1798 Tasting Notes

I was really curious about this particular Lapsang in the box o’ lapsangs that Hesper June sent! I wondered how the quality would be since this isn’t a company dedicated to tea, but rather herbs in general. Several of their teas get great reviews, though, so we gave it a go, and were not disappointed. Youngest thought it was good, and she is a Lapsang lover. It has a bright, sweet base that I am thinking may be largely Ceylon. This went very nicely with our lunch of chicken soup and cheese toast! Thank you, Hesper June!

Hesper June

This is one of my favorites.
The slight honey sweetness is such a delightful surprise.
And 4 ounces only cost $4.50!

ashmanra

That qualifies it for a spot on the Cheapster Steepster list!

Hesper June

Ha! I guess so! All their teas are very reasonably priced.
Plus, they are organic and fair trade.
Another one of my favorites from them is called Ancient Forest, it is a lovely black tea that is also quite cheap.

ashmanra

I have been looking at that one! I wanted the sleepy tea for my hubby, too. The name was very complicated, LOL!

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Since we were feeling chilly again this morning, youngest and I decided to try a couple more lapsangs from Hesper June!

This one tastes more like natural smoke to me than the Mountain Rose Herbs tea did. The base is medium strength, plenty fortifying for a chilly morning tea! I wonder if they mix this with a bergamot tea to get Morgan Blend, or if that one is entirely different? (Yesterday I didn’t pick up the bergamot so much in the Morgan Blend but this morning when I cleaned the pot I really could smell it and don’t know how I missed it! I think I remember my guest even saying something about it being fruity. Now I want to try it again!)

This is a good warming cup, and I am having trouble choosing which Lapsang I like best!

Thank you, Hesper June! We are having fun trying all of these!

Hesper June

So glad you all are enjoying them:)

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I have liked everything I ever bought from this company. Hesper June generously sent me this sample of their Russian Caravan, one of the few of their blends I have never tried.

It was rainy and chilly (for here, fifty degrees is chilly until we get used to it!) today, with flocks of birds mobbing my dogwood trees and stripping them of their berries. Very much a wet, fall day that begs for comfort foods! It stayed gray and overcast all day.

I served this with homemade Snickerdoodles today, but first we had Morgan Blend by Simpson and Vail, which was rich, layered, and smoky, while this tea didn’t smell nearly as smoky, but I guess Russian Caravan teas usually are not as smoky as lapsangs. From the aroma of the two teas, I thought the Morgan Blend was going to take all the awards.

But the first sip of this GRT changed my mind! Yes, it was much less smoky, but the tea base was delicious! And just as complex! My guest, the owner of the puppy we keep every Tuesday, had only had Lipton until a few weeks ago when we asked him to join us for some tea. He has liked everything we have given him so far, and he declared this one his favorite of the day.

What surprised me most was that my youngest daughter, who loves smoky tea, liked this one better than the Simpson and Vail, too. She said the Morgan Blend was very good, but that the Russian Caravan had “personality.” LOL! I think I know what she means.

It was rather like meeting someone that you had no idea you would enjoy talking to, and then you find yourself in lively conversation, surprised at this person not being quite what you anticipated.
What a fun tea tasting we had today!

Thank you, Hesper June! We have several more still to try!

Sil

Sounds awesome!

TheTeaFairy

love these moments in life when tea brings people together :-)

Hesper June

I agree, this tea has quite the personality.
When I first opened the tin on this I thought I was going to be disappointed, it did not smell all that remarkable.
But, like you, the first sip certainly changed my mind:)

TeaBrat

@Hesper June – I want to try this! Would you like to swap for anything in my cupboard? :-)

Hesper June

Sure! I will browse through your cupboard and message you:)

ashmanra

I am having some right now! :)

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drank Morgan Blend Tea by Simpson & Vail
1798 tasting notes

Many thanks to Hesper June for this tea! What a puzzlement when I looked this up, because I did got detect bergamot AT ALL which goes to show that I need a lot more development in my tasting ability!

I was making Snickerdoodles when youngest made this tea so I didn’t get to smell the dry leaf. Had I done so, I would definitely have picked up a lovely, fruity, juicy bergamot aroma. By the time I sat down at the tea table think we were trying two different plain lapsangs, the tea was made and I gave each pot a sniff. This one had the richest, most bacon-y aroma, nice and smoky for this chilly, rainy day. I tried this one first because I thought it smelled the smokiest and the best.

It was very good, with rich layers of flavor. It was heartening and delicious with our cookies. The result of this tea tasting was a bit of a surprise, though, as we ended up being joined by a new tea drinker halfway through who had fun lending his opinion as well.

The final word, both were great! Thank you, Hesper June!

Hesper June

I like this tea, but I actually increase the leaf almost double when I am making it, especially if its my morning brew.
I found that it makes the bergamot and the smoke notes emerge more.

ashmanra

I will try that!

TeaBrat

This sounds good too. :)

Hesper June

;) I will send you some of this too, Amy

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drank Wuyi Cassia by Harney & Sons
1798 tasting notes

Ah, the resteep of the leaves from last night is exquisite!

Hubby is off today – he works on the military base so of course it is a holiday for them – so when he got home from the gym I offered him a cup. He drank it and declared it good, and held out his cup for more. He wasn’t overly surprised when I told him that this is a resteep from last night’s leaves that were a bit strong for him. He generally does prefer the second steep of dark oolongs.

My veteran’s day story is about my godfather, Jim. Jim was a journalist and he and his wife had no children, so when they became disabled I took care of all their affairs. When they died, I inherited Jim’s desk. All of his things were still in it. I found a yo-yo in the top drawer and remembered the day he took it out and showed it to me. He was so excited that he still remembered how to do tricks with it, and so pleased to have it. He was as excited as a little boy when he showed it to us!

Behind the yo-yo, shoved to the back, was something he had never shown me. It was his Purple Heart. When he was very young he had been hit by shrapnel on the beach in the Philippines. His left arm never moved again. It was locked at a ninety degree angle, and no one knew because he covered it so well and never told anyone. When I was very young, I remember him always having a windbreaker draped over that arm, so it looked very natural for him to hold it that way. After his funeral, friends and coworkers from forty or fifty years back were shocked to learn of his disability and how it happened.

I also found the letter that told how he had been hit while storming the beach, how he had been carried into a forest where they waited 24 hours to be airlifted to a hospital overseas before being sent to Walter Reed hospital. I found letters he wrote to his father, letting him know that everything was okay.

When the war was over, he went back to college. He rented the back porch of a house in Chapel Hill and attended the school there. That’s right. A young, disabled vet sleeping on a screened porch summer and winter. (And I complain when my toes are cold.) He went on to become city editor of our local paper here, and oversaw the reporting of the famous Jeffrey McDonald case. He was a founder of Methodist University, and never told a soul. He arranged for scholarships for young people from underprivileged families, and I never knew – no one did – until they came and told me after he died, because he did everything quietly, and because he thought it was right.

I wish with all my heart that I could be even half the person that man was, and I am thankful and humbled to have known him.

Invader Zim

Beautiful story, thank you for sharing. You were lucky to have such a humble and selfless person so close to you.

Azzrian

Thank you for sharing this humbling story.

Bonnie

What a great story. A great Godfather! I love these tributes and hope that every Veteran’s Day here and in Canada and in every Country represented on Steepster, that people will write their stories. Remembering is so important. Memory Eternal to Jim.

TassieTeaGirl

What a beautiful story, thankyou for sharing it.

Nicole

A wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing it.

gmathis

The yoyo part makes me smile. I hope you play with one frequently in his honor :)

ashmanra

I still have his yo-yo! It makes me smile when I open the desk drawer hunting for something and see it in there! I moved his Purple Heart to the four drawer stand beside my piano so I can see it more often. I miss them both, he and his wife, for whom I was named. They were my spiritual mentors growing up. The designation of godparents is something that actually came in after I was grown because it was hard to explain who we were to each other. They were more than just friends of my parents to me.

gmathis

Us Baptists sort of missed out on that whole godparent thing. A shame.

ashmanra

Yep, raised Southern Baptist, on sweet tea!

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drank Wuyi Cassia by Harney & Sons
1798 tasting notes

We have been gone almost all day. First we drove to visit my daughter and have lunch at her apartment, then we took Samwise, our puppy, to the trails at the state art museum in Raleigh. It was a beautiful day.

This was one of those nights when I wanted tea and just didn’t know which one. Standing in front of my Harney shelves, my eye landed on this one. I haven’t had it in eight months apparently.

I will definitely be having it more often. When I opened the tin, the dry leaves smelled like chocolate. They were so long and thick and twisty. These are big, gorgeous leaves! This reminds me very much of the Da Hong Pao that the Chinese gentleman at the Asian buffet gave me. He said his tea was very expensive. Well, this one was, too, so maybe they are related! :)

This is a toasty oolong, and it has so much character. Hubby drinks all black tea with milk and sugar – he says he can’t take it any other way. But he likes oolong, green, and puerh plain. This oolong was too much for him. I really think he would like it if he treated it like a black tea, though. It can handle it! I think it would be a shame because I love it just like it is! Grilled stone fruit, yes, but a touch of vanilla perhaps? A little spiciness that isn’t quite cinnamon to me, and when comparing to cinnamon would be more akin to Ceylon cinnamon than Vietnamese or Chinese.

I definitely want to resteep these leaves tomorrow. Beautiful tea!

TeaBrat

sounds good to me!

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drank Darjeeling King of Teas by Luis
1798 tasting notes

I just made a stack of cards to send to all the great folks who worked in my precinct for the election. I love writing cards and letters so it wasn’t a chore, and to make it even better I made some tea and got a few homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with!

This tea in unlike any other Darjeeling I have had. It is very smooth, but rather earthy. It is rather gentle for a black tea, but it is not weak. It is a great tea for those times when you are not sure what tea you are in the mood for. I really like it! I am nearly out of it and not likely to get more since my daughter bought this in Budapest…

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I am addicted to Teavivre’s jasmine selections. They are so well done. I made this one today to chill out while the new washer and dryer were being delivered and set up. I bought this one while it was on sale, so it is doubly a bargain! The jasmine smells very grape-y. Soooo good.

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I got the nicest surprise today! Another amazing card handmade by GMathis! So cute, and she knows I am nerdy enough to LOVE the Soft Kitty song and that is on the front of the card. I actually sing it to Sam, except we say “Soft puppy, warm puppy, little ball of fur, happy puppy, sleepy puppy, grr, grr, grr!” Thank you! It was a good mail day! (Have you looked at that book yet?)

Well, tonight was writers’ group night at my house and of course I had to serve some tea. I made my big tetsubin full of this tea and put it on a warmer. There were only three of us drinking tea, but it was very enjoyable. Every time I drink a good Ti Kuan Yin, I crave it for days afterward. This is a great, smooth tea, and I think it is excellent for introducing people to the world of unsweetened fine loose leaf. The flavor differs so much from our Southern iced tea that is super sweet, that it doesn’t make them crave all that sugar!

Rebecca Lynn

Hahaha, I love the soft kitty song! Sometimes I uh…sing it to my bearded dragon.

gmathis

:) I only made a couple of those because of the limited number of friends I knew would get it. And you wonder why I hang out here?!?

ashmanra

Rebecca Lynn: First of all, I would really love to see a video of you singing the Soft Kitty song to your bearded dragon. Secondly, I have been trying to figure out what the lyrics could possibly be since last night and I am still coming up blank! “Soft lizard, cold lizard, little bearded friend. Happy lizard, sleepy lizard…” What comes next?

gmathis

Soft lizard, cold lizard, love your pretty scales…happy lizard, sleepy lizard, watch him wave his tail?

Rebecca Lynn

Um, I love you guys, haha. I just started laughing in my room. When I go back home I’ll make a video, haha. I just kind of make up different lyrics every time that aren’t nearly as good as the ones you guys came up with! I’ll try and figure out a way to end your version, ashmanra! In the meantime, gmathis…that is my new facebook status.

Invader Zim

lol you guys are awesome! It helps that I love soft kitty!

gmathis

Pleased to make a contribution!

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drank The Earl Grey by Twinings
1798 tasting notes

My daughter’s fiancé brought this tea as a gift when he visited from Northern Ireland recently. He is a big fan of Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas. This is a loose leaf version.

The leaf is of medium size and the aroma when you open the inner pouch is so citrus-y and fresh. This smelled like oranges to me, though the box describes bergamot and lemony flavor. The aroma isn’t too strong and doesn’t have that bathroom cleaner acrid smell that I have found in one or two Earl Greys.

I let it steep for three minutes. I did not add milk or sugar to this one and I find it really doesn’t need anything. If you like milk and sugar I feel sure this tea could handle it. The bergamot is present and has a light, fresh aftertaste. If you love really strong bergamot this probably won’t do it for you, but I am finding it to be a very satisfying mid-morning pot of tea.

Stoo

Buttering up the future mother-in-law. Smart dude! :-)

ashmanra

Indeed! And it gets even better! He loves to play Scrabble. I grew up on Scrabble and my hubby and I enjoy playing. It is almost like we picked him ourselves! :)

K S

Is this different than the American version? I believe the US version says flavored rather than oil of bergamot. I like it anyway.

ashmanra

I am not sure if it is differ, KS. On the bottom it says “100% black tea, bergamot flavouring.” Under that it says, “Tea with the fragrant flavor of bergamot.” The box is definitely different from what I see as loose Earl Grey at my grocery store. And it is actually called “The Earl Grey” not just Earl Grey.

K S

They sell the black box Twinings locally but I did not know if there was a quality difference. According to this link there probably is http://www.foodbanter.com/tea/79498-twinings-uk-vs-twinings.html

ashmanra

I haven’t noticed the black box around here. The one they sell at our local grocery is a tin, and I believe it is yellow. I may have seen this packaging at A Southern Season, though, because it does seem familiar.

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Profile

Bio

I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about four 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.

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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