41 Tasting Notes


Seems like every time I try a tea I feel like I need to try it again. The rest of you can do great notes the first time. I will learn. Anywho, I will be trying this one again soon, but so far it is fabulous. I wanted a good black breakfast tea and I got it. This was a sample I got along with the basic black chai sample, and I think I actually like this more!

I cream and sugar my breakfast teas, so I like them bold. This is a deep rich flavor, just the right maltiness and power but without being a caffeine blast to the gut, and smooth enough to go with breakfast instead of overpowering it. Of course I sort of forgot about breakfast today and sat sipping instead.

Londo Mollari

I have had this song stuck in my head all day now. It wouldn’t be so bad if I could remember more of it, but the words always get muddled in the middle bits.


ha ha i get songs stuck too! i am a music trivia guy so if you get me a few lines i may get it for you!

Londo Mollari

Sorry, just saw your reply. I knew the name of the song, Finnegan’s Wake is a great old Irish song. Every real version is worth hearing. I once spent all night listening to every version i could find (that didn’t involve someone sitting in their dormroom with an acoustic and a webcam) on youtube. Trouble is that I had the Dropkick Murphy’s version stuck in my head, and well.. they drink quite a bit, and are punk, and I remember the pint-slapping parts and the general shape of the syllables way better than the actual words.

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Thank you for the samples, Angel!!!

Last night I had a minor tragedy and lost TWO plants to mealybugs, so I needed the cheering up. I had clipped a few leaves from my purple basil for dinner and discovered dozens of the fluffy white menace. This plant shared space with some cilantro I had been having trouble with and was neighbors to the dendrochilum I had just performed surgery on yesterday. With chemical assistance I could have saved the herbs, maybe, but I wouldn’t want to eat them. I decided to throw them out before they had a chance to infect everyone else.

What a way to be cheered, though! I was fortunate enough to have today off, and the s.o. was working from home as well, so I was able to sign for my long-awaited samples from Teavivre and we both got to try this one! I started with the ginseng oolong because it was the one most likely to attract the curiosity of the non tea-obsessed. This impressed us both. I fixed up a little pot and we shared it.

Day two:
The only reason I am not ordering more already is because there are more teas to sample and I want to make sure I try them. Oh, and combined shipping for the ones I decide I must have. If I order more of this now it might be all I drink till the weather turns. But I really love it. I have never tried anything really ginseng-y before, there is something tingly and clean and healthy feeling about drinking this, like a hot honey cough drop, but wonderful.


I share your frustration, I have lost many a plant to the mealybug. Hopefully the rest of your plants will still do well.

Londo Mollari

Thank you! I was very concerned, and will be for another few weeks, but so far the most likely victim of proximity infection is still rooting. Funny how the food plants were cast aside to save a plant who’s only value is that it is pretty.


It’s funny how it works out that way sometimes. There really aren’t many guaranteed alternatives, especially since getting rid of mealybugs usually requires pesticides, which isn’t something that’s great to spray on a food source. In the past I’ve gotten rid of pests by spraying the plant and soil with a mixture of dishsoap and water and putting it outside, but I have a feeling that wouldn’t be strong enough for mealybugs. Well, hopefully the saved “pretty plant” will be extra pretty :)

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This is a beautiful Japanese tea. I got this in my sampler from Den’s (yay!) and I have just enough left to share a pot, so the s.o. can tell me I am right. I followed the ‘traditional’ parameters as best I could, but doubling the volume of water and tea to accommodate the Americanness of my current teaware.

This tea has a humid vegetal, roasted seaweed nose that I can’t get enough of. Humid seems like a crazy thing to say about a smell, but I know what I mean! ;) It smells how I always thought rainy Japanese coasts would smell when I was a kid, based solely on National Geographic photos. It smells actually quite close to the roasted seaweed snack it just inspired me to open, though without the sesame oil.

HAH! Oh yeah, and it tastes good too. Three steepings in and I am quite happy, pleasantly buzzed, and still trying to figure out how this can have a little bitterness in the finish without being unpleasant. It actually adds quite a bit to the overall character of the tea, just a touch of bitter, a touch of sweet, and a richness to the mouthfeel that I associate with umami.

Oh, and ignore the prep details at the bottom, they are wrong. I am on my iPad and it refuses to play nice with the sliders on here.

1 min, 30 sec

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Had this at the Birch and Barley over the weekend. Capped off an AMAZING anniversary dinner! I love that I was able to finish a fabulous meal with a genuinely great tea. If this wasn’t so simple but perfect it never could have stood alongside the dessert I ordered – a Chai Cheesecake with roasted seckle pear, cranberry orange sorbet, walnuts and salted caramel macaron. (Which I thought was the same as a macaroon and it wasn’t, but was good anyway.)

I set one lovely sugar lump and a few splashes of milk into it. It was soothing, smooth and simple, but with surprising elegance. I think I need to make a friend in France.

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That sounds elegant and perfect with the more complex dessert. I love a straight up tea with a frilly dessert myself. Happy Anniversary!

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This tea deserves better than the quickie service I just gave it. I am at work and had to microwave water, so I think the water temperature (whatever temp this is) is too high. Fortunately I received a great sample and I have enough left over to try again at home. I brought it to work with me thinking I would enjoy something new today. I do, but it is … odd.

The leaves are mostly fine shred, they have a deep brown dark earthy color that I like, somewhere between coffee and good soil. When I first opened the bag for some reason I smelled cocoa and burning leaves but somehow that has changed. Not sure why/how that would happen, I might be insane. Now when I smell the dry leaves or the bag it smells mostly of cedar pepper and salt water. Strange. Oh, and the wet leaves smelled like steamed shellfish a minute ago and now that they are cooled they smell like something else completely. It does keep me guessing, though. I am gonna have to try this again at home when I have my thinking nose on. It is possible that I am going crazy. I like this tea, though. It tastes a little astringent, and a little dusty. It won’t hold still. Strange stuff. Will edit when I get a chance to try it at home.

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First off, apologies are in order. After ordering this tea based on it’s description and reviews on this site I then promptly ignored all comments on how intensely spicy this was, assuming for some reason that the praise was accurate but the comments on it being too spicy would not be true for me. Oops. This is too hot for me by itself.

With some milk and honey it is much better, but with some quality cocoa powder it’s amazing. A great addition to the cupboard for the fall.

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I know this is not a very respectable tea, it isn’t even a real tea at all, but after months of turning my nose up at this box I realized over the weekend that it was exactly what I needed. Again. I am also almost out of it and am going to have to go pick up more. I apparently keep this in stock just in case.

When I don’t feel well I become a spectacularly bad homemaker. This means that sometimes I run out of fresh ginger, or lemon, or gasp BOTH!! In these situations I have found a bag or two of this can stand in. I can add it to chamomile and honey, or mate, and it is the perfect base for a flu/sore throat/scurvy/black death/general ick recovery potion. Over the weekend one of these and a spoon of honey got the S.O. to actually enjoy a mate, and ask for more! It’s just a good basic lemony-gingery tool to have in the arsenal.

By itself though it is not much. I always add honey or, well, something. By itself it tastes too much like the soapy side of lemongrass. Oh, and it is VERY forgiving of steep time and temp.

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Hello, as you may have guessed, I am not really Londo Mollari. Apologies for the deception. I am Melissa.

In addition to my teas, I am a bit of a foodie, have an undying love for red wine and am lucky enough to have all the restaurants of DC and several VA wineries within a lazy reach of home. I have an ever-expanding orchid obsession and I have been known to talk to them. It helps.

To be honest, Tea went from being an interest to a bit of an obsession fairly recently for me – since I quit smoking. Tasting things is amazing, who knew?! Though a nice cuppa now replaces a much worse addiction, I spend FAR more money on this than I ever did on cigarettes.

I have loved tea ever since I was small, probably too small, visiting on the farm in Nebraska and drinking all my grandmother’s sun tea. I still prefer now what I liked then, watching tea slowly stain eddies of water, tasting nature.


Washington, DC Area

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