2859 Tasting Notes


It’s been a beautiful day! The leaves are already turning here, & my drive to Pere Marquette & back was about an hour each way. The wedding was also lovely. I play weddings almost every weekend of the year, which is good money for me, but I also really enjoy being part of the sacredness of it. Regardless of the lifestyle, culture, & spirituality of the event, all weddings are beautiful. I feel that if you can find someone in this life that you truly love, you should go for it!

It’s always so nice to relax when I get home with a cup of tea. I started the day with Yanxin’s 04 puerh, which I really enjoyed. When I got home from the gig, there was a verdant box waiting for me (oh joy!!!). It contains the newest blends & a few refills (Laoshan black). By far the one tea I was most excited to try was the Sichuan Caravan, so before I got out of the black evening gown & into pajamas, I already had a cup going, & it smells like heaven!

Here’s why I’m so excited about this tea: EVERYthing in this blend is something that I LOVE! Ginger, Elderberries, Licorice root!! I’m fairly new to Puerh, but I’m finding it to be a tea that I crave, very grounding, something I really need in my busy Terri the Harp Fairie life.

So, it smells of all those wonderful spices, & the taste is awesome! Perfectly blended, I can taste all the flavors, & yet none are overwhelming. It has the buttery earthiness of the puerh, with its bright tongue tingling sensation, the ginger & hint of pepper are so warming & soothing to my throat & tummy, & sweet licorice root has a strong balancing quality, which again is always helpful to me. I already know that I’ll have to order more, because this is a blend I will enjoy again & again. Thank you David!


I’ve been waiting for someone like you to review this and please drink some more and review it again. I can’t drink this because I’m allergic to licorice so I’m enjoying it through your reviews!!! So glad you love it!

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I played a beautiful wedding last night, & it was especially fun because the 2 girls who are now wives had great taste in music! Normally I play a 30 minute set of classical pieces while the guests are arriving. For this union I played a mix of latin jazz & tunes by Sarah McGochlan. Both brides were stunningly beautiful! Now I’m heading out to play a more traditional wedding at Pere Marquette Lodge in IL.

I chose this sample this morning because I wanted a more grounding tea, & I’m finding puerh to be just that: a tea that brings my airy fairyness down to earth!

Dry it smells kind of like an old barn that hasn’t been used for awhile, a well aged compost (which IS basically what it is, but luckily not the kind one would find in a barn).

Steeping it smells of the ocean, & of butter, with a slight hint of dried plum. It also reminds me of the smell of sheets that have been line dried in the sun.

The finished product? Smooth! Smooth & shiny like a piece of obsidian. There is no bitterness, no astringency, but what there IS is an amazing buttery texture, kind of like the corn tuocha, but it doesn’t taste like corn. The flavor is deep, earthy, & satisfying. Also, there are fun tingling sensations on the tongue that make me smile!

I just re-steeped in my to-go mug so I can enjoy this on my 45 minute drive through IL.


Have a great time today!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks! It was a beautiful wedding! I hope you have an awesome weekend!

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It’s been a long & busy day. Lots of black teas in the morning, lots of running around in the afternoon, & then I played for a wedding this evening. I just got home, unloaded my harp & gear, & am ready to settle down, but I wanted something with a little lift, as I don’t plan to sleep for awhile, just to chill.

The description of this tea, & the photo, did not originally appeal to me. It’s a little to happy, confetti, pastel party time looking. I know, that sounds ridiculous…. When I found out the Verdant blends were getting ready to change, a part of me said, “You know, you have to try them all, at least a sample”. “ok”, I said, because I was sort of looking for an excuse to place another verdant order anyway.

I’ve been kind of out of sorts for a few days, so when I opened this tea & took a whiff, it was aromatherapy for me. Sweet, cotton candy marshallow dreams, with jasmine, vanilla, & other yummy flavors. And it is a much more beautiful tea than the photo on the website lets on, very fairy-like (& I like my fairie stuff), very happy looking, which is what I needed this evening.

After steeping, it is a really nice, mildly flavored cup of lightness, like a nice deep relaxed breath. I feel like it’s so well balanced that none of the flavors are really in the forefront, everything is nicely blended. I’m probably going to wish I’d ordered more of this (I think I got 1 oz), but it’s not like I don’t have enough tea around here (if you only knew). I will savor this, probably as a bubble bath time tea, a tea to drink while journaling, & I’ll be sure to have a cup in my sunroom when it snows.


I just bought my first whole cake of puerh from verdant and I was going to get some of this but it will have to wait. I was afraid the new puerh would be all gone!

Terri HarpLady

I only ordered an oz of the new puerh….I was really tempted to order a whole cake for the same reason, (still thinking about it), but I ended up joining the tea club instead! We’re hopeless, Bonnie!

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Dry: it’s kind of perfumy-fruity…not something I’d probably usually go for, but I seem to recall really liking it last spring. We’ll see…

Steeped: not so perfumy, more of a cinnamon & pears aroma, & although it’s not bad, the flavor is kind of bland, lacking a any real ‘tea’ substance to it. Pleasant, but not memorable…a drop of stevia helps it out a little.

Now that I think of it, I believe this is a blend that I brewed extra strong & poured over ice. It seems like that’s what I do with most of Teavana’s teas. The flavored ones seem to all have too many ingredients, & rarely appeal to me hot (except for zingeber ginger & thai tea, those are both pretty good).

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My son Drew & I stopped by Teavana today to get some more Black Dragon Pearl. While there, I smelled all of the new blends. Most of them are too fruity & acidic smelling for my taste, but there were a few that I’ll think about. Meanwhile, they’re having a special: spend $50 & you get 2 oz of one of the discontinued teas. So I got 4 oz of Black Dragon Pearl & 2 oz of Kamaya Papaya, which I remember liking before. I also got 2 pretty canisters because they caught my eye. For my free tea, they had a bag full of already bagged options, and I picked the Celestial Temple Peaks because it’s pretty (skinny little twisties of gold, black, gray, & various shades in between) & because it smells good. Also, the other choices were mostly flavored & didn’t appeal to me.

Steeped, this is an appealing, honey colored tea, with a hint of honey in the taste & a mild maltiness. It’s not the deep & dark kind of malt & chocolate tinged tea that I go for in the morning, but it’s a pleasing cup, & I am pleased to have it!


What? Buying tea again?!! I thought you were getting help for that problem :o)

Terri HarpLady

I was! Nik & I are suppose to be sponsoring each other in Tea-buying Addicts Anonymous, but we both keeping relapsing!


I like this tea as well! I would agree that Teavana has WAY too many flavored teas. I was pretty disappointed because I knew there were going to be new teas coming, but the only non flavored black/oolong/puer new tea was the yunnan puer :( Come on Teavana! Please get some new black or oolong teas please!

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, hybrid, I’m with you!

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drank Organic Assam by Butiki Teas
2859 tasting notes

Once upon a time there was a girl who drank Assam for breakfast everyday. Then she got caught up in comparing various English, Irish, Parisian, & other breakfast blends. She loved them all, & it’s so much fun comparing them, savoring them, but once in awhile it’s nice to go back to your roots!

This is a really nice Assam! It’s everything it should be, Malty, hints of chocolate, & not a touch of astringency or bitterness! Thank you, Stacy, for your lovely teas!


What exactly do you guys mean when you say that something is astringent? I picture downing a bottle of SeaBreeze, the face astringent lol.


Some teas leave your mouth feeling dry and your tongue feeling puckery. That’s astringent. (Sea Breeze tea…hmmm…)


Finn88…kudo’s to you for asking! So many people don’t ask and should. You learn things faster buy draining our brains dry (for me it won’t take long!)


Well yuck lol I’m guessing thats a taste most people DON’T want. I imagine the seabreeze would do the same ;) Ha my brains been dry since I was about 4 :)

Terri HarpLady

Finn, I don’t think of astringency so much as a taste, but more as a sensation, which is extreme dried out mouth. Some people can handle it better than others, & it seems to be more of a problem with white, green, & oolong teas than with black & puerh, at least in my opinion. Also, I’m thinking the longer a tea is brewed (or sometimes the hotter the water), the more tannins are release, making the tea more astringent. (This is, of course, based on my own experience & imagination, so don’t quote me on it). I’m guessing that’s why a lot of teas are better brewed at short intervals in a gaiwan. IN my gaiwan experiences (so far, I’m actually pretty new at this gaiwan stuff, so I don’t really know much, just what I’ve observed), it seems like if tannins are gonna be released, that usually happens on the 3 or 4th steeping. My mouth gets dry, but if I persevere, in another steeping or 2 that’s gone, replaced by a juicier quality. At least, that’s how it seems to me…

Terri HarpLady

I hope I don’t sound like a know it all, cuz I’m still learning too!

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While reading about all of the teas on the Verdant website, my initial reaction to this tea blend was disinterest. I kind of go through phases with mint, I grow several varieties, & right now I’m just not that into them. So initially I didn’t have any interest in this one.

Then I found out the current blends were all going away, to be replaced by more fall-like blends, & it was like, “I guess I’d better at least try them all before they’re gone.” Besides, I’ve enjoyed everything from Verdant so far, so I got some of this, & a few others that also didn’t initially peak my interest.

The first steeping (3 minutes) looked like soy sauce. It was very smooth & mildly sweet, but the main thing I could taste was MINT. In my face.

  1. (5 minutes) The mint has calmed down a little, the color is a little more red, the taste a little sweeter from the fennel, the puerh & spices a little more forward. I think I was expecting a spicier brew, but it’s still nice.
  2. (7 minutes) Still substantial, smooth, & mildly minty. I’d like to add that there isn’t a single hint of bitterness here, I can tell that the Puerh base is a crystal clear brew in itself, & I’m thinking I’ll have to add that to my ‘next’ Verdant order. I think this will be especially nice cold-brewed, as the mintiness will add an extra-refreshing quality.

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I got a sample of this in my first Verdant order, & am finally getting around to trying it. Dry, it smelled like Wakame (a sea veggie). I followed the instructions on the Verdant site:
1. It looked like Coca Coca, & tasted of toasted rice, like a really nice Genmaicha, with a hint of carmel.
2. The wet leaves have a deep charcoal & smoldering sweet grass scent, & I picture a pile of leaves burning in the fall. The taste has expanded to include a hint of cinnamon.
3. Now the flavor is sweeter, with a resinous quality that reminds me of a substance I used to smoke (back in the day). I’m also getting a bad case of cotton-mouth. Tannins or dejavu?
4. Bananas Foster with Vanilla ice cream & a sprinkle of cinnamon.
5. The wet leaves now smell like banana leaves, roasting over a bed of charcoal. A juiciness is rising (cotton-mouth is gone), with a bright hint of mango.

This was a really tasty tea! I’ve been re-steeping all day,lost count, interspersed with a few other teas as counterpoints. The leaves are seriously sturdy, & willing to continue to release their flavors each time.


I just ordered this from Verdant and I am so excited to try it!

Terri HarpLady

I forgot to mention, for each steeping, I drank a sample & poured the rest into a mason jar. I wanted to drink enough of each to enjoy it, but not waterlog myself. The jar went into the frig, & now I’m enjoying the ice cold results (with a pinch of stevia): a VERY tasty amber ice tea with hints of chocolate, banana, & vanilla. Very refreshing & delicious!


The banana flavor seems interesting. Did it taste more like a fresh banana, or a banana flavoring?


Aren’t Mason jars the most wonderful invention? I have a dozen apiece of three sizes and they are in constant use at my house—for everything from apothecary jars to drinking glasses.


Nice review Terri. And I have a huge mason jar sippy cup!

Terri HarpLady

insence: More like cooked banana, if that makes sense…banana pudding?
Mathis: That’s all we drink out of at my house! I have Qt, Pt, & cup size. They are great for everything!
Bonnie: Thanks! :)

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Thanks to Bonnie for this lovely sample

First, the pagodas in this tea are SO cute! Hand tied, they are round & flat bottomed, then they rise to a point. They remind me of Hershey’s kisses, chocolate brown with streaks of gold. A mild smell of maltiness.

I brewed them in my little glass pot, so I could watch them come to life. (the package says 2 – 3, but I included 5, because they reminded me of Black Dragon Pearls, & I always use more then they say).
They floated, they swam a little, then they bloomed, like sea anemones, gradually sinking to the bottom.

I tasty, mildly chocolaty tea. I drank the first cup straight, 2nd steeping I added a little stevia. I’m gonna try for a 3rd cup.

Enjoy the morning!


I like to serve them to my grandsons…with milk and sugar they love them. They are like sea anemonies or urchins.

Terri HarpLady

thank you! I hope you’re having a lovely day!

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I’ve had a couple of crazy days! One of my daughters came friday, we spent the day eating, gardening, & sipping tea! We started with Laochan Black (her comment, "Wow! This is a great coffee substitute). We had some of Verdant’s Hand Picked Summer Tieguanyin (which I already reviewed) with it’s wonderful orchid-like essence, S’mores from Della Terra (thank you Azzrian), & Butiki’s Coconut Cream Pie (which was my daughter’s favorite tea of the day). All of this was spread out over the day.

I spent the weekend running around playing gigs, so all of my tea drinking was deep & strong: Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei, Laoshan black, Bergamot Rose Laoshan black, & Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend. After each one was steeped 2 X, I dried the leaves & this morning I combined them all into one big brew, which was then strained off into a quart jar & refrigerated. An interesting combo, & tasty cold. Also, I only had one tsp of the WP jin jun mei, so I added a tsp of Laoshan black this morning for a nice hot cup!

What will I sip on next?


Sounds like a barista teaista! Party at Terri’s house, she has all the tea!


I kind of like the idea of combining previous steepings into a big jar of suicide tea. Now that I’m drinking so much of my tea hot, I’m going through it pretty fast. This would be a way to slow down the consumption a little as well as making an interesting game of tea roulette.

Terri HarpLady

LOL Bonnie! Those were all brewed over the weekend, in part because I wanted to compare them.
MsW: Previously I haven’t re-steeped teas all that much, but I’ve been doing it more lately. It was fun to put them all together!

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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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