2197 Tasting Notes

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
2197 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
2197 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
2197 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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Today is the first day of school for our youngest daughter, who is homeschooled, and my middle daughter who is in community college.

We have a lot of traditions. On the first day, the kids “ride their bikes to school” with their dad. They leave the house and go to the grocery store a few blocks away where they buy presents for the teacher. I get flowers, apples, and candy bars. :) This year even Sammie got a treat since he is listed as co- teacher. (That’s our dog, for those who don’t know!)

Many years, we have had to work hard to keep our traditions going. This year is no different. We set our first day of school to coincide with middle daughter’s schedule. Afterwards we found out that we need to take my husband’s mother to a dental appointment early in the morning. Daughter was only going to be able to join us because hubby was going to drop her off at school so she wouldn’t have to go super early to find a parking space. So our wake up time got pushed back an hour.

Then I discovered that middle daughter can’t buy her parking sticker today because we failed to get the van inspected – the paperwork was buried. So now we are scheduling an inspection and oil change for the first day of school. ARGH! Fortunately, everything is working out and running smoothly so far, though. Mother-in-law has seen the dentist, hubby dropped off daughter, hubby is dropping off van, I am picking him up soon, then we pick up middle daughter and head to our traditional first day school lunch going out to eat. After that we pick up the van and come home.

ETA: we have three Toyotas. I had the paperwork for the wrong one. The van is just now due for inspection and the car I had the paperwork for was done on time! So we still had to go get that done. Picking it up later! LOL!

Meanwhile at home, youngest and I have finished our Algebra 2 lesson, Biology, and Grammar and we are about to do German. Whew!

This is why I reached for the Queen this morning. With all this activity, however, I wanted to soften it and calm the mood a bit, so I mixed in a teaspoon of Rose Scented. This was perfect. I had only had Carnation Instant Breakfast when I went out to take care of the chickens early this morning, so I treated myself to a Bagel Thins with Nutella with it.

Happy First Day of School, everyone! I am going to miss homeschooling when this is over. My two eldest have graduated and one is now a microbiologist and the other an autism advocate. When youngest graduates, I am going to have to hunt down a toddler to start over again! Maybe grandchildren…..? I need someone that I can read all these lovely books to again!


What fun traditions, and what a lovely sounding blend! You mentioned this before. I’ll have to try it someday, when I get some of the Queen!

Terri HarpLady

Nice! Yay for family traditions! Yay for being flexible & just going with the flow of the day! I home-schooled for a few years, but ended up having to get a part time job: teaching a harp program in st louis school district, which I did for 13 years, but quit a few years ago. It was hard to put my kids back into the system, as both sons have aspergers, so I bought a house in a much smaller school district, where I could have real communication with the teachers & the classes were small. I’m grateful because although they are both very sensitive & quirky (just like me…I guess the apple really doesn’t roll far from the tree), they both graduated & are both in college. In fact, Drew started back in classes today. Leif starts next week. My oldest dropped out of high school, got her GED, got her associates & is a very happy Paralegal (Estate Planning), the 2nd daughter graduated HS & is a chef. They all march to the beat of their own drum, without a doubt! There’s that apple thing again!

Josie Jade

Sounds like a lovely first day of school!


Terri, that is awesome! Sounds like your kids are fun people to be with, and that is one thing I treasure about my kids. They are FUN!

Rosehips: we actually studied rose hips today in Biology!


Haha! Wonderful, couldn’t have planned it better myself.


My mother often talked about homeschooling in an idle sort of way but never committed. She didn’t like the limited education we got in school but I don’t think she ever believed she had the range to do it herself. Honestly, it would have been very interesting and I wish I had the experience (and the time) with her but I understand both sides of the coin, especially in our area which was already rural and isolating. I think her rumblings about home schooling did foster my belief that anyone can learn anything at home or in the world – you don’t necessarily need a classroom and a teacher. All this is just to say I admire that you are doing this for your kids and think it is wonderful (and I am sure a lot of hard work!)


Those are some wonderful traditions and beautiful memories. I sometimes wish I was home schooled, more for the flexibility of working through the material at your own pace. I was forced to stay home for a week and a half when my mother refused to renew a series of my vaccinations and there was an outbreak of measles in the area. I did 2 hours of work a day and came back ahead in every class. I sometimes wondered what we did with the other 4 hours!


I have really enjoyed it, and I think the kids have had the opportunity to do some things they might not have done in public school. The older two were scuba certified while in high school and worked many, many hours volunteering at the state aquarium. They fenced and did photography, hatched box turtles, lizards, snakes, and quail, and we basically took everything that happened to us and studied it! We used to read aloud for hours a day by the fire in winter. Sigh. I have really enjoyed doing this!


How fun, I’m a fencer myself (though I learned after school, having been a school-goer myself.) How great that they had a chance to do all of that!


What a lovely tradition – and a great first day! Cheers!


I love the fact that your family has many traditions; it’ll make for some wonderful memories!


Such a lovely post. And, hopefully you’ll get to relax later in the evening!


Happy New Year!

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I saw some tasting notes on this and then found out that one of my tea proselytes had purchased it and really loved it. I hightailed it to Barnes and Noble to acquire a tin. And it is ORGANIC!

The first batch was only decent but that was all because I FAILED TO READ THE LABEL! I prepared it as if I was making an SBT blend. This is supposed to steep for fifteen minutes! Making it the right way made a huge difference, especially since I was resteeping. I did not make a full gallon per bag, but rather about three quarts. It is lightly sweetened.

As with all my iced teas, this tastes best to me after it has been in the fridge for at least a day. This is what iced black tea should be. It is stout but not bitter, smooth, clear, and clean. It goes great with a banana sandwich, and what more can you ask of a black tea in summertime?

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drank Cassis & Blueberry by Lupicia
2197 tasting notes

Yesterday we drank this hot at tea party. There was about half a pot left because I had used my biggest pot for this blend. Today I added simple syrup and ice and drank it with lunch. Absolutely delicious. I did try it unsweetened and cold first but I didn’t care for it nearly as much as with some sweetening.


This one sounds so good. I made a cake one time that you soak with Creme de Cassis. It was so delicious.


i have been craving blueberry something……. maybe this is answer.


Oh my. That cake sounds wonderful, Chelle.

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drank Blueberry Green by Harney & Sons
2197 tasting notes

This was the final tea at tea party, a tribute to the Blueberry Buckle with which we started tea party.
This smells so darn good I can rarely stand it! My daughter says it smells just like a grape lip balm she had when she was younger. I taste grape candy, or possibly violet candy. This is really good, and my kitchen and living room smelled amazing.

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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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