1857 Tasting Notes

This was the second tea I served to my guest yesterday, a lady I met about 25 years ago but never really got to know as we saw each other only rarely, and briefly.

She liked it very much and said she liked the puerh better, which really surprised me. Then she explained that this tea was delicious, but she knew she would only drink it when she felt very stressed and needed something to help her calm down. She wouldn’t consider it an every day tea, and I understand because I use it in just that way.

So she liked it very much, liked the ouerh more for regular consumption, and here is a spoiler….The tea she really flipped over was Yunnan Dian Hong – Golden Tips.

She said she did not consider herself a foodie and felt that she is an old fashioned cook, using just a few spices that her mother used and not exploring new things. Yet she was spot on with all of her descriptions of what each tea smelled like, how it tasted, what it would be good with. I think we have a potential hardcore tea addict in the making!

Tealizzy

Yunnan Dian hong – golden tips is the best! She’s got good taste!!

Cameron B.

I agree, the Golden Tip is fantastic! :D

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I waited to pick the third tea for my guest until I had seen her try shu puerh and jasmine silver needle. I used her opinions to pick the final tea, and was leaning toward black tea since she loved the puerh but it had to be just the right one since she had been scared off by a bitter black tea someone else gave her. I called in youngest to help with suggestions. She said, “What about the one we had last week that was so good?”

I turned to my friend and asked, “Do you like sweet potatoes?” “I LOVE SWEET POTATOES!” It was almost a roar! I laughed and pulled this pouch of tea.

This time I got out my tray and tiny teapot with a fair cup. We’d had two teas western style, now she could see gong fu style!

She smelled the liquor and was astonished at the remarkable scent of sweet potatoes, so distinctive. She sipped and said, “This is it! This is my favorite. I liked the others a lot, but this one is perfect. I could drink this all the time.”

She is right. It is a remarkably good tea and I am getting a little low. So I guess that is one more to add to my next order.

caile

Love this one too!

mpierce87

This is now going on my wish list – I love your tea party descriptions!

Lariel of Lórien

All hail the mighty sweet potato tea!

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Well! this was a bold move, but one I have made successfully before!

A lady was coming over whom I met over 25 years ago, but our interaction has been a once a year email to confirm her address and the occasional “Hi! How are you?” in the grocery store.

I invited her for tea and she accepted. I asked about preferences and she said she liked hot tea but drinks a few herbals and some things from the grocery in bags that she wasn’t really sure what exactly they were. She described a bitter black tea that someone gave her and she hated.

I chose to open with a second steep pot of this puerh! So many people, including myself and some of my friends here, were afraid of puerh at first. I am finding it to be a great opening tea for newbies, though.

Bottom line – we sniffed it, commented on the aroma, I said barn, she said horse manure, we laughed, she drank, she…..LIKED it! A LOT!

It was paired with toasted bread, crusts off, topped with diced German Johnson tomatoes from my garden with Brie melted on top and Sunny Paris seasoning which has the most delicious bits of purple shallots. It was really nice together because the pu held its own with the food. She refilled her cup several times before moving on to the next two teas. One of which totally won her heart….

K S

You are amazing. How you got a casual friend to trust you enough to drink horse manure is mind blowing stuff. Once past the smell this sure does sell itself. I have no idea what most of what you ate is, beyond toast and tomatoes, but glad it worked.

KiwiDelight

ooooooOOOOoooooo she was brave to try it even though she said it smelled like horse manure.

Cwyn

Lolz on the horse manure…

ashmanra

Lots of shu puerh smells like a faint whiff (okay, sometimes more than a faint whiff) of horse manure to me. But the taste is magnificent! The first pu I tried smelled like dead fish and shrimp shells and THAT took some courage to try! Fortunately, it tasted all right, but I have found lots of nice puerh since then!

I know, wasn’t she sweet and trusting to taste it anyway, since it was something she never heard of and didn’t expect?

Cwyn

The first ripe I ever had was a box of free puerh tea bags I got with a teapot order. Those bags were the fishy-est things, no wonder they were free. Vendor suggested rinsing fishy puerh in cold water before doing a hot rinse, it helped a little, but man oh man…

K S

I still have some of the first I bought. It came in a 8 oz tin and cost like $8. It smelled like dead fish wrapped in wet newspaper and stored in a cellar – seriously offensive. I drank it anyway – with lots of chocolate mint. After a few years it has mellowed out and is actually quite drinkable all on its own.

mrmopar

I remember the first sheng , tasted like heavy smoke an XiaGuan 8113. Didn’t toss is still have it. First shou, a $12.00 Ebay auction. One brew and I tossed the whole cake. You did well to make a convert.Very hard to do with puerh.

ashmanra

I kept that fishy stuff for a long time, and finally read on here that if you let it air out for a couple of hours that aroma would dissipate, I let the little tuo chas sit out for two days in a bowl, drank them, and never bought those again! Even the better pu at A Southern Season has a bit of a wang to it.

Cwyn

A wang! :D

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drank Seven Samurai by Gurman's
1857 tasting notes

My best friend has a son who is autistic. Their autism society worker is like family, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer not long ago. She completed her surgery and now has to have radiation, but she is fearful. We invited her over today so I could give her a pep talk and some helpful hints to get through it. (I had it in 2010.) She also asked if drinking tea would help improve her health and prevent a recurrence, so we talked about the benefits of antioxidants, flavonoids, and such in different teas and how they may possibly help. At the very least, replacing sugary drinks with unsweetened tea will help tons! Cancer loves sugar.

She drinks grocery store green tea, but I told her there are things she can actually ENJOY and not just choke down for the health benefits. This was the tea I chose to serve to her today since it has a lot of natural sweetness from the fruits and coconut, and it is so creamy and refreshing whether hot or cold.

The best part was when she said, “I could drink this every day!”

It really is a great tea and I love it especially in the summertime with all of the fruity flavors.
I may have to pick up more in a couple of months when I go to Ireland, but thankfully Gurman’s has fabulous customer service and offered quite a while back to ship orders to the US for us, even the teas that don’t appear on their website but that you know they have in store.

3 tsp. in 22 ounces water, 174F for three minutes

Christina

I hope she does well. And it sounds like you may have started a conversion!

looseTman

The autism society worker is very fortunate to have a friend like you!

Nxtdoor

This is a great story. Thanks for sharing.

ashmanra

Christina: I am hoping to start another conversion today!

looseTman: We feel so fortunate that our friends have such a committed and reliable person to stay with their son, she goes above and beyond the call of duty all the time. And when I had breast cancer, I wondered if someday my experience might help someone else. Well, I hope it has now. We are going to make it through her diagnosis together! The army hospital is sending her to the same cancer center I went to for my radiation treatments, so I was able to give her lots of info. It is a really great facility and they offer lots of support, but sometimes you want someone you know and someone who has been through it, and I can be both for her.

looseTman

That’s truly awesome & quite a blessing!

Cwyn

A similar story for me that is opposite, I was the worker for a lady with autism and she had cancer. Spent 14 years with her and she was like my family. Many weeks I spent more hours of my life with her than with my “real” family. I can say there were no books, no literature, nothing on how to help a person with autism live with cancer, or how to die with cancer. I loved her so much, still do a double-take on the street at times when I glimpse someone who slightly resembles her.

ashmanra

Cwyn: I am so sorry for your loss! My son used to work with autistic children and he started a game night at the local coffee shop for autistic adults. Now he works in another town with mostly adults though I think they have one or two teens. He loves “his” folks and they all get attached to one another. What a blessing you to her! It is so rare to have the same autism assistant for a year or two, but for fourteen years!!! That is amazing! My son works for the creative living center so they have an art director on staff who helps the participants learn to draw and paint, and my son’s group takes them out to learn social skills and to volunteer for various charities like Meals On Wheels and 10,000 Villages. He loves his job!

mrmopar

I think she has a great friend in you for support and encouragement.

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This is a fabulous shu. It is so smooth and creamy, with a thick mouthfeel. There are rich aromas of dark, fertile earth and barn, with a high note of dark cedar, and the taste is sweet and full. I had several cups today, I will be resteeping this tomorrow, and I have a feeling that I will be ordering more very soon. This is one of my favorite flavor profiles in a shu puerh.

Preparation
10 g 26 OZ / 768 ML

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drank Keemun by Marks and Spencer
1857 tasting notes

Apparently this tea does not exist. It came in a box but the box got a bit flimsy so I put it in a good tin and labeled it as Marks and Spencer – Keemun. And I have had it for a while so it should have already been in my cupboard. Now I find that it isn’t on Steepster and when I google it I can not find that it ever existed. I am pretty careful about labeling my tea, though, so it really should be the right name. Maybe it is just discontinued?

Anyway, I have been making it in large batches as good old sweet tea, Southern USA style. I use about four tablespoons steeped for three minutes in a pot of 212F water, then pour it over two cups of sugar which has 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to keep it from going cloudy. Then I add water and ice to bring it up to about five quarts of tea in my large glass dispenser that is kept in the refrigerator.

The leaf particle size is better than dust, but is not whole leaf. I would say most of it is about the size of gunpowder green tea. It makes a decent pot of hot tea but it is really shining cold. It is very, very dark, though, which I thought the family might find off putting, but nope.

Everyone is guzzling it, so I guess I will have to try to get some more when I ….wait for it….GO TO IRELAND THIS FALL! Yes, indeed, I, who have never even been on an airplane, am supposed to go to Ireland in October! I expect I will be coming back with some new goodies from Gurman’s, too! And O’Connail’s chocolates, which you really must try if you ever get a chance.

Maybe I can find out if this tea really exists while I am there…

looseTman

Congrats on Ireland! You’re overdue for such a treat!

yyz

Oh I’m jealous, have a great time. I miss Ireland. Though every once in a while I run into odd connection to !y time there. The other day I ran into a man who’s family owns a pub we would visit from time to time in Malahide ( it was kind of a focal centre for people working out of Dublin airport and they keep Dublin’s Millennial clock in the courtyard). I’m so glad you will have friends and family to show you around. I miss hiking in Howth and Bray as well, there are gorgeous cliff side walks there and we used to go to Howth to watch the seals! So happy for you!

NofarS

Enjoy your trip! Sounds lovely.

K S

Drinking tea that never existed – next stop the twilight zone!

Ireland – Awesome!

gmathis

So are you taking donations to pay for your extra baggage for all the tea you’ll be hauling home? ;)

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96

Backlogging from last weekend: I had this a couple of mornings for breakfast, of all things. Usually matcha and matcha lattes are an afternoon thing for me, often to satisfy the “thungries.” Do you remember that ancient Quik commercial that recommended their product for that?

Those mornings, I had some things to do and my energy levels were not quite up to snuff. I didn’t have time for a sit down breakfast, so I made Carnation Instant Breakfast in vanilla flavor using skim milk. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding 1/2 teaspoon of French Vanilla matcha. It was excellent, and stood me in good stead. Delicious, too, and took the vanilla taste right over the top!

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94

Do you know that song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2? I was singing it every time I had a cup of Keemun tea. I had a memory of what I wanted for breakfast, but I wasn’t finding it. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great Keemuns, but they were either so smooth and fine they were really for afternoon or they were so harsh and brassy I needed milk to tone them down.

But here it is, the very flavor profile I was looking for. I have had a hard time describing the tongue scraping feeling that some teas give. I don’t mean sour astringency, and I usually describe it as the way dry unsweetened cocoa powder would feel on your tongue. But when I saw the mention of “wood” in the company description, I thought of those little wooden spoons that used to come with the rare ice cream cup in the school cafeteria. That is the feeling I mean, the way that wooden spoon felt.

Keemun Grade 1 – I am so glad I found what I was looking for.

Preparation
7 g 22 OZ / 650 ML
K S

This is a good one. Have you had the Hao Ya from Teavivre? I remember liking it once I got over my initial shock – at the time I thought it was smoky.

looseTman

Congrats on your 1,800 tasting note! Way to go ashmanra!

Cathy Zheng

I kinda love the taste of wooden spoons

ashmanra

K S: I did try it, a long while back, and it is probably the tea I was remembering now that I look back at my notes. I like smokey tea! I only had a sample, though. I ordered the Superfine Aromatic from them and love it, but it is so very smooth that it doesn’t do breakfast for me. I drink it in the afternoons.

looseTman: I didn’t even realize! Thank you! I need to push for 2,000!

Cathy: My hubby feels the same way. He loved the taste of those wooden spoons!

looseTman

Premium Keemun Hao Ya “the very flavor profile I was looking for” for breakfast and Superfine for afternoons, sounds like a definite plan! I’ve been enjoying Premium Keemun Hao Ya for breakfast for about a year. My 1st TeaVivre order was 700 g of it. The 2nd anniversary sale was 1 kg! The 3rd anniversary sale was 500 g of it and 500 g of Golden Monkey.

ashmanra

looseTman: Those sound like lovely and exciting orders!

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I ordered one of the 3rd Anniversary special sample packages when I ordered puerh for my son (and maybe some Jasmine Silver Needle White for me ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anybody.) This is one of the additional samples I chose.

I drank it with my bestie because she loves the Jasmine Silver Needle and she drinks chamomile just about every night, so I was interested in how she would like it. Also, it is a great opportunity to get friends addicted to new tea so they come and see you more often. :)

I used the whole sample in my 22 ounce pot. When the pouch was opened the aroma of chamomile filled the whole kitchen. It was stronger than if I had straight chamomile! I put the leaves in my display dish so she could she how lovely the tea was before we started steeping. The white tea is so downy, soft, and fluffy, and there are loads of chamomile blossoms and rose buds. Beautiful! But once it sat in the dish, the dominant scent was rose. What a chameleon!

Steeped, I tasted mostly chamomile, but it was made thick and creamy by the white tea. I did not taste very much rose, which is contrary to the experience of one other reviewer.

I resteeped the leaves but I had a student on the way over and lost rack of time. I know I oversteeped it badly, but it did no harm. I drank the whole second pot by myself and didn’t get any bitterness. It’s nice when tea is forgiving!

One thing I know is that this is going in my cart for next order as it is on sale soon. Even though there is caffeine in the white tea, the aroma is so soothing and comforting that I will be craving it on cold evenings this fall.

Edited to add: I forgot to say that this tasted very sweet to me even though we made no additions. Very sweet!

K S

I put a sample of this in my cart while stocking up on jasmine dragon pearls and powdered green tea. Sounds like I am going to like it!

ashmanra

Jasmine Dragon Pearls will be on my order, too. I love them! The Chamomile Rose had a similar effect on me as the JDP….instant serenity.

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
1857 tasting notes

I have had this a couple of times lately but haven’t logged it. Last Wednesday night I drank several cups of it in the evening and was WIDE awake until around 3 am! That may have been the tea, the cake I had with it, or just a fluke.

I had it again today. A friend is moving away and we met for possibly the last time. She has recently become quite sensitive to gluten, so my daughter made some delicious flourless chocolate cookies for us, and I made deviled eggs. It was all we could come up with on short notice that was gluten free! It was good, though, and she really seemed to love it.

This is the friend who thought she disliked tea, and I introduced her to puerh and to Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and she in turn got her mom totally addicted to puerh. Don’t you LOVE it?

This is a great tea to serve with sweets because it doesn’t compete, it complements. I also like serving it when I think the fats in the food might be hard on the system. I suppose it is preventive maintenance.

This is not a horsey puerh at all, but rather one of the smoothest. It is very mild yet flavorful. We drank two steeps western style in a large pot and the second steep was as good, as flavorful, as dark and tasty as the first. It is not the darkest puerh I have had, but it is indeed very, VERY special.

looseTman

Dear ashmanra, I just purchased SD and have started to become acquainted with it. I can see how this tea would easily complement sweets. What brewing parameters do you favor for this “very mild yet flavorful” shou? Thanks!

ashmanra

Since we were drinking a lot of tea that day, LooseTman, my daughter used a 22 ounce pot and about three and a half teaspoons of leaf. It was steeped for about four minutes for the first steep and four and a half for the second, using boiling water.

looseTman

Thank you! Pu’erh by the pot – I’ll have to try that!
Do you typically brew pu’erh Western of Gong Fu style?

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Profile

Bio

I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about five 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…

Location

North Carolina

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