2462 Tasting Notes

I got special mail! A beautiful “Morticia Adamsesque” card and tea from Gmathis!

I have almost no knowledge at all of Japanese teas. I have tried a few Senchas, I have had genmaicha and probably houjicha. I do like matcha, and I have had an unusual Japanese black tea from Postcard Teas. But compared to Chinese and Indian black tea, my experience is almost nil.

We had a chilly morning with heavy fog which is heading into a very warm day with a warm week ahead. Youngest is an incredible artist and sent me some photos she took this morning in the fog. Maybe I can upload and share them!

This is my little tea break in the big leather chair in front of the fireplace with the candle lanterns lit before I make lunch for me and Sam the King of Dogs. We will be splitting a bag of broccoli. We are simple folk. But not too simple. Mine will have hollandaise. His will not.

The recommendation was ten minutes of simmering, but I got preoccupied in the garden and let it boil briefly before turning it down. It doesn’t seem to have hurt it.

This reminds me a little of a roasted barley tea with a bare hint of…chicory? It is VERY woody but in a sawmill sort of way rather than a puerh, petrichor, and damp wood way. The depth of woody flavor makes me want to say smokey but it isn’t actually smokey when you get down to it. There is a hint of bitterness that is not at all astringent to me, but the aftertaste lingers and even tingles a little. That might be the Juicy Fruit gmathis mentioned. And if you swish air around in your mouth after you swallow, there is a hint of vanilla.

I like it! I am not a coffee drinker but I would almost call this “ coffee lite.” It lacks the bitterness of coffee but has such a solid feel. It feels like something I would drink when I am preparing to roll up my sleeves and get down to a task.

Thank you, gmathis for the tea and card, and by the way, the card goes beautifully with my anniversary card which is beside it on the mantel!

Cameron B.

Aw that’s such a sweet Halloween tea friend gift! ❤ I was so confused at first about the boiling part, but then I looked it up and realized this is a roasted stem tea and not regular kukicha. That makes more sense, haha.

Your lunch notes made me laugh! Poor Sam (the King) doesn’t get any hollandaise?! ;)

White Antlers

Oh, what memories this brought back! My dearest friend in high school went on the become macrobiotic back in the era when no one was doing that. She and her husband went to Boston and lived in Michio Kushi’s home for a month to study the macrobiotic lifestyle with him. She introduced me to this tea along with other interesting things (for that time period), like burdock root and tea made from LOTS of freshly grated ginger to ward off illness. The seaweed used so much in macrobiotics never appealed but I still drink twig tea on occasion and have fond thoughts of my friend. Enjoy your brassica lunch! : )


Cameron B. – Sam MIGHT get the occasional bite with hollandaise but I try to keep him on a good, clean diet. He is very healthy and walks about two miles a day and plays with his girlfriend four or five days a week, although they must whine at the door because they know they get a treat when they come back in and they are very food motivated!

It was a lovely card and a fun new tea to try!

White Antlers: i am glad the tea brought memories of a good friend! Those are precious!

Cameron B.

I am in full support of Sam’s healthy lifestyle! “Food motivated” is the understatement of the century for my two pugs, LOL.


Well, if I couldn’t be there to drink it with you, the review comes close.
(And if I say so myself, I loved that card. Wouldn’t let it go to just anybody ;)

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I just added this to my cupboard but to be honest it was a tiny amount of tea to begin with and I have had it before so now there is only about a serving left. I made lattes with whipped cream and sprinkles for my husband and myself tonight and this was super good for that.

My lattes for two are generally made thus: twenty ounces milk and three tablespoons sugar heated and three teaspoons tea added. If the tea blend is full of pieces of dried fruit or chips or something, I will add a little extra or make sure the spoon is heaping. Heat (but not to boiling) and leave it at least six minutes but preferably ten. As long as the milk is good and hot you can turn off the burner for the last bit of steeping.

Strain into two mugs and top with whipped cream. My husband really loves sprinkles so I add those cuz he is a nice guy.

This tea has been here for a while. It was a gift to my daughter and she never got around to trying it, but in spite of its age it had great flavor still and nothing had gone “off.” This is something I would definitely consider repurchasing just for cold weather treats. The tea and the spices both come through nice and strong and really since it has so much flavor I could cut back on the sugar. If the blend is heavy on “pieces” rather than tea leaves and flavoring, it sometimes needs that bit of extra sugar to make it flavorful.

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Cuppa Geek sent me this tea from the St. Jude’s benefit line! I could hardly wait to test it out!

This afternoon was very warm but cloudy. My husband is more or less on staycation as he has a lot of “use or lose” hours so we are living decadently at home, doing things like drinking soda (Mexican Coke) and eating french fries on a weekday! It’s really wild.

The soda has been getting to me reflux wise so I had no beverage with lunch and saved this for after. It was a treat! I made it just as normal tea – one teaspoon making two steeps in a kamjove combined. The smell pre-steeping was largely caramel. After steeping, all those other flavors come out. The apple is nice and not too tart, black tea is present and not buried under flavorings, and after sipping for a while it builds up a little zing, almost like briskness, from the clove. It was exactly what I was looking for to clear the palate after having vinegar-based North Carolina BBQ for lunch.

Tonight I made it as a dessert drink for the two of us! I heated about twenty ounces of two percent milk on the stove and threw in three teaspoons of leaf. I didn’t let it boil, just let the milk get hot and steeped it for about eight minutes.

I stirred in some sugar (this is dessert, remember?) and strained it into mugs, and topped it with whipped cream. Oh my goodness. This is super tasty and my husband loved it!

Last year I found that the high sugar and caffeine content of the cocoa was just too much for me to sleep well, and this is a brilliant alternative. I am excited about trying the other blends in the line up this way, especially when cooler weather gets here. For now, we are back up in the 80’s.

Thank you, Cuppa Geek! It was DELISH!

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drank Orange Creamsicle by Cuppa Geek
2462 tasting notes

On Saturday my husband finished our backyard patio of pavers beside the carport where I have my rockers, and it looks awesome! So today, for the first time since March, I was able to invite someone over for tea! I texted my next door neighbor and asked if she would like some socially distanced tea and cake and she said she would take me up on the tea!

I told her to go through the side garden, through the gates, and meet me out back. We have a big glass table and I set our chairs sufficiently far apart and brought out the tea stuff. When she heard it was a French Grandmother’s Lemon Yogurt Cake, she changed her mind about not having cake.

This neighbor has only had tea with me once or twice so I felt a lot of pressure for the tea to perform. I offered milk and sugar but she said that the tea we had before didn’t need any sugar even though she usually adds it, so she just wanted milk.

I had steeped three teaspoons in a stump pot and resteeped, adding both steeps to my big tetsubin to carry outside. The first steep went a little over so I was nervous that it would be bitter, but it wasn’t. It was awesome, and went wonderfully with the cake.

The black tea base was nice and strong to pair with the sweet cake, the orange warmed and softened by vanilla was beautifully sunny and the fresh citrus flavor was nice with the sharper lemon of the cake. (There is lemon zest in the cake and a lemon and sugar glaze brushed on the cake that soaks in.)

I was very happy that she loved both the cake and the tea and drank many cups of tea. She told me that she usually isn’t a big fan of lemon but was intrigued by the yogurt in the cake and that was why she wanted to try it.

Another neighbor came later to borrow a yard tool and rocked in my socially distanced rockers for a while, and was given a bowl of mushroom and rice soup to take home, so all in all, it was a really good day with nearby humans that I have not been able to see much since March! I am somewhat of a homebody and a loner at times, but I am missing warm people and good conversation.

White Antlers

Oh, this was so heartwarming to read about! I work from home and even as a loner/introvert, these past several months have been hard. Your neighbors are very lucky to have you!

Martin Bednář

I am glad that you could see your neighbors!


It did my heart good! I do NEED time all alone sometimes and I really look forward to it with excitement, but I also need people and conversation. I have been missing it!


Come play with me and my Sunday bunch. An hour with those rowdies and you’ll welcome your solitude again ;)


Gmathis: Ha ha! I know you are right! It is all about balance, isn’t it? I have some students I would love to hug the stuffing out of, but I am restraining myself.

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drank Spiced Fall Evenings by Cuppa Geek
2462 tasting notes

I got three steeps from this blend tonight and man, was it good!

My husband and I decided to play Rack-O and have tea and snacks. Our Rack-O game was made in 1966 and belonged to a dear neighbor three houses down who was like a grandmother to me when I was a child. Her daughter gave us this game when my neighbor died, and Scrabble and the cookie tin that always held Opera Creams for MY children when they went to visit!

The first two steeps were mixed together, but the third steep stood alone and was still strong enough to enjoy. The chamomile is really perfectly framed by the spices and I enjoy the honeybush.

I actually finished one pouch which had a teaspoon of spices and honeybush left in it and opened the new pouch which was all chamomile at the top. Every pot I have made has been good, but having seen first hand how the ingredients settle in blends when the weights are very different, I think I will start pouring my blends into a tin or container to keep them well mixed for consistent flavor.

I think this may be my favorite so far of the Cuppageek blends I have tried, but I do have some fall chai blends waiting for a taste test that may take that title!


so much feel-good

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drank O'Connor's Cream by TeaGschwendner
2462 tasting notes

I had whiskey flavored tea for breakfast. How is your day going?

Felt weirdly tired last night but didn’t go to bed early. Dog woke me up at 3:45 to go out. His walkies schedule has been off due to patio work. Laid in bed until 5 when I heard our gate rattle and saw the motion sensor light go off. Took dog back out to seek intruders. Usually it is a raccoon, possum, or cat, but this may have been one of the many domestic rabbits that escaped from a neighbor who was trying to start a rabbit breeding operation. No culprit found, but apparently there were fascinating scents left behind because doggie didn’t want to come back in so I let him enjoy the excitement of running back and forth, nose to ground experiencing all the rich aromas of whatever had made the early morning visit.

I had a cherry vanilla bagel in the freezer and decided to do a crossword and have early brekkie while everyone was still asleep. (Wow, I’m old.) This seemed the oerfect tea for today.

I don’t really know anything about whiskey, or whisky, but I did taste a sip of Bailey’s Irish Cream once at my son-in-law’s behest. It was tasty but the fire of the alcohol didn’t super appeal.

This tastes similar, with cream and cocoa and boozy taste sans fire. I feel like there is vanilla with the cocoa as well.

Now the dog owes me a cuddle and the world owes me a nap. And since I have seen three black and white bunnies from where I sit, I am betting it was rabbits that set off the lights.

This was a most welcome gift from White Antlers, as I had been looking at whiskey flavored tea for some time and hadn’t ordered yet. This one is a winner.

White Antlers

ashmanra I so love your tasting notes which, to me, are dioramas of another existence where kindness, civility and magic still exist. So glad you got to have guilt free, non-intoxicating whiskey for breakfast. : )


(Mental note to send you a sample of my Irish Whiskey from Teamaze.)

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drank Parker's Blend by Cuppa Geek
2462 tasting notes

Rain, rain…all day long. I had this one for breakfast. I lit some candles to make it cozy in the house, made waffles and bacon, and settled in for a cup of Parker’s.

I used my Kamjove this time and I think I overleafed just a tad. It was a teaspoon – I did measure – but it was a slightly heaping one. I steeped, pushed the button, steeped again and blended the two.

I am not sad I overleafed a tad because it really made it great as a breakfast tea. If I make this for afternoon I think I will use a scant teaspoon. As it turned out today, it was super fruity and a little brisk, just what you want in the morning, especially with maple syrup on the plate!

Parker’s is more complex than a plain Earl Grey, and is more akin to a good Lady Grey with the fruit flavors in play.

Meanwhile, I am trying to learn qi gong. Anyone else have experience with it here?


I’ve watched qigong practioners at the park. That sounds like something I could do to prepare me for when martial arts can resume… What resources have you been utilizing?


Youtube! Ha ha! I was going to do tai chi but saw a short video on why qi gong might be the better choice since tai chi is aimed at martial arts and qi gong is designed just for health and movement, olus tai chi moves are harder to recall and therefore less likely to get done, whereas qi gong is super simple and requires little space. I found a guy on youtube I like as he explains well. I will look up the links and PM then soon!

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drank Spiced Fall Evenings by Cuppa Geek
2462 tasting notes

At last we have another truly cool evening with low humidity! After broiling through days with a heat index of 104F as recently as a week ago, we are going to dip into the 50’s tonight! I have been waiting for this all day.

As soon as we dipped below 65F, I suggested to my husband a bit of rocking chair time on the back porch with a cuppa.

I made this latte style, heating the milk first and continuing to heat it for about one minute with the leaves added, then off the heat and steeping for another three to four minutes. I usually sweeten my lattes and I did add sugar to this one.

I get a lot of chamomile in the aroma but mostly taste the spice – pumpkin spice and cardamom. Oh, I love cardamom in blends like this!

Drinking it, I noticed a tingling warm sensation in my mouth from the ginger. I can imagine how delightful that will be when the temperatures are truly cold!

I am so glad this has honeybush as the base instead of the ubiquitous red rooibos which is not a favorite of mine. I greatly prefer honeybush or green rooibos in its place. This carries the spices so much better and lets them shine more, in my opinion.

It passed the husband test and was deemed as a worthy bedtime treat. And now the warm milk and chamomile combo have made me sleepy, so off to bed!


We had a 52 degree wake-up here this morning.


Ah yes! I know I will complaining about the cold soon, and already I wish the days were not growing so short, but I am happy the worst of the heat and humidity is gone!

Martin Bednář

Finally some bearable temperatures!

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A couple of weeks ago I received a book in the mail from GMathis. There was a note that said that the setting was as important a character as the characters themselves.

Ummmmm…I may have to add that the food in the book is a character unto itself. Oh, the description of Paola’s garden, the cooking! Swoon!

On my first day, I made it to page 135 and found myself in a food frenzy. I made a loaf of fresh bread, sliced some of our garden tomatoes, made an herb butter, and sliced all the remaining Gruyere in the house and placed it on a slate. To go with it, a pot of this fresh pear tea.

This is a white tea base with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pear flavor. It tastes warm and cozy while staying on the light side. The later cups in the pot of tea are speckled with bits of cinnamon, so I told my husband who has a thing about dregs to keep his shirty on because they were delicious bits and not bitter bits. He was glad to hear it.

It is still blasted hot here, though we enjoyed two evenings that were a little cooler. This is my third tin of this tea and I am once again looking forward to having when real sweater weather hits.

As for the book, I desperately want a Paola in my life to love and mentor me but I am too old I suppose since the protagonist is in her twenties. I shall have to endeavor to BE a Paola for someone instead.


Your food sounds delicious!


It was tasty! We are still getting just a few last tomatoes from the garden, so lunch today will be BLT’s!
First, I must go dig up the stinkhorn mushrooms that are making sitting at the patio table rather unpleasant!


Stinkhorns are fascinating.

Martin Bednář

But unpleasant. I can imagine it is unpleasant having it near the patio :D


Derk: They really are fascinating! These smell a lot like a corn on the cob flavored Japanese candy my daughter bought. So imagine a gigantic pile of buttered corn on the cob, but overwhelming in aroma. And covered in flies! We took pics of the “eggs” and the mature mushrooms and they keep coming back. I have dug up at least 25. We have three new ones and several “eggs”.


I hate to tell you this, but I found you another author: Adriana Trigiani. A work friend and I have been eating hers up like candy. Big Italian family stories…and the food…and the settings…and the scenery…


My husband will be delighted because he will get lots of book inspired meals!

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I am 99.9% sure that this is one of the teas from White Antlers, so many thanks!

We went to Lidl last week, which is a huge deal for us. We buy very little and we seldom go but for some reason it is almost a date night. Lidl is new here, and we really love picking up some unusual little something to try. That something this time was frozen baklava.

Before you judge, let me just put it out there that years ago we could only get baklava once a year as far as I knew, when the Greek Orthodox Church in town holds their World’s Largest Spaghetti Dinner in November.

Then I found out that a restaurant nearby owned by one of the church members sells it – but they sell out fast. Every time I have had a baklava craving, I have heard the sad words, “We are sorry! Someone came in and bought the whole tray!”

So when I saw frozen baklava at Lidl I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.

But what tea to pair with it?

I have been eyeing this one, but was afraid I wouldn’t like it and it would ruin my baklava experience and almost had Da Hong Pao, but the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that the toasted sesame flavor would be great with the walnut baklava.

Because once again, the craving hit fast, there was no following those sissy instructions and letting the pastry thaw for two hours on the counter. Time’s a-wastin’, people! I popped it in the microwave on the very lowest setting for a few minutes, turned it around, and gave it another minute. It went really well.

As for the oolong, I gave it a quick rinse and then followed the instructions. (Unlike the baklava…) The first steep is brilliant gold and gleaming in my silver lined cup and smelled almost toasty smokey with a hint of burned crust, but tasted nutty and definitely sesame. It really did taste great with the baklava. Neither detracted from the other and the tea cut the sweetness of the pastry nicely. The second steep was creamy and nutty, smooth, and flavorful but not overpowering. The strong roasted aroma is turned down a bit and sesame rules now.

Third and fourth steeps are paler gold and still going great with the baklava. I am so glad I chose this instead of Da Hong Pao, which would have been good but I got to have a little tea adventure tonight!


OK, you’re making my stomach growl.

Martin Bednář

I tried Baklava from Lidl as well, but I wasn’t fan of it. Maybe I just need to try it with nice tea :)

And this tea… sounds interesting and nice!


The baklava from Lidl was just okay, but not great. It was not quite as flaky as fresh baklava and there was an odd but not horrible flavor…almost like it had absorbed some meat or savory flavor from another food? But then I thought perhaps it was just the flavor of that baklava after all. Thawing in the microwave worked fine, very low power for a few minutes until it was no longer cold. But yes, it isn’t as good as fresh!

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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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