676 Tasting Notes

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this lovely tea sample!

I appreciate Teavivre’s generous samples! Don’t know what got into me the last few days, but I’ve been screwing up pots of tea and over-brewing the past few days.

You think I’d know better after all the tea I’ve had but Nooooo, even an experienced tea drinker can get arrogant!

Too much water to tea leaf ratio or an overdone steeping causes astringent tea that makes a person retch!
I owe those who harvest and process this tea an apology because I should have followed directions and remembered to take care.

So, I began again…humbled by my own tea rudeness, with 16 oz fresh filtered water boiled at 185 degrees…and steeped the leaves for 2 minutes. For the packet of tea provided, this was perfect.

The liquor was dark golden brown with the scent of brown sugar and clover honey.

My first sip was not too sweet and tasted like whole grain wheat bread warm from the oven.
I added cream (not milk) and the rich breadiness became croissant pastry. Flaky, sweet, buttery layers and a light honied aftertaste.

Having enough tea to brew again was important in my discovery of what this tea had to offer since I blew it with my earlier lack of effort and care. I’m so glad that I had a second chance at redemption!

The moral of the story for me is to pay attention and not take for granted what I think I know about tea. Never get lazy about brewing tea either, because I’ll be sorry if I do!

This is a tea worth tasting!


Sounds wonderfully wholesome to me. :)


Wholesome and comforting like you’d want from a good morning or afternoon pick-me-up tea. An antidepressant in a cup of delicious TEA.


Sounds wonderful! I’m looking forward to trying this when my sample from Angel arrives!


Thanks for your valuable experience. And reminding me if we want to appreciate the real taste of tea, we’d better to put in some time and effort. Time, mood, water, tea sets, brewing, tasting and enjoying the whole process.


Tea has a way of teaching you lessons when you least expect it! :)

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Thank you Teavivre for this sample tea!

My first tasting was gongfu style with Eric and Sam at Happy Lucky’s Tea Shop on the eve of the USA Pro Am #6 Cycling race.
It was quiet because the streets downtown were about to be closed off in preparation for the next day’s huge racing event!
Sam was loading a big cooler with ice for the tea booth (to be located in front of Happy Lucky’s) when my granddaughter Schey arrived to join the tea tasting.

We tasted three other tea’s, finishing with the Keemun.

There was an audible ahhhh with this final tasting.

I showed restraint, appreciative of the sweet aroma before I slurped once, twice then three times from my small cup (splaying the tea throughout my mouth, catching air). We only taste tea the ‘loud’ way among ourselves when the shop is quiet, not to startle anyone. I mention how this is done because it’s worth trying out (quite a bit like tasting wine).

We all liked this tea, and I couldn’t wait to have a whole pot of tea to myself the next morning!

The next day, Saturday morning which was race day, I made a pot of Superfine Keemun…Western Style…with a slightly longer steep than most people would do.

This is the best Black Tea I’ve tasted from Teavivre! Fragrant, with sweetness, slight black pepper and barley, cocoa with almost no smoke.

I added cream and sugar which enhanced the sweet cocoa flavor and
revealed the richness of this fine Black Tea.

This is the Keemun I want in my cupboard! It’s not dry or harsh but has depth and complexity.

After my pot of tea, I was ready for the Cycling Race! I drove close to Old Town and walked to the Finish Line area around the corner from the tea house.
A big TV screen showed the race (ABC I think), and I watched the racers fly behind my house from Horsetooth Reservoir, then down Mulberry the next street over, through town and past me sooo fast! Here are some photo’s!!!
http://flic.kr/p/fBkw9A http://flic.kr/p/fBkvyL

The day was FUN! Vendors gave away samples of Ice Cream, Yoghurt, Jelly Belly’s, Dried Fruit, Cow Bells, Beef Jerky, Water Bottles, Chips, Cliff Bars, Healthy Snacks…all kinds of things. No sales, just free STUFF!

Next week, Tour de Fat! http://youtu.be/DjJlWZgWuUU

It hurts my body to get out like this and park far away and walk and stand even with my cane. Real pain.
But if I stop and stay in my house 24/7 I’ll lose my joy!
Nobody is going to come to me, I have to go grab what I can and do what I can!

The day ended as I began the evening before, with a stop for tea with my friends at the tea house. They gave me free iced tea and scones. Much needed relief and the joy of friendship!


That is how I make my Suoerfine Keemun, too!

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It has been a very long time since I reviewed this Lapsang Souchong from Happy Lucky’s Teahouse here in Fort Collins. It happens to be a tea that I’ve sent to England, Canada and all over the United States when sending out samples of tea over the past two years. I even sent some to David Duckler at Verdant to use as a rub! (I have my nerve!)

Not too long ago, the Manager at the tea shop, Andy, had some ‘other’ Lapsang Souchong tea’s that he was sampling.
Andy said that he had some tea’s for me to try…so several Lapsang Souchongs were lined up for tasting. Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh.

None were as good as the original China Lapsang Souchong!
Why? Smoke without bitterness, depth of flavor and a little sweetness.

All agreed that there’s no point changing a favorite tea of so many people! This is one good Lapsang Souchong!

Personally, I’m never without a few ounces of this tea.
I grind it into a powder with freeze dried garlic and onion and sprinkle it on vegetables when steaming them (broccoli and cauliflower). I make meat rubs, and can’t wait until my daughter’s goats produce milk for cheese so that I can dust them with tea.

For those who received this tea from me and loved it, you can now buy it directly online. There’s another Lapsang blend with toasted jasmine and orange that’s called Lion and Lamb (less intense).

Terri HarpLady

You won’t believe this Bonnie! I almost just made a pot of this! I ended up making something else, because I’m trying to do sipdowns only & the sample I have from you is very generous!
I love this review! Now I wish I’d made the tea, we could have been drinking the exact same tea at the same time! :)


If you don’t drink it, cook with it. Put some in a mortar and pestle (grind into a powder) with freeze dried garlic or other herbs and sprinkle on veg when you steam them. The house won’t smell yucky!!!

Terri HarpLady

I’m going to try that. I’m going to measure out enough for a nice cup so I can do a sipdown, & grind up the rest for a sprinkle! Thanks!


ooh, good to know. I just went to their website to check it out.


I just was playing around and made some lapsang souchong hard boiled eggs. Nice and smoky! Cooked and peeled the eggs then soaked in a tea bath with a little salt. Yum!

Terri HarpLady

Now THAT sounds awesome. I want to make tea eggs, tomorrow.


Fallish, good with pickled stuff..olives and such.

Terri HarpLady

I have lots of pickled things around here, lol, at least the cultured salty kind of pickles: Dilly Green Beans, Basil cocktail onions, dilled cukes, spicy cukes, root Kimchi, sauerkraut, & I still have one jar of christmas kraut in the dungeon fridge (where I store these scientific experiments once they are properly ripened). My next project will probably be Beets.


I always wondered if Lapsang would mix well with Whisky. They seem to have a similar nose in, in my mind (says the girl who knows nothing of whisky!) and I know its a waste of good whisky… but I’m still itching to try it! or perhaps with a vodka sauce on chicken! mmmmm.


Winston Churchill drank whiskey and lapsang souchong side by side, which I’ve yet to try. We have a new whiskey distillery in town (Fiesty Spirits) that has a tasting bar… I should take some tea.


yes pls!! cheers Bonnie on for a whiskey Lapsang tasting note…

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drank Je t'Aime by Nina's Paris
676 tasting notes

Thank you Nina’s for this tea sample

I could tell when I opened the little serving packet that the aroma of the tea was quite strong. It wasn’t my first encounter with Nina’s, so I was aware that there would be a lavish amount of flavor, and that if I over-steeped the tea it could be disastrous.

A light touch, lighter than recommended, would be best.

I used a small teapot, fresh boiled spring water and a 2 minute steep which produced a very rich, smooth and creamy caramel-vanilla tea.

With no additions, the tea was sweet and smooth. With cream I would be satisfied but I couldn’t resist adding sweetening, drinking my tea the way most people would drink a flavored tea.

My easily suggestive mind began imagining salted caramels…so I went to the kitchen and looked for the sea salt because I didn’t have any pretzels or chips. I tasted the salt and sipped the tea…thinking that I’d want this salty combination or some chocolate while kicking back watching a movie. Sweet caramel and salty or dark chocolate are favorites of mine.

I don’t believe a 4 minute steep is a good idea. Tone it down to 2 minutes! (I even made 12 oz of tea instead of 8 oz with that little packet Nina’s sent me.)


I always get two good steeps out of their samples! I can see it working with 12 oz tea because I am really getting 16 ounces out of mine, per teaspoon.


I could steep it again since I did a 2 minute which was plenty strong enough for me. Can’t imagine a 4 minute steep. Too strong! No wonder people keep saying this tea is astringent with that time and 8oz water…yikes!

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drank Marie-Antoinette by Nina's Paris
676 tasting notes

Thank you Nina’s for this tea sample!

Sweet, yellow delicious apples grew outside my bedroom window facing East towards the Coast Range just shy of the Pacific Ocean.

My father, Bill, had chosen a dwarf variety…which produced so many apples, that the tree appeared to be a vine with stakes holding up the branches across the end of the house. The flesh was soft, sweet and perfumed with an almost honeysuckle scent.

No apples are so sweet, as Sun ripened!

Nina’s reminds me of those apples and the flowers I would have found in my Grandmothers garden. Roses, camilias, dogwood trees,lilys and room for her prized tomatoes. (I still have handwritten recipes for catsup and venison).

My mind wandered to Versailles. Dappled sunlight shining through the apple trees, a breeze rifting leaves like many courtesans fans.
Marie-Antoinette Tea would suit such oppulance of architecture and nature.

I didn’t find the tea too much like Apple cider. Usually apple teas are flat and bland for my taste.(Possibly some people steep longer and the tea sours?)

A delightfully elegant tea.


I’m so jealous Bonnie because I didn’t have this one with my samples from Nina’s. Fortunately my mom bought a tin of it when she visited the castle of Fontainebleau so I’ll have a sample soon :) – lovely review as always


I like your style of writing :)

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I’m a person who needs to be ‘in the mood’ for an Earl Grey. I expect the day to be Spring-like or need perking up in the middle of Winter.

I’ve been very tired from anesthetic a medical procedure required which put me under a few days ago. Blah!

Today I decided to get out of my blah’s so I stopped by Happy Lucky’s Tea House to congratulate Andy, George and Joe for getting the new website up and running! High 5’s, and we chatted about how I was going to let the great people on Steepster know that the site was finished.

Soon, the blah’s came back making me feel queezy…so I ordered tea.

I like Madame Grey (a Happy Lucky’s custom blend)!

Madame Grey is smooth vanilla, gentle floral with citrus, lightly flavored with Bergamot. Not too light and not too strong, just right!

I’ve tried Earl Grey’s and thought that most were on the too light side, appropriate for afternoon tea and cookies. Not my kind or Earl really.

I’m a BLACK TEA LOVER! Madame Grey has enough body as a breakfast tea with cream or for drinking at any time. Tea Parties are not necessary!

This is one of the two Earl Grey’s I keep around.


It should be a nice Earl Grey so. I am an Earl Grey lover so I have 8 of them in my cupboard :S

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Today (for you who’ve asked me for updates), my local tea shop launched their product website! Happy Lucky’s is online! www.happyluckys.com
There are tea’s and something else…herbs and spices in bulk. I use these ingredients for making blends (especially the cocoa hulls,dry ginger and cinnamon chips).

Here’s an example of how I create my own blend from a box I created with the herbs and spices from Happy Lucky’s Tea Wall:

Lately, I’ve been enjoying pieces off my 2000 CNNP Yellow Ripe Beeng. After only one steep, the puerh releases a smooth rich velvet coat with hints of vanilla-spice.
Yesterday, I had a medical procedure and could only drink tea for 24 hours before with no milk. So I blended a good chunk of puerh (4 grams broken), 1TB cocoa hulls, a few cinnamon chips and dry ginger with a teaspoon of Laoshan Black Oolong (optional). For the 24oz pot I use about 1.5-2TB tea blend.
One quick rinse and steep for 2-3 minutes. Sweetened or not, this is a delicious blend! Smooth and just spicy enough without going too far!
I steeped again 3 more times during the day!
If you’re looking for a really good base for blending that’s smooth enough to drink on it’s own, this is the puerh!

Happy Luckys Teahouse Website is Oneline!


Woohoo! Thanks for sharing that they’re online now Bonnie :)


think i may have peruse… ;-)


At least if you click on the virtual tour (on the map I think) you’ll see the source of my stories sitting on the stool at the bar. Remember that this was once a firehouse (notice the poll) and was the model for the firehouse on Main Street USA Disneyland.

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I’ve written about this tea many times, however…there’s a new story!

Yesterday, I went to the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival in Boulder and attended a Seminar by David Lee Hoffman All in this Tea is a film about this famous tea pioneer (think it’s on Netflix).
The attendees tasted 10-15 Pu-erh’s of all kinds (the person pouring the Pu-erh was a bit heavy-handed a few I us thought, and I wasn’t impressed with the Pu-erh. He’s old like me, didn’t seem to know that anyone was directly sourcing tea from China in the United States (that’s what he said).

After the seminar, I went to Ku Cha Tea House on the Pearl Street Mall (the Dushanbe Tea House is beautiful, they have good food but the tea service is terrible!!!).

I always take tea with me to events and to tea houses. (I take tea everywhere really, since you never know when you might be able to share!)

Ku Cha Tea House wasn’t busy. One server had been at the seminar and asked what I thought of the pu-erh agreeing that the tea was heavy and bitter, oversteeped.

I offered tastings of two tea’s from my bag at Ku Cha’s gongfu table which surprised the staff in a good way.

First I pulled out the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black and asked a gaiwan to be warmed by rinsing with hot water..

I placed dry tea leaves in the gaiwan, put on the lid and shook gently before lifting the top to smell the aroma.

I love scenting tea before steeping, and this tea has a sweet, waffle scent that surprised everyone.

The flavor was so deliciously sweet that descriptive words tumbled about as the frenzy for more steeping grew.

I pulled a packet of Verdant Yu Lu Yan Cha from my bag… with it’s potato, cocoa flavor (another shocking revelation).

Nick (the person who saw me at the seminar) brought out the shop’s best black tea which was Golden Eyebrow. It had small blue/black leaves with a rich malty flavor. A very good tea…but not as layered as the Wild Mountain or Yu Lu Yan.

I finished my day with new tea friends, then bought a pot of Chai to drink in the tea house back room by a large waterfall fountain.
(The shop has low floor tables with cushion seating and regular tables, a large waterfall with plants, Chinese art, lanterns and carved wood screens.)

Love this tea!!!


it’s almost back Bonnie! Soooo close (and yet so far…)

Butiki Teas

Bonnie-So glad everyone was loving the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black!

Sil-I know, it’s been an excruciating wait. I’m waiting to hear back what the hold up is.


I saw that film too, it was interesting


This tea is really fantastic and I’m looking forward to see it back


It’s back….Monday!


Fantastic! I’ll get the word out! Hope this is as great as the last season.


Stacy posted that it’s slightly different – lsat year was a croissant with honey and this year is a waffle with sugar? i think it was…

Butiki Teas

Bonnie-Sil is right. It is a little bit different due to the rain, the leafhoppers weren’t as active.


I like waffles with sugar! Stacy, this was my 2012 TEA FAVORITE! Everyone with true tea experience (I shared with lots of people) who tasted it said it was in their top few tea’s also. I sent an ounce to a couple from China that were friendly to me at my church in California. They both have cancer. I know your tea will bless them.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
676 tasting notes

Summer 2013 Version

Drinking this tea again, after it was gone…waiting for the Summer tea to arrive from Laoshan Village…took patience I do not have!

Laoshan Black grabs me by the ankles, gently sweeping me off my feet as though I am a young girl, wrapping me in delightful cocoa giggles.

If I have loved tea, it is due to this unique leaf unfurling an exquisite new world of aroma and taste. A flame was ignited which continues to illumine my senses.

I feel that I am a youth again, or at least…I know I’m young at heart.

I’ve waited a very long time to write down private thoughts about what drinking tea means to me.

Yesterday, after 2 years of contemplation, I wrote down these thoughts and would be pleased if you would read my blog. www.teaandincense.com

Laoshan Black continues to be a beloved tea and the Summer 2013 harvest has all the magic that I remember from my first tasting long ago.

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drank Earl Grey by Nina's Paris
676 tasting notes

Thank you Nina’s Paris for this sample tea!

The morning sun was very bright, one of those days when the news reports ‘sun glare’ for drivers and a caution to wear dark glasses to prevent accidents. I laughed when I moved to high altitude Colorado from sea level California and heard traffic news reports of ‘sun glare’. I don’t scoff anymore!

I decided to try a tea that I consider perky.

Earl Grey is one of those tea’s that has a citrus edge reminding one of Summer any time of the year. It’s not too fru-fru for a deep black tea lover like me.

This Earl is light and fresh, almost too light for my taste…but I can imagine that many are looking for just such a lighter bergamot tea. There is no astringency, just fresh, light flavor.

I had issues with Steepster yesterday (when I first tried to log this review) and got the dreaded black screen announcing that I had left the kettle on so I retreated to my blog and wrote some thoughts that had long been brewing in my mind about the meaning of tea in my life.

If you would like to read my latest blog entry… www.teaandincense.com

I’m off today to the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival in Boulder and will write about the adventure with some pictures. Sometimes vendors that we post reviews about are at the festival, and that’s always exciting.

Terri HarpLady

I wish I was there! Next year we should all converge on this festival!




By the way, the classes are $15 which is cheap!


Have fun at the festival!


I did! Ended up afterwards at Ku Cha tea house and as I always do, brought some Verdant and Butiki tea in my bag and shared with the tea servers. We did some side-by-side tastings and had a good time. They served me golden eyebrow black tea. I always follow by buying a pot of tea to drink in the back tea room by the fountain.

Terri HarpLady

Sounds like a wonderful day to me!! :D


I read your blog entry…thanks for the inspiration 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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