1956 Tasting Notes

Last night I steeped these leaves for one pot of hot tea. Then, thinking about Bonnie’s puerh reviews, I put the leaves in my Bodum iced tea pitcher, filled it with filtered water, and out it in the refrigerator. By the time I was ready for bed, the water in the pitcher was as black as cola and even had bubbles along the sides that made it look carbonated. I decanted the first cold steep and put in more water to see what would happen.

When I got up this morning, the second steep was still pretty pale so I poured a bit in a glass and it was very weak though good. I added a bit of it to that ultra dark first steep.

I tried a glass of that mix, and Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most refreshing thing I think I have ever had to drink in my life. Sometimes a fine white or green tea will have a taste of snow melt to me. This is a whole glass of icy cold fresh pure snow melt with the loveliest aftertaste. Pristine. I really really want to do this some more. This is going to be amazing in summer heat.

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Matcha time! My friend came over and had tea with me today, and before she left she was lamenting about how much work she needed to do when she went home. I suggested that she try a matcha latte and see if that gave her a boost of energy. It must have worked, or it just tasted really great, because she is texting me right now picking what flavor she is going to buy, what size, what flavor level. I told her that picking the flavor is the hardest part for me because there are so many tempting ones.

This review will be about my latte, however, not hers! You can get the matcha right here:


I bought this one in Robust flavor level to mix with peanut butter to see if I could get a Reese’s peanut butter cup flavor, but I also wanted to try this one by itself as a hot cocoa substitute.

For this particular latte I made it the lazy way. I poured one cup of milk into a two cup Pyrex measuring cup. I added a spoonful of Turbinado sugar, which I am finding goes really well with the lattes. (I have to consume it all because I tried it in the kids’ drinks and they swear it tastes different from other sugar and they don’t want it in their drinks!)

When the milk was hot I used a plain kitchen strainer to sift 1/2 teaspoon of matcha into the cup. Then I just whisked it with a regular Kitchenaid brand metal whisk. I got a good froth, I suppose because it is milk instead of water. That helps!

This tastes good and creamy. I had to add extra milk because it was a little strong and you don’t want to add TOO much of the flavored matcha. The taste suffers. The good thing is that means you can use less and make MORE matcha lattes! It doesn’t taste exactly like hot cocoa, but it does taste like a hot drink that is chocolate, if that makes sense. This isn’t a kid’s kind of chocolate flavor, but rather a more adult one.

I do think I will order this in a milder flavor level next time, but for now I will just add more milk than usual to my lattes.

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My best friend really loves puerh tea and I wanted to have some more today to keep trying to counteract all the holiday food, so I invited her over. Of course, I made apple dumplings to go with it, so how much did it help? LOL!

The instructions on the bag call for a great deal of tea and a rather short steep of 1-2 minutes. I put a bit less tea than called for and steeped it just over two minutes. The resulting tea is rich and dark dark dark – as dark as coffee. But it is oh so good. There is a cedar oil aftertaste to this one that I love.

Bonnie mentions cold steeping her puerh, so I only made one pot with these leaves and then put them in cold water in the refrigerator. It is already so dark! I can’t wait to see how I like it.

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This is from Amy Oh! Thank you, Amy!

Too much fatty food and not enough steamed or raw veggies make ashmanra a dull girl. First there was the frenzy of cooking for Thanksgiving. Then leftovers, but I kept eating turkey and gravy and gravy, and dressing and gravy, and mashed potatoes and gravy, and turkey sandwiches. Finally I ended the leftovers with turkey divan, and talk about fatty food. Oof. So I feel like a slug, and then made it worse by eating two fatty meals today and having leftover Halloween candy for a snack. My tummy is NOT happy with me. I should be in bed, but I am giving my tummy some puerh as an apology for the way I have been treating it.

I didn’t look up the instructions on this and it has been a long time since I had it. I rinsed it for thirty seconds and then gave it a thirty second steep. Hey, don’t beat me! I LOVE most shu puerh at three minutes or more! Ad it wasn’t bad at all. As they said, a little bitter, a little hay-like. Nice and light, though, and I am counting on its ability to soothe a digestive tract.

Second steep was forty seconds, still good, not much different from the first. Now I read the instructions and see it was supposed to be a three second first steep. Seriously? Oh well. But I see Amy’s comment about lowering the temp and steeping longer so I try that.

Now the brew is twice as dark. We have achieved dark oolong color, nice and light caramel color, and the bitterness has increased a little. But there are more layers playing about now. THEREIS also a powerful aftertaste that is so sweet and unexpected! I would love to see how it ages.

I think so far I prefer shu puerh. Do the two types of puerh carry the same benefits?


I am not sure about the benefits for shu vs. sheng

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Okay, I admit that I would probably have never looked at this flavor twice had it not been for Azzrian’s rave reviews! The more I read about it, the more I wanted it. Here is where to get it!


Mine is robust flavor level.

I needed a good energy boost today because I have been about as useful as a knot on a log. I have felt tired, sluggish, and sleepy and I know it is because I have been cooking and eating all the wrong foods since Thanksgiving. But I can not let this house go any longer without doing some big time cleaning!

Matcha to the rescue! It really was a comedy of errors getting it all put together, which makes a great testament to how hard it is to mess this up! I got out a container and measure the milk, it is metal so I can’t heat the milk in the microwave. I got a container to heat the milk, it was too small to mix the milk. I put the warm milk in a larger container and mix, almost forgetting to add the Turbinado sugar I had especially picked for this matcha latte.

But hallelujah! It is delicious in spite of my blundering! And the very best part is that I got a ton of cleaning done that I have had my eye on for about a week now.

My method, other than needing three containers where I should have used one:
Mix 1/2 teaspoon matcha with a teaspoon of water for a thick paste. Heat one cup milk in microwave, adding about 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar either before or after heating. Add hot milk to matcha paste and mix with immersion blender.

VOILA! Delicious latte and clean house!


Still my favorite flavor too :)

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drank Pumpkin Spice by Harney & Sons
1956 tasting notes

I love you, Harney and Sons. I really do. But I don’t like rooibos. A friend gave me some of this to try and I can’t find the pumpkin. I get rooibos and spice, maybe clove and nutmeg or mace?, but that is pretty much it.

If you love those spices and want a warming drink and you don’t mind rooibos, this might be a really good choice for you, it just isn’t my bag.


Honestly, I enjoy rooibos, but when I drink flavoured rooibos I can never taste the flavour, only smell it.

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drank Bossa Nova by Zen Tea
1956 tasting notes

This is a free sample from “Zen Tea.” Thank you, Zen! I understand I have some presents on the way from your store!

When I opened the pouch, I thought, “Coffee! Foofy coffee shop flavored coffee all creamy and with too many calories!” I forgot this had hazelnut and thought it was just the vanilla until I looked at the description again! Ah yes, thus the deep, dark, rich aroma.

Now that I am sniffing the steeped tea, I can definitely tell this is hazelnut I am smelling. I think Bossa Nova is a great name for this tea. It evokes a sultry, somewhat sensual atmosphere. Think dark coffee house with slow freeform jazz, poetry readings, and bookish sorts wearing glasses that shouldn’t be sexy but they are. The glasses, I mean.

I could be wrong since I don’t drink coffee, but this seems like a tea that a coffee lover would love to drink. I don’t think I would drink this when I wanted an oolong experience, sitting quietly and experiencing all the changes of the different steeps, closing my eyes to focus in aftertaste. I think I would drink this just to evoke the atmosphere, playing some jazz, and writing letters to friends or chatting with one who is sharing a pot of tea with me.


(snapping fingers softly)


^ Teehee.

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I am drinking this tea courtesy of K S, one of the most generous souls I know! Thank you!

Flicking through lots of notes on here, I decided to go with a 5 second rinse and a short first steep, increasing for the second. This was made in my small glass pot which is about 8 ounces.

The dry tea is tightly rolled into balls which expand impressively upon steeping into full, deep green leaves. The scent of the tea is a light floral lemon, and the taste is much the same as the aroma. This is a greener oolong, floral, lemon, and light, but the magic happens in the aftertaste. There is a lingering light roasted taste and a warmth left behind.

I have only done two steeps so far, but will probably keep going later this afternoon. This is really delicious!

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drank Da Hong Pao by Harney & Sons
1956 tasting notes

Hubby and I had this with our Chinese take out tonight, seeing as I didn’t open any of my new tea. Wink wink nudge nudge.

I don’t know why, but it was especially good tonight. The dry leaf was rich and chocolatey in aroma, my favorite kind of Da Hong Pao. The aroma was so much like the tea the owner of the restaurant gave me that his family had sent to him from China. When I had asked him what kind it was, he said, “I don’t know. Expensive. Very expensive.” Well, it tasted expensive, and so does this one.

I had decided that next I would try Old Fir Da Hong Pao but can it really get better than this?

Has anyone tried the aged cakes of DHP? How does it compare?

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Shhhh! Don’t tell on me!

I went out my front door and there was a small box sitting by the step. What’s this? I picked up the box and read the name. No way! Impossible! It can’t already be here. I casually walked into the kitchen, not drawing attention to myself, and opened the box. It is! It is! It is my Christmas present tea! Surely I can try JUST ONE. After all, I did ask for tea, I did place the order myself, and no one has any idea how much I ordered and from where.

After an agonizing three or four seconds of mental battle and rationalization, I carefully opened this one. The kids don’t know new tea is here because I controlled myself and didn’t do my SQUEEE dance.

Since this is a brand new company to me and most of us, I will go into a little more detail on packaging and such. First, the box is nice and sturdy, and obviously shipping was fast for me to be surprised that it is here already. Inside the box is a lovely handwritten note, a receipt, and a little brown paper to keep the tins from moving around. The tins are in pristine condition and are very attractive. You would have to involve an elephant to damage the packaging.

Opening the lid on the tin I find a layer of very thin aluminum foil to keep the tea fresher. Hugo Tea is presently changing their packaging, but if you order before the change is complete, be sure you keep that little circle of foil. It makes the lid nice and tight. Initially i didn’t put it back and when I reopened the tin I noticed that the lid came off a little too easily (unlike a few companies whose lids make me weep and I spill as much of the leaf as I get to drink because of obstinate lids) and though in normal circumstances it would be just fine, when is life really normal? People drop things, bump into shelves, etc, and if this tin fell it would almost certainly spill. Keep your foil, or put in a new piece.

Dry leaf: deep army green and somewhat twisty. Nice and full. Aroma is root vegetables like turnips or mustard greens.

Steeped: Nice medium gold color, fragrant, again of root vegetables but a wee bit milder now. First steep is root vegetable with a slight dryness and tingling to the tongue, the sort of green I serve mainly with food. Aftertaste is lingering, lots of staying power. I think of this as a tea that awakens you.

Second steep: similar to the first, but with a soft caress. Flavor remains much the same, but some of the root vegetable edge is smoothed out so there is a sense of a lighter, slightly buttered vegetable.

Mixing the two steeps together, I do not feel that I have something half way between the two, but rather that the first steep has brought the second up to full strength. This makes me think I should shoot for a third steep in a little while. There may be a fourth in here as well!


Their website is really fun. Caught my eye since they’re Missouri based.

Hugo Tea Company

This was a pleasure to read. We were excited for you! And we won’t tell on you. We look forward to your other reviews :-)

Cheers, and thank for your support.

Invader Zim

Oh yes, the SQUEE dance, I guess we all do that! My husband just shakes his head at me when I do it!


My Christmas present teas seem to have not even lasted till December (apart frok 3 which have not arrived yet!), so I know the feeling. I am saving some samples for Christmas though!

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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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