674 Tasting Notes

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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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample tea!

The Snow Queen has stretched her Wintry White Robe across most of North America.

Most of us Steepsterites hunker down with copious amounts of tea, hoping to melt the chill from her icy fingers. Burr!

I’ve been drinking Chai, Black Tea and Puerh by the buckets-full! My own additions of cinnamon or ginger to the Puerh warm me head to toe in no time.

Now and then, a reminder of Spring gladdens my heart, and it’s tea that’s able to take me to that golden, glowing place in no time.

While I prefer dark, roasty Oolongs that are cinder-fired and tightly rolled…I love those rare, buttery, floral/savory Oolongs that remind me of the awakening Earth in Spring.

Li Shan is such an Oolong.

Buttery and thickening as it cools, sweet, slightly floral and savory.

I’m not very fond of light Oolongs, but this is perfectly delicious. Not too light and or strong but just right with an aroma sweet enough to make you hunger for vanilla cake.

Winter may be upon us now, but we can remember warm, golden-hued Spring now, thanks to such a tea as this one.

Beethoven’s 6th Symphony http://youtu.be/34dU9RSWf28


Tea and music that bring spring to mind…lovely review and lovely symphony…
But spring never seemed so far away, I just took the dog out and I almost lost my house! It disappeared in the snow storm and I was only a few feet away, lol!
Remember that picture I posted a few weeks ago? Just imagine now!!! We are 100% sure to have a white x-mas :-)

Terri HarpLady

Thanks for the music, Bonnie! It’s been awhile since I listened to this one!


We only had about 4 inches last week but the temperature has been freezing cold! It looks like daytime will get warmer the rest of the week as high as 41F. Sunny and dry mountain weather! I wouldn’t mind an inch or two of snow on Christmas day because my son Aaron is coming out from California. I’m pretty sure you get worse snows than I do. Drink lot’s of tea!!!


I cannot agree with you more that drinking lot’s of tea is in heaven when cold season comes. This will definitely warm our heart this cold season.


From your description of the oolongs you like, I suggest Tender Branch from Five Mountain Tea. Its darker but very artisan, nice almost roasted coconut flavor.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by A C Perch's
674 tasting notes

Thank you Angrboda for this sample tea!

The Arctic wind swept down through the Rocky Mountains yesterday afternoon…whoosh!
I stepped out of my Tea Shop, driving 3 miles home…just as the first snowkles began to fall. Perfect timing!
On went the Christmas lights and a movie! http://flic.kr/p/dEPKHb

I was waiting for a proper snow day to kick back and drink tea while watching the Wintry Wonderland through my large picture window.

This morning, I woke up early…wrapped myself in a fuzzy pink robe and poked my head through the curtains to view the pristine white blanket of snow over everything. Top to bottom white!

I don’t need to leave home for days. With temperatures predicted to be in the teens and and minus zero, I’ll stay home!

Comfort and Joy!

Lapsang Souchong fits the scene…Christmas lights on the tree, wreath over the fireplace, teapots out on display. http://flic.kr/p/dETRv6

I’m a Lapsang Souchong when-the-mood-is-right sort of person. I cook with LS often but drink it on rarely.

I have to say that this TEA is semi-mild and entirely smooth.
Very smooth actually!
It’s not boring or flat. Sometimes I think lapsang souchongs are toned down and become boring as though someone sprinkled a little smoke on an average black tea. That isn’t the case here.

Rich, smooth with a hint of citrus…no sooty aftertaste or bitterness a very good drinkable tea.

Had a mug with cream and sugar…loved the flavor…um. Sweet with a smoky hint of saltiness.

The Arctic Blast is rolling across North America, heading East…and if you can grab some Lapsang Souchong…take a break and look out the window at the splendor of Winter, keeping warm with a friendly cup of smoky tea!


Love the tea mood you have set for yourself… Hope the white canvas stays so you can have a white christmas too :-)


snow and negative temps in Wyoming too, and i couldn’t stay home and cozy up with my tea. had to go to class and to the grocery store. wearing about 20 pounds of clothing and waddling around like a penguin. Thank goodness for my studded snow tires!


I think it was even colder in Wyoming! Fort Collins is a little protected by the mountains but Wyoming gets socked!


I just saw this now, sorry. I’m glad you liked this. It may not be the bestest best quality at all, but it’s my favourite LS in the world, because it has that perfect balance between smoke and body that I prefer.


Sounds like you’ve been busy.


Sickness, Christmas hols, sickness and moving. Yup. I haven’t even bothered with checking the dashboard for ages now. (The problem is, the longer I wait, the bigger a task it will seem to be, even though I know there’s no way I’m going to get through the whole thing anyway)

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Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!

Almost every evening, the sky at the end of my street where the plains meet the bottom of the Rocky Mountains turns radiant! I wander outside regularly with my camera to capture the Cathedral-like stained-glass window array of colors.

Cold winds tumble and dip down to 5000 ft. creating odd shaped clouds that can hover all day in one spot. They catch the setting sun appearing to be an alien spaceship or flat pancakes.

Of all the places I’ve been (Alaska, Greece, Italy, California, Peru and so on) these sky-scapes are the best!

The Tea:
I drank a little tea…this one in particular…and enjoyed the menthol coolness of the leaves when I put my nose close to the gaiwan after a 2 minute steep.
I tasted sweet corn.
Then cool airy menthol with the corn which was refreshing.

The fragrance was floral and corn which I didn’t taste up front, but on my palate as an aftertaste with slight bitterness (not unpleasant), reminding me of lilies.

The term moderately-roasted shouldn’t scare off those who don’t like roasty tea’s. There’s nothing ‘roasty’ tasting about this tea!

What the roast does is bring this Oolong out of the ‘very floral’ tasting Oolong variety but stopping before becoming roasty. (My opinion)

I wouldn’t steep this a long time. 2 minutes after a rinse was very good to my taste.

The reason I wrote about the sky in my neighborhood and this tea is this: When I drink tea, it always makes me a better person in some way if I let it do so.
Before I began drinking tea, I never carried a camera or went out of my way to notice how beautiful nature was unless on vacation.
Tea put my life in the present moment where I have the opportunity to notice what’s around me. Now I notice the sky and so much more!

Thanksgiving…is for many things.
http://flic.kr/p/dkfA1k http://flic.kr/p/hSECJk http://flic.kr/p/hSDJp2


Wow, the sky in these photos is beautiful and colorful. Your hometown is beautiful.


Thanks Angel. I didn’t grow up here, but am glad that I found a place that I love.


I would definitely like to visit someday!


I hope you do! If you’re ever planning ahead, let me know because certain season’s have special events that might appeal to your interests. It’s easy to get around. Not spread out like California.

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Thank you Brenden for this sample tea!

I prepared this tea as Brenden recommended using 1 TB in a Gaiwan. The steep time was what I’d call immediate. Glad I had a nice little strainer to catch the pine needles that tried to escape.

There wasn’t a mention of what the green tea was, but when I tasted the tea, my mouth told my brain that the pine and tea was similar to the taste of a very good jasmine silver needle.

I’ve tasted some rather dull silver needles that have a dusky, murky flavor and that isn’t what this was.

You can almost sense a light effervescence.

There’s always something mesmerizing about this type of tea that takes me back to my childhood camping trips.

We camped less than two hours from home along the California Coast at Big Sur State Park http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/images2/McWayFalls1.jpg . There were streams to swim and fish with huge boulders and deep pools of clear water which smelled fresh. This water, pine and rock scent is what I associate with tea like Sleeping Bear Blend.
The Ponderosa Pine, Redwood trees, Cypress and Oak created an earthy perfume that I associate with Puerh. Campfires at night, bacon and eggs over the woodfire in the morning…that’s my Lapsang Souchong tea frame of reference.

So much about drinking tea is also about memories and about how the tea makes you feel as a whole person.

I shared some of this tea in a tasting with my friend Eric the scientist (who likes to take tea into the mountains to drink when the weather is nice).
He loved it.
Thought the use of pine needles was brilliant.
This approval came from a plant nerd and is high praise indeed. (Eric likes to nibble plants that only he can identify while walking through the forest)

Lovely tea Brenden!


These Whispering Pine Teas always sound so good! I really need to try them one of these days!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

We’re here and waiting for you! :) Thanks for the lovely review, Bonnie! So glad you’re enjoying them all! :D

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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this Sample Tea!

I have simpathy for those of you getting ready for Thanksgiving with the latest Winter storm ready to hit. Freezing rain and/or snow!
The West (and Mountains where I am) has had the storm pass by already. Finally we’re coming out of sub-zero temperatures.

What we all have in common, even those who are in the cold Canadian Winter and those of you in Europe…is the comforting glow of a cup of tea which warms us from head to toe.

This Thanksgiving I’ll be with my daughter, son-in-law and 10 children. (One 2 year old is a short stay foster toddler. Another has been with them almost from birth (about a year). The third is three and awaiting adoption into their forever family of 3 bio and 4 adopted children). Grandma Bonnie will be busy in the noisy mix on the farm this Thursday.
Granddaugher Kiah (16) will be butchering the turkey and several chickens. She’s done this before.(sorry vegans, but this is the way this family feeds their brood by raising their own food!)

I’ve been reading my family history. We go back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony…all the way back to those early Pilgrims. My daughter Annalisa laughs…“The African American part of me came over on a slave ship and cooked turkey for others. The British part arrived on a ship as a Pilgrim and my husband (who is part Native American) shared turkey with my Pilgrim ancestors. So there you go,Thanksgiving!”

Whatever our background and story, we can be thankful for many things. I am thankful for my Steepster friends for sure! I’m thankful for so many blessings…too many to count!

This morning, I made a spaghetti squash crusted deep dish pizza with feta and spinich. While it was baking, I made some Taiwanese Osmanthus Oolong Tea.

The instructions say ‘steep 3-8 minutes’. That’s quite a long time! I chose 6 minutes, poured the whole packet of leaves into my larger gaiwan…then added boiling water.

The aroma that wafted up was lovely floral, slightly vegetal…but tasted too strong. 6 minutes was almost bitter, sweet but too much.

The second steep, at 45 seconds, was perfect. Light, sweet with the aroma of sugar cookies. Osmanthus can smell a bit like vanilla.
The Oolong isn’t very vegetal and reminded me of taking a nibble off a skinny stalk of young, fresh uncooked asparagus. (I detected a hint of butter)

Many steepsters love a sweet tea and wouldn’t dream of not adding sugar or sweetener. Adding a little here (just a little) works well.

My favorite time to drink a tea like this one would be when the first bulbs in Spring are coming up, and the ethereal glow of warm sunshine begins to melt the frost. Hope in a cup!

Blessings to everyone this Thanksgiving and to those who are not in this land, Blessings always!


Sounds like quite a gathering!


There’s always room for more Jason! Like thousends of others, my daughter asked me if I knew of anyone who didn’t have a place to go. We always have invited people to share. It’s a family tradition. My son usually goes to feed the homeless in San Francisco and my brother and his wife do the same. When I say that I am blessed, I mean it! There’s always something to share.


Bonnie you are a blessing by yourself to many of us!


Takes one to know one my dear Mrmopar!!! No Scrooges here on Steepster!


I agree our big boss always tells us to “love one another as I love you”.



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Thanks to Angrboda for this sample tea!

This is the first tea from Tanzania that I’ve ever tasted! The guys and I at the tea shop have been sampling tea’s off and on from Kenya and now Uganda as these tea’s become more available and are increasingly better tasting!
Anyway, this Tanzanian tea was interesting because it isn’t a CTC. (You would typically see a CTC exported to the U.S. as a first offering.)
The tea isn’t very good though. The taste is similar to a low grade CTC. I hope that with time the tea will improve as farmers fine-tune their growing methods.
Wonderful things have been happening with these small tea farms and the benefit to the farmers and tea drinkers like us is mutual.

We can be responsible tea drinkers by drinking tea from poorer area’s of the World.

(End of sermon… kumbaya)


Well it appears I’m all alone here.


Oh, are you feeling invisible too? I’ve had a few notes that did that. Well, I believe you saw the desperate plea for attention a few days ago. :p You’re probably right that a lot about this could be improved just with experience on the farmer’s part. Perhaps in a few years I’ll try again, but… Not too impressed here either. I think I got rid of the last of it in the EU travelling teabox. More of a curiosity than something awesome to share, though. Other than that we generally had it in the morning when we weren’t awake enough for any of the really good stuff anyway, and then it was about two thirds this plus one third something else. Some low grown Ceylon seems to be able to temper most things. I may actually have to go out and buy me some more low grown Ceylon merely for the sake of getting rid of the meh blacks on the Consider This First shelf. Anyway, I’m glad you found it interesting at least. :)


Angrboda,I wasn’t in the least disappointed! I’m so interest in the development of tea in these countries I mentioned. Can’t wait to see what the future will bring!

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Thanks to Angrboda for this sample!

Up until now, the Golden Monkey tea’s that I’ve tried have been disappointing. Somewhat average tea’s that are malty but lacking the cocoa taste that I can easily get with other Fujian Black tea’s.

Although Angrboda commented that the aroma wasn’t very fragrant, my less than petite nose perked up right away. I noticed more than cocoa coming from the dry leaves. There was a sweet brown sugar candy scent that smelled delightful (like walking into an old fashioned candy store).

Prior tastings of ‘other’ Golden Monkey tea’s left me with the rather odd aftertaste of super dark baking molasses.

This Jenier Fujian tea was mild light brown sugar, cocoa and caramel. Smooth, gentle and with enough body for adding milk.

I can see why this tea is a favorite of Angrboda on a cold day in Denmark!

Terri HarpLady

mmmm, that sounds tasty!


It is quite lovely, I’m glad you liked it. Husband has quite fallen for it as well, which is always a pleasant surprise. I can never predict what teas he likes and what he doesn’t. Take cocoa-notes for example. He’ll LOVE it in one tea and find it super astringent in another, where I will think the two teas in question are highly similar and almost interchangable. Some Ceylons he even says reminds him mostly of tomato soup. I’ve stopped trying. He’ll just have to live with being the guinea pig, then. Generally though, whenever a tea develops a nick name, it means he loves it. This one is Molten Gunkey, which admittedly doesn’t sound very flattering. :p

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Thank you Brenden for this tea sample!

Lovely aroma that takes me to the childhood that few people have these days. Bobbing for apples, bales of hay for hayrides. Who does this anymore? Some people do…and I did.

One time when my daughter was a teen we had a party and put cooked oatmeal in the large steel tub with the apples, then food coloring. The girls with long hair had a terrible time getting the oatmeal out!

I baked apple pies and other desserts for the Johnny Appleseed Contest in our town of Paradise, California. I do love apples and cinnamon!

For an Oolong?!? This surprised me! What on earth?!?

My appreciation for creativity without using chemical flavors (cheating) gives Brenden a thumbs up!

As for taste…I thought the flavor was spot on but light. It wasn’t the fault of the cinnamon or apple though, the base tea wasn’t quite the right oolong. It should have been a more buttery/floral oolong which would have tasted like a sun-ripened apple (like a yellow delicious). Mountain apples (not store bought) are quite sweet. I picked the apples I used to win the apple pie contests so I’m just sayin… I think it could have been a sweeter oolong.

That said, I love the idea.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Thanks for the review, Bonnie! :D

“It wasn’t the fault of the cinnamon or apple though, the base tea wasn’t quite the right oolong” …I think it would be nice if it was a tad sweeter, but note that all apple notes in this tea are actually coming from the oolong, so with a different base oolong it would lose the appleness :)

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Another of this months Blend Club selections!

So far, this month has been spectacular! The Chai is my favorite ever by anyone and the herbal was excellent!

This Genmaicha I had some trouble with. Don’t know if it’s my own tastebuds or the blend.

The aroma is spot on wonderful! Rice, Oolong, Cinnamon! Smells great!

When I brewed the tea, all I could taste was Oolong. No spice or rice.
I do enjoy the Oolong, but I couldn’t taste the blend not even the carob (go figure that). The tea tasted like a light roast Oolong, the carob blending into the roasted characteristic along with the slight spiced cinnamon (which can also meld into the Oolong, Rice too…just poof gone).


The adventure is ahead next month! Love the creativity of blends!

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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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