2197 Tasting Notes

drank Zealong Dark by Chicago Tea Garden
2197 tasting notes

I cheated a little bit with this one, but it was totally worth it. I wanted…..NEEDED….tea this morning. Lots and lots of stress – nuff said. I wanted a black or oolong tea and this sample caught my eye. I can not believe I have had it for three years! When I poured the leaves into the pot it looked a little shy of how much I needed so I added quite literally just a few hard little pellets of Zealong Aromatic.

The result was excellent. This may have suffered a bit for aging, I don’t know, but I do know that having a good cuppa shifted a few burdens and lightened the load.

The liquor was very light, but the flavor had lots of body and heft, and there was a floral sweetness running alongside the dark roasted oolong, possibly from the addition of that tiny amount of ZA.

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drank Matcha Latte by Unknown
2197 tasting notes

This review is actually a review of a method of making matcha lattes rather than the matcha itself. Maybe I should move it to a heading of “cocktail shaker” under tea equipment and paraphernalia!

When Red Leaf matcha lattes became all the rage on here, I bought a TON of matcha. I experimented with all sorts of ways to make it and finally settled on using an Aerolatte to whisk it all together. It struggles a little with thick honey but if you add just a touch of warm water or milk to “melt” the honey, it is easy. The problem is that I like my matcha lattes to be cold cold COLD!

I had read about people making lattes in a cocktail shaker, so I tried a Williams Sonoma Working Glass with rubber lid. Yes, I ended up with matcha latte all over me. In my hair, even.

Today I saw a cocktail shaker at an estate sale for five bucks and it appeared to have never been used! It even had a bottle opener and matching cheese knife inside, still wrapped in plastic. I decided I could give it a go as a latte maker and wouldn’t mind too much if it failed at that price. Besides, I needed a new bottle opener for the outside fridge where we keep our glass bottled sodas!

I sifted my matcha into the shaker. For those who participated in the blind study, it was sample five from Red Leaf from waaaaay back when we tested green, white, and black matcha. I added a tablespoon of honey, some milk, and some ice cubes. I put the lid on and shook it over the sink…..just in case.

No leaks! Yay! I poured it into my glass and a lovely froth topped my latte. I peered in the shaker and I could see tons more froth that I could have scooped into my glass, keeping or discarding the ice, but my glass was full so I didn’t. The honey seems to have blended fairly well, but I think it would have even more so if I had warmed it. Shaking it with the ice would have chilled it again and I would have gotten the icy cold temp I like.

I am going to try this next with raw cane sugar instead of honey. I have already had two lattes though, so I may wait a while!

Overall, I am really pleased with this method and tickled that I found a cocktail shaker so cheap, since I had been loathe to pay full retail for one.


I do the cocktail shaker method sometimes, too! I’ve never tried it with honey, though. I’ll have to do that sometime :)


Hmmm. I have a bit of matcha left. Maybe I’ll give the shaken cold method a go with a mason jar…


I find sifting extra important for the cold method. Clumps suck!


Indeed, I did sift, but I pretty much always do now! Just tried again with sugar and it worked great! As the shaker sits and the foam goes down, you get to top off your glass with some more icy cold matcha!

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2197 tasting notes

I have had something niggling at me for days – sinuses angry, scratchy throat, irritated eyes. Today I feel like I have been hit by a small bus. Just a small one, mind you. Or maybe a van.

My daughter had an 8:15 orthodontist appointment, then we had the “big” grocery shopping to do, ironing, school, and cooking some of those groceries. About midday I told middle daughter that I needed tea and cream puffs. Yes, this is doing very nicely, and will probably be followed by a quick nap before I start teaching.

Queen Catherine is my go-to “I don’t feel good” tea. I am down to enough leaf for about two more pots of this, and I started with a pound. Not the first pound of it I have ever bought, either. We are completely out of Vanilla Black and nearly out of Vanilla Comoro by H&S as well, so an order is….well, in order.

Allergies are still abusing me, but the tea is lifting my spirits and the cream puffs didn’t hurt one bit.

Hesper June

I hope you feel better soon!


Same here. Allergy season can be rough. Take good care of yourself.

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drank Golden Blend by Harney & Sons
2197 tasting notes

I love Golden Monkey, but I just have not been able to develop a love for this blend of GM and Assam. My youngest daughter likes it pretty well, but she mostly drinks lapsangs so this tin continues to sit around. I am really trying to reduce my cupboard before ordering any more tea, so I decided to try this iced. It got very cloudy because of the Assam so I will probably add baking soda to clear it. I greatly prefer this one iced and lightly sweetened, and happily that will also use up the tin much more quickly! I think the next batch will be the sipdown on this one. Hooray!

Overall, a decent glass of iced tea to go with baked spaghetti for supper.

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This is a matcha flavor I bought to mix with another flavor and never imagined I would like it on its own. I don’t hate peanut butter. I like it well enough, particularly with certain things. For instance, vegetable soup MUST have a peanut butter sandwich with it. I grew up heating pancake syrup and mixing the hot syrup in a bowl with a spoonful of peanut butter to “sop” on Sunday nights when we didn’t have dessert with our Sunday dinner leftovers. I love Reese’s peanut butter cups so much that I think my son is pretty much constructed of them due to the number I consumed while nursing him.

Even with all that, I am not the big peanut butter lover in the house. My husband and daughter eat vast amounts of the stuff. So I didn’t expect to care very much about this flavor in its own. I am finding that I like it much more than I expected.

I got the robust flavor level and in this flavor that works for me. In some of the flavors it is too much and there is a perfume vibe, but not this one. I sifted one teaspoon of matcha into a 20 ounce glass, added a tablespoon of raw sugar, and whisked in milk with my Aerolatte. The result is a creamy and smooth tasting latte with a definite flavor of peanut butter, but somehow the creaminess is the main thing happening. You don’t feel like your tongue is going to stick to the roof of your mouth!

If you love peanut butter, this really is a must try. I don’t think they sell it anymore, though. I believe it was replaced with peanut butter pie flavor, which I have not tried.


I love peanut butter but was concerned how the flavour would match up with the matcha, or if the flavour would be overly artificial. Have you tried the macadamia nut matcha?


I think I picked up this one…..unless it was the pie one…


No, but I have almond and it is my absolute favorite!


Nooooo!!! When did they stop offering this one?? :(


A long while back, I believe. It was already gone when I did my first review of it.


they have straight up peanut matcha…dunno how different that would be but you could mix it with a creamy other matcha lol


That’s a great idea! I didn’t realize there was a plain peanut matcha!

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This was a surprise tea included in a box from JacquelineM, who has introduced me to some of my favorite teas!

The aroma of this black tea has deep notes of toasted bread and unsweetened cocoa. The flavor reminds me of a lighter Emperor’s Red but is less chocolate-y, and it also brings to mind a light version of Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls from Teavivre.

This is a classic Chinese black tea and one that would be good to have on hand for mornings or afternoon tea. Though sharing some traits with a breakfast Keemun, I feel it is gentler than some.
It is easy to drink without milk or sugar, but I suspect it would take both very well if you were so inclined.

Thank you, JacquelineM! :)

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We had a giant tetsubin full of two steeps of this with our Asian buffet takeout tonight. It was very nice and a great complement to the food. We made 22 ounces with three teaspoons and then resteeped, adding that to the pot as well. I think the directions call for one tablespoon per eight ounces but I have found it strong enough with less leaf. Combining the two steeps gave us a nice green tea with good, deep color (for a green) and enough flavor to hold up to the food, which makes it a great buy as well.

I am really glad this is organic. The news regarding pesticides on Celestial Seasonings teas and the newer report about lead in green tea leaves (but not in the tea itself) has me looking at my cupboard a little more closely. Almost all of my tea is from Harney and Sons or Teavivre, with four Hugo organics and a smattering of other teas. Almost all are loose leaf, and I try to buy high grown teas when I can as there is supposed to be less pollution there. I am thankful for Garret finding us high grown, pristine puerhs, too. It would really be a bummer to drink tea for our health and then find out it is making us sick!

Does anyone know how this new info on lead relates to matcha? Are the matcha leaves tested for lead since we consume the whole leaf?

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drank Razzleberry by Southern Boy Teas
2197 tasting notes

Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t have this listed in my cupboard! I bought all I could last summer because we loved it, and I am happy to see it is in stock right now. Hooray!

This is good the first day, and knee quivering delicious the second. I make two steeps so I get a gallon out of each pack. Delicious and totally worth it. It is cheaper than soda and better for me, so I don’t mind that it costs a little more. Hubby and a guest today really enjoyed it.


Ahh…it’s been a while since I’ve tasted anything that made knees quiver or make eyes roll back in the head :)


Hm. Might have to look into that one…

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Here where I live the weather gets really hot and sticky and buggy pretty early in the summer. Spring is really the best season for me! But today was beautiful! The sun was shining yet the slightly cool breeze kept the temperature just about perfect. It was enough to make me pine for a nice pot of black tea after I went out to tend the chickens.

This is a sipdown of my sample from Nature’s Tea Leaf. I have to thank them for their generosity as their samples are large and leave you plenty of leaf for experimentation. A number of their teas are on my list to order as soon as I get my cupboard down a bit. I am still at about 175 and my small bags and samples are not included in that, so I am trying not to order anything right now. When I do, their Dragon Pearl green tea (non-jasmine) and their Fujian Black tea will be some of the first teas I order.

This is a wonderful example of Yunnan Golden Bud tea. It is sweet and has the nice sweet potato flavor, is smooth enough not to need milk or sugar, and resteeps well.

On a side note, has anyone heard from Bonnie? She hasn’t posted here or on her blog for over a month.

Hesper June

I too have been wondering about Bonnie. I hope everything is okay with her.
This sounds like a tasty tea Ashmanra!


I too have missed Bonnie! Per mrmopar, she is just cutting back on writing and trying to get out a little more.

Perhaps if we let her know how much she’s missed …?

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drank Pour Maman by Nina's Paris
2197 tasting notes

I think I drank this every day while we were on vacation! Smelling the dry leaves is such a treat that you really must just do that for a while before you make this tea. The berry aroma is so fresh and natural.

I really prefer this tea made by green tea parameters. I tried it using hotter water and a slightly longer steep and it was good but my favorite way is 176F for three minutes. The black tea in the base beefs it up just a little bit without the green getting bitter. This is soooo good. Another big hit from Nina’s, I will be serving this for tea time Wednesday and I can’t wait to see how my guest likes it.

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about seven 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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