2139 Tasting Notes

I received a wonderful box of samples of the 2013 harvest today from Teavivre. Thank you!

Hubby and I have not had our bedtime green tea lately. We’ve been a little out of sync schedule-wise, so tonight we set that straight.

He really has been enjoying green tea though he is still rather new to it and says he really can’t describe flavors yet, but tonight he said “vegetal, I definitely get that this is vegetal.” He agreed that there is also a hint of butter and a nice toasted flavor. And this was just bursting with flavor! We had five steeps of it, and I have saved the leaves because I think I can get a few more tomorrow.

This is an excellent Dragon Well. I liked the first one I ever had. It was purchased from a tea shop not far away. For some reason I never finished that bag of tea, but when I tried Teavivre’s Dragon Well last year I had to order. This one is every bit as good as last year.

Hubby drank right along with me and kept refilling. He said he found this green tea particularly smooth and drinkable. I, too, found it smooth and easy to drink, and on one steep that went a little long there was a hint of root vegetable flavor (not strong enough to be unpleasantly astringent) that blossomed into sweetness after the swallow. Nice!

Thank you, Teavivre, for the samples! I look forward to trying all of them!


Can’t wait to try them all!

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This is a sipdown of the sample I received from Nuvola a while back.

I had a bit of a stressful weekend so far. A truly toxic person is trying to get me involved in her dramas, I had a lot of tedious work to do that I wasn’t looking forward to, and we have some decisions to make that I just wish would go away, preferably because we won the lottery and were Elvis-rich and then I would fly to Nevada Hospital and make tea for GMathis and surf teh interwebs with her. I would bring Samwise and say he was a therapy dog and we would dance with him in the waiting room. (Can you tell I need an ESCAPE???)

I took a break from my cleaning and had a cup of sanity and some Bissinger’s Chocolates. Honey, if tea and chocolate don’t make it better, you need to get in somebody’s LAP!

I had forgotten that this black tea steeps up rather light, but it surely was good. The taste is very fruity and complex. It went quite nicely with the chocolate even though it wasn’t as powerful as the Keemuns I usually drink with sweets. Instead of cleansing the palate for the next tidbit like my usual choices do, this sort of sidled up to the chocolate and made friends. There was a hint of roastiness for a low note, lots of middle fruity notes playing along, and a high note of sweetness singing over it all.

This is a really nice tea and not “run of the mill.” I think it would be great to have hanging around!


Honey, if Nevada Regional Medical Center sounds like a vacation to you, you are in troub-b-l-e that starts with T that rhymes with gee, you need a break! :) (Things aren’t great, but stable, family able to go home to sleep.)


And a bit of local trivia: Nevada, Missouri is pronounced Nuh-VAY-duh by the natives.


Roast knees?


What else did you put in that tea darling? Never heard of roast knees either!


LOL! Autocorrect got me again! That was supposed to be roastiness! (Which it just tried to change to roast invests but I fixed it in time!)

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SIPDOWN! I got up at 5 am to keep an eye on the new hen. When they are adjusting the pecking order, sometimes the newcomer or the smallest hen will get beaten up, but they have behaved themselves wonderfully. They didn’t even get up until 6 am today!

Another tasting note inspired me to make a pot of this, sit outside, and watch the chickens for a while. The wind is blowing and we are supposed to have a thunderstorm, so it is quite overcast and cloudy with sudden piercing beams of sunlight warming your arms and face. The dogwood trees are sprinkling us with petals and stamens and pistils as the wind ruffles through the branches.

I made three steeps so this is a little lighter than I usually drink it, though I did use extra pearls to finish them off cleanly. No fear. The tin is already refilled with Teavivire’s Superfine Downy Jasmine Dragon Pearls. My next purchase from them will be their Jasmine Silver Needle.

These are the jasmine teas I drink when I want to enjoy an excellent jasmine tea by itself. If I am having food, I drink Silver Jasmine Green instead of pearls.


What jasmine pearls that you have tried are your favorite so far?


I had the Harney and Sons pearls that most people love, but I didn’t like them as well. I have had both of Teavivre’s and loved them. I have had a few loose jasmine teas like Jasmine Black from Southern Season, and it was too perfume-y. Grace Rare Tea has a jasmine pouch one that is pretty good, but nothing touches Teavivre’s jasmines for me so far.


Cool! I’ve tried a few, Butiki’s organic pearls so far have been my fave. I haven’t tried any from Teavivre yet.


I have tried a few Jasmine scented teas before but never pearls. Is this one you would suggest to start with?


Absolutely! Did you know you can sign up on their site for free samples? Use your Steepster name where it asks about your blog. I love this one and the Jasmine Silver Needle most probably, though Superfine Downy Jasmine is amazing. I love Teavivre!


Love these beautiful pearls!


I am all over the free samples thing! Thanks for the tip!


Great! Thanks.

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drank Blueberry Green by Harney & Sons
2139 tasting notes

Wow, this stuff is good. Tonight was writers’ group night at my house and they have grown accustomed to having tea. This was the second giant pot we had. The aroma is so fresh and fruity.
We made a 22 ounce steep using two sachets, poured it into a much larger pot and made another steep to combine with the first. Only three of us were drinking tea tonight but I think we finished 76 ounces in all.

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drank Finest Gyokuro by ZenTea
2139 tasting notes

I saved the leaves yesterday and made a third steep to go with lunch today. The spinach flavor is seriously dialed back but it was still a good cup of tea. I miss the creamed spinach richness of yesterday, though.


ooh! Spinach? That sounds awesome!

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drank Finest Gyokuro by ZenTea
2139 tasting notes

This came as a sample with the matcha I ordered from ZenTea. I understand there is more than one company by this name. To clarify, this is the company in Canada whose site is ZenTeaLife.

I am having some of the Asian buffet leftovers for lunch and wanted a good green to go with it. I am delighted that I spotted this in my free sample and swaps box. I will get to do a sample SIPDOWN, which isn’t as exciting as for some of you because I don’t put samples in my cupboard, but is still exciting because I have reduced the embarrassing large amount of tea I own by one so I feel a little better about myself. Ha!

The color reminds me of the organic unfiltered olive oil I buy. The leaves in the sample pack are a good size but lots of teeny tiny bits escaped into my cup. It didn’t matter – it didn’t make it bitter. I have made two steeps so far and the second is as good as the first and just as flavorful.

My main thought as I drink this is that if I were chewing, I would know for certain that I was eating creamed spinach. I really like creamed spinach, by the way. So I thoroughly enjoyed both cups of tea and am glad to try my second gyokuro ever. Now I know what to buy for that rich, creamy spinach taste.

Thank you, ZenTeaLife for the sample!


Mmmm gyokuro! Nice sample to get :)


Hmmm, have been eying gyokuro for some time now, but don’t think I’ll be trying it anytime soon if it tastes like creamed spinach I like creamed spinach, but with dinner (some potato’s and a piece of meat), not in my tea…. I think …


Do you like other japanese greens like sencha Barbara? If you like sencha you might enjoy it :)


I agree, if you like Sencha, you would love gyokuro!


Yes I do like Sencha, at least in the summers… Thanks for your comments. I’ll be trying gyokuro some time after all. :-)

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Hoorah! Hooray! My tea came today! I just completed a SIPDOWN of another brand of unflavored matcha so I am glad to have this. I bought two pouches of it because the price was so reasonable and I would save on shipping in the long run.

The color of this is quite similar to the one from Zen Tea Life, and both are heartier in flavor than the one I got from Olive Nation. It is not as vibrant green as Kai Matcha or as the higher grades of Red Leaf Matcha, but it is lovely and an excellent price for a good quality of tea.

I made a latte with this as soon as it came and it was yummy! The smell reminds me very strongly of some Ti Kuan Yin and Dong Ding teas I have had, the smell of the acrylic paint art studio I took lessons in when I was very young. I LOVE that smell!

One thing I will be doing with this….I started out ordering all my matcha from Red Leaf in Robust. Now I love plain matcha and the robust flavor level is too much for me. Some of the flavors have a chemical taste if I put a full measure in, and if I cut back on how much Red Leaf I use, I don’t have enough matcha flavor for me anymore.

Solution: use half as much Red Leaf flavored, and replace the other half with a good unflavored matcha – like this one!

I am going to give a bit of this to my daughter and my bestie, because I think they are really going to love it.

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Why are the chickens making me crave black tea? Each morning I go outside and watch the chickens we bought Sunday. One of them had laid an egg in the box during the auction. I didn’t expect them to lay for a week or so since they had a major upheaval in their lives, but yesterday both laying hens laid an egg. (One is an adorable pullet, too young to lay just yet.) I am on pins and needles looking for two more eggs to come at about five o’clock. Meanwhile, though, in the mornings I LONG for a pot of black tea even though I haven’t been having tea until afternoons for a long while.

This one sounded good today. It is one of only a few Assams that I can drink and not regret it. Others are too harsh for me and give me an angry stomach. I actually got distracted and steeped this one for over five minutes instead of the 3 1/2 I normally do. I was afraid it would be undrinkable but I took it outside and enjoyed every cup with a bit of Blarney Castle cheese from Kerrygold. Is anyone else excited at the cheese they are carrying at Sam’s Club now? They have some pretty decent ones and I try to buy one or two a month to expand my horizons.

Grace Rare Tea is consistently good for me. They don’t offer a huge number of different teas, but they offer high quality teas and people who have tea at my house generally really like their tea. I have had their Formosa Oolong, Assam, Winey Keemun, and Jasmine Green, and they have all been tasty.


Even tho they had an upheaval, the also have the best and most caring chicken mom ever!


D’aw! Thanks! I am getting a sunburn sitting out there by their run in the eighty plus degree heat – haha!


80 plus degree heat?!! Here up north Spring hasn’t even shown up yet. >_


Rellybob: it was 84 last time I checked! I have the a/c set for 78 and I just heard it come on and it is after 7pm. We have a few more days of this predicted. I don’t enjoy really cold weather but I don’t like the heat and humidity either! If only it could be perpetually 70 degrees!


Absolutely agreed that 70 is the ideal temp. I do enjoy the seasons…but only when they change when they’re supposed to! :)

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drank Marie-Antoinette by Nina's Paris
2139 tasting notes

I have had this for about three weeks, but I waited to review because I thought I had done something wrong. (Hang in there, I didn’t do anything wrong but there was a very fixable problem – solution is thanks to Rashad.)

The first two times I tried it, it was anything but delicate. It wrestled my tongue into a headlock and tried to cut it with a shiv. It was some very aggressive tea. But it wasn’t the base, it was the flavoring. I had loved, I say LOVED, every other Nina’s Tea I had tried. Other people loved it. Rashad loved it. What was wrong with me? I served it to a guest, and they said, “Meh.”

Then Frank’s teas started getting some off comments and he said maybe people could try airing it for a bit.

Rashad’s tin of Marie-Antoinette arrived and it was “anything but delicate”, while his sample had been quite good. He decided to air the tin, and when I saw his note I decided to try it, too.

All the difference in the world! That is what it made, indeed. Now this is a sour apple tea that is lightly rose scented. The rose appears in the scent and in the aftertaste but is light, not heavy and perfumey. The tea base can now be tasted, and I really wasn’t getting the base before.

Nice tea save! Thank you, Rashad!


This boggles my mind. I really liked this one. All I had was a sample. I used 12oz of just off boiling water and steeped for 3 minutes. Now the second cup I way over steeped and it was pretty bitter but that was my fault.

My Friend Rashad

I just spread it out in a thin layer on a plate. Left it out for a few hours. That did the trick. The thing I loved about the Nina’s samples was the subtlety and sophistication of it all. I’m glad everything worked out.

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drank Sweet Matcha Original by Rishi Tea
2139 tasting notes

I am putting today’s tea drinking under this tea, but there will be three teas mentioned here. The other two do not have a designation of their own.

My bestie, Melissa1, came over today for lunch since she is on spring break. We did a side by side test of three instant matcha latte mixes; this one, my home made blend of Olive Nation matcha and sugar, and Red Leaf Tea’s sample of Caramel Matchacinno No. 4, which is a test sample and not the final product that will be sold.

I made three glasses of milk and put a scoop of mix on top. As the matcha begin to bleed its color out into the milk, the differences were immediate and obvious. Rishi’s matcha was a bright spring grass green. Olive Nation was more of an olive green color, as was Red Leaf, though the flavoring does slightly change the color of theirs. Note: the mixes call for eight ounces of milk per tablespoon of mix. I have found that it is plenty sweet and flavorful enough to put one tablespoon mix to fourteen to sixteen ounces for me.

I used an Aerolatte to blend the mix and froth the top.

The Rishi had the strongest matcha flavor and tasted the sweetest of the unflavored. Olive Nation home made mix was good, but their matcha is more earthy and muted. I do like it, though.

The Caramel Matchaccino was still too strong for us at 12 ounces milk so I went with fourteen. This is a good thing, as it means I can make my mondo glass of latte and not go broke putting two tablespoons in it! Also, the flavoring level was either delicate or more likely, distinctive. I thought that was plenty strong enough and I would not order it in robust personally. I think I will put my money in upgrading the base now and go with lighter flavor, because the flavoring is generous enough as it is and the base makes the most difference to me now that I have developed a taste for matcha. The caramel is creamy and sweet.

As we poured up the last of it, she laughed and gasped, “How did we drink so much already?” I thought that was pretty funny since it is something you would expect to hear over a bottle a wine, not a table full of matcha! :)


Yep,the Rishi was my last Summer fruit smoothie matcha.

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