2204 Tasting Notes

drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
2204 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
2204 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
2204 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
2204 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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Now my cold steep has had one more day to sit in the fridge. Tonight for supper I finally tried with simple syrup added. It was fantastic. I am glad I have enough of this to last out the summer because I will probably start making it by the gallon. This and Fruits d’Alsace are two of my favorite fruity teas for making iced tea.

If you make it the regular way and then chill it, I find it tastes best after a day or two in the fridge. The flavors really meld.

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2204 tasting notes

JacquelineM has been teasing Steepster with her reviews featuring Blueberry Buckle lately. “Drool!” said gmathis. “What is Blueberry Buckle?” said I. A quick google search and now it is MINE!

I like to serve sweets with a plain black tea and then I select other teas to follow, keeping the lightest teas for last so we can experience them on their own when we have finished the desserts. I have only about one half ounce of Catherine left, so I decided to make this our first tea and use it up so I can order a fresh batch before chilly weather arrives and/or school begins. Around here, school will start Monday and chilly weather might never show up!

The Buckle was wonderful, fantastic, amazing! I loved it! We served it with homemade vanilla ice cream, a very light recipe that I make. The tea was perfect with it. It is smooth, non-astringent, with a hint of smoke, and just the right strength to pair with desserts or to drink by itself. It doesn’t need milk or sugar for me.

This tea is a fitting tribute for an amazing lady.


I’ll mail myself to your house for dessert :)


YUM! I hope to get my hands on some more blueberries this weekend — I’ll have to try The Queen with a new cake. You should try some Golden Monkey if you have any buckle left!


Gmathis – send yourself the expensive way, overnight! We are making cards tomorrow and I have a feeling all the buckle will be gone after that! :D

JacquelineM – this is delicious! Sam got some from my guest, then hubby gave him some because he was standing by the counter whining, then I came in and gave him some, and he is still whining! I think he has had enough! :)


Cards?! Waaaahh! I will be slaving away, shoveling bureaucratic paperwork all day…in deep need of a cutting and gluing fix!

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My two eldest kids once never liked tea of any kind. Even growing up here in the South they never took to sweet iced tea. But now that they are grown and I have tried nearly tea there is on them, they both like puerh and matcha! Yay! Go figure!

My son has been coming every weekend to help his dad build a fence and it is brutally hot. In addition to the iced matcha water they drink while working, I have been making cold steeps of puerh for the rest of the time. My son is pretty health conscious. Yes, he loves his Mountain Dew and Taco Bell, but he exercises moderation and makes sure he gets something healthy every day, too.

He has really been enjoying the cold steep puerh, and even texted me for directions on ow to make it with some puerh I had sent home with him.

Cold steeped puerh is truly refreshing, light, and cooling. It feels good to drink something that I enjoy this much that is also so good for me. Many thanks to Bonnie for showing me how good it is this way!

Terri HarpLady

I still haven’t tried cold steeping it…yet!


Me either, I have lots of pu’erh in the house that I just can’t seem to get to. Don’t seem to have the time to sit with it for multiple infusions.
ashmanra could you please give some advice on tea to water ratios, steep times etc. Part of my can’t even imagine pu’erh cold, but am willing to try it. :))


The first time I made it, it was a rested. I had used three teaspoons of puerh in my 22 ounce pot to make hot tea, but I saved the leaves and put them in a glass pitcher that is about 28 ounces. I just filled it with water and let it sit for a day.

The second time, I used about the same amounts and I put the dry leaves in my pitcher and poured over just a bit of hot water to “wake it up.” After about a minute, I added cold water to the top and let it cold steep for a day. That pi there was pretty strong which was yummy to me, and I realized it was strong enough for me to pour a glass of tea and top up my pitcher and keep it going for a few days so that is what I did.

This time I just plain cold steeped. Again, it was about a teaspoon of leaves for every eight ounces, but I think up to a tablespoon would be good. I like my puerh strong because I tend to buy lens that I like – ones that are not fishy.

It tastes extra cold – probably mostly because I cold steep in glass – but there is a primal fresh and pure taste to cold steeped puerh that makes it satisfy me even more than plain water.


Thank you. That’s really interesting. I usually rinse pu’erh when I’m hot brewing. I think I’ll do a quick wash with hot water, then just plain cold steep it. I have a glass pitcher that’s also about 28 oz. I might just do half the first time to see what it’s like. I have several Mandala samples kicking around here that I never seem to get to. If I’m drinking pu’erh, I usually just go straight to the Noble Mark or Silver Buds.
This intrigues me. I’m going to try it. Thanks for posting about it.


You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Thanks for the idea about drinking this cold. Yesterday I received my first Phatty Cake from Garret and he included a sample of Phatty Cake II. I’d not thought about cold brewing so I think I’ll try that with a chunk of the cake (not the new sample for I must drink that one in the more traditional way).


i need to try cold steeping my puerhs!


Yeah! The Phatty Cake! Despite access to tons (literally) of pu’er, I come back to this one time and again. Can’t wait to start hearing what people think of the Phatty Cake II: The Sequel! The pressing of it was just done in late April so the post pressing action is still going on. But, I made some in-store here for samples two days in a row and people are loving it and buying the cakes already! Another few months and the complexity of the blend will really become evident even moreso than now.

Since we got the shipment of the PC II on Saturday, we have already listed it on the site and have it on special. A tong purchase is a HUGE savings. We just wanna get this stuff out in the world and see what people think of it.

Thanks for your reviews, my friends. It is so helpful to hear from you and helps me to develop more pu’ers for you (and me, of course). May your days be merry and bright!! G

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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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