3046 Tasting Notes

I’m finally sampling Bailin Gongfu, thanks to our dear friend Angel, @ TeaVivre.

I’ve read various peoples reviews of this tea over the last few months, & as I recall, it is a bit temperamental. I was careful to make sure the water temp was 185, meanwhile wafting the addictive smell of cocoa tinged maltiness emanating from the leaves as I painstakingly weighed them, first all in one cup, 7oz, & then taking away leaves until I was down to 3.5 oz. The other half of the sample got tucked back into my black tea sample bag for another day.

I got a massage this morning. I’m feeling very ‘open’, my breakfast is sitting here waiting to be eaten. This tea is luscious, mouthwatering, and delicious: Malt, chocolate, & bit of caramel sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. My mouth is watering, my qi is flowing, & I’m smiling. Good start for my day!


It’s a good one. Somewhat refreshing.

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I bought this awhile ago, simply because it is my sun sign, & I like hazelnut. Once it’s gone I probably won’t re-order, but sometimes when I’m playing a gig, I enjoy something a little sweet. Brewed with stevia, this is another nice diversion to sip on. Kind of bold & Hazel-nutty, with a little vanilla (a little more would be nice).

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drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
3046 tasting notes

Backpeddling a little:
For a tea to drink on the way to my gig today, I made a travel cup of this creamy eggnog. It is sweet (with the addition of stevia) & creamy, & definitely has an eggy creamy taste, with a hint of nutmeg. Not something I’d purchase, but a pleasant diversion.

We used to make homemade eggnog when I was a kid all the time (that was our version of instant breakfast). In later years it required a shot of rum or brandy. I haven’t had it for a long time, but I’m thinking I could make some with eggs, coconut milk, vanilla, & nutmeg. That sounds good!

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I’m the first to review this?
I’m home from my gig, relaxing in my PJs, & haven’t had any puer for a few days (sorry, from now on I’m leaving out the apostrophe & the h, there’s just so many ways to spell this, I’m making it easy on myself.)
The dry leaf smells very green, & wet it smells smokey as well.
1. My formula: 3G + 4oz (one rinse) + 4 sec = a very drinkable yellow infusion, slightly saline, but in a pleasant way.
2. 10 sec: It’s still mildly salty, but not so much sea salt, more like a mineral salt. I’m getting a nice mouthwatering up the center of my tongue. Bright yellow! I’m steeping in my Earthen Gaiwan (Butiki) & drinking out of my glass Gaiwan (TeaVivre) so that I can really enjoy the color.
3. It looks like I’m drinking a urine sample, sorry, I know that’s crude, but little Terri can be pretty crude…
I forgot to count, but I’ll guess 20 sec: Umami! I’m thinking fish sauce. It doesn’t really taste like fish sauce, but with it’s pleasant saline mouth-feel, & savory greens taste, my mouth is really watering.
This also reminds me of the soup broth I used to make with Kombu &/or Wakame.
4. 30 sec: Now a sweetness begins to emerge. It is both sweet & savory at the same time, and a little creamy texture under my tongue. I’m tasting a faint hint of bitterness up the center of my tongue, so maybe 30 sec was a little long, but I actually like a little bitter edge occasionally, as it makes the sweet taste more noticeable.
As in tea, so in life: Sorrow enhances Joy, Having less helps to heighten appreciation for what we do have. My mouth is watering wonderfully!
5. Another 30 sec infusion, still bright yellow! One thing I’ve noticed about drinking puer in the early evening. It doesn’t make me wired, but instead I feel very relaxed, very present, very open. I don’t have to do anything, so I’m sitting here in a semi-meditative state, breathing deeply & enjoying this cup. I’ve got the skull shine on a little bit, I feel subtle movement in my body, & this moment is fine!
6. 45 sec: A fresh taste, like spring green sauteed & sprinkled with a few drops of Mirin, tingly numb tongue, watering in the back of my mouth.
7. I’m letting this one steep for 1 min. (Meanwhile, I still had the Laoshan black in the other Gaiwan from earlier today, & I drank a cup of that. So sweet! It’s caramel & chocolatey goodness!) This cup has a quality & can’t quite define. It’s sweet & savory & mineralize & …earthy! That’s the only word I can think of.

I’ll continue to steep this out for a little while longer.


“Sorrow enhances joy”, insightful and telling. Wonderful review! I have this one and intend to enjoy it soon. thank you for the preview.


This was a little confusing. There is the 2012 Lao Tong Zhi which this review tasting sounds a lot like that was in cake form. Then, there’s a Lao Tong Zhi 2011 Tuocha. There may have been a quick special sale of some 2011 cakes, can’t remember.
When did you get this one since it’s not listed outside of the 2011 tuocha?

Terri HarpLady

Bonnie, if you look on the verdant site on the puer page, it’s at the bottom of the page, right in the middle,the “lao tong zhi 2011 sheng mini-cake”.
Anyway, I didn’t enter the info on Steepster, I just added my review of it. I got it during the puer monday sale.

Terri HarpLady

Steelhead, thanks for your comments. :)


OK see it, it’s sold out. Thanks.

Terri HarpLady

Hey Bonnie, do you want me to send you a sample? I’d be glad to do so :D
Paul, I’m mainly getting the ‘chaqi’ feeling from Puers, & at first it freaked me out a little, due to my own personal history of hallucinogen usage from 30 years ago. It feels in many ways to me like the beginning edge of a shroom trip. But it’s just the edge!

Terri HarpLady

I also liken it to what Deepak Chopra (& many other) refer to as the ‘observing mind’ or something like that. It’s the Namaste part of me.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
3046 tasting notes

Yesterday I had a wonderful pajama day, no gigs anywhere, no students, just me, Tony, tea, & relaxation. We sampled the Exotic Pear (Butiki), but I didn’t write a review on it. That’s a tea I’ll have to drink a few times before I have anything to say.

I have a gig today at a retirement home. I’ll be playing for their Holiday Open House. I started the morning with an English Breakfast (Adagio), and now I’m doing Gaiwan steepings of Laoshan Black.
5G + 4oz (quick rinse) = one of the best teas ever!

I’ve reviewed this tea several times, as have many others, & if you are one of the few who hasn’t tried it, you’re missing out!

Invader Zim

Today is my pajama day. Went out for groceries this morning, changed back into pj’s as soon as we got back!

Terri HarpLady

I had a pj day on Friday, & by pjs I mean black sweat pants & the chic version of a wife-beater shirt, only black with some lace around the neck & armpits, & my beloved red cashmere sweater with holes in it. I taught 2 adult students in this ensemble, went to the bank, met people at the coffee shop for tea, and spent the rest of my time hanging out at home, drinking tea. I looked like crap, & I didn’t care. :D

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I have a method for smelling things. Breath in and out a few times, nice slow breaths, then after exhaling through your nose, stick your nose in the cup (or wherever you want to stick it), and just barely inhale, like almost not inhaling, just barely let the air begin to enter. A friend of mine had lost his sense of smell, and he used this technique, and after awhile he got his ability to smell back. He was elated.

This smells like buttery salted caramel. It’s also very attractive to look at, at least to me! I’m using one of my new Earthen Gaiwans that I got from Stacy @ Butiki. They really are adorable!!

1. My formula: 5G + 4oz (1 rinse) @ 4sec = nice deep color of burnt orange, aroma of cream & cinnamon (very mild), and the taste is sweet! There is a very slight bitter edge, kind of like coffee, but not. There is also a vanilla sensation, & tingling on my tongue.

2. 10 seconds = There really is a spicey cinnamon-like flavor here, and a grown-up kind of sweetness, like the sweetness of dark chocolate, although it does not taste like dark chocolate.

While I’m reheating my water, I’m packaging xmas CDs that I sold from my website! www.harpsinger.net (sorry for the shameless self-promotion)
I’m also packaging up samples of the czar nicholas II St Valentine for the people in our steepster bookclub that are reading Anna Karanina. If anyone else wants some, let me know, cuz the package is HUGE, 8.8 oz!

3. 20 sec = I can tell, just by looking at my cup, that this is going to be an awesome brew!! It’s very deep, dark, & full bodied, and at first I was thinking Raisin Toast, but really it’s more like Boston Brown Bread with lots of raisins in it. Years ago, I used to steam-bake Boston Brown Bread in progresso soup cans all winter long. It’s fruity & dense, with a darker flavor than regular bread. My kids & I adored it.
4. 30 sec = molasses gives boston brown bread part of it’s dark flavor, & that’s what I’m really thinking of. This is kind of like having boston brown bread & a cup of coffee.
5. 1 minute: I figured I’d go for the gusto, and I’m glad I did! This is deliciously bold & sweet! The raisin & molasses & cinnamon flavors are really out there now.

My SigO, Tony, just showed up, so I’m done writing this review, but I’ll keep sipping until the flavors are gone. Meanwhile, I’m glad I bought a cake of this, & am excited about seeing how it ages! This is being added to my ‘favorite’ puer’s list in my tea journal.

BTW, the Earthen Gaiwan is performing beautifully, & you can see it, and get one @ http://www.butikiteas.com/Teawares.html


I have the Czar Nikolas and you’re right about it being a huge bag. (I have the blue and red bags for making Russian Tea with jam in it)…AND I have a Gaiwan like yours, a Green and brown speckled one. I love it!( We must have some kind of mind meld going on.)

Terri HarpLady

Yes, you sent me a sample of the St. Valentine when we first became friends! It’s some powerful rose tea, and a perfect complement to the Anna Karenina novel! I still haven’t tried the blue one yet. And I agree, we do seem to have a lot of similar tastes :D


I like the Blue pkg. Czar Nikolas II Renaissance Tea better, my granddaughter likes the Red pkg. St. Valentine which I think is way more floral. I’m not that fru fru…(more of a Shu lady…, a lady has to have lots of Shu’s you know!) OK dumb joke!

Terri HarpLady

@ Paul, it will be great to read your notes on this Shu!


I asked at the Savoy tea company today and they showed me a gaiwan. Didn’t buy it, but now I finally know what you’re talking about. :)

Terri HarpLady

Paul, I’m actually thinking of getting another cake myself, which is insane, given the amount of tea I have around here now. But it’s tasty now, so I want to be able to drink it in my rotation, and have a 2nd cake to age. Is that rediculous? LOL
MsW – my favorite Gaiwan is the Earthen Gaiwan from Butiki. The price is reasonable, & it’s really nice to handle.

Terri HarpLady

Paul, I think the reason I was thinking boston Brown bread was the molasses like flavor.

Terri HarpLady

LOL, yeah, they can split an episode between the 2 of us then :D

Terri HarpLady

Yay!! I also have my Private Reserve samples, which came on saturday. I’m off to get a massage, & then “Let the wild rumpus of tea sampling begin”, Little Terri said.
LOL! OK, so it won’t really be a rumpus (sigh), but little T loves to say things like that.

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I’m not a huge fan of white teas.
They’re boring.
I have to be in a really zen mind-frame, with time to really sit and breath & open to the subtle qualities that white teas offer.
I’m not really in that mind-frame right now.
I should probably set up an electric kettle in my bedroom (on the 3rd floor), then in the morning after I do my free-style taichi/yoga/quigong, I can drink a cup of white tea while I’m writing in my journal.
Yeah, I’m thinking that’s the time to do it. I’ll be all zen-like, really in my most mindful state of the day (although I try to maintain this practice all the time, like all others who don’t live in a monastery, I get caught up in life).
Fully oxygenated from all that deep breathing, all my chakras wide open and spinning, Reiki flowing…
I think maybe then I will truly appreciate the beauty, the grace, & the intricacies of plain white tea.

I decided to try this tea because it looks awesome! The leaves are huge, and they remind me of the oak leaves in my yard. It is a tea that looks like fall. I got a hint of vanilla & rose.

Terri HarpLady

:) Thanks Paul!

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Thank you Angel & TeaVivre for this wonderful sample of tea.
I have to say, I LOVE the samples from TeaVivre, they are SO generous!

After all my gigs these past 3 days (and students), it’s really nice to have a morning to chill out & just sample some teas. It’s taken me an hour to get through my breakfast, simply because I was more interested in the teas. This will be my final review of the morning, as I have to meet a friend at noon for, you guessed it, Tea! LOL!

This is really nice. The dry leaf smells of hay…& chocolate…& there’s one other aroma I’m trying to place…it’s sweet…its…caramel!

2t + 8oz @ 2 min = YUM!

It’s smooth, dark, sweet, and its…its gone??? Little Terri!! You drank the whole cup!

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
3046 tasting notes

Here’s something funny. I knew that I had reviewed this tea before, and as I’m sitting here smelling & sniffing it, making notes about it’s deliciousness, I did the unthinkable & went back & read my previous post. I was still new in the neighborhood (hell, I’m still new, I only joined Labor Day weekend, but I feel like I’ve been here for years, LOL). So, I could almost cut & paste that other review, all the way down to pushing my breakfast away to just enjoy the tea.

Last night’s gig was awesome! I was decked out in black, playing a mix of Holiday music, Jazz, & Rock. It was a corporate party, so they started off with Cocktails & then had dinner, continuing to drink more cocktails all the way through dessert. Their personalities were all initially rather stuffy, but by the end of the evening they were all laughing, hugging, & exuding compliments, like people often do when they drink. (not judging, just saying) I went from being ‘the harpist in the corner’ that everyone pretends is part of the scenery, to people coming and hanging out & wanting to talk to me & ask questions while I played, & finally some guy hit on me, saying he’d like to see me again & was I married. I lied & said yes (don’t tell Tony, he gets crazy jealous).

This tea is so delicious. Although I tend to lean more towards the deep & dark varieties, the taste of Mi Xian is just so delightful. Lightly floral, buttery, fruity, & honeysweet. When I was a little kid we used to have cream of wheat cereal, & my favorite way to eat mind was with butter and apricot or peach preserves stirred into it. This tea reminds me of that. It’s not malty, but there is a certain cereal quality to it. Of course, all of these flavors are subtle, with the honey on top!

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I’m jaded by Yunnans, I drink so many of them. I love them.
I’m sampling Keemuns now, because a girl needs variety in her life, right?
I’m enjoying them, but still learning…as always…

I got a crazy order from Stacy yesterday, wonderfully packaged, by the way, with her amazing Tetris skills ;)
One word of advice, Stacy, the Watermelon Xylo needs in be encased in a ziploc! Everything smells like it!

So, this tea initially smelled like Watermelon xylo as well, and this is a free sample from Stacy, who is awesome & wonderful, & the Queen of Teas! Thanks Stacy!

I poured it in the cup to let it air out a bit, and it smells mildly of chocolate & malt, and maybe a little sweet. After steeping, it initially had a bitterness, but that quickly dissipated. I didn’t find it to be strong, but substantial, warming, & pleasant. It’s a mildly sweet cup with fruity & malty undertones, and as it cooled the last couple of sips had a floral quality, a hint of rose!

A very enjoyable cup, and a nice start to my tea drinking day!

Butiki Teas

I do have mad Tetris skillz. Oh no, sorry about the Watermelon Xylophone. I wonder if that is because it was recently blended. If you keep the Watermelon separated for 2+ days the smell should disappear from the other teas. Sorry about that.

Terri HarpLady

No problem, Stacy! It was the most wonderful smelling box I’ve ever opened!! Those 2 earthen gaiwans are absolutely adorable!! OMG, they are so cute! I did isolate the Xylo, & I’m sure none of the other teas will actually taste like it. Thanks much!

Invader Zim

So Tetris is the key to good packaging!


That must be why my wrapped packages look like they’ve been trampled by Frogger :)

Invader Zim

I’m terrible at Tetris, but I’m ok at Frogger. Which explains why mine only look half trampled!

Terri HarpLady

When my son Drew worked as a bagger at the grocery store, he loved his job. He said it was like playing Tetris!

Butiki Teas

Terri HarpLady-So glad you like the gaiwans! They are so adorable. One of these days, I’m going to have to take home one with me.

Tetris skills come in handy often.

Terri HarpLady

I should probably have you set aside a few more, so that I an give them as gifts.

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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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