2059 Tasting Notes

drank Le Chat Noir by Leland Tea Co
2059 tasting notes

Made this by the pot today using their recommendations. Not doing that again. This was great last night – five or six steeps, in an eight ounce pot with one tablespoon of leaf and eyeballing the color for time.

I used two tablespoons for my 18 ounce Stump pot, which is less leaf than they called for. I steeped four minutes and I am left with a bitter black puerh. I don’t think I have ever had a puerh get too bitter to enjoy, or too dark, as I have some that I like inky black. This one I can’t handle, though. I am going back to my own steeping parameters where this tea is very enjoyable! This pot will easily be saved by putting it in a different container and diluting it by about half. Resteeps will be kept extremely short.


I just don’t understand where the horrible brewing parameters come from and so many tea sellers have them! Occasionally I will western-steep a bit of shou, and I use not much more than a pinch of leaf in a mug of water. Otherwise, every tea I drink will be flash-brewed and poured.

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How embarrassing. I cleaned my closet yesterday and found four ounces of this tea. I am sure I bought it for my daughter for Christmas…2013. It must have slipped behind some things in my hiding spot for gifts because I know I didn’t buy any this past year.

So, having not had it in a while, we served it at tea time yesterday with Apple Pecan Crisps and homemade vanilla ice cream. When we sipped, everyone agreed that this is what we think of when we think of TEA. You know, classic, all purpose, bracing morning beverage.

It has a lot of flavor, great body, and just a touch of dryness. It is just mild enough for me to drink plain but takes milk and sugar very well. It is a little fruity and bright, with good malt notes. It would also make an excellent iced tea, I think. Since it is already over a year old (my bad) I think I will try that to get it used up before it gets too stale.


Elderly tea is great for icing down when it’s hot.


So… Did you buy this online? I was just at the Chapel Hill store on Monday, and I looked all over the tea section… Found all kinds of teaware and tea brands I don’t normally find in stores, but I couldn’t find their house teas. Years ago, they kept it all at the front of the store near their house coffees. Where do they keep them now? I felt silly asking this question because I looked around a LONG time.


Ah… You may not remember if it was from 2013, but… That would be more recently than I’ve been to the store until now.


I can see how you might miss it! If you call the mall entrance the front of the store, then the tea and coffee is on a side “dog-leg” hall by the cafe entrance, near the door that comes in from the parking lot. That’s where it was when I first started going there about five years, and where it was when I was there about a month ago. They have a new puerh that is very expensive on their Fine Tea wall that I want to try, and since you can buy as little as one ounce, I think I will get it next time I go! Their Ruby 18 is great, and if you can get Wild Forest Oolong, buy an ounce. Very expensive but worth every penny. They run out of it and it takes forever to come back in, though.


Kristinalee, we should try to meet up for tea sometime when I am back in Chapel Hill!


That’s a good idea! I looked at the wall I think you’re talking about and it was all Mariage Frères teas. I think this is where I was. Do they still keep their teas in clear plastic bags? They have pretty good teaware, I noticed — all very reasonably priced.


No, the tea is by the coffee and they have a pretty big counter. The daily tea is still in plastic bags, and the house Fine Teas are in big canisters on the wall behind the counter. They measure those out into foil lined bags for you. If you walk in at the mall entrance, where the chocolates are, turn right. You will go past the deli and cheese counters. There will be some tables of teas and shelves of teas there but keep going and round the corner making a left. There is a narrow “hall” there and the cafe is on the right side of the hall along with some teaware and Mariages Freres. On the left will be the tea with the Fine Tea behind the counter. Next is the coffee, then the entry door from the parking lot at the S. Estes Street entrance. So if you come in that entrance near the al fresco dining for the cafe, you will be right there with the coffee and tea!


Ah, k, I managed to miss all this somehow. I came in through the restaurant at the narrow hall area. I just didn’t really bother to look at the coffee since there was so much tea all together — I assumed it must be there. Oh, well… Next time.


I must not have looked to the right, thinking all the tea was…not behind the counter or something, I have no idea.

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drank Le Chat Noir by Leland Tea Co
2059 tasting notes

I went to Raleigh to pick up ChelseaR’s dogs as she goes on a trip. I picked up her key from my daughter who let me choose one tin from my birthday stash, but I wasn’t allowed to see the labels. I decided on the tin with the silver bow even before I knew it was puerh.

Hubby and I shared it tonight. I didn’t know what to think about their instructions – a TABLESPOON of leaf for eight ounces of water. And four to five minutes steep in boiling water! I followed their instructions on leaf but not time and had very satisfactory results.

I thought the tea would be black as pitch with so much leaf. I didn’t time it but kept an eye on the color of the steep. It was dark, but not pitch like some I have had. I thought at first that meant that it wasn’t going to resteep well, but it did.

The verdict tastewise is – no fishy, no horse poopy, mostly earthy with a high almost metallic note, which I love. Perhaps that is the camphor sometimes mentioned with puerh because it is almost a minty coolness. It has a great round mouthfeel, full flavored and medium bodied. I am pretty excited to see what those other two Leland Tea tins hold!

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This is a beautiful oolong, with its dark and twisted leaves, so long and so rich looking. I had this today with a chocolate chip muffin and hubby joined me. He still says this isn’t his favorite but he drank several cups anyway.

My tastes in oolongs go back and forth – I orefer greens for a while, then roasted, then milk oolong…but I can say that this was really excellent today, and it is quite old. I know some oolongs are aged, and even pressed into cakes like puerh. I think this one is a good candidate for that because it seems to have kept it’s charm, roasty, nutty, and on the final steeps having a cool sweetness akin to licorice root or ginseng.


I think roasted oolongs keep for a long time, at least 5 years. I have one that says it’s good for 15 years!

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I finally opened my cake of this last night! I had samples before, and this is one that I like so much that I go a little weak in the knees on the first sip.

It isn’t very tightly compressed so I was able to simply break off the portion I wanted. I steeped it for three minutes and was pretty heavy on the leaf, but it isn’t at all bitter. It is beautiful. So beautiful. This has such a smooth, round mouthfeel and the taste matches the feel of the tea. Earthy with a sweet cedar oil overtone that is so soothing and relaxing.

This is the tea that made my husband say those magical words to me…I need to make a tea station in my office so I can make tea at work. His journey to the dark side is now complete.

Sigh. Tea happiness.

Son and his girlfriend tried it and loved it. They flinched a little at the cost of the cake. I showed them they are paying only a tiny bit more for this one that WOW’ed them than what they were paying for the tuo chas they have been drinking once you divy up the grams and figure it out.

They ordered a cake, too! This will be my new “conversion puerh” for bringing people over to the dark side.

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My hubby made me very, very happy last night. We had a pot of this tea and a pot of another Teavivre puerh, and as we were drinking he told me that he needed a way to have tea at work. I said, “You mean, you want me to make you a JoeMo to take with you? Or a Thermos, or something?”

But no. He wants the paraphernalia to make it himself. I squealed. I squee’d. I get to buy him an electric kettle, a pot (probably the Kamjove that Teavivre sells), some puerh, and I told him he needs a special cup. He mustn’t drink it out of a Valvoline mug or something. I told him he needs a special cup that will mean something to him, a “little cup of calm” if you will, for all Black Books fans out there.

As for this puerh, it is good. But the second one we had was even better and so very beautiful.

This one is pretty tightly compressed but I only needed a puerh knife, not a pick. We drank one steep which was pretty earthy, and I put the leaves in the fridge to make a cold steep of it for today.


that’s awesome!!


I gave him my recommendations today and he laughed and told me that he had NO idea the amount of excitement that his request was going to generate. Really?!


A new convert!! YAY!!


Please keep us updated on your selected tea ware for your husband. I use the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Kettle (not a bad deal at Bed, Bath & Beyond with their 20% off coupon) and Teavana Perfectea infuser. Sadly, I drink from a Valvoline type of mug but will not set upon a journey for a proper “little cup of calm” :)


Thanks for the kettle tip, Conchobar! I suspect all the mugs in the office are Valvoline, Johnson Controls, Caterpillar, and that ilk! He has a very stressful job so I was thinking about a tall, narrow Japanese style cup that would be warming and soothing in his hands, but maybe a mug would do as well! I would like to fix him up with a tray and candle and full on tea station to relax by at lunch, but that may not be his intent! He did say he wants to make his tea himself as opposed to taking some in a JoeMo, so I think he is looking for the peacefulness of the process! I will let you know! I am looking at the Rock Luster cups on Stash Tea as a possibility.


Thank you for mentioning Black Books! I had never heard of it, so I looked it up…I’ve been laughing all day watching episodes online. :)


Ashley – I am so glad you got some laughs from it! We reference it all the time and crack each other up!


Conchobar, I resemble the Valvoline remark.


He didn’t want me to order new cups, so he chose a couple of gaiwans that I am not using to take to work. I have some spare tins that I will fill with his favorites. Now all he needs is the kettle! He wants the Al Fresco tray from Teaave and so do I, so we will be getting two of those soon, and he wants the Kamjove infusing pitcher from Teavivre so we are almost all set! We just have to choose his kettle now.

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drank Da Hong Pao by Tao Tea Leaf
2059 tasting notes

My son’s girlfriend had tea with me Sunday morning and we tasted a couple of oolongs. He has gotten her hooked on puerh and she fell in love with Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice while she was here, and she has had a few greens and liked them but hasn’t had them at home much. I wanted her to try oolongs, as she had only had one or two green oolongs here.

I had to get the package to make sure of the company name. When I opened the bag to give a sniff to refresh my memory for this note, the aroma was so enticing that I had to reach in and take out a leaf to chew on. That doesn’t work out with all teas for me, but it is quite enjoyable with this one. It is very true to the flavor of the steeped tea.

We tried this using the aroma cup set that Tea Ave sent. The scent cup feels wonderful in your hand while it is warm if the day is chilly and damp and your hands are cold. The tall narrow cup is the perfect size and shape for me to hold onto and warm up.

The aroma of this one blow us away. I love Da Hong Pao already, and I could see that ChelseaR enjoyed it. It had a lovely chocolate aroma, with burnt sugar, and a nice bit of smoke. We had several nice resteeps from it, too. That oolong latex or thick resin flavor is there in scent and taste as well.

This is one of the teas my daughters picked up as a gift for me at the Toronto Tea Festival, and I think this is a company we will likely order from again.


my favorite DHP.

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We have had a solid gray cloud covering all day, with drizzle and rain most of the time, and a bit chilly though nothing compared to what many of you live with. When I got home from taking a friend’s young aduly carless child home from school for them (the grandfather died and the parents are out of town) I needed comfort, and I guess even youngest who had stayed home felt the chill and damp because she asked if we had any Harney Royal English Breakfast on hand.

Since we didn’t, I made this one in its place. I didn’t sweeten it with maple syrup this time, but kept it plain and had went a little light on leaf and time – on purpose – and had it with my leftover Chinese food lunch. It was quite nice. Tomorrow we may get a little snow, but it will certainly be cold and gray again, so I think a big pot with a bit of maple syrup may be in order.

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drank Genteel Lady Tea by Luis
2059 tasting notes

I have been hoarding this and it is time to let it go. I thought I would never find anything like it when it tried it three years ago, and I doubted anyone I knew would be in Hungary anytime soon, so I searched for it online and discovered it under the name of My Lady, but all were far, far away. One company said I had to buy a vast amount before they would ship to America. A Slovenian gentleman agreed to send it but they had no PayPal account.

I am delighted to say that as I drink it now three years down the road, I see that this isn’t a lost forever tea. I have found a number of teas over these years that compare very favorably so I won’t despair when it is gone. But it will always hold a special place for me, as one of the first teas brought back by my daughter when she traveled and a tea purchased by her and her now-husband who is very dear to us.

It is a smooth black tea with so much fruity flavor, no doubt blended by one of the big German distributors but pretty reminiscent of the fine French blends.

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I think my last review went under the regular Bohea heading from this company, but I think they are the very same tea. I doubt they change the blend for different historic sites.

I wasn’t really drinking this much because the base was so weak. Then I saw a review by Mark. He said he had found the sweet spot, which was double the leaf, boiling water, five minutes.

I gave it a shot today and he was right. Now I can finally taste the tea in this cup. The smoke is still light, but the base got amped up enough to make for a nice breakfast cuppa today. And it didn’t need milk to tone it down, or sugar to tame or sweeten.

It still isn’t my favorite Bohea ever, but I can drink it. I am somewhat befuddled as to why they used Ceylon tea for the base since Bohea (pronounced boo-hee) is a corruption of the Chinese word Wuyi, which is where most of the early colonial tea came from. I realize that Bohea became almost a synonym for tea, so perhaps it was applied to Indian tea as well. I prefer the Chinese base.

Thank you, Mark. Now I don’t have to send this packet packing!

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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…


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