2900 Tasting Notes

This is like drinking Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, but with a slight hint of banana. I enjoyed mine with Stevia. Tasty!

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I had students today from 10:30am until 6:00, with only 1 hour break at lunch time. I actually still have one more student at 7:00. I’ve been sipping this Sheng all day. I’m still fairly new to Shengs.

The dry aroma is rich with minerals, and a tickley salt sensation in my sinuses, and I love the way it looks! That pressed & dried cake look really appeals to me.

The first round of steepings started with 4 oz of tea with a quick rinse & 4-second steepings. I steeped 4 quick rounds in my Gaiwan, pouring them into 4 cups, all lined up in a row, and savored them, from right to left. Savory, smooth, even a little sweet, each cup just a little more potent, the taste reminded me of fresh hay. I did another round at 10-seconds each, & those were tasty too! Next I poured the leaf into a strainer and dropped it into my 8 oz cup for a 3 minutes steeping. I also had a 5 minute steeped cup.

I’ve enjoyed every drop, and although I’m not really giving much description here, it’s more because I’m still developing a context for the tastes & sensations I’m experiencing. I don’t want to just repeat what others have said, or use the product description page to come up with my description. I have enough to try it several times!

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First, I want to say that the Tuochas don’t look like the picture. I didn’t see a flower, or even a flower petal on it. I even unwrapped another one, just to see if it had one, and it didn’t.

Otherwise, it was ok. Basically, green tea with a slight alfalfa taste, no real jasmine flavor, at least not that I noticed.

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I’ve been working my way through all of my breakfast teas (there are SO many!),in a rotation of sorts, starting each day with one I haven’t had for awhile. It’s kind of silly, I guess, but my black tea shelf looks kind of like a slow-mo game of red rover: All the tea canisters started on the right side, & each day I choose one, drink it, and move it to the left. That way nobody gets left out!

Today I’m having the Imperial Breakfast. This is a tasty blend of all the flavors I love: chocolate, malt, caramel, pastry. It’s very smooth and has a really nice depth to it, & yet it also has a bright sunny ambiance, perfect for the morning.

This tea is out of stock on the Verdant page, and I’m getting low in stock myself. I’ve assumed that David is going to make an Imperial Breakfast Winter Blend, since Summer is long over, and I’m sure it would be interesting and awesome, & I’ll gratefully buy it!
However, if he makes more Summer blend, that will be ok too!


I’m way too loosey-goosey to be that organized, but it’s a great system!

Invader Zim

Red Rover Red Rover send Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend Over! lol

Terri HarpLady

It’s not as organized as it sounds, LOL. And of course, I always start by drinking all my favorites, and then there’s the ‘other’ black teas…usually I just skip back to my favorites again…LOL


I love your system! I enjoy my “close your eyes and point” tea selection method, but it does mean that teas get left out, because eventually I get a feel for where my favourites are and subconsciously point in that general direction. =) If I just Red Rover them, everybody will get to play. Thank you! :D

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Nik! I use similar systems throughout my life, to get things done and keep them ‘random’ (& to avoid having to make decisions). For instance, I have my yoga practice narrowed down to 8 Asana series (plus warm up, sun salute, and closing stuff). I don’t have time to do all of them every day, so they are in a 2 week rotation, with 8 3×5 cards that I colored and decorated, one for each series, plus a few Quigong cards (the wild cards). In the morning I shuffle and choose one. That’s my practice for the day. Once a card is used, it gets set aside until I start over 2 weeks later. I get the weekends off.

Terri HarpLady

Here’s another one, LOL: I have a bunch of those round bingo chips in a bowl near my harp. If I don’t have anything specific that I need to practice for, I reach in and grab one. It might say, “Debussy” on it, in which case I pull out all of my Debussy pieces and run through them. It can be a composers name, a style, the name of a tune, etc. Tuesday I drew, “Originals” so I ran through all of my originals, which is good because I sometimes forget the words to my own songs. Today it was “New Song”, & I have song lyrics I wrote that need to be arranged into a performable piece (“Cool Breeze Blow” is the title), so I worked on that. I’m still adding new things to the bowl, and once I’ve played one, it goes into a basket until I’ve made it through them all. Organizing these systems is the most Left Brained I get!


That’s a pretty impressive left-right balance, I’d say. =)

Terri HarpLady

I have crazy random bouts of Left brain activity, that usually results in some kind of organizing (sorry to say, many of my systems are short lived, but I keep trying). The rest of the time is Terri’s Airy Fairie World (that’s what I’m thinking of naming my Blog, if I ever do one…)


Sounds like the left is competent enough to organise life so that the right can do what it needs to do without stress and interference. Sounds perfect to me. =) Terri’s Airy Fairie World—do it! =)

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I would like to buy a large amount of this Shu, so that I can drink it for years. It is sweet, it is yummy. It is also featured in Sichuan Caravan, which is probably my favorite tea blend EVER! I should also order a ridiculously large amount of that, I suppose. :D

So…I haven’t written on my NaNoWriMo project for the last 2 days, & quite honestly got very little done over the weekend. I had planned on writing all morning, but Tony showed up, & I ended up fixing him breakfast & hanging out instead. Then the afternoon gig, errands, dinner, & now it’s almost 7pm & I’m drinking multiple steepings of this, and psyching myself up for some serious writing!

When I use my Gaiwan (4oz – 5 oz tea – 4 sec), I tend to steep 4 cups back to back (while the water’s hot), and the first 4 went down so quickly, they were just that good. Sweet buttery vanilla pastry.

I’m drinking the next 4 now: 2 at 10 sec, and 2 at 20 sec.

The 3rd steeping is also in process: I moved the tea to a steeping basket, dropped that into my 12 oz glass pot, & left it 5 minutes.

I think that will be enough tea for the night…lets see…4 oz x 8, that’s 32 oz, plus 12…that will be 44 oz of tea…good thing I’m gonna be up writing for awhile!

Terri HarpLady

oh, one more thing before I start typing like crazy. I love the way this looks dry. It reminds me of those dry salt plums you can get at the asian store. My friends & I use to suck on those when we were kids.


I wish I wasn’t allergic to the Sichuan Caravan ingredients. I like the new Herbal blend though because I take some of these Yanxin nuggets and some Laoshan black and mix them in sort of like the style of Summer Imperial Breakfast Blend.

Terri HarpLady

I still haven’t tried that, but I have all the ingredients here to do so :D

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I thought it would be nice to follow the TeaVivre Chrysanthemum Puerh with this Xingyang Chrysanthemum Pu’er. I’m not actually going to attempt to compare the two teas, I’m just enjoying each for what they offer.

I’ve already written a pretty extensive review on this one a few weeks ago, & I love it’s earthiness, sweetness, a mild spice. I noticed that David made another Chrysanthemum Pu’er blend last year (or some previous winter), that had orange peel & some other things in it. I think I really would have liked that one too, and I really wish I could have tried it (so if anyone still has some of it lying around…hint hint hint…).

I have to leave in 15 minutes for the monthly tea party gig I play at a nursing home, and now that I’m thinking of it, I probably shouldn’t have drank so many cups of tea…ay yay yay! ;)

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I’m a little behind on my tea sampling, at least in my opinion. Of course, in my opinion I’m behind on everything (ask my sis Ms Whatsit, who just listened to me whine for 20 minutes about trying to get things done…)

So, this is from a sample from Angel & TeaVivre, and I’d like to say, “Thank You” to them for the lovely teas that I’ve enjoyed so far.

I have a bit of a love affair going with Puerh Tuochas right now. I’ve been told somewhere along the line that Tuochas are made from the lesser quality Puerh, but if that is the case, and I doubt that it’s the case for all of them, then I don’t really care. Tuochas are cute, they are aesthetically pleasing, they are convenient, and they say, “Drink me”. So I do. Yes, some are better than others.

This Tuocha is especially attractive, with it’s Chrysanthemum flower ornament. It doesn’t lend a lot of chrysanthemum flavor, but that’s ok, because the Puerh itself is a tasty one. Deep & dark, with a mellow & slightly sweet woodsy flavor, & a buttery sensation. I steeped the first 8 oz cup for 2 minutes, & the 2nd cup for 3. Both are delicious & smooth, with NO fishiness or saltiness, just a pleasant minerally brew. I wouldn’t mind a little more intensity, and since there is another Tuocha in the sample, I will brew that one at a later date in my Gaiwan.


“…they say ‘Drink me.’ So I do.” lol. Love!

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This is a continuation of my so called Tea Trials, LOL.

Now I’m sipping on steeps 6 & 7, and they are both lovely.
One of the things I love about both of these Tieguanyins (Summer & Autumn) is the way they look: Dry, they look very similar to one another, amazingly green nuggets with a heavenly smell of fields of flowers and sweet greens. Once I start steeping them, each nugget opens out into a full leaf. The transformation is amazing, they just keep getting bigger with each steeping, until they are overflowing from the Gaiwan!

The Autumn Tea’s color is a little greener, & after adding water its especially brilliant, and I swear, as it steeped, the leaves it took on an iridescent green that was otherworldly in color. The leaves of the Autumn tea are definitely greener and sturdier looking as well.

Both teas smelled like Heaven, with the Autumn having a slightly greener essence. Both had a floral taste & aroma, but the Autumn leans heavily (& heavenly) to the Orchid scent, which I confess, I love! I think the summer was a little more astringent.

I loved both! I admit, I preferred the Autumn slightly.

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I thought I’d try doing my own Tea Trials. Why? Because ever since I was sick (a month or so ago), it seems like my taste buds are a little out of sync. It’s not that I can’t taste things, it’s just that I’m having some trouble defining what I’m tasting. I’ll taste something, and it’s familiar, but I can’t quite pinpoint it. So, with that in mind, I though comparing some teas might help.

Naturally, with my tendency to go overboard, I set out a lineup of every oolong I had in stock: 10 in total, LOL! I told my sister, Ms Whatzit, of my plan, and she laughed & suggested I narrow it down. So I did. I steeped side by side steepings of Verdant’s Hand Picked Summer Tieguanyin & their Hand picked Autumn one too.

After 3 steepings of both, I realized that although I can taste differences, describing those differences may not be as easy as I thought!

So, regarding this lovely Summer Tea (which I’ve probably reviewed before), closing my eyes I taste the yellow flowers of summer. It is a very yellow green in color, with a floral taste & definitely has an after taste of almond! I’m on cup 7 now (4 oz cups), and it’s a mouth watering cup, with buttery notes, but throat drying at the same time.
I’ll come back to it later, as it can be resteeped 18 times (although I confess, I rarely make it that far).


I am going to have to Google oolong preparation. I don’t understand the methodology behind multiple steeps. I mean, I’ve re-steeped leaves before, but that’s different: I have a variable-temperature kettle, and I have my teacup. I heat water, stick the infuser in the teacup, steep for X amount of time and drink my tea. To re-steep, I simply repeat the process. But this business of multiple, 30-second steeps (up to 18!), I just don’t get it. I imagine having to keep heating fresh water in the kettle and just standing there as I drink all this tea. That doesn’t sound very relaxing. If not, doesn’t the water get cold? I have a couple of oolongs in my stash, I think, and have held off on drinking them because I feel like I can’t prepare them “properly.” I’ve been patiently reading all these tasting notes about oolongs and pu-erhs and other leaves that lend themselves well to several infusions, but now I’m starting to feel the itch to try it myself. =)

Terri HarpLady

LOL & LOL some more, Nik! Up until I joined Steepster, everything got brewed for 3 minutes (or a little more or less, if there were suggested brewing times). Then I started reading other people’s Tealogs, & visited the Verdant website. I think my first or 2nd posting here starts with “I need a Gaiwan…”.

I still steep most teas for 3 or 4 minutes, but I figure if I’m paying for these really high quality teas, I should follow their suggestions, at least once. I usually do the multiple short steepings on days when I’m sitting around teaching all day, because I can slip into the kitchen while a student is warming up, heat my water, do 4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back, & now I have 4 little mini cups of tea to sip throughout that student’s lesson, sometimes offering a cup to the student. When that lesson ends I steep another round. Spread out over a few hours it can be nice, & of course, it’s interesting to see how the tea develops from one steep to another. It also might keep me from ingesting cup after cup of caffeine, as I’m thinking that the caffeine level drops after the first steep or 2, but you usually start out with more tea to begin with, so I guess that’s a moot point, right?

On the other hand, sometimes I just don’t feel like drinking that many cups of the same thing, regardless of the mild nuances! I often drink 4 mini-cups, then drink something else for awhile, returning to the gaiwan later (or sometimes the next day…as long as the damp leaves still smell good).

Is there a reason for all this madness? :D
Personally, I thing it’s ‘novelty’, just another way to do things, an experiment. However, when it comes to green teas, & their tendency towards astringency & bitterness, I think maybe short steeps help to avoid that, or at least you can dump out the mini-cup or 2 that hold most of the tannins (seems like it’s usually cup 3 or 4, & then it’s gone). I’ve also been experimenting with comparing the ‘gongfu’ method vs the ‘American’ method with the same tea, to see which way I prefer. Mostly it just depends on my mood, and the amount of time I have to kill.

Right now my kitchen counter looks like some mad scientist’s experimental lab. I have the Gaiwan with the Shui Xian leaves in it, my little koolaid 12 oz pitcher with the 2nd brewing of Puerh Poe (which I haven’t commented on yet), a cup of Wanja tea that I’m almost finished with, a variety of steeping baskets sitting everywhere, & various little plates, spoons, etc.


Thanks for taking the time to write that, Terri! See, it’s statements like “…4 4-oz steepings real quick back to back…” that confuse me. Do you have something keeping these cups warm as you sip them throughout the lesson, or do you just not mind cold tea? It’s about 58F or so in the house right now, and it’s only November. My tea cools within moments, so I’m quick to gulp it down as quickly as I can. This isn’t very relaxing or enjoyable, which is why I love my mugs that keep my tea warm for over 12 hours, but they’re too big for in-house tea tastings. So I’m trying to find something much smaller that’ll serve a similar purpose, because a normal teacup just isn’t working out.

I searched the Verdant Tea web site for helpful information and did find the “no-frills gongfu” post (http://verdanttea.com/wang-yanxin-style-no-frills-gongfu/), but that didn’t seem to be what I should have been looking for. Bah. All this is doing my head in!

Terri HarpLady

honestly, the 4 cups of tea get sipped pretty quickly!

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I haven’t been on Steepster most of this week. Our modem died, so we were without internet all week, which was really a drag. It was a fairly new modem, so we got a free replacement, but it took days to arrive. How spoiled we are!

Of course, I’ve been drinking tea like a freak all week anyway, just didn’t document any of it, & it was mostly teas I’ve already reviewed.
Today I’m finally getting around to sampling this shu, which looked very interesting to me. I actually love the look of it, don’t ask why, but it’s a warm cocoa brown, & it appeals to my visual sense.
I decided to go with the Xingyang workshop brew suggestions: 5 g of tea, 4 oz water in Gaiwan, quick rinse, steep 2 minutes.
1st steep: whew, now that’s some intense tea! It is strong, but still amazingly smooth. There is a bitter edge, but no astrigency at all. I like it.
2. The leaves smell of shrooms & old things (musty), making me think of an old cedar grove. The bitterness is gone from this 2nd cup, and although the flavor is still strong, there is a brightness around the edges of my tongue that is leaning slightly to sweet.
3. I’m not really getting the rum raisin taste, but I’m a little unfocused, as I have to leave to play at a wedding shortly. I probably should have waited until a less busy day to sample this, but that’s ok. I have enough for several samplings, so another day.

When I get home I’ll carry it through some more steepings.

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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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