2026 Tasting Notes

drank English Breakfast by Twinings
2026 tasting notes

Another beautiful morning at Sunset Beach! Yesterday we got to see not only the woodstorks of Vereen Park (have only sighted them once before in about 6 visits) but we saw their babies, too! They still had that awful baby bird hairdo that is so cute, but were old enough to walk around and fish with Mama, and Daddy awed us by flying over. Magnificent!

As for the tea, it was just so-so. It is a basic cup of tea, not offensive but not ringing any bells for me. I did a shorter steep because I thought that it might get bitter quickly being a bagged tea. Perhaps a little more time would have made a more robust tea.

There is a tea room nearby. Hope to get there later today and see if there is something delicious to report!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
JacquelineM

I totally know what you mean about the baby bird hairdo!!!!

gmathis

Thanks for letting us vicariously share scenes from your vacation!

gmathis

(sigh) … a vicarious vacation may be all I get this summer …

Serendipitea

I found this tea so blah I didn’t bother to write a review on it .. Try their Irish Breakfast though – I keep that & Lady Grey in my cupboard ;)

ashmanra

I do like both of those, Serendipitea! I have some of each that I bought for here, and for home. I am letting my youngest have all the Irish Brekkie, though, since that is one of her favorite kinds of tea. I get all the Lady Grey, though!

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drank English Breakfast by Typhoo
2026 tasting notes

I am drinking this tea courtesy of a lovely couple we just met in a stained glass shop. They live in Ireland (he is Irish, she is British) and vacation here every year, and bring their tea with them! They shared several sachets of Typhoo when I mentioned that I like tea.

I only steeped this for a couple of minutes due to my experience with Clipper Gold, which needs merely to be shown the hot water and then whisked away. I think it is a little on the weak side, so next time I will steep longer. It is not a tea full of nuance, but rather a very standard tea – not nearly as strong as the English breakfast teas I have had. Still, it is good to taste a new tea on the trip, and the best part was meeting sweet new people!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Lady Grey by Twinings
2026 tasting notes

We’re at the beach for a week, and I don’t have my usual teas, teapots, kettle, etc. I almost brought them but thought I shouldn’t risk my teapots and didn’t want to use up so much room! I settled for buying the Twinings assortment at a grocery store, with a promise to myself that anywhere and everywhere we go to shop I will look for some special .tea.

This Lady Grey isn’t bad! I added a little sugar. It will do in a pinch, until I get home to my favorites!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Serendipitea

To really boost the flavour try mixing 8 – 10 drops of Orange Essential Oil into a fresh tin, then resealing for a couple of weeks before drinking .. Lots of my ‘gumboot/plain’ tea drinking visitors comment on how good it is and go on to buy some since they can get it cheap and locally :)

ashmanra

I may try that! These are bags, but I suppose closed in a tin they would still absorb it. It sounds good!

KeenTeaThyme

I normally don’t care for Earl Grey teas, but this is one I really enjoy. I’ll definitely have to try Serendipitea’s tip. :)

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

Woke up with a sore back and much to do – get the van in for new tires and servicing before vacation starts tomorrow, have a radiation check-up at 9 am. It is time for…CATHERINE! The tea that gives you the strength to meet your day while consoling you at the same time!

I talked my youngest into sharing this pot with me. She likes Queen Catherine, but sometimes feels it is a little strong for her. Today she downed her cup! Milk and sugar with this one in the mornings, as usual.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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drank Keemun Mao Feng by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

Well, this is different….I wanted iced tea and I wanted it right away, and it had to be sweet tea because I was trying to create a real Southern meal such as would be served after a funeral.

Food is of utmost importance at Southern funerals. Now, there wasn’t a funeral but there was a burial as I finally got around to burying my eldest brother who was old enough to be my dad and who died in 1984. My daughters and I had to find his box and dig it up when my mother’s property was sold after her death, which wasn’t easy because Dad never told us EXACTLY where he had buried the ashes. I wasn’t even sure they were in a box, but thankfully, they were. (Are you horrified? Or amused? Bet you’re wishing you coulda been there!)

SO – I promised the kids real fried chicken and fixins’ because I don’t fry ANYTHING EVER but that is what you eat after a burial. By the time we got home from the cemetary and buying the food we were so hungry! I couldn’t wait long enough to brew a pot of tea, but I had a pot of Keemun Mao Feng left over from yesterday. I heated it a bit in the microwave, added a little sugar and poured it over ice! Ta-dah! The best iced tea I have ever had, I think. It had a lovely rich edge that grocery store bags just don’t give you – a little something extra in the flavor profile. Bravo, Keemun Mao Feng! Rest in peace, big brother. I hope he heard us playing the 50’s and 60’s stations on satellite radio in his honor today!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
gmathis

Neither horrified nor amused—-it just made me smile!

JacquelineM

That sounds like a good cup of tea!!!

Rest in peace :) I’m glad they were ashes, and not a skeleton, but I would have understood even if it were a skeleton :) :) :)

There is something about funerals and burials that bring out the absurd. I guess because death is so scary. It was so horrible at the time, but my grandmother threw herself in her sister’s grave at the cemetery, and also we had a closed casket for my grandfather, but somehow she summoned super human strength and ran out of the pew and OPENED HIS CASKET in the church to say goodbye! We laugh about it now but I thought I was going to faint both times!!!

Dinosara

What a day! Glad you found him(!) and may he rest in peace. Yay for a good cup of tea to end the day.

Uniquity

@Jacqueline – I’m actually laughing out loud. I would love your grandmother!

JacquelineM

Uniquity – she has passed on – and had a PINK coffin!!!!

Uniquity

Good for her! : )

gmathis

I’ve already asked friends and family to skip a funeral and just hold a memorial tea party.

ashmanra

gmathis – What a great idea!

Jacqueline – I LOVE the pink coffin! I had a neighbor who was like a grandmother to me and she loved pink. She had a pink house, pink chair, pink washer and dryer, pink stove and oven. She taught me to garden. After she died I bought Lady Carlyle china because the pink floral pattern reminded me of her and in warm months, that is what we use for every tea party. (In cold months we use Old Country Roses, and year ’round we sometimes use Spode Blue Room pieces for a change.)

Jenn

This is so a month ago, but I found your story so touching. Traditions and ceremony are so comforting in times of tragedy. I guess it’s our waybof controlling what we can. My great-grandmother was very eccentric, (because she was wealthy otherwise she’d be called just plain nuts), and she had a horse that she adored and kept on her property. Her driver/ horse caretaker Mr. Cissin was tasked with bringing the horse to her funeral as per her specific instructions. The horse was even brought into the family chapel for the service and I remember thinking it was totally surreal and I was only six. My great-grandfather was a mason, so there were little old men in aprons and funny hats. Everything including her coffin was lavender and I remember my father saying that he felt like he was in a Fellini film. It was much later and after many retellings that I understood his reference. JacquelineM is right, funerals do bring out the bizarre. But we did eat very well that day, and I later inherited my great-grandmothers Spode Blue Italian tea set :)

ashmanra

I know that tea set must be very precious to you! I love love Spode Blue Room collection pieces. And I love your story! Thank you for sharing it! I am reading it to my girls!

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drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

I wanted lots of really smooth teas today, so this was in the line-up for tea party. We served fudge brownies with freshlightly-sugared strawberries. Vanilla Black is not as sweet as its decaf counterpart, Vanilla Comoro, but is a delicious vanilla tea. A friend just switched to this one from Mariages Freres and really likes it, and the bonus is that it is so much less expensive! Smooth, sweet, no additions needed.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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drank Keemun Mao Feng by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

One of today’s tea party teas. Still as good as ever!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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If ever I found that it was impossible to get Harney and Sons Golden Monkey again, this would be a really close second that I would be happy to buy. Golden Mudan has the sweetness and honey notes of Golden Monkey, but lighter and not as full-bodied. I don’t really get roasty or toasty from it, but it has delightful charms of its own. It is still absolutely delicious! It was particularly good today with the fudgy brownies we baked and served with sugared strawberries from a local farm. Yummy!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
2026 tasting notes

Taken with milk and sugar, though this is one of the few breakfast teas that I find palatable without. I am trying to enjoy a pot of this pure keemun this morning in spite of realizing that I haven’t heard “my” birdies today and I can’t remember hearing them yesterday.

Oh, Canada! Must you take them ALL back in the summer? The little white-throated sparrows make me smile every morning with their sweet, breathy, reedy song as they scratch the ground ’neath my feeders and toss leaves about. Their adorable little striped heads and yellow lores will be sorely missed, but their return is one of the few things I look forward to about winter. They have rescued many a low morning just by singing outside my window.

Meanwhile, my pot of English Breakfast will have to brace me for this busy day. Hmmmm. Maybe I should have made Queen Catherine. She is the most consoling and bracing!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Dinosara

Our white-throated sparrows aren’t quite gone yet; we’re just on the edge of their year-round range, so they hang around for quite a while. The orioles and warblers are back now, though!

Uniquity

We want it all! I’ve noticed an upsurge in birds recently. Some extra birds around, pigeons mating, blue jays being adorable. There was a fun owl last time I was at my Aunt’s cabin.

ashmanra

Our finches have already raised one nest in our front fern and there is a new nest with four eggs. The bird bottle out back has already fledged its little sparrows, and our nuthatches, Carolina wrens, brown thrasher, and mockingbirds have all had babies! I just put in a new side bed with a third birdbath ( the other two are in the backyard ) and I am having fun watching all the splashing, plus all the dust bathing going on in the newly softened soil! This is the BEST time of year!

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drank Emperor's Red by Premium Steap
2026 tasting notes

Drinking Golden Snail has had me thinking about Emperor’s Red! I hadn’t had any in a while and wanted some today. Yes, it is just as good as ever. It is a milder tea than Golden Snail, but still roasty toasty delicious!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Bio

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…

Location

North Carolina

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