2192 Tasting Notes

drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2192 tasting notes

My son and his fiancé were here last weekend to celebrate his birthday with us. On Sunday morning, I made a pot of this for breakfast. ChelseaR shared it with me and I am so happy that she really liked it. Of all the tea I drink and share with others, I don’t think I have anyone who loves Keemun to drink it with me. Now I do!

I got this for Christmas from my eldest daughter and bought more at the very next sale. The cocoa heft and body of this tea are just right for me for brekkie or with sweets.

Tea happiness is when someone says, “I have to start keeping a notebook of what we drank and what I liked,” and “Someday I am just going to give you a bunch of money and say, ‘Buy me tea!’” That’s when you know you have helped create a new tea lover!

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I have been wanting to try this for so long. When I first heard of it, I checked the website and it said you could buy it at Whole Foods. Well, none of the ones within two hours of me had it! That was a few years ago. I went in to one on Friday and found it! The price was way too high so it took it to be scanned and found out that they had the wrong price on the shelf.

I usually have one piece of chocolate with my matcha. I have done that two or three times now and I can’t even taste this matcha. I tried it by itself and it is good but not as good as I had thought it would be. It is a little too tame. It was harvested in 2015 and expires 2017 according to the tin. It is smooth, it is creamy, but the flavor is not as pronounced as I would like. I also get much better froth from my Tanabata from Red Leaf and from KaiMatcha Premium.

It is good enough that I would certainly buy it again if I ran out of matcha and wanted some fast, but I will be just as happy with some of the other matcha teas I have found.

My son and his fiancé and my eldest daughter all tried it and liked it and agreed that it is mild and drinkable even for matcha newbies.


Did you ever find the ponzu?


I did! Harris Teeter carries both kinds and I got the lime since it seems to be your favorite! I plan to try it tomorrow. Tanks for the recommendation!


Hmm. This is kind of sad. I’m running low on my matcha and I was going to grab some of this off of amazon. Right now I’m finishing up my Deluxe matcha from rel leaf, which is very floral but kinda harsh, and I was looking for an upgrade. Any suggestions?


The Tanabata matcha is from Red Leaf and I like it a lot. My all time favorite is KaiMatcha Premium, which is sold out at the moment – well, for months now. Happens every year. I liked the one from Zen Tea okay, especially for matcha lattes and at such a low price, it was a good buy. And the DoMatcha wasn’t bad, it was just a lighter taste than I have become accustomed to. You might love it since you felt your last one was too harsh.


They do sell it at Whole Foods.

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drank Coconut Almond by Paromi
2192 tasting notes

I’m a little mad that we like this tea a lot.

I have resisted buying the Paromi Tea line at The Fresh Market because it is $9.99 for fifteen sachets. That is ridiculous. But it was on sale and I tried to believe that I deserved a treat, especially since I have gone in there a dozen times without buying anything for a splurge and I had a coupon!

I feel a little better about the price if their website is telling the truth about it being fair trade, and I was happy to see that they recommend resteeping, so they must have faith in their product to pull it off. Plus – they call for 10-12 ounces of water per sachet. If you resteep, that gives you 20-24 ounces of tea per sachet. That doesn’t hurt quite as much.

I hadn’t read that their sachets are non-GMO corn based so I did what I usually do and I cut it open and dumped the leaves. It measured a little shy of a tablespoon. I made it in an unusual way – first steep in my Kamjove which has a six or seven ounce capacity infused at the top was four minutes, then I steeped again for five letting the two mix, and then since I was still a few ounces shy of the 20-24 it should make, I added hot water and poured it into a larger pot.

And it’s good stuff, dadgummit. Youngest drank it with me and at her first sip said, “This is Kool-Aid.” I get what she meant – it is pretty sweet and we didn’t add anything at all to it. We never add sugar, so coconut tastes sweet to us as it is.

The coconut and almond flavors were well-balanced and natural tasting. They are not “in your face” but very pleasant. Often, Indian teas bother my stomach and taste a bit harsh on the tongue, but for this one, it just lent a little heft to the base. Youngest didn’t believe me at first when I told her it was Indian (which she likes very much) but the more you drink the more the maltiness builds.

The glass jar is painted to shield the tea from UV light. I will keep and reuse the jar. I will also watch for more sales so I can try more of their teas when I have been a good girl and think I deserve a treat, or when I have been a bad girl and need cheering up. And with the resteeping, it comes down to fifty cents or so a pot when it is on sale, and that isn’t so bad. It’s cheaper than soda, and much better for you!


You should look Paromi up on Amazon. You would feel a whole lot better about what you paid. $9.99 is about my cut off point. It’s $0.67/cup which if it is good I can see. Bonus they figure a mug half again bigger than most companies and a resteep. So if my math is correct figures to about $0.22 per 8 oz cup. Cheap as many grocery store teabags. Another bonus, you get the glass jar to use again. I’m just trying to help the good girl justify another purchase. The bad girl doesn’t need any help.


Oh, K S, I laughed out loud and read that to my husband! You’re right, the bad girl doesn’t need any help! :)


Enablers R Us. We all have to do our part.


I really enjoyed this one too…part of that price is definitely because of the reusable glass jar ;)

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Today’s tea party teas were chosen to revolve around our dessert from start to finish. Youngest made the French Almond Cookie Cake with Apricot Cream Cheese Glaze. Yes, yes, look it up in Pinterest cuz it was yummy. Keep in mind that she uses freshly ground whole wheat and homemade vanilla when she bakes, as well as fresh eggs right out from under my chickens, so small wonder I have gained weight since she started baking.

Our first tea was Fairmonth Breakfast, plain and medium strong to stand up with this super sweet dessert. This was the second tea and Marzipan Black from Tin Roof Teas was the third, carrying on the fruit and almond flavors of the dessert.

This was listed as a free tea on the Zen website. You could choose one free tea with each order, and I got chai for my eldest daughter last time so I got this one for youngest this time, as she likes peach tea. It says the free teas do not meet their quality standards or are older than they will sell but are still fine to drink. I don’t know which this was, but we will drink it up gladly!

I am not a fan of strong ginger but this tea has a nice balance with the peach. It is smooth and tasty, and I would have no problem paying for it – it doesn’t taste like tea that a company would just give away! My youngest likes it a lot, and everyone seemed to enjoy it today. The base is smooth and not weak and dishwatery like some decaf. The flavoring is at a very good level to let the base come through but still have lots of impact.


Sounds and looks simply divine!

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I had received a sample of this many years and I am pleased to get it once again with a recent order.

This was my lunch tea to go with some ramen noodles that I had doctored up. I like to ditch the flavoring pack that comes with it – way too salty – and add my own seasoning. Younger people may not remember that the first ramen noodles we could buy here in the US said that it tastes best with a bit of oil added! I usually make my own seasoning with a little bouillon paste like Penzey’s or Better Than Bouillion, then a smidgeon of low sodium tamari or soy sauce, a smidgeon of fermented mushroom sauce, maybe a little Korean Sweet Chili sauce – whatever we have on hand and I am in the mood for. I usually add frozen peas and this time I added some leftover diced sautéed onion, too.

I made three steeps and I had added extra leaf to my Kamjove to make up for the fact that I was planning to do so. And this was really good! Delicate and soft, it would win over a green tea hater. It is lightly buttery, lightly vegetal in a creamy way, and after you have a cup or two the flavor lingers more as well as developing a slight drying.

Really good with a meal or by itself.


I’m old enough to remember original ramen. I always add fresh garlic and ginger, both grated, cilantro, chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds along with hot chile oil and toasted sesame oil and animal protein. I like your recipe and tea pairing.


You have to try Ponzu with them too. It is soy sauce with citrus blended in. I like the kind with the lime.


Whiteantlers – That sounds good! I love adding water chestnuts, too, but I don’t keep them around much since I am the only one here that likes them. That little bit of oil really enhances the flavors.

mrmopar – I will definitely be on the lookout for that! I am not familiar with it, and my son and his fiancée who love to try new things with me are coming this weekend!


mrmopar – Are you making it home made or using the Kikkoman or another brand? Kikkoman should be pretty easy to find here, or I could make it home made.


I actually got min from Food Lion. The lime one I had to order.


Ah, ponzu! I have it and am glad for the reminder, mrmopar! I have not tried water chestnuts, ashmanra, but everything is better with a bit of crunch. Thank you both.


I will check Harris Teeter tomorrow!

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I was so sure I had reviewed this before…

I am a little afraid of breakfast blends. I don’t add milk or sugar to my tea, so I find builders’ teas to be somewhat brutal. Breakfast blends are often heavy on Assam or hearty Kenyan tea that has an edge and a good bit of astringency, and my wimpy tummy can’t take it. I am sure I would enjoy it with additions but I try to avoid them.

So this one was approached with caution. I steeped for only three minutes. I am pleasantly surprised. This is a very good accompaniment to my sweet and tart cranberry and white chocolate scone that youngest made (with fresh whipped cream – mm). This is most definitely a breakfast blend but it doesn’t bite. The packaging and website don’t tell you what is in this, and looking at the dry leaf it is quite dark, small leaves with a few larger flat tan leaves mixed in. Definitely mostly Assam and those may be a few golden tips or some not-so-green Darjeeling.

GMathis says this is “juicy” rather than drying and I agree. It is a nice, non-frightening breakfast blend for those who are a little apprehensive of that term.


I’m a sloppy timer, but I’m sure I let my cuppa go 4-5 minutes, and it was still very pleasant.

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drank Jardin Bleu by Dammann Freres
2192 tasting notes

We celebrated my birthday Saturday because that was when all the kids could be here. I got lots of tea from my daughter, Superanna, and this one from youngest.

I have loved pretty much every Dammann Freres tea I have tried. This is no exception. I don’t think I have ever had rhubarb so I can’t say if this is accurate. I do know that I taste strawberry and I am delighted because Marco Polo is great but finicky and turns bitter on you if you don’t do everything just right, and my other favorite strawberry tea has been discontinued. (Anna’s Blend)

So hooray for an excellent strawberry tea! I will definitely be serving this tomorrow at tea time. The base was smooth but I always keep French teas at three minutes if the leaf is smallish. The berry scent was great and rhubarb must have been right on because my son’s fiancée said this reminded her of the rhubarb and strawberry pies that a fondly remembered neighbor used to make for her family.

Very tasty, and a re-order unless I find a great strawberry tea easily available in my area.


How awesome to have family that understands not just that you drink tea, but they drink it too. Bonus they know how to pick good ones as gifts. Happy Birthday!

S.G. Sanders

You had me at “rhubarb and strawberry pies.” Happy belated Birthday!


Happy Birthday wishes!

Christina / BooksandTea

This sounds delish!

Nina’s Paris also has some good berry-flavoured teas, and I know they have a US location. I think Dammann is harder to find without ordering from Europe.


Thank you for the birthday wishes! Yes, indeed, Nina’s has some excellent fruity blends. I need to look for a straight strawberry or strawberry/rhubarb on their site when this is gone.

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There were lots of tea samples included with my birthday order, and this was the first one I chose to make because I knew that everyone present loved puerh. I used the entire sample because we had two great pieces of orange peel and I was using a large pot. I wanted to stretch the tea since we generally put away a lot of puerh when we get together so I kept the steeps a little on the short side to give us lots of resteeps.

The citrus is more an aroma than a taste. It is only lightly orange flavored. The puerh was earthy, not horsey, and never ever have I gotten a fishy puerh from Teavivre so I feel like I don’t even need to mention that it isn’t fishy!

I made two short steeps and then someone else made the third and steeped it a very long time in comparison. It was still perfectly good and not bitter at all, just a little heartier than my short steeps. I like myshu puerh a little on the strong side and we all enjoyed it.

As we drank it, ChelseaR remembered that she had ordered a sample of this once, and I notice that she has a review on here for it as well! I think being reminded of it and having it again has made her want to order more! She and my son usually drink unflavored shu.

Delicious tea, and thank you to Superanna for the gift and Mary Bao at Teavivre for the recommendations!

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A few years ago, my daughter, Superanna, bought some teas I had been wanting for me for my birthday. I was surprised and asked how she knew I wanted them and she said that she had checked my Steepster wishlist.

This year, no longer content to stalk me via wish list, she contacted Mary Bao at Teavivre and asked her to put together a recommended gift list based on my reviews and likes, and Mary came through in a big way! WOW!

This is one of the teas I received. I had tried a sample of it once and it is even better than I remembered. I made it Sunday morning while my future daughter-in-law, ChelseaR, and I were having a chat as I ate breakfast. I showed her the adorable little spirals before steeping. So cute, but meaningless unless the tea is good.

One would usually be distracted by the conversation and not notice one’s tea as much, but this one stopped me in my tracks.

Oh my, that first sip! Golden raisin flavor, bright, molasses, honey, sunshine, thick – I stammered and had to restrain myself from growling sweet nothings into my cup that may have been perceived as naughty and strange by my company. This had layers of flavor to dive into and explore.

Thank you, Superanna, for all the tea, and thank you, Mary Bao, for going above and beyond in customer service. Thank you, Teavivre, for furnishing these tea heads on here with high quality, affordable tea.


That was incredibly sweet. Happy birthday!


Lovely! Happy Birthday :3

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drank Tanabata Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
2192 tasting notes

After browsing Red Leaf Tea and reading lots of revIews, I took a chance that this was my best bet for a good unflavored matcha that would compare favorably with KaiMatcha Premium, which is very hard to find “in stock.”

I am happy to say that this has turned out to be a very good choice. I compared it side by side with KaiMatcha and the color was nearly the same, perhaps this being a tiny bit less vibrant but almost unnoticeable. I am assuming this is harvested in summer since that is when the Tanabata Festival takes place.

I whisked it in 160F water and got a good froth with my little whisk. I sifted, so there are no lumps or clumps, and it sifts pretty easily. As I drink the large bowl of matcha, I give it a swirl near the finish to keep the tea well mixed. Enjoying this immensely.

This is a good value, in my opinion.

I love having a bowl of matcha with just one – just ONE – Lindt truffle. This is my special treat that I try to fit in every day, though I sometimes miss!

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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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