2159 Tasting Notes

Today’s tea party teas were chosen to revolve around our dessert from start to finish. Youngest made the French Almond Cookie Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Glaze. Yes, yes, look it up in Pinterest cuz it was yummy. Keep in mind that she uses freshly ground whole wheat and homemade vanilla when she bakes, as well as fresh eggs right out from under my chickens, so small wonder I have gained weight since she started baking.

Our first tea was Fairmonth Breakfast, plain and medium strong to stand up with this super sweet dessert. This was the second tea and Marzipan Black from Tin Roof Teas was the third, carrying on the fruit and almond flavors of the dessert.

This was listed as a free tea on the Zen website. You could choose one free tea with each order, and I got chai for my eldest daughter last time so I got this one for youngest this time, as she likes peach tea. It says the free teas do not meet their quality standards or are older than they will sell but are still fine to drink. I don’t know which this was, but we will drink it up gladly!

I am not a fan of strong ginger but this tea has a nice balance with the peach. It is smooth and tasty, and I would have no problem paying for it – it doesn’t taste like tea that a company would just give away! My youngest likes it a lot, and everyone seemed to enjoy it today. The base is smooth and not weak and dishwatery like some decaf. The flavoring is at a very good level to let the base come through but still have lots of impact.

Fjellrev

Sounds and looks simply divine!

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I had received a sample of this many years and I am pleased to get it once again with a recent order.

This was my lunch tea to go with some ramen noodles that I had doctored up. I like to ditch the flavoring pack that comes with it – way too salty – and add my own seasoning. Younger people may not remember that the first ramen noodles we could buy here in the US said that it tastes best with a bit of oil added! I usually make my own seasoning with a little bouillon paste like Penzey’s or Better Than Bouillion, then a smidgeon of low sodium tamari or soy sauce, a smidgeon of fermented mushroom sauce, maybe a little Korean Sweet Chili sauce – whatever we have on hand and I am in the mood for. I usually add frozen peas and this time I added some leftover diced sautéed onion, too.

I made three steeps and I had added extra leaf to my Kamjove to make up for the fact that I was planning to do so. And this was really good! Delicate and soft, it would win over a green tea hater. It is lightly buttery, lightly vegetal in a creamy way, and after you have a cup or two the flavor lingers more as well as developing a slight drying.

Really good with a meal or by itself.

Whiteantlers

I’m old enough to remember original ramen. I always add fresh garlic and ginger, both grated, cilantro, chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds along with hot chile oil and toasted sesame oil and animal protein. I like your recipe and tea pairing.

mrmopar

You have to try Ponzu with them too. It is soy sauce with citrus blended in. I like the kind with the lime.

ashmanra

Whiteantlers – That sounds good! I love adding water chestnuts, too, but I don’t keep them around much since I am the only one here that likes them. That little bit of oil really enhances the flavors.

mrmopar – I will definitely be on the lookout for that! I am not familiar with it, and my son and his fiancée who love to try new things with me are coming this weekend!

ashmanra

mrmopar – Are you making it home made or using the Kikkoman or another brand? Kikkoman should be pretty easy to find here, or I could make it home made.

mrmopar

I actually got min from Food Lion. The lime one I had to order.

Whiteantlers

Ah, ponzu! I have it and am glad for the reminder, mrmopar! I have not tried water chestnuts, ashmanra, but everything is better with a bit of crunch. Thank you both.

ashmanra

I will check Harris Teeter tomorrow!

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I was so sure I had reviewed this before…

I am a little afraid of breakfast blends. I don’t add milk or sugar to my tea, so I find builders’ teas to be somewhat brutal. Breakfast blends are often heavy on Assam or hearty Kenyan tea that has an edge and a good bit of astringency, and my wimpy tummy can’t take it. I am sure I would enjoy it with additions but I try to avoid them.

So this one was approached with caution. I steeped for only three minutes. I am pleasantly surprised. This is a very good accompaniment to my sweet and tart cranberry and white chocolate scone that youngest made (with fresh whipped cream – mm). This is most definitely a breakfast blend but it doesn’t bite. The packaging and website don’t tell you what is in this, and looking at the dry leaf it is quite dark, small leaves with a few larger flat tan leaves mixed in. Definitely mostly Assam and those may be a few golden tips or some not-so-green Darjeeling.

GMathis says this is “juicy” rather than drying and I agree. It is a nice, non-frightening breakfast blend for those who are a little apprehensive of that term.

gmathis

I’m a sloppy timer, but I’m sure I let my cuppa go 4-5 minutes, and it was still very pleasant.

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drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
2159 tasting notes

We celebrated my birthday Saturday because that was when all the kids could be here. I got lots of tea from my daughter, Superanna, and this one from youngest.

I have loved pretty much every Dammann Freres tea I have tried. This is no exception. I don’t think I have ever had rhubarb so I can’t say if this is accurate. I do know that I taste strawberry and I am delighted because Marco Polo is great but finicky and turns bitter on you if you don’t do everything just right, and my other favorite strawberry tea has been discontinued. (Anna’s Blend)

So hooray for an excellent strawberry tea! I will definitely be serving this tomorrow at tea time. The base was smooth but I always keep French teas at three minutes if the leaf is smallish. The berry scent was great and rhubarb must have been right on because my son’s fiancée said this reminded her of the rhubarb and strawberry pies that a fondly remembered neighbor used to make for her family.

Very tasty, and a re-order unless I find a great strawberry tea easily available in my area.

K S

How awesome to have family that understands not just that you drink tea, but they drink it too. Bonus they know how to pick good ones as gifts. Happy Birthday!

R.F. Hill

You had me at “rhubarb and strawberry pies.” Happy belated Birthday!

caile

Happy Birthday wishes!

Christina / BooksandTea

This sounds delish!

Nina’s Paris also has some good berry-flavoured teas, and I know they have a US location. I think Dammann is harder to find without ordering from Europe.

ashmanra

Thank you for the birthday wishes! Yes, indeed, Nina’s has some excellent fruity blends. I need to look for a straight strawberry or strawberry/rhubarb on their site when this is gone.

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There were lots of tea samples included with my birthday order, and this was the first one I chose to make because I knew that everyone present loved puerh. I used the entire sample because we had two great pieces of orange peel and I was using a large pot. I wanted to stretch the tea since we generally put away a lot of puerh when we get together so I kept the steeps a little on the short side to give us lots of resteeps.

The citrus is more an aroma than a taste. It is only lightly orange flavored. The puerh was earthy, not horsey, and never ever have I gotten a fishy puerh from Teavivre so I feel like I don’t even need to mention that it isn’t fishy!

I made two short steeps and then someone else made the third and steeped it a very long time in comparison. It was still perfectly good and not bitter at all, just a little heartier than my short steeps. I like myshu puerh a little on the strong side and we all enjoyed it.

As we drank it, ChelseaR remembered that she had ordered a sample of this once, and I notice that she has a review on here for it as well! I think being reminded of it and having it again has made her want to order more! She and my son usually drink unflavored shu.

Delicious tea, and thank you to Superanna for the gift and Mary Bao at Teavivre for the recommendations!

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A few years ago, my daughter, Superanna, bought some teas I had been wanting for me for my birthday. I was surprised and asked how she knew I wanted them and she said that she had checked my Steepster wishlist.

This year, no longer content to stalk me via wish list, she contacted Mary Bao at Teavivre and asked her to put together a recommended gift list based on my reviews and likes, and Mary came through in a big way! WOW!

This is one of the teas I received. I had tried a sample of it once and it is even better than I remembered. I made it Sunday morning while my future daughter-in-law, ChelseaR, and I were having a chat as I ate breakfast. I showed her the adorable little spirals before steeping. So cute, but meaningless unless the tea is good.

One would usually be distracted by the conversation and not notice one’s tea as much, but this one stopped me in my tracks.

Oh my, that first sip! Golden raisin flavor, bright, molasses, honey, sunshine, thick – I stammered and had to restrain myself from growling sweet nothings into my cup that may have been perceived as naughty and strange by my company. This had layers of flavor to dive into and explore.

Thank you, Superanna, for all the tea, and thank you, Mary Bao, for going above and beyond in customer service. Thank you, Teavivre, for furnishing these tea heads on here with high quality, affordable tea.

MzPriss

That was incredibly sweet. Happy birthday!

KiwiDelight

Lovely! Happy Birthday :3

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drank Tanabata Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2159 tasting notes

After browsing Red Leaf Tea and reading lots of revIews, I took a chance that this was my best bet for a good unflavored matcha that would compare favorably with KaiMatcha Premium, which is very hard to find “in stock.”

I am happy to say that this has turned out to be a very good choice. I compared it side by side with KaiMatcha and the color was nearly the same, perhaps this being a tiny bit less vibrant but almost unnoticeable. I am assuming this is harvested in summer since that is when the Tanabata Festival takes place.

I whisked it in 160F water and got a good froth with my little whisk. I sifted, so there are no lumps or clumps, and it sifts pretty easily. As I drink the large bowl of matcha, I give it a swirl near the finish to keep the tea well mixed. Enjoying this immensely.

This is a good value, in my opinion.

I love having a bowl of matcha with just one – just ONE – Lindt truffle. This is my special treat that I try to fit in every day, though I sometimes miss!

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drank Flower Pu er by Wait Tea House
2159 tasting notes

Miraculously, this is my first tea of the day. I had a quick, light breakfast checking the news constantly to see if daughter’s school was cancelled. I can not remember school ever being cancelled here for tornado watches, but it was today. And the day flew away from me texting neighbor’s who are new to southern storms what to do, and texting kids and friends to see if they were okay. Several times, youngest and I paused, listened, and started to head for our “safe spot” but it turned out to be a hard downburst each time. There were tornadoes all around us, but I have not heard of any severe damage in our area.

What a delight to try this tea tonight. After tasting it, I am thrilled that there is at least one more sample pack. I am also broken-hearted that there is only one more sample pack.

I am surprised this is puerh. The company description is a little confusing. It is listed under both puerh and black tea, the package says it has both, but the online description only mentions puerh. Technically, puerh is made from Yunnan leaves and Dian Hong is Yunnan leaf so….I don’t know.

What I do know is that this tea smelled like burnt brown sugar, a whole pot of it. And a tiny hint of sweet potato. The package said to use 200 ml of water and I used my little gong fu pot. I steeped until I saw nice color, not for five minutes like the package said.

This was delicious and memorable and when I get my stash low enough, I plan to splurge and get some more of this because I really loved it.

tigress_al

That must have been scary, glad you are safe

Teatotaler

Same for us up here in Richmond. It was especially unnerving between 5:50-6:30pm with everyone’s iPhones in the house beeping for tornado warnings every few minutes! Happy that you’re okay.

just john

I haven’t ever heard of school being cancelled for a tornado
. Here in Missouri it’s everything officials can do to get people to take it seriously and not go to their front porch to watch.

mrmopar

We had some bad ones yesterday around Appomattox. I think the blessing is being no one lost their life.

R.F. Hill

Glad you’re safe!

mrmopar

I just heard 4 people were taken in the storm. With as much damage it could have been way worse.

ashmanra

Oh dear. I hadn’t heard that yet, mrmopar. The only damage in our immediate area is light property damage like broken car windows, downed limbs, uprooted trees. We had a few scares, but thankfully nothing touched down in our vicinity. Glad you are all safe!

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drank Le Bonheur! (Happiness) by Fauchon
2159 tasting notes

A sad sipdown – really great tea and the final tea of tea party this week. The tin is really nice and may try to repurpose it since it is double-lidded.

This is so fruity and flavorful. The French really know how to take what looks like TOO MANY different flavors and come out with a fabulous tea.

Sil

i agree!

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My daughter picked this up in Toronto last year during the tea festival. We served it for tea party with an Italian Cream Cake that youngest made. It went very well with the cake. It is fairly strong but not bitter and not too astringent, has the heft to taste like tea even when you are eating something incredibly sweet and rich like that cake. Malty, bready, breakfasty. And a hint of

I would love to have more of the maple flavor tea they got there. So good….

Fjellrev

The cake sounds scrumptious!

Fjellrev

In fact, I just bookmarked a recipe for it. Someday, someday.

ashmanra

i had never had one until about two years ago and fell in love with it. It is very rich, and I love pecans so they are a huge bonus in the frosting!

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Bio

I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about six 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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North Carolina

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