1980 Tasting Notes

This was the final tea of tea party. By the time we get to our third tea, we have usually finished snacking or we are just nibbling the occasional cookie. It is unusual for us to have all black teas but this was an unusual tea day since we had soup and cake as well.

Since the final stands alone, I chose a flavored tea. I chose this one because A. It tastes great B. it is new and my guest had never had it and C. almond flavor reminds me of Christmas.

The aroma does not disappoint on this tea and the flavor does not let you down. We took it plain and enjoyed it but for those who like a dessert tea with milk and/or sugar, this would almost certainly be excellent that way. The tea base is prominent enough to hold up to additions. The aroma smells like Christmas to me, without smelling like a standard Christmas tea of cinnamon, clove, and orange.


I can see how almond would remind you of Christmas. The smell makes me think of Marzipan, a Christmas favorite.

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After having Loaded Baked Potato Soup, I served Italian Cream Cake. I didn’t make it! A friend sent it to me and it came from Sam’s club and was delicious! The frosting tastes a lot like the Bavarian Cream matcha from Red Leaf, but there is also coconut and that adds a lot to this cake.

It is extremely rich, however, too rich for me unless I scrape off a lot of the frosting. I felt that it required a black tea with a lot of presence to pair with it.

I love this tea! I don’t know how to describe it accurately because there is an unusual texture or something that I only know how to describe as…cocoa powdery, and I don’t mean just the flavor of cocoa powder but even a dryness at the same time it was wet. It is not, however, the dryness associated with astringency. I do not find this tea to be astringent at all!

When I drink it, it FEELS dark and rich. Imagine if you put a tiny bit of cocoa powder on your tongue, unsweetened, and it wasn’t bitter at all. It is not a heavy bodied tea, but rather it seems to hang on to my tongue for a moment before I swallow. This is what made me feel it would go well with that rich cake. Again, it needs no milk or sugar, which was critical since this cake is so rich and sweet.

I think it paired very nicely, but it is also wonderful on its own and is great for gong fu sessions, too.

Hesper June

Oh! Baked Potato Soup and Italian Cream Cake! Yummy!


Mail me your leftovers :)


Why is it, I’m allergic to healthy things like potato and beans but not cake?! OK gimmie the cake!


I can imagine how something dark and rich could nicely offset an overly sweet cake. Sounds good.

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This has become a “go to” black tea for me. Whether I am pairing it with food or just want something that I think anyone will like, even non-tea drinkers, it is a safe bet. It is sweet and honeyed and smooth, so it really needs no additions.

This was the first tea of tea party. I am going to ask for your input today about how I sometimes serve tea and choose the pairings. If anyone has any helpful tips or advice, I welcome it.

Since this was the “tea party before Christmas” and our gift exchange day, I served loaded baked potato soup. We seldom do “real” food. I chose this tea to go with it because I felt it had enough presence to still be enjoyed but no flavors that would compete with or overshadow the food.

I thought it went with the soup very well. I knew I had to step up the strength of the next black tea served so it could compete with dessert so this was a great starting place.


I make a soup every Sunday, but we tend to stick with what we know – combos of veggies and maybe some chicken or pork. What is loaded baked potato soup? I’d love to give it a shot!


It is a potato soup with onions if you wish but they are not critical, and you top it with cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Some people also put sour cream. Here is the revile I used, but I only put half the cream cheese and it was still great. http://pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com/2011/03/outback-aint-got-nothin-on-me.html?m=1


Appreciated! 0

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drank Blossom Earl Grey by Twinings
1980 tasting notes

This afternoon we sliced a fresh pound cake and put Christmas music on. This week is going to be a bit busy.

Foster puppy has a vet appointment, daughter has an orthodontist appointment, writers’ group is meeting here Thursday night and I want to try to have goodies, my brother is coming to town for a funeral, and I have tea time tomorrow and a couple of students coming Thursday. Friday is our annual soup night with our best friends and I am cooking tons for that, and my son is coming home for ten days. Whew!

So special tea time with my kids? Yes, please! I had this one, and it was wonderful with my cake. This has plenty of bergamot without heading into bathroom cleaner territory like some strong Earls do, and the orange blossom aspect makes it even more delicate and dignified. Delicious.

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At one time, all I could get hubby to drink with me was black tea, and only a few of those. He added lots of sugar and milk. Less than a year ago he started drinking – and enjoying – lots of greens and oolongs and even some white and puerh. These teas he takes plain and has no desire to add anything. But even now, if I make a black tea he looks at it with distrust and wants to know what it is. Once he knows it is a kind he likes, in goes the sugar and milk.

Tonight I made a recipe from Pinterest because we are having Christmas soup night Friday and I wanted something “manly” to fill up those guy appetites. The test run for the sandwiches was today, and they were really good. Hubby devoured a number of them, and he was so pleased that I made this tea to go with them.

He loves a good Ceylon and said he seems to prefer the ones from A Southern Season. Fortunately, I have a healthy stock of three different Ceylons that they sell.

The best way I know to describe this tea and is that you take one sniff and say, “Ah! TEA!” This is not one of the super lemony or lightly astringent Ceylons. It is rich and full bodied and SMOOTH. I love it plain – it didn’t need a thing for me – but hubby drank cup after cup with milk and sugar, so if that is your bent, it can certainly handle it!

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This was a gift from K S – a Christmas surprise in the mail! I waited to try this one until I was drinking tea alone because A. I wanted to pay attention to it, and B. everyone is picky about their black tea, though hubby likes oolongs and such.

The trouble was that I was having brain freezes all morning. I was too lazy to look up the instructions and somehow had it in my head that Purple tea is black tea. But something was telling me not to treat it like black tea. I still set the kettle for 194F which is way higher than they recommend.

The liquor is pale for a black tea, because remember I wasn’t registering yet that it isn’t black tea. I poured it up and set it by my breakfast plate. Thanks to Ysaurella telling me about Bonne Maman preserves, I grabbed some when I saw them in the grocery last night and had the most delicious raspberry preserves on toast this morning, with a glass of milk. The tea is for afters. :)

When my meal was gone I picked up the cup. I didn’t what to expect with the liquor being an odd color and me having made it “flying blind” as to proper instructions. But I can say this…IT WAS DELICIOUS! The high temp didn’t hurt it somehow, the lackadaisical steep time (hmm, looks like it stopped getting darker I think I will pour this up) didn’t make it bitter, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable cup.

My headache is clearing, I am waking up, and it is going to be a good day!


I guess that explains why I thought it tasted like a green. I don’t think I looked it up either.

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Last week I had my best friend over for tea. She told me she had never tried my matcha so I made Butterscotch matcha lattes for us. She loved it so much she asked me to place an order for her from Red Leaf, which I was happy to do since I am getting my daughter some matcha for Christmas, and I had a flavor or two that I wanted to try as well. I have almond and cheesecake matcha coming soon!

Today she came again to try some new flavors so she can start picking her next matcha order. This time we tried French Vanilla. I ordered it in Robust flavor level, the large size, of course! You can find it here:


I mixed a little bit of Turbinado sugar in mix and used my immersion blender to froth the warm milk and matcha mixture. It was delicious! She really loved it, and was especially fond of the aroma of this one.

Later I had a nice surprise. I had made three servings in case hubby wanted some as well, but he didn’t come home until late. The remaining serving was sitting on the counter and by now was cold. I poured it in my mug anyway and drank it. Wow! I liked it just as well cold! That was unexpected, because I really thought a dessert type flavor would be best hot.

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I got up this morning and tended to the little foster dog we are keeping for a few weeks. Then I discovered that we are out of English muffins and we don’t have any bagels. I decided to make a little breakfast for my husband and myself since the kids will probably sleep until noon or after since it is the first day of Christmas break.

I made grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast and with the meal we actually drank milk, but I could hardly wait for some tea to follow the meal! It was hard choosing this morning, especially since I wanted hubby to drink with me and he is tea picky. He has generally liked oolongs though, so I gave this one a try with him.

First of all, I love dark or traditional oolongs. I love green ones, too, but the dark ones are heady and addicting to me. And this is a great TKY. I never thought about it this way before, but today as I sniffed the cup deeply I thought it smelled a bit like brown sugar or caramel. There is a lovely lingering aftertaste – that is what makes me crave dark oolongs for days after drinking it once.

This is a great tea, and I am torn as to whether I will purchase more when this is gone or whether I will purchase their Dong Ding, which I finished in record time last time I bought it!


Yum breakfast with TKY!

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drank Pirate Chai by ThinkGeek
1980 tasting notes

This was a Christmas gift last year from my youngest daughter. I can’t believe I haven’t tried this one before, but I am not a big chai drinker. That being said, this is the sort of chai I prefer – no pepper, no turmeric, but just ginger, cinnamon, and clove as nearly as I can tell.

The tea base seems a bit weak to me. There isn’t much black tea flavor here. I am drinking it plain, but I think that people who add milk and sugar to their chai would enjoy this more than I do. It isn’t terrible, it just isn’t the best chai I have ever had.

The tins are so cool that as each one is emptied, I will probably refill it with a better version of what was inside. So Earl Grey Hot will get Harney and Sons Earl Grey Supreme, this tin will get Rabbit Hole Chai, Zombie Blood Orange will probably get Orange Grove Vanilla, and Timmy’s 1Up Jasmine will get a Teavivire loose jasmine.

Invader Zim

I’ve been wanting to get this set for a while now. Not for the tea though, just for the tins!

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drank Holiday Chai by Stash Tea Company
1980 tasting notes

Last year I bought some of this for myself and some for my daughter’s fiancé. Back then he really didn’t do loose leaf much. He loved it! So I sent another box. This year I wanted to send more and couldn’t find it anywhere! Finally, I put out an APB on it and a friend found it at the grocery she goes to. We got him two boxes.

I served this as the final tea of tea party today because it smells like mulled cider – a nice, Christmas-y aroma. For a bagged tea, it is pretty good. The shocking thing is that my daughter who does not like black tea AT ALL liked it and drank two cups! She also loves their White Christmas tea, a peppermint white tea blend that is indeed very soothing.

So today, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, eldest daughter drank not one but TWO black teas and preferred them to the white and oolong teas we were serving. She said her beloved may only get one of the boxes of tea because she may keep the other for herself. I guess I had better head back to the grocery and get her some of both of these Stash offerings!

This is mild for a chai, and reminds me of the Russian Friendship Tea as it was called when I was very young – mostly black tea, orange, cinnamon, and clove, but nothing too strong.

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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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