3072 Tasting Notes

This is one of the Reserve TOMC teas from April. I drank from these leaves a few weeks ago, along with the other teas in this collection, but didn’t really get around to writing anything.
I enjoy this variety of tea, & have several in my collection from various sources, from the smokey brown sugar variety to TeaVivre’s highly fragrant version that smells like roses to me.
To me, Keemun teas have a nice rich middle flavor, but not so much of a bass or top note, which is probably why they get blended with other teas, such as Assam (very bassy). Anyway, I enjoy them.
So…I’ve been trying to decide what makes this one so special that it deserves a place in the ‘reserve’ club. It is very nice, but I’m still not sure. I’m lousy at comparing teas, just like I’m not an expert in visual arts, but if I see a painting that I love, I know I love it. If I taste a tea I love, same thing.
This tea appears as small black strands with red tinges.
The dry aroma is rich, earthy, sweet, with a hint of chocolate
The moist smell (heated in hot empty Gaiwan) = brown sugar & light smoke
Wet it smells of all those things, plus caramel apples & cream.
My formula: 4G + 4oz (quick rinse) X 3 sec

I wish I could say that I’ve been taking notes on every steeping, but I didn’t. I also didn’t write those things down last time. I don’t always know how to describe things, but I can say it tastes like Keemun! The smokiness is very refined, not an in your face kind of smoke. It’s a nice, earthy, caramelized brown sugar & apple. There’s also a light floral quality, & a sweet incense quality. And there’s chocolate. Of course, these are all subtle, & I have just enough of this to try it one more time. I plan on making the last cup in an regular cup with a longer steep time. Basically, I’ll brew it the way I brew my other Keemuns, to see how it comes out!


“To me, Keemun teas have a nice rich middle flavor, but not so much of a bass or top note, which is probably why they get blended with other teas, such as Assam (very bassy).”

Wow, this was such a clear and intriguing description, with the musical comparisons!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks! That’s how I tend to experience things, LOL, in reference to music. The funny thing is I often tend to experience music in reference to aromas, along with other perceptions. I tried to explain these perceptions once to my piano teacher when I was young, assuming she saw the same geometrics I saw while working on Bach, & she just looked at me like I was insane & told me those things Didn’t exist. Much later in life I found out about synesthesia, & that I’m not the only crazy person in the world! :D


Is it that you sense music in aromas, or that you sense aromas in music? Or both? Either way, that’s amazing, especially since you have other associative perceptions too.

I once read about prominent composers who wrote music in color, and since then the concept has always been intriguing, if a bit mythical. It’s much more real and striking now, hearing it from you instead of a documentary, haha! Thanks for sharing.


Thank you for this note terri, I would describe it as a «sensorial free style tasting» :-)
I really dig what you wrote and I liked the analogy about visual art. I «feel» more than I taste, see or ear most of the time. Some teas I like just cause the way they make me feel. I’ve noticed that most people with musical background have different ways of perception, it’s very interesting.

Terri HarpLady

Rie: When I’m playing, the vibrations of the harp especially create waves of sensations that I can literally breath in. It’s not necessarily floral or sweet, but like it’s own thing…how do you describe the aroma of happiness? or the taste of bliss? I know it sounds vague, because I guess it is, LOL. I also experience different things with different styles of music, different instruments, etc. Colors, geometrics, emotions, all kinds of things that are hard to describe & meaningful only to me. I don’t necessarily experience actual aromas as music, but aromas & flavors have alot of the same attributes as music/sound: High, low, sweet, dense, clear, pungent, complex…
TeaFairy: I love that! Sensorial free style tasting!! I think right brainers in general tend to have crossed wires where our perceptions are concerned. Then again, since everything that exists is really just vibrations anyway, it’s all interconnected anyway!


I see! Well, at least as close as I can know as someone who’s definitely not synesthetic in this way, haha! It must be quite a world through your senses. I hope you keep writing notes like this that share some of that with us. ‘u’- ♪

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
3072 tasting notes

Good morning!
I hadn’t drank any Laoshan black for awhile. I’ve been reading other people’s reviews of it & wanting a cup. Today is that day! I started off with 1T X 3min. Ahhh, it’s SO wonderful, so rich, so tasty!
2nd steep I added a minute. 3rd steep I moved the leaf to a smaller cup & went 5 minutes. I do that alot when I resteep teas. The combo of extra time & less water seems to help keep the tea from being to watery & boring. Yup, I still love this tea!

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Sil, this is the best flavored tea I’ve ever had! It’s really out of character for me to be drinking things like this, as I’ve been a straight out ‘tea’ person for the most part for quite some time.
Right now I don’t even care if it’s artificial flavorings, it’s really THAT good! I have no doubt that I will be placing a Della Terra order sometimes in the near future, because this is AWESOME! Sadly, this is also a sipdown :() “I want MOAR!!!”
Thank you Sil!


lol thanksfully della has a sale every minute heh i did warn you it was delicious. this is probably the only dessert tea that’s totally decadent that is just over the top for me. the cinnamon swirl bread i love even more, but that’s because it’s got more of a tea component to it. this is just like liquid cake haha

Terri HarpLady

Guess I’ll have try that one too :)


I’m drinking this right now too! Delicious. I’m with sil though. This tea is crazy good, but I can barely taste the tea. Cinnamon swirl bread still has a strong tea component. And it resteeps forever. It’s like the everlasting gobstopper of tea.


Haha! Everlasting gobstopper!!

Terri HarpLady

Nice! I definitely want to try that one too!

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I got this awhile back from the bulk aisle. As far as Assams go, it is robust & malty with a bit of a bite. Not anything like my beloved Tiger or #49, but definitely helped to revive me after an afternoon in the garden.

Speaking of which, it’s starting to look more like the garden I know & love & less like the wildlife grasslands (actually weedlands) that it was turning into. Today my son Drew & I did some terracing, which I’ve been planning on doing for years since my yard is a bit of a slope. We made the first terraced bed, which I promptly planted with lots & lots of carrots & a few other things. In the last couple of days I’ve planted turnips, radishes, lettuces, brussels, more peas, parnips, beets, leeks, more onions, etc. We’re eating asparagus daily, & today I picked some carrots, beets, & collards that over-wintered. I love my life!


Sounds yummy!


The garden, not the tea…. well the tea too. You know what I mean. sigh I need to sleep.


I’ve had this. It’s not a bad Cheapster Steepster Assam!


Eating asparagus daily = bliss!

Rachel J

I love that you love your life!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Rachel! Me too! :D

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Holy Red Zinger! This is some tart stuff!!
So I know most everybody on steepster dislikes Hibiscus. It’s been a long time since I drank anything with hibiscus in it, & they had it in the bulk section, so I figured, what the heck? I brewed up some, sweetened it with stevia, iced it down, & it is Tart! It’s like cranberry juice, which I actually like unsweetened (real cranberry, not the cocktail kind). Anyway, it’s not something I’ll drink often, but I’m gardening today (& yesterday & the day before, things are starting to take shape out there!), & I thought it might be refreshing. It is, but I think I need to dilute it more & add more ice. It’s pretty intense stuff!

My Friend Rashad

I love hibiscus. How could anyone dislike it?


Really funny, the other day I was out grocery shopping and they had some summer scented candles on display, creamsicle, pineapple…hibiscus.

I’m kind of bad with identifying certain notes in tea, since there’s no real context for some of that stuff for me. I’d never smelled hibiscus flowers before so when people rant about it I can kind of figure out which note it is by sniffing teas that it appears in, but I didn’t have that much of an idea. Anyhow. I jumped at the chance to sniff this candle, and it was like a cartoon lightbulb appeared over my head. I realized that I don’t hate hibiscus, but it sure is used in a lot of teas! I have one that came from a ToTM club my hubby signed me up for, haven’t reviewed it but it’s basically hibiscus and roses. I made it iced and it was good, but now I’m hyper aware of the intense hibiscus smell and taste.

It’s no exaggeration, this connection of smell and taste!!

Terri HarpLady

Definitely refreshing! I stuck the rest in the frig, & I’ll probably drink it tomorrow while gardening (or possibly doing housework/deskwork if it rains). I was thinking of making some popcycles with some of it (I made a pretty big batch).

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Another Sipdown!
This is my final sample of tea from my trade with threewhales, so thank you!
This is a mild earl grey that is actually kind of nice, now that I’m starting to enjoy ‘some’ earl greys. It’s not ‘in your face’ with the bergamot, & they actually use real oil, instead of artificial flavor, & I think that is the big thing that makes the difference for me with EGs.

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drank Joy by Tazo
3072 tasting notes

Thanks to threewhales, who I actually haven’t seen on here for awhile. This was part of our trade awhile back with the steepster book club. It’s an interesting blend of bold, tart, & a little floral in the there too. Not something I’ll buy, but not bad for a change of pace.

My only questions (not to anybody in particular) is why is this considered a seasonal blend, other than the name? I usually think of seasonal blends as having holiday-like spice flavorings, but this is just a straight mix of black, green & oolong.


Stash has a similar tea called Christmas Morning. No idea why. I kind of liked them both two years ago but nearly so much a year later. Fortunately, not all my cheaper teas have lost their appeal.


I loved Joy at first, but my more recent box wasn’t as user-friendly and was a little bitter, no matter what steep time/temp I attempted.

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It’s been awhile since I had a cup of this, & it is probably gonna be a sipdown next time I drink it, but not just yet…
Anyway, it was my bubble bath cup of the day, and although perhaps not remarkable, it was bold & a little more flavorful than I remember it being!

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drank Congou Keemun by Butiki Teas
3072 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster!
I’ve drank this tea before, but not as my first tea of the day. So I think maybe I was missing some of the nuances that this tea has to offer. It has an interesting taste that I can’t quite put my finger on:
There’s a floral, an earthiness, & definitely a fruitiness. It’s a little on the astringent side, but also has a little of that honey & coriander, as if bitten by leaf biters. I didn’t find it to be particularly malty, but it’s an interesting cup!

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OK, I didn’t really drink this today, LOL, but I gave one of the (many) free samples I have to a student, along with another sample of a tea I don’t really care about (& that one counts as a sipdown, because I only had a sample of it). So I started the day with 243 teas, & I’m ending it with 240. My goal is to get down to 200.


We can do it! Uh..incoming orders for me on Monday…..gah!

Terri HarpLady

I found myself watching for the postman today, & then I was like, “why? I’m not expecting any packages?”
There is an emptiness when you know that you have nothing coming…BUT in a week or 2 there will be the verdant TOMC :)


Lol yeah with my luck all my swaps will show up the same day instead of coming randomly on different days heh

Terri HarpLady

I actually once had a tea order & 2 swaps show up on the same day!

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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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