2215 Tasting Notes

I bought this because A Southern Season seems to have discontinued Ceylon Extra Fancy, our favorite Ceylon to date.

We are in the midst of Tropical Storm Hermine today and while the storm isn’t so bad for us, I have repeatedly been soaked to the skin and the cloud cover made me crave comfort food and comfort tea. Ceylon was one of our first loves, particularly low grown.

I made chicken soup and cheese toast and a pot of Ceylon. It smelled great, but honestly it fell short of the one from Southern Season. The leaves were absolutely HUGE on that one. But it wasn’t bad, just didn’t give me quite the cozy ooo-aaah feeling I was looking for. I was looking for a taste and a feeling of a time past and this didn’t conjure it.

I will probably buy a tin of Harney and Sons Ceylon and India, as it is a little stronger than this one.


Do you like Harney’s Kenilworth OP? A wonderful Ceylon! It’s one of my favorite rescue teas.


Yes, I do! I am not a fan of Lover’s Leap or Uva Highlands from any source I have tried, but I do like Kenilworth. I just assume I don’t care for the higher elevation Ceylons, and while I like Kenilworth, this one was just a bit lackluster. I don’t think it is terribly old, either.


This made me sigh “idc for high elevation ceylons”


I love Ceylon and India! Also, I made it to Tin Roof Teas about 6 weeks ago! They have a great selection! I bought a couple Keemuns, an awesome gyokuro, and a really good rooibos. Thanks for the recommendation! Have a good one! :)


Welcome back, Mike! Haven’t seen you on here for a while. Glad you found some good tea! I think I burned through 100 grams of Dong Ding in two weeks once, and their Fig Formosa is magnifique!


Thanks so much! Yes, I have to get back on Steepster more regularly again! I’ll be back in the Raleigh area in a week and a half, so I’ll definitely be visiting Tin Roof again! :) Have a good one!

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drank Red Robe Da Hong Pao by teasenz
2215 tasting notes

I really adore the whole gamut of Big Red Robe teas, from the sweet ones to the smokey and robust ones.
These twisted black leaves with only a few golden brown ones mixed in attest that this will be one of the roasty ones.

I tried this yesterday with Chocolate Silk Pound Cake, strawberries, and freshly whipped cream. It was fantastic with food, with a nutty flavor like dry walnut skin contrasted with a light underlying sweetness. I didn’t pick up on smoke as much as nuttiness.

Today I had a cup by itself, and was surprised to find that it tastes much smokier on its own, bordering on a mild Lapsang. (This is a Lapsang loving household!) The smoke was really front and center, whereas yesterday walnut predominated.

Both days I noticed a light drying effect which was nice with cake as its clears the palate. I really want to try it iced as well. I think it would be great!

Reviewed for Sororitea Sisters here! http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/08/31/da-hong-pao-teasenz

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I have read the reviews of this tea by K S for years now. Last year I finally went looking for it and it was all sold out. That happens with the better Christmas teas in this area. White Christmas by Stash is another one that you had better load into your basket as soon as you see it or else you won’t be having any.

Imagine my surprise when I was in the grocery store tonight and saw one box. ONE BOX. No label or tag on the shelf for it. Just the one. I looked around to see if they were putting out Christmas tea outlandishly early. (The heat index here is still over 100F most days.) I saw a pumpkin tea but no more Christmas tea. There was a box with peppermint sticks on the front but it didn’t say it was a Christmas blend. Since I had wanted to try it I had my daughter check the expiration date to make sure it wasn’t last year’s tea that turned up in a back room, but it looked brand new and had a nice long time until it expires.

I was going to have one cup tonight to try it, but as I took the sachet out of the box and the aroma hit me, I knew hubby had to try it. He is aptly nicknamed “The Cookie Monster” in our house. This smelled like really good sugar cookies, specifically the Queen Cake recipe from Colonial Williamsburg that we make at Christmas. So I made a whole pot, and we ended up making a very passable resteep.

Reviews said that it tastes best slightly cooled, so I waited to call him in until I had poured it. I used three sachets in a Stump teapot, boiling water, and five minutes steep time before pouring but we did not remove the bags.

I thought it was great! This is a wonderful, wind-down in the evening cup. I tried it plain first and then based on reviews added a little sugar and milk. I liked it best plain. The milk covered up the light orange notes. Hubby add sugar and more milk than I did, and he loved it best that way. He said milk always smooths black tea for him and he felt it did for this, too. I didn’t taste anything that needed to be smoothed and milk just made it “heavy” to me so my next cups we all plain.

As hubby said, this would be delicious with something to dip in it…a Rich Tea Biscuit, biscotti, graham crackers. I am definitely going to be aggressive about finding more of this during the limited time it is available. I could really use something caffeine free that feels like comfort food for evenings, especially this winter.

Thank you, K S, for singing the praises of this tea for all these years.


I’ll definitely hum along! One of my fave-fave-favorites.

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Another sample that I am working on – this is an older one that probably came in the five samples for $5 pack a while back. It is an awesome deal and I encourage you to try it if they still offer it and you haven’t partaken yet.

Tonight I made egg foo young and honey glazed carrots for supper. We had a large pot of this tea with it. Hubby drank it down fast and I had to make a resteep. The resteep was every bit as good as the first steep, and had about the same color and flavor as the first.

It was very pale in the cup and had a lovely “rock oolong” flavor. Smooth and sweet. I drank the last of the pot as a cold tea with a nice strong cheddar while we lay in the hammock watching the meteor shower. It was excellent cold as well.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
2215 tasting notes

I had an elderly sample of this, and my attempt to drink up all the older teas continues so I served this at tea time on Tuesday as well as Wednesday after lunch.

Both times we served Swedish Pastry Ring that my youngest made and it was SOOOO GOOD. She asked which I preferred – the Kringle or the Pastry Ring, but it was really apples and oranges. The Kringle was so light and fluffy and soft, it really me so much of a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut but with nuts, butter, and brown sugar in the middle. The Swedish Pastry Ring had an entirely different texture but was equally heavenly. The pastry had more body and was like a truly delectable sweet pie crust. The browned butter glaze sent me right over the moon.

The tea – this was surprisingly light for a black tea. The friend who had it with me the second day used to love black tea most of all, then found her taste switch to Puerh, then white or green. She enjoyed this, and I think it helped that it is a very light and mild black tea, not drying, and with a lot of oolong characteristics going on, including that signature mineral aftertaste. Sweet stuff!

Evol Ving Ness

When you say elderly, what does that mean in this case?


Probably just a sample that’s been sitting around for quite a while and is getting old/stale?


It was a sample. I can’t remember where it came from – a swap or the five for $5 offer, but I think the very “youngest” it can be is a year, and it had been opened. It was still very tasty, though!

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, so a year or more is elderly. Thanks for clarifying.


If it had been in a good tin I would keep it for three years with no problem, but it was a sample in a brown envelope with the top folded and a clothespin on it! I feel like that ages faster than a double lidded tin would allow. Thus my designation! I am trying to drink oldest samples first, and samples that I failed to store well. They are good, so I won’t chuck them out, but they do need to be used ASAP, especially to reduce clutter as we renovate our kitchen since my “tea center” is being moved.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, got it! Now I totally get it. And kitchen reno, how exciting! But the tea centre being moved, now that’s got to be traumatic!


It’s exciting actually! The rest of the reno is traumatic, tho! LOL Hubby is doing it all himself. Raising the cabinets, painting them, changing the doors, tearing out a soffit, pulling up two underlayments and three layers of vinyl…But I get my own cabinet top and bottom with countertop for the kettle and storage for all the tea and teaware!! Squeeee! And I don’t have any loss of use (for tea) the way he is doing it. Might not be able to cook for a few days, but who cares? We have tea!

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, that’s the most important. :)

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I had a sample of this sitting around and wanted Puerh to go with Hawaiian Sweet Bread that my daughter made this morning. I used the whole sample and my 26 ounce teapot, boiling water, first steep three minutes.

It is an earthy and a smooth Puerh with the lovely surprise of a stone fruit sweetness that caught me offguard. Delicious, and second steep is already almost gone as there are three of us drinking it. I didn’t time the second steep as Puerh can be unpredictable and the second steep often needs only a few seconds.

There was a sheen from droplets floating on top of the tea, oils I guess. I can tell we will get a number of steps still from this, so I will probably use some of it as a cold tea for tomorrow. This was delicious, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it.

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drank Cherry Blossom by David's Tea
2215 tasting notes

My daughter, Superanna, brought an adorable tea assortment from David’s Tea for me when she returned from Minnesota. My best friend loves white tea so I picked this as one to drink with her.

Today we had a pot of it with a Kringle and Lemon Pastry Slices that youngest made. I really wish I had tried it before taking a bite of my pastry because it took me a few minutes to get the full effect of the tea.

I see lots of reviews of people who think it tastes like medicine, and lots of people who love it. We loved it. Rooibos tastes like horrible cough syrup. This does not. Funny, but it tastes like Christmas to me. Maybe that’s because we had cherry chiparoons made with maraschino cherries and coconut, and we have fruitcake with candied cherries, but this tastes more like Christmas than all those orange and spice concoctions all the companies throw at us.

I also realized as I was drinking it that it smells like the Christmas candle my eldest just gave me from Yankee Candle that she didn’t want “because it smells like medicine but I think you will like it!” This is more like cherry candy than cherry cough syrup to me.

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My youngest daughter adores Lapsang – started loving it when she really young, which is so odd to me! When eldest daughter, Superanna, travels, she always brings back a Lapsang for her sister. This is the latest.

According to Superanna, choosing it with like this…“Do you have Lapsang?” DT: “Yes, right here.” Superanna sniffs sample. “Cough cough that’s perfect cough bag it up cough.”

While it does have a very heavy pine smoke aroma, this is quite a lovely tea. It does smell very smokey and my hubby claims he got “second hand cancer” from smelling the pot we made, but it is actually sweet and super smooth.

It reminds me of Upton Black Dragon. Yay for a good Lapsang on shelf before fall and the beginning of school. Youngest swears she needs Lapsang to get through school!

S.G. Sanders

Ha! My brother, who hates hot tea, loves Lapsang. When he visits, he asks for the “Smoked Meat Tea.”


I keep hoping to learn to love Lapsang—it’s such a tea-ophile “standard.” Just need to find the right one. (Hey, I finally learned to like oatmeal last winter…there’s hope.)


GMathis: have you tried Baker Street Blend? Maybe you need to ease into it!


Have you tried Hu Kwa by Mark T. Wendell? It’s an especially good Lapsang, I think.


I haven’t! I have seen it several times. I should buy some and try it.


Just let me know if you would like to try some, Ashmanra. I’d be very happy to send some your way!


Your husband is right, of course. :)


Baker Street … no … I’m due for an Upton order one of these day. (If the confounded heat starts letting up. We’ve had two rainy 80-ish days in a row, but I think it’s just going to heat back up to a sauna!)

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Since stopping Prilosec after sixteen years, I have been eating light as much as possible. Tonight my kitchen is in shambles because it is being renovated and I had no idea I would be unable to cook. Like an idiot, I bought fast food. Arby’s roast beef sandwich and fries and a Pepsi. I was miserable after eating light foods for so long.

Puerh to the rescue! I had the presence of mind to take my kettle into the living room earlier and my tea shelf isn’t affected by the destruction of my soffits and wiring, so youngest and I are having a nice pot of tea and reading.

I made this with just one half of a “coin” and boiling water. I actually oversteeped it, but I had also used a pot that was bigger than I realized so there was a bit more water than usual. That worked out well, and we still have a really strong brew. This is as black as coffee but tastes great and has already done much to relieve my bloated feeling.

We will get a few resteeps out of this, too. It is an earthy Puerh without fishiness, but it doesn’t have that cedar oil vibe that I love right now. This one may not have it, or it may be because of the oversteeping.

It is tasty, though, and doing the job I wanted it to do.

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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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