1998 Tasting Notes

drank Pu Erh Caramel by Gurman's
1998 tasting notes

Steep after steep, pot after pot, puerh has become our traditional tea for board games and gatherings. A former music student of mine who is now at college and my my godson came over to play Dominion today. We played for nearly four hours. And the tea kept coming.

This is a likable starter puerh for people who are afraid of trying puerh, and there are real chunks of caramel in it that melt during steeping. Somehow the caramel flavor keeps coming through for a number of steeps. We really enjoy this, although it doesn’t evoke sighs and murmurings about leather and barns. But it isn’t supposed to on game day. It is supposed to be enjoyed on the side while we eat lots of stuff we shouldn’t!


I love Dominion :D


Caramel-pu sounds like a good fit.


Sounds yummy!

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I have been neglecting this and it is time to concentrate on drinking it a LOT before it gets too old to enjoy. I wanted a quiet and contemplative cup tonight for a little candlelight and soft music, just something I have been needing. I invited hubby to join me and I really didn’t know how he would feel about the mint in this. He isn’t a mint hater, but he wasn’t overly fond of chrysanthemum and has preferred unflavored white and greens at times, but I gave it a go.

It turned out that he did like it quite a bit. We enjoyed five steeps of this tea. My favorite part of it is the anise. I really hadn’t had it much before and long ago did not care for it in German cookies, so I am surprised at how much I like it now. Anise reminds me a little of licorice root, which is probably crazy to those of you who are super tasters. I think making homemade cola syrup helped my love of anise to grow, and now I want to start making some homemade anise teas as well.

I really don’t understand the pricing on this website. The photos are gorgeous, the packaging makes you feel positively spoiled when you order, and I didn’t balk too hard at $27 for two ounces since it was just a little splurge for myself. But $125 for 7 ounces in a tin? I love the tins, too, they are magnificent, and at that price I hope they are double lidded, but I honestly can’t see myself ever ordering tea in a tin from them unless I win the lottery…..BIG.


Crazy price point! That tin would have to be shooting rainbows to justify such a price, never mind be double-lidded.


and come with a guy to make the tea and rub your feet! LOL


Spa in a tin!

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drank Ginger Snappish by Bigelow
1998 tasting notes

This is another Bigelow tea that was included in my Christmas card from GMathis! Thank you!

Tonight was writers’ group night at my house, and because of the severe cold weather I had decided to make a bean soup – rather like a vegetarian chili – for supper to warm my hubby. Then I wondered if that was such a good idea with a house full of company coming…

To stave off any tummy grumbles I decided to try this since ginger is supposed to be good for digestion. I think it worked! The tea smelled very good, like freshly baked cookies but not overly sweet. I did detect a note of round sweetness that I associate with licorice and slippery elm. It turned out to be a hint of licorice.

I bought ginger snaps a long time ago and didn’t like them, but then my youngest daughter made gingerbread men at Christmas this year and we all loved them. The store bought ones were too hot and spicy for me. Hers were just right. That is how the tea was for me. By the end of the cup, the ginger was building up and becoming more noticeable, but at no point was it too much or unpleasant.


Normally I despise teas with licorice, but it’s not obnoxious at all in this one.

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I know I reviewed this as an matcha latte but I don’t see it now, nor was this listed as in my cupboard. Drat it, Steepster!

Inspired by the pictures that Red Leaf posts on Facebook, I made some matcha ice cream with a twist. The twist – I used homemade kefir, which generally produces a frozen yogurt like dessert that tastes like cheesecake. My only ingredients were 12 ounces kefir, 1 1/2 TBLSP sugar, and a scant teaspoon of matcha. I froze it in my Zoku cup since it was a small batch. I froze it in two batches successively, adding it to my teacup.

It was very tasty, and healthy, though that is a lot of matcha at one time for me since I ate it all by myself!

Thank you, Red Leaf, for the matcha surprise! My student who shared some with me has emailed three times for help in choosing their flavors as they are requesting your matcha as their birthday gift at home!


Frozen kefir! That’s a new one to me, but I can totally see how it would taste like cheesecake.


We were looking at shops in Toronto’s PATH and one is called deKefir. It is a frozen kefir shop, like our frozen yogurt! Plain kefir with vanilla and sugar added and made into ice cream tastes just like cheesecake flavor frozen yogurt.


Genius! More people need to do this wonderful thing haha.

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drank Salted Caramel by Bigelow
1998 tasting notes

A few weeks ago I received a lovely handmade card from GMathis with a few tea bags tucked in. Today was the perfect day to try them! It is really, really cold for where I live. We will be below freezing for a total of about 40 hours, and that is a big deal here in Eastern NC!

I chose this first because I recently fell in love with a dark chocolate salted caramel candy bar. I felt like I was having a dessert after lunch! The smell is remarkable – spot on caramel. It reminds me of 52Teas Weeping Angel.

The taste: a very enjoyable black tea with lots of caramel flavor. I enjoyed it plain, and I expect if you like to add sugar to your tea it really would taste just like candy.

Bigelow has been good to me. This is the tea they serve at the cancer center and I have tried a number of flavors there. All have been superior to most of the bagged teas I have found in the grocery store.

Thank you, GMathis! This was a great afternoon cup for huddling by the fire!


It’s been a long john’s week here, too. However, sun has been shining, mostly; my un-scientific contention is that 20 and sunny is warmer than 40 with dampness and clouds.

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To our members in France: my thoughts and prayers are with you today. I saw the news as I was having lunch with my daughter. I feel sad and sickened by what happened. God bless you all.


Amen. Very well stated Ashmanra.


Agreed. So sad!


Amen as well. Well said , they need our prayers as we have had theirs I am sure.

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drank Ruby #18 by A Southern Season
1998 tasting notes

SuperAnna and her hubby stopped by on their way home from their anniversary trip to Myrtle Beach. They were picking up their hedgehog, (my grand-hog?), and stayed to play board games.

Hubby doesn’t want black tea, son-in-law prefers it, SuperAnna likes green and white best. Usually we make lots of different teas, but this time I served the tea that does it all. Looks like a green, tastes like a oolong plus Darjeeling plus black plus green, smooth and sweet, it slides down and pleased almost everyone. And that is exactly what it did. It is a keeper. And a great resteeper. Bonus.

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drank Keemun by Fortnum & Mason
1998 tasting notes

My, how we change! This tea was sent to me by SimplyJenW three years ago. That’s right. THREE YEARS. I saw it when I was diggin through my samples box and decided that since youngest already had a whole pot of tea for herself, this would be a good time to use my Kamjove pitcher from Teavivre and resteep the heck out of this, thereby acquiring a generous portion for breakfast and finishing a sample to boot.

We no longer add milk or sugar to our tea, and with food this was quite good. I had a good bit left over and also got to experience it on its own. It tastes like a hearty breakfast Keemun, not as raw and rough as a good old wake-you-up Hao Ya B but not as prissy and refined as a top of the line afternoon sipper to go with cookies. And this was with three steeps using 7 ounces of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of leaf. I think 21 ounces of tea out of the end of a sample is a pretty good deal, especially since this is getting on in age. I have never purchased this brand, but I would do so without hesitation if I was somewhere that carried it.

Thank you, Jen, for “joining” me at breakfast today!

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My son asked for Black Cherry Matcha from Red Leaf Tea for Christmas, so I ordered 60 grams and upgraded the base because it really seems to make a difference to me. When the order arrived, there was also this pouch of 30 grams of Madagascar Vanilla Matcha! I panicked, wondering if I had ordered wrong, if my son’s pouch of tea was also just 30 grams and they had made a mistake but NO! It was a gift! A bonus! There was a little note on my invoice with a smiley face!

I had skipped lunch running errands so I wanted a latte to fill me up fast. I made a big glass and told my son to try a sip, and I was a little alarmed when the “sip” went on and on and greatly diminished my glass! He handed it back and said, “I’ll have one!” So I made another glass for him.

I used about eleven or twelve ounces of skim milk, one tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of matcha. I stirred with a spoon then further mixed and frothed with an Aerolatte, a little mixing tool that costs less than $20 and can easily be had for less using a coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

It was like drinking a vanilla shake with a touch of creamy matcha flavor thrown in. Delicious, and thank you so much Red Leaf Tea for the bonus! I think my son may be hooked on a new flavor!

Also, I really like the new packaging. For a matcha that I will drink pretty quickly as lattes like this one, the new zipper pouch is perfectly good storage and I don’t have to be frantic about finding a tin or jar right away.

Sami Kelsh

Wicked! How sweet of them to send you such a lovely gift :)

Cameron B.

Ooh, is the Black Cherry one good? I was wondering which cherry to try when I get around to ordering. :P


I was just thinking about ordering from Red Leaf. Last time I ordered the French Vanilla. I might give this one a try next.


Cameron B. – the black cherry is one of our favorites for shaking in a cold water bottle and using during workouts! It is yummy! I make pitchers of it iced for them U.S. when they do heavy yardwork to keep them refreshed. They seem to love it! They go through tons!

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drank Sakura Blue by Mariage Frères
1998 tasting notes

The tin and box refer to this as blue tea. I had never to my remembrance heard of a oolong tea being referred to as “blue.”

This smells heavenly. It reminds me a lot of Teavivre’s Taiwan Ginseng Oolong in the scent. I googled blue tea and lots of the listings were for oolong tea rolled in licorice root and ginseng powder, but these leaves do not appear to have been rolled in anything. It is sometimes referred to as a Formosa style oolong.

There are large and medium sized leaves and a good number of cherry blossom petals. We are steeping over and over. The flavors are sticking around for a few steeps, but mild after the first. The oolong is neither super green or heavily roasted. Perhaps “Blue” refers to the level of oxidation and type of heat this tea has had?

This tin is going to be gone in no time and I am going to miss it when it is gone. I am rather taken with this tea right now.

The tin is tall and thin and has a really nice double lid. It will definitely be saved and recycled for storing another tea.


Beautiful canister – but then again, so many of Mariage Freres’ are (sigh)

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