3091 Tasting Notes

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
3091 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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drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
3091 tasting notes

My order from Butiki came! Yeah!
So, I’m getting ready to rush out the door to go play a gig at the St. Louis History Museum from 5:30 – 9:00. Then I’ll have 2 (much needed) days off from playing.

I’m not a big fan of flavored teas, but Nik gave this such a rave review, and I was placing an order anyway, so I figured, “Why not?”.
I’ve never actually had a real Mango Lassi, but it is quite tasty, & I’m definitely getting the Mango flavor (yum), & this was a good tea to try this afternoon, as I’m pretty wired from caffeine consumption at this point, & this is a rooibos blend.

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I’ve been sipping this all afternoon, while I started a new batch of Sauer Kraut (it will be ready in 3 or 4 week, a mix of purple & green cabbages = hot pink kraut!), and a new batch of Kimchi too.

This Sheng does have a sticky rice quality about it, and a bit of a nutty taste as well. What’s really presenting to me today is a sage-like aroma & flavor, very savory, very heady. With successive cups that strong herbal flavor gradually backs up, and the sticky rice moves forward.


Mmmm Kraut!!!! God that sounds SO GOOD!


When I was younger I had a friend whose mom made excellent kimchi. I haven’t thought about that in years, but now I really want some!

Terri HarpLady

Kraut & Kimchi are so easy to make, & so loaded with goodness. The hardest part is remembering to start a new batch!

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
3091 tasting notes

This is a sample from BoxerMama.
Actually, for a flavored tea, it’s not bad ;)

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drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
3091 tasting notes

Getting ready to leave for an early morning gig, yawn, and decided I want 2 of my favorites with me. I’ve been steeping this one in the Gaiwan, drank the first 2 steepings already, and the next 4 are in my to go cup, mixed together. I’m also taking Laoshan black in my thermal cup, where it will stay hot for quite some time, perfect for sipping at a 2 hour gig!

Terri HarpLady

Gig went great, & I’ve been re-steeping both of these since I got home. What to drink next?

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Here’s another sample from BoxerMama! Thanks!

I do like Vanilla. I don’t care if this is decaf, in fact I’m drinking it, pretending that it’s not, so that I can enjoy another cup of black tea without being up all night. I added stevia, because plain it was meeeeeeh

The Tea-ness of it is so-so, the Vanilla flavor is there, but it really reminds me of cotton candy. Actually, now that it’s cooled a little, it has a creamy texture & reminds me of the banana pudding with vanilla wafers, just a little. Again, not something I’ll probably ever order, but worth trying.

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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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