2022 Tasting Notes

Woohoo! The traveling tea box arrived from Australia today! I am almost out of my Harney and Sons Vanilla Black so I gave this one a try as one of our tea time selections today.

The leaf particles are small, broken pieces, not large fairly whole leaves like H&S. The dry leaves smell great. According to the packaging, both the tea and the vanilla beans come from New Guinea. Cool!

Because the particles were small, I told my daughter to stick with a three minute steep lest it became bitter. It worked well, as there was no bitterness but plenty of vanilla flavor. The black tea base was decent, I think almost but not quite as good as H&S. This has real vanilla beans ground up in the tea, and it certainly smells exactly like my kitchen smells when I make a batch of extract. Lovely!

What fun to try things I have never heard of, and would never see around here. Thank goodness we have the Internet now so we can order!


That tea box had a long journey!

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I needed a black tea for tea party today to go with homemade chocolate chip ice cream and this cake: http://thenonpareilbaker.blogspot.com/2011/09/chocolate-cake-with-cream-cheese.html?m=1

Paired with such sweet food, the tea seemed to become even more roasty, more chocolatey. Oddly, I felt like I tasted vanilla with the chocolatey flavor today, no doubt some function of the pairing. Great stuff. So glad I skipped lunch…

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We had this as the final tea of tea party today. My guest commented that the aroma cleared her sinuses. Haha! I was surprised that I had only remembered peach and apricot with this one. When I gave it a good sniff today, she was right. It really was powerful, and at first I couldn’t place what I was smelling, and then I realized it was ginger.

The tea is actually a marvelous strength, not overpowering at all. Apricot and peach are in the forefront, but the ginger is a nice highlight and lingers a bit. It doesn’t burn as ginger can, but it isn’t shy. This is much nicer than I remembered. It was a really stressful time when I tried it last, right before working the election, so I guess I wasn’t paying as much attention!

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Eight days ago it was 70F and we were sitting outside on a blanket reading. This morning it is 25F. I opened the door at 6 am as the pup I am dog sitting today was being dropped off. Then I had to go to the storage room fridge to get more milk…barefoot. Then I had to go back out to hunt in the freezer for English Muffins. We’re out. Sigh. I should have put on shoes.

Anyway, I was feeling pretty frozen so instead of my usual toast and chocolate milk breakfast, I made grits, bacon, and an egg to go with the chocolate milk and tea!

The lemony high notes of this tea make me think there is a bit of Ceylon in here, but I really taste more Assam. This is quite drinkable without milk or sugar, though, and for me most Assams are not.

I talked my youngest daughter into trying this one today. She likes a few black teas – mostly Lapsangs and Assams, but I thought she would enjoy this one since it reminds me of one of her favorite Irish breakfast teas. And she did! We are now warming up nicely, I had the sense to put socks on, and we are wrapped in blankets ready to begin school. (The furnace is set to seventy but we are total wimps when it comes to cold weather.)

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drank Ali San by Harney & Sons
2022 tasting notes

Hubby and I sat down for four infusions, gong fu, of a different oolong. It wasn’t bitter or bad, it was just…liquid. No particular flavor notes came out at me. It was boring tea. Hubby said it didn’t do anything for him, either. Not bad, just not wow.

I was feeling a bit blue and I wanted something really good to make me go, “Ahhhhh. Mmmmm.”

This is the last of the sample I ordered over a year ago…maybe two years ago…from Harney and Sons. And this is what I was looking for. Hubby had already gone to bed but I took a tiny cup to him and asked him to try it. “That’s better,” said he.

I have to agree. This is sweetly floral and a touch fruity. Harney says it has citrus notes, but don’t get the idea that this is sour or tingly or lemon lime. This is a sweet and mellow fruit taste under the touch of flowers. I think I would compare it to osmanthus or gardenia, very light.

I will be taking advantage of the new Harney shipping special and ordering this, Royal Wedding, and Old Fir Da Hong Pao. Orders over $25 ship free, no coupon code needed. It ends 2/14/13.

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drank Cherry Pu-erh by Nature's Tea Leaf
2022 tasting notes

Thank you to GMathis for this sample from Nature’s Tea Leaf!

I reviewed this last night after drinking it at the house of a friend who likes puerh a lot, but has only had the ones I have given her. I left the leaves so she could resteep this morning and asked her how she felt about it. I thought I would share her “review” here even though she doesn’t have her own Steepster account…yet!

Melissa says, “I used to drink coffee every morning and really didn’t drink hot tea at all. Puerh is something I can drink in the mornings and not miss my coffee. I can’t say that about other tea, even black teas. This cherry puerh has a nice cherry flavor that doesn’t cover up the puerh base, and the hint of cherry aftertaste is really nice.”

Well put, friend! :)


It’s definitely pu-newbie friendly.

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drank Cherry Pu-erh by Nature's Tea Leaf
2022 tasting notes

I went to visit my friend who likes puerh tonight. I took the last of this sample that GMathis sent me because I thought my friend would really enjoy it. She loves Chocolate Strawberry Puerh from Lupicia, so I thought this might be right up her alley.

We made about 24 ounces with the remaining portion of this. I still enjoy it. I can taste the puerh, and it is a good, clean, dark and earthy base. It isn’t fishy or overly horsey, though I don’t mind horsey. The cherry is bright, fresh, and refreshing. It does not taste like cherry cough syrup to me, which I cannot abide in beverages.

My friend liked it a lot, so I told her to be sure to save our leaves for a resteep tomorrow as this will definitely give her some more great cups of tea.

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drank Almond Chai by Twinings
2022 tasting notes

My daughter got this as one of her free samples from Twinings. Then she decided she didn’t want to try it, because she likes almonds but not amaretto and she was afraid that would be the flavor she would get from this. She also doesn’t care for black tea with the exception of a few really good chai blends. She gave it to me to taste instead.

I made it when she was here and gave her the first sip just in case she did like it. She didn’t, so it was passed on to me.

Overall, it is pretty good for a grocery store bagged tea. I only gave it a three minute steep, so it wasn’t astringent, but the black tea base was also a little muted. The chai flavors are palatable and not terribly strong, and the almond is quite nice. It is very smooth and mellow tasting.

This isn’t something I would buy to keep on hand but I wouldn’t turn down a cup of it if this was what was available.

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After getting so utterly wrecked and sore last night from cooking and cleaning, I feel great today. I also have been very lazy and have done little.

I have just finished the fifth steep of one teaspoon of these little pearls, and I must say they have added an elegance and enjoyment to this day as few things can.

The jasmine flavor is still present though fading, and the green base is showing its pedigree. It reminds me a great deal of Huang Shan Mao Feng. This is exquisite, and is one of my panic teas. I panic if it starts to get low and I place an order!

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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…


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