2201 Tasting Notes

Last night was okay, but not particularly festive. We are pretty much stay at home folks for New Year’s but I got bored watching tv and listened to some music by myself. So tonight when we played Ticket to Ride and feasted on some great champignon brie and um…M&M’s (weird combo?), I really felt like we were having a party! Pathetic? I think not!

This has been our go-to puerh when we have big crowds, and we drank it a lot through Christmas when everyone was here and we are continuing to plow through it now. I actually felt I understeeped it a bit on the first steep in my big tetsubin, but hubby was thrilled with it. He thought it was excellent just as it was. The color was really light compared to how strong I usually make my puerh tea. I still liked it and it wasn’t too weak tasting. It went really well with the mushroomy flavor of the brie, too. And this tea is such a great resteeper we will probably have a couple of liters off of these leaves tomorrow!

Oh, and if any of you are following ChelseaR here on Steepster, my son proposed to her last night in New Hampshire where they are skiing with her parents as the fireworks exploded overhead and she said “Yes!” So congrats to my Sandtrooper and ChelseaR!

Evol Ving Ness

Happy post. Congratulations! So lovely to hear such news.


Congratulations to them…and to you! :)


(snoopy dance!) What lovely news to start a year!


Congrats to the married to be and you.


Congrats to you all!


Great news! Congrats!

Terri HarpLady

Yay! Congrats!

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I have been drinking my matcha in a little soup bowl for years now. It is okay, but one who loves tea just needs teaware, right?

For years I admired the Zen Brush bowl at Zen Tea Life, but when I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask for one for Christmas they had stopped carrying the dark blue one and had a brown one. They had this lovely Aurora bowl in blue, though! Yes!

I love using it! I have had matcha every day. The depth is great for whisking. Also, you can swirl your tea so the particles don’t settle and it is deep enough that it doesn’t slosh over. I love the scalloped, wavy lip so you can pick your most comfortable spot to sip. It is very pretty and when it is wet from washing, the lighter blue shades almost sparkle.

Evol Ving Ness

So, one can use it directly for drinking? Yay! It sounds like the perfect thing.


I panicked when I read your comment. I wondered if maybe you were not supposed to drink from the bowl. I wouldn’t know as I have never seen anyone use one and I just assumed. So I googled it and indeed, it looks like one IS supposed to drink from the bowl! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Oh, no, no judgement on my part. I just wasn’t aware that that was what people do. And now I am, so thank you.

Evol Ving Ness

I have the tea and I have the bowl, but I have yet to unpack things. (Not from Zen.)


I think you’re supposed to drink from the bowl because it helps you smell the tea? At least I remember reading that somewhere.


Evol Ving Ness – I am glad you said something so I don’t make a fool of myself! However, when we were tasting some new matcha, I did froth it in the big bowl and then dip in my tiny tasting cups and pass around sips for everyone. Matcha is too expensive to make a whole bowl per person just for testing purposes, and I am a big believer in repurposing and multipurposing!


I have an identical one that I got off ebay, but mine is white with small crackles. I agree that it functions very well!

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My eldest daughter gave me this tea for Christmas. I haven’t had any of it in about three years, although I have had lots of other Teavivre shu. The amazing thing about this tea was its staying power.

I used one tuo cha in a small pot, and made pot after pot after pot, often combining steeps. It was lovely after the meal, a little earthy and not too horsey (as my daughter put it), and the rose scent is strongest in the first steeps but is not a big player flavorwise. it adds a nice sweetness to the tea without being heavily floral or peppery as rose can sometimes be.

I love how one little piece made enough tea for five people to drink for two hours.

I haven’t ordered the tuo cha teas from Teavivre in quite a while for myself, although my son gets a big bag every year for Christmas by request! I am glad to have this on hand. It is a reliable old friend.


My favorite toucha.

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This tea smells great in the bag, and keeps a nice scent while steeping. The flavors are soft and mild and the base lacks that bitter bite that I find in so many flavored greens.

This actually belongs to youngest. She sniffed it while we were Christmas shopping in Chapel Hill and loves the scent, so I threw it in the basket to serve as a stocking stuffer.

The coconut and almond are well-balanced, and I enjoyed it sans additions. The friend who drank it with me immediately placed money on the table and asked me to have some picked up for her.

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2201 tasting notes

Eldest daughter, SuperAnna, gave me this for Christmas. Sometimes she Steepster-stalks me for gift ideas, and sometimes she makes notes on what I like. She picked a winner here!

When she asked what I wanted for Christmas, I requested the beautiful Aurora matcha bowl from Zen Tea. She added this to the order and I am glad she did.

First reaction this morning was a growl as I lifted the cup. This is breakfast Keemun. Not so bold that you have to add milk and sugar, but bold enough that you are not going back to bed! (I don’t need tea to wake up – I am pretty at it once I awaken and I have to go out first thing and feed the chickens anyway, so that gets me going. If I don’t make it out quickly, the chickens “moo” annoyingly and I am afraid they will disturb the neighbors!)

There is the raspy scrape of unsweetened cocoa on my tongue and the very light hint of smoke, then as you sip, the building fruitiness. Nice tea! This would be very good with milk and sugar for those who like it that way.


Mooing chickens! What’ll they think of next? ;)


Moo-ing is their morning grumpy sound, and one of them actually sounds like it is saying, “Moooooom!” I imitated it once and the kids thought I had brought her in the house. This particular chicken was named Darles Chickens but we call her Buffy most of the time. When they squeal, they are being picked on by another chicken. If they sound like geese, it means they see a flying predator.

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I really loved the sample of jasmine green tea at the local bubble tea shop but at the time I needed something fortifying so I got a Taiwan Milk Tea. I decided to try making a homemade version, and I remembered this economical beauty from Teavivre and thought it would be the perfect base. I was right.

I made the tea strong, about double strength, added sugar, and let it cool. I added too much milk but we live and learn. Even with too much milk it was good, and when I get my proportions right it is going to be phenomenal.

I think I may reorder more of the base just for this purpose.

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drank KaiMatcha Premium by KaiMatcha
2201 tasting notes

My eating habits have been deplorable these past few weeks and I can feel it. I keep getting hungry, and tonight I wanted to hydrate and have something healthy at the same time. Since I got my first ever matcha bowl (chawan) for Christmas from my daughter SuperAnna, I picked matcha! I got a nice treat and felt like I was making a great choice at the same time.

This is a vibrant green matcha and I haven’t had another like it at this price point. The wonderful spinach aroma as I whisked it was mouthwatering, and I really want to have more but shouldn’t this late at night. The only bad thing about this matcha is that it sells out and stays out of stock for long periods at times, so if you want some, grab it while you can.

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drank Boba Milk Tea by Bubble Tea
2201 tasting notes

I wasn’t sure where to put this so I just made a new entry. Tonight as I was Christmas shopping I wanted to show my daughter a coffee shop that I knew she would be interested in. It happened to be closed so she couldn’t go tonight, but it is a coffee shop/bakery/antique shop where you can sit and read and sip your cup of joe while enjoying being surrounded by cool antiques. I don’t know if they sell tea, but I would love that!

Lo and behold, there was a bubble tea shop on the other side of the shopping center!
I have never tried bubble tea. Sandy and I tried to go to one in Chapel Hill but sadly it had already closed – for good.

We went in and there were two young women working. The Asian girl was very, very young, probably still in high school, but she really knew her tea. She was able to tell me that they sourced their tea from China, used quality leaf, mixed black tea and golden tip for their black tea blends, and gave us free samples in little cups since I had never had any. The jasmine green milk tea was heavenly, but for some reason I wanted the heartier black milk tea tonight, perhaps because it was raining. Oh, and I saw a little sign that said to mention the rain, and I didn’t. As she rang me up, the young lady said she really wished I would say something about the weather, so I told her it was terrible out there? It had been pouring rain for hours. She smiled and said they have a rainy day discount and took ten percent off my order.

They had two tip jars, one labeled “Death Star Rejuvenation Fund” and the other “Hogwart’s Tuition Fund.” Cute!

The tea itself was bold even with milk and sugar, and had a definite espresso vibe to it with touches of chocolate and the barest hint of light smoke. Youngest told me it tasted a lot like the Taiwan milk tea she got in Chinatown in New York earlier this year.

I will be going back to get some of that jasmine green milk tea. I think in future I will leave out the tapioca pearls. They were okay but didn’t do a lot for me and I would rather enjoy the tea without them. They have so many other options that you can add – many of which I have never heard of but I am sure they are common to bubble tea.


I usually put my milk tea shop observations under Random Steepings. =). I’m glad you had a good milk tea experience! Sometimes when the barista isn’t too good, first timers are put off by it. Haha, if you come to California there’s milk tea places almost every few blocks, it’s like Starbucks out here.


I am curious about milk tea. What exactly is it? Is it different than bubble tea? I have had bubble tea, but I didn’t actually think it was tea. @ashmanra this sounds like a great little shop. I am glad you had a good experience with your youngest.

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I asked hubby and youngest if they wanted to join me for tea last night and they were wishy-washy until I mentioned this tea. Then they were on board.

I haven’t tried mixing these pearls with plain jasmine pearls yet, but I mean to do it soon. Meanwhile, these are really awesome and pretty much everyone who tries this tea is smitten. It is sweet and smooth. If you want that little bite that greens can give before they turn on their sweet aftertaste, steep it grandpa style and give it some extra time. Don’t like that? Just add hot water and you are back in business. I am experimenting with teapot steeping style lately!

Another teapot story for you on the heels of my teapot purchase – Years ago I inherited a tea/coffee set made of pewter. It is the style you would see in Williamsburg or the Moravian village of Old Salem. My husband loved that tea set and didn’t understand why I didn’t use it more. I will tell you why. NO INSULATORS. Those little pieces of bone, ivory, or wood that you see on metal handle teapots really work. The few times I used that teapot, I had to use a dishtowel folded several times to pick it up because the handle was ridiculously hot.

Then one day I saw a pot with a sort of rattan woven handle and started thinking, and inspiration came from a puerh knife that was given to me by mrmopar. It has a black cord wrapped handle. I went on YouTube to see how to do it on knives, went to a craft store and bought paracord, and VOILA! I think the teapot is much more attractive now, and best of all, the handle is never more than comfortably warm even after I filled it all the way with boiling water. I had planned to store it away as a memento and never use it again, but now I can keep it out and use it when I want a large capacity teapot.


reminds me of my metal, electric tea kettle. don’t touch the side after boiling water unless you want a burn!


Little creative touches make things special!

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2201 tasting notes

I got a new teapot!

We do not have lots of money – we made the choice to have four kids and homeschool them, and although I have always taught music/worked elections/done bookkeeping, etc. it still takes a while to save up for things. A long, long while!

Five years ago I started looking for a little silver teapot. I wanted it to be an older one, but it didn’t have to be too old. It had to be a serious bargain, because that is all I can save up for. It had to look pretty to me! I decided I really would mostly use it when having tea alone, especially maybe when I need a little boost, so the small bachelor size teapot would do nicely. I didn’t need the milk and sugar since I don’t use either, so a single pot would do nicely. Someday maybe I will get a full size set, and if I ever do I want it to include the hot water pot with the short pouring lip, because they are also great to use as a coffee pot or chocolate pot. A short lip or spout is easier to clean when using a milk based product in the pot!

A few weeks ago, I found this combination of qualities in my price range. It is an 18 ounce capacity pot made in London in 1891. It has enough pattern not to show dings easily and yet isn’t gawdy. And it arrived Tuesday night!

I wanted the first tea to be special or meaningful and I thought of this one. Without saying what I had picked, I asked my youngest daughter what she thought the first tea should be and she answered, “Queen Catherine” immediately.

It isn’t my best tea or most expensive tea, but it is an old friend. Five years ago it was my comfort through the cancer diagnosis I received four days before Christmas. The Queen was my fortifier throughout treatment. And even before that, this tea made me feel better when I was feeling down about things way back when I still added milk and sugar.

So the Queen was first in the pot! I am experimenting with the best way to use the pot, and I “grandpa steeped” this. It worked, and I didn’t get a bitter mess and the resteep was really good. It was fine without milk or sugar, too.

My husband loves green, white, and oolong tea but he started out on black tea with lots of sugar and some milk. Sometimes in winter he still likes it that way, so I may set out a little sugar bowl sometimes and make a pot for him.


Congrats on your new teapot. What a great story!


Thanks, Morgana! Every time I nearly bought a pot I would feel panic – as I usually do when spending much over $40! Ha ha! But I felt perfect peace when I bought this one, so it must have been just right and I am really pleased with it.


I’m so glad you went with it! Sounds beautiful.


You deserve a nice teapot! Way to go for kicking cancers butt!!


awesome! so glad you found YOUR pot :)


Yay for your new teapot! We’re expecting our third child and I’m getting ready to start homeschooling our oldest, so I understand how nice it is to buy something you’ve been saving up for.


Sounds lovely!


Perfect tea for the christening!


My mom took us out and homeschooled us. I’m very thankful for what she did and I know your kids will be (if not already lol) too.


rosebudmelissa: Enjoy your homeschooling years! This is my last one, and I have very little to do since my youngest daughter is doing concurrent enrollment and completing her first year of college along with her senior year of high school. In our state, those classes are offered free, so it knocks the college expense down!

Skysamurai: That is wonderful! You have no idea how much it means to a parent to hear their kids say they appreciate something! I have loved my homeschooling years.

I was a performer when I was young, and some doctors wrote me a note to have a homebound tutor until I could clear my schedule enough to get my tonsils and adenoids out. The tutor came once a week and dropped off assignments and picked up my work, so it was like being homeschooled for half of eighth grade and my mom and I really enjoyed it.

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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…


North Carolina

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