2971 Tasting Notes

drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
2971 tasting notes

First, thank you SO MUCH to David @ Verdant for sending me this sample!!

I wasn’t on Steepster when this tea emerged, never got to try it, & have always (I say “always”, but I’ve only been on steepster for 29 days, so my “always” is relative to that) wished I could have had the honor. During this last month, I’ve ordered from Verdant ‘several’ times (obsessive compulsive & their tea is awesome), & on the most recent order David sent me this sample, with a hand-written label that said “Original Harvest Golden Fleece Sample – Just for fun!”

Today is a special day for me. I often joke around about 12 step programs & mysterious substances of my youth. Let’s just say that I was very wild & out of control, at one time, & I suppose you could say I was a connoisseur of sorts, at least in the realm of psychotropic & hallucinogenic substances. I’m not going to say it wasn’t fun, because I had a lot of awesome revelatory experiences, some amazing highs, but there were also lows, which I won’t go into here. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The higher you rise, the farther you fall”.

Today I’m celebrating 29 years clean & serene!
No alcohol, no hallucinogens (believe me, I did enough of those to be able to slip in between realities at will for the rest of my life), no cigarettes, etc, & when you add in food allergies (no dairy, no sugar, no grains (no pastry…sigh…), etc it starts sounding like “No Fun”.
You could say my only vice, my ‘drug of choice’ is tea.
I was contemplating what tea to drink today, & when this sample arrived, I got tears in my eyes, LOL, & gave thanks to the Divine Universe, & to David.

I read the instructions on the website. To brew in the Gaiwan or the basket???? I couldn’t decide…So I asked the leaves, & then I went with a hybrid (I’m sure someone is laughing at this point).

Dry, I smell a mix of Tobacco & chocolate. The beautiful blond leaves brew into a deep golden honey cup! The flavor is rich & smooth, I think of dark chocolate, but it’s deeper, more earthy. I see an old growth forest, & there is a hint of spice. The 1st 3 steepings were done in my favorite cup with the finnum: 1 min, 2 min, & 3 minutes. There was a sweet undercurrent, which I identified in the 3rd cup as sweet potato. Also, my tongue & throat developed a satisfied sensation as if I’d eaten some really wonderful dark exotic 92% chocolate. The chocolate that isn’t really sweet. All of these steepings were full, dark, & rich!

At this point I switched to the gaiwan, so that I could keep steeping these leaves in a smaller amount of water. Now I’m getting a hint of banana bread pudding! I’ve gone through several steepings of this tea, & it is still flavorful, still caramel honey colored. Still tasty.

“Onward through the fog”


Ohhh you got some coveted golden fleece GO YOU!!! :)


Oh crap I meant to say HUGE congrats on 29 years!!! YAY!!!!

Terri HarpLady

Yeah! Thanks on both counts, Azz!

Autumn Hearth

Congrats! What a wonderful tea to celebrate with!

Donna A

One of my favorite teas. Like you, I really enjoy my blacks (and never knew it until I discovered the good loose ones recommended on Steepster). I started drinking tea partly to get away from Coke Zero. I second Azzrian on the congratulations for 29 years.


Congratulations Terry! Sounds like it was a great tea for a great day. :)


*Terri. I promise I can spell.


Congratulations, Terri! I love that you received this special little gift on such a special day.

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Nik! It was awesome!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks everyone! My life is awesome!I love this community!

Nathaniel Gruber

Love your “sweet potato” description! I was trying this one with David today and someone actually said the same thing. So funny that I ran across your review and you got the same thing – awesome!

Terri HarpLady

I just ordered a bunch more of it!!

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drank Earl of Grey by The Tea Spot
2971 tasting notes

Thank you Bonnie for this sample!

I’m not a fan of bergamot. I enjoy the smell, but the taste tends to be acidic to me, which I don’t really care for. Tony, on the other hand, adores it, so I served this tea to him this morning.

While I was heating the water, I smelled the dry tea: It smells pretty heavenly, I’ll admit. Strongly reminiscent of Lemon Bars. They sell those at all the local coffee shops here, & if you haven’t had them, it’s basically lemon curd on a graham cracker crust, with powdered sugar sprinkled liberally over the top. I can’t eat such things, but one time I did bum a little tiny bite, just so I would get the experience, & let it melt in my mouth for as long as possible. Sheer heavenly decadence.

I also took a few sips of the tea before I delivered it to Tony. It was kind of interesting, a nice twist on the Earl. The bergamot is there, but not unpleasantly so, the vanilla-lemon curd taste is more up front. I handed him his tea & went on to savor my cup of Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend (I can’t wait to see what the winter version will be).

Tony’s comment regarding the tea: “It was ok, but it smelled too much like a pastry.”


You were right, it was like lemon pudding. I didn’t realize that there is something in it that I’m allergic to so I can’t get any more but I liked the lemon bar flavor.

Terri HarpLady

must be the licorice root, eh?


how can anything smell TOO MUCH like a pastry?

Terri HarpLady

That’s exactly what I was thinking! That pastry smell & taste becomes especially important when you’re gluten intolerant!
I find it also ironic that the rare earl grey that actually appeals to me a little doesn’t do it for him. Ah well…to each their own!

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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
2971 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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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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