1857 Tasting Notes

I finally placed that order with English Tea Store! I got Lady Londonderry tea and jelly babies so that youngest can offer them to people when she is wearing her Tom Baker scarf. The tea came very quickly. Customer service was great as the jelly babies are on back order and they called to tell me so, and to ask if I wanted the tea mailed right away at no additional cost! I usually would have told them to save THEIR cost and ship them together but I really wanted this to be here when my daughter’s boyfriend gets here next week from Northern Ireland.

This is the flavor profile he really loves, and hubby likes things like this, too, so I had hubby try it out today. Both hubby and Gavin put milk and sugar in their tea, so hubby’s opinion was valuable to me.

The dry leaf smelled mouth-wateringly candy-ish, like those little Smarties, the American ones, not the UK ones. The tea has a bright berry smell and I am thinking there is probably Darjeeling in this black tea blend.

Mine was fruity and good with both the strawberry and lemon flavors sharing the spotlight. Hubby said he liked his, and the more he drank the more it grew on him. Hooray! Hopefully Gavin will like it, too. I bought a whole pound so I can send some home with him!


This is a really nice company. However, when I placed an order with them it took over two weeks for me to receive the tea. It didn’t seem very fast to me. :(


@Liberteas: I must be in a great location for shipping! I got mine in six days and my Red Leaf Matcha came in four to seven days, depending on which order you look at, and Harney and Sons has gotten here in as little as two days but sometimes five. Even Teavivre coming from China used to get here in seven to ten, though my last two orders took more like five weeks….five…agonizing….weeks. LOL!


You’re quite lucky then! Personally, I don’t usually worry too much about shipping times … so long as the product is received – what does it matter if it arrives three days later or seven days later. You know? I’ve got plenty of tea to keep me occupied until I receive it. However, for the order I placed with English Tea Store, most of it was for gifts and I did need it in a timely manner … and it was remarkably slow and I received no communication from them about the length of time it was taking. I think that’s the only reason why I noticed it taking so long is because I needed the product for a gift.

But they are nice. I had some dealings with them early on in my career as a tea artist, and those dealings were very positive. I remember the lady that I contacted was exceptionally polite and courteous. And that really stood out to me all these years later.


I know, I shouldn’t be so whiny about how long those last twoTeavivre orders took! It isn’t like I was out of tea! And I got free shipping, but really I will probably pay for the faster shipping from now on since those took so long, unless I just really truly don’t care when it arrives! I was like Calvin and the propellor beanie, if you are a Calvin and Hobbes fan.

I would have been upset, too, if I had ordered gifts and they looked like they were not going to arrive on time! Glad you got memorably good service! :)

Josie Jade

I’ve been wanting to order from the English Tea Store for awhile now. This just reminded me that I need to place that order. Sounds delicious!

Daniel Scott

I always felt bad for Calvin…

What do you mean, American vs. UK Smarties? I’m in Canada, and our Smarties are little candy-covered chocolates, what are yours? I remember once getting orange-chocolate Smarties from a friend whose father traveled in the UK a lot (special edition Smarties, maybe?), so are UK Smarties basically the same as Canadian Smarties, and American Smarties are different?


I do have some UK Smarties that my daughter brought from Ireland and they are completely different. They are candy covered chocolates. American Smarties are little flat circles with a dent in the middle and they taste a bit like a Sweetart without much tart, or maybe like ChupaChups, if you are familiar with those, but I think maybe they have more flavor than ChupaChups. They are not terribly hard. You can chew them up easily.

Daniel Scott

Yeah, I think Canadian and UK Smarties must be the same, then. I looked up American Smarties, and…those are Rockets! Why on earth do Americans call Rockets “Smarties”?


yeah someone else mentioned that to me, when I said pistacio ice cream reminded me of rockets. They said be careful what you say because American rockets are actually Canadian Smarties…boy was I surprised :D


I dunno, but they have been called that for as long as I can remember, and I was eating candy waaaaay back when! :D Now I want some Smarties…


Okay, google says American Smarties came first, Nestlè introduced chocolate Smarties, so Smartie started calling them Rockets in Canada to avoid confusion. Who cares? I just want some!!!

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drank Da Hong Pao by Harney & Sons
1857 tasting notes

It is our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary today and to celebrate I wanted to…do what we do most Friday nights and get Chinese take out! LOL! i guess I am pretty low maintenance! At least, I hope I am.

I am getting low on this tea, but since the mystery Da Hong Pao from the restaurant was so good with our Chinese take out I thought we would have this again. At first I thought I should use it up since it is getting older, but I have seen some things that say that oolongs often age well, and on eBay they sell aged and pressed cake oolongs that look like puerh. I need to find out more about this.

There are a lot of notes about this one and I don’t have a lot to add other than that I now find it a favorite to pair with meals.




26! One year more than my folks. Hope it was lovely.




Twenty six years…that’s wonderful.


That sounds like my kind of anniversary celebration! :D Congratulations.


Very happy anniversary Ashmanra !


Happy anniversary!


Happy, happy!


happy anniversary!


Thank you, everyone! It was a lovely evening. And I even got red letters and red HEARTS from you guys! :)


Congrats! Happy Anniversary!!


Yay Happy Anniversary!

Invader Zim

Happy Anniversary!


Much-belated Happy Anniversary!

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I was craving this last week but didn’t make it for tea party day because my guest does not like puerh tea, and she likes almost everything else. I get a little irritated sometimes when people try to get me to taste seething over and over swearing THIS one will be the one I like. I have had that happen with coffee lovers.

But this week I broke. This tea is so chocolate and so strawberry and so rich that surely no one culd object to it, no matter how much they dislike puerh.

My gamble paid off. My guest liked it and did not find it offensive like the plain and osmanthus puerhs I have given her in the past. And of course I loved it. My first taste of this tea came from a swap with Doulton, and I am sad to say that my card to her remans unanswered, so we still don’t know what became of her.


:( I hope she is OK. Clinging to hope that maybe her return correspondence is in route……


hard to go wrong with Lupicia! Hope Doulton is okay. :(

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I don’t own this Keemun….yet….but the way my guest loved it today I may need to put it on my shopping list. I would love to try ALL of the Teavivre Keemuns!

This particular one is mild and smooth, with a silky, almost cedar fragrance. There are hints of sweet potato and a little molasses or honey perhaps. It reminds me a lot of Golden Monkey. This was my guest’s hands down favorite.

I think it was Missy and Dylan who compared a number of Teavivre’s Keemuns. I need to look at his reviews and narrow down the ones to try. They have several! As my guest said, “This one’s a winner.”


I miss those two!


Me too! :(


Me three!

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
1857 tasting notes

This was an unusual tea party day in a way. Today we didn’t do a set of three different teas. Instead we had two of the same type of tea but from different companies to compare them. We also had a flavored version of a tea my guest normally does not like. For our snacks, we compared two of the same cheddars but different ages from the same company.

The results were mixed. Both Keemuns were excellent and both went well with food, and we drank them quite easily without milk and sugar, something I couldn’t handle with Keemuns a year or two ago. The other tea being tried alongside this was Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant.

This Keemun tasted the most like what I consider to be a classic Keemun. It had rich, cocoa-y flavor and I found that it really stood up well to the salty aged cheeses we were tasting. It had the power to wash down those strong flavors without wilting.

The Teavivre Keemun was less of a “classic” Keemun flavor to me, but it was nevertheless an amazing tea. I don’t think you can go wrong buying either of these if you know the differences between the two and know what you want from your Keemun. Teavivre’s was smoother, less cocoa-y, more baked sweet potato with a hint of molasses.

Seriously, these were both so good you don’t want to miss either tea.

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Once upon a time this was one of the very few teas my hubby would drink. He drinks lots of others now so this one has been neglected. I decided we had better get nostalgic and revisit it before it goes stale!

This is not only a nice, lemony Ceylon, it has a lovely floral note as well. I now take it sans milk and sugar, though in the early loose leaf tea days I took it with both, like hubby. This was a very nice accompaniment to our lunch today – bold enough to pair with food, not astringent, a little malty.

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Bonnie sent this tea to me a while back, but I absolutely refused to make it until I could make an event of it. Tonight I asked hubby if he would join me for tea. That always means the two of us, at the tea table, and no laptops, no electronics, just us and tea. He said yes, so here we go!

I made a plate of some new cheese I bought to try – Drunken Goat, a 6 year aged cheddar, and an 8 year aged cheddar. These were served with Club crackers, the whole grain version.

I unwrapped the lovely wrapped pillow. I love the texture and weight of the paper so I saved for an “as yet unknown” project! The pillow of tea held together but was loosely packed, which was a surprise. I have only seen the tightly compressed puerhs so that is what I expected, but this pillow was so large it would never do to put that much tightly compressed leaf in a small pot. I love how unique this is!

We steeped five times, beginning with 90 seconds and increasing to 3 minutes by the last. Each steep was flavorful. My husband is not the biggest fan of green and oolong teas but he has a few he really likes. He enjoyed this one!

The liquor is somewhat pale, and I would call this a medium bodied tea. This is very smooth and has no drying effect at all. The flavor is vegetal with a floral note overlaying it.

So I got my wish! I got to try this tea, and it really was an event – a nice, mid-week date for hubby and me! Thank you, Bonnie!


That is so cute. I should talk to my fiancee about doing something like that when we eventually start living together. The tea sounds yummy too.


Kudo’s for time without electronics! A note that this tea is often too big for a basket so you have to have a gaiwan or two pots to pour the water on and then off the tea pillow for steeping(some pillows are 2×2 inches square and some 1×3 inch rectangles…they are handmade and the size varies.).


I read your tasting note first, so that is what I did! I out the pillow in my little glass pot and then poured the tea into my fair cup. We stopped at five steeps. I may go a couple more tomorrow! I am pretty sure it still have some good flavor to give!


Good thing I remembered to write it down. I couldn’t remember if I did. I like having unique shapes for my grandchildren when they come over. It’s interesting. I thought this tea was easy to drink and delicate. Maybe nice with a lighter cake and whipped cream. Don’t know. Bosc Pears?

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You won’t believe how I made this. I made it like matcha! LOL! I think I have almost exclusively made lattes, but this time I did a little of both! I was really worried that I had made a mistake ordering this and French Vanilla because I thought they would be almost identical. Instead, they are barely similar! What I bought: Size – small, base – classic, flavor level – robust. Buy it here:


First surprise – out of the bag this smells very lemon-y! When I whisked a small amount in hot water it also tasted lemony. If someone had told me I was drinking “such and such a company’s lemon green tea”, I would have believed them. It was very nice that way but we all know why I bought this, right?

Usual prep – eight ounces hot milk, one teaspoon sugar, 1/4 tsp. matcha powder, plus immersion blender.

Oy vey! Ay caramba! Second surprise: I now have a European pastry with soft creamy filling. It is still a bit lemony, but the vanilla aspect comes out a bit more and the taste and texture are very creamy! This tastes like a fresh Bavarian cream, not like the preservative laden grocery store mess that they pass off as Bavarian cream. I only know this because many years ago a German family opened a bakery in our town. When I went in for the first time I purchased a pastry to share with a friend, and the friend did the choosing. She picked a pastry filled with Bavarian cream, to which I thought, “Yuck.” Then I tasted it and it was so good!

I told the owner how different it was from any I had tried before, and he said that it was because his son comes in at four a.m. every day and makes it fresh. It is kept chilled. When they sell out of what was made that morning, it is gone until the next day. And sell out they do, every day even now.

This is that good.

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At last! I have reached the point where I am buying matcha flavors especially for ME! So far I have chosen flavors based on the preferences of family members, and in a way this one is influenced by that – I want to add this to hubby’s Carnation Instant Breakfast in the mornings so he will get his protein and vitamins along with the caffeine boost and antioxidants in the matcha.

When I opened the package, the aroma was wonderful…but not exactly what I expected! I thought it was going to smell sickeningly sweet, like a whole bakery full of cupcakes covered in fatty, sugary frosting, although I believed it would taste great. Instead, I am picking up an aroma that I normally find in a super fresh, newly unsealed pouch of tie guan yin. I don’t know if I am smelling the matcha base this time, or if oolongs have reminded me of vanilla all along and I just didn’t put a finger on the smell accurately. Any way you call it, this smells GOOD. There is nothing sickening or cloying about this, even in this Robust flavor level, at least not for me.

I wanted strong vanilla flavor, so I chose French Vanilla over Madagascar Vanilla and I ordered Robust flavor level. I knew I would love it so I ordered the large size, of course!

Here is where to get it:

Oh my goodness! I am so glad I got the large! For this first tasting I just added 1/4 tsp. of matcha powder and one teaspoon sugar to eight ounces cold milk. I used an immersion blender to mix it up and get some froth.

This is really good. When I was a kid I had milk with Nestlé Quik almost every day, but on special days my mom would let me make vanilla milk. Back then, that meant a few drops of vanilla extract and lots of sugar stirred into a glass of milk. I would put so much sugar that my vanilla milk would crunch – it was actually gritty, though I loved it.

This is taking me back to that drink, but with far less sugar, lots of antioxidants, and a bit of caffeine to kick me into gear. I can’t wait to experiment with it. This is going to make a marvelous hot vanilla drink, too.


ooooh this was on my short list. I was worried about the bakery sweet thing too.


Glad you are starting to buy for YOU now!


I loved it when my Nestle’s Quik would sink to the bottom and there was goopy chocolate powder to drink at the end :)


I must confess I still drink it almost every single morning! And some evenings…
My dad briefly tried to cut back on how much Quik he put in my milk – he made our breakfast and usually packed our lunches, too, he adored my mom and totally spoiled her! – but I would hand it back if it wasn’t a deep enough color! LOL! We buy it at Sam’s Club, now, of course….

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Oh la la! It is still chilly (okay, it is about 52F outside but compared to the eighty degree temps we were having, that is chilly!) and it is completely overcast and drizzly. We have lots of geometry to do and it is puppy sitting day and I had Mountain Dew at supper last night (stupid, stupid, stupid) and hardly slept a wink last night. Time for fortification!

Most of the time when I set out to make tea, I know exactly what sort of thing I want. Today it took a few minutes to figure it out, but I sure picked a winner. I had five pearls remaining from my free sample and that is what I am finishing here, though I did get my own order of it last week, thus I get to click “Add to Cupboard.” :D

These five pearls have given me four eight ounce pots of tea. It is cocoa-y, smooth, and…manly. I don’t know how else to put it. It isn’t strong as in astringent, biting, or drying, yet it has a lot of presence. I am taking it plain, but I think it would hold up well to milk and sugar if such was your wont. It is very good with sweets.

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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…


North Carolina

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