1893 Tasting Notes

drank Black Ruby by Shui Tea
1893 tasting notes

Backlogging tea party day: Yesterday was tea party day and this was our first regular tea. It was also the very last of this tea. I had received this in a swap with Paul M. Tracy a long while back and had hoarded it because it was so amazing. The company went out of business so I hoarded even harder. The lesson here is….don’t. Don’t save it, just drink it. This has lost some of its beauty to that robber called time.

It was a good tea yesterday, but when it was fresh and young it was an amazing one.

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drank Orange Bliss by Twinings
1893 tasting notes

I have no memory of where I got this teabag. There are only two places I can think of – the most likely being that one of my students brought this to me from her trip to Disney long ago. The other possibility is that daughter’s BF sent it from Ireland, but I don’t think so. This has been hiding somewhere but turned up yesterday in all the turmoil.

You see, dear hubby who can do ANYTHING! ANYTHING I TELL YOU! is moving our washer and dryer for greater convenience for me. But as happens, it was discovered that the wall where the washer used to be was wet from seepage and the sheetrock had to be replaced. This resulted in two extra trips to the hardware store and lots of extra time for poor hubby and the water had to stay shut off periodically so he could run new water lunes and I couldn’t have tea and since we were pulling things out we found tons of things, including this tea. Phew!

(Oddly, I also found a three page “handy hints” email that my late mom printed up for me over a decade ago, and I saw the identical list on Pinterest today. Weird.)

Now this teabag is probably no spring chicken, but I am horrified at how much tea I have now that I had to move it all around so I am drinking up such things as I can. I steeped it for three minutes in just less than boiling water. Wow, this is dark!

But you know what? The tea really tastes like hearty tea blend and the orange flavor is really authentic, including the juicy orange aroma plus that slight bitter smell you get from the white membrane. This really tastes like I just squeezed an orange over my cup. Since the base is a little stronger than I usually drink, I added a wee bit of sugar and had a nice cuppa. I also got rid of one teabag without guilt. Now I only have about twenty teas to go…


I’ve never even heard of this one. I’ll have to check the local market for this one – gives me yet one more excuse to walk the tea aisle :)


I think there is an area at Disney with food from many different countries. The British section had a basket full of different types of Twinings and she picked a handful to bring back to me. I think I saw it at either A Southern Season or Christmas Tree Shops once.


They have it on Amazon. I’m pretty sure I’ll find in the nearby college town. Twinings is good stuff on the relative cheap.

teatime traveler

Interesting variation in reviews on OB when you tap on “Tasting Notes!” I’m glad you liked it. It sounds lovely, perhaps better brewed lighter?

Michelle Butler Hallett

I love a good orange and black tea. I’ve found Twinings disappointing over the years, but I’ll hunt this one down.

teatime traveler

I find I crave an orange taste so rarely with tea, but that when the time is right, it hits the spot. Probably my favorite combo is to have cut a truly aromatic orange nearby, taste the vapor in the air, sip a fine, unflavored black tea, and nibble the orange. This is especially good in the dead of winter so stock up, y’all!

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Well, once again I am perplexed. But this is fun! The man at the Chinese buffet gave me tea, so last week I took him some Mengku Palace Puerh from Teavivre. I photocopied the label which has Chinese and English on it. He looked at it for a moment and then said, “Oh, puerh! This is the tea to drink when you want to lose weight!” I told him it is also very tasty.

Well, he insisted on sharing his tea with me again. I could not understand what he was calling this tea but there is a remote chance he was saying Dong Ding. I will try to find out soon! Here is a pic of the wrapper and leaves. If anyone can read the Chinese, please let me know what it says!


The tea came in a little foil pouch like Teavivre’s Tie Kuan Yin. Inside the pouch the tea was also enclosed in a little poly baggie. The leaves were a mix of dark green and black. They were tightly rolled. I guessed it must be an oolong and prepared it accordingly. The little pouch made a few leaves that didn’t even cover the bottom of my tiny gong fu pot.

I did a fifteen second rinse and then steeped for three minutes. I am no further along in knowing just what I am drinking. It is a dark oolong for sure. There is a “rock” or mineral taste, but also wisps of fruit flickering through my senses. At first, there was a somewhat sour taste, such as you find in the “palate clearing” teas. I steeped this tea five times, and by the third steep my tea pot was full to bustin’ with leaves. Seriously, I don’t know when I have seen leaves swell so incredibly. That is probably a clue as to what kind of tea this is.

I am trying to pick what tea I will take next time I go. Perhaps a Huang Shan Mao Feng.

Rebecca Lynn

Awwww, I wish I had tea encounters like that.


What a great chance encounter with a fellow tea lover!


♥ love that!

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I am going to share my experience with this one today for the benefit of all who are experimenting with matcha and lattes. I really let my immersion blender go for it with that first matcha latte today. As I said, there was one cup of milk and two cups of froth. But the froth never went down! I waited, and waited. I finally ate it with a spoon! LOL!

I wanted MOHR!!!! This time I used a cup of skim milk like before, a bit of sugar (okay, more sugar than before because I was really having cravings today, first salty, then sweet) and the same amount of matcha, about 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon. But this time, I just hit it with low speed briefly. Much better! I only got one cup of froth! There was plenty of yummy liquid left for me to slurp down.

I am going to be needing lots of matcha energy this week as we are tearing our kitchen apart to move the location of the washer and dryer, and everything has to be birthday party ready by Thursday!


I never thought of using an immersion blender for matcha! What a great idea.


Haha that is awesome!

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Tonight I made a recipe from Pinterest called Creamy Garlic Pasta. It is creamy and also very easy. As usual, I did lighten up the calories a bit though I am sure it still had plenty!

After I ate it, I really wanted a milkshake. I have been craving something rich and chocolate-y all day but have abstained, so I guess that just rolled over to milkshake this evening. I decided instead to have a matcha latte.

I poured one cup of milk into a Pyrex four cup measure. I added a heaping teaspoon sugar and about 1/3 teaspoon matcha. I mixed it with my Bamix immersion blender and the top of the liquid level rose to three cups! That’s right, this made two whole cups of froth on high speed! I am letting it sit a bit, though I have sipped it, because I want the froth to go down a little! The froth on top is so thick it reminds me of when we made butter once, or when we made home made whipped cream and beat it a little too hard and too long!

What a great dessert! Eight ounces skim milk, about 20 calories worth of sugar, and I assume the matcha adds zero calories, yet I have a twenty ounce glass full of rich vanilla flavor. I can’t wait to try their chocolate flavor!


That is so genius. Why isn’t matcha taking over the world already?


I was never interested in trying it until I read Azzrian’s reviews and they drew me in! LOL! I just ordered seem of the KaiMatcha Premium with the coupon code they posted yesterday on the discussion thread, so I am now making a foray into UNflavored matcha!


You’re going to love the KaiMatcha. It’s so good. Definitely one of the best unflavored Matcha you’ll ever taste!


Excellent! I hope my daughter is going to like it, too. She is just getting into greens and has enjoyed the Red Leaf flavored matcha.

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drank China Keemun by Zen Tea
1893 tasting notes

I am finishing my China Keemun sample from Zen Tea this morning along with a cherry vanilla bagel from Panera – the ones shaped like a ribbon for breast cancer awareness month. Since I had breast cancer last year, I am particularly attached to these bagels, especially since a friend came to have bagels and tea the day after my surgery! :)

This is a very good Keemun, it has the strength to pull off being a morning tea, the chocolate flavor to let me know it is a Keemun, and the smoothness to still drink it plain. I can’t say that about all Keemuns! This is one that would also be great with milk and sugar if you are so inclined. It won’t shrink under the additions, but may be even heartier.

Thank you, Zen Tea, for the opportunity to try your tea! I can’t wait to order the black bamboo matcha whisk, the scoop, and the sifter. I think I am going to get the Earl Grey Cream as well since I have never had one and they get such great reviews on here.

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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
1893 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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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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