2386 Tasting Notes

Steepster isn’t letting me send messages, so

Kawaii: My package arrived today! Many, many thanks!

HaChaChaCha: I will reply as soon as I can!

This is a sample I ordered to revisit all the Keemuns Teavivre sells. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. With my everything bagel, it was a great breakfast tea. I still prefer Premium Keemun Hao Ya for breakfast, but this one was nice and would be a great economy tea.

It is lightly brisk, moderately bread and cocoa-y, with a hint of smoke in the aroma. Not far from Queen Catherine but without the extra layers blending gives her. We actually had it yesterday for tea time and I had the leftover tea reheated for breakfast – two cups. It was great for either application, and both were with food. Yesterday we had tomato soup (tomatoes from my garden) and peach dumplings in puff pastry with caramel inside. So with a lot of strongly flavored food like that, you don’t need to waste your expensive and highly nuanced tea.

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This is sadly good-bye to Nature’s Tea Leaf, both this tea and the company. This is the last little scrap of leaves from the last bag of all the tea I have ordered from them. I just looked at the reviews for this tea and almost everyone had received it as a free sample from the company. I drank my free sample and ordered more.

This is old. I was looking forward to clicking “Remove From Cupboard” just to celebrate a sipdown but saw that I had never added it to my cupboard. That happens a lot.

As old as it was, it was very good. It seems strange to say but my first impressions if this tea were the same tea-sipper was getting from a Yunnan Dian Hong. After I warmed the gaiwan and added the leaves, I literally held it to my husband and said smell it! It smells like chocolate! Not cacao nibs this time, but real chocolate, like a candy bar. After the rinse,mit was chocolate and SMOKE. But the taste was neither!

The taste was warm, sweet hay. It was fresh and light, but not weak. My husband said he really loved this one. He is trying to describe the tea now, whereas he used to joke and say “it is hot and has tea-like qualities.” For this one, he said, “I would say it is very soothing to my throat, but that implies that I had an ache and I didn’t.” I asked if it was the complete lack of astringency and briskness that he liked, and he thought that was it.

I was on a mailing list, so I am a bit sad that the company didn’t let us know they were closing, but it must be very hard to shut down a company that you believed in and worked to make successful. I wish them the best in their next endeavors.

tea-sipper

So Nature’s Tea Leaf isn’t coming back… I know on their website they said they would be back for a while… but now it seems their site isn’t working at all. Too bad. I really wanted to stock up on their chocolate tea.

gmathis

I miss them, too!

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drank Je T'Aime by THE O DOR
2386 tasting notes

This was a sipdown! Today was tea party day (yes, that is still happening!) and this was our tea for the sweets part. Lunch was black bean soup and sweet cornbread muffins paired with Queen Catherine. I felt I needed a somewhat hardy black tea to go with a bold lunch. Since I have made notes on QC about fifty times, I will just review this one!

For afters, we had Oreo Thins in coconut flavor, lemon Oreos, and Bounty bars, which is like an Almond Joy minus the almonds for all the Americans who have never heard of it! There were also Reese’s Chips Ahoy cookies. There was a lot of coconut going on and this went really well with it.

I may have overleafed a little since I was using up the very last of the bag but I made up for it by adding a little extra hot water to the pot when I transferred it. (Sometimes I make the tea in one pot and move it to another, especially if I am combining steeps.)

This is a wonderfully aromatic tea and I am shocked that I am finishing it and there are no reviews posted from me on it. The black tea base really comes through nice and strong and doesn’t need milk or sugar but could deffo handle it. The flavorings don’t make the tea flavor but they are prominent, not wimpy. This is a little malty and also a little creamy. A good bit of almond and coconut flavor, and I feel like I taste hazelnut (Nutella style) as well.

Sil

maybe steepster ate them.

this IS a good one :)

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drank Milky Oolong by Harney & Sons
2386 tasting notes

I was disappointed the first time I tried this. I love JE Milky from The O Dor but it is $$$. This is really, REALLY inexpensive. So I was bummed that it wasn’t even close to being as good as my fave.

Then I remembered that I love Bird Pick’s Premium Silky Green – which they market as a green tea but is deffo a milk oolong – made at 175F for three minutes. So I gave this a try that way and it is delish! We had it with breakfast and made a resteep. There was a lot left of the resteep and it had cooled completely by lunchtime so I drank it cold and loved it. This tin will be gone in no time, and I really think I will repurchase to keep as a daily drinker.

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drank Huang Guan Yin by Harney & Sons
2386 tasting notes

I ordered a sample of this because 1. I love Huang Shan Mao Feng and 2. I love Tie Guan Yin. This is completely different from those two. And I love it.

This tea is also known as yellow goddess and golden jade oolong. I think there are a few more names as well, as it is a somewhat recent hybrid.

This is the second time I have had this tea. The first time, I made it the way the website recommends, and it was really good, but it didn’t taste exactly as the website described to me. It was certainly highly floral in aroma, but at 212F and 4 minutes, it had a savory aftertaste. It was good, but they didn’t mention savory.

Tonight, I had only about a teaspoon of my sample left so I made this is tiny amounts. I forgot it was supposed to be boiling water and used about 180F. Glory hallelujah this is good! It is so much more floral and there is a milder, sweeter flavor. I really love this, so much so that I went to the website to order but then I saw why I only bought a sample. But you know what? You only live once, and life is too short to drink bad tea. In this case, life is too short to deny yourself good tea if you really, really like it.

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I am very surprised I didn’t have this listed in my cupboard, but I guess I shouldn’t be. I counted just the tea I can see in one go and there was a lot more than what I have in my cupboard. I need to catch up!

I first got this as a sample in a swap with Hesper June. We loved it, so I purchased some at A Southern Season, and have bought it there more than once now.

I usually drink my smoky teas in fall and winter, and it is around 100F here these past few days. However, I am eating Howling Cow ice cream, have bare feet, a wooden floor, and the a/c roaring. The ice cream is from the University my daughter attends – North Carolina State. They have a huge veterinary school and agriculture program so they have lots and lots of cows and they put them to good use making some truly delicious ice cream. The flavor I am eating is called Campfire Delight, and I’ll be durned if it doesn’t taste like a campfire roasted marshmallow with caramel with graham cracker and chunks of chocolate. The light smokiness and the ice cold condition of my toes called for some hot tea, preferably smoky to match the mood the ice cream had set.

This is not as smoky as Lapsang Souchong, but smoky enough. The key here is that the base has FLAVOR and personality, something often lacking in really smoky tea. I think sometimes they use inferior tea since they know the smoke is strong, but you really can have both – smoke and tea base that has great taste.

This is making me want to revisit some of the other Grace Teas and try some new ones, too.

gmathis

NOBODY does atmosphere like you do :)

ashmanra

Heehee! I’m all about some atmosphere!

Kittenna

I’m not an ice cream person, but that does sound delicious!

ashmanra

Kittenna: I don’t mean to be an ice cream person, but I am. Homemade milkshakes and floats have been a terrible weakness, and now to find that some teas pair beautifully with ice cream….OY!

gmathis

Do you have Braum’s in NC? (Oklahoma based ice cream & burger chain.) Their sundaes are (heh) pure evil.

ashmanra

Oh my, it is probably a good thing that we don’t have them then! I miss Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor..

gmathis

Oh, that’s a throwback! (Favorite big sister memory, too…thanks for the reminisce.) Braum’s is tasty, but we are still mourning the loss of our local Baskin Robbins.

ashmanra

Awwww! My Farrell’s memories are all of my mom, patty melts, and hot fudge sundaes! Come see me – we still have Baskin Robbins!

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NOOOOOOOOO! I finished the tin and I don’t have any on the way! Twitch. Twitch.

Once upon a time I would have added milk and sugar to this. Now I find myself getting up some mornings saying, “I need a tea that grabs ahold of you and smashes a kiss right on your lips.” It isn’t a need for caffeine to wake me up. I have never really needed that. Sometimes I just want that rich, dark, unsweetened cocoa right in your face power. There is a toasted walnut flavor to this as well, and a little malt.

This is just the right spot between fine foofoo afternoon aromatic Keemun and down and dirty breakfast tea for me. It resteeps really well and is still quite strong enough for me if I mix the steeps together.

I made a blueberry buckle this week and finished it this morning for breakfast. The dog adores blueberry buckle and spends his day leading us to the cake plate over and over hoping for a bite until it is all gone.

Must reorder. Can you tell? It would be a shame if there was a new yixing pot in the cart as well…do I dare?

gmathis

I can just see your Sheldon Cooper twitchy face now!

ashmanra

I thought of you the past two days as I drank this, GG, because it reminds me of Fujian Congu from Nature’s Tea Leaf. I need to send you some to try and see if you agree!

gmathis

Well, you said cocoa and that’s the magic word.

mrmopar

Yes you dare! And blueberries..YUM!

ashmanra

Oooo, thank you, mrmopar for being such a great enabler! I have been watching the videos of Yixing pots being made and now I want them all! I have two, one decent one and one really good one that I got at an estate sale for $6. It had never been used and had the certificate and original packaging, i doubt it had ever even been taken out. I would love to get a dragon egg pot and maybe one more…

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drank Wenshan Baochong by Tea Ave
2386 tasting notes

I didn’t actually drink this tea tonight, but I am posting here because a few weeks ago the Tea Avenue website went down. It looked like it was there but it was an empty template and there was no product for sale. I can see running out of tea waiting for the new harvest, but teaware also?

I sent an email. No reply. I tried to contact through Facebook. No reply. I called their phone number. Fast busy signal. Checked instagram, no recent posts. We pretty much declared them kaput. Gone. Thought they ghosted us.

Well, I decided to check on them again tonight and their website is up again. On my phone it wouldn’t give me US prices, but on my tablet it did. I am really bummed because I just ordered Wenshan Baochong yesterday from another tea shop because I couldn’t get it from Tea Ave.

But I wanted to dispel the rumours that Tea Avenue was dead! Apparently, TEA AVENUE IS STILL IN BUSINESS! Maybe I will go ahead and order more Wenshan and use it as a comparison between two vendors. Sigh. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

By the way, I have had this tea in the past. It was light, floral, and lovely. I don’t know why I don’t have reviews already posted on it. Maybe Steepster ate them.

ETA: I think I will call again tomorrow and make sure it is really them and someone hasn’t hijacked their website. Can that happen?

ETA: Message from them this morning says they are not taking new orders at this time. Will post again with actual message for anyone who wanted to place an order with them. We may still be able to do so at some time?

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drank Earl Grey Royal by THE O DOR
2386 tasting notes

When I tried the sample of this tea, I longed to try it iced to see if it could replace Frank’s Southern Boy Iced Tea that had Captain Picard on the label – Earl Grey Iced. Well, my eldest daughter gave me a whole tin so now I get to experiment!

I made about a quart and used 1/4 cup sugar to sweeten. Is it exactly like Frank’s? No. Is it good? Yes. And I think I can tweak it a tiny bit and make it even better. I believe that a touch of sweet orange juice will carry this toward Lady Grey flavor and make it more like I remember Frank’s tea. It just needs something to take off the slight sour edge of the bergamot to really make it match. Comment if you have any other suggestions to help with that! A touch of jasmine? Just the orange juice? Or orange syrup?

Personal note: If you have been on here long, you know youngest daughter was a regular tea buddy for me. Our children were homeschooled and we went through a lot of tea every day in the last nine years of it.. Last year she left for university, and now…she is going to study in Poland! She leaves in late July and will return in late December.

Martin She is flying first to Prague and will do some sightseeing there. Are there any tea shops or tea rooms there you recommend? What brands do you like that can be found in grocery stores there?

Anyone with knowledge of that part of Europe, please chime in with advice or recommendations!

Kawaii433

That is so wonderful. You must be so proud, ashmanra. :D

mrmopar

Agreed! You should be very proud of her and yourself. This is a unique opportunity for her and I know she will excel.

ashmanra

Kawaii433 and mrmopar: This is a dream come true for her so I am very glad it worked out. She has been learning Polish in preparation for going. She says that knowing Russian has made learning Polish easier because many words are the same, but it is confusing to see it with a different alphabet than she was used to for Russian! She is very excited to experience actually living in another country where English is not the main language. She loves to travel, just like her big sis, Superanna.

Martin Bednář

Drop me an email. It’s my first name (dot) three letters of surname and 95.
At gmail. I will try to write something down

ashmanra

Thank you, Martin! I shall!

Martin Bednář

I received an e-mail, few minutes ago I sent a reply :)

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I am not going to add this to my cupboard because we are turning it into iced tea so fast that I will be removing it very soon.

I bought this on our beach trip and made a couple of gallons of iced tea. It was peachy and everyone loved it. This tea is no longer available here where I live, so I have to buy it out of town.

Now that we are home, the peach flavor is disappearing from the tea shortly after I make it. I will try using more leaf and not making two gallons at a time and see if that helps.

It is great peach flavor most of the time, so I don’t know what is going on with it. It isn’t just me, a guest said she didn’t taste the peach either. Oh well!

Kawaii433

So strange that the flavor disappears after making it.

ashmanra

I am thinking perhaps it was a little underleafed and possibly the flavoring may have more or less evaporated or dissipated? I just had some more and it just tastes like plain iced tea. Smells very peachy in the tin and the single gallon batches I made were good. The two gallon batch is the one that isn’t flavorful.

Martin Bednář

I had similar trouble with decaf black tea with peach flavour. It just disappeared. Maybe it is trouble of the aroma?

ashmanra

Martin, I think that could be a lot of the problem. So much of our taste depends on aroma, and I think the aroma just up and left!

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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…

Location

North Carolina

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