2114 Tasting Notes

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This was a sipdown! I have been having it for breakfast to whittle down my older stock of Keemun teas. This is good, lighter than Zen Tea’s Keemun Finest, and I have enjoyed, but I do prefer the Zen Tea one.

Keemun teas are funny. There is such an incredible variety of flavor and strength, and you can change it so much just by how you steep and how much leaf you add – true of any tea but really can be a saving grace or complete damnation with Keemun, IMO.

They can be refined or hefty, smokey or cocoa-y, light or strong, wine-y or chocolate-y, brash or smooth. I like mine somewhere in the middle. Afternoons are great for the super refined, smooth, wine-y, lighter fellas, but for mornings I like that scrape of dark cocoa!

Doug F

I just received Upton’s Xiang Luo and it’s delicious—haven’t posted a review yet but I will.

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drank Matcha Sample D25 by Red Leaf Tea
2114 tasting notes

I placed a Red Leaf Tea order recently and this sample was included with my order. Thank you, Red Leaf Tea!

When you participate in the free sample test found on the discussion board, you get a 10g sample of matcha and pay only shipping. Once you review that, you will be sent another free sample with free shipping, and for the third free sample, I believe you receive this one. Mine, however, was simply included free with my order, and I already have another order on the way. Another sample, maybe? Woot woot!

The matcha powder is a lovely shade of green, nice and vibrant, and the aroma was very chocolate-y to me. I felt like it was a milk chocolate smell, but I did pass this around to several people and one of them immediately said it smelled like cocoa. Two others said chocolate, and one who had not heard them say this said it was a familiar smell but they couldn’t place it. Most people smelled chocolate.

I am not a matcha specialist. I am rather new to the matcha game compared to a lot of people, but I have graduated from only liking it as a sweetened latte to really enjoying a bowl whisked every day, plain. I have tried about ten different plain matcha teas, which isn’t very many, so lots of you will be far better qualified to write about these samples.

I usually use 160F water and no sugar. I have made this sample in this way several times now and feel prepared to review.

On the first tasting session with the lady who said it smelled like cocoa, she felt that it lost all chocolate scent once whisked up and said it tasted grassy. She is not a green tea drinker with the exception of enjoying jasmine green. She prefers black tea. I thought it was good. I found that I could work up a good froth, perhaps not as easily as with my KaiMatcha but it definitely got there. I did not find it bitter.

The color is slightly less vibrant than the best grade of matcha I have tried but still had a lovely color, and I stopped to admire the brilliance of the green color left in the white cups and pitcher we had used when we passed it around. The stain in the cups was a gorgeous color and had no trace of brown.

Tonight I even tried – for the first time ever – thick or Koi style using this matcha. I have never tried it before and found it a bit strong for me, but something I think could easily grow on you if you wanted to develop that taste. It wasn’t devilishly bitter, though, which I was afraid ANY Koi style preparation would be.

Thank you, Red Leaf, for your continued excellent customer service and for the sample!


I think if I’d find a Matcha as satisfying as this, I might give it a go. So, I guess I’ll have to place an order soon! I’ve always been one of those people who wanted to like Matcha, but couldn’t. Unless it was mixed with another tea or in a smoothie. However, I’ll have to give this one a try.

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drank Long Jing (Dragon Well) by Teabook
2114 tasting notes

What a surprise! I got this tea in a card from K S and hadn’t gotten around to trying it yet.

When I poured it into my Kamjove I gasped because a lot of powder came out. Could Dragonwell be good like that? I am used to long, thin leaves.

I steeped it twice at 175F and held it to two minutes because of the pieces being so small. I was surprised that tiny dregs didn’t go through the filter but the liquor was clean and clear. Go, Kamjove!

It was super good! It has lots of flavor and wasn’t bitter or sour. One steep that went a bit long had an edge to it, but nothing to put me off. I think we steeped it five times. It was fresh, springtime in a cup!

Thank you, K S. This was a great tea to have with our Asian food tonight!

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A non-tea drinker asked to come to tea yesterday! I have found that people who don’t already drink tea seem to very open to puerh, and many get addicted to it. I can name three people who had puerh at my house and now have a large puerh collection, even though they didn’t drink tea before they came. And I serve other teas, but puerh gets the fans!

Anyway, after showing my guest some loose leaf puerh, flavored puerh, coin puerh, and beengs, I chose this one to serve. She really liked it and said it was her favorite of all the tea we drank. (We started with Teavivre Dian Hong – Golden Tip, then had their Anxi Tie Guan Yin) I made a lot of it in resteeps, then cold steeped the leaves overnight and had the cold puerh with my lunch today. Hubby came home from work and we had grilled cheese sandwiches and creamy broccoli soup with a little grated cheese on top.

I would say this is already better tasting than when I got it 14 months ago. I liked it then, but I think I like it even more now. It has not unseated my beloved and now out of stock Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds, though.

This has quite an earthy aroma, but she wasn’t frightened away by it. The taste is earthy, too – more farm-fresh soil than barn and horse.

On another note – I DESPERATELY WANT THOSE CHICKEN TEA PETS FOR SALE AT THE TEAHOUSE SHOP!!! I can not believe it. I have too much stuff, too much tea stuff, too many doodads, and don’t need any more kitsch, but they are so adorable! I never thought I would ever buy a tea pet. Yes, I will probably break down and buy them very soon.


I started out with a milk oolong. It wasn’t until a couple of years when I started working at a tea shop that I was required to try a pu-erh. I must say I’d decide to drink a pu-erh any day over a lot of other teas! They’re so unique and vastly different than most teas.


I splurged today online. I ended up purchasing a huge amount of tea. And afterward, I realized that with my Gaiwan set, I wanted a tea pet. I mean, after watching tea videos all week, I noticed these little clay animals—which at first were peculiar, but interesting…..Anyway, I found the tea pet that’d make my tea drinking….


A little pig. My wife bought me a pig mug on our wedding, and I’ve made it my goal to collect all pig things for my tea drinking.

Hopefully you’ll your chicken tea pet!


That pig is adorable! I have never seen such sass!


Must be the similarity to coffee that garners fans! :)

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I was really shocked to see what low ratings this tea has! Maybe mine was a little different? Or fresher?

It is a type of tea I really don’t drink. It says it is a blend of teas from India and Assam seemed to be the dominant flavor. Thick, malty, and bready came to mind as the best way to describe it. Usually Assam tea gives me a stomach ache and I avoid it, or at least add milk to tone it down when I must drink it. But this was quite good with my breakfast. I was damp and a little chilly from dealing with the chickens and getting rained on as I performed my coop chores, so a hearty tea was more welcome than usual. Breakfast was a fresh egg and homemade Finnish yogurt with a bit of raw honey. It went very well together.

I didn’t buy this – it was given to me by a student in a bag of Christmas goodies and I am just now getting around to drinking it. Someone compared it to Red Rose, which I don’t think I have ever tasted, but I bet they are spot on. This is what I think of as builders’ tea, but I enjoyed it this morning, even though it is a type of tea I don’t usually drink.

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drank Matcha organic 40g can by Zen Tea
2114 tasting notes

I had this with lunch today. May I horrify you? My hubby has failed to eat his leftover Chinese food. It is one week old tonight. Instead of baking it a cake or throwing it out, I decided to add some water chestnut slices and reheat it for my lunch since he doesn’t seem to want it.

I wanted green tea with it and I have a whole lot of matcha that I bought all at once, way way too much at once! I am working hard to drink it all and now look forward to my daily bowl. I LOVE having the real matcha bowl from Zen and it really does make a difference. The size and shape are perfect for whisking and drinking and also for swirling your tea as you drink so it doesn’t settle too much.

This is very good for lattes and drinkable as traditional thin matcha. Kai Matcha is definitely way better. I want to try some of the Red Leaf higher grades once I get some of my present stock sipped down. I also want to try DoMatcha. I would have to order, though, as I can’t find it anywhere.


hehe Yeah matcha is so very versatile. I can’t wait to see what you think of the other matchas.

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2114 tasting notes

I was going to have something else tonight but there was a tiny bit of this left from breakfast. I drank it to empty the pot, and it was so good I decided to have another pot. The whole pot, all by myself, this late at night with an amazing candy bar that my daughter brought me from The Ganachery at Disney. Might be up late tonight…

This is my favorite Keemun right now. It has just the right heft to be delicious at any time of day and yet never need sugar or milk. But it isn’t one of those Keemuns that gets relegated to afternoon tea because of not being strong enough for breakfast.

Best of all, I bought more during that two day sale a few days ago. Between the coupon and the exchange rate, I almost feel like I robbed Zen Tea. I got so much tea for so little money! And then Ken included three samples in the box, and they are generous sizes. In addition, I added some of the free tea to the cart that is listed as not meeting their standards so you can get one pack free with each order.

Between the box of new tea and the candy bar, I would say my tastebuds have had a pretty awesome day.

Evol Ving Ness

Yay! And what coupon? Please do tell.


It was a two day sale. I had posted it in the Sales thread on the discussion page. I don’t think it is valid anymore but you could try! I received an email promoting it.

Evol Ving Ness

Ah, yes! I remember now. Thank you!
Just as well that I conveniently forgot about that as I am totally overwhelmed with teas for now. Happily so. But still…

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I was feeling a need for ritual tonight, something soothing and peaceful, and asked youngest if she would like to join me for tea by candlelight on the living room floor. Hubby was already in bed.

It was so dark that we kept overpouring and spilling our tea, but that’s okay! I took a picture of the tea tray with my phone and the color of this tea was amazing. Deep golden yellow!

The first steep was quite short (no rinse) and was one of the favorite steeps for my daughter. The second steep was much stronger – had a wang to it, as she said! – but it had that beautiful rising sweet taste that comes from deep within and blooms in the throat. Third steep went a little long and was seriously strong, so I went quickly to steep four which was brilliant. Here I was getting that energy that vibrates through raw puerh. On and on we went. Steep seven was creamy, almost milky. And these leaves would keep going but I have run out of water in the kettle and I feel mellow and sleepy. That is a nice side effect of raw puerh.

On a side note – we did have a sandalwood candle burning but also a Luminara “fake” candle. I love mine for those times when you want a candle burning but you don’t want to risk having a real one lit because you might fall asleep! They have a timer, and I fall asleep with one by my bed every night now. Although they are obviously fake when you are close to them, they are incredibly realistic from a short distance away and the flickering is soothing.


That sounds like a lovely evening! I have a few fake candles, myself. I really like them for the same reason.


We have some of these candles. Next time I am awake in the middle of the night I’ll try to remember this. Although tea at 2:00 am probably seems kind of counter productive if sleep is the goal. Maybe I’ll save it for 5:00 am. :)


Herbal teas, even the ones not specifically designed to help you sleep, can be really relaxing if you’re up at night.

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I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about six 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…


North Carolina

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