2386 Tasting Notes

Today is mine and the Ashman’s 33rd anniversary. We are simple folk who like simple pleasures, so to celebrate we split an everything bagel from Panera at home. He picked up while I made tea.

Da Hong Pao teas can be so different from each other. I had one from a Chinese friend that was almost like drinking a cup of hot cocoa. This one reminds me more of a roasted Dong Ding.

We made three steeps Western style in an 18 ounce pot. Temp was about 190F and I kept it to 3 minutes.

This one really isn’t chocolate-y at all. The texture is thin but silky and goes down smoothly. It is heavily roasted as promised but isn’t smokey, just roasty. It is also a bit nutty, so toasted walnuts are coming to mind for me.

This is an older tea and I will be working on it as my next sipdown. I am eager to try it gongfu because I don’t think I have done that yet with this one. I bet it will be awesome.

Song pairing, cuz it is my anniversary and I am listening to this song over and over this morning. (He isn’t home right now so the repeat doesn’t bother him! I am not that cruel!)

We watch very little tv but we are enjoying this gentle little show.

https://youtu.be/Q5LbTeti0sw

Roswell Strange

I’ve never heard of the TV show, but the song was lovely! And happy anniversary :)

Leafhopper

Happy anniversary! Sounds like a pleasant way to spend it.

Kawaii433

Happy Anniversary <3

mrmopar

Happy Anniversary as well. We are spending ours in the mountains of West Jefferson this weekend.

derk

Happy Anniversary, to you and yours ashmanra and mrmopar.

A heart-warming post and beautiful song on this Sunday morning. Thanks for sharing :)

ashmanra

Thank you, everyone! And happy anniversary to mrmopar and mrsmopar as well!

mrmopar

Hijacking a bit but thanks back to you all as well!

LuckyMe

Happy anniversary!

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drank White Christmas by Harney & Sons
2386 tasting notes

So here is yet another tea I had failed to add to my cupboard. Although I am finishing teas faster than I am buying new ones, I still have too many and I am discovering a ton of them have never been added on here. I never add my samples anyway, so there are probably double the number listed in my cupboard.

Tonight was Bible study night, and a big part of our gathering is snacks and tea. We have a good kettle and there are some teas in the church kitchen but I usually take my own. Tonight I took this one.

Anyone expecting a white tea to be bland or light on flavor hasn’t reckoned on just how flavored this one is. The aroma while steeping is powerful chocolate and rich vanilla, really more of a white almond bark scent.

For sipping, this one keeps the almond bark vibe and is almost thick with the richness of the flavor, but the mint really makes a strong impression here. The mint lingers well past the vanilla and almond, so this doesn’t really get too heavy. It is a good tea for a flavored sachet.

The first time I ever had it was at the Barnes and Noble cafe. The only thing I could taste was paper cup, so I am glad I gave this a try at home.

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
2386 tasting notes

Thursday I had tea with a couple of my students. The youngest said she wasn’t allowed much caffeine and chose this one. She really loved it.

Today I asked her back, this time with a different sister, to stay at my house for lunch, tea time, and games because the parents had to go to a funeral. She liked this one so well Thursday that she chose it again for today.

This one really is best loose leaf to get the full vanilla flavor. The color in the cup is not as rich as most Harney black teas, but it still is pretty satisfying and I am happy to have it around for evenings when I really really crave black tea flavor but need to avoid caffeine.

And Kawaii – many thanks to you. I have been really feeling down, and today you posted “You are not insignificant. Maybe you are the lighthouse in someone else’s storm.” And somehow, the hope that I am that, or may have been that or may one day be that, encouraged me just that bit I needed to soldier on today with a little more strength. I am repeating my story here not for sympathy, but because I hope it will help someone here that reads it. You might feel defeated right now, or hopeless, but you never know when you are the only thing that kept someone else going. In a dark room, all eyes go to even the tiniest flame. Keep loving, friends. It is worth it.

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Came on here to remove this from my cupboard and saw that my last review of it said I wasn’t going to add it to my cupboard because we were going through it so fast. Well, it took about four months after all because I started going for hard sipdowns of my oldest tea to clear them out and have made satisfying progress.

At the beach, this tasted great. My first pitcher at home seemed to lose the peach flavor quickly. I made a gallon pitcher iced and sweetened today and I find the level of peach flavor very satisfying and not overwhelming. I know at least one reviewer had found it to be too perfumed and artificial peachy but so far, everyone who has tried it here – hot or iced – has liked it a lot.

Sipdown! And my shelves and baskets are looking much more organized!

gmathis

Friend of mine makes one of those Pioneer Woman-style tonics with vinegar and tea and I’m not sure what all else—but she uses peach tea as the base and I think it may be this one.

ashmanra

It is pretty good! Maybe one day I will make it down to Wadmalaw Island to see the plantation. It is only a few hours drive but we don’t get around much! Ha ha!

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Another tea I had failed to add to my cupboard, so here it is added in and I am hoping to have some more sipdowns to celebrate soon.

I had a couple of students today – two sisters who take both piano and voice. Both had colds and decided to just do piano lessons today so we had spare time before their mom picked them up. I offered them tea for their sore throats and let them pick from my cupboard. I ket them rummage through my cookie stash and make a cookie plate as well. The youngest is not allowed to have caffeine and chose Vanilla Comoro (spoiler – she loved it) and the older girl chose this because she loves Earl Grey and had never tried a white one.

She was really happy with this, saying that some white tea disappoints her because she can not detect much flavor but this was very flavorful indeed. She added milk and sugar, I drank it plain.

I concur that it has tons of flavor. The base is nice and smooth and the bergamot doesn’t get sour/puckery. I really really dislike Earl Grey with a Ceylon base because the lemony notes in the tea plus the bergamot just equal big yucky SOUR taste to me. And heartburn. Not so with the white tea base.

This was in sachets because that was what the store had available, but these tear very easily along the heat sealed line and I just pour the loose tea into an infuser.

Their mom came in and saw the tea table set and joined us for a few Coconut and Chocolate Milano cookies and tea. More on Vanilla Comoro to come….

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This is a sample I found last night as I was making supper. We were having Japanese eggplant and red sweet pepper (from our garden) with carrot and onion tossed with Asian noodles and a lightly creamy sauce made with beef broth, soy sauce, and mayo. Since the meal had an Asian vibe even though it wasn’t strictly Asian, I thought I would pair it with a green tea rather than serving the sweet hibiscus tea already iced in the fridge.

Wow. This was amazing with the meal. When a green tea has some astringency or briskness, you can eat a fairly heavy or flavorful food and still REALLY taste the tea. This one came across as super sweet vegetal. Think of ultra sweet sugar snap peas. It also put me in mind of some raw corn on the cob that an old farmer at the state farmer’s market would entice people to try. It was so sweet, some people preferred it uncooked. THAT was what this tea reminded me of.

Once the food was gone, I kept sipping. Now the briskness is apparent, but not unpleasant. The flavor has a real mouth-filling richness.

I told my husband that my affection for this tea has tied it with my love for HuangShan Mao Feng. Alas, it is no longer available. Good thing I just got a big pouch of HuangShan in the mail….

Kawaii433

The Japanese eggplant-noodle dish sounds heavenly, Ashmanra <3. The tea does too! :D

ashmanra

Thanks, Kawaii433! It is both quick to make and tasty to eat, which makes it a frequent meal here using whatever veggies we have on hand, especially good if the garden is still producing. We are coming to the end of the season but we had a decent haul this year!

gmathis

You had me until you said mayo :)

ashmanra

Only a dollop for the creaminess! You can substitute sour cream!

mrmopar

Yeah we are closing up the garden as well. Love the fresh stuff we get from it. Ever tried Ponzu?

ashmanra

Thanks to you, I have a bottle or two on hand! You recommended it a year or two ago and I bought some. It is good!

mrmopar

We love it. We found a lime version of it too.

ashmanra

That’s the one in the fridge right now!

derk

Oh my gosh, that sounds so good. I’ll trust your use of mayo, haha. We had our biggest harvest yet yesterday, right before the equinox. The summer garden here doesn’t quit until November and by then we should be getting all the leafy greens and peas.

ashmanra

Ha ha! Instead of mayo, you could thicken your sauce with a little flour or cornstarch! I tried it because CoreLife Eatery has a chicken ranch salad and it got me to thinking that an herbed mayo would be good with vegetables…and from there to adding a bit to my veggies and noodles. Also, I have a weakness for yumyum sauce and started putting it on a lot of things. Rachel Riley says that in Russia they put mayo on pretty much everything they eat, and I think that also helped get me curious about herbed mayo with lots of dishes.

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I came on here this morning to remove a couple of teas that I have finished lately…only to discover that I had never added them to cupboard. Sigh.

I have actually been icing this one because it is so blasted hot and sticky here still and I thought the orange aspect would be refreshing and would take sugar well. It does, indeed.
Although I have enough left to drink this one more time, I am going to be cheeky and remove it from my cupboard so I can bask in the glow of a sipdown.

I did order two teas recently but they were desert island teas. My tea shelves are starting to look a lot less messy and I am loving it.

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drank Vanilla Jasmine by Golden Moon Tea
2386 tasting notes

I came on here looking forward to clicking the old “Remove from Cupboard”, but apparently never added it in the first place. This is a great tea so it isn’t as if I am glad to see it go. I AM glad to be clearing out some of my oldest teas, and I am happy – no, ECSTATIC, to say that my tea shelves are not looking as messy. A lot of tea is a blessing. Too much tea is a guilt trip. And yes, I have given away tea over and over again! Sometimes by the boxful!

This is heavy on the vanilla and it always tastes a bit like root beer to me, although sometimes I think it is more like cream soda. Make it strong, sweeten and add spoarkling water and you have a lovely summer refresher.

I will rebuy it one day when I have cleared out the cupboard a bit more, probably.

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drank Wenshan Baozhong by Harney & Sons
2386 tasting notes

Midnight front porch gongfu! Tonight we are getting a break from the blasted miserable heat and I wanted to really enjoy it. It rained a little while, and when I opened the front door to see if it was still raining it was so cool. Only 65F! There were still raindrops dripping off the roof and crickets are chirping everywhere. The mosquitos have gone to bed apparently. So I suggested tea on the porch!

I used my yixing to prepare this and we each had a little white chocolate Godiva bonbon. I almost made a cheese plate, but the last time I did that it was a really strong cheese and it didn’t play nicely with the tea. My husband kept saying “perfect, perfect” when he had his bonbon. He loved the white chocolate with this tea.

Tonight it was extra floral and had really nice body with a lightly creamy mouthfeel. This tin is pretty fresh and I hope I have learned my lesson about letting really good tea sit around past its prime. No more. The first tin I ever bought sat around because I had way more tea than I could drink in a reasonable of time and it really lost its shine. It is worth every penny paid for it, as long as I drink it in a reasonable amount of time.

Leafhopper

I have trouble with this. I tend to hoard really good tea, perhaps long past its prime.

ashmanra

Same here, Leafhopper. I have a really good tea sitting in my kitchen right now that has lost everything that was nice about it. Trying to decide whether to toss it or ice it.

Super Starling!

I love that your partner will drink tea with you. My husband refers to mine as “ruined water.” ;)

Ilse Wouters

I also admit I tend to buy too many different teas, way more than what I can possibly drink! Have you already encountered a tea past its prime that is really worth it when iced then?

ashmanra

Super Starling: I am glad he drinks tea with me, too! He won’t choose. He used to say his review was, “It is hot and has tea like qualities.” But lately he has been saying how the tea FEELS to him, or what body it has, so he is coming along. Once when we were having a very expensive dragonwell, he said, “This is really good…it’s expensive, isn’t it?” Ha ha! He was right!

ashmanra

Ilse: I ice it because my husband will down a gallon in a single weekend. I don’t worry about how good it is! It is very hot here and he spends most of his time in his workshop or in the garden, so he consumes large amounts of iced tea and isn’t picky about it. I let a lovely watermelon oolong go past its freshest point and we are drinking that iced now. It is good, the melon flavor is much lighter than it was last year, but it is better than grocery store stuff.

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drank Gong Fu Black by Zhi Tea
2386 tasting notes

I hadn’t had this tea in about 8 years, and I got another sample of it not long ago. After these two very positive experiences with it, I really should order some, but my tea wall is groaning under the weight of the tea I already have!

I reviewed it for Sororitea Sisters and here is the link: http://sororiteasisters.com/2019/07/22/gong-fu-black-zhi-tea/

But since I don’t like to click on links, here is the review!

Really wanting to use my new gaiwan tonight, I pawed through my tea samples and my eye fell on this. Perfect! I don’t have to wonder if it is a good candidate for the gaiwan. The name tells me so!

The leaves are thin and twisted, and very dark. They have that heady chocolate aroma you find in black and oolong tea sometimes. After warming the gaiwan and allowing the leaves to rest in it for a moment, the scent is now much nuttier.

I experimented a bit and found that I like this one to have a little more time than I would give some teas. It didn’t become bitter – the main incentive for keeping a steep short would be to prevent bitterness – so I let those warm, rich flavors develop over a few extra seconds. The darkest steep was my favorite.

The tea is creamy, nutty, with a little hint of cocoa. It is so smooth that even a black tea phobe drinking with me liked it plain. Although there is virtually no astringency, there is the slightest briskness that develops over time in a very pleasant way. Walnut is the flavor that I most notice lingering.

I lost count but my guess is that we had about seven or eight steeps from this session. Overall, a very pleasant tea. I definitely want to have a look at this company’s other offerings, as well!

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Profile

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…

Location

North Carolina

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