao. Not what I expected, but in an unexpectedly pleasant way.

ashmanra

Now have some Junior Mints with it!

Shae

One day I’m going to make an order with Oliver Pluff. Their teas look really interesting and I like the history lesson that comes with each one.

gmathis

My care package contained Congou, Cranberry, Whiskey Rebellion, and this “oops” mint. The cacao part was evidently a favorite of Martha Washington.

gmathis

Oh, and Oliver Pluff is just fun to say aloud!

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drank Roasted Almond Chai by Fava Tea Co.
2686 tasting notes

Sample sipdown, so there wasn’t quite as much leaf for my big work mug as I wished. Even so, this is now one of my favorite chai variants. The apple and almond add a pastry quality to the chai spices that I’ve never seen in other blends. Good stuff on a cold day.

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drank Black Cherry by TeaMaze
2686 tasting notes

I guess “dopamine dressing” is a relatively new and trendy term. I’ve been doing it for years, particularly during the winter months, which is why I have a collection of obnoxiously brightly colored sweaters and scarves that I trot out to fight the glums.

This is a perfect, perky, cheerful little blend for dopamine sipping. It’s already disappeared from, or never made, the TeaMaze website—we picked this up in the storefront before Christmas. (I’ll update the description when I’m not too lazy to go capture what’s on the label.)

The packet is full of loose, fluffy green and white leaves, with (I think) a little calendula and fruit bits. One of you mentioned a tea the other day that reminded you more of maraschino cherries than cherry cough syrup. That’s a good analogy, and the quality of the base cuts a little of the sweetness as well.

Drinking it from a favorite hobnail mug (I love to run my hand over the warm bumps) with Minnie (imagine a furry, heated concrete block) warming my feet. Not a bad way to end a very long day.

Mastress Alita

I’ve never heard the term “dopamine dressing” but I like it! I do refer to my cat as my “oxytocin dealer.”

gmathis

It’s a toss-up whether the three furries at my house alleviate stress or exacerbate it :)

Courtney

Agreed gmathis!

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Cameron, I think this tea will never be the same for me again after the chow mein comparison. ;) Now, granted, my remaining bags are aged and did smell a little papery, but double-bagged, straight up, and even rounded out with a little milk, I caught exactly what you were talking about.

It’s still tasty, but it just fires up the synapses in a different part of my brain. At Christmas, when I was a kiddo, Mom used to make little crunchy haystacks that were primarily melted butterscotch chips over chow mein noodles, sometimes with mini marshmallows or almond slivers. They would be a perfect match for this cup of Sleigh Ride.

Shae

My grandmother always made those for Christmas too! I haven’t had them in forever.

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drank 70's Oolong by The Jade Leaf
2686 tasting notes

I’m still deciding what I think about this one—perhaps that the second steep is better than the first. The mineral wash that reminds me of pu-erh is gone by then, and you’re left with a darker, richer oolong that leans toward the roasted side of the spectrum.

Those of you far too young to have experienced the 70’s don’t have a point of reference, but as I was sipping, I was trying to decide whether it evoked the proper sensory memories of dark walnut furniture, shag rugs, entertainment centers with built in TV’s, and record players, and plaid double-knit pants. Oh, and cuddling up in a comforter while reading through the Trixie Belden mysteries for the fourteenth time. Maybe it does.

There’s another era slightly dearer to my heart, but what would a tea from your favorite decade taste like?

Michelle

Velvet pictures and latch-hook pillows. I will inherit a round shag rug someday :)

gmathis

My grandma had a lamp-ish sort of thing with a Venus de Milo type woman in the middle encaged by strands of nylon—plug it in and oil would drip down the strands. It was kind of fascinating…

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drank Golden Orange by TeaMaze
2686 tasting notes

I’ve been enjoying this one sporadically as a welcome departure from conventional herbal nightcaps. Not much new to say about it, other than it’s a lovely, fragrant, creamy rooibos/orange blend that doesn’t taste medicinal at all—I forget more often than not to let it steep, but it does well with an insanely long steep (8-10 minutes if you can stand the wait.)

The last time we were in the TeaMaze shop, the lady in line ahead of me was buying a large tin of Golden Orange and said it her favorite of the TeaMaze lineup. It’s a good one from this little purveyor of nicely flavored tea.

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I’m going to call this a sipdown—I’ve got just enough for one more cup and I know who I’m going to share it with. Of all the CuppaGeek teas I have loved, this was probably my “least best” favorite. Which isn’t to say that it was a bad blend, the oolong/chai/sarsaparilla combo was just a little unusual. I thought a little milk might smooth it out today—not so much.

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Bio

Steepster “geezer;” tea barbarian who has no systematic method for storage, preparation, classification, or rating; lover of strong unleaded builders’ tea. Never quite grew up—I cut and glue, play with Legos, design kids’ curriculum, and play with fifth graders every Sunday.

Location

Southwest Missouri

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