2431 Tasting Notes

This is the second tea I am trying from my surprise care package from derk!

I really, really like smoky tea and this blend is named for Strider the Ranger, aka Aragorn from The Lord Of The Rings. I decided to gong fu steep this one because I wanted to get everything out of it I possibly could, and I am not disappointed.

I warmed the gaiwan and put the leaves in and waited a moment to smell the aroma the leaves were releasing. I have read reviews where people talked about smelling tomato in tea but have never caught that myself, and I think perhaps it was a “by association” type thing. When I smelled the gaiwan, it was like inhaling the scent of rich steak sauce, the deep reddish brown kinds.

I didn’t do a rinse but drank the first steep on my own. The flavor was more complex than I expected. Yes, it is smoky, nicely smoky, but there is much more. Already the purple tea is underneath but not yet prominent. I hesitated but decided to call in my husband to join me since he has started enjoying some black tea more. (More on husband and tea in another note soon.) He did try a lapsang with me not long ago and liked it.

He usually prefers from the second steep on in any gong fu sessions we have and that was where he started with this one. He made faces at first, but then he said….”It isn’t bad, it’s just…..so different.”

He hit the nail on the head. As we steeped again and again, the smoke was disappearing and the purple tea flavor became more and more prominent. I don’t know if I can describe it well, but it is like thin tea body with a hint of lemon and a hint of lime and a tiny touch of grassiness. That’s what purple tea usually tastes like to me.

This tea was really interesting and one that I would recommend drinking on its own and not pairing with food, because there is so much to experience here. If it were paired with anything, I would think it should be cheese or nuts. I don’t feel it would reveal all of its beauty and complexity if paired with sweets.

Thank you, derk! We really enjoyed this one, and it was a surprise for me that my husband liked it as well as he did, not being a smoke or black tea guy.


My geeky heart loves the names of WP teas (:

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I got a surprise package in the mail from derk today! What a delight and mood lifter! I was momentarily flummoxed and wondering if we had a swap that I forgot or if I had forgotten to mail some tea or…but when I opened it up the note said, “Why not?” That really made me smile!

It was a beautiful evening with the moon visible well before sundown and a tiny breeze. We decided to have gong fu cha outside and I chose this tea from the package because derk included it especially for my husband’s tastes and I knew it would be his favorite of this batch. (I have been wanting to try Moon Princess for a while now and the two black teas sound right up my alley!)

We used the incense I bought from Verdant and stayed until it was all gone, so we were having tea for about an hour. The incense makes a pretty good timer!

I did a quick rinse and oh my goodness the first steep was brilliant. It was so sweet and floral! My husband is a second steep guy and as usual he loved the second steep more than the first. The floral aspect softened and there was a nice lightly soft veggies with butter flavor. The tea was also creamy in texture. Delicious!

By the fourth steep the leaves had gone from a wee sample to absolutely huge and filling the pot completely. I lost count of steeps but I would say we had twelve or so.

Thank you, derk, for the surprise package! It really did my heart good!

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Many years ago I bought a box of this tea at a grocery store. I tried it and didn’t care for it, so I passed it on to tea friend Sandy, who was also the person who first told me about Steepster. She liked it!

Here I am about seven years later, maybe more, wondering if my tastes have changed enough to enjoy it. Revolution was having a BOGO on their White Pear so I added this to the cart, along with White Pomegranate.

I am happy I bought it because I do like it very much. I have tried it both hot and cold now and it is good both ways. It is fruity but the smokey oolong keeps it from being too sweet to me. The apricot flavor adds a depth and darkness to it that makes the peach taste better, too, in my opinion. Peach can be great or dodgy for me, it has to be just right.

The sachet looks like it makes about 12 ounces rather than the typical teabag 6-8. I resteeped it and mixed the two steeps in a larger pot and sipped on it as my dessert tea tonight. No, the tea was not my dessert. The tea went WITH my dessert. And rather like hobbits, that was first dessert. There will be a second and possibly a third dessert.


Haha, I like the way that hobbits do mealtimes (:


Third dessert! yesssss

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This was one of three free samples included with an order, but the first two I have tried are a dud.

I was really hopeful for this one as it contains mostly green tea plus a touch of matcha. But….HIBBY. WHHHHYYYYYYYYY? sob

When the hot water hit the bag, it didn’t instantly turn red, which gave me hope temporarily.
But then the pinkening began.

Ah well. This was at least muted hibby and smelled like strawberry candy more than anything else. I didn’t add sugar and I did manage to drink it as a hot beverage, and I did not violently hate it, but I don’t think I would buy any unless I wanted to make really sweet iced tea with it. It is pretty tart, but not too much so.


lmao ‘the pinkening’


I wrote “make and taste hibiscus tea” into a curriculum unit I just finished—it’s a biggie in Ghana with sugar, lime juice and chai-ish spices, so I bought a little packet of straight-up hibiscus leaves to check recipe proportions. BLEGGGGGGGGGGHHHH! I took enough of a taste to meet the “try everything before you write it” requirement and tossed the rest down the drain as fast as I could.


Gmathis: I don’t know why, but lots of hibiscus also has a woody taste to me, as if they have added rooibos even when there is none there. It makes me think of what cinnamon would taste like if an equal amount of oencil shavings got mixed in.,,,


‘The Pinkening’ is the horror movie inspired by hibiscus. :D


I’ve had many blends that were ruined by hibiscus. I love the color it gives to tea, but man the sourness is so overpowering.

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Eldest daughter, Superanna, ordered tea for me for Mother’s Day and had it shipped straight to me. It came yesterday – my first ever What-Cha order! I was intrigued by the name of this one alone, but reading the description and info made it even more intriguing.

The leaves are very narrow but long, deep dark green in color, with a purple sheen that made me double check to see if there was cornflower or lavender added. But no, it was just a purple sheen. Wet, the leaves are so shiny and such a deep green. They almost don’t look real!

I should have started with a white cup since this is the first tasting so we can enjoy the color, but I used dark blue Tianmu type cups. After we had already had a cup, I looked it up on the site and saw that lemon juice will make it turn pink!

I fetched a white cup, and here I saw that the color of the tea is grayish, not yellow or green or gold as I would have expected. Where the tea meets the edge of the cup it looks purple.

We added a few drops of lemon juice, and it swirled like pink cloud through the cup until the tea was all pink. I tried to get a good picture but it really didn’t capture how pink it looked in person.

Taste: I started with the lower recommended amount of leaves since we are just getting to know each other. Water was 160F. Steep was 45 seconds.

It was a fairly mild, grassy Sencha with a little briskness. Very pleasant.

I went for a second steep, same temp but a little extra time. My husband says he likes the second steep even better, and I think I do, too. It is definitely grassier with more briskness, and tingles the tongue, but the flavor is great and this would pair really well with something sweet, like hazelnut M&M’s (cough cough) or even with food. It would hold up to being served with a meal.

Neato tea! Thank you, Superanna, for the experience!


Oh, how interesting!


<3 Happy Mother’s Day and I think it’s so cool your daughter sent you a nice tea!


A friend sent me some Adagio Bella Luna Blue that’s supposed to have the same type of lemon juice alchemy; liked the tea, but haven’t played with it in that manner yet.

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Time to take tea outside and drink one of my faves! I will probably drink this a lot in the next few weeks because my giant wall o’ jasmine is starting to bloom! Today a hummingbird was visiting the blossoms.

I like this better than their highest grade of jasmine pearls. This is a shelf staple. Smooth, perfect jasmine, it relaxes me and makes me melt. Ahhhh!

Here is my King of Dogs, Sam, in front of the wall of jasmine a few days ago as the first blossoms at the top were starting to open. The vine goes a short way around the corner and there is another, smaller vine on the end of the house by my bedroom window. We planted the big one about twenty years ago.



Jasmine goals! And omg look at that cute woofer! How old is he?


He is eight years old! I adore him. We fostered his mom and her pups from the time he was one day old. His mother was quite small and was the color of his brown spots. She looked like a very small American Dingo. We are guessing his dad was a Walker Treeing Coonhound or a bird dog.


Oh, and I put him in for scale, but really it is the next picture that shows the size of the vine best! He is a long legged pup, don’t know if you can tell. and about 55 pounds.


Your dog is cute, but why does he have such a small head?


Ha ha! Well, “Youngest”, I think his head (and everything else about him) is perfect!

Martin Bednář

Wonderful doggie.


Whoa, a jasmine wall! :D

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drank Organic Assam by Harney & Sons
2431 tasting notes

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about ten years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…


North Carolina

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