2971 Tasting Notes

About a month ago I ordered a bunch of samples from the Tea Spot. I like their samples because you get 5 servings! That is an opportunity to really sample something, more than one way. Like several others here, I got sick & all my sampling got set aside, pending improved taste & smell abilities. So today, I decided, “It’s on!” I started with a steaming cup of matcha, & next on my agenda was this unusual tea.

Climber’s High is a Heinz 57 type brew, with everything but the kitchen sink included. The predominant aromas are cinnamon & then licorice, but there is way more in this tea, & it’s packed with flavor along the lines of a Chai. It’s also packed with caffeine! I’ve been dragging myself around for a couple of weeks, recuperating, but not really having much energy to get things done, & POW! I drank a cup of this & the next thing I know, I’m smiling, laughing, talking in a very animated way (things I tend to do after consuming a lot of caffeine, the rest of the time I’m pretty laid back), & feeling very dynamic! I re-potted my key lime tree, which is busting out in blossoms as if it were spring. I picked a lime off it & am drinking lime water (gotta stay hydrated!). I added a little new soil to my kumquat & meyer lemon trees – the 7 lemons are almost ready for consumption, the little kumquats have a way to go, but I can tell it’s getting ready to bloom again too! I did a bunch of other stuff too.

I drank the first cup plain & it was nice, the licorice root providing a mild sweetness. I can tell it would be really tasty with stevia as well. I resteeped, & the 2nd cup is just ok, nothing spectacular. I don’t know that I’ll drink this often, but it is tasty, & I’d say it’s a go-to when I need to really get some things done!

Babble

This is such an appropriately named Colorado tea.

This sounds interesting, but I’ve had such bad luck with licorice root..

IrishBreakfastLass

This sounds really good! I’ve been eying this company’s site, and this was one of my wishlist picks.

Terri HarpLady

I really do like the size of their samples. I’ve enjoyed several of their teas!

Nik

Your home sounds so lovely, Terri. I love hearing about all your fruit-bearing trees! My yard is so pathetic, the result of taking a city kid out of NYC and plopping him in the middle of suburban South Jersey. I have an apple tree, two pear trees and three plum trees, and none of them bears fruit anymore. If you were here, you could teach me to care for them properly and I could maybe resurrect the poor things. =) I’ll have to find a local someone who I’m sure will be a very poor substitute for you!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks, Nik! I have to confess, although I’m a really veggie gardener, my fruit tree knowledge still is in the ‘young’ stage. I have an ancient apple tree & cherry tree that were neglected for years by the previous owners, & although I’ve lived in this house 11 years, & have pruned both trees several times, the Cherry tree appears to be dying, and the apple just finally started making apples big enough to eat! I also planted a peach & an apricot, & have had some luck with them, but I still don’t really know that much about pruning them properly. I have a bunch of berry bushes & usually grow strawberries too.

The 3 citrus trees are dwarfes in pots, & I love them. They go outside in the summer, & return to my sunroom in the fall. The Kumquat is my favorite, & when the fruits are ripe, I eat one a day, LOL. Occasionally I’ll offer one to somebody, if they are lucky. Usually I have a Kumquat a day from around thanksgiving until the end of January. It looks like it will be more like new year’s for kumquats this year, they are a little behind schedule, at least compared to previous years. This is the most lemons I’ve ever had, & I always feel that I must do something really special with them, I’m thinking Meringues & lemon curd? The key lime is new, but it is LOADED with limes, & blooming as we speak! My sunroom smells like heaven, with citrus blossoms, & there is also a jasmine that I just brought in (it was outside for the summer too), & it will start blooming again any day now! I love my home, & my life!

Nik

Mmm… jasmine citrus fragrance… I’d never leave the room… =)

Terri HarpLady

I rarely do :)

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100

I’m heading out into another drizzly damp day to visit with the midwife who attended the births of my first 3 children (I had another lady at the birth of the 4th child. They were all born at home).

Anyway, I hadn’t seen her for years, & we recently reconnected, & in our mutually busy lives we’ve finally found a day in which we can spend the afternoon, reminiscing about births, gardening, tea, our children & grandchildren, & whatever else.

This dampness is rough on my lungs, so a spicy gingery brew is required for going outside, & this is the one!

gmathis

Day with a dear friend trumps the tea, no matter how good it is :)

Azzrian

What a wonderful experience for you to share together! <3

Terri HarpLady

It was a wonderful visit! She is one of the women who basically ‘raised’ me when I was in my 20’s. I lived in Rolla, MO at the time, & there was an amazing network of women there that I am so grateful to have been a part of. We sang together, birthed our babies at home, & had lovely get togethers that always included lots of delicious food. She recently moved to St. Louis, & just by chance (I say that, be we know there are no coincidences) I ran into her at a local holistic health expo event I was playing at (some would call it a psychic fair), I heard a familiar voice say, “I know you.” and there she was!

MsWhatsit

Awesome how you reconnected. Also, this brew sounds pretty good.

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*Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this lovely sample!

There are 2 of this adorable mini tuochas in the sample bag. They are wrapped in white paper, and opening one, I find a little birdnest, with a rose petals pressed into the bottom of it. The smell is similar to the other shu puerh’s I’ve tried thus far: earth, mineral, ocean.

I’m brewing the first tuocha americano style, in my cute little glass pot, so I can watch the tea fall apart & swim around, & really see the color. The disintegration is spectacular, with particles almost exploding in all directions! The tea was finely chopped before being tightly compressed, or so it seems, as the pieces are very small.

This made for a very dark & potent cup, & although I was hoping for a little more rose flavor & aroma (as I do like that), it isn’t really there. What is there is a deep, satisfying puerh that brings to mind an old, old forest with ancient trees & layer upon layer of decomposed leaves, acorns, wood, & moss. I have to leave the house for the afternoon, but when I return, I shall re-steep!

Bonnie

I like to watch Puerh unfold too. You must be very visual also.

Azzrian

I have never tired one of the flower touchas! I may have to get a couple.

Terri HarpLady

@Bonnie: I love watching Teas unfold, swim around, & do the crazy things they do! It’s like my own little aquarium show. :)
@Azzrian: I have a few here I’m trying. I got the Rose one, I got a Chrysanthemum one from TeaVivre also. I also have a jasmine tuocha from The Tea Spot that I’m looking forward to trying. I’m sort of thinking it’s more for visual effect. I didn’t really get much of a rose taste, but I’m please to say that when I got home I did my 2nd steeping of it, & it was a very juicy brew! I know it sounds silly to say that a tea was ‘wet’. “Of course it was wet! It’s made of water”, someone might say, but we all know how drying some teas can be, & this steeping was mouth watering, & oh, so smooth!

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Thank you to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample

These are among the most beautiful tea leaves I’ve seen. Perfectly straight, in shades of olive, wheat, charcoal, & rust. Wet, they swell up lushly, taking on a copper color, with an olive undertone.

The scent is of chocolate & peppercorn, & the flavor satisfies: bold without being bitter, deep & smooth, essence of chocolate, a little spice, & there is the ‘clean’ sensation of linen, but it’s not an astringent type sensation, & it’s not so much a taste either, more a freshness, like sheets drying in the sun on the line. This is the kind of tea I like to start my day with!

I drank the first cup & a half plain, thought I’d add a little stevia to the 2nd half of the 2nd cup, just to see what it brought up, & it ruined it for me. :p

Not so much that I couldn’t polish it off & go for one more steeping, though, & the leaves delivered.

Azzrian

Mmmmmmmm Chocolate and Peppercorn!

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If this review seems redundant, that’s because I already posted it once, but I screwed up & posted it as Jubilee. Oops!

I’m at the London Tea Room, undercover, so to speak. I came to pick up some more Jubilee for Tony, and to enjoy a pot of tea for myself. Today I selected the Ancient Yunnan. My love for black teas is deep, & Yunnans are among my favorites.

This is a nice, bold cup of Malty goodness with a chocolately essence & a peppery finish. Everything a Yunnan is meant to be, & although it is perhaps not as intriguing as some of the yunnans I’ve drank of late, it is very satisfying on this drizzly fall morning.
As I often do, I drank the first cup straight & added a little stevia to the rest. I day like today tends to bring out my desire for a sweet taste, & the stevia really brings forward the notes of caramel & chocolate. Yum!

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Back at home, I spent the afternoon teaching & sipping multiple steeping of this Sheng.

I got this 1 oz sample right before this Pu’er sold out! I feel so lucky
I’m just getting started on Shengs, having finally sampled my first one (Tian Di Ren ’06 Bulang Mountain) last Friday, as part of the Tea of the Month Club offerings for October.

This will sound unsavory, but I’m finding Shengs to smell kind of like a well composted manure, but not in a bad way (only tea drinker would say crazy things like that). That’s not to say it smells like poop, so maybe it’s just a well-composted alfalfa type smell, now that I think about it, kind of fresh & musty smelling at the same time. The dry tea is in flat clumps, very compressed (like an old cow pie…sorry, I just had to say it! LOL).

I’m using my beloved Gaiwan, & the first steeping was light & very mildly salty. The wet leaf has taken on a charcoal smell. The 2nd steep is a beautiful honey color, with a boldness to it, a peppery bite, & a little bitterness. I may have over-steeped by a few seconds, in which case it’s not very forgiving!

With steep #3, I’m picking up a toasted almond flavor! The plantain is also still there.

  1. - All of the above, plus more charcoal, & some astringency
    #5,6,& 7 combined – less bitter, a hint of apricot
    $8, 9, & 10 The color & flavor are both still good! The toasted almond has been the predominant flavor throughout all steepings, and there is also an underlying smokey tobacco-like taste, & I added a drop or 2 of stevia to some cups, which really brought out the apricot essence. I can tell that I can get several more steepings out of this, but that’s all for today. Maybe I’ll toss the rest in a little water & cold brew overnight.

I only got an ounce of this. I wish I’d gotten enough to stick it in a closet somewhere & let it age awhile. I will put what I have left away for at least a little while, probably.

fleurdelily

mmmmmmmmmmm, well composted manure, YUM ! roflamo

Terri HarpLady

I woke up this morning & combined steeps 11, 12, 13, & 14 into my little glass pitcher. The color is still beautiful, the wet leaves have a slightly sweet smell, & the flavor is still there too, mild but still tasty.

MsWhatsit

The whole compost thing amuses me, and at the same time it’s making me wonder what my own reaction will be when I have one of these varieties.

Autumn Hearth

Finally getting around to opening my sample of this from over a year ago. I totally got the composted manure scent as well but in a good earthy farm way. First few steeps I got lots of charcoal and pine, with that musty earthiness, like brewing up a clump of pine needles, mulch and a bit of moist soil all found under my parents pine tree I climbed as a kid. By the fourth or fifth steep I started getting the crazy sweet aftertaste especially at the back of the throat, bit minty, bit lemony and with a cooling sensation that reminds me of bubble gum, except I’m not a fan of straight bubble gum, but I like this.

Terri HarpLady

I ended up grabbing a cake of this. It’s been sitting up in my bedroom on the 3rd floor with the other pu’s. I should pull it out & see if it’s changed any

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Still on location at the London Tea Room. I come to this place often enough that my waitress, Audrey, gave me a big hug upon my arrival! We talked on & off while I was enjoying the first pot of tea, & I decided to stick around for lunch. I ordered the Chicken Waldorf Salad: chicken, golden raisins, walnuts, apples, pears, red onion & curried mayo on a bed of mixed salad greens, with a walnut vinaigrette dressing on the side. I’ve had it before, & it’s delicious.

For a tea, I’m having the Ancient Yellow Buds. This is my first yellow tea, & I’ve been thinking of trying it for awhile. The smell & appearance of the tea leaves is similar to a silver needle, a little nutty & bright. It brews into a beautiful pale yellow liquor, leaning towards an almost apricot tinge. They served it in a 12 oz glass teapot (made by rishi, I have one, & I love it. It looks like a miniature koolaid pitcher), & a small white porcelain cup, which really shows off the color of the tea. LTR doesn’t have photos of their teas on their website, so knowing I’d be the first to list this tea, I snapped a pic off with my iPhone so you could see the lovely color.

The flavor? Very mellow, light like a silver needle, but a little richer & sweeter. Slightly fruity, almost a little buttery, & although it doesn’t taste like corn, it has a savoriness that almost reminds me of cornbread stuffing. I know, that’s crazy!

I lost interest in my salad & had them pack up the rest of it to go.

Terri HarpLady

I forgot to mention, they ran this through 3 steepings, & all 3 were very nice!

Indigobloom

I loooooove waldorf salad :P

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A few weeks ago there was a discussion board talking about Tea of the Month Groups. I had looked into a few at the time, & am continuing to look into them. Some sound more interesting than others to me, & I tend to be a little leery of joining a group that is going to send me some ‘surprise’ that I might not want (even though it might make good tea trade currency). I don’t usually drink a lot of flavored teas, for instance (although I’ve really pushed the edge on that a little lately), so I wouldn’t really want to receive a lot of teas of that nature. I did join the Verdant Tea of the Month, however, as I know that his blends are real things, not a bunch of supposedly natural flavorings.

This is the 3rd selection from the Verdant Tea of the Month offerings for October. I’ve reviewed the other 2 selections already. For those who don’t read the discussion boards, David gave us the opportunity to vote between this brew & another. This is the one I wanted! I’ve always enjoyed chrysanthemum flowers as a tisane, especially in the late afternoon while I prepare dinner. It has a bright & refreshing, slightly floral & mineral taste, & it’s also great for sore throats & fever. I’ll usually drink it plain, but sometimes I’ll add a little stevia, & I like it that way too. Chrysanthemum is considered one of the 4 Gentlemen of Chinese art: The orchid for spring, Bamboo for summer, Chrysanthemum for Fall, & the Plum Blossom for Winter. These are used to illustrate the unfolding of the seasons throughout the year. In my mind that makes it even more significant that David chose Chrysanthemum for this Fall blend.

The Xingyang 2007 Shu is a wonderful base for this tea: earthy, sweet, mildly ‘shroomy, with the warmth of fresh baked muffins. The Chrysanthemum brightens it up & adds a cooling factor, but then the coriander brings in a little more warmth. There’s a little burdock in there, which I love, with it’s tendency to bring us back down to earth, and a little Holy Basil adding a little more brightness & optimism.

I brewed this several different ways over the weekend. First, with my Gaiwan, going through several steepings, in tandem with the other 2 tea of the months, so I could compare them side by side & get the full impact of the pairings. Today I just made 2 cups: the first was 2 tsp of tea in 8oz water, steeped 2 minutes, unsweetened. The 2nd was a re-steeping, 3 minutes, plus stevia. I thoroughly enjoyed both! I love this combo! I feel warm & cozy!

To me, this tea is saying, “Winter is coming, prepare to go within.” This is the time of year when I want to turn my focus inward, re-connect with my roots, & get ready to hibernate. This is a tea for regaining balance, for looking within, for healing.

Thank you, David, & the Verdant team! Have a great trip to China!

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100

I love this tea! I’ve already written a review on it, but I just want to say it again, “I love this tea!”

This is simply the best blend currently available on Verdant’s website, in my opinion. I think David really outdid himself with this blend, & I applaud him loudly. There is just so much to this cup! It’s sweet, it’s tingly, it’s warming, & it’s delicious!

It’s also almost all gone from my cupboard, which means its time to place a new verdant order…again!

Babble

I love your enthusiasm. I think I may have to put this on the shopping list when I finally place an order. I’m waiting for the Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell to come back in stock..

Terri HarpLady

Rachel, did you get to try Mrs Li’s Dragonwell? If not, I’d be glad to send you a sample of both.

Babble

No I never got a chance to try it. Oh man that would be so awesome. PMing you right now :)

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100

Tea number 2 from the Verdant Tea of the Month Club:

This is a tea that I’m not new to, & it is one that I have already been enjoying since I placed my first Verdant order (which was really just about 6 weeks ago, can you believe that? I’m not going to confess to how many orders I’ve placed since then…LOL).

I love the deep chocolate boldness, & this is another strongly grounding tea, I feel like it is made of the roots of trees, deep in the earth. There is a hint of a burdock root flavor, a spiciness of clove, and my beloved sweet potato. Definitely a noticeable contrast from the Tian Di Ren ’06 Sheng, this is a much bolder cup, with a thickness to it.

Terri HarpLady

Now I’m headed down to Perryville (90 miles or do drive) to play a wedding!

Bonnie

If I were you, I’d need a great tea thermos, a non-spill cup and a custom tea-bib to keep my clothes clean while driving down the roads to the performance. I’m a terrible dribbler! Usually I use a straw in every beverage cup because I miss my mouth too often when driving and plop tea down my chin onto my ‘shelf’.

MsWhatsit

This tea sounds good. Clove and sweet potato? MMMM

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Bio

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!

Location

St. Louis, MO

Website

http://www.harpsinger.net

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