1958 Tasting Notes

drank Da Hong Pao by Harney & Sons
1958 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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drank Christmas Tea by Dammann Freres
1958 tasting notes

This was the first tea served at tea party today, and yes, tea party was a day late this week! My middle daughter had another commitment so we postponed because she really didn’t want to miss.
We served a wonderful type of fruit cake – and I don’t usually like fruit cake – called Southern Supreme “More Nuts than Fruit” Cake. It is soooo good and is made right here in NC. We actually went to the main store two years ago. We also had Fresh Market sugar cookies, White Fudge Oreos, and a couple of other kinds of cookies.

My guest and I both LOVED this. She picked up on the cherry flavor immediately, though I didn’t. It tastes just as a Christmas tea should taste when I imagine what should be in one. Somehow the French tea companies manage to put SO MANY flavors in their teas without the end result being a muddy mess. The different notes can all be teased out, but the black tea base is never covered up. It doesn’t end up tasting like a fruit tisane. Nice!

This is one of the teas given to me by oldest daughter at Thanksgiving! :)

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drank Cassis & Blueberry by Lupicia
1958 tasting notes

Second tea of tea party today! I thought perhaps I had served it before and I see that I did just a few weeks ago. Delicious and full blueberry flavor, yum!

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drank Dan Cong by thepuriTea
1958 tasting notes

I have had this sample for at least a year, and it made me think of Quiltguppy and how much I miss her here on Steepster. This is a sip down, the end of a generous sample that had gotten pushed to the back of a drawer with some others that I am trying to finish up.

Kashyap mentioned in his review of this that a tea’s profile is likely to change over time. I think that happened with this one.

Opening the packet for the first time in a year, the aroma of the dry leaf is nut. Nut, nut, and more nut. Specifically walnut I think, but it could be pecan. Steeped, however, the nut aroma is way in back and a fruitiness has come to the front. It reminds me of the sharp scent of scuppernong grapes. There is so much in this cup of tea!

This is so fruity, with a hint of astringency, that it is reminding me of a Darjeeling today. The aftertaste is of apricot. I feel as though I have eaten an apricot dumpling, swimming in syrup and topped with chopped walnuts. Delicious!


Wow! That sounds delicious… and now I’m hungry.


gonna order some :-)


I miss her to, hope QG is ok :(

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
1958 tasting notes

I have read so many great reviews for Earl Grey Cream teas from various companies that it made me curious. Why do people love it so much? When Zen Tea offered to let me pick three teas to sample, it was easy to decide to put this one on the list!

And WHOA! I tore open the pouch and the creamy vanilla swirled up and kissed me smack on the lips. I am pretty sure there is a puddle of drool where I was standing because it smelled so good.

I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but I can tell you what I got. This IS what it says it is – Earl Grey tea with cream. But not just cream…it is rich, homemade fresh-whipped vanilla-imbued cream that has been sitting on top of a hot and decadent dessert.

Yummy! No wonder people love it! Thank you, Zen Tea, for allowing me to finally experience this tea! If you like Earl Grey and you like vanilla, you really should try this.


Sorry…the kissing and drool just about made me fall out of my chair laughing!


Onto the shopping list it goes!

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drank Weeping Angel Tea by 52teas
1958 tasting notes

I am the first? Yippee!

I made this tea for a little afternoon tea and cookies time with my hubby and a friend. The friend is fairly new to good tea – he told me a few weeks ago that all he had ever had was Lipton with milk and sugar. His first “good” tea shocked him. He said he didn’t know there was tea that wasn’t astringent. Now he takes his tea at my house with no additions because he says he really wants to taste and experience the tea.

For hubby, I added a tiny sprinkle of sugar that I was afraid was not enough for him, because he takes black tea with lots of sugar normally. But he liked this even though it was only lightly sweetened. Mine and our guest’s had no sugar and was delightful. The aroma is fabulous, from the moment you tear the top of the bag. The tea is smooth – I steeped on the short side, just three minutes, because I wasn’t sure what the base was. It would be fine longer, I think.

As it was, it was an excellent tea, and my guest was very enthusiastic about it and really enjoyed it.
I think the addition of milk and sugar would probably take this over the top into decadent dessert territory. I think I will try it that way next!


Did you manage to keep from blinking for the entire pot?


You seem to have the best luck converting people to tea! Go you!


Sandy: Didn’t try! I think maybe if you drink enough of it you stop blinking from all the caffeine!
Mercuryhime: it always surprises me, too, when someone really loves it and starts trying new things. I think it is exciting!


It’s that classic ashmanra graciousness and hospitality that goes with the tea that gets ‘em when they’re not looking :)


Aw, shucks! Thanks, G!

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Grrrrrr! That was the sound that escaped me, and that was when I smelled the leaves. Same sound, a little louder, escaped when I sipped the first sips.

This is a delicious black tea. Often, black tea from China will use Asian parameters for steeping the tea and I find it too weak that way and change to Western brewing. This one is super just as they say to make it. It is smooth yet bracing, lightly cocoa flavored, and there is something arresting about the flavor that grabs your attention, but isn’t rough.

This and their Dragon Pearl Green Tea are so good they could be the base for a very nice small cupboard.


Is that the sound of the family pet saying get away from my stuff? If so, I think I made the same sound. Only thing wrong with this tea is mine is at work :(


I have way too much tea, but the ones I have tried from this company are so good that if I were starting from scratch and establishing a new cupboard, I would want the two teas I mentioned to be starting point. Of course, being a tea enthusiast, I keep thinking of all the other teas I would add, but one could actually be quite happy with just those two..


Oh, the sound of resistance is futile…. I have made that sound as well. This tea, our favorite jasmine pearls, and a good Earl Grey and I could be quite happy for a long time. Well, except I would need some oolongs, puerhs, and whites, and oh heck, here we go again.


so, you would nominate this one for the coveted “Stranded on a Desert Island” award?


Absolutely. This one is great. I am s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g what I have left of my sample, but I’m thinking that if/when I break down, this will be one of the next things I order in significant quantities.


Oh, I didn’t know about that award! Yes, indeed, this is one of them! I think I could narrow it down to just six teas critical to life! LOL!


ooooohhh, high praise indeed!

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My daughter came to join us for Thanksgiving dinner today and brought a gift with her. She said this was part of my Christmas present but that I needed to open it now because it was something for DURING the holidays.

It was the adorable Dammann Freres coffret with two tins of Christmas tea! I made the white tea after lunch because I wanted to share it with her and she really does not like black tea….at all!

This is very fragrant and right away evoked memories of Noél a Londres by the same company, just with a white base. SQUEEE! After the tea is gone, I will have to repurpose this beautiful box and the tins!


Miss Starfish

How sweet of her and such gorgeous packaging!!




that’s awesome!

Hesper June

Beautiful tins and box! what a lovely gift:)


Those tins are lovely!


GORGEOUS! & so thoughtful :) That was amazingly sweet to give it to you early so that you can enjoy it throughout the holiday season.


She is such a doll to feed my tea habit the way she does!

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My bestie asked me to take a break tonight and come have tea with her. When I got there, she offered me a slice of her coconut cream pie with the tallest fluffiness meringue you have ever seen. I have never had ANY cream pie before. Oh. My. Goodness. It was so very good and I am so very stuffed! I got the recipe but I know my mother will be up in heaven looking down at me saying, “Gee, thanks! You couldn’t try it and fall in love with it while I was alive, eh?” She loved pie, and I never really ate any cream pies.

This tea was a very nice accompaniment to the pie. The base is good, smooth but not overly sweet, and the vanilla is just right – it doesn’t mask the tea but you don’t have to look for it, either.


Coconut cream pie… a favorite! I am hoping my mother-in-law’s turns out well tomorrow. :)


Your first cream pie ever?! Where have you been? Never too late though!


Haha if it means you feel better I’ve never had a cream pie :)


What on earth—-?? You have some catching up to do, friend! Come see us and I will take you to Big R’s Barbecue. We’ll skip the brisket and go straight to the 4" tall cream pies!


I never liked pie as a kid, except apple pie! Based on how full I felt after eating it, it may be a good thing I didn’t discover it earlier! I will definitely be making this pie for tea time SOON!

GMathis: if I am ever out that way, you betcha I will try to get in touch! I would love to hit that BBQ place with you. Tomato based or vinegar based? That is a big battle here between Virginia, NC, and SC!


We have a little of both in this neck of the woods, but tomato base seems to have a slight edge. (I had some really good vinegar based sauce at a place called Cousin’s at the Dallas airport. Had never heard of the chain before.)


Around here, it is vinegar base, but go north or west toward the mountains and they get pretty passionate about tomato being the only way to go! That pie sounds pretty impressive. I think we would need to skip the brisket so there will be room for it!

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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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