2895 Tasting Notes

About a week ago I was weeding my blackberry bramble, & as I breathed in the aroma of the mulch under the berry canes, it reminded me of Shu: rich, earthy, musty, damp, wonderful. I have 3 Oak trees in my yard, & every year I pile all the leaves in a very large bin, where they are allowed to break down for 18 monthes. I have 2 such bins, for alternating years, & the resulting leaf mulch gets piled under berry bushes, mixed into garden soil, etc, along with compost from my compost piles.

I haven’t been drinking a lot of puerh lately. I have plenty (believe me…), & I love both Shu & Sheng. I guess I’ve just been busy. Also, I’ve been sampling a lot of teas, & because I like to do long gongfu sessions with Puerhs (and oolongs), I end up just drinking one tea all afternoon, instead of several samples. Also, I’ve been running around on errands &/or gardening a lot lately too, so not a lot of time to sit around pouring gongfu steepings.

So today is the day! Tony & I have been in pajama mode all afternoon, & I’ve been enjoying this generous sample sent to me from Angel @ TeaVivre. Thanks Angel :D

I have a gaiwan at Tony’s, but no scale, so I don’t really know how much tea I put in there, basically the whole sample. It was a beautiful sample: nice dark fragrant chunks of teacake, beautiful brown with golden highlights. I gave it a quick rinse, then started steeping.
1st round, all combined in a cup: 10 sec, 15, 20, 25
2nd round: 30, 40, 50, 60
3rd round: transferred all the leaf to a steeping basket & steeped in the cup for 3 minutes.
I may do another couple of rounds at 4 & 5 minutes.

The resulting brew was a beautiful dark chocolate brown, rich with an earthy grounding flavor, smooth & sweet, with a pleasant qi feeling, & a delightful tongue tingling sensation. A perfect way to spend the afternoon.

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I used to drink a lot of breakfast blends, & I still enjoy them. As much as I like straight varietals, with each of their special qualities, I also enjoy a blend that brings together the strengths of each tea. This blend combines the bold bassy strength & slightly bitter oakey edge of Khongea’s golden tippy, the malty fruitiness & more ‘middle’ flavor of Hattialli Golden Lion, & a little high end of Organic Ceylon. It is a nicely balanced blend, strong, bold, & smooth.
Thanks for the sample stacy, I’ll look forward to ordering some more sometime in the future, as a single sample is never enough!

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drank Assam #1 by thepuriTea
2895 tasting notes

First cup of the day, but I feel that I under-leafed this one, so I’m not gonna say much about it yet. Also, I haven’t drank my nettles for a few days & the downside of yesterday’s beautiful outdoor wedding is the allergy backlash that is muting my taste buds this morning. Nonetheless, I do feel a promising fullness & hints of a tea that is nicely bassy, if you know what I mean.
More will be revealed!

Additional Notes
We went to breakfast & I brought the rest of this sample along. I estimate it at 2 tsp, & it made for a nice cup. Nothing spectacular, but enjoyable. I’d like to say more about it, but that was hours ago, so that’s it for now.

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I actually started the day with a few steepings of Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam, which I love, & then I had a cup of this Fo Shou, which I also love. Then I drove to Godfrey, IL to play an outdoor wedding. It was a beautiful day for it, although there were some delays on my way over there, due to flooding in West Alton. The wedding was lovely, with the exception of the fact that it started an hour late.
Anyway, hours later, I’m back at Tony’s, finally enjoying the re-steeps of this tasty tea. There’s no place like home!


glad your day was so satisfying!


It should be really nice to have a job permitting you to share joy with people, I am jealous :)

Terri HarpLady

I was set up in a lovely gazebo, right next to a some beautiful & fragrant rose bush, so while I played that extra hour, I was rewarded with the heavenly fragrance of roses!


that sounds awesome!


now I am even more jealous ! :)

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drank Morning Sun by Mandala Tea
2895 tasting notes

This tea is beautiful to look upon, & brews into a rich & resinous cup of tea whose rustic flavor reminds me somewhat of masa harina & fire roasted green chili’s. Very savory, but also sweet in it’s own way. Tasty.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
2895 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea.
I think the name Black Beauty is appropriate, as this tea has that characteristic taste of those teas which have been bitten by the tea leaf hoppers & are given names like Oriental Beauty (an oolong). It is a mild coriander-like flavor in the background that seems to distinguish these kinds of teas, whether oolong or black (at least to my taste buds. Of course, I could be totally off base! LOL).

So this one reminds me strongly of Mi Xian Black, one of Butiki’s teas. It’s has a honeyed sweetness, a chocolatey thick mouthfeeling, & there is a little earthiness to it like a Keemun as well.
Very tasty, very smooth, really a lovely afternoon tea for me :)


This sounds like something I’d really like too!

Terri HarpLady

When we get around to swapping remind me to send you a sample!

Donna A

Sounds good. I like Mi Xian Black from Butiki a lot.

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Just finishing lunch after spending the morning at the courthouse with my daughter. This was our 2nd day in court over custody of her son, who’s father is a control freak & all around @$$#0!3. He has repeatedly tried to use their son to control my daughter & cause her pain, & today I think the judge & lawyers got a view of his true nature. Because of his antics we’ll have to go back AGAIN at the end of August, but today we did get some things ironed out, so that’s an improvement.

Needless to say, I’m behind on my tea drinking! I did have 2 cups of some black tea at the restaurant we went to near the courthouse for breakfast, & that was acceptable (can you tell I’m a grumpus today? LOL)
I also brought my thermal cup & sipped on Bilbo Brew until it was gone.

Now I’m having the last of the Russian Caravan that Sil sent to me on our first trade. It’s a pleasantly bold blend, & although I initially expected smoke, it is not a smokey tea. Thanks again Sil!


I am so sorry your daughter and her family is going through that. I wish it could just be sorted out rationally.

Dag Wedin

Hope it works out to the best for the child :/

Terri HarpLady

Thank you both, & my apologies to all for venting my frustration here. In spite of all of the ‘issues’, my daughter is determined to have joint custody & be fair, which is a good thing. The sad part is just that continues in trying to create difficulties & doesn’t want things to be fair. Today things came out well, in spite of his efforts to skew them towards his own control. He has issues, just like we all do, & old baggage that causes him to behave in this way. I’ll continue to ask the Universe to heal his injured spirit & help him to flow from love & light. I know he also loves his son, & that is the important thing. I’m sure once things are finally over with, it will all calm down.

The good news is my grandson is a happy, healthy, fun little 7 year old who just goes with the flow! For the summer his parents will have him on alternating weeks, & that will be nice for all.


I hope that all turns out for the best, for everyone involved


I’m glad to hear that things came out well. Let’s hope it’ll continue to head in a positive direction.

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drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
2895 tasting notes

This is a lovely earthy tea that is bold but smooth. There are no sharp edges to this tea: no super bright brass, no overly wine-like flavors. But that isn’t to say that this tea lacks texture or flavor, as there is a nice yunnan-type fullness, a rich slightly musky & malty taste that I happen to enjoy, & a pleasant sweetness.


Brass! :)
Still enjoy so much your musicality.

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Sil Sample Sipdown
This is a nice fruity evening tea, lightly tart but not tart enough to make me pucker. Drew & I added enough stevia to bring out the berry flavors, & it is tasty! Thanks Sil!


haha i should try this one eventually…

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This is the first tea I am sampling from the amazing box of black, oolong, puerh, etc that I got in my swap with Nofar.

I love Dian Hong teas. They are so rich & buttery, & this one is right on the mark. It bears a very strong resemblance to our beloved Golden Fleece, with nice thick leaves in shades of gold, olive, & caramel. The flavor is rich, from the rinse water all the way through the final steeping. Gentle, sweet, thick. What does Amber taste like? Sunlight? For awhile I get a sense of Bee Pollen. I love teas like this. The flavor of mushrooms sauteed in Mirin. The flavor of honeysuckle in a later steeping. And I keep steeping. This is what I needed.


Yay! So glad that you liked it. This is from a little tea shop in Portobello road market. They also have an online store, but the store itself is a little treasure.

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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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