2562 Tasting Notes

This tea has been on my shelf nonstop since I first tried it nine years ago. If anyone were to ask me what my favorite green tea is, I could answer without even considering it for a moment – Huang Shan Mao Feng! I have had this one and one from Harney and Sons and both were excellent.

It looks like I haven’t posted a note on it in about eight years. I have been trying so hard to sip down all my older greens and I have neglected it! I knew there was a fresh sample of this that came with my Christmas gift from Superanna, my eldest daughter, so I made it to go with my homemade miso soup today!

It has been so long since I had it that my first reaction was confusion. I had already eaten some of the miso soup and took a sip of tea and was shocked at how floral and strong it tasted. Did I accidentally make jasmine tea? Did I not rinse the pot after making jasmine tea?
Nope, it was just tasting that floral to me!

The soup was rich and full bodied with wakame seaweed and fresh green onion tops and peas and corn. But the tea cut right through and lit up my mouth with fresh, bright flavor and floral sweetness. Many teas would have disappeared under the food flavors.

But what a changeling! The food is all gone and I still have quite a bit of this big pot to go!
Now the tea could not be mistaken for jasmine. It has good body, slight briskness, fresh green taste, and the floral aspect is milder and is found in the lingering aftertaste along with minerality. This isn’t a second steep, still the first, but just so different when not paired with food.

A delightful tea and one I will continue to keep stocked.

DrowningMySorrows

Both the tea and the miso soup sound delicious!

ashmanra

I am new to miso soup but I am loving it!

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Last night late I got a craving. It was a bad one. I wanted a cold, sweet, matcha latte. But like I said, it was late. I started bargaining with myself. “Maybe it won’t keep you up til 5 am! Maybe the L-theanine will help you sleep instead!” All hogwash, I know. But I couldn’t shake the craving.

I thought about steeping something in hot milk and adding ice and making a smoothie but I didn’t want to take that long as this was a really bad craving. I wanted it five minutes ago.

That’s when it hit me. I had this blend. This has smoothie in the name. Why do I have to steep it at all? I have a Vitamix. Isn’t it supposed to be powerful and decimate whatever I put in? And really, this is mostly dried fruits and flavorings, so why not?

So I did it. I put in some homemade mesophilic yogurt, a little raw sugar, some ice and a teaspoon of this blend. But it was too much ice, and basically I had made ice cream so I added more yogurt and a little milk but the color was so nice I decided I didn’t need to add more tea blend. I gave it an extra 30 seconds to make sure I had blended the tea in really well. I ended up with about 28 ounces of smoothie so I divided it and gave half to Ashman.

We loved it! It was so fruity and sweet and good, and it hit the spot and satisfied that smoothie craving that had hold of me, plus it was caffeine free and wouldn’t keep me up all night. It had lots of berry flavor. And all that with a single teaspoon of Parker’s Berry Orange Smoothie! I am definitely doing this again. Maybe tonight. Maybe sooner.

Has anyone else ever just put tea (other than matcha powder) or tisane blends in a smoothie?

DrowningMySorrows

This sounds really good! I wouldn’t have thought to use dry tea in a smoothie. Seems like a great way to keep it from getting too watery.

Mastress Alita

I haven’t put dried tea into my smoothies yet, but I do frequently steep tea, then add it to get specific flavors. I should try this method sometime, though! (And ya, there is no way I can do matcha at night either, green tea actually “hits me” worse than black! I start every morning with a matcha smoothie to get my brain going!)

tea-sipper

I’ve had this idea, but haven’t actually tried it with a tea yet! So you’re saying it WORKS. haha

ashmanra

tea-sipper: It not only worked, I have already done it again!

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drank Birthday Cake by Cuppa Geek
2562 tasting notes

Nichole sent me Birthday Cake in my last order, and she didn’t even know that my birthday is next month! Naturally, I decided to save this to open on my birthday.

Naturally, I didn’t.

It started innocently enough. I would just SMELL it. That’s all.

I opened the pouch and sniffed and it smelled exactly like Birthday Cake Oreos! Or….like birthday cake but we always do chocolate or lemon cakes so I didn’t associate it with cake first!

The next step in this parade was that “it wouldn’t hurt to try just one cup.” After all, it resteeps twice more so I could have a lot of tea with just one teaspoon gone and still have plenty for my birthday.

It does not taste quite the same as it smells. It tastes better, way better, because I don’t like overly sweet bakery cake and cupcakes with towers of icing. The reason it is better? The base here is the same very “adult” black tea that I loved in Vanilla Black and Peach Vanilla. It is a sophisticated tasting black base. It is forward enough to keep this from tasting like a syrupy sweet children’s tea party tea. The base has the raspy unsweetened cocoa “feel” that I enjoy.

The aroma of the steeped tea is largely caramel to me! It smells really good! So good that I asked Ashman if he would sniff it. You know where that went, right? Another teaspoon bites the dust. The vanilla and cream are there for sure, but the caramel got its hooks in us.

Giving up entirely on the notion of saving this for my birthday, I made a huge pot of it for breakfast the next morning. I guess I am going to have to order a new pouch.

Thank you, Nichole! We loved it!

White Antlers

What’s that old saying? The road to Hell is paved with good intentions…LOL!

AJRimmer

I was debating whether to order this one, and it looks like I need to!

Sil

oooooh…..

ashmanra

Ah yes, that road well travelled!

I had it again today for tea time with the last three pieces of Quality Street chocolates left from christmas. It will be a miracle if any is left by my birthday.

White Antlers

Life goes by so very fast; I say seize the tea! : )

DrowningMySorrows

I was debating whether to add a sample of Birthday Cake to an order of goodies for my mother and I think you just convinced me to. She’s usually not big on things that are supposed to be cake or cookie flavored but she loves caramel.

ashmanra

DrowningMySorrows: I hope she likes it! Once steeped, it really is mostly caramel to me! Nice and rich and dark. I am not a fan of grocery store birthday cakes and cupcakes. This does not taste like those! Let us know what she says about it! I just ordered more along with the March partTea package!

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drank Holiday Chai by Stash Tea Company
2562 tasting notes

Well, I ended up with two additional boxes of these tea bags and decided to give them a try a new way. Made with water like normal tea the base is simply too weak to me but the spices are all right. It is pretty good steeped in milk with sugar and then topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.

But I decided to take advantage of these spices and make a syrup. I used extra teabags and equal amounts of sugar and water. This made a concentrate that I chilled in the fridge. We added it to cold Perrier and VOILA! Pretty much tastes like root beer. We both really like it and it is perhaps ever so slightly healthier than actual store bought soda with its preservatives and HFCS.

The main problem is that I like it so much that I am tempted to drink more of it than I would if it were actual commercial soda, so I have to keep that reigned in because there is a lot of sugar here, though not more sugar than a commercial soda would have.

This is good enough as a soda that I would consider buying more just for that use.

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drank Jaffa Cakes by Cuppa Geek
2562 tasting notes

My tea came today! This is the one that incited me to order so I had to try it first.

I opened the pouch and sniffed and my knees trembled. Literally. You think I am joking? Watch the video. There is no video so just imagine it. It really happened.

It smelled so good that I thought my heart would break if it didn’t taste the way it smelled.
Since there are orange peels and chocolate chips and I know I am going to triple steep, I used a teaspoon and a half.

I am going to cry.

This is so good. It tastes like it smells. I think I had Jaffa Cakes once in Ireland. BUT easily available in the US are orange Pims (also in raspberry) which are nearly the same. And when my two youngest daughters and I first started having tea together and wanted to be fancy we bought Pims. Back when you could have people over for tea, remember? Back before viruses and nasty February weather that keeps you from even having tea with friends outside.

And this has taken me back to the best memories of those days.

The orange is fresh “peeling-an-orange-and-the-juice-lightly-mists-your-face” orange. Up front the aroma is all orange orange happy orange. Aromatherapists know that orange scent is a mood lifter and even peeling one can make people feel better. (I am so tired of all the orange, clove, and cinnamon teas though.)

As you swallow, the back and sides of your tongue are drenched with chocolate, which haunts your mouth after swallow. Orange up front, chocolate lingering after.

Tonight as I am sleeping, I will be whispering, but if the Ashman leans close to hear what I am saying, all he will hear is, “Jaffa Cakes.”

I prolly need more.

Sil

omg i miss jaffa cakes….

Emilie

Well I definitely need to get this now!

gmathis

At this point, I don’t think it’ll even come close, but did I ever send you any of my dearly beloved Chocolate Orange from TeaMaze? It evoked a similar response the first time I tried it. Well, maybe not the weak knees…

LuckyMe

It’s been years since I’ve had jaffa cakes. Admittedly it was from Aldi so not the best quality but I will have to seek out Pims.

Cameron B.

I guess I’m lucky – my local grocery stocks Jaffa Cakes in the International section.

DrowningMySorrows

This sounds delicious. I don’t think it was available when I ordered a bunch of samples for my mother. Might be time for another order!

ashmanra

DrowningMySorrows: it is a brand new blend! Along with three others that I am excited to try!

ashmanra

Cameron B: World Market here may carry them, not sure, but my daughter said she has seen them in Raleigh.

Gmathis: No, I never had that chocolate orange!

ashmanra

Sil: Why do you miss them? Do they not sell them where you live?

White Antlers

I don’t even LIKE flavored tea but your tasting note made me want to buy this! Great writing (as always) ashmanra! : )

ashmanra

White Antlers: Thank you! Ha ha! I had three sisters here today for lessons and I had let them smell this tea packet. It is raining and thundering and dark so an hour into lessons I asked if they would like tea. They said yes. I asked what they would like and the eldest said perhaps something caffeine free so it wouldn’t keep her up. Hmmm. I said…”Do you want Jaffa Cakes then?” Ha ha! Yes, they wanted Jaffa Cakes but we’re kind enough to say “only if you can spare it” because they saw my face when I sniffed it. They had a pot of Jaffa Cakes! I couldn’t, cuz mask! But I got the leftovers!

White Antlers

Awww! That is SO heartwarming. <3 I do love good manners; they really never go out of style.

Martin Bednář

I guess I will place an order as well! This sounds so lovely!

Sil

@ash – they aren’t relaly a thing in canada…you can sometimes find them in places that import things from the UK but they’re just not as fresh and delicious as they are when you buy them in the UK. Kinda like timtams…you CAN get those here, but they’re not the same lol

Cameron B.

Ooooh Tim Tams…

ashmanra

Tim Tams……drool

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drank Lemon Cake by Cuppa Geek
2562 tasting notes

No review on this one? And tonight was a sad sipdown! It is possible I reviewed it for the Sororitea Sisters blog and never got around to posting it here, but this one was a love and I am sad to see it go.

When I first got it, I shared a pot of it with my friend (pre-Covid so I have had this a while) and she immediately went home and ordered a bunch of different Cuppageek teas. That is how much she liked it. (Melissa’s first order, Nichole!)

This is so lemony and good. You know how a slice of lemon cake can be so light and sweet and a little lemon glaze on it just makes you happy and feels like sunshine? That is how this tea is making me feel today. It is bright and clean and soft and happy.
White Antlers

I don’t care for dessert-y teas, but your lovely tasting note about this one reminded me of the lemon bars I used to bake. https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/lemon-bars-recipe/ Citrus is so cheerful and uplifting!

ashmanra

Oh, Sally’s Baking Addiction is one of Youngest’s favorite recipe sources! She has baked me many a lovely dessert from that site!

White Antlers

It’s a great site. The shortbread crust on these bars literally melts in your mouth. : )

gmathis

How did I miss this one????

Martin Bednář

Saved for future reference :)

ashmanra

GMathis: I expect it was not available when you placed your first order! Lemon Swirl is also quite good. The vanilla makes it super comforting, it feels like a sweet cuddle. My love language is physical touch so translate that to your love language!

gmathis

Yes, the Lemon Swirl is extremely tasty as well.

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A few months ago, Cameron B mentioned loving some freeze dried miso soup so I ordered it for Youngest for Christmas. She loved it so much that I ordered some for myself! I had never had miso soup. I tried it and it was really good. My husband liked it, too, so I decided to try to make some homemade miso soup.

I made miso soup with zucchini, fresh chives from the garden, and wakame. I also made potstickers and a homemade yumyum sauce. Naturally I wanted a Japanese tea to complete the meal and this is probably the only one I have other than matcha.

The first time I made it we had it more or less gong fu style, resteeping and pouring into tiny cups. It looked almost gray/pink with purple at the edge of the cup until we added lemon juice which turned it really pink, but I preferred it plain.

This time I made it western style and poured two steeps together into a large tetsubin for serving. I think it had more purple/pink color this way, but probably just because we used larger Japanese cups that Superanna gave me. (The tea was also from her.) It was probably the depth of the tea that made it appear to have deeper color.

We both enjoyed it, and it was really great with the food. It is a rather mild Sencha so it can tend to disappear if sipped right after a strongly flavored bite. We made a third steep to drink after the meal and I think it looked even pinker. It was easy to drink and had very little drying effect, nicely hydrating.

Cameron B.

Yum! Zucchini in miso soup sounds delicious. What type of miso was it? :O

ashmanra

MUSO Dark Aged Miso, full-bodied, naturally crafted with soy and rice. And the back says Maruya Hatcho Miso and says it is aged in wooden barrels. But I know little about miso so I am just typing what is on the package.

When I had breast cancer, I was told to avoid soy products as much as possible since it is in EVERYTHING now, including gelato, but miso and real aged soy sauce were fine.

White Antlers

ashmanra I’m allergic to soy so I can’t eat any of it in anything, but my understanding is that non-GMO soy is okay. The trick is finding it!
My late wife had celiac. When she was in Italy, she threw caution to the winds and ate pasta and bread in moderation with no ill effects. Her PCP told her that she might have fared well because (once again) she ate non-GMO wheat flour products. Of course, when she returned to the states and thought she was ‘cured, of celiac’ she quickly and painfully discovered that she wasn’t.

Sil

mmmm good miso soup is hard to find

Lexie Aleah

I’ve definitely bought some not so good miso soup mixes from the store before. I still need to get some of the one’s Cameron Recommended to try.

Cameron B.

Ooh Hatcho miso is very dark and smoky!

ashmanra

White Antlers: How I wish we had better choices with our foods! The milk in Ireland was heavenly, and every place that had cows’ milk had goat milk, too. You can’t find it where I live except for really expensive condensed type.

Lexie: you may already know, but the one Cameron recommended was Amano Foods variety pack. The eggplant one is superb.

Cameron B.

I agree, the eggplant one!!! (drools)

Mastress Alita

Miso is the one migraine trigger of mine (it’s the fermentation of the soy in things like miso/soy sauce) that I will cheat on. I just can’t give it up!

ashmanra

Mastress Alita: I bought another miso paste first and can’t use it because it has MSG. Naturally occurring MSG doesn’t get us, but added MSG makes me drunk and triggered a migraine for my husband. We had been to a local Asian buffet restaurant many times with no ill effects, but one day we went for lunch and I stumbled in the house, giggled for a minute, and then told the kids mom was gonna take a nap and crashed on the sofa. By that night, Ashman had a migraine, I can only guess they had started using MSG.

Since I was a teen and had my first Chinese food, MSG makes me giggle and then crash. I didn’t know why it happened until I told the owner of the restaurant and he said it was the MSG and told the staff not to add it to my food anymore. It never happened there again.

Mastress Alita

MSG is one of my migraine triggers, and ya, I usually don’t have issues with naturally-occuring glutamates. But soy that has gone through fermentation (like it has in miso and soy sauce products) can also get to me. It’s some chemical (which I forget the name of now) that is released during the fermentation process. I try to limit my miso soup intake at restaurants to a very small cup.

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drank Jingle Bells by Lupicia
2562 tasting notes

I actually drank this over a month ago, but I am putting a note here because Youngest asked me to remind her which teas we drank when she visited at Christmas. We drank tea pretty much non-stop but I didn’t review many of them because I don’t see her often and wanted to spend time with her. Thus it completely slipped my mind that we had a sample of Jingle Bells that came with my order of Carol and Merci Mille Fois.

We both loved this one. The grape flavor is so spot on. I don’t know how they do it, but the fruit flavored teas from Lupicia that I have tried have been amazing. This fairly sparkled and would be absolutely wonderful to serve for a Christmas time tea gathering when we can finally start having gatherings again. I bet it would also make an incredible iced tea, but we only had one sachet to play it.

Ashman was so enamored of the aroma of Carol this morning that I told him we really need to order even more next year since it is limited edition. Now that I think about it, we should order a pouch or two of Jingle Bells as well.

Martin Bednář

Always better to spend time with family than with writing notes on Steepster!

I hope that this year Christmas we will be able to make family gathering again!

tea-sipper

yeah, i’m realizing one of lupicia’s grape teas are a staple for my cupboard.

Cameron B.

I like their grape teas too! Honestly Japanese grape flavoring is just always better IMO.

tea-sipper

Yeah, Lupicia’s is probably the only grape tea flavoring I have liked at all.

Martin Bednář

The Muscat I got from Izzy and company is Janat Paris… they have got a tea-room in Japan. So probably it suits Japanese taste buds and thus I really liked it too! It seems their flavouring is indeed great :)

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drank Tisane de la Reine by Nina's Paris
2562 tasting notes

I found a little ziploc of this tisane when I was organizing my stash today. I know it has to be old and I can’t remember where it came from, but since Cameron B last edited the info, I am guessing it was from a swap we did about…three years ago?

Looking at it, I thought it was plain chamomile. The aroma had a little something extra but I wasn’t sure what. Steeped, it is mostly chamomile. The description says it has orange flavor which sounds absolutely delightful, but if it was here it faded, and the tea can’t be blamed. It is entirely my fault for having too much tea and not getting around to drinking things in their prime.

I am a bit of a night owl but I am super relaxed and sleepy now, so maybe the chamomile is working its magic in spite of the age. It was good, and I can tell there is something added but would not have been able to peg it as orange.

Thank you, Cameron B, if this was from you!

Cameron B.

I don’t think it was me, but who knows at this point? Hah!

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This came as a sample in my Christmas gift of Teavivre tea from my daughter, Superanna. I am finally able to try another tea that our late dear friend KS absolutely loved!

This is the lower grade of green tea powder from Teavivre and they recommend it for culinary use or for sweetened drinks. Honestly, I made it first like a traditional bowl of whisked matcha. The color was not a vibrant green when I opened the pouch but it had a really nice creamy aroma and I decided to go for it!

The tea powder settled faster than my ceremonial grade from Harney does, but I stirred it up once more and it was very drinkable and I enjoyed it with lunch. (miso soup) I have had far more bitter, less vibrant matcha!

Then today I organized my tea and set aside some that I want to finish ASAP and figured this open sample would be a fast and easy sipdown, so I made lattes for me and the Ashman. That creamy aroma had me wanting a matcha latte and I almost added vanilla to enhance the creaminess but ultimately decided it didn’t really need anything extra.

My Aerolatte was acting up so I put milk, sugar, and green tea powder in the Vitamix with maybe three ice cubes and whooshed. It was super good and made a great afternoon snack. Thanks to the Vitamix it was incredibly frothy.

Note: this and their higher grade that is referred to as matcha are both grown in China.

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Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about twelve 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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