2556 Tasting Notes

We haven’t had a gong fu session in quite a while. I began to have trouble sleeping so we stopped having caffeine in the evening and we just haven’t made time during the day on weekends, plus it has been in the 90’s and humid so not the first idea that springs to mind on a Saturday after mowing.

Derk gave this tea a glowing report and I was intrigued because Ashman and I love the Dong Ding from Tin Roof Teas, and when I buy it we tend to speed through the 100 gram bag because we make big pots of it for breakfast.

This was the perfect tea to renew our gong fu sessions. It was everything I love about Dong Ding plus so much more.

The wet leaf after the very quick rinse had little aroma. It was saving it for later.

Ashman jokes about his inability to make notes on tea, saying, “This is hot and tea-ish.” For this one, he sniffed and said it reminded him of the smell of wood. I agree, and all Dong Ding smells of wood and toast to me. He agreed it was toast and not smoke.

The first sip was a mind bender. Creamy? Was that creamy? Not milky, mind you, but creamy. Yes, yes, it was. Then fresh wood aroma and fruit, and a flitting of sweetness through the cup. The sweetness lay on the tongue a moment and I was startled to be reminded of fruity gum. I think it was what others more accurately called roasted sugarcane. I need to try some real sugarcane.

Steep two was magnificent. All the flavors increased. I can not say that the woodiness took a back seat and the fruit stepped forward, rather EVERYTHING stepped forward. In fact, I felt there was more fruit and Ashman said he thought there was more wood. The flavor overall increased, and it stayed that way for all five steeps.

Magnificent. Worth the price and worth the wait. I can hardly wait to try the others, including the exciting free sample that was sent. I ordered enough to get free shipping and the package came quickly, registered mail. A good experience start to finish.

derk

Alright!

Evol Ving Ness

Delightful. It makes me happy to hear about your tea joy!

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drank Palm Court by Harney & Sons
2556 tasting notes

A sipdown of a tea that I go back and forth on. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t. When cool, I don’t. While it is really hot, both Ashman and I like it well enough but we have too many other black teas we like better. I probably won’t restock this one ever, but it IS a decent cup of tea.

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This is a backlog from a couple of weeks ago, and I can not remember if this sample came from derk or White Antlers. I need to start writing these things down so I can thank people properly! Many thanks to whomever sent it!

This sample is labeled Summer, July 2020.

I liked this tea more than most other tasters here did, but perhaps that is because it has been a long time since I have had a good quality unflavored black tea other than the same (good) ones that I drink frequently with Ashman. Because caffeine has been keeping me awake, we stopped having evening gong fu, and there are few plain black teas that he enjoys, so I end up drinking Bailin Gong Fu…..a lot.

And this was just different! It isn’t a bust your chops wake up tea. It has the gentler nature often found in many Fujian and Taiwanese black teas. It is more floral and fruity than savory or roasty. The quintessential “tea” flavor that makes me think of a truly fine Ceylon orange pekoe is tucked in with honey and fruit.

It made a really nice morning mental vacation on a day when I could really use it. (Those are frequent for everyone now!)

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I finally finished this tea. I hoarded for so long that I was afraid it was a goner, especially with the big strips of coconut in it.

GMathis mentioned scones a few days ago and I could not get them out of my mind, so Monday morning I made a batch of cranberry/white chocolate chip/pecan scones to serve as breakfast for the week. This was what I chose to pair with it.

The smell of the dry leaf is so sweet but the tea itself is not. I think it is the combination of black and green tea that gives this tea a little smoky edge that keeps the macaron part from being cloying. It was just hefty enough for breakfast but I love it as an afternoon tea, also. It is one of my favorites from Whittards of Chelsea. The coconut was not in the least rancid, thank goodness.

So this was a sipdown, but I don’t get any extra room on the actual shelf because the tin is too pretty to throw away. Eventually I will probably part with it but not today.

AJRimmer

I can’t bare to throw away pretty tins. Instead, I leave them on the free table at work and hover in my doorway watching them find new homes!

ashmanra

I feel the same! I teach a lot of teen girls who instagram and they often take my pretties for photo props! The sturdy tins often end up in Ashman’s woodworking shop to hold bits and bobs. When feasible, I relabel them and store loose leaf that came in an envelope or bag.

I can just see you peering out to see them leaving, clutching your hankie, and dabbing away a happy tear as you give a surreptitious wave goodbye!

gmathis

Throw nothing away is hard-wired into my DNA. Depression-era parents.

ashmanra

Gmathis: Same! Spent tonight re-hemming an ancient blanket by hand because the edge binding wore out. One end done, one to go, and boy, is my neck stiff!

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drank Fraisier by Lupicia
2556 tasting notes

This seems utterly impossible. I just finished my pouch of Fraisier and there are no tasting notes from me? I swear I remember making comparisons to Carol! So here we go…

You know this was popular because I have teas that have been hanging around for six years and I got this for Mother’s Day and it is gone, mostly because Ashman likes it a lot and we have it for breakfast on weekends with our bagels.

Carol is limited edition and sells out fast. It is black tea with strawberry, vanilla, and coconut. Fraisier is black tea with strawberry and vanilla, and they also sell a plain strawberry black tea.

Carol is our favorite and goes FAST. I realize that it might not be wise to stock up too much of it with the way coconut can go rancid, so I guess I won’t try to buy a year supply when it comes back before Christmas.

Strawberry black is good, but there is a very weird aroma in the dry leaves that comes through a little when steeped, but everyone has liked it well enough.

Fraisier is excellent. It resteeps pretty well so I can use 3 teaspoons in my stump pot, steep, make another steep, and pour into the big pot. I don’t know what that weird aroma is in Strawberry Black, or if the vanilla here covers it up, or if this is just a different strawberry flavoring.

Speaking of big pot, anyone have a favorite they recommend? I don’t want to take anything too delicate outside to the stone patio and have been looking at the big Curve pot. I have a large tetsubin we use now, but it is pretty heavy, which I guess isn’t a big deal but each time we use it, I think how we really should look for maybe a ceramic pot, which will be heavy enough in that size. I am thinking around 36 to 40 ounces.

Also, joyful squealing here as the cherry vanilla bagels are back at Panera! Brekkie on the patio this morning on our first day with lows in the 50’s! Never mind that we still have 90’s in the forecast. I need to find everything that makes me happy and note it because I dislike the short, dark days and have to battle seasonal depression. Like the cooler weather, hate the shorter days.

gmathis

I’ll see that cherry vanilla bagel and raise you a cranberry orange scone (Target, not Panera).

ashmanra

Oooooo, I may have to look for that! Panera used to have cranberry walnut bagels that were pretty good but discontinued them. I should make some scones….Youngest used to make lovely cranberry white chocolate chop ones for me.

gmathis

I did, however, strike out on Harney & Sons tea @ Target (was looking for that bourbon one). Nothing at ours more exotic than Vanilla Comoro and Pumpkin Spice.

ashmanra

A sample of O’Connor’s is on its way to you!

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I have made this as iced tea twice and finished it off by making by the carafe. It is nice, fruity, and made me think of Pomegranate Oolong from Harney and Sons somewhat. I don’t know that I would like it hot but it was quite serviceable cold. We go through a lot of iced tea in summer.

Enjoyed it, but not a re-order for me. There are so many good options that cost a lot less. Piper and Leaf just seems a bit expensive for the amount of leaf.

Although I haven’t posted notes for them all, I have finished off a number of samples lately and my cupboard is getting almost manageable! I do not add samples to cupboard, so there are probably at least fifty additional teas over what is listed for my online cupboard here. Working on it! (So I can order more tea…)

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drank J.E Oolong Milky by THE O DOR
2556 tasting notes

Good golly, it has been too long since I had this. Eldest daughter Superanna gave me my first tin of this tea. She later placed another The O Dor order for me as a gift and tried the sample of this that came with the order and she was hooked. I gave her some of the tea she had gifted me, and when we ran out I bought a milk oolong for another company and it did not even compare. Superanna said no, thank you.

Then Kawaii was kind enough to send us some of hers! It is just delectable and when it runs out we will simply have to order from The O Dor again.

I made a big pot of it to go with veggie lomein and potstickers for supper last night. The aroma coming from the pot was so thick and creamy that it made me think of those really rich green tea lattes from shops. This is completely unsweetened but smells SO creamy that I almost felt like I was sniffing a green tea ice cream like the….Haagen Dazs? Godiva?….matcha ice cream I bought a long time ago.

This is somewhat reminiscent of Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick, which is sold as a green tea but which is clearly a milk oolong, and almost certainly a flavored milk oolong.

I shouldn’t have had so much caffeine so late, but I didn’t care. It was too good to leave any so we downed the whole tetsubin and fortunately I slept well.

Thank you, again, Kawaii!

AJRimmer

What a delicious sounding meal and tea combo! I love making dumplings, such a fun family activity.

Kawaii433

Muah Ashmanra!!! I’m so glad you are enjoying it!

ashmanra

Kawaii433: Oh yes, we have been enjoying it! I shared with Superanna!

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drank Frosted Lemonade by Cuppa Geek
2556 tasting notes

I love this tea. It is so blasted hot here, with a heat index of 118F a few days ago and miserable humidity.

I made this iced and sweet and it gallops right down the gullet. Served it to neighbors over the fence a couple of months ago and they loved it. Served it to the family yesterday and same reception.

The lemon is just right, much better than how tart it ends up when I just add lemon juice to tea, and this way I don’t have to amp up the sugar to take that edge off. This is a really smooth and mild lemon flavor, candy-like. So good.

gmathis

How is it different from the Lemon Swirl? Different base?

ashmanra

Lemon Swirl is green and Frosted Lemonade is black!

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This sample is a surprise gift that came in the mail from White Antlers last week!

I was really surprised that I had to add this one to the site as I could have sworn I had seen it reviewed before.

The sample package says this is spring harvest white tea buds. The buds were fat and absolutely covered in downy white trichomes. The cha he looks like it is holding miniature fat and fuzzy pea pods!

Ashman joined me for this gong fu session and I asked him to describe the smell of the leaves after they had warmed in a preheated gaiwan. He said cedar. Actually he said, “What is hamster bedding?” And I said “cedar” and he said “that’s it.” Ha ha!

The steeped tea is quite different from the aroma of the buds. The description on the package says floral and fruity but I definitely felt it the other way around. My first impression was intense fruitiness, and the floral came after and was more subtle. Ashman said he liked the aroma of the wet leaves and steeped tea much better than the dry warmed leaves.

The first two steeps were very much alike, but the third must have oversteeped or something because you could smell the astringency before you sipped. It did have a lot of briskness but it forgave my negligence by rewarding us with a nice rising sweetness after the swallow.

White tea is Ashman’s favorite, so many thanks to White Antlers for the sample!

derk

White Antlers has been on my mind a lot lately. I hope she is well!

ashmanra

derk: She had breakthrough Delta variant of Covid but is back home now! Doing better but still recovering.

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It was ridiculously hot here – heat index of 104F one day – and then we had a few blissful days that were cooler, and a couple of nights in the upper 60’s! It was a little rainy and after the dreadful heat it really felt like great tea drinking weather. And for some reason, this particular tea was calling my name loudly.

It had a bit more ginger than I like the first time I tried it so I just removed a few pieces of the ginger to get it to the heat level I like. And it was FANTASTIC. I felt like I had been transported to the best part of cool fall weather. I actually drank it several times over the course of the two cooler days we had.

Since the ginger heat was reduced, there was no need to make it as a latte. I added no milk or sugar and it was just bliss. The warmth was just right, the fruity berry flavor was spot on, and it was excellent plain when I was waiting for my students and again later in the evening when I had it with dessert.

I am pretty surprised I enjoyed it so much since I really am not a chai lover and usually make such blends as lattes. I can’t wait for another cool day to have it again!

gmathis

Yum. Somehow I missed that one in the CG lineup. It sounds lovely!

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Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about twelve years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

Location

North Carolina

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