1943 Tasting Notes

drank Le Chat Noir by Leland Tea Co
1943 tasting notes

I had heard about it. I have read about it. I have seen some of your reviews when you were “under the influence.” But last night was the first time it actually happened to me.

I often feel very peaceful, happy, calm, contented, or otherwise positive when drinking tea. Jasmine and such make me relaxed. Tea with friends makes me happy. But last night I had my first tea drunk.

We had a lot of tea, sort of by accident. Someone came to Writers’ Group and stayed and then someone else came in, and I offered tea and…well, tea happened. We had jasmine green going for the young folks but the more seasoned ladies were in the kitchen with the aroma cup and a gong fu and that’s where it all began.

We started with Ginger Lily Oolong from Teaave. We went to Rishi Wuyi Oolong so they could see the difference between the two types. Then we had Bogart, to see how the flavorings in the black somewhat mimic the flavor of a roasted oolong.

Then this. And next thing I knew I was a little giggly and had a goofy smile on my face (I could feel it) and some things that sounded really hysterical in my brain but at the same time were not really sensible to say at the time were trying to get out of my mouth. Fortunately, I thought, “Wow, so this is what tea drunk feels like or else it is late and I am super sleepy and I am going to crash in a few minutes.”

And then it was over. I was still happy and having fun, but my brain was no longer going, “HEY! DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BE REALLY FUNNY RIGHT NOW?”

What can I say? They loved the puerh, made MY WAY and not by the horrible instructions on the website that resulted in a cup of nunchucks. One TEASPOON per 8 ounces for me, please. And a short steep. Then you have a lovely, earthy, possibly high-inducing cup.

Maddy Barone

Sounds like you had a great time!


We were warned about this decades ago in health class. It begins with an innocent sounding tsp. Next thing you know you move on to the hard stuff – 1 tablespoon!


Oh, what fun I am having imagining this!

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drank Aroma Cup Set by Tea Ave
1943 tasting notes

We have listed tea ware in the past and I think this deserves a review!

I had fondled a set like this at a store about two hours from my home, and thought about getting it. Then Teaave sent one for reviewers to use with their teas. Their price is almost identical to the one I looked at, and it appears to be the very same set.

Using the aroma cup makes such a difference in your tea tasting experience. A lot of people drink tea at my house, and they are often tea newbies who are wanting to learn more, to experience something new and special. This set really makes it a “Wow” experience. People love watching the ceremony of pouring, capping, then flipping the cups, rolling the tall scent cup in their hands and wafting in some air, and then passing it around and sharing what nuances and notes they find.

I started out using it with the oolongs they sent to me, and then started using it for…puerh! Yes, it is fabulous with many types and tea and SO MUCH FUN. We tea lovers don’t just drink tea, we experience it as fully as possible – color, taste, aroma. This set adds a whole new dimension to the enjoyment and the friendly sharing and ceremony.

The tray is such a nice touch, and I love that they had their name put on the bottom instead of the top. It seems more tasteful to me. I actually used the tray yesterday to hold some small serving utensils when we were tasting cheese. I plan to add their Al Fresco Tray to my tea ware collection soon.


Pu’erh is exactly for what I want to use these! (As soon as I finish reviewing the oolongs that came from Tea Ave.)

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This morning I got a call from a friend who lives in Charleston. She was here in town and wanted to meet for lunch. I wanted our time together to be special since it is not often that we see one another in person.

We had lunch at my house and I had youngest make some muffins for our dessert. I got out the aroma cup set that Teaave sent. Seriously, you would really enjoy one so order it ASAP!

My friend drinks coffee in the mornings and sweet tea in the afternoons but doesn’t really like hot tea. She had tea with me once and said she was amazed at the difference in taste when you have “the good stuff.”

This tea didn’t disappoint me using the aroma cup set. We smelled the dry leaves – faint, vegetal, a hint of sharp. We smelled the dry leaves in the warmed pot – more intense sharp and vegetal aroma, root vegetable. Then the steeped tea scent from the aroma cup – magnolias and a tiny hint of gardenia!

She loved the experience and the tea! We made six steeps in all, one liter, and each steep was so sweet and floral. She couldn’t believe it didn’t need milk or sugar. The golden color persisted and leaves were expanded impressively by the time we had to say good-bye.

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drank Bogart by Leland Tea Co
1943 tasting notes

This tea has been on my wish list for years. My daughter, Superanna, was super sneaky and used my wish list to birthday shop for me, and she is letting me have one tea each time we see each other even though my birthday isn’t here yet.

Doulton’s and other’s reviews made me want this. All I can say is…they were right.

Daughter smelled it and it smells like Christmas without smelling like Christmas flavors or Christmas trees. I see another review with Christmas sentiments on here, so she got that pretty much dead on.

But I don’t think of Christmas with this tea myself. I think of…Bogart, and his ilk. Youngest is in love with the 40’s and a few weeks ago we listened to The Friends of Mr. Cairo by Jon and Vangelis and then watched The Maltese Falcon.

When I drink this tea, I can smell Bogart’s cologne, and feel the stubble of his five o’clock shadow on my cheek. There is a hint of a pipe that had cherry tobacco in it – maybe he was smoking before I arrived.

Daughter says, “Tastes like cigarellos, trench coats, and subtle sexism.” And she hasn’t
even tried it yet! She did like the smell, though.

Something about it reminds me of roasted oolong, like a Da Hong Pao. I know that is the touch of Lapsang with the hazelnut. This is a blend that everyone who likes light smoke or roasted flavors should try at some time.

Thank you, Superanna!


That was so sneaky of her! And happy (belated) birthday!


What a thoughtful present(s)!

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drank Le Chat Noir by Leland Tea Co
1943 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
1943 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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drank Wuyi Cassia by Harney & Sons
1943 tasting notes

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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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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