675 Tasting Notes
Thank you Invader Zim for sharing some of this with me!
I have trouble tasting special tea’s alone. If at all possible, I prefer tasting with other people who appreciate tea as much as I do. I’ll usually taste the tea first, then take the rest for a comparison tasting with other people. It’s fun!
I took some of this sample to share with Joe, Eric, Sam and George while the tea shop was quiet. It had snowed and business slowed down for a few hours. This was perfect timing.
Eric set up a Gaiwan and some small tasting cups, washed the leaves and began pourings. We accomplished 6 steepings with great success.
What amazed me first was the scent of the wet leaves. The aroma almost knocked me off the high bar stool I was sitting on!
Man-o-man this was some strong but delicious scented tea!
Floral, a little savory, orchid, honey. It had little scent droplets with wings that fly way up into your sinus’s and explode like pop rocks! Honest!
I told the tea guys that if I pass out, put the wet leaves under my nose. I’ll revive!
The flavor of the tea was milder than the aroma. Hallelujah!
It had a sweet, juicy floral bouquet with a slight roasted finish. (You can see the light roasting on the edges of the leaves)
There’s orchid…and honeysuckle fading in and out…changing, elusive.
Every steeping was like scarves being pulled off a belly dancer one by one as she weaves and turns mystically around and around dancing to the music… with her eyes enticing you to follow her, hands and feet moving with grace.
An exotic floral taste, one that doesn’t give up after two or three steepings.
Everyone was impressed. Quality tea.
I have some more tea left to drink alone.
Really good tea is something I like to taste several times and savor.
Thank you Invador Zim!
I just wrote a story on my blog called Christmas Eve Call. It’s about a call I got from the Police Department one Christmas Eve.
My children were small and a waitress where I had breakfast had remembered my name when she was attacked in her home…
THERE IS MORE www.teaandincense.com
The last of my shopping is done! I found the ‘Mister Potato Head’ and the ‘Stuffed Puffy Gorilla’ for the two little bitty 2 year old grandsons. (Don’t worry, the potato head is for preschoolers!)
It’s interesting to have 2 year old boys with completely different needs. One (Hayden) is zooming ahead in his development and one (Owen) is slower.
Owen has Williams Syndrome. He likes soft and cuddly textures so the 3 foot tall gorilla will make him really happy!
Earlier today I took 8 year old Micah and 10 year old Donovan out for tea. We always have fun together! They met all my favorite servers at Happy Luckys, and ate scones. http://flic.kr/p/dDij7X
At one point, I held up my cup…and the boys held up theirs also.
I said, “Let’s make a toast. What would you like to toast Micah?”
“PIZZA!”,he said without any hesitation.
I couldn’t stop laughing! Of course he would like to toast pizza. He had no idea what a toast was! (I’m such a dorky Grandma)
We walked around town looking in all the store windows. The rock store, the dog cookie store, the Christmas decor store. Fun!
I dropped the boys off…came home and sortly began nodding off on the couch.
You know what I’m talking about. You turn on CNN and snooze!
It was pitiful!
I woke up amused at being an old lady napping on the couch, and decided to make a pot of tea.
There’s a plastic shoebox of Butiki Tea’s in my Cupboard. I pulled the box down, and remembered that I had some Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips in the freezer. What could I do with them?
Some tea companies mix mini chocolate chips into their tea blends so why couldn’t I mix in some of my own with Almond Indulgence Tea?
This idea sounded good to me and worth trying. It’s Christmas after all and Stacy wouldn’t mind!
I got the ingredients ready and popped some chocolate morsels into the basket with the tea to steep.
While waiting, I thought about what a wonderful person Stacy at Butiki Tea’s is. I can count on one hand the vendors that are really special, going beyond people I buy tea from, becoming people I care about.
Now and then, getting an email from Stacy asking how I’m feeling is something I never expected from the owner of a tea company. Stacy was one of the people long ago who welcomed me (and many of you) into the world of tea.
The tea was ready!
The taste was yummy (of course it was!) but not as chocolaty as I wanted so I plopped in some more chocolate chips, a little milk and stirred the whole thing together.
Yep, even Santa would be proud to drink this with his cookies on Christmas Eve! Creamy, almondy and chocolaty.
Oh boy! I’m awake now!
http://flic.kr/p/dDijjk OK…this is Preston, another server at Happy Luckys, single…24 and really nice! Merry Christmas I-Bloom and friends!
This was a nice little sample that came with the chocolate sampler last month. Thank you!
Many of us are looking out the windows at SNOW today. I’m loving it!
Snow arrived a few days ago in the Rocky’s and the next is coming Christmas Eve. It’s half way melted already leaving just enough to look pretty.
Granddaughter Schey came over last night and we went to the monthly Downtown Free ‘Food Walk’.
We were bundled up in boots and warm coats http://flic.kr/p/dD4h7t, walking first into the ‘Welsh Rabbit’ for Cheese Tasting (naturally smoked Wisconson Gouda and English Chedder). http://flic.kr/p/dD9EoU
When we left the cheese shop there was a man with a tray of hot cinnamon waffles from ‘The Waffle Lab’ on the street corner handing out free big waffle sections. http://flic.kr/p/dD9Eef YUM! Hot cinnamon waffles while walking down the street!
We wound up at the end of our ‘Food Walk’ at ‘Happy Lucky’s Tea House’ where Joe was giving samples of flavored, pressed grape oil paired with tea. (my favorite was Russian Caravan Tea paired with Habanaro Chili Oil).
Schey and I finally sat at the bar and ordered a pot of holiday tea and a cookie to share…(which Sam paid for before leaving for the day. His ’on-the-house gift to us).
Today, I’m picking up grandsons Micah and Donovan for a trip back to the tea shop for TEA WITH GRANDMA! A wonderful thing to do right before Christmas! The boys love going out for tea!
To get in the mood, I decided to drink this flavored tea. (I know, a shock!) I don’t dislike flavored tea’s, I’ve gotten more selective I guess.
I appreciate that Della Terra has samplers where you can try lots of different tea’s at a reasonable price. There were some of the chocolate sampler tea’s (like the Chocolate Puerh) that I was pretty fond of.
The Raspberry Truffle was full of flavor. Chocolate, raspberry…all very rich and strong. You know what the tea is all about. FLAVOR!
When you read the ingredients on the package, it says chocolate flavoring and raspberry flavoring. You can taste them.
Some of the other Della Terra tea’s use natural ingredients for flavor and I like that more.
To tame the sourness of the artificial flavoring, I added half and half which helped a great deal. Then I sweetened my tea.
I don’t think this will disappoint anyone who wants a dessert tea. The flavor is exactly what is in the name. You can’t taste any tea but you taste lots of flavoring.
This is the first of the Chocolate tea series that I can REALLY taste the chocolate…very strongly. The play of both flavors (chocolate and raspberry) works.
Not a thumbs down or a thumbs up cuppa tea.
Thank you mrmopar for this puerh sample tuo cha!
This morning, I popped this mini into my purple clay gaiwan, that’s only used for puerh. It was a new tuo cha and I enjoy drinking these when I’ve got a busy day ahead.
As always, I did a rinse, then because the tuo cha was pretty hard I did another quick rinse. I poked the lump of hard leaves a bit after pouring on more boiling water and waited a little more than 30 seconds. (I like to help the steeping along in the beginning)
The wet leaves smelled more like an old book store or library than most. Leather, a little musty and a bit of dirt. Good smells though.
When I sipped my first taste of the dark red brown brew, the liquor was dense like a paint stain, but light and smooth with some faint sweetness.
I expected a cedar flavor which wasn’t present in the tea. No woodsy or earthy flavor, just a mellow…even light American coffee smoothness. Unexpected but nice.
I filled my cup again and again, still holding the same flavor each time without change. A good little tuo cha…thanks mrmopar!
I went to Steepster to begin writing a review about this tea.
When I pulled up the review from the previous evening, something bad had happened.
My review had a comment from someone I didn’t know. He said I was a liar here on Steepster, and that I had an agenda which was to promote only certain tea companies.
It also said that I hide behind my glasses, that I don’t tell the truth about anything. It even misquoted my blog story about the Children’s Shelter Christmas, and said that I beat my children. He said he would like to press charges against me. (The kids were beaten by their parents, not by me!) There was much more!
I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
Several Steepster people saw what was happening, as the attack suddenly went live… and came to my defense, Bless them.
At first I was shocked. Then, I realized that the person had to have planned this for some time. They knew things about me.
A troll or someone with an agenda was out to slam me. But Why?
I chose not to engage with any anger.
So sad for them really. What sadness to carry that kind of poison inside towards others.
You who have known me for the past year have seen me go from Celestial Seasonings Tea, to Davids Tea’s and Kally, Butiki,
Steap Shoppe, Teavivre, Whispering Pines and Verdant to name some of the more common ones. (I’ve left out lots of puer from different sources).
Like you, I drink the tea I like. That’s it.
Some of you love Davids Tea or 52 tea’s or Harney & Son’s. You love what you love. I applaud you for that freedom to choose and I enjoy your reviews. Sometimes, I get to try those favorites of yours in a tea swap!
The comments of the troll disappeared off my reviews. POOF, GONE!
So, I removed my comments also. Why confuse people I thought.
I think this issue isn’t done with. It will probably return.
Other people are going to get slammed or insulted by these trolls now and then so here is what you need to know.
They are not who we are.
We are a kind community and one that is free.
We write our own reviews based on our own opinions and I for one am not for sale, and I can’t be intimidated. I am not afraid of drinking tea and writing honestly what I think. I choose the companies that I buy my tea from.
mrmopar, Indigobloom (who saw what happened) and JC who saw too,
and all the most kind people I’ve ever encountered…and I’m not going to run for the hills in fear.
(Stepping off my soapbox now..) Kumbaya! (Well I do have a sense of humor too!)
With 4 inches of ‘New Snow’, I hunkered down yesterday, enjoying TV, and drinking a mini tuo cha and some Lapsang. I didn’t write a review, I just watched the snow. http://youtu.be/25mLJSC1oUQ Ray Charles ‘Winter Wonderland’
Today, my Winter Wonderland was safer to venture out into. Roads and sidewalks had been cleared, the sun was out and shining. It was cold, but at 3:00 PM it was 40 degrees.
Off I went with a Christmas Card for my favorite tea professionals at Happy Lucky’s Tea House.
Burr! It was beautiful but cold in the shadows, with the wind blowing frigid air off the pockets of icy snow. I had forgotten to walk on the sunny side of the street to keep warm!
Eric, Sam, Andy and Diane were working at Happy Lucky’s today and Owner George had a chat with me too. I often bring a sample of some tea to share, and today was no exception.
Eric set up a Gaiwan and cups for everyone, we had several steepings of my tea and discussed the flavor and sometime later, I ordered tea.
I was having a hard time deciding what to drink. After a fragrant and floral tasting, what would I drink? It should be something completely different!
At the end of the tea bar, was a large pot of hot Chai in a dispenser that keeps it hot and has an automatic blending arm that goes around and around, keeping the milk moving. A small sign invites customers to try a sample of Chai, or you can pick a mug and have a full cup.
Most of the Chai’s have ingredients that I’m allergic to. Rooibos is the one that’s the worse for me.
I wasn’t aware that there was a Black Chai on the tea menu that was Rooibos free!
Today, for some reason, I asked Eric if there was a Chai without ingredients that I’m allergic to. He said yes, India 500 Mile Chai!
Great news! I love Chai in the Winter!
Then he asked how I wanted my Chai prepared?
“Indian Style, traditional with whole milk, and honey,” I said.
He went to the espresso machine and ‘steam scalded’ my milk without frothing it, steeped the black Chai (which had no black pepper in it) then added a moderate amount of local honey.
Eric said, “Real Indian Chai should be made with scalded milk so always ask for it to be made this way.”
I took a sip and noticed how mellow the Chai was. Not too spicy and not bland either. Just a nice medium Chai, round and balanced.
Some of my own stock of Chai’s at home knock your socks off with cinnamon, cardamon, clove or chocolate and orange. I like the spicy Chai’s…but sometimes, I want a Chai like this one. I want to taste the milk and honey without having the spices nip at my my tongue.
I’ll have this again and again when I stop at my favorite tea house.
The rest of the Chai was poured into a large cup to go (I had already had a chocolate matcha latte…it’s a long story, but caffeine helps migraines for people like me who are temperature sensitive) and off I went.
I set my tea-to-go cup on the roof of my car, went to the end of the block with my camera, and took a few pictures of Old Town at night. http://flic.kr/p/dCU6ry
What a great way to spend time on a cold evening!
PS…you will see notes below from someone who does not know me
and began ranting…a troll that I’m going to ignore. He posted the
same information on another review of mine. Poor guy. I just feel sorry for him. OK he removed his comments so I’ll remove mine.
http://youtu.be/_NLCbqP6HjE Oh Yes,, Let it snow!!!!
I’m so excited, like a little kid! It’s finally snowing! Big huge flakes of snow (not snowkles!). 3-6 inches tonight (which will melt by Thursday or Friday) and then…the Weather Lady said the next snow is expected CHRISTMAS EVE! It’s my childhood Christmas dream!
You have to understand. Growing up in Northern California and watching all the programs about Santa and Christmas with snow.
I probably asked (begged) God a time or two for a miracle. Oh He heard me alright, but waited for me to need snow. Waited for me to be a child in an old woman’s body. Now, I appreciate the wonder of it all even more because I’ve waited so long!
I plugged in my Christmas Tree and opened the curtains so that everyone driving home in the snow could see my lights as they come down Elizabeth Street.
Then I plugged in the little tree on my tea table (it has an antique mirror behind it) and opened the side curtains in the dining room for people driving into Saddle Ridge to see.
Festivity, lights, sparkle and delight! Snow!
Next, I made a big pot of Ginger Sage Winter Sage Spa Blend Tea with 1 tsp. Laoshan Black added, and a few chunks of 04 Yanxin Reserve Shu Nuggets.(I find that this is a perfect combo…somewhat like the Imperial Summer Breakfast Blend but more savory, spicy).
The Laoshan Black, Puer and Herbal Blend together is so rich, full and robust. (You can add Honey or Milk without weakening the tea.)
Your mood will be elevated, it will make you feel warm all over and relaxed. It’s so delicious…one of my favorites for Winter!
If you’ve looked at the ingredients and thought…“Well, not now,” or if you drank some without adding Honey or Black Tea to it or a little Puer nugget…give it a try. (Plain isn’t nearly as tasty in my opinion, as it is with Honey!)
Backlog Sunday 12-16-2012
Yesterday, there was a scheduled celebration at St. Spyridon’s in Loveland for the feast day of our parish. Metropolitan Isaiah (Bishop of Denver which also covers 12 States) was coming…
Sandyhill…and the killings!
I woke up early. Granddaughter Schey wanted to go to church with me and spent the night on the couch.
I quietly went to the kitchen and made a large pot of Laoshan Black Tea. This was serious tea for a serious time. The Best! A tea that’s good for contemplation and caffeine (both needed today)!
With a large pot and 2 glass mugs on my tray I set the tray on the coffee table bench and whispered Schey… to wake her up.
The tea was a perfect start to our day. (The only thing we would have for the next 6 hours)
Cocoa chocolate, potato….the best rich full bodied tea ever.
We were focused and this tea is focused too. I’ve loved Laoshan Black for so long that it was comforting to drink before going forward with my day.
When we walked into St. Spyridons, the first thing I saw was an Icon of Jesus with many children, a candle and note…
‘In Memory of those Killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School’.
It is comforting to smell incense, to have candles and flowers, hushed tones and chanting at such times.
It struck me that here in Colorado, the Bishop has had to comfort people since the Columbine massacre, and the Aurora shootings and now…to speak about Sandy Hook. His sermon was not just a bunch or empty words.
At the end of the Liturgy, there was a ‘Service for the Departed’ for those at Sandy Hook. This is the beginning of a ‘40 Day Memorial’ in our tradition. A vigil of remembrance.
All over the United States, others were remembering and thinking about what happened in many different ways. This is what my community does and has done.
Watching the President name the names of the Children and Educators made us as a Nation weep. Blessed are those who mourn…
I had a conversation with my 11 year old grandson about what happened…he’s the one who was directing the conversation.
We talked about how to be sure you’re safe and not be afraid.
I told him (without going into detail) about being jumped by a stranger and having that stranger try to kill me. I was afraid!
I stayed afraid until I began to believe that I have so many
days given to me.
Nobody can take them from me or add to them except me!(By that I mean that if I smoke or do things harmful to my body, I can shorten my life).
He seemed to be thinking it all over and thinking about how many good people there were at the Sandy Hook school…helpers…too. The helpers are hero’s!
I’ve rambled…but I had things I wanted to say. I wanted to share what the experience in my corner of Colorado has been.
http://flic.kr/p/dBLy6z (service for the departed)
Friday: After the horrible news hit CNN, I had places to go like most people. First the Post Office and then other errands around town before stopping off to watch my grandson Ian in his school play. He had landed the starring roll in ‘A Christmas Carol’. Ian was Scrooge!
At Happy Lucky’s I ordered something ‘children would like’, a tea that a mom or dad or grandma would share with a 6 or 7 year old.
(I was thinking about the little ones killed in the Connecticut shooting, and contemplating that event.)
Peppermint Pat-Tea was my tea choice. It has mint and cocoa hulls with chamomile which makes a tea that is very yummy. However, tea server JOE told me that when you add another half measure of cocoa hulls and let the tea steep longer (7-9 minutes) it’s ‘super’ chocolaty.
I had server JOE fix me a pot of his ‘special blend’ and then I had some blended to take home for sharing with my grandchildren over the Holidays.
I like to sweeten and add a little milk to this cocoa minty tea. It’s almost like cool-mint hot chocolate! Creamy, warming without the need for artificial flavors to give a ‘Welcome to Winter’ taste that I look for when my mood needs a pick-up.
It’s hard to believe that this is an herbal blend! The cocoa hulls have a little kick…but otherwise you are warm and relaxed by the chamomile.
I left the shop with my tea for home, just as the sun set and the thousands of white lights in the trees downtown turned on. It was COLD! A few more stops and I was still too early for the play.
I stopped again, this time at ‘cough…’ Starbucks…and locked my keys in the car for the first time in my life.
(Shortening the story) Daughter picked me up, saw play (Ian was great), called Insurance which sent towing to open my door…no charge, went home.
When I FINALLY got home, I didn’t want to be on my computer. I watched the news and drank more tea. I prayed and went to bed.
At my age, I’ve had news of many tragedies. A President, his brother and Dr. King killed by gunmen, Wars and more Wars from Korea and Vietnam on. Killings from Jim Jones, the Manson Murders to Columbine and Aurora now this latest horror. I thought of all those we don’t hear about. Children in Syria being killed…the children who are starving in many parts of the world, the missing children here in the U.S.
I’ve thought about this. Sadness, depression and Sadness again.
Long ago, I decided that the evil in the World is not going to steal my joy!
If you’ve ever had a pet dog, you know how they’re in the moment. They hug, jump…wanting attention and love. They give so much affection. In a way, (without the licking and jumping…ha) we need to be like that. In the ‘now’…hugging, oblivious to everything else but the joy of life and love.
Modeling this kind of love can change the people around us.
I’m here again with my dear friends.
I love you guys!
It’s difficult to come behind Paul and his Pulitzer Prize winning review… such a lovely write-up of this fine tea, but I’ll do a little follow-up.
Paul was so right…the leaves are beautiful.
Sometimes, I look at the leaves and marvel. Long and twisted, blackish/brown with a light smoky scent. I mean it, light smoke.
I love Lapsang. I’ve sent out so much China Lapsang Souchong from my local tea shop (Happy Lucky’s) that many of you have tasted it and know what I’m talking about. It’s been all over the United States, Canada and the U.K. (I even sent some to..gulp…David Duckler!)
I have some nerve don’t I!
My favorite Lapsang has been my favorite because it’s smoky and sweet. I use Lapsang Souchong mainly to COOK with! (David Duckler used what I sent him for a fish rub which is something that I do ground together with Urfa Chili, Peppercorns and Sea Salt)
Master Bi’s Lapsang is NOT for cooking (unless I win the lottery and go to China and buy up all of Master Bi’s stock)! This tea is for DRINKING!
When I was drinking the tea, the flavor wasn’t harsh or flat, but smooth…velvety smooth with a gentle sweetness that’s in a different league than any Lapsang I’ve had… ever.
The Smokiness is like the aftertaste of great bacon or bbq…not the firepit smoke in your face. No smoke knocks you down!
Here’s the part that got my ‘eyes wide open’…I could still taste the ‘tea’ under the smoke. Yes, a raisin, floral, bakery goodness that was present, wafting around in the aroma and taste.
Such complexity is not there in Lapsangs most of the time (IF EVER)!
Oh David Duckler, if you can get this as an item for regular ordering…it’s the BEST LAPSANG I’ve ever tasted!
(As an experiment for those who love Lapsang’s, I added some milk and the flavor wasn’t diminished at all. Still spectacular!)
Further steepings are amazing!!! The roasty oolong flavor with a slight smokiness is the best of the best taste! This is not like anything you can imagine when you think of a Lapsang. Please, don’t just stop at the first steep!
I just wrote a story on my blog if anyone is interested: www.teaandincense.com
Here’s an excerpt:
Our first Christmas…living in the forest community of Paradise…we went on an adventure to cut down a tree together. We bundled up nice and warm and piled into my car.
Christmas carols were blasting from my tape deck and I had a big thermos of hot cider to share. The tree farm was decked out with lights and decorations… welcoming the 6 of us to cut down any tree for $10. (they had Christmas music playing too and a fire pit for warming hands and eating free cookies)
We took our time… going from tree to tree. Which one would it be? Too tall? Too short, too bare or too fat?! Our tree had to be perfect! We all had to agree! For these girls, Christmas wasn’t always a happy time. Someone was often drunk or high or missing at home (if there was a home at all). Some were beaten at holidays.
Finally, the nod was given and we drank some cider to seal the deal. The tree was tied to the top of the car and off we went to decorate our tree!
When we got home, someone had come by with a note that they wanted to give us a tree. I had to make a quick call of thanks and head them off. How nice of them though!
The next day, when I returned from work…the girls were all excited!
“Mom, look what’s in the kitchen…come and see…!”
12-12-12 Whoopie! My youngest turned 40 today! Good Grief!
None of you have gotten to that place in your own lives, (you’re still young) but let me tell you…it’s odd, sitting in a French Restaurant, having a Birthday lunch of Crepes Breton with a woman you gave birth to long ago who’s 40 years old! Yikes! Kinda Strange!
So, I’m supposed to say all kinds of wonderful things about that, and about her. (I do that all the time, say wonderful things I mean here on Steepster!) It’s true.! 8 kids, she’s written 2 books that have been published, bakes bread…blah blah blah. Good stuff!
What I want to say is, that when I write about my great and caring daughter (and my son Aaron too), I’m the one who’s been on the receiving end of a miracle. They aren’t great people because of me.
I wasn’t always the best mother.
Sure I fed, clothed, housed my children and loved them…but I had a lack of self esteem and depression. I was a single mom and dated some guys that I should have stayed clear of. I was an emotionally needy, confused young mom. Not the person you think of here on Steepster.
I never did drugs, alcohol or beat my children, but sometimes they parented me, sad to say.
Do they blame me now? No.
My daughter has always said, “Mom…your mother had low self esteem so you caught it from her.”
Always, compassion. Always, an open heart. Annalisa- 12-12-12.
I received this tea packet from David Duckler around my Birthday last May and saved it for a special occasion. He said this is the favorite tea of Wei Wei!
I prepared the tea in my Gaiwan.
Rinsed the emerald green Tie Guan Yin leaves quickly two times.
The perfume from the wet leaves was one of those rare experiences.
Powdery, sweet, very floral…carnation and orchid with honeysuckle
but not funeral flowers…not nauseating floral overload.
This was the best floral scent in the World! Love and life smells like this! It was breathtaking! If you were walking on the outskirts of heaven barefoot, the scent that would rise up would be this scent…I’m certain.
I took a sip of tea and the aroma was so wrapped up in the flavor that they were the same. Floral, incense, sweet and smooth with a little buttery mouth-feel.
No astringency, no dryness. No acidity or vegital flavor.
Pure ‘Garden of the Gods’!
Incredible Tea! Hot, warm, cold…the same. Gorgeous.
Oh Mr. Duckler…if you could get more of this tea for Verdant?!
Thank you David for this tea which has made this 40th Birthday celebration of my daughter Annalisa even more memorable.
Here’s a picture I took on the way home today of some Snow Geese on the frozen part of a small lake in Central Park. THOUSANDS come through here every year!!!