2171 Tasting Notes

drank Pour Maman by Nina's Paris
2171 tasting notes

We have been back “in school” for a week. I hurt my back AGAIN Saturday, an appraiser was coming to the house at 8:30 and youngest has an orthodontist appointment at 10:30. I really needed something special this morning. I wanted black tea but nothing too bold. I needed a little pampering.

Enter Pour Maman. It really is a great “Mama Soother.” The berry scent is so intoxicating, the black tea is tempered by the green, and it is really lovely. It must be. I just finished the whole pot and we are not yet nearly done with Algebra!

I tried new steeping parameters, mostly because I forgot how I made it before. I used 194F water for three minutes and it was super! I think this is a pretty forgiving tea, and even if you make it like a straight lack tea it just adds astringentency instead of becoming undrinkable. I like it best between 175F and 194F as I look through my notes. BUY SOME FOR YOUR MOTHER!


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In a way, this is the tea that started it all. Years ago I ran into a friend at Barnes and Noble and she was buying Hot Cinnamon Spice tea. She told me it was her guilty pleasure. Months later, I remembered it and bought her some for Christmas, but since I had a “Buy Two Get One Free” coupon I picked up this blend for myself.

My youngest daughter loved it, and we began to explore lots of the Harney and Sons offerings. I think I still have more of their teas than any others on shelf. But I have purchased so many teas and quite a few that just turned out not to “float my boat” that now I am swamped with tea that needs to be drunk before it gets too old. This is not the original tin, but one my daughter cajoled me into buying because she missed it, but then she started drinking their vanilla teas and Lapsang for a while and neglected this one.

I asked her to go ahead and finish it as there are only five sachets left, so she made some today. I really MUST clear away some tins as i have five “tea spots” in the house and there is just too much!

It looks like I will be repurchasing this one, as she just came to my room and told me that she thought it was one of the best teas she has ever tried, and she cant imagine why she hasnt been drinking it all the time, LOL! I shared the cup with her and it really was a nice blend, although she always puts loads of sugar and milk in her tea and that part was a bit much for me!


My “tea that started it all” was Harney’s Tower of London :)


Barnes and Noble doesn’t carry that one, but when I heard about it I wanted to try it so badly! Harney and Sons was sold out! But hubby tracked it down at some little tea shop online and bought it for me as an anniversary surprise. I used to keep both loose and sachets on hand, but I have finished my most recent tin of sachets that my daughter bought at the Tower itself and I am at less than half of my one pound bag. It is great cold steeped.


This sounds delicious, and it’s gone right on my to-try list. I’m going to run myself into the ground with shipping charges from the US to Canada, but when I read reviews like this one, it all feels worth it.


I did a little sleuthing and I am pretty sure this is the very same tea as their Big Red Sun! I am very happy because now I can have it loose leaf! :)


Harney and Sons has a lot of good stuff!


That’s awesome how this is kind of like your gateway tea.


I was wondering which one started it all! :-)
I love the Tower of London blend too! So nice of your husband to surprise you for your anniversary and your daughter to bring a tin from the real Tower.


I love stories like this. Five “tea spots” in the house does sound like a lot! I have about three spots myself and already feel overwhelmed by tea. It’s amazing how quickly it accumulates.

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drank Da Hong Pao by Harney & Sons
2171 tasting notes

Another SIPDOWN! Although it probably won’t be out of my cupboard for very long, I really like Da Hong Pao oolongs so I will probably be purchasing one soon. This one has light chocolate or cocoa notes and nice baked fruit flavors. Lovely!

Holly Faye

Cocoa and baked fruit? Ooooo. That sounds gorgeous.

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There are several teas I want to order from Harney and Sons but I won’t let myself until I sip down some more teas.

I got an email a few days ago from my husband. It was titled “Tea Disciple.” It turns out that a fellow he met at work has travelled extensively and loves tea from all over the world. He is presently drinking Celestial Seasonings Fast Lane as a replacement for coffee and wants recommendations for a good black tea blend with boosters like mate. Anyone know of some good ones? I recommended that he go to Tin Roof Teas and buy his mate and try some of their loose leaf black teas and mix it himself.

He mentioned that he had been in Sri Lanka and found some teas there that he loved, so I took my two high grown ones that I don’t care for and sent them to him. That reminded me that some of my other Ceylons are getting old. I need to drink them up. These past two days I have been drinking this one from the Fine Tea Wall at A Southern Season. You purchase these by the ounce and there is no minimum.

This is an enjoyable Ceylon, though I do like their Ceylon Extra Fancy even more, and I like Harney and Sons Kenilworth Ceylon and Ceylon and India teas more also. Once I sip this one down I will not be replacing it, but rather I will stick with the ones that I like better.

Hubby started out only wanting Ceylon teas with TONS of milk and sugar. Now he mostly drinks oolong, green, and white tea plain, so I have a big backlog of Ceylons to finish off! But it is a great problem to have! I was delighted when his tea tastes expanded and changed!


Don’t know about good quality, but since he’s already drinking Celestial Seasonings, they have a Morning Thunder that is black with mate. It’s been a looong time since I’ve had it but I seem to recall it having a punch.


Morning Thunder is pretty good. I’ve also wanted to try Fast Lane (also CS) but haven’t found it locally.


He may have ordered Fast Lane, since he mentioned that he had about a half pound to long ago. I can’t imagine any stores in my area selling it loose leaf. He may go in the Raleigh area a lot, but I don’t recall seeing it there either. Thanks for the recommendation on Morning Thunder, though. That may be just what he is looking for!

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Writers’ Group night at my house should mean lots of sip downs. It should be a warning sign to me that with as much tea as we drink at group every two weeks and at tea party every Wednesday I still have too much tea!

Tonight we drank three large tetsubins of this. Everyone loved it. One guest remarked that he liked it because it didn’t dry his throat. I was making 18 ounces, resteeping, and pouring it all into the pot so each pot was a mix of two steeps. I still smell grape candy instead of fig, but it didn’t seem to matter. They loved it, and that was my goal.

Personally, I think it tastes really nice, but I really don’t taste tea. If you are a tea purist looking for a nice oolong with its characteristic flavor, this isn’t for you. If you like a flavored tea, this one is pretty darned good, and it is one of the most beautiful to look at, dry leaves and liquor. It looks almost purple in the cup as the cornflowers and poppies donate all their color!


i go both ways: pure and impure, lol. depends on my mood. i love fig…. maybe this should be on my shopping list.

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This was cold steeped and served unsweetened at the very beginning of tea time today because it was miserably hot and humid outside. I wanted to cool us all down before trying our three hot teas. My guest really liked it. I have been drinking it all week, and have just put a jug of Harney’s Passionfruit Black in to cold steep. Can’t wait!

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drank Osmanthe D'Or by Dammann Freres
2171 tasting notes

An excellent oolong, the osmanthus scenting is light and tasty. There is no overpowering, heavy floral taste here. I couldn’t stop drinking this one at tea time today. Really, really good stuff.


I’ve always been curious of this one it sounds really refined


It is very good! My daughter gave it to me a while back and I really like it!


Ashmanra, do you know where she got it?


I know she ordered it from Paris but I am not sure if she had it shipped to the US or to Northern Ireland and then brought t it here with her. I did just try to order from a German company and shipping to the US was cheaper than having them shop it to Northern Ireland. I thought that was odd.

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drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
2171 tasting notes

I see I had removed this from my cupboard. I have a serious tea problem. I did indeed finish my large tin that I was refilling from my one pound bag of this. I finished the bag, too. But today I started taking another hard look at the tea I have and the tea I know I want to order, and something had to give. I have already given away two boxes of tea yet I have four shelves in the kitchen covered in tins, two boxes of samples, a basket in the kitchen, a box full of teas in a cabinet, and a chest full of teas below the shelves. There are a few tins in the living room also, it is everywhere.

I have begun a SIPDOWN and clean out, and found a couple of teas that are nearly gone that I asked my daughter to try to finish soon. As I was cleaning out teas, my eye fell on the lovely tea chest I had ordered long ago from Harney and Sons. A friend had given me an additional baby tin of English Breakfast to replace the Hot Cinnamon Spice that I had given to my future son-in-law. That means I have two baby tins of this!

I had it for breakfast because we were out of milk (I bought six gallons at lunch time) and then I served it at tea time today. Middle daughter came home from school and ground some wheat and made chocolate chip and walnut cookies for us! This was really good with it. It is 100% Keemun, and for the price it is a nice, drinkable English Breakfast, much smoother than the ones with Assam. A good black tea is excellent for serving with really sweet food, to “cut the sweet” as my mom used to say.

I really love their Keemun Mao Feng, but for a good daily drinker that is affordable and smooth, this is nice.


I’ve had a few times when I’ve thrown a lot of stuff out because it was something I knew I would never be able to drink on my own and far, far too old that I could send it to someone else in good conscience. Currently, I’ve completely rearranged Tea Corner, so that the bottom shelf has become the Consider-This-First-shelf. It has older stuff on it, and things I was a bit meh about. Then I’m going to try and arrange the rest according to acquisition date in the future, so that the oldest stuff is always considered before I jump into new stuff. I think it could work for me.


Yay! I’ve also been doing that, working on the older stuff lately :)


Angrboda: I also will not swap a tea or place it in a traveling tea box unless it is fresh. The last time I had a traveling tea box I drove to Raleigh and bought fresh stuff, because you never know how long it will be before the next person drinks it. And I wouldn’t want a person to try a stale tea and review it thinking they have experienced what it really tastes like. So these older teas are being made into iced tea or large pots being served with food. I like your idea! I need to have a special spot for the teas I really want to disappear fastest – usually because of age rather than taste. If I don’t like it, I am probably just not going to drink it at all.

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drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
2171 tasting notes

SIPDOWN! I loved this when I first got it, but I did find it to be finicky – finicky, but worth it. As long as I keep the temp around 203F and the time around three minutes this is great.

Hubby and I now prefer Anna’s Blend from Tin Roof Teas, which I think may be sourced from TeaGeschwendner. I has a yogurty tang to it with nice strawberry flavor, but is overall smoother than Marco Polo and is much more forgiving.

This last pot of Marco Polo was really great until I got to the last cup. A tiny bit of very fine sediment had escaped the infuser and that was enough to add a touch of bitterness, or perhaps it just gets bitter as it cools. Either way, the first two cups were fantastic and the last…not so much.

If I added milk and sugar to my teas this might not be a problem, but I prefer my tea sans additions whenever possible.

The tins are lovely! I peeled off the clear label that tells the name of the tea and relabeled this tin with a permanent marker in my fanciest attempt at lovely handwriting so it can now hold my Anna’s Blend!


Nice plug for our local tea shop – that’s great!

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I set up my bamboo tray on the floor in the living room last night, lit candles, and brought in the electric kettle. Hubby and I had seven steeps in my eight ounce glass pot. I love using the tiny double walled glass cups I bought from Teavivre with my glass pot! The tea looks so beautiful in glass and you don’t burn your fingers. A friend had tea with me using these once and made me order a set for her before she left.

This is a good TGY. I don’t taste the honey and I noticed Bliss said it added texture to her tea. Perhaps that is what I should look for next time but nothing about honey stood out to me. I don’t add any sweetener to oolongs (or hardly anything, for that matter) so I don’t need the honey, but it is fun knowing that the honey came from hives all around the tea fields.

I did notice a remarkable difference between the very hot, freshly steeped tea and the tea that sat for a little while in the fair cup. Henceforth, I will most definitely be cooling this tea a bit before drinking, because the flavors really blossom and swell as it cools.

It was a lovely tea experience, very peaceful.


Pretty sure the setting and the company greatly enhanced the tea and the evening. Beautiful post.


Sounds lovely. I usually prefer tea once it has cooled a bit too.

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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…


North Carolina

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