674 Tasting Notes

“Hear ye, hear ye!”…I’ve decided not to rate tea’s this year by number anymore…not because I think it’s a bad system, but because most of the tea I drink is pretty wonderful. I’ll say if a tea is good, great or mind blowing.

After tasting Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black a few days ago, I took a red packet of this Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea down to Happy Lucky’s Tea House, showed it to the guys (as a teaser) and made a plan to come back for a tasting when Steepster Eric would be working and the tea shop would not be busy.

Granddaughter Schey came along today for the tasting. It was 12 degrees out and sunny.
We received our “Hello’s” from Eric, Joe and Andie as the bells on the Tea-Shop door jingled the announcement of our arrival.

I always bring a green fabric bag, stocked with tea samples when I go to Happy Lucky’s Tea Shop. I’m the Fairy Tea Grandma.

“What’s in the bag today?” Is the question I’m asked.
My eyes light up and I pull out a sample of a tea I’ve tasted and reviewed on Steepster.

Friday night Preston drank 3 or 4 samples from my green sack and got quite silly. He drank some pu-erh (which he is learning about) that he loved and said it made him feel like he was “13 again, riding his ATV through the woods”. Pretty funny.

Today, the guys knew I was bringing the ‘red packet’ of Anxi Fo Shou.
Eric brought out a Gaiwan, heated it and dumped the whole packet in. (Eric teaches Gonfu classes so it was nice to be waited on!)

The color of the liquor was deep golden amber and had a chocolaty scent…there was a sweet fruity lychee aroma that followed.

Schey was the first to say that the tea tasted like baking chocolate and dark coffee. I asked her if she meant bitter chocolate and she said no, not that and not a burned flavor but the darkest chocolate with sweetness left in it.

I thought about that a moment and she was right. There wasn’t a ‘roastiness’ like an Oolong or a cooked taste, but a rawness. (I was very proud of Schey for her observation!)

My first impression was a thinned down caramel syrup and golden raisins…enough to coat the tongue but not a heavy sugary taste.
That raw chocolate flavor followed on the finish and with every steeping the caramel lasted becoming lighter towards the 8th pour.

The flavor was buttery and the tea has a great deal of body and lingering taste.

The color, and scent (lychee and golden raisin) reminded me of Oolong then the Black Tea scent and flavors (chocolate and caramel) was so distinct and interesting almost like two tea’s in one.

I’m loving these experimental ‘artistic’ tea’s that stretch the imagination. This enhances my tea education and helps me grow.

This was a very good purchase of a limited addition tea that won’t last long, and a good buy! (About as much as a moderate/low bottle of wine)


Miss Starfish

Sounds like a delightful tasting session with a very delicious tea!


Nice! I’ve been contemplating this ‘no number’ rating thing for a while ‘specially recently’, since I’ve felt like I had to either fix the score or like the ‘Lao Ban Zhang Ripe cake’ which I love but I wasn’t sure how to rate. Yet I feel sometimes it helps with the ‘preference’ as people can see what I tend to like in tastes and what I usually avoid. Let me know if you feel it works well your you. :)


I like the rating system. If I see a good score, I’ll be more inclined to read the whole review and possibly be tempted to try the tea myself. Similarly, if someone posts a score of ‘0’, I won’t even read the review

On the other hand, it’s true that if you like a tea, it doesn’t mean I’ll like it as well. Also, some users here rate a LOT of teas and always give high-80/90s, which is not very useful.


Steven,I understand…but I’m going to give it a try. I’ve rated with numbers for a year and feel comfortable that people either want to read my review or not based on that history. I rate lots of tea,and so much is good that the experience is better than a rating number for now.

Autumn Hearth

I’m sipping on this for the first time right now. Definitely smelled the chocolate and raisin the second I started pouring but yes it more of a golden raisin the taste! Schey is certainly right about the rawness! Going to spend the rest of the day with this, hoping to find those scotch notes! I’ve been having a hard time with ratings as well lately. I have a hard time giving it on the first try and a hard time comparing straight teas with blends, so kudos and good luck, I for one read your notes for your observations and stories, but of course I also look at numbers when trying to make observation on “what else” to order from a company, except Verdant, I just order everything ;)


Thanks Autumn, I’m playing it by ear…and giving hints in the review in bold as to what I think about it instead of a number.

Terri HarpLady

Regarding rating teas, I gave it up a few months ago. I still sometimes look at other people’s ratings of a tea, especially if its a tea I’m thinking of purchasing, but for myself, I just can’t assign a number, I just can’t create a reference point. I tried for awhile, & even tried lining up all my teas by preference, with the favorite in each category (black, white, green, etc) getting a score of 100, 2nd favorite getting 99, etc, but that quickly dissolved into dysfunction, as there really is no clear favorite. I like different teas at different times, & I rarely drink anything that isn’t of high quality & flavor. Also, one day I might really really love a tea, & another day it just might not be my cuppa, if you know what I mean. So I prefer to share my musings only.

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I decided some time ago that my one luxury in life would be tea.
I don’t go out to the movies or restaurants (unless I have an occasion) and shopping for clothes is an old habit. (I have too much from when that seemed important.)

Tea is my #1 pleasure.
My contact with other human beings is primarily through discussing tea, reviewing tea online and drinking tea with family and tea shop buddies.

I want the best TEA that I can get. Sometimes it isn’t possible, and sometimes…I find a way.

When I read about Master Han’s and Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea’s I knew I had to have them, if even just an ounce. I ran to my computer as soon as they became available. Then, I waited….

This morning when I opened my curtains to look outside, there were glowing silvery ice crystal flakes, floating down without the will to be snow or stick to anything. This is intense TEA WEATHER! I’m ready with my newly arrived tea!

I have a spotted green/brown gaiwan that I chose to use for the tasting.

I followed the Verdant instructions for rinsing, proportion of leaf to water (I used a little less leaf because I’m a hyper-sensitive taster) and used the suggested steep times.

I’ve never looked at the tasting notes of other people first.
I like to make up my own mind and then check them against other people to see if there’s a match or not.
This time however, I sat with the notes from the website as though I was at a tasting with another person in a tearoom and we were going back and forth discussing the tea.

One of the first amazing but truly Brilliant flavor discoveries was Olive.
(I have to give it to whomever picked this out of the flavors because it’s so spot on.)
The fruitiness of olive oil…pungent and rich…wow! In a tea?!

I began to blither on in my head…picturing myself driving towards Elliot Road and the incline to my old home in Paradise.
The country road was lined with Olive Groves. Sheep and cows grazed between the rows of dusty green trees, the red and gold clay of the Sierra foothills under their feet and purple wildflowers lining the irrigation channel at the edge of the road.
There are tasting rooms for Olives in this part of California, tasting rooms for almonds (ah-mands is how it’s pronounced by the farmers (ah as in achoo)), and wine. Kiwi stands, peaches and apples. http://flic.kr/p/dL2zmW

The next pour, there was Brandy…in the scent of the liquor, which was beautiful clear amber, honey, golden and luscious. (I can’t even go into how the wet leaves smelled.)

The Brandy…scent.
I read that there is whisky and that was not in the scent, it was in the taste. Yes, in the fruity sweetness with a broad finish of the tea the whisky went deep… and lingered way down in the chest like liquor does. A rolling, welcome warmth. (I loved the sensation.)

There were notes about other tastes but I was not tasting them yet. I stopped somewhere else at the third steeping and found a thick syrupy quince membrillo taste, ruby red garnet yam right before they disolve into sugar. Something was changing like a mash.

If there’s anywhere the tea was taking me, it was to the beginning of Spring. Bursting forth…here I am with all my glory! Pushing up and out of a slumber and becoming many things.

From the forth steep forward, I tasted full Grape.
I not only worked at 2 wineries, but I come from a family (on my dad’s side) from Napa and Yountville. Wine people.
This tea doesn’t taste like a cloying too sweet grape, not like a dark grape or a darjeeling with a muscat flavor.

The flavor is something else. I’ve had wines from some areas that are semi sweet and golden, grown in hot climates that are ambrosia.
This is that Springtime golden grape taste, not buttery and not like a chardonney.

In Murphy’s, there’s a winery called Ironstone.
The first time I went to Ironstone, it was early Spring and the roads leading from the small town to the winery had been planted with Daffodils and they were in bloom. Winding country roads with flowers and cows in the fields…on and on. It was magical. http://flic.kr/p/dKW5wX
Ironstone makes a wine that reminds me of this tea, so does Castillo di Amarosa http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/ (worth a visit).

The meaty fresh coconut aftertaste isn’t sweet. It’s more on the savory nutty side of coconut.

Pinning down such a complex and vibrant tea isn’t easy. One amazing Ping of flavor brings to mind a time or place…then another Ping of flavor…and off I go again! This tea is full of Pings!

If you can manage this limited addition tea, do so. The experience is worth it. So much so…I can’t wait to share this with someone!

When something is such a one-of-a-kind and has given so much to me. I can’t compare it with anything else and say, this is better than…what? It’s wild picked for goodness sake. It’s fantastic!


Okay, onto the shopping list with this one!


awesome review Bonnie. Now i’m really looking forward to getting this one!


This sounds amazing!

Invader Zim

I received this as a small sample from an order. It’s the first black tea I’ve ever had that I actually enjoy! I think it was the lack of maltiness to it that I enjoyed.


Grape?! grape… oh man that sounds good


Sil – this is the super expensive one that just came out. $4 for a 7g sample :(


Kittenna – aye…my other half treated me to this ;)


This sounds excellent. I have 7g on the way, can’t wait now!!


I just got back from Happy Lucky’s. After reviewing the tea, I shared some with my HL friends who loved it too. 9 degrees burr…but I was moved to venture out. As for expensive, when I think of the man hours put into this wild picked tea, and the quality, this as much an art (if not more) as dining at a fine restaurant. This is an option that I welcome. I want to be able to buy special tea’s now and then, but I know that with my budget I can’t do so all the time (which is fine with me).
I’m sure you’ll enjoy the 7g! I can’t wait to read your reviews. Everyone’s notes are so interesting.


Ahhhh, gotcha Sil! I was like, uh oh, I hope she doesn’t think this is the one we’re splitting! And while I did buy enough of the other recent new black to split, I did not buy enough of this one given the hefty price tag.

Mark B

Wonderful review. May be the first tea purchase of 2013…


I’m cupping this now….I lack the wine experience that you speak of so the memories don’t find me there, but the savory notes evolve and I can see the olives and nutty….but my mind imagines the nuances of wines (I have no palette for white) and this will cause me to listen deeper.


Kashyap, it might come later or like you say our tasting comes through our own experience filter so there isn’t anything wrong if you’ve put your foot to a different image path.

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Thank you Nuvola for this tea sample!

Someone from The Food Network flew over my neighborhood this morning and dusted everything with powered sugar. It’s lovely. The grass is sticking through where the lawn mower didn’t stike, and the squirrel that lives under the juniper bushes ran out to gather some more food from his stash before the sub zero wind and snow arrives this afternoon.
I’ve done my squirrel-like gathering already. Even though I moved here from California, I’ve lived in the mountains and know that when the weather is changing, you must have enough food and movies, then stay home. (I have enough tea already) Who would want to be out in 14 degrees with the wind blowing at 40 miles per hour!

After breakfast, I thought that a floral Oolong would be a fresh contrast while watching the frosty snow outside.

I prefer talking about the experience without being overly technical. I used a tasting set so that I could enjoy the aroma of the leaves.

The aroma of the leaves was heady…an intoxicating orchid, powdery floral and hint of salty sea air. Later, the floral was lighter and towards the last steepings had a menthol, spearmint quality that I sometimes find in tea from Taiwan.

The taste of the pale yellow-green liquor was a balance of light savory and sweet as though I had eaten a piece of honeydew melon followed by fresh sauteed green beans.

I notice sometimes (and I did on the second steep) that some Oolongs have a rubber taste that’s not bad, but is peculiar. This round had a feeling in the mouth like slowly solidifying butter. The finish was a bit bitter then stopped short, morphed and became salty and sweet.

A third steep with menthol coolness, still floral but less powdery.
The taste of sweet baby white corn-on-the-cob, salty, fresh. Peppery bite on the end with no bitter aftertaste.

The forth and best steeping was the most subtle. Spearmint-like menthol and a gentle floral flavor which was lingering and buttery. Very smooth. It was the lingering, all consuming hug of flavor done in such a seductive way that I loved about this last steep.

Lovely way to spend time on a Winter morning. The snow is already melted and The Food Network plane needs to return and do another fly over for another dusting of snow sugar.

Later today, I’m going to try making pancakes with some orange tea and cardamom spice…stay tuned.

Terri HarpLady

I want pancakes…


I made some with Verdant Earl of Anxi,orange and honey, then some with Butiki Tangerine Creamsicle with lemon/orange peel,cardamom and sugar…good eats! (I heated milk for the batter in the microwave and steeped tea in it for the best flavor).

Terri HarpLady

You’re so damn creative ;)


Ha, you’d do this while playing the harp Teri!

Terri HarpLady

We went out to breakfast today, but tomorrow morning I’m making almond flour pancakes with fried apples, maple syrup (grade B, that’s the really good stuff), & some kind of pork breakfast meat.

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Thank you mrmopar for this Christmas present Pu-erh sample!

It’s a gorgeous day! The sun is shining brightly on small patches of lingering snow that are refusing to melt. They freeze at night and stick out their tongues in the daytime…laughing at the 54 degree dry heat. (Only 4 inches this year so far, more due Friday)

Every Winter my town fills up with birds. Mostly Geese and Ducks from Canada (Thanks guys! Next year, stick tea samples on them,OK?!)
Since open space isn’t at a premium here, there’s room for birds, fox, deer, elk and other wildlife (and there’s lots of it!)

Which brings me to BEES. (Yes, you didn’t see that coming but here we are at bees, right after the birds.)

Colorado produces lots of honey, especially clover, hops, alfalfa and wildflower honey. I’m fond of stopping into a honey store to sample local in-season honey and a few imports from Oregon (blackberry honey) or California (orange blossom honey). Just a little is enough to flavor a whole dish, but others are subtle.
Honey and carmalized onions, local stout (got lotsa breweries) with short ribs…then slow cooked is fantastic.

Where am I going with all this talk of honey and food, animals and bees?

The Tea
I began with 1 rinse then an instant steep and pour.
The tea I chose to drink had a Honey Amber liquor (among other things).
The scent was sugar cookie and the flavor was like Log Cabin pancake syrup (although not as sweet).

Steep two was 10 seconds and deep amber honey color. The texture was clean, almost a citrus but not astringent. Way back in my throat there was a thickness after swallowing the sweet tea and I tasted clove without any bitterness. The aroma was white cake.

On the third steep I tasted something savory like toasted sesame seed honey candies (the kind you find in the health food stores).
I expected the tea to become caramel, but it surprised me. This was a good flavor, richer and deeper.

Another steeping and the color was beautiful, glowing amber honey in my glass mug.

The flavor was spicy, like spiced honey or a very mild Chai (if it were sweetened and had milk added I thought maybe it would be like a Chai).

I added a little sugar and the sweet honey and spice revealed something new.

What had been undetectable before, a light shu earthiness that had poked it’s flavor personality into the tasting (much to my great pleasure!).

Such a whimsical pu-erh! A honey….haha…!


That sounds nice! I like some ‘spicy’ in my shou sometimes. I have a loose leaf from old trees ripe that is earthy and spicy. Its not an everyday for me but I love it!


This sounds delicious! I may have to add a sample to my next Mandala order.

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Thank you JC for this sample tea!

I’m a little late with my review today…had a ‘Senior Moment’ and ran out of gas in town. Too bad that the spot was in front of my favorite Tea House and it was closed for inventory. UGH!

This inconvenience just made getting home to tea all the more welcome!

Ever since I read JC’s review of Thousand Tael Tea with the little yellow flowers in it, I’ve wanted to try some.
He had graciously offered to send some to me…and what a wonderful addition to my New Years this is!

When you first read about the little organisms called flowers, you might feel ‘creeped out’ about them. I mean, what are they?! These little dots that are called ‘flowers’ are organisms that change the picked green tea leaves into drinkable tea.
The color changes, the health benefits found in tea are due to these good little flowers. Drinking them is good for the body in many ways.

The tea I used was crumbly as I lifted it apart with my puerh knife to expose the little yellow dots of ‘flowers’. I was going to drink this ‘science project’ looking tea with great interest.

I used 1 gram leaf to 1 oz. water and rinsed it once.
Steeping was 6 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds (ick), 10 seconds.

JC went into detail on his tasting so I’ll be brief.

At first taste, I thought of unsalted chicken broth (although it was a little sweeter than chicken broth). I didn’t spend much time thinking about the flavor, first steeps are usually misleading.

The second steep was still savory with a honey walnut aftertaste that made me think of walnut honey shrimp. OK, I was loosing it. Maybe I was hungry. The tea was pinging my taste memories like a pinball machine but in strange non-puerh territory.

If I steeped the leaves a little longer, I thought, maybe I would get a grip and find the base flavor I need to identify the flavor for this puerh!

So, I lengthened the time to 20 seconds which was a big mistake.
There was an odd rutabaga, sweet straw, vegital taste that was a bad move. Blech.

Back to 10 second steeping went I.
The taste was walnut, sweet with a slightly savory flavor but no straw. This was good and a little bit salty. Not dry or astringent.

I wouldn’t be afraid of the little yellow flowers, you don’t see or taste them when you make the tea. The tea flavor is mild. (Then again this is a 2001 which is very mellow)


Scary one huh? When I first pried the ‘log’ piece, it exposed the flowers together with its dry scent which to me is like really old tree bark. But once I steeped it it was very pleasant and refreshing. Today I gave my friend some of it, he went home early lol. Tea Christmas!

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Thank you to Nuvola Tea for this sample

I shared this sample with experienced tea drinkers in a side by side comparison with a very high quality matcha. At the end of the tasting a few people arrived not knowing which tea was which and made comments also. (This was all done in a tea shop)

The Nuvola Tea had a distinct fishy scent and flavor, as well as a very bitter taste. The aftertaste was grassy which I didn’t mind.
The late arriving tasters commented that the tea was bad.

I felt that something must have gone wrong with this batch of tea for the comments to all be so unfortunate so I’ll leave this unrated.


I wonder if it underwent oxidation? I bought some powdered green tea, I knew it would not be high quality matcha, but still, the odor and flavor and even color is just off. I read that just the way apples turn brown once they are cut and exposed to air, same kind of thing can happen to teas that have been ground, if I’ve got that right.


That’s sad :( I have three Matchas at home… I cant really comment I don’t know enough about Matcha to rate its taste. I went to Japan and had several over there some I liked more than others but I guess I’ll have to ask you and Azzrian for guidelines some day.


One of my friends teaches Japanese green tea classes so I was not out here on my own. Anyway, they are not tea snobs either which I can’t abide. I think it’s unkind really to put down tea unless there is something terribly wrong. So, this was a sealed packet and opened at the tea shop with me watching. All was done carefully. So, there must have been something wrong with the tea. It was darker than matcha when brewed so it may have oxidized as you said. Smelled fishy as soon as he packet was opened and tasted fishy.


Bonnie, are you into Matcha much? If I thought pu’erh was a challenge, Matcha completely baffles me!


I’ve never ordered those flavored ones everyone is into. I have some powder that’s straight matcha that I’ve used in the Summer for smoothies that I make myself, and I have the guys at the tea shop make me hot chocolate matcha with a chocolate that comes from a Colorado Chocolatier (very old company).


I’ve never tried those either, I might like them (so many seem to be crazy about them) but it has become some kind of tea-challenge for me, I want to see if I can truly enjoy a straight one before… But it’s not likely to happen since I’m not planning on purchasing any! Hey, maybe I just don’t like it, and until I’m lucky enough to come across semeone knowlegable enough to really teach me in person about it, I’m afraid It will remain an ongoing project :-)


To me matcha was mostly enjoyable as a ‘with food’ drink. But then again the ones I have here may not be the best. In fact I have one that haven’t even opened from ‘got matcha?’. But as I said I don’t know enough of it. LOVE Genmaicha though!


Oh no! Something must have gone wrong because mine was really good.


Glad yours was good, and I’m glad mine wasn’t the only opinion. About 6 people drank it and said the same thing not knowing which was which so I’m not nuts. Well, yes I am nuts but that’s another story.

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drank Ying De No. 9 by Canton Tea Co
674 tasting notes

Thank you Roughage for this Christmas Tea gift sample!

The day after Christmas, I received a package from England with some tea samples and DRUM ROLL….REAL SCOTS SHORTBREAD!!!!! (And this tea)

My eyes rolled back as I swooned over those shortbread cookies, rich and buttery. Roughage told me that he went to his mums in Scotland for New Years and woke up to Bag Pipes being played in the village.

Ah…how perfect. (At least to me!) Of course, I’m picturing Rob Roy standing with a tray of tea at my door…ha ha!

I’ve been loving the Canton Tea Co. tea’s Roughage has sent twice now. Wish we had them available here through a North American Canton Store, because they’re just that good.

Today, when I began to sip this tea…my mind kept getting stuck.
I thought…“Smooth…sweet honey…”
I would stop and begin again. “Smooth, sweet honey and there isn’t maltiness or astringency…it’s mellow.” And I stopped again, resetting my notes.
“No, no…this tea isn’t like that at all. It is but I don’t want to say that, it isn’t a bland tea…I don’t want to use bland words!”

Fruity and floral. Apricot crumble hot from the oven. “Better.”
And honey. Clover honey, drizzled from a spoon into my mouth.
No, hot honey at the bottom of my teacup when I upend the cup and let the liquid slide down like gold. “YES!”

I wanted to drink this tea with a spoon like a dessert.

Suddenly, I knew what the tea tasted like. Honee’s filled candies. The Candies that have real honey inside…oh sooo good. I always loved the milk and honey ones that are creamy like the flavor of this tea.

OK, so I’ve blown the review. I’ve been all over the place from bagpipes in the morning to Honee’s Candy.

Let’s just say that I’d buy this and will look for it. It’s candy store delicious.

Thanks luv

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TOOTING MY HORN (If you don’t toot your own horn, nobody else will!)

So, why did I choose Cream of Earl Grey by DAVIDsTEA? It was one of my very first loose leaf tea purchases, and I found some in the cabinet.
Time to say adios to this packet, but not without a last cup to remember my journey.

I had never been a life-long tea drinker. I thought that tea was all fuss and pinky fingers up in the air…not for me at all. I liked strong coffee. My coffee came from Community Coffee in Louisiana and a small roaster (Cornucopia) in San Francisco.
While in Vancouver, B.C. at the Metropolis with my granddaughter Schey (Sept. 2011), we stopped in at Teaopia. We had never seen a tea shop like that before so I bought some tea for my daughter and a little Pumpkin tea for me.
My daughter says I found Steepster and I say she found it (seems more likely), but whatever the case…I joined Jan.5,2012, adding my first tea’s to the cupboard. (A couple flavors of Celestial Seasonings and Good Earth bagged tea’s).

Like most of you, I was stunned that anyone followed me, but the encouragement and friendship was genuine and continued month after month.

I soon got the hang of Steepster, learning from more experienced tea drinkers. I picked up the popular brands…especially DAVIDsTEA,
52tea’s and Teavivre (what a great help Teavivre’s samples were to my tea education in the beginning!)

I ordered this Earl Grey, Chocolate Orange Puerh (my first puerh), Oh Canada, Black and White, Check Mate and a few other tea’s as first ventures into loose leaf tea and was hooked. It was cool getting tea from Canada too!

If you told me a year ago that I would be drinking unflavored tea…hahahahaha…or Pu-erh that I would break off a Brick or Beeng…hahahahhaha. I wouldn’t just laugh, I’d scratch my head and say, “Bing who?”
Then, “What’s a Gaiwan?”, “What’s Gongfu?”, “What’s Sheng and Shu?”

I’ve been binge tea drinking this weekend! A celebration!

I went to Boulder with granddaughter Schey and began at the fancy, hand-painted Dushanbe Tea House.

Next we went to Ku Cha Tea House and had tea on lovely low tables served with care and attention. The ratio of tea to water was correct. There was a soothing waterfall, Asian art and lush plants creating a restful place for sipping tea. (I ran into Alex Alan for those of you who know him here on Steepster. He looks happy!).

Today, I went to Happy Luckys and brought a 1953 Pu-erh Brick (blend) to share, that the HL guys broke apart for me (a first for Preston), and a sample tasting of a Taiwan Green Tea Powder.

While choreographing the breaking of the brick (careful prying), I drank a delicious hot chocolate matcha with steamed milk!

When I returned home much later, still uncertain about what to review, I finally chose this Earl Grey. It seemed right to go back to the beginning.

This is a tea that I would probably not drink today. I don’t mean this to sound snobbish.
I don’t drink as many flavored tea’s as I used to and this is too stong to me now. It seems that with all the tea tasting the past year, my taste buds are much more sensitive and this is not a tea that is subtle in the least.

I have used this tea in other ways, to infuse flavor into lemon and vanilla pudding. It’s good used that way!

So many people have taken my hands and guided me along, answering questions, never putting me down when I haven’t known what I was talking about. I’ve been naive and childish many times.

Puerh people that I asked questions about what shu and sheng is, Darjeeling people that I had to ask what first flush and second flush meant have infinite patience.

I’ve just scratched the surface…but looking back, I’m amazed that at my older age, I’ve learned so much in a year.
What has happened to me was summed up by my Priest, Fr. Evan, after a visit when we were drinking tea. I had explained my tea journey after the devastation of illness and divorce.

“Bonnie, you’ve changed this past year. I can see that you’re much less afraid of people. You seem to have come alive and are interacting with people in a way that I didn’t see in you before. You are on the right path, so keep doing what you’re doing and write about tea.”

Being on Steepster this year with all of you has been what has brought me alive and I want to thank you.
All the followers, those who comment now and then, those who send the messages in the envelope up top, the swaps and gifts, the Vendors who email me asking how I’m doing.

I want to name names but I won’t. The list is long and all of you are so important to me.

Here are the pictures of my crazy weekend of binge tea drinking (so far)! http://flic.kr/p/dJ7cRu


Seems like you win the Steepster award for “most changed tea drinking habits in the least amount of time”!

Thomas Edward(Toad)

Congrats :) I been here one year now too as of Jan 3 I love steepster


Oh, I’m so glad I’m having insomnia tonight! I get to toot your horn!
I think about the first time we met on Steepster, you were watching the Superbowl that night :-) If Steepster and all its wonderful people have changed you for the best, know that you have change me for the best. Reading you is much more than reading about tea, it’s reading about life. I went through some difficult times in 2012, and your wisdom, but also, your wit and playfulness really helped to pull trough.
You will always have a special place in my heart, please continue to educate and entertain here on Steepster :-)


Happy One Year Bonnie!!! Steepster would not be the same without you!!


Happy Anniversary!


Thanks you night owls!!! You all mean so much to me!!!


Happy Anniversary! I feel so blessed to be able to read about your informative and uplifting experiences. Steepster wouldn’t be the same without you, nor would my steeping abilities! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. :)
This was one of the first five tins I bought from David’s Tea!


As always, I love reading your posts. Your joy and zest for life have lifted me up on many difficult days. I have been on Steepster for almost 3 years and it definitely would not be the same without you.


Yay anniversary! I’m happy for you :)


Congrats Bonnie, to me you are definitely one of the best parts of Steepster. Your tea evolution sounds amazing, I’m so happy for you!


Bonnie, congratulations on your 1 year of Steepster! So glad to have you around.


Congrats Bonnie! Looks like I joined Steepster about 3 weeks after you, so you’ve been integral to my time on here as well! I look forward to the many awesome tasting notes and stories to come!




Happy anniversary, Bonnie. :-)


TOOT IT !!!!!! we are all blessed to know you and we all look forward and enjoy your reviews. i have learned much from you and much of my knowledge would be decreased without your know how.best of all you are a friend to all of us and we treasure you!


Happy anniversary Bonnie! You are an amazing woman and an inspiration to me. Here’s to another year of great tea and new experiences.



Hesper June

Happy Anniversary, Bonnie! You are awesome:)


Happy Anniversary!! :D


happy anniversary Bonnie ! you’re really one one my favorite writers here on Steepster – so happy,as your are, to have found this fantastic community


Toot toot! Bonnie, has it really been only a year?! This place would not be Steepster without you. Congrats!! and cheers! bottoms up :)

Donna A

I’m much newer than you on Steepster, and your posts always get my attention-I enjoy reading them. I can identify with your comments concerning your changing taste buds!



Invader Zim

Happy anniversary Bonnie, this place wouldn’t be the same without you! I love your tasting notes and stories…don’t stop writing!

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Off to Boulder today to celebrate Scheys 19th birthday! I kept asking her to invite people,but she wanted to spend the day with me. What a sweet granddaughter! (Good thing she loves tea!) We have plans to stop at several tea houses.
OK…like many of you,I enjoy a strong cup of tea in the morning. I’m driving more than usual,so I made a pot of strong tea (steeped 7minutes) then added cream and splenda. Love the strong brew!Never makes me jittery either.

Off to a great day and photos.

Hesper June

Happy 19th Birthday, Schey!


That’s awesome Bonnie. How wonderful that she’d love to spend her birthday with you. I hope you have an amazing day!


That sounds like a lovely day! you have an amazing granddaughter, wish her a happy birthday for us! :)


Happy Birthday Schey! By now, I feel like I «know» her a little through your posts here on Steepster. What a fine young women you have as a grand daughter! And I totally support her decision…what?? a chance to spend the day with awesome Bonnie??? Yes, please!!!


How nice…! We drank tea and I’ll post some pictures. I made a fuss at the Dushanbe about how they made my Pu-erh (about 3 grams in a 20oz pot for 5 minutes makes a weak tea!)…I became BONNIE TEA NERD! Talked to the manager and asked them to also provide the option of a gaiwan (which the server had never heard of). I’m just too terrible!


lol 3grams in 20oz!? I hope they took your advice. :)


tea diva Bonnie! I think you schooled them, as was deserved! 3g in 20oz… oh dear

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Thank you JC for this Sample Pu-erh Silver Bud Sheng!

For once, I read the notes by Amy Oh and JC first, because I wanted to know how to best prepare this Sheng Pu-erh.
Amy steeped hers 30 seconds and JC 6 seconds so I did some of both to compare the two.

I used my white porcelain Gaiwan, 4gr. leaf to 4oz. water.

After 1 rinse, the first two steepings were quick…and my least favorite. The leaves seem to take a bit of time to bloom.

There is an aroma, very faint, that I have smelled before in finer Sheng…a savory scent that reminds me of roasting pecans or artichoke hearts.

The first steepings tasted light and sweet like a refreshing glass of mountain water on a hot day. I pictured a cool lake, granite rock with icy water running over moss.

Steeping three was longer…30 seconds. The tea was casaba melon, citrus and semi-sweet. No astringency…just smooth, delightful flavor.

As I keep steeping the leaves, I preferred the longer steep time. The flavor was intriguing. Savory Umami, citrus, exotic melon, sweetness and smooth mouthfeel.

I didn’t find the tea bitter which JC had mentioned.

I’m fond of Silver Buds…for some reason, this kind of tea reminds me of Lake Tahoe and the many times I would sit on the beach looking at the Lake surrounded by tall Ponderosa Pine trees. The scent of pine needles and the clean clear High Sierra pure mountain air is something you can taste (and never forget).

Found my picture…me on a bench looking at the Lake…
http://flic.kr/p/cNoyZJ http://flic.kr/p/c53H9Y


stunning view


This was lovely, wasn’t it?


Nice description. And nice picture! To me the ‘bitter’ were just faint hints, is that thing that lets you know you are not drinking a white tea or a green tea, is a slight bitter taste that only Sheng Puerh seems to wear.


What a nice view! And nice pairing to the tea!


Thanks for the comments, just got in from Boulder with my granddaughter. Drank tea at the Dushanbe and at Ku Cha tea houses. (Pu-erh). For those of you who remember him, I ran into Alex Alan (Chadao) who looks great!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Oh god, that’s lovely. Thx for sharing Bonnie.

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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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