673 Tasting Notes


Brenden sent me a sample of this tea…almost gone from his stock now…and I hope he gets more!!! This is one of the best black tea’s I’ve ever tasted!
I shared some with my teahouse assistant manager friend Joe.
Don’t under brew (Joe saw the timing and almost didn’t follow the instructions, thought it was too long).
When Brenden noted 3 minutes steep time it was for a good reason. This tea is multi-layered, deep, full and nuanced like fine wine.
Morphing…the flavor changes often as the tea slowlycools.
Milk chocolate, cocoa puffs cereal, butternut squash, dry papaya or mango. Sunshine…jam.
At first sip…“OH WOW”, from both Joe and I. Total surprise and delight.
Like I said…this tea is almost gone. I ordered some more for myself.
Hope there’s more to come in the future.

The way I purchase tea on a budget is this:
I have my inexpensive but very good quality (tasting) tea…and I do some home blending with dry herbs and spices.
Puerh is a bargan! Believe me, it’s possible to find a puerh you’ll like with a little help from someone who guides you.
Then, my more expensive tea’s are treats that I indulge in several times a week.
Yes, I treat myself…and delight in every sip!
BTW, if you go to Whispering Pines Website just to look around, check out the video on the back page of Brenden doing his slackline sport. He’s on YouTube also.
He just won a competition in Germany!!!
Don’t we have a bunch of creative genius’s here on Steepster!

Love you all…

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Hesper June

I agree! One of the best teas I have ever had!


OMG, look, a note from Bonnie!!! WE ALL MISS YOU!!!
(I have started replying to you, you’ll here from me very soon :- xxx )


(I meant “hear” lol)




That sounds delicious. Hi Bonnie, hope you are well! :)


so nice to see you back ! and with this tea rated 100 it sounds really like a fantastic return :)


i ordered this tea because of your wonderful review. it is amazing. Thank you!!!

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Before it was gone, I had to have my favorite Chai one more time and ordered 4 oz.

Most of you are buried in snow (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere or West Coast of the USA). It’s -6 without windchill factored in today.
I looked at my email and it said (my email has a voice) “Your Verdant Tea has been delivered.”
“Oh Boy!, I answered, I get to put on all my Winter gear and march out to the mailbox
hub to get my Yu Lu Yan Chai, but it’s worth it!”
Most of you know the drill: Socks over tights (women do this), jeans…shirt and wool vest. Coat, ear muffs, gloves and boots. Scarf and my cane.
The sky was bright enough and we haven’t had tons of snow. We’re high and dry. About 8 inches or so in the last week is the most all year so far.

I scurried out and back, giggling at the feeling of my nose hairs turning into ice crystals. (The last time I felt that feeling was Winter -20 in Fairbanks Alaska).

What a perfect time for Chai! I’ve been indoors for a week!

So I forgot what I was doing after I poured water over the leaves in my brew basket.


I always cover my teapot with a tea cozy to keep the tea warm and forgot what I was doing. Tic tic tic…for at least 6 minutes.

The liquor was dark… and very peppery and DELICIOUS!


I would have bought all the Chai if I could…just for that great peppery cocoa/potato

Hope to see this again…but if not. I’ve had a wonderful taste experience.

Flavors: Peppercorn

200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

we miss your notes Bonnie :) hope to see you around soon


I also miss reading your notes. Been checking your page to see if you had posted anything new…


I miss you too! Hopefully everything is ok and you’re just off on some exciting travels.

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Thank you Brenden for this sample tea!

I know it isn’t December, and I often have to be ‘in the mood’ for my smokier tea’s. It’s one of those things…

When a big snow storm is coming…or the first brisk winds of Fall followed by a downpour…give me a mug of bold smoky tea and something sweet like dark chocolate to enhance the experience.

That big snow is coming. We’ve been having no snow hardly at all and warm weather. The Continent has been dry one way and a wreck of a Winter the other with Colorado humming along with a dribble of an inch of snow here and there and temperatures up to the 50’s and 60’s. We have a lot of sunshine!

When I say big snow, I mean maybe 8-10 inches which isn’t that much.
(I’ve never seen ice)

So I finally brought out the Whispering Pines December tea that Brenden sent me from its hiding place. Another smoky little tea (I thought).

It smelled like smoke so I assumed it would taste like smoke.

Surprisingly, the taste was cocoa-smoky… smooth and lighter than I had expected. I hadn’t read Brendens review prior to my tasting and didn’t realize he had used the Fujian Black Tea.

As for his comment about the tea being brisk…and citrusy, um I can’t say that I found either. Smooth and borderline floral…with not a hint of smoky harshness.

I have to say this is one of the better smoked tea’s I’ve tasted. There’s a compromise for those who like dark chocolate with a little smokiness to it (but not lapsang souchong).

By the way, I’ve been snooping around and found a video of Brenden

He’s way cool!!! A young slack-line expert! He’s into photography also and loves animals. (No idea why my first take was of someone older…but he’s young. I’m quite impressed!)

Don’t you just love tea people!

Now that it’s no longer December…Brenden needs a new name for this tea.
It’s not a one month wonder.

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I got a Google+ message from Eric:
“What…look…the leaves are HUGE!” with a picture attached showing the Zheng Shan Ziao Zhong Smoked Wuyi Black tea by Verdant (say that 3 times fast!).

I answered back,
“OK Eric, I’ll pick some up as soon as David Duckler makes it available on the Verdant website…”, which I did immediately.

Then, I got sick right after the tea arrived. Bah!

As soon as I was well enough to drive, I picked myself up and off I went with my one ounce of precious tea booty. (I also have a small amount of puerh aged in a brandy barrel from Oregon, a gift from Eric to try that’s amazing…but that’s another story)

This tasting was met with great anticipation by Eric, Joe, Andy, Sam and owner George.

After much swooning over the aroma of the leaves…(a light smoky, sweetness)…Joe deftly worked gongfu magic, pouring amber liquor into many tiny tasting cups.

The wet leaves smelled like bbq that had been marinated in a rich jammy Paso Robles Zinfindel. The scent was floral…right in the middle of all that meaty, sour ripeness.

Eric tasted the tea first.

“Ah, this is what a lapsang should taste like when it’s done right. It’s what I’ve heard about but never tasted. I could drink this every day!”

I took my time…and a sip.

Light smoke, almost not there but salty next to sweet vanilla (Eric said that’s from the pine) and camphor. Floral aroma and very light smoke. Smooth. Layered and complex. Cocoa…

I don’t think one tasting can honor such a tea, time is needed.

Everyone raved…yes…raved about the tea.

The smoked tea’s most of us are used to drinking are far different from a superior craft tea such as this one.

My highest rating goes to this Lapsang Souchong.
In my opinion it is the example…the standard, of what a smoked tea should and can be.


Whispering Pines Tea Company

I had to buy this too :) its fantastic!


I knew you would appreciate this tea. You just don’t come across the real deal very often if ever. You, a smoky tea junkie, a..connoisseur is saying something huge when you proclaim “it’s fantastic”!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

It’s such a huge difference between the usual lapsangs…it’s not smoke as much as the feel of the warm pinewood on the morning after a campfire…truly amazing :)


You are a poet at heart and friend of the pine. True…there isn’t a roaring campfire or brush with a pine tree (needles in the face).


Hmm, I never had truly smokey tea…like coffee? zheng shan xiong zhong..I was wondering what it is..then found it on wiki: 正山小种. LOl. I will one day visit Wuyi mountain in Fujian, since a friend of mine has a family tea farm there


Not like coffee, it can taste more cinder depending on the tea. I’ve had savory smoke that reminds me more of BBQ and some that are like walking through the forest in the morning when you smell woodsmoke. I’ve lived in the woods in California.


that’s a beautiful description…woodsmoke…noted for wuyi black…so i guess its stronger than tie guan ying


Yes, very much stronger and not floral or vegital.

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Thank you TeaFairy for sending me a sample of your favorite tea!

I tried to review this during the ‘Steepster Storm’ the other day…to no avail. Not letting me in by hook or crook!

There was one exciting day where I brought this tea to Happy Lucky’s for a side-by-side comparison with the Bao Zhong that they sell and serve there. Andy, Joe, Eric, Maggie, Sam and a few regular patrons were on hand. Aroma sets were used to extract full value from the leaves and the tasting was blind. A set on the left and one on the right with only Joe knowing which tea was which.

The Tea’s:

Left Light and slightly savory. There was a hint of sweetness. Quite smooth but no dryness or acidity. Light body overall. Hazy floral taste and aroma.

Right Pronounced floral aroma, rubbery…crocus, jujube. Sweet with a depth up front that rolls back slowly on the tongue. Sweet water, lingering floral. Interesting…makes me want to discover more.

Of the two, I chose the second as my favorite because it’s so interesting and has depth that makes me want to spend more time with the tea. I could spend time just on the aroma…or go on to any part of the tasting and freeze the moment for more reflection. Tea should be that life changing and lead to contemplation. When it happens in a crowd of people, that’s unusual.

Second tea was (tea on the right)… DRUMROLL…TeaFairy’s Bao Zhong (show’s what good taste we both have a-hum!)! Pat on the back for the great reveal! (So glad it worked out that way!)

I’m not that only one that loved her tea!

As things were winding down after the side-by-side tasting,a teashop regular and sweet young lady who loves old people like me…was keeping me from going home. She said that someone who works at the teahouse had something to tell me.
What could it be I wondered? So mysterious!
I waited…and pretty soon one of the tea servers approached and announced that he was officially seeing my young friend and that they both wanted my blessing.

How sweet! My blessing indeed! How old fashioned and delightful!

Tea and blessings! I couldn’t be happier!

Life goes on at the teahouse. People are falling in love and I’m the grandmother basking in the glow of their joy how blessed am I!

Message on a personal note…
I’ve been sick and apologize for the lack of reviews to anyone who has wondered. I mention this not for sympathy but because almost everyone knows somebody with an autoimmune disease or disorder such as mine. It’s only been a matter of months since there has been proof that fibromyalgia is a physiological and not a psychological disease. I’m only one of thousands that has had doctors belittle them as “needing counseling for anxiety” instead of realizing that the pain suffered was real.
If you know people like me with migraines, fibromyalgia, arthritis etc. they are not able feel good all the time. The disease throws you all over the place and you go along for the ride. It’s not emotional but effects the emotions. It’s physical…so understand and support them. http://c.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/steps-authentic-happiness-positive-psychology/2013/dec/29/fibromyalgia-solved-pathology-not-mind/
Preaching done!


I’m a fellow fibromite. This is a great discovery!


Yep. I’m so grateful not to have diabetes like my mom did and rheumatoid arthritis. Things could be way worse. So far I’ve managed not to take any drugs and bite the bullet.Hope that you do well. Tea helps me a great deal!


And she (Bonnie) is a great lady too!


@Bonnie: I’m doing pretty good. I manage to work full time and stay off pain meds for the most part. My worst symptom is getting run down very easily (migraines and IBS certainly don’t help)… but, I must say that tea definitely does help! My hands don’t hurt nearly as much since I started drinking a lot of rooibos! =)


Huh! Rooibos is in the bean family and I’m allergic to beans, potatoes and all nightshade foods. It began at age 58 acting like ibs and got worse. Hope you’ve followed elimination diets. When I removed the things that bother me I got rid of the ibs symptoms. Your hands feeling better might mean that you are sensitive to caffeine. There are ways to get around this.
mrmopar You sweetheart!




Hands off, mrmopar, she’s mine! ;)


As always, your posts are so uplifting for me!


Mrmopar and Roughage only fight over me because I’m old and far, far away. If they were close by…that’s where I’d be a cougar! (Their ladies would shoot me first!) All in jest!
Love my tea guys…they can be my tea pets any day!


Hah Roughage! I am closer and can get there faster! The Mopar can run! Well at least the car can.


Curses, foiled again! :)


Yep and you need a passport and I don’t! LOL! We are a crazy bunch aren’t we!


OK you silly men…You really want my tea! I’m on to both of you! Both welcome…we’d have a blast! The teahouse already adores both of you ( oh…You thought the stories were one way here on Steepster….Oh no…I tell Steepster stories at the tea house).
All good though! King of pu and Lord of the Vikings!


Back off, you big tough macho guys, you don’t stand a chance against Fairy Girl Power!!
Haha! You guys are so funny! But no jokes, Bonnie deserves all the love she can get, so let’s just stay united and get a Steepster group hug with her :-)


Bonnie I,m so glad you truly loved this one, it has a real special place in my cupboard and I so wanted to share it with you…that sounded like a great and fun tasting experience!


So funny! Yes, Fairy Girl Power!

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Thank you TeaFairy for this lovely tea surprise!

Oh how I delight in my tea friends!

TeaFairy sent me a Holiday gift with little notes and fabric flowers attached to brighten my day. What care in packaging! I feel special indeed.

In my delight…I took this tea especially to share with Eric at the tea house, wondering if he had seen any like it before.

He commented, “Why did they leave the oolong on the stem? Usually they pay someone to take it off.”

Ah, I thought…the oolong comes this way and when curled up is removed? So why did they leave it on the stem?

None of us could come up with a ‘tea’ logical answer for ‘why’ but agreed that the stems with the oolong tea did look rather stunning in the gaiwan (which was interesting).

As much as tea is TASTE, it is also EXPERIENCE. Taste, aroma, and visual input…contribute to one’s appreciation of tea.

I expected the taste to be stronger and earthier with the stems attached, but the tea was light and delicate. Gentle with a hint of floral and no bitter aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is light and thin. Cooling changes little in the thickness of this tea.

I’m reminded of sweet water with cuttings floating on top in early Spring. The edge of a field with low hanging trees and mountain water. New bulbs flowering nearby and scenting the air.

Thank you TeaFairy for such a lovely gift!


I’m just looking out for you, Bonnie Chérie :-)
So glad you enjoyed this with your dear friends at Lucky’s…


I had some more too this week. Will write about it. Thank you!


Ok, can’t wait to find out what you think about it :-)

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Thank you Brenden for this sample tea!

This morning while waiting for my teapot water to boil…I turned on the weather report just as Al Roker pronounced “49 States are experiencing below normal cold weather and most are within the Arctic Blast of sub-zero temperatures”.

All I can say is ‘I empathize with all of you…but it has been pretty good here in the Rocky’s’…business as usual so far. One day of snow. You get the WET stuff and WIND. We don’t. It’s dry.

If you have some of Brenden’s Elder Grove tea to keep you company, you’re in luck!

Sunday, I was in the teashop talking to Maggie. For anyone who’s been keeping up with the characters at my local shop (Happy Lucky’s) she’s new…and so is Rachel. (The shop keeps growing in popularity)

Maggie lived in Taiwan and had a tea business. It’s handy having a person around who can read the Chinese Labels that come into the shop. (And some that I bring in too)

Anyway, we were talking about how the Chinese put all sorts of things into tea. Maggie goes to a certain shop close to Denver for special plums to add to tea. I mentioned how Brenden puts pine needles and cedar chips into his blends to remember the spirit of woody places he loves. Other tea vendors use local rice for genmaicha and some are experimenting with aging puer in empty wine and bourbon barrels.

I love the creative energy in our emerging North American tea culture!

Tea houses, philanthropy, love of the natural world and support of community. That’s the most exciting part.

This tea…Elder Grove is smooth.

I let it steep really long and it didn’t become sour but stayed smooth.

I didn’t taste the Holy Basil, but the blend was like a mild chai with good body, smooth elderberry…just the way I like it. Sometimes elderberry can taste like hibiscus and sour…this doesn’t taste that way.

I added a little honey…a perfect compliment!

The more Whispering Pines Tea’s I’ve tasted recently, the more I appreciate Brenden’s hard work in reformulating his tea stock into blends that are unique. They tell a story and represent him and the countryside he loves. His blending skill has matured and I applaud him! Those who learn do well and he’s one to keep watching!

If you haven’t wandered through his tea’s lately, I recommend this and the Evergreen Spice for Winter. Try his new tea’s!

If you’re snowed in and have never watched ‘Foyles War’ on Netflix…it’s a fine series. ‘Call the Midwife’ is another good one. ‘Foyles’…for both men and women. Got the tip first from Joe at the teashop and he’s 29.

Stay warm my friends!


Missed you:-)


I just started watching ‘Call the Midwife’ and like it a lot! I also have the book that someone gave me but haven’t read it yet.


Good to watch with tea!


Yes! :-)

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I’m one of those people who spend New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day by myself. I’m probably not the only one…and after years and years, I don’t feel sorry for myself about it.

There was a time when I was forced to be around New Years events that I didn’t want to be around…and I ended up afraid of what could happen to me at the hand of an abusive person.

I’m so thankful in my present life to be safe!

Tonight I put on good music, made some dip and crackers…had a really good dinner too. Worked on my Pinterest Boards.

Now, here we are together…you, my friends on Steepster.

It’s just us with some tea.

If you’re alone like me…make some tea and I’ll tell you how this tea made me feel…how it took me back to another December.

The Story:
Silicon Valley is a new title for the Valley I grew up in.
Once it was known as the ‘Prune Capitol of the World’ not the center of technology.
On one side of the Valley are the small Coast Range Mountains and then the Pacific Ocean.
At Christmas, my children Aaron, Annalisa and I would bundle up and head up narrow Black Road…winding our way through Ponderosa Pine and Redwood Forests..up, up through mountain mists until we reached our favorite tree farm.

The dirt entry off the paved road was perched above the tree farm. As we looked below us, we could see a low ranch house and a big rustic woodshed decorated with Christmas lights, candy canes and stars. A woodfire billowed sweet smelling smoke into the cold, damp air. A hidden machine blew bubbles like snow high into the sky. It was magical!

When we arrived a rotund, aproned Mrs.Claus greated us with laughter, hot cider and ginger cookies…then gave us instructions on how to cut our tree to protect the trunk for regrowth.

We tumbled laughing and yelling through rows and rows of fragrant trees, letting the branches swipe across our faces…rushing off here and there to be first to find the perfect tree.

Such delightful joy!

I often think that this was one of those moments that God allowed me to be a child…as it does now in the retelling of the story.

The Tea:
When I prepared this tea…the use of real Ponderosa Pine with ‘mild’ Yabao in the blend, transported me back those 30 years.
I could smell the sweet, fresh cut fir tree and the sap. It’s a sweet smell. Then, brown sugar, graham cracker…nutmeg and ginger.

Spot-on this tea takes me deep into the WINTER FOREST.

I’m a lover of raw innovation…bold creativity and high standards in blends. No spay-tan flavors to make-a-buck pseudo-tea for me.

One of the memories that lasts throughout your life is scent and taste. Cool isn’t it. All the tea will associate with places and people…woods and trees, love and celebrations.

Evergreen Spice allowed me to become myself 30 years ago with my young children in the Coastal Mountains cutting down a Christmas Tree with the scent of Redwoods and Pine. Spiced Cider and cookies…

How glorious is that!

Blessed 2014 to you all my beloved friends!

A note: Not a critic of real sugar here but I have a critical note for once below:
(No artificial sweetener…none…nada…it changes the yabao into soap so don’t please.)

(Yikes this is review 666 on New Years Eve…good thing that I have no fear! It’s funny!)


I really like your stories,it is one of the reasons I decided you to follow you…I am alone as well with my cats and my tea,haha…I don’t feel feel sorry for myself about it either…happy new year!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Thanks for the stories and reviews, Bonnie! Here’s to a happy new year! :D


Woo hoo! 2014! I’ll turn 66…choke, sputter! I still have 28 minutes in Mountain Time. Who came up with Mountain Time anyway…most of the Country has no idea what Mountain Time is!
So…a few thousand people most of which can now legally get high in Colorado…live in a time zone outside normal space. For some reason, we’re not as fat as the rest of the Country and we’re pretty happy. Mountain Time.


I don’t drink. Only tea.


What a great note. Happy new year, Bonnie!


Happy New Year, Bonnie. :)


Bonne Année Bonnie – you’re so right : it’s always better to be alone rather than in bad company.


You are good company my friends!


She’s the best!


Let’s have a party!

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My granddaughter Schey is truly one of those special people (like MOST of you here on Steepster) with a giving heart…full of kindness and love. She loves me not in words, but with her time.

Nobody spends time with me other than her.

One of these days, she’ll be swept off her feet by someone that I know won’t be quite worthy of her…but that’s another story.

In the meantime, we have tea together, she calls me often…and yesterday she came over to bake with me.

Last year I decorated my home for Christmas and nobody came over. I felt bad. (This is something that happens to people when they get old) Young people are busy…(I know this) but it’s a hard reality to sit alone in a beautifully decorated room with your tea. Sigh…

I’ve learned to dig deeper into my heart this year. The source of my being happy is no longer dependent on having people around me, even though I do like it when I have a visit or when I go out to tea.

Schey is allergic to regular ‘Black Tea’. It makes her weep and she gets depressed and moody rather quickly. I’ve never seen anything like it. Puerh, green tea and oolong’s are all fine. I know the reason (too long to explain here).

When Schey arrived for our holiday baking, Pandora was set with classic crooners…Bing Crosby, Michael Buble, Nat King Cole…all the old tunes we could sing along ‘loudly’ in the kitchen. http://youtu.be/_ONkQD1uxkY

We made a double recipe of spice cake (grinding the spices ourselves) and then peanut butter chocolate fudge. http://flic.kr/p/ipxxdi

While the cakes were baking, we sat next to my Christmas tree and watched two recorded epidodes of Once-Upon-A-Time. http://flic.kr/p/ipwDAn

I made a combo tea: Peppermint Bark Herbal and loose Shu Puerh in a large pot.

I know this might sound strange to some people…but most chai’s and herbal blends taste great with loose puerh, especially with cream and honey or sugar. (This tea can be rebrewed once or twice)

The flavor of mint and spice with the puerh I chose (this one was mild) was festive. Perfect pairing for our afternoon! I brewed the tea 3 minutes…longish-yes…but I didn’t add lots of puerh, and the Herbal needs time to release (not the 1 minute suggested by Verdant).

Crafting a latte binds the herbal blend and puerh together into a rich, smooth holiday drink.

I took a picture of Schey. Her peanut butter chocolate dessert was going to both the servers at Happy Lucky’s Tea House and employees at the local Grocery Store. My cake is for tea with my 3 year old grandson’s.

Don’t you think that best memories we have are doing things with other people? This usually doesn’t cost much money, but takes some of our time.

Don’t forget to take pictures over the holidays. (So many people forget to record time with people they love and time is short!)

Wish I could bake together and have tea with all of you!


«One of these days, she’ll be swept off her feet by someone that I know won’t be quite worthy of her…» this is such a statement of your love for her…
This review made me shed some tears…for totally different reasons, I can relate about this review, you know why I think :-)
Bonnie, I wished I could spend a Christmas eve in your company, you could teach me how to bake, and we could share a few cuppa togheter!!!


hugs If i was closer, I’d come visit for the holidays! :)


I never lie when I say that you are welcome!


we have tea date at some point, i do believe, though e haven’t nailed down a date and time, lol.


You talkin to me James?!!!


i am! i thought you invited me down last year to try out your local brilliant tea house….


this day sounds like heaven to me—hanging out together in a warm kitchen that smells of cake baking away in the oven, festive and special tea in pots to share, music from another time that makes one nostalgic, and a beautiful home with a loving grandmother. i am jealous of your granddaughter (my grandparents passed away quite some time ago…i miss my grandmother’s kitchen to thi day, more so than ever around the holidays).


I did! You should come here! Besides…there are other tea places to go to if you’re one of the secret Celestial Seasonings Tea drinkers (factory close by…), and tea houses in Boulder (Ku Cha, Dushanbe).


augh, now i’m thinking about her and well, hello there unexpected afternoon crying. thanks Bonnie (i do NOT mean that sarcastically). your posts are a treasure.


there’s alot of that going around i think…. tis the season for a bit of weepy, ifjuly. nothing wrong with that. i miss my gran horribly. i have a whole jar of tea i’ll likely never drink because the smell reminds me of her… and the tin she made my last xmas cake in……


Every Christmas, it would be nice to share these memories on Steepster and with friends. Some people adopt an older person who’s alone. (The tea community seems especially kind to elders) I hardly know anyone my own age. 65 isn’t ancient, but some of my disabilities at times makes me feel 85 and then I snap back to 65 going on 30 again. Become the moments you enjoyed with parents and/or grandparents. Bake, put on music and sing. If you went to Church, Synagogue or some event this time of year with grandma, do so again and remember that love. You can become what you treasure.


Thanks JustJames. I know exactly what you mean about those smells and the tin, things like that. I’m sorry (but also happy in a way) you miss your grandmother too!

Bonnie, you’re right. The first few years I was on my own I kind of treated holidays like any other day—often worked overtime, didn’t cook or decorate, etc.—and in retrospect I think it was because I knew it would be painful, the contrast between what I could do just starting out alone with what I remembered. But slowly over the years I’ve become more festive, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of fashioning my own domestic rituals to look forward to seasonally and gradually cultivating my own family life. Trimming the tree, hanging and stuffing stockings, making certain dishes only once a year, and waiting until just the right time to play certain music, visiting people when we’re all cheerful because of the festive season…those things do make me feel like I have a home in this world.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!


Thank you! Not to be morbid, but one day (not too far off) my life as it is will end too. My treasure is measured in how much I love and the memories I leave with others. I am ever mindful of how precious time is. My life is Blessed every day with discovery and wonder!


I wish I would have known my grandmothers. I never got the chance :(.
I enjoy your beautiful stories of spending time with your grandchildren. They are so lucky to have a grandmother like you. They will cherish it forever.


i consider myself lucky because I knew my 3 great grandmas and 2 grandmas. unfortunately I have only one now, she is 89. I cherish those moments when i come visit her. its almost everyday. i think i love her more than my parents


I share stories to say..“Hay everybody, you will be where I am some day maybe…this is what you can do too. And if you don’t have a grandma, find one!” My own grandmother’s were dud’s. Really. I decided to be what they were not…like watching Hallmark Christmas Movies or It’s a Wonderful Life and deciding…“I want to create that kind of experience for my family!” You don’t wait for it, you make it happen.
When my mom was alive…the whole family went caroling in her neighborhood, pushing her wheelchair down the street. NOBODY came to their door to hear us!!! After awhile we began to giggle. It was so strange that nobody wanted to listen to us caroling that we sang even louder and laughed as we sang joyfully up and down that gloomy street.
You make it what it is in your heart no matter what is happening around you!


“You don’t wait for it, you make it happen.” and “You make it what it is in your heart no matter what is happening around you!” Such an awesome outlook, I agree. It reminded me of some of my lady friends who, when I got married and started packing bento lunches for my husband, were all like “I wish I had a wife to pack me awesome lunches I could look forward to every day!” And I said jovially “you can always be your own wife!” It’s easy to forget sometimes.


This is why I always have tea in my purse to share even when I go to my tea shop. Today, the owner shared a blend he created…then the manager made a free pot of tea with some spice and puerh. We’ve become family. I stopped in the cheese shop and bought a chunk of Earl Grey dusted cheese and ginger chocolate (I know the little shops around the tea house). I haven’t lost my sense of wonder and delight…the joy of life. Believe me though, it’s challenging at times to overcome depression and loneliness. I have to work on celebrating life.


Bonnie, move to Toronto. I’d have tea with you all the time LOL


Thanks I heart-bloom! Thanks a look at my little grandsons who came over for tea at 8:30 AM this morning (man that’s early) on my Facebook Bonnie Johnstone. Merry Christmas!


This sounds so lovely ;~}


Smiles back to you! ;]


Awww. You have an awesome fam Bonnie!!


We’re kinda all family here…


How true is that! :)

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Tea Review: This is a day of Memorial and Celebration for many people around the World. I was up early, before dawn.

It’s not odd to drink a wonderfully light and celebratory tea to toast a great Grandfather of us all. I wrote much about my own feelings on my blog and if you like, you can read it beginning below.

This blend takes the Yabao that many have tried already and adds Holiday magic to zing it up!
In classic (now after several years I can say ‘classic’) Verdant fashion, the ingredients are blended in such a manor that no one ingredient screams out ‘Ginger’ or ‘Coriander’ or Birch Bark’.
If anything, there is a softness that I amped up a little by steeping longer than the recommended 1 minute.

Yabao tastes like light nutmeg to me. (It tastes like cardamom to David Duckler but what does he know, he’s a young man!)

Yes this is very ‘snickerdoodle’. BEWARE… our tastebuds are on overkill with cinnamon, peppermint and strongish flavors this time of year (love the goodies).
Yabao Snickerdoodle is light on the palate. I HIGHLY suggest adding sugar or mild honey to your tea (as well as steeping longer, and please don’t underleaf…LISTEN to GRANDMA!).

I would say (am saying) that I sipped a grand white wine or two in my day that were in the same league with this tea. Nutmeg, vanilla and ginger… sparkling sweet and delicious. (Murphy’s California)

Cheers to Mandeba!

I woke long before dawn to watch the news feed from South Africa this morning.

It is the day of Memorial for Nelson Mandela.

What shall I say? Some of you are not going to like what I say…
I warn you…

Yesterday, I tried to explain to my granddaughter Schey what it was like during the days of Apartheid and Civil Rights.
It’s not easy for young people to understand what it was like in the 1960′s-1980′s but I’ll keep on telling my grandmother stories no matter what.

As an interracial couple with two young children in the 1960′s and 1970′s, life for my husband and I was often dangerous. I worked in Civil Rights for many years in local projects, then as a Vista Volunteer in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

I was living in the Nation’s Capitol when both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed. Riots followed.
Shortly after the riots, my husband and most of the young Black men in the area were drafted. (This was during the Viet Nam War)
It was too dangerous, the Army said, for me to go ‘Down South’ with my husband because of the Klu Klux Klan, so I flew home to California until he was transfered a year later to Texas. (A Hard Place in 1970).
…the rest is on my blog…


Now I am very sad I didn’t get to meet you when I was in Boulder this summer. I get the feeling you and I would never run out of things to talk about. :)


I am a talker! I truly not to be boring. I tell people to make the time out signal used in basketball if I’m talking too much. Wish we could have met too!


Thanks for sharing.


I appreciate that Charlotte. Not everyone would agree but I’m getting to a point in life where all I have is my own story.


Feel the same as teataku. The sad thing is things are still bad. Better in some ways, but not great. Telling your story helps though.


There’s a great deal of kindness in the tea community!


True that!


Been wondering about this tea. Thanks for the review!


At our age stories of what we endured are the inspiration to those that we wish to bring up and teach in this world! Never forget you are a light and inspiration to all us! If I ever get out you way we are going to be a couple of “Tea Drunk” people swapping tales!


I’d love that mrmopar! Time is flying. Some of the most courageous people I’ve met are in their 30’s, so there’s hope for the future!


Thank you for sharing your story.


Thank you for reading.


Every truly great story will make you both laugh and cry. This had both effects, thanks for the effort.

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Colorado Grandma
Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska


Fort Collins,Colorado



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