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2498 Tasting Notes

Most of my day was spent working in my office, & I’m please to say my tall file cabinet is done! It feels so good to have finished that project. My recycling bin is overflowing!
Initially while I was working I was drinking gongfu sessions of:
Mengku Pure Old Tree Golden Buds Black (2012) from JK Tea Shop. CharlotteZero shared some with me, & although I don’t really have much to say, it’s because I was busy. But it did bring me joy while I worked, & I love the caramel color of the leaves, which are dense & sturdy, & the tea was delicious. I’m sharing it here because I couldn’t find it on JK’s page, & it is a sipdown.

Next up was this Shu, sent to me from Spencer. I usually give shu’s one rinse, & then taste them. If I don’t care for the first pour, I’ll dump it (that counts as a 2nd rinse).
After the first rinse I can only describe what was in my cup as cream of mushroom soup. It had a strong mushroom taste, & also a buttery taste. I took a few sips, & that had to go.
Next cup: A slightly less pronounce cream of mushroom soup with buttered hominy. Yes, it had a very strong hominy taste. I like hominy, although I no longer eat it, but I don’t really want my tea to taste like that.
Next? This is a rich cup, still with the buttery hominy (think grits), but also a deep taste of leather, woods (cedar?), a growing boldness, mushroom, umami almost like a meaty broth.
I feel the beginning of a camphor type sensation as well.
Sipdown! (322)


Yay for file cabinet organization. My totally organized moments are few and far between these days, but man, do they feel good!

Terri HarpLady

They do! You know, I’ve been complaining lately that no matter how much I accomplish, I always feel like I didn’t accomplish enough each day. I don’t feel that way today. It feels so good to have gotten this done!

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I’ve now gone through 3 out of 4 drawers! I have all of my tax returns in one file folder together, from 2000 to 2012! I’m talking about the 1040, plus schedules A & C. The rest of the various pages, receipts, 1099s, etc are stored in shelves elsewhere.
So drawer #1 contains all of my personal stuff: tax returns, everybody’s birth cert, etc, plus my monthly Tea Collection print outs, with all my comments, markings, etc., LOL. Do I really need to keep those? NO! But for some dumb reason I have a year’s worth of them, plus a few tea journals. I’m whack! Someday my kids/grandkids will have fun looking through my junk…or maybe just pitch it all? :)

While I’ve been working on that drawer, I drank a pot of this tasty tea, & I have to admit, I’m feeling it. I’m not the sleepy grump I was earlier. Physically I’m still tired, but I’m feeling motivated, energized, & inspired to get this job done.


Sounds like you’re making good progress on the organization! :)


I spread out all over the floor yesterday and sorted this years tax stuff. With all that went on last year it is a daunting task. Now to boil it down and actually figure out the taxes. I always put all of each year into a big manila envelope. This year it may take two. My wife sold doll clothes at craft shows a couple times and that is even more piles to be sorted. Unlike you I am not feeling inspired to get it done yet.

Robert Godden

Good tea makes everything better.

Terri HarpLady

Robert: True!
Caile: It’s coming along! I feel pretty good about everything I did today. If I only would work like this for an hour a day mon – fri, I’d be SO much more together.
KS – ughghg, taxes. I’ve never had a real job, so I have gotten pretty good at keeping everything. Once I got those 4 drawers organized (& they look great!), I figured, what the heck, why not do a little tax-work too. So I went through all of my contracts, 10-99s, W-2s, etc. I have a worksheet I made up years ago, specific to my business, & step one for me is filling it all in. Then I’ll transfer it to turbotax & hope for the best! I need to get my taxes done next week, so both of my sons can turn in the FAFSA.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
2498 tasting notes

Ironically, & purely by coincidence (although there are no coincidences), I drank this one the last time I woke up ridiculously early. Anyway, this one is, without a doubt, my favorite black tea from Garret! It is absolutely delicious, & deliciously complex, with a rich sweet dark chocolate quality that so many of us love.


Agreed! Just dug this one out this morning too after a bit of a night out. It brought me back from the dead.


I am so happy that you enjoy this tea. I attempt to turn many people on to it here at the shop. We now have a few coffeehouses/tea shops that we source to and they are doing very well with it. It’s a winner. Different and wonderful. Thanks for writing your thoughts about it!!


The flavor profile on this tea sounds like a breakfast by itself!

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I’ve been awake since 4am (-_-)
I laid there for awhile, & then said “#~@% it” & got up.
I cleaned up the kitchen, made homemade turkey maple sausage patties & almond flour pancake, & I drank a cup of this while working, & another cup while eating.
Usually I wake up around 7 or so & spend an hour or more alone in my bedroom, writing, stretching, & (in Tony’s words) being cosmic.

Now I feel like I could go back to sleep, but I’m gonna try to get some things done. I pretty much have the day to do as I please, & what would please me more than anything right now is to actually get my office clean & organized, for real this time. Yesterday I started going through my file cabinets, & 1 of 8 drawers is basically empty. The only thing in there worth keeping was the file that contains copies of everyone’s birthday certificates, passports, etc. Only 7 drawers to go, & I need teas like this one to fuel my efforts. :)


Your morning routine sounds so zen and relaxing.

Terri HarpLady

It is required in order for me to function well, if you know what I mean :)


yay! almost organised!

Terri HarpLady

It’s coming a long! After I finish the drawers, there are tons of boxes of junk to go through, that all ended up being piled in my office: sheet music, old papers, small office equipment that is now obsolete (like the adding machine from 1989. I usually bust it out to do my taxes, but now I just use my computer), even more obsolete things like floppy discs, etc. All of these things got moved to a corner of my bedroon (attic – 3rd floor), where they are being conveniently ignored. Out of sight is out of mind, right? Not really, when I have to look at them every morning while I’m doing all my cosmic stuff…sigh…soon, I will deal with them soon, but Just for today, it’s the file cabinets, cuz I have to start somewhere, & I think re-doing my file system is the highest priority. Plus Ms Theresa is in “Queen of the Office” mode, & she’s really on a roll today!

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I spent the late afternoon & early evening drinking a tea from Sil. It’s one of the teas Verdant sent out as a ‘reserve’ tea in their rewards program.
Xuejiao Longcai 2010 Sheng
4G + 4oz yixing (rinse) 10sec/20/30/etc on & on…
This started our pretty mellow, with a mild citrus & chalk taste. The wet leaf on the other hand had a very vibrant herbaceous sinus tingling aroma, perhaps eucalyptus & tangerine.
Throughout the steeps, the tea energy built quickly, I could feel it moving through my lymph glands. The tea became a beautiful amber color, lightly sweet with a slight bitterness. Over time it developed a cashew milk taste, mineral chalky taste, and lime, but here I’m talking about limestone, not limes (the fruit).
I would say overall that although there were some citrus elements to this tea, I would consider it to be a alkaline brew. It had a ‘matte’ quality, in the way that paint can have a matte finish. I know that probably doesn’t make sense to normal people, but that’s my experience. And it’s a sipdown (324)

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I served a pot of this with lunch to my daughter Ari & a friend of her’s. It’s tangy, & today I’m tasting a certain woodiness. Nice with lunch.

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I suddenly found myself in the mood for a chai.
I’d like to publicly thank the Devotea for setting me straight on chai making.
I poured some vanilla almond milk into a pot, turned in on low, added probably way more tea than would be recommended (basically, the rest of the contents of the envelope), & just let it sit there for awhile, checking to stir occasionally. You can disregard any lame reviews I’ve written about this chai in the past, because what I’m drinking now is f*@}!&g awesome!
And it’s a sipdown…uh…326, I think.


So what is the “correct” way to make chai? I was always told to make it with water and add about 2 oz of milk to a 10oz of strongly brewed tea….


now you’re making me want to pick up a sample of this to try it again terri…

Terri HarpLady

I put 16 oz of vanilla almond milk in a pan on low, added a bunch of chai (like 4T, LOL), & just left it there for about 30 minute, stirring occasionally. Near the end I raised the heat a little until it was nice & hot, but not boiling. The only problem with using almond milk (or possibly other milks) is you can’t pour it through a finnum, it takes too long. I have a looser strainer that I poured it through instead, but it filtered it good enough.

Terri HarpLady

Oh, & maybe add some sweetener at the end.

Now part of me wants to try using this method with campfire blend & also laoshan chocolate genmaicha…just to see how they come out…

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I’ve reviewed this one a ton of times, so I’ll just acknowledge that I drank multiple steepings of it this morning already. It is a more savory cup, very enjoyable to me. I also drank a few resteeps of the Shu I was drinking last night.The sun is shining. It is a good day!

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I was gonna drink a Shu Puerh, but then I saw this peeking out of the teas sent to me by CharlotteZero, & it was time!
5G + 4oz X (rinse)15/30/45sec etc…I’m on the 5th steep, & enjoying every steep. Sweet, like a slice of honey wheat toast.
Thanks Charlotte!

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I’d like to thank Tea Explorer for sending me a generous sample of this one!!
6G + 4oz yixing (rinse) X 15sec/30sec…etc….

I started sipping on this hours ago, & am still enjoying it. This is one of those rich & deep Shu’s that remind me of Boston Brown bread. I’ve never ordered to from Berylleb, yet…


Good seller.

Terri HarpLady

I know! I keep reading your posts, & a few others, & I just need people to go buy more of my CDs from my webpage, so I’ll have more money in my Paypal account to spend! :)

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I’m so excited to have found this community! I’m a self-employed Harpist (acoustic & electric – Originals, Classical, Rock, Jazz, etc) & Singer/Songwriter. My days & nights revolve around teaching at home, playing gigs, gardening,& fixing awesome food to eat. My schedule is different everyday, but I just go with the flow, & I sip a lot of tea!

My love of Tea began with Herbals back in the 70’s. One of my favorites was a licorice blend from House of Hezekiah, an old tea shop in Kansas City. There was also a tea with mint, rose petals, chamomile, etc called Nuclear Casual Tea.
In the 80’s I gave up caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, (& a few illicit substances…), and brewed medicinal blends & tinctures to support 4 pregnancies (all children born at home). In the 90’s my love affair with green teas began when I discovered ‘The Republic of Tea’. Their beautiful teas & packaging inspired my original song, “TeaMind”, from my CD “Zen Breakfast”. If you’d like to hear the song for free, drop by my website.

In general, I drink my teas straight, but occasionally I add a pinch of Stevia & maybe some coconut or almond milk (I’m allergic to dairy, gluten, & various other things & avoid most sweets.)

I’ve explored a variety of teas:
Whites tend to be a little bland…sorry
Oolongs – wonderfully sensual
Roobios – I’m not a fan in general
Puehr – a fairly new direction for me
I’m not a huge fan of flavored teas, but I do make exceptions, & I’ll try just about anything once.

And Black Tea, Oh how I love thee!!
I am on a quest for the most wonderful breakfast cup! I will find you, my Love!


St. Louis, MO



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