2387 Tasting Notes

A young woman at church accepted an invite for tea at my house. We had four different ones a couple of weeks ago and she really liked them. I found out she is on a sugar restricted diet and immediately thought of this tea for her, so I bought a tin, invited her to supper and gave it to her last night.

This is exactly the same as Hot Cinnamon Spice, just a different tin. I figured sachets would be an easy way for her to start, but she tried it and says she is definitely ordering some loose leaf because she loves it!

This tea is SO sweet that it is hard to believe there is no sugar or sweetener of any kind in it. I even called the company to be sure because a couple of guests over the years have sworn there had to be sugar in it! The secret is the blend of three different types of cinnamon.

This tastes just like those Red Hots candies to me. The aroma is POWERFUL. As in, peel paint off powerful. It is so strong that I sometimes mixed it half and half with a plain black tea to tone it down, but true Red Hots lovers like it just as it is!

I am excited to have a new tea padawan!

gmathis

A coworker has just discovered it as well and has kindly been sharing this week! Red Hots is precisely how I describe it. (Did your grandma ever melt them down and cook sliced apples in them?)

ashmanra

I doubt it! My father’s mom died when I was nine and in their extreme poverty – having raised ten children in a two bedroom house – I expect she cooked only absolute necessities! And my mother was from an orphanage so….Did yours make that? Oh, for happy grandparent memories! That would be so wonderful!

gmathis

This particular grandma drove the family crazy at Christmas—the elder siblings would troll the house like chummed sharks because she took so long putting paper boots on the turkey or studding the ham. (I was still tiny; Mom just fed me before we came :)

ashmanra

Ha ha! I can just imagine!

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drank Carol by Lupicia
2387 tasting notes

I ordered tea for a friend for Christmas and a free sample bag of this tea was included with my order.

I had no idea what flavor it was or even what kind of tea when I opened the sachet. If I had known, I would have waited to drink it when my husband was home because he has been missing Anna’s Blend and Marco Polo and we are looking for a new strawberry tea for him. He didn’t care for the Gurman’s one and was only somewhat satisfied when I mixed Vanilla Comoro with Adagio Strawberry.

This one says it has coconut but honestly I don’t taste it. I taste strawberry, vanilla, and black tea. It is delicious and I resteeped it. The second cup was good, too.

My husband loved the smell of the remaining leaves when he came home from work. I noticed they sell a plain strawberry vanilla black and I may order that for him soon if we don’t find something else he likes. I am hoping it is the same blend sans coconut, although he wouldn’t mind the coconut, but I think this is a seasonal blend and I want something I can get anytime.

gmathis

Wooooh, doggies, that sounds good!

Kawaii433

I liked this one enough that when I heard Lupicia was closing down in California… I went and got 3 cans of it lol. I’ll have to revisit this again. NIce review <3

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drank Perseus by THE O DOR
2387 tasting notes

I still love this tea. There are a few teas that WOW me and then I either get tired of them or they just don’t make magic anymore.

This one is still giving out the magic.

I was really hugging the cup today and picked up on two things. I had said the flavor reminded me of candy, maybe like the Choward’s guava, violet, etc. type. Today I thought of Pez. In addition, there is a flower in this that has an unusual taste and aroma. I really like it but I can not pin it down. It lends a darker note that I hadn’t picked up on before.

Hubby tried it and didn’t like it. More for me. Don’t worry, I gave him a pot of Palm Court and he was happy.

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drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
2387 tasting notes

Another sample gone and I am really happy with how the sipdowns are going!

I had this with breakfast today, and while it was tasty enough, it isn’t one I would buy again. I prefer Troika and Anastasia and a few other Kusmi blends to this one, but if you like holiday tea with clove in it, you might love this one more than I do.

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One year ago I said I was going to quit hoarding this, and never drank it again. I have been working so hard on sipdowns! I had enough leaf left for about four cups of tea and used half of it this morning. This is way out of date but it is still SO GOOD. It doesn’t have that sharp metallic edge I get in some flavored teas.

This is warm, sweet, creamy, and delicious. I will probably not remove it from my cupboard because I think this may have achieved desert island list status.

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by DAVIDsTEA
2387 tasting notes

This was a sipdown today and I see I never even added it to my cupboard.

I liked it fine in the past. It is definitely very coconuty and sweet. But this last bit in the pouch was so sweet my guest wouldn’t drink it and asked to pour it out! There was so much oil floating on top that I poured mine out about halfway through as well. I guess it would have been better to put it in a tin and occasionally turn it upside down to redistribute the ingredients.

If you love coconut and really sweet tea, you would love this! It is definitely dessert-like. Just a bit too much for me.

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I invited someone over for lunch and tea today – not a hardcore tea drinker. I asked what she usually drinks and she said she usually has a green or black, no milk or sugar. I assumed it was grocery store bags. I showed her my tea shelves and we started opening tins and sniffing, and she got excited about this one. We steeped this to have with….the same soup I mentioned in my first review of this tea. That was totally by accident, because when I made the soup to serve for lunch today I had no idea what tea we would be having!

She absolutely loved it. We drank LOTS of it. It has such a nice base. The smoke is just right. I do not like Lapsang that tastes like smoke and hot water. I really REALLY want a good base under the smoke and I want to taste the tea. My favorite smoky teas are this one, the Dammann Freres tea by the same name, and Russian Caravan by Grace Tea. This went so well with our meal.

After the meal we had matcha, Wenshan Baozhong, and Pu’er, not in that order. Maybe I will get around to reviewing how those went.

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drank Jin Jun Mei by Harney & Sons
2387 tasting notes

I made this gong fu style first and wrote a review for Sororitea Sisters. The following day I served it at tea time made western style and that is what I will address here.

First of all, I read a lot of hype of JJM and had high hopes. It is crazy expensive – $75 an ounce. No, I didn’t pay that. I used my reward points to buy a sample pack. I got one gong fu session and two large pots of tea out of the leaves when you include resteeps. The sample was $10. The two ounce tin is $149.

This was….good but not $75 an ounce good. It was savory like Zhen Qu from Southern Season and had hints of Golden Monkey flavors. I tried regular cups and Jianzhen cups. It just wasn’t the over-the-moon experience I was hoping it would be.

I served an out of date Tangerine White from Revolution as the other tea at tea time, and my guest said she preferred that to the JJM, and she is a black tea lover, preferring unflavored black most of all. That kind of says something.

Again, it wasn’t bad, but there are $6 an ounce teas that taste as good or better to me. I feel bad saying it because I love Harney and Sons and they and their teas have been great to me. Maybe my tastes are not refined enough to appreciate this tea. That is quite possible.
I wouldn’t mind hearing from a real JJM lover who has tried several and see how this compares for them.

Leafhopper

Yikes! Real Jin Jun Mei is indeed expensive—Zhen Tea has 15 grams for $78. I haven’t tried anything of that quality, and the much cheaper version I had from Yunnan Sourcing wasn’t that exciting. You might have better luck with Old Ways Tea or other Wuyi-based vendors, which I’ve heard are somewhere in the middle in terms of price and quality. (I’d also like to know if the really expensive stuff is worth it.)

Bluegreen

Yeah, for $3 per gram I would expect something quite out of ordinary too. Not sure Harney & Sons are the best source for that level of teas, though. I mean, I did see some quite expensive offerings on their site but was always skeptical about them.
Also, I am forever skeptical of Jin Jun Meis: they look to me as an attempt to rebrand tippy Lapsang Souchongs by giving them a sexy name and building up the hype. Still like them, though.

Leafhopper

I must have missed the memo about JJM being related to Lapsang Souchong, which is a tea I like a lot when it’s unsmoked. Yunnan Sourcing has a few unsmoked Lapsangs that are both affordable and tasty.

ashmanra

Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang is cheaper and better than this one to me!

Leafhopper

I’ve never had Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang; I might have to remedy that.

Kawaii433

I will have to try Teavivre’s unsmoked Lapsang as well. Thank you. ^^

Bluegreen

I second ashmanra: Teavivre’s Lapsang has been one of my favorites for years. It is quite complex for the price.

eastkyteaguy

I can chime in a little on Jin Jun Mei, having tried a decent number over the past couple of years. In my opinion, Jin Jun Mei is a hot ticket tea for three primary reasons. The first is that black tea is becoming a bigger deal among tea drinkers in China, and Jin Jun Mei happens to be one of the newer black teas that just came along and got some attention at the time domestic interest in Chinese black tea was noticeably increasing. The second is that a number of more traditional Chinese tea reviewers and critics tend to heavily weight leaf grade and appearance in their evaluations of tea, and Jin Jun Mei is generally produced in grades that are considered desirable and attractive. The final reason is that “mi xiang” teas have recently become a huge craze among Chinese and Taiwanese tea drinkers, and Jin Jun Mei tends to have a natural honey scent and/or flavor, which producers and vendors have capitalized on in their marketing. Due to these and probably other factors, demand for Jin Jun Mei has skyrocketed, and prices have gone through the roof. The yearly Jin Jun Mei competitions in Wuyishan have become a huge deal, and should a tea place in the competition, expected demand drives price speculation through the roof. This, however, does not mean that lower grade teas cannot be just as good or better in terms of value for individual drinkers. Personally, I still prefer teas like Jin Mao Hou and Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong to Jin Jun Mei and refuse to pay ridiculous prices for competition Jin Jun Mei as the reputation of the producer and appearance of the leaf tend to be primary deciding factors in competition placement and thus the price point at which such high grade teas are sold. I also tend to evaluate teas based on a combination of aroma, flavor, and feel, so I have little reason to expect greatness out of teas that are exorbitantly priced due to evaluations primarily or wholly based on other characteristics. I think one’s primary consideration in tea reviewing should be how a tea strikes them at or around the time of consumption and not how special and great a certain tea is proclaimed to be and/or how it is priced. Having tried competition grade Jin Jun Mei (not awarded teas), I can honestly state that I have tried cheaper teas of the style that have struck me as being just as good or slightly better.

Roswell Strange

Thanks eastkyteaguy – I actually found that really informative and helpful! :)

ashmanra

Yes, indeed! Thank you, eastkyteaguy! Makes sense. The Teavivre unsmoked lapsang that I like is Xheng Shan Xiao Zhang, I believe. I prefer it to this JJM.

eastkyteaguy

No problem. On a related note, black tea in China is very much subject to fads and crazes, much like pu-erh, Wuyi and Anxi oolongs, Fuding white teas, Keemun, and many of the more famous green teas. Right now, Jin Jun Mei is clearly a hot commodity. For some time there, it was Yunnan Dian Hong, though I do not know whether or not it ever commanded such ridiculous prices among tea vendors. Of course, Keemun has also long been a big deal. I have a feeling that once the Jin Jun Mei craze dies down, we’ll start seeing something like unsmoked lapsang souchong, Laoshan black, Phoenix black, or black Tieguanyin become the hot new thing. Smoked lapsang souchong is also worth keeping an eye on for the time being. It has long had a reputation as a lower end tea for Westerners, but it is actually becoming more popular in China. More vendors are starting to offer it. Oh, and if you are ever looking for something akin to Jin Jun Mei at a fraction of the price, check out Yin Jun Mei, which is Jin Jun Mei’s lower grade counterpart. Berylleb Tea and What-Cha both used to offer great ones.

Ilse Wouters

If I may say so : thank you for all these comments, it gives me quite a few ideas for teas to find, to try and to discover.

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I came on here excited to take this out of my cupboard as another sipdown, to discover that it wasn’t in my cupboard. My shelves and baskets DO look much better and from where I was standing I could count 96 teas with fourteen more in the living room and I wasn’t counting one other box plus my puerh stash.

The one is a lesson to me. It was a perfectly drinkable black tea to serve with lunch today, but it was way too old. When it was fresh, it was absolutely fantastic. It has faded to “just okay.” And that is my fault for buying too much tea. Lesson learned, and I am planning to continue whittling down my stash, giving away tea, icing the mediocre stuff, and making a really good list of shelf staples and having just a couple of additional just for fun teas on hand.

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Bio

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…

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North Carolina

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