968 Tasting Notes


Harney & Sons came to the rescue once again, satisfying my post-lunch sencha cravings with this simple-to-prepare and tasty cup!

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This organic green tea from Thé Santé is a bit disappointing, relative to some of their other superlative sencha offerings.

I noticed right off that there were quite a few twigs mixed in with the dried leaves. Then when I infused the tea, I found that the liquor was more golden than green. The taste is not strictly “sencha”-like. To me, it seems more like a generic green, more baked than steamed. It could even be Chun Mee!

Interestingly enough, I was musing to myself while imbibing the first infusion of this pot that the brew seemed more like a medium-grade China green (possibly a blend of some sort), than a high-grade Japanese sencha. It simply lacked that je ne sais quoi of the senchas dear to me.

All of this I observed before reading at the website that, in fact, in contrast to the labeling on my packet, which states quite boldly that “Japan” is the country of origin, this is a China-sourced tea prepared à la Fuji Sencha from Japan! I cannot say that it is false advertising, because my purchase was based on the information at the website (I ordered quite a few packets simultaneously to meet the free shipping threshold), but I was looking forward to a pot of sencha this afternoon, and this packet does say that it is from Japan.

Disappointing, but I am at least vindicated in all of my observations. I did not first discover that this was a China-sourced tea and then interpret the brew negatively, laboring under the fairly pervasive anti-China prejudices which can be seen and read all around. No, I found myself surprised that a tea from Japan could seem so much like an average China green, and then learned a bit later that it was!

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
968 tasting notes

It was so nice to be able to have a cup of creamy vanilla-flavored black tea last night before retiring, thanks to Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro, which is happily decaffeinated. I brewed my sachet more strongly on this occasion, so the liquor was quite a bit darker than last time. I doused it with half and half before imbibing.

It’s pretty clear that, when all is said and sipped, I really prefer camellia sinensis to herbal infusions and foody concoctions (à la Teavana). I am swiftly sipping my way through an HT tin of these sachets and may next be buying this yummy bedtime tea in bulk! The tin is quite attractive, so I’ll use it to store the loose tea.

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Not at all what I was expecting! The color of Teavana Almond Plum Perfection certainly portends major hibiscus and rose hips lip-puckeringly tart infusion, but I guess that I was thinking that almond and plum (and perfection!) would play a bigger role.

To me, this is a strong hibiscus/rose hips lip-puckeringly tart infusion! Strangely, neither hibiscus nor rose hips are listed among the ingredients. Or are rose blossom leaves the same as rose hips?

I used a full ounce to brew this pot, so maybe that’s why it is lip-puckeringly tart. What is the explanation for the disappointing performance of almond and plum, I wonder?

Well, this is not very pleasant hot, but I’m going to put the rest in a jar in the fridge. It might taste better cold. On verra…

Boiling 8 min or more 0 OZ / 0 ML

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
968 tasting notes

It appears that I have become a cold weather recluse. I cannot bring myself to go out! Oh well, at least I have plenty of tea.

I ended up drinking three cups of Paris prepared with the filter bags this afternoon. Each one was good enough to propel me to the preparation of a follow-up cup. Now I’m thinking that I should switch to something else. Or will I brew a fourth cup???? I’ve definitely crossed a journey to Starbucks off my list. Perhaps tomorrow…

For today, I’ll hang out in Paris, Massachusetts.

Flavors: Vanilla


Another one of my favorite Harney & Sons teas! (not that I’ve tried too many lol)

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For today’s pot of Teavivre Huang Shan Mao Feng, I used a full tablespoon because of all of the space between the crispy and knotty leaves, rather like the roots of a huge tree which I encountered while digging a final resting place in my backyard for beloved HRH Emperor Oliver on September 16, 2013. But that’s another story.

This batch has the same cooked vegetable aftertaste—similar to severely overcooked green beans, and the liquor is more golden than green—veering even a bit toward brown. I’m not sure that adding more tea for the pot will help since I don’t like the scent of this tea that much either. There is a darkness here which matches well the idea of knotted tree roots in a forest.

I’ll try again.

Flavors: Green Beans

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I am now wondering about my obsession with Tazo Green Tips (full-leaf sachet format—as served at Starbucks), which is a blend of Mao Feng teas, so I am investigating single origin Mao Fengs. First up today is this Superfine High Mountain Mao Feng from Tealux.

Well, it’s good. Not quite as good as the Green Tips, and more golden than green, but the pale color of the liquor suggests that the sachet of Green Tips may contain a lot more tea than I used for today’s brew. I used a full tablespoon, because there is so much space between the wiry leaves of this dried tea, but I wonder whether I should weigh the tea instead?

I’ll surely try again, as I have a full ounce (minus one tablespoon…) to give this tea a full and fair evaluation.

second infusion: pretty good. golden yellow liquor, slightly fainter taste

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love the Palace Gardens tin and the chamomile smells and tastes swell.

Tonight’s only novel observation is that chamomile buds look like yellow microphone heads!

Flavors: Flowers

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drank Earl Grey Blanc by Tazo
968 tasting notes

Something about a fresh blanket of snow atop a block of ice atop an old crusty blanket of snow atop another block of ice makes me crave a big pot of Tazo Earl Grey Blanc!

And so that’s what I drank on this antarctically frigid but sunny afternoon! I made the brew stronger than usual because I needed a real burst of caffeine, plus I now have half and half—not light cream—on hand, and I did not want the creaminess to be compromised.

It was delightful, and now I am bursting with energy and optimism. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll venture out of my house for the first time in three days!

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 30 OZ / 887 ML

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In today’s steep-off chez sherapop, I have confirmed the “superfine” quality of this Dragon Well Long Jing from Teavivre. The liquor is a pale green, the texture smooth and silken, and the flavor addictive!

I love it!

second infusion: just as good as the first infusion of other, lesser Long Jings…

third infusion: still flavorful and satisfying. I examined the spent leaves and discovered that there are very few twigs…

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):



Somerville, Massachusetts, USA



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