1893 Tasting Notes

I was arranging some of my more decorative tea tins in a secretary tonight and noticed that this one still had the deal around the top. Oh my! How in the world did this happen? I was sure I had added it to my cupboard on here long ago but it wasn’t there. My daughter, Superanna, bought this for me on her last trip to London.

To make it up to this Earl, I decided to open the tin and treat myself tonight since I have been really good and…well, I haven’t really done anything but eat peanut M&Ms and make a pitcher of iced tea for tomorrow so I guess I haven’t been all that good. Still, I want tea.

I was afraid from the dry aroma that I was in for a HUGE blast of bergamot. I wasn’t sure of the base so I used water a little below the boil and only gave it a three minute steep.

What I have is a very civilized cup of Earl Grey. Contrary to the aroma upon opening the tin, the bergamot is at a very moderate level. Perhaps I would change my mind if I made this with boiling water and gave it a longer steep, but this is a wonderful afternoon or evening treat to me, not a bracing, kick you out the door, breakfast tea, which I think of as being more along the lines of a builder’s tea. This is more genteel.

The Ceylon contributes a tiny lemon tang, the Assam rounds it, and the Kenyan tea is what puts the breakfast bit in.

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I am feeling particularly blessed this weekend. I don’t know why other than that I have taken time to think about it. I am feeling more energetic now and more like myself since all the surgeries. I have family that I really enjoy being with. I have a miniature farm in my yard, and I always wanted a garden and chickens and a good dog. We have good food to eat, and lots of desserts right now because it was hubby’s birthday over the weekend. I have nice people in my life like K S, whom I have never seen face to face but who sent me some of this tea because he knew I loved it and it is sold out. There is a lot to be thankful for, and that is only the beginning.

I think I really started feeling this way when we had our birthday dinner and had tea afterwards. First, my son’s new-ish girlfriend wanted to try Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, and she loved it. Then I found out that my son, who used to hate ALL tea, has gotten her drinking puerh, and when he asked if we could have some after dessert I was thrilled. It is so peaceful to me to sit around the table or even on the floor with a kettle and make steep after steep of a good puerh, filling and refilling the cups. And this time, we were joined by…YOUNGEST DAUGHTER! Yes! She gave up sugar and milk in her tea a couple of months ago, and is now trying lots of new kinds and broadening her horizons. And she liked it!

This is the puerh I usually gave people who were drinking it for the first time. It has the trademark characteristics found in most shu – horsiness, earthiness – but none of the bad traits like fishy odor or bitterness. The creamy cedar note in this one is what endeared it to me so. You get the rich earthiness with the aroma of horse barn – mmmmmmm! – and then that bright spot that still manages to be mellow.

Something about drinking puerh with family and friends feels like an extra special bond to me.

I have much to be thankful for.

Cwyn

Just great, I enjoy tea with my son too. Hopefully they will appreciate tea habits even more as the years go on, both as a family tradition and for well-being.

KiwiDelight

Lovely review :]

mrmopar

Very nice! good to hear you are well!

K S

See, this review was worth the last known bit of this tea on earth. lol Glad I got to be a part of your blessed day!

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drank Rose Berry by Teaves Tea Company
1893 tasting notes

Backlogging: I have had this twice but didn’t want to review until I had a chance to really pay attention to it. K S sent a very generous sample to me and we had it for tea time Wednesday as the final tea and again on Thursday with a friend and her two little girls. I finally had a quiet cup by myself so I could write a decent note!

This was smooth and sweet and my guest mentioned that every tea we had last week was very good. With all the chatting and food, I didn’t pick up enough detail to say why. The same thing happened Thursday.

Drinking it alone, I have to agree with K S. This is a smooth and pleasant base. The Rose and berry flavors are well balanced. The rose flavor doesn’t club you over the head. It swirls around and you say, “What was that?” Then you swish it around and say, “Ah yes, of course, rose!” It adds such a lovely sweet taste, and doesn’t taste like granny’s hand lotion. The berry taste is at a similar level – pleasant but not overpowering.

The little girls drank it readily. In fact, I have determined that in future I will have a pot twice this size when we have tea again as they drink hot tea so enthusiastically.

All in all, I give this tea a big thumbs up. It would be great to keep around for guests who aren’t sure what they like in flavored teas. Many thanks, K S!

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Hubby and I have not had a quiet evening gong fu session in a while so I asked him if he was game for it tonight. He hasn’t had a lot of raw puerh, and this may be only the second one he has tried, so I didn’t know how it would go for him, especially since this one is SO young.

Raw puerh didn’t do much for me way back when, but I enjoy it much more now than I used to. And with this being a 2014, I was halfway expecting to walk away after a few steeps.

I used about 5 grams in an eight ounce pot with water that was 212F but the kettle sat beside us, so it was cooling with each steep.

I feel like I am in a strange mood tonight – I may be tea drunk – but the aroma that hit me smelled like….optimism. Bright lights ahead. Hope. Lightness of being. The initial steeps were zingy with youth, a little grassy with sunshine on top. Definitely feeling the chi with this one.

The liquor was deep, rich yellow in the little white cups. It stayed that way until about steep seven, when the color lightened considerably and the flavor became a little more milky.

I asked hubby how he felt, and he said he felt like he was winding down and felt ready for bed. This from a man who often can’t sleep and is restless for far too long considering how early he has to get up. While the tea was mellowing him, it was invigorating me. But now after two more steeps drunk alone, I am also ready to wind down and go to sleep. Happy and giddy, but sleepy.

This session has convinced me that I need to add more raw puerh to my tea stash. It is a good thing I am placing a combined Teavivre order for myself and a friend tomorrow.

Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample from your birthday pack!

Stephanie

hurray for more raw puerh fans! I love that chi feeling :)

Zen Tea Jazz and Sci Fi Books

I love raw puerrh cake :) It also puts me in slumberland quickly with peaceful dreams. I love the feeling of a restful night sleep after drinking raw puerrh :)

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drank Golden Yunnan by RiverTea
1893 tasting notes

This was one of my surprise samples from K S and it was also a BIG surprise tea! Our first tea during our tea time was Bailin Gongfu, and how can anything compete with that? But this did, oh yes, it did!

We were having Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake and my daughter had cut very generous slices, so we were still eating when it was time to serve the second tea. Usually the first tea is specifically chosen to pair with the food. But this tea was AMAZING with it. I was expecting the usual delicious but predictable yammy flavor of golden Yunnan, but lifted the cup and got this wonderful smokey aroma. On tasting, there was no resemblance to Lapsang but the smoke made this tea hearty and…just plain wonderful.

This was a wow-ee, zow-ee, nice surprise! Yes, yes, yes!

K S

Glad you enjoyed this one as much as I have.

Christina

This is reassuring. I have and love this tea, but I haven’t tried many of the (apparently excellent) black teas that Teavivre offers. It’s nice to know that this tea is on par with those.

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I am sitting in my living room watching the dog sleep in his chair as a torrential downpour floods my garden and the last candle from tea party is about to gutter out. Youngest has become passionate about cooking and has made the most wonderful meals and treats for the past few months. Today’s tea party treat was Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

This was the first tea of tea party, chosen because it is unflavored and won’t compete with the dessert, and has enough natural flavor to stand out and complement at the same time. I had forgotten how great it is, but thanks to the generosity of K S, we had three magnificent teas for tea time today that brought sighs…every, single one of them.

Though the flavors section mentions astringency. I only tasted rich, malty goodness. Bready, yes. Cocoa, yes. This is a real tea shelf necessity and I am glad I got to refresh my memory on this one before placing my Teavivre order.

Thank you, KS, it was sooooo good. I wish where we have the option to recommend a tea, our choices were “No”, “Yes”, and “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

K S

Awesome… I mean Yes! Yes! Yes!

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As I look at the dates on other reviews I am forced to wonder when I got this sample. Note to self: start labeling samples and place them in a better spot to encourage quicker sampling.

I have tried this before and liked it, but didn’t get to give it the attention it deserved. Today I am all alone for about an hour, something that almost never happens, and I am having a little gong fu session.

My water was 194F and I started with a two minute steep, no rinse. I think I should have rinsed for gong fu with this one, because it was very light. The first aroma to hit was sweet potato but with an edge this time. There was little to no astringency and the flavor was quite light.

I gave the second steep three minutes and the color deepened. Now there is astringency but not an unpleasant one. This is accompanied by a creamy texture.

This is a very good tea for when you want TEA. I don’t think I would serve it with food unless I made it western style with extra leaf. It is not really a breakfast tea for me, but rather an afternoon or,even a contemplative evening tea.

Thank you for the lovely sample, Teavivre!

Indigobloom

I do the same thing. Hold prized samples for so long that they don’t taste the same anymore. Must stop doing that!

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drank Matcha organic 40g can by Zen Tea
1893 tasting notes

This is a decent matcha for matcha lattes. I have had it for a long time and am continuing to try to sip down some of my older teas. I have been wanting to try a kefir matcha latte, and I chose an unflavored matcha to try to duplicate something like the Starbucks drink.

For those who are not familiar with it, kefir is a cultured milk drink, and thanks to Mercuryhime I am making it myself now. Think of something like a cross between Greek yogurt, unflavored Gogurt, and sour cream or buttermilk. The funny thing is that I have never liked buttermilk but I LOVE kefir. The chickens like it, the dog likes it, and my hubby and daughter like it. When a batch comes out just right, I can’t get enough! When it is really tart, the chickens get it, and they are quite happy.

This batch of kefir was thick and creamy. I added a tablespoon of sugar and a half teaspoon of matcha to eight ounces of kefir. I stirred it with a spoon instead of using a blender stick this time. The overall effect was like drinking a glass of matcha ice cream that has melted. I would call that a success.

I am not clicking that I recommend this tea, not because it is bad, but because you can get better matcha for this price.

K S

Buttermilk biscuits… Mmmmmmm Yogurt… Mmmmmmm Turned milk…. uh, no, no thank you. ha. I still don’t know what kefir is but I’d try it, once anyway.

ashmanra

Well, KS, if you like buttermilk and yogurt, you should like kefir. You take kefir grains, a type of scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), and put them in milk, any kind as long as it is from a ruminant. Kefir grains look a lot like little bits of cauliflower. They are alive and must be fed. Let it sit a day or so at room temp or a week in the fridge, strain it, and drink! If left a long time it separates into curds and whey, but shake or stir and it is thick and creamy. Leave it too long and it gets as tangy as vinegar. Yogurt is prebiotic, helps while it is in your body. Kefir can actually colonize your gut and change your flora for the better. Since kefir grains process the lactose in milk, kefir milk is low lactose or lactose free, depending on how long you leave it. Since the yeast is a different type, it can boot the candida yeast out of your body. Left tightly sealed, it carbonates lightly. Thick, fizzy milk. I add a spoonful of jam and stir, and it ends up tasting like Gogurt or Danactive to me.

Once you strain it, you reuse the grains for the next hundred or so years. Oh, but they propagate like mad, so you will have to some to give away or feed to the chickens or put in your smoothie. You can buy kefir in most grocery stores. Most of it is made with a culture starter from a lab that approximates the properties of kefir rather than with living kefir grains. Buy some and let me know what you think!

Anlina

I’ll have to give kefir another shot. The one time I tried it, it was a bit too fizzy and boozy tasting for me, but kefir with matcha has me intrigued.

Cwyn

Kefir is cheap to buy, I wouldn’t bother making it myself.

boychik

I love kefir. We drink it everyday. I buy from supermarket “Lifeway”. I like it plain but they have flavored too. I would like to try to make my own. Where do you get culture? Or should I just add kefir to milk?

ashmanra

Anlina: when you make it homemade you can control how fizzy, how boozy, how tangy it is. My neighbor has tried starting it from culture and failed. She has good success with the grains I gave her that are the “babies” of the ones Mercuryhime sent to me.

Cwyn: Kefir is pretty expensive here! Five dollars for a small bottle. I can make about eight or nine bottles from organic milk for that price, and it costs even less if you just buy regular milk! Plus it is tons easier to make than yogurt. We just can’t afford to buy much of it from the grocery store at that price.

Boychik: they do sell both water kefir and milk kefir grains online and sometimes Craigslist or freecycle may have them. I have milk kefir grains. They multiply pretty quickly if the room is warm. It isn’t like yogurt, where you can just add a bit to your milk. It is best to get the grains, which are living “scobies.” I Ike it plain, or with a teaspoon of cherry preserves from Bon Maman stirred in.

Anlina

I have a lot of friends who are into fermenting and cultured foods, so I can probably get a scoby pretty easily if I ask around. Or possibly just get someone to make me some. :)

Buying kefir here in the store is also very expensive.

ashmanra

I think I also read that when you buy it in a store it is not always made from a live culture. It might be made from a laboratory approximation of the bacteria and yeast, and it might be made from kefirran, which only works one time. So there is no guarantee it is coming from fresh, live culture. The dog and the chickens love it, and both need it right now because the yeast helps fight skin infections for the dog who is having grass pollen allergy problems, and the chickens are in molt and need the extra protein! They actually eat the spare grains.

ashmanra

Anlina: I have told my friends I will very gladly make kefir for them if they will simply provide the jug of milk! That way my little grains get fed, I don’t spend a fortune on milk feeding them, and they get cheap kefir! It is so easy and only takes a second to strain it and pour over for a new batch, but mine were trying to make two batches a day!

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I have been craving Keemun lately at breakfast time. I have some of the finest Keemun, but it is not as bracing as I was wanting for my morning tea, though I love it as afternoon tea.

This one really hit the spot today! After a sweet pancake breakfast I wanted something to cut the sweetness and give me a little boost and this did the trick. I had one cup at home and took a JoeMo to go with me. There was a nice bread and cocoa flavor, and the smoke was more evident somehow from JoeMo, perhaps just because the tea was starting to cool and the flavor profile was morphing. It reminded me a bit of my beloved Queen Catherine.
Very nice tea experience!

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drank Blossom Earl Grey by Twinings
1893 tasting notes

I had a hankering for black tea and could not decide what I wanted. I am trying so hard to SIPDOWN some teas that are older or have very little left, and I realized that making a whole pot would send this expired box well on its way. I drank one cup and decided the fresh, fruity aroma was crying out to be tried iced and sweetened. Now I wish I had some more hot to refill my cup.

The base is pretty smooth as long as it doesn’t sit too long and cool on you, the bergamot is present but not overpowering, there is a lovely orange blossom scent, and I swear I think there is a tiny little hint of jasmine.

For a bagged tea, this performs.

MzPriss

You know, this was pretty much my first tea. I’ve been drinking it as long as I can remember. As a child I always had it with honey and milk. And I still like this tea. It’s like a comfy blankie.

ashmanra

Wow! For some reason I thought this must be a relatively new blend! I guess I just never saw it in our local stores before and still have to buy it in a bigger city.

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Bio

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…

Location

North Carolina

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