2197 Tasting Notes

We had a few people absent from our writers’ group tonight, and since several of the attendees have really been loving the tea, I offered to use the extra time to do a gong fu tasting of this tea.

The tea was passed around the circle in the display dish. One of the younger members has been to China a couple of times and she really loved the aroma of the dry leaf. These are tight, hard pellets. When I poured them in the pot, they barely covered the bottom of the little 8 ounce vessel. It was going to be fun to watch their reaction to the unfurling of the leaves.

I did a quick rinse and then a short steep. The liquor was a nice solid yellow and the taste was smooth and buttery with a light floral taste. The girl who had been to China said it was nice, and she liked it, but it wasn’t going to be a favorite. Knowing the flavor profile she has liked in the past, I made the next two steeps longer. Now the tea had that little bite with the sweet aftertaste that is found in some green teas like Chun Mee.

As I expected, she said those were her favorite steeps. We made about 35 ounces in all tonight and there are still some good steeps left in these leaves.

Thank you, Teavivre, for the wonderful samples!

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A little over a year ago, Teavivre sent a sample of this tea. Like so many others, I found that I had to have it, and finally placed my order a couple of months ago. One funny thing – a friend of mine who used to drink just some of the nicer tea bag tea has gotten hooked on better loose leaf teas since we started having tea together. I signed her up for the Teavivre samples and this is one that I told her to get. When she mentioned ordering again, she actually shivered when she named this tea as one that is going on the next order! Ha ha! I understand! I have the tea shivers myself a few times. Mostly with Teavivre teas.

This one is rich warm sweet potato goodness. I made a pot of tea, some apple cubes, and Kerrygold Dubliner cheese to nibble on while youngest and I do her German lesson. I will be serving it again later today for tea time. Excellent tea!

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This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you!

This is a green oolong with dark, tightly rolled leaves. The leaves are enormous when they expand.
I tried it both in a gaiwan and western style, and it was very good both ways. I think I most preferred it in the gaiwan, steeped for about thirty seconds or perhaps a little less.

The taste is milky, smooth, and creamy and leaves a sweet aftertaste. If you oversteep there is a hint of grass and a slight sour taste. I mention that because sometimes you WANT that little bite, like a Chun Mee gives.

Thank you for sending this so I can fill my morning with lovely tea! I can tell it still has some good steeps left in it, too.

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2197 tasting notes

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2197 tasting notes

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I chose this tea for an experiment today. The first company I ever ordered puerh online from was purepuer.com. My husband noticed that they were going to be on NPR and tuned in. Later, I went on their website to look around some more.

I found a video there and discovered that they are selling chia seeds and recommend combining them with puerh. I bought some chia last time I was at Whole Foods in Raleigh, so I gave it a shot. My son joined me for a big mugful.

I made two steeps western style of this puerh, three minutes each. I stirred in about two teaspoons of chia. That may not have been enough, as it didn’t float like the ones I saw in the health food store, but mostly sank to the bottom. Still, there were a few in the bottom of each cup of tea that I drank.

My son really liked the tea, and didn’t mind the chia. I found the tea to be just as hearty and smooth as ever, really dark and earthy. I don’t mind the chia but I think I might enjoy it more another way, like just mixed in with my granola.


ch-ch-ch-chia! ch-ch-ch-ch-chia! (Cue schlocky commercial music :) My first experience with a Menghai factory tea was kind of an adventure—this sounds interesting!


This is a really good one! I may have to pull this out tonight.


I might have to try that. I like chia seeds, they are good in smoothies too.


It looks like if you soak 3 tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup of (warmed) water overnight (in the fridge), it makes them gel up and become more floaty. That makes sense to me, as I find my chia cereal better and more chewy if I prep it at night and let it soak, rather than prepping it in the morning and eating it right away. I really want to try this now.


Thank you, OMGsrsly! I will try that!


I soaked some seeds, and am drinking them diluted with water and “limeade syrup” (lime juice and maple syrup) and they’re so good! They do still sink down, I think I’d have to dilute them less or soak them even longer.


Perhaps I should keep some soaking in the fridge to add to things, although in the video he just stirs them into the puerh. But maybe he then let it stand for some time. I think there may have been a ton of them in the kombucha I saw, or maybe they had added a thickener to the drink.


There might have been a ton of them in the kombucha. :) I kept researching recipes, and I think about 2 tbsp per 1 1/2 to 2 cups makes it really thick. I don’t mind stirring, so I think I’ll stick to my ratios.

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This is one of those teas that I would build a special underground bunker for if its existence were ever threatened. When I got this in a swap from the sorely missed Quiltguppy I had to have it, and I ordered a LOT of it.

When drinking it by itself it tastes like buttered popcorn, heavy on the butter. Last night, my son and I had it with Asian buffet takeout and it. was. heavenly. I had it again today with leftovers and it was every bit as good. I even drank some of it cold and it was still amazing.

I wish I knew exactly what it was. They call it a green but it really has to be an oolong. It HAS to be. Just look at it. But what kind? I called the company and they told me that oolongs were roasty and when I told them that they can be roasty toasty or green, the clerk said she hadn’t heard of that and really needed to learn more. Sigh. So I have never found out.

If I ever was challenged to win someone over to green (or oolong) tea in just one try, this would probably be the one I would pick to do that.


Buttery green is something that would appeal to me, probably. I love the buttery oolongs. Sounds great.


I just checked and they still list it as a green on the website. I really wish I knew exactly what this was!

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Last week when Red Leaf Tea offered free tea for reviews – actually $1 plus shipping – I jumped on it. When my son and his girlfriend spend the weekend at my house they always want matcha lattes, which I usually make with my flavored matcha but I have made it from the MATCHAccino mix before. Then a day later the special “oops and uh-oh” blend was offered. I decided to take a chance that Red Leaf wouldn’t sell us something truly horrible and get two large bags of the special blend as well.

I am happy to say that I am drinking my special blend right now, way later than I should, and it is good! I do not know for sure that I got one of the “uh oh” bags but I think it is based on the color. When I open the bag that is definitely the usual grade I will compare the two, but I dare not drink two lattes this late in the evening,

Although they recommend one tablespoon to eight ounces of milk, I just fill my big glass, which is more like sixteen ounces, maybe more. Still, the flavor is rich caramel. I did add less than a teaspoon of raw cane sugar since I added so much extra milk, and honestly I think I finished the whole glass in less than two minutes.

I was excited to see that we still get the free measuring scoop in the large size bag. Silly of me to be excited about that, isn’t it? I really recommend that you take a chance on this special blend if you like flavored matcha lattes. I ordered three bags total because the shipping was the same however many I ordered. The shipping is reasonable when you feel how heavy the box is when it arrives!

Red Leaf, thank you for making this offer available to us!

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This is a sample sip down! YAY! I am not going to criticize this tea because when Harney sold this batch, they advised that the weather conditions had resulted in tea that was not as sweet as prior harvests. Also, this sample is about two years old. With all that in mind, I am enjoying it well enough with my English muffin and Irish cheese, but it doesn’t make my knees quiver with delight.

I was just reflecting on how Steepster has changed my life. I have lots of people whom I consider friends that I have never met. I have tried new foods, and I have learned to experience my food and beverages in a new way, paying close attention. I use spices more than ever.

Right now my teapot is sitting on a coaster from Happy Lucky’s Tea House in Colorado, sent to me by Bonnie. The last time I picked up Asian buffet, there was a car with a vanity plate that read THLLADY. I wondered, could it be possible that TerriHarpLady is traveling and is right here in our town? But I looked at Steepster and she didn’t mention being in North Carolina.

I am so glad to be part of the Steepster community!


haha awesome on the license plate!


i agree heartily with everything you’ve said… friends, ideas, experiments…. all because i stumbled onto steepster. i have a project coming up in human geography where steepster will be featured!! lol. it and andrew mwenda inspired me to look into fair trade tea farming practices in uganda… my prof is pretty stoked! i even have some ugandan tea coming in for the presentation.

all because of steepster.



Hey James, funny thing… Happy Luckys is getting in some new Ugandan Tea. I tasted a sample which was really wonderful…rich, complex like my daughters wheat bread (she grinds her own wheat).


Oops…I’m on my mobile and hit enter… but it’s true that the people here are incredible! I was sicker, lonely and numb after my husband dumped me a few years ago. This community has been so kind and supportive, giving me the strength to rise again with a joyful heart. I wish I had more than a coaster to give everyone who’s blessed me over the years. Hugs!


Bonnie- we do the same! We have hard red wheat for cookies, hard white for bread and brownies, soft white for cake, Kamut for waffles, and we roll our own oats! The chickens got super spoiled last spring getting warm slow cooked oats for breakfast every day, but they have adjusted to organic chicken feed very nicely!


I put on the steel cut oats at night before bed in my crockpot with a cut up apple and dry cranberries, a bit of spice and wake up to the fragrance of breakfast! What I don’t eat I freeze in small containers to microwave later. You’re like me, a wholesome and thrifty cook who loves tasty food thats not full of Crap (pardon the directness).


That sounds wonderful! I have a friend who makes hers in a crockpot. I don’t own one, but have considered buying one. When I do a crockpot recipe I just make it on low in my cast iron Dutch oven. It would be so convenient, though!

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My Phatty Cake is becoming a skinny cake.

I decided to make a big pot of puerh to experiment with tonight. I rarely cook red meat even though I have chronic anemia, but tonight I promised my girls steak. I knew I might need some help with digestion and decided to take care of that naturally, and do it early so I won’t be miserable when I go to bed.

I made this nice and strong, but something kept picking at my brain. Everyone talks about puerh lattes, or just puerh with milk and sugar, so I decided to give it a try even though I usually don’t add sugar to my tea.

First of all, wow. Wow. I added some sugar to the hot puerh and it was as rich and satisfying as a dessert. Then I added a lot of milk and ice, and I think it was too much. The ice melted really quickly and made my drink a bit watery. I added some more puerh and it is a little more balanced now, but I think my favorite way to have this is either plain and hot, or plain with sugar, or cold steeped with no sugar. The latte isn’t bad, it just isn’t my favorite way to drink this. Perhaps if I had sweetened it and then cooled it so I wouldn’t need so much ice it would be better.

I made 24 ounces and have some resteeps to go, so I will definitely be drinking this rest of this hot and probably with a sprinkle of sugar. This is my dessert tonight, and I do not feel deprived at all!

On that note, hubby’s dessert was something I saw on the menu for a local deli. S’Mores sandwich, made with wheat bread buttered on the outside, Nutella and Marshmallow Creme inside with fine crumbles of graham cracker sprinkled on the Nutella, then toasted in my Breville. He loved it, but I think I like my dessert just as well!


Good experiment! Didn’t know you don’t like it hot. If need an ice cube and milk, you’d need to make strong puerh and use condensed milk or cream to counter the water. I use splenda but sugar makes a good latte or agave. Garret at mandala uses coconut milk for lattes and always uses a stick blender.


I love it hot! It was just too hot to drink still, so I was making a cold latte so I could drink it sooner.


i have one of these waiting for me to sip down other teas first.

i knew puerh had lots of health benefits, but digestion i didn’t know about! condensed cream…. bonnie, always full of ideas!


JustJames: puerh was originally used as a digestive aid! As I understand, they believe it binds with part of the fat in our system so that our body does not try to absorb it all. Puerh has saved me many a miserable night when pizza crusts dipped in garlic butter just sat there and bloated me. The puerh relieves that feeling. My hubby asks for “whichever one makes my stomach gurgle.” LOL! It can get noisy when the puerh gets to work!


I get migraines in my abdominal area…nausea…it’s called atypical migraine, and puerh helps calm it down or takes it away if I catch it when it begins. No kidding…I love puerh for taste and health!


Oh man, I love puerhs with a little sugar. I have a couple cheapie plain ones I drink that way. Definitely have to try as a latte. Sounds amazing!


=0) one day i’ll know stuff like the two of you.

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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…


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