2183 Tasting Notes

I have read the reviews of this tea by K S for years now. Last year I finally went looking for it and it was all sold out. That happens with the better Christmas teas in this area. White Christmas by Stash is another one that you had better load into your basket as soon as you see it or else you won’t be having any.

Imagine my surprise when I was in the grocery store tonight and saw one box. ONE BOX. No label or tag on the shelf for it. Just the one. I looked around to see if they were putting out Christmas tea outlandishly early. (The heat index here is still over 100F most days.) I saw a pumpkin tea but no more Christmas tea. There was a box with peppermint sticks on the front but it didn’t say it was a Christmas blend. Since I had wanted to try it I had my daughter check the expiration date to make sure it wasn’t last year’s tea that turned up in a back room, but it looked brand new and had a nice long time until it expires.

I was going to have one cup tonight to try it, but as I took the sachet out of the box and the aroma hit me, I knew hubby had to try it. He is aptly nicknamed “The Cookie Monster” in our house. This smelled like really good sugar cookies, specifically the Queen Cake recipe from Colonial Williamsburg that we make at Christmas. So I made a whole pot, and we ended up making a very passable resteep.

Reviews said that it tastes best slightly cooled, so I waited to call him in until I had poured it. I used three sachets in a Stump teapot, boiling water, and five minutes steep time before pouring but we did not remove the bags.

I thought it was great! This is a wonderful, wind-down in the evening cup. I tried it plain first and then based on reviews added a little sugar and milk. I liked it best plain. The milk covered up the light orange notes. Hubby add sugar and more milk than I did, and he loved it best that way. He said milk always smooths black tea for him and he felt it did for this, too. I didn’t taste anything that needed to be smoothed and milk just made it “heavy” to me so my next cups we all plain.

As hubby said, this would be delicious with something to dip in it…a Rich Tea Biscuit, biscotti, graham crackers. I am definitely going to be aggressive about finding more of this during the limited time it is available. I could really use something caffeine free that feels like comfort food for evenings, especially this winter.

Thank you, K S, for singing the praises of this tea for all these years.

gmathis

I’ll definitely hum along! One of my fave-fave-favorites.

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Another sample that I am working on – this is an older one that probably came in the five samples for $5 pack a while back. It is an awesome deal and I encourage you to try it if they still offer it and you haven’t partaken yet.

Tonight I made egg foo young and honey glazed carrots for supper. We had a large pot of this tea with it. Hubby drank it down fast and I had to make a resteep. The resteep was every bit as good as the first steep, and had about the same color and flavor as the first.

It was very pale in the cup and had a lovely “rock oolong” flavor. Smooth and sweet. I drank the last of the pot as a cold tea with a nice strong cheddar while we lay in the hammock watching the meteor shower. It was excellent cold as well.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2183 tasting notes

I had an elderly sample of this, and my attempt to drink up all the older teas continues so I served this at tea time on Tuesday as well as Wednesday after lunch.

Both times we served Swedish Pastry Ring that my youngest made and it was SOOOO GOOD. She asked which I preferred – the Kringle or the Pastry Ring, but it was really apples and oranges. The Kringle was so light and fluffy and soft, it really me so much of a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut but with nuts, butter, and brown sugar in the middle. The Swedish Pastry Ring had an entirely different texture but was equally heavenly. The pastry had more body and was like a truly delectable sweet pie crust. The browned butter glaze sent me right over the moon.

The tea – this was surprisingly light for a black tea. The friend who had it with me the second day used to love black tea most of all, then found her taste switch to Puerh, then white or green. She enjoyed this, and I think it helped that it is a very light and mild black tea, not drying, and with a lot of oolong characteristics going on, including that signature mineral aftertaste. Sweet stuff!

Evol Ving Ness

When you say elderly, what does that mean in this case?

Fjellrev

Probably just a sample that’s been sitting around for quite a while and is getting old/stale?

ashmanra

It was a sample. I can’t remember where it came from – a swap or the five for $5 offer, but I think the very “youngest” it can be is a year, and it had been opened. It was still very tasty, though!

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, so a year or more is elderly. Thanks for clarifying.

ashmanra

If it had been in a good tin I would keep it for three years with no problem, but it was a sample in a brown envelope with the top folded and a clothespin on it! I feel like that ages faster than a double lidded tin would allow. Thus my designation! I am trying to drink oldest samples first, and samples that I failed to store well. They are good, so I won’t chuck them out, but they do need to be used ASAP, especially to reduce clutter as we renovate our kitchen since my “tea center” is being moved.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, got it! Now I totally get it. And kitchen reno, how exciting! But the tea centre being moved, now that’s got to be traumatic!

ashmanra

It’s exciting actually! The rest of the reno is traumatic, tho! LOL Hubby is doing it all himself. Raising the cabinets, painting them, changing the doors, tearing out a soffit, pulling up two underlayments and three layers of vinyl…But I get my own cabinet top and bottom with countertop for the kettle and storage for all the tea and teaware!! Squeeee! And I don’t have any loss of use (for tea) the way he is doing it. Might not be able to cook for a few days, but who cares? We have tea!

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, that’s the most important. :)

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I had a sample of this sitting around and wanted Puerh to go with Hawaiian Sweet Bread that my daughter made this morning. I used the whole sample and my 26 ounce teapot, boiling water, first steep three minutes.

It is an earthy and a smooth Puerh with the lovely surprise of a stone fruit sweetness that caught me offguard. Delicious, and second steep is already almost gone as there are three of us drinking it. I didn’t time the second steep as Puerh can be unpredictable and the second steep often needs only a few seconds.

There was a sheen from droplets floating on top of the tea, oils I guess. I can tell we will get a number of steps still from this, so I will probably use some of it as a cold tea for tomorrow. This was delicious, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it.

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drank Cherry Blossom by David's Tea
2183 tasting notes

My daughter, Superanna, brought an adorable tea assortment from David’s Tea for me when she returned from Minnesota. My best friend loves white tea so I picked this as one to drink with her.

Today we had a pot of it with a Kringle and Lemon Pastry Slices that youngest made. I really wish I had tried it before taking a bite of my pastry because it took me a few minutes to get the full effect of the tea.

I see lots of reviews of people who think it tastes like medicine, and lots of people who love it. We loved it. Rooibos tastes like horrible cough syrup. This does not. Funny, but it tastes like Christmas to me. Maybe that’s because we had cherry chiparoons made with maraschino cherries and coconut, and we have fruitcake with candied cherries, but this tastes more like Christmas than all those orange and spice concoctions all the companies throw at us.

I also realized as I was drinking it that it smells like the Christmas candle my eldest just gave me from Yankee Candle that she didn’t want “because it smells like medicine but I think you will like it!” This is more like cherry candy than cherry cough syrup to me.

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My youngest daughter adores Lapsang – started loving it when she really young, which is so odd to me! When eldest daughter, Superanna, travels, she always brings back a Lapsang for her sister. This is the latest.

According to Superanna, choosing it with like this…“Do you have Lapsang?” DT: “Yes, right here.” Superanna sniffs sample. “Cough cough that’s perfect cough bag it up cough.”

While it does have a very heavy pine smoke aroma, this is quite a lovely tea. It does smell very smokey and my hubby claims he got “second hand cancer” from smelling the pot we made, but it is actually sweet and super smooth.

It reminds me of Upton Black Dragon. Yay for a good Lapsang on shelf before fall and the beginning of school. Youngest swears she needs Lapsang to get through school!

R.F. Hill

Ha! My brother, who hates hot tea, loves Lapsang. When he visits, he asks for the “Smoked Meat Tea.”

gmathis

I keep hoping to learn to love Lapsang—it’s such a tea-ophile “standard.” Just need to find the right one. (Hey, I finally learned to like oatmeal last winter…there’s hope.)

ashmanra

GMathis: have you tried Baker Street Blend? Maybe you need to ease into it!

Teatotaler

Have you tried Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell? It’s an especially good Lapsang, I think.

ashmanra

I haven’t! I have seen it several times. I should buy some and try it.

Teatotaler

Just let me know if you would like to try some, Ashmanra. I’d be very happy to send some your way!

MrQuackers

Your husband is right, of course. :)

gmathis

Baker Street … no … I’m due for an Upton order one of these day. (If the confounded heat starts letting up. We’ve had two rainy 80-ish days in a row, but I think it’s just going to heat back up to a sauna!)

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Since stopping Prilosec after sixteen years, I have been eating light as much as possible. Tonight my kitchen is in shambles because it is being renovated and I had no idea I would be unable to cook. Like an idiot, I bought fast food. Arby’s roast beef sandwich and fries and a Pepsi. I was miserable after eating light foods for so long.

Puerh to the rescue! I had the presence of mind to take my kettle into the living room earlier and my tea shelf isn’t affected by the destruction of my soffits and wiring, so youngest and I are having a nice pot of tea and reading.

I made this with just one half of a “coin” and boiling water. I actually oversteeped it, but I had also used a pot that was bigger than I realized so there was a bit more water than usual. That worked out well, and we still have a really strong brew. This is as black as coffee but tastes great and has already done much to relieve my bloated feeling.

We will get a few resteeps out of this, too. It is an earthy Puerh without fishiness, but it doesn’t have that cedar oil vibe that I love right now. This one may not have it, or it may be because of the oversteeping.

It is tasty, though, and doing the job I wanted it to do.

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drank Grand Cru Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
2183 tasting notes

Superanna brought me what is commonly known as a “big ol’ honkin’ bag” of this after her trip to Minnesota. I also got the most adorable box of David’s Tea minis. It looks like a chocolate box, but I am even happier with a tea box! Thank you, Superanna! And there wee a couple of other teas, too, that I haven’t even logged yet.

We whipped this up last night and I am having more today. It is so easy to get a good froth on this. I used a little over 1/2 tsp of match in six ounces of water at about 160F. I sifted the matcha into my bowl, poured a wee bit of water and made a paste with my whisk, then added more water and whipped it. The color is rather dark, deep green without brown tint.

This is really creamy and smooth, yet it still has that nice after bite. It isn’t sour or astringent, but has a lingering flavor or grass and what we decided is accurately being called bamboo. Go eat some bamboo shoots in your Asian takeout if you are like us and bamboo taste didn’t pop into your head immediately on reading the description!

Now I am all matcha’ed up and ready to teach this afternoon.

Guess I need to get my wish list ready for Gurman’s in Dublin before she leaves in a month again! :D

MrQuackers

6 oz is a bit too much water and 1/2 a teaspoon is not enough tea. Ideally you want a bit less than a shot glass and a flat teaspoon. I have yet to try this one, yet. I did go through 100g of David’s Ceremonial Matcha. This one is about 68% of the price, when buying a 250 g package. If you like bamboo you can watch a whole NHK program on it. It’s sold at Tsukiji market in Tokyo (or wherever now) and chefs use the differing properties of the same root. Anyways, if you enjoy this matcha go with it. Spending more won’t necessarily bring you more happiness. You might be able to get Cereminial on sale.

ashmanra

I own a lot of matcha and drink it almost every day. I guess I just prefer it weaker than most people. :) My favorite is KaiMatcha Premium followed by Tanabata from Red Leaf. Under that falls this one, DoMatcha, etc…the commonly available ones. We drink it hot or shaken in old water, with the rare latte. Thanks for the tip about it, though!

ashmanra

*Cold water not old water! LOL

Superanna

Yeah MOM geez. Lol

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Backlog from a few days ago: I have been neglecting this tea and all my white tea, really. My guest who comes once a week really prefers black tea so that is what we mostly serve. My best friend loves white tea, though, so I picked this one for her visit.

Youngest made a cake called kvaefjordkake. It was astonishingly delicious. It is yellow cake with whipped cream and meringue, and we topped it with fresh strawberries. She made it from scratch, as always, and ground soft white wheat into flour for the cake.

I would normally use a good black tea like Fengqing Dragon Pearls for cake, but this cake is truly light and refreshing so the pairing worked well.

I used 185F water and gave it three minutes. Teavivre’s jasmine teas are always perfect in my eyes. No surprise that we love this. I buy tins for the ones I plan to keep on hand so this one gets a tin on my next order. This is a favorite and very versatile. It is great alone or with food. The jasmine relaxes me.

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Bio

I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about seven 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.

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

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North Carolina

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