813 Tasting Notes

I had a really nice session with this last night. The sweet date/raisin notes are nice, and the Shou is smooth. I got more sweetness from smelling the lid of my gaiwan! I really like this one, but the cake is so tightly compressed, it’s intimidating. I broke more off than I needed last night just so I wouldn’t have to next time. It was kind of therapeutic, ha!

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Now that I finally like lapsang, I thought I’d try Teavivre’s version and so I ordered a sample in my last order. I’ve only had lapsang brewed western before, but I love gong fu, so I went for it. This one is much more mild than the other 100% lapsang tea I had. The smoke is smooth and mild and sweet. Very good quality, but I wanted more depth and complexity. I think I’ll have to try this one brewed western to see if a long steep brings out the depth I was seeking. Overall it’s nice, but I wanted something more punchy!

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
813 tasting notes

I was visiting my parents yesterday and my mom had recently ordered some teas from H&S, including this one. Although I’ve had it before, I wanted to try it again gong fu style, since it’s a mix of Chinese teas. Also, before, I noticed a smoky note, which I now enjoy, most likely from the keemun in the blend.

I brewed it up this morning. There are some notes of cocoa, smoke, and maybe a bit of fruit, but they are really subtle. I think this one is better suited to western to really bring out the flavor. Oh well, it was fun to try!

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This is my first Dan Cong! Woo! I almost bought some at DavidsTea, but I’m glad I didn’t, because this is much better quality. The color of this tea is a strikingly gorgeous honey amber. I got several infusions out of it, with each one getting slightly sweeter.

There is a nice roasty note, but it’s not as pronounced as the Da Hong Pao I had the other day. The flavor reminds me a lot of pomegranate…a little tart and a little sweet. Interesting! I don’t think I’ve ever tasted that note in a tea. Overall, I liked it, but I think I might like the Da Hong Pao a bit more. :)


Do you like Teavivre’s DHP ? if yes, can i send you a package, please ?!


I do like it, but not as good as Nannuoshan’s. Are you trying to give away tea? ;)


yes, its not for me , bought a package last summer. DHP getting better with age, it shouldnt be fresh fresh.


I’m willing to take some off your hands. :)


Yay shoot me your address again here.


Okay, will send you PM!

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drank Early Bird by Tippy's Tea
813 tasting notes

Sipdown! Goodbye Early Bird. You had nice cocoa notes and were a fabulous introduction to lapsang, but now I want the strong stuff! ;)

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When I got this in the mail I couldn’t wait to bust it open! Er, I mean, carefully separate the leaves. ;)

The information card notes that this tea is better in the next 12 months rather than aged…which is weird, but okay, I wanna have it now anyway!

The leaf smelled smoky, the kind of grilled smoke I remember from January’s offering, which I loved! The tea tastes like that too, but with sweet vegetal notes. In later infusions, I noticed a nice lemon note. Overall, I liked it. Maybe not as much as the Jinuo or Naka, but it’s decent. Have I mentioned I really love this club?


I think this is another club I may join soon.


You totally should, mrmopar! It would be interesting to hear what you think of their offerings.

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When TeaVivre posted this on Instagram, I knew I had to have it. It’s just so unique! And at the time, I don’t think I even had 1 traditional gaiwan. I have one now, along with a couple of what I’d consider “easy” gaiwans. I really love brewing things gong fu style now! This is really like an in-cup infuser/gaiwan/serving pitcher. I really like the serving pitcher part, as I still don’t own one…I’ve been using a small Pyrex measuring cup for that (lame, huh?).

Anyway, this came in the mail today, so I tried it out with the Da Hong Pao sample I ordered.

The overall quality is pretty good. One thing that bothers me about one of my easy gaiwans is that the holes look unfinished and have sharp points on the inside. This one has an infuser with both holes and a fine mesh metal strainer inserted inside and the holes look nice and finished. The fine mesh strainer will be nice to catch sediment or little pieces of leaf. I found three scratches on the glass pitcher portion, which worry me a bit regarding its integrity…hopefully they won’t be a problem. The pitcher and infuser portions don’t sit as securely in the base as I expected, but it’s not terrible. I found the lid can double as place to measure out your leaf. ;)

Since you can sit the infuser in the base while you pour from the pitcher into your cup, people used to traditional gaiwans may find themselves almost pouring the water for the next steep into the infuser without putting the infuser back in the pitcher….I almost did this! That would not be wise!

Also, it’s important to watch the water level in the pitcher when pouring into the gaiwan, rather than the water level inside the infuser, as you may overfill and cause a spill. Not a problem if you’re using a gong fu tea tray, but otherwise it would be. Also, overfilling will make the top of the pitcher hotter, making it more difficult to handle/pour.

I know some folks like to agitate the leaves with the lid while brewing, but you can’t really do that with this one, as the water level in the infuser is lower than in a traditional gaiwan, and the infuser is not as wide.

I like the portability of this, as you don’t need a separate pitcher. I also really enjoy watching the color of the liquor change as it steeps, which could also be a very useful indicator of how long to brew it. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and expect to use it often!


Sweet, I was curious about this!


I use a pyrex measuring cup sometimes too. :)


caile -high fives!! ;)


i use Pyrex too when im in my summer place


boychik – I guess I’m not alone! :)

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This is the second Da Hong Pao I’ve had. I thought I’d order a sample in my last Teavivre order and see what they have to offer. Teavivre teas are usually good quality, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This tea is roasty, with a delicious sugarcane sweetness. Yum! It’s smooth, warming and cozy. I didn’t get much of a fruity note, like I did in the other Da Hong Pao I tried, but it was still nice, maybe just a little less complex.

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drank Peach Melba by Lupicia
813 tasting notes

I’ve been meaning to try this tea, as I am generally a fan of Lupicia’s rooibos blends, and Ta Da! It was in this month’s newsletter! Score!

It tastes very mildly of peach and vanilla. Very smooth. Overall, I like piccolo and jardin sauvage better, but I wouldn’t turn it down, if offered. :)

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I am enjoying a long session with this tea this morning and noticing some very nice honey notes in later infusions. Yummy for Saturday morning.

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Another profile facelift! My tastes have changed a lot from when I first discovered loose leaf tea.

I can trace my tea journey back to October 2012, when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed high tea at An Afternoon to Remember, which has since closed.

I went through a period of wanting to try all the teas, and was really into flavored teas, especially dessert blacks, but my tastes have substantially changed over time.

I still enjoy the occasional flavored black or rooibos, but I’m more into unflavored black teas right now and recently, puerh. Chinese black teas are amazing…with their notes of chocolate or sweet potato, who needs a flavored tea? I had a much steeper learning curve when it came to puerh. I used to dump out cups of puerh for tasting like leather. Now, I am really enjoying them. I think it took finding good quality puerh and steeping them gong fu style to really enjoy them.

I also, on occasion, enjoy a good oolong, white, or green tea.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Mandala, Teavivre, Butiki, Golden Moon, Lupicia, and DavidsTea (for teaware mostly).

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)


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