Happy Lucky's Tea House
Popular Teas from Happy Lucky's Tea HouseSee All 42 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
From the queue. I’ll do two a day for the next week. I’m currently writing posts faster than I can post them, even when posting daily. It’s all these boatloads of untried things, you see. I suppose I feel inspired these days.
Bonnie shared this one with me and I confess I’ve been gathering courage to try it. You see, this is a loose puerh with cacao hulls, some vanilla black and some roasted chicory root. Apparently they also do a version with vanilla rooibos, but Bonnie chose the one without for me.
It’s the chicory root that has me concerned. It started to concern me already when I first smelled it and discovered that rather than smelling like cocoa and puerh, it just smelled allround weird. Worrisome. The first thought that popped into my head was ‘thin coffee’. Now, I know some people enjoy having their tea coffee flavoured. I, however, am one of those people who feel those two things should be kept as far apart as possible. I mean, I like drinking tea, obviously, and I also occasionally greatly enjoy a caffe latte (or even on rare occasions a small cup of ordinary coffee with milk). Drinking one does not exclude the liking of the other at all. It’s the combination of the two that I find to be frankly disgusting. Coffee flavour has no business being in my tea and vice versa.
So you can see why I’m concerned, yes?
However, it was shared with me by someone who meant well and thought I would find it interesting, therefore I’m going to have a cup of it anyway. I sometimes take a long time to do it and sometimes I end up not even posting about it, but when people have shared something with me, I always try it, even though I don’t believe I’ll like it. It’s the polite thing to do and it’s also a practice that has given me more than a few very pleasant surprises. For example, it was cteresa sharing a fruit-flavoured rooibos with me that led me to discover under which circumstances I can actually really enjoy a rooibos after having gone for years believing I didn’t like any rooibos at all. Now I’ve got loads of fruit-flavoured rooiboses.
Besides, isn’t this really the purpose of swaps? Exploring the things you would never in your life have tried otherwise? See you later, comfort zone!
So here we go! Tea that smells like thin coffee. It’s the chicory root, of course, that gives the coffee-y impression, not real coffee. I believe I’ve had blends with chicory in them before. I’m almost certain I have. I have clear memories of having tried it in a blend, but I can’t remember which blend that might have been or what I thought of it. I don’t, however, remember it as being awful. I think I would have remembered something on the lowest end of the point scale. This gives me confidence.
After steeping it’s much more cocoa-y in the aroma. The chicory is still there, but it’s dampened significantly by the cocoa, and the primary impression I’m getting now is freshly baked brownies that has just come out of the oven 20 seconds ago. The good sort of brownies, baked with loads of high quality chocolate rather than cocoa powder. It makes me want to bake again! Haven’t baked anything at all since before Christmas, but there are still lots of biscuits left and those need to go first. (Also, I’ve got an ice cream project I want to try first, now that we’ve got a freezer that is larger than a match box)
I’m just about to taste it now and I’m actually not even scared of it even more.
Okay, the chicory is fairly distinct in the flavour with it’s coffee-ish notes, but not directly off-putting. Just… I could have lived without the chicory, really. It also rather messes with the cocoa, making it not actually taste much like cocoa but more like an enhancement for the chicory. It doesn’t help that cocoa or chocolate in tea rarely truly works for me because my brain expects a completely different consistency which the tea can’t deliver for obvious reason.
I can vaguely pick up some earthy notes of the puerh base, but these are most prominent in the aftertaste. In the sip itself, however, I’m surprised to find that it’s the vanilla black that is actually standing out more. It’s sweet and slightly creamy, and in a strange way managing to be vanilla with being very vanilla-y in flavour. I think it’s the other flavours in this that are messing with it.
Although I mentioned that I’ve learned to drink rooibos, and lots of it, in recent years, I find I’m glad Bonnie chose the one without rooibos for me. I think rooibos would have added unnecessary confusion to the mix, and vanilla alone in rooibos never really did it for me as much as vanilla + fruit does.
I’m a little ambivalent. I’m pleased with the puerh and the vanilla black, and would have enjoyed the cocoa more if not for the chicory. But I could also really live without the chicory. Or perhaps not even entirely without it, but just less of it.
I can’t decide what I actually think of this. I suspect it could grow on me, though, if I made sure to have it another couple of times in relatively quick succesion.
Later addition: I wound up taking the rest of this one with me to drink at work, for which it proved to be eminently suitable. I could easily have continued with this sort of work tea for a while. At about the same time my colleague brought a small tin of Kusmi’s spicy chocolate blend, which I found somewhat similar to this one. Rating is large based on how this tea has helped me through many many work days.
From the queue
This is a tea that Bonnie shared with me, and it is also the first real tea post I’m writing in the new house. It was also one that Bonnie chose to give me, I think, with an eye on Project Africa.
Therefore I’ve spent some time trying to work out where Ajiri was on the map. Turns out Ajiri is a company name and not a place name. They have a rather lovely and informative website. The actual tea is produced at the Nyansiongo factory, which was made a LOT easier to find on the map once I discovered that I’d been spelling it wrong all along. The factory itself didn’t appear to be marked in, so I just placed the arrow somewhere in the middle of the town. The Nyansiongo factory is a cooperative of several small local farmers in the Kisii highlands.
There’s a veeeery strong and malty aroma here, which smells on the verge of turning bitter. I may have leafed it wrong after all. It’s CTC and I’m always very careful with those because they get strong so very quickly. I put less leaf in my pot than my brain felt like it was used to, but I still think I’ve got a super strong cup here. There’s also a smidge of that high-grown feeling in it, but that might actually be down to sheer strength. I am sitting here with a cup almost as dark as coffee after all!
GOSH! It is quite strong! It even has that sort of bitterness at the back of the throat that I get when drinking coffee. It’s not unpleasantly bitter or at all undrinkable, but it’s just a tad much. I would do a rare instance of milking it (I usually have milk in my coffee), but as it so happens, we haven’t currently got any milk until I’ve been to the shops, so I’ll just have to power through and try making a second cup with even less leaf. This is why I’m not a fan of CTC. It messes with my habits learned through a decade!
Now, if we ignore that hit of bitterness at the moment of swallowing, we’ve got a strong cup of tea here, which feels suitable for this time of day (morning). Until swallowing it feels very smooth, so if I had made it a little weaker I believe it would have been all-over smooth and lovely. It definitely shows some promise in that regard.
It’s hard for me to really analyse the flavour, though. It tastes like default tea. Quite a good body to it, but it’s a one-note deal all in all. I get the impression that this might be very good in blends, adding body to some lighter teas with more distinctive notes. I think this + not too fancy keemun, for example, would make a lovely blend.
The second cup felt, when I made it, severely understeeped and underleafed, but the result was much better. It is indeed very smooth but still with a lot of body. It’s less of a one-note default tea deal now, and has taken on leather-y, wood-y, malty notes and it finishes with a touch of high-grown-ness. I still think it would go wonderfully in blends, though.
Map reference: http://goo.gl/maps/ULUUD
(Awwwww, very purry and cute lap-Charm in a rare social moment. ♥)
From the queue
Project Africa is rather more slow moving than I had imagined when I started. Or perhaps I was just spoiled by Project Ceylon in which I had something like twelve samples to start with. However, Bonnie has shared two African black teas with me. I shared some of my Tanzanian black with her, so that’s how it came about.
The aroma is quite strong and wood-y and with more than a small amount of that faintly grass-y note that indicate a capacity to turn undrinkably bitter if not treated properly.
Ooh gosh, it’s a bit strong! Husband commented on the leaf as being ‘funny’. I’m not sure he considered what that actually implied brewing-wise. Still totally drinkable, though, so I’m pressing on.
It has a sort of funny ‘thick’ flavour. It doesn’t taste like puerh at all, but it’s that same sensation of substance to it. The overall impression of the flavour is at first sort of starchy, probably enhanced by the thick feeling. Or possibly the other way around, I don’t know.
With a slightly more careful sip (Ow. Hot.) I’m also picking up a vague hint of cocoa and a strong note of wood and grain. It reminds me rather of a good mid- or low grown Ceylon here. Galle, for example, which I rather enjoyed. Husband didn’t much care for Galle, so that leads me to believe that he probably won’t like this one much either. Which in turn means, because I can never seem to predict this, he’ll probably love it.
I think it’s quite nice. Good and strong and suitable for the morning. As mentioned, though, Husband did make it Extra Strength by accident, but I think I can see through it enough to imagine how it would behave with maybe half a teaspoon less of leaf, and I have attempted to rate accordingly. Rating, as always, is subject to sudden change.
Addition when posting: Having now had almost all the rest of the pouch with a more conservative sort of leaf dosage, I stand by the rating I decided on when the main part of the post was written. I’ve found that with experience it can actually be possible to see through an overleafed tea and imagine what it would have been like under ideal circumstances. Provided enough that the overleafing is not too severe. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. It’s fun to try, though, and test it again later. This one turned out to be relatively predictable. :)
Also, I forgot to mention something about the geography with this one. It’s my first tea from Uganda, and it was grown quite a bit further west than any of the other African teas I’ve had at this point, not so far from Lake Edward. As you can see on the map, all the ones from Kenya were grown East of Lake Victoria, but on the same latitude as this one. I don’t know if that matters, but it should be the same sort of climate at least. The Tanzania and the Mozambique are much further South, further away from Lake Victoria than the Uganda is, but I still feel like I can see some similarities between all the African ones so far. They are all strong and they taste hardy. They are also very nearly all of them CTC which may have something to do with it.
Reference map: http://goo.gl/maps/2Ylx6
Bonnie shared this one with me. We’re fairly fond of LS in this household, but I don’t usually try very many different ones. Like with most things, I have a very particular idea of the perfect specimen, and I’ve already found that from AC Perchs. It’s just the right amount of smoke and just the right sort of strength for me, so I have little need to ‘shop around’ as it were. If I’m shopping somewhere else and we’re out of it, I’ll get one, but that’s really as far as my shopping around goes mostly. Nevertheless, when someone shares one with me, I’m hardly going to refuse it, am I? That would be silly.
I’m under the impression that this one is Bonnie’s favourite LS, and if I’m right in that then I suspect we have similar ideas of how the best LS should be, because it strikes me as similar to the one that is my favourite. I can’t remember if I shared some of that one with her. I hope I did.
The aroma is smoky and sweet and just about equal measures, and this goes for the flavour as well. Lots of smoke, but also LOTS of body. Lots, especially, of that sweet fruity note that nearly drove me mad the first time I discovered it in the ACP one. There’s a bit of a mineral note on the end of the sip, though, which I don’t think my usual LS has, but that’s really the only major difference between the two.
(Reposted this older review under the new tea heading for Happy Lucky’s online… this CTC is very inexpensive and a staple kick in the pants caffeine boost when I need a strong tea that tastes good! )
As soon as Andy puts the information on the website, i’ll review their new Ugandan CTC which is unique. I’m loving these new tea’s from small farms in Africa and Happy Lucky’s makes sure the sourcing is ethical!…stay tuned!
I was out and about, running errands and stopped in at Happy Luckys to meet up with tea guru Eric (who works at Happy Lucky’s) to taste some Pu-erh that I received from a Steepster friend. That review will be on my blog in a few days and is remarkable!
When we finished our Puerh tasting, I still wanted some tea! Our little delicate cups of gentle Shu were wonderful but now it was time to pour the big lady serious tea and get down and dirty.
I was sitting at the bar.
I wanted a pot of Lucky Tea House’s finest black tea. Now.
Sam looked at Eric and said under his breath, “How about the Kenyan Ajiri?…no, no, it’s too strong…well…maybe she would like it, she likes strong tea. What do you think?”
“Hum, Eric laughed, maaaybe, OK.”
Then they turned to me.
“Let’s do it guys, I’m that kind of gal, wild and crazy! Set it up!” I said.
First, Sam brought me a tin of the super-small black leaves
(they looked more like poppy seeds) which smelled salty and savory.
Then, the wet leaves which were smaller than coffee grinds were presented with a very malty, rich aroma.
Last the dark brown liquor which was very strong tasting, and I liked it! It wasn’t smoky or malty but tasted solid and a bit fruity. I sipped for awhile.
I then added some cream (I was told the tea was too strong to drink plain but found it to be smooth enough for me).
After drinking a full mug of tea, I ordered a ginger cookie to eat along with my tea. The taste of these two together was out of this world! I’m a bit of a ginger cookie, black tea lover. An addiction as a treat!
A great piece of information!
100% of the profits from the tea sales of AJIRI goes to pay for uniforms and books for orphans in Western Kenya! What a great way to
enjoy tea and help others!
Check out www.ajirifoundation.com
Asante sana (thank you very much!) http://flic.kr/p/dphd5h
Andy is the mixologist at Happy Lucky’s Teahouse and shop Manager.
Whenever I think about Andy blending new tea’s, I imagine the Sorcerers Apprentice http://youtu.be/mHTnJNGvQcA?t=3m3s . He’s Micky Mouse with an out of control wand. The music is building and the outcome appears to be heading for disaster. Miraculously, a ray of sunshine…a moment of brilliance and clarity and in the end, all is well.
I sometimes imagine other tea mixologists that we all know well here on Steepster. In my mind there are three standouts in particular… Giada de Laurentiis, Yul Brynner and Steve Jobs.
Can you guess which tea vendors match these characters?
For 6 days last week, I was in and out of a migraine on one side of the front my face. Finally, had to get out of the house so I went to tea.
Andy (the Sorcerer in my imagination) came out of the back room very excited that I had arrived at the shop. He had his coat in hand, ready to leave for the day. “Oh good, you’re finally here. I’ve made a batch of Harvest Moon Tea and I think it’s better than last year’s blend! I really want your opinion on it. Need to know what you think!”
Off came his coat with a flourish (not missing a beat). Displaying the smooth and elegant moves of a professional, Andy made me a big pot of Harvest Moon Tea, smiled broadly, waved goodbye and headed out the door (the doorbells jingling behind him).
The dry mix had smelled wonderful, the way apples smell when they’ve been soaked in apple cider, spices, vanilla and brown sugar.
(I’m a skeptic! Apple tea’s almost always had disappointed me.)
I waited for 9 minutes for the tea to steep and took my first skeptical sip (although admitting, the aroma was wonderful).
This was BY FAR the BEST Apple Tea I’d ever tasted! The flavor was the kind of vanilla spice, caramel apple desired in a prize winning Apple Pie.
I know what great Harvest Apple Pie should taste like, because I’ve won first, second and third prize in the Johnny Appleseed Pie Contest so I’m picky. Quality ingredients matter!
This week my son Aaron, turns…gulp…45! I mailed off a tea care package for his Birthday. Harvest Moon was one of the tea’s I sent to cheer him up in often-foggy-in-Fall San Francisco. He’ll love it!
As far as who Giada de Laurentiis is…well, maybe Stacy the kitchen wizard of Butiki Tea. Yul Brynner http://youtu.be/KlmCy4qGX_M (who’s the person we know without any hair?)…Garret, King of Puerh! And Steve Jobs, well…when I think of a contemplative person that comes up with new ways to educate, innovate and enhance tea appreciation…it’s David Duckler. It’s how I picture them in their tea guru kitchens.
I’ve already played with this blend as a base for puerh, added black tea when I want caffeine… and as it comes, Caffeine free.
Last night, after many months explaining the health benifits of tea and constant invitations to join me at Happy Lucky’s Tea House, two members of my Fibromyalgia Support Group showed up at the tea bar!
I was so elated!
Like most (if not all) our group members, these ladies don’t leave their homes unless it’s necessary. It’s just too painful to move and walk even short distances, and a sort of brain fog is a common side effect that comes and goes…making it embarrassing to dialog with other people.
I know how hard it is to function, but being alone is worse!
We sat at the bar where I introduced my friends who graciously served us tea and explained how tea benefits health. Eric served some of his personal tea from a gaiwan before we ordered an herbal blend and finished with Chocolate Aire.
As much as my friends enjoyed the new world of tea, which they did, was gift of inclusion offered to them in the tea shop. They were not outsiders looking in, but accepted. This is what I love about my tea shop, many beloved tea vendors and the people here on Steepster!
It was ‘Food Walk’ evening in Old Town. This is an evening where many shops give out free samples of food as you walk through town every third Friday of the month, and it’s fun! There was a Fall ’Apple" theme, with Apple Pie Tea at the tea shop.
The ladies wanted to try a walk around 1 block. Can you imagine not knowing if your body can take the pain of 1 block?
Off we went to the cheese shop for apples and goat cheese and chedder, then a spice shop for cherries with 5 spice and apple cider…past the outdoor concert where families were dancing and a booth with childrens meals had the biggest Rice Krispie Treats I’ve ever seen!
We made our way in and out around and back to Walnut Street where Happy Lucky’s is located, watching the hummingbird moths gather nectar in the flowers.
Our evening cost under $4 for a pot of tea but was priceless for the joy it gave me to share with these ladies.
Tea is my amazing friend, but it’s meant to be shared.
A note on sharing: (Many already do this, some may like to begin)
When I read about sip-downs it makes me a bit sad, as though tea is something to be gotten rid of. Forgotten, old, unwanted tea once enjoyed or loved.
Consider, instead of ‘sipping down’ unwanted tea’s, could they be sent to a student or struggling Steepster short on funds to buy tea? Newer Steepsters would benefit from the run-off from many of our overstocked, bursting cupboards too. Swapping isn’t always necessary. When one person has nothing in their cupboard to swap gifting would be an act of hospitality! This is the way of tea.
After the storm
Thanks to all who sent me little notes of encouragement during the 1000 year storm in Colorado last week!
When you live by yourself, kindness is appreciated, especially when my daughter was across the river unable to get to this side of town and her phone and internet was down (poor thing)!
What you’ve seen in the news isn’t ever what is happening on the ground. Anyone who’s been in a major disaster knows what I mean.
The National News (even what you’ll see tonight with Brian Williams) will be all about Boulder, where less than 200 homes were lost. That is a horrible tradgedy!
I don’t mean to underplay what was lost in Boulder, but here in Larimer County we’ve lost 1500 homes, flooding is still happening out on the plains right now, 20,000 homes are damaged and rescue helicopters (the big ones that can carry 20 people) have been flying low over my house since yesterday.
Over 100 people are still missing here…and rescues are going on as I write this!
Bridges, roads, businesses are gone and farm animals will need feed…if not found dead. 13 Post Offices are gone, sewage plants gone. http://youtu.be/IfvfIEMZ0tg A Short from Friday before copters could get in the air for assessment (Monday was the first dry day).
This 1000 year storm is our Katrina.
Granddaughter Schey called… the phone service was on at the house, and internet so I invited her to tea at Happy Lucky’s and dinner at my house.
Some of the bridges over the Poudre River are open (but not all).
The sun was out, people were flocking into the shop for tea and to talk about the flooding.
I ordered this tea, knowing that Schey loves mint, and we chatted with all the people coming and going. Joe’s mom, Paxton from Firehouse Bookstore, and Maggie (a new tea slinger who lived in China).
When we finished our tea and visit we went to one of the candy shops for malt balls (needed for watching Derek with Ricky Gervais on Netflix). On the way back, we saw something new…which neither of us had seen before. A Hummingbird moth flitting around the flowers in a large flowerpot. It looked like a tiny hummingbird without a beak. http://youtu.be/Jn9zx1gHD6I
I’m mindful at the best and most challenging times of how blessed I am to have kind people in my life. People here on Steepster, kind people at my Tea Shop and a granddaughter who regularly checks up on me and meets me for tea.
If you get a chance to see the new Netflix series Derek, pay attention to the main theme which is kindness. It is charming and refreshing.
Enjoyable to watch with malt balls candy and Chocolate Mints (made some at home too) by the pot! (I’ve indulged myself!)
FYI To people who have sent me tea to review, I have been too distracted with the storms and not sleeping well. Weather alarms, helecopters and all… I couldn’t do a good job reviewing your tea… but will get back to normal soon with some rest.
You’ve heard a hundred zillion times that I’m allergic to rooibos and honeybush. They’re in the bean family which makes me SICK.
So what! Nobody else cares really UNLESS you’re my tea slinger friends at Happy Lucky’s Tea House.
Why? I’m a particularly annoying pest at the tea house because I ask them to create blends that don’t have rooibos in them.
Most tea companies do not make caffeine free, natural tea blends without my allergy specific ingredients ‘that taste good’. Usually they’re all about the same. Ginger, hibiscus, chamomile.
(A few companies do ok, but I can count them on one hand)
It’s not only the allergy concern, but I like to serve tea to little ones without caffeine too, and Andy (our Master Tea Blender) has been listening to my plea’s for rooibos free tea. Bless his sweet tea heart, he created Chocolate Mints.
Anyone who likes after dinner chocolate mints (and a little coconut) will adore this delectable blend.
This should be brewed by the pot.
The secret to the rich chocolate bar flavor is a long steep of 5-7 minutes extracting the goodness slowly from the cocoa hulls.
Coconut is sprinkled throughout the mixture, which adds a nuttiness
that is brilliant.
I add milk and sweeten just a bit for an even richer creamy, sweet, indulgent dessert!
Andy won’t mind me saying this, because he already knows how much of a tea nerd I am. But when I want to make this a blend with caffeine, I’ve added black tea to it…especially a pinch of cocoa malty tea like a the shop’s Black Pearl or other tea from my cupboard.
Great herbal for chocolate lovers who are tired of fake chocolate.
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).
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.
One day, my timing was ‘just right’ when I went for tea at Happy Lucky’s. There was a line-up of tea’s and tasting going on from a new company in Denver (Nepali tea traders) and owner George was keen to carry some of their teas in the shop. But, which ones?
I took my seat at the bar and Andy placed what was left of 12 tasting sets in front of me for an opinion.
“Yes!”, I cheered internally! “I get to taste all this tea!”
I love Nepalese tea, and I picked 4 that I thought would be good for the shop to carry, which matched the tasters opinion.
Later, this Ruby Pu-er came in and when I tasted it, I said it should bump any of the other teas! An absolute must! Best of all the tea’s!
George was on the fence about it at first. Would a small town really respond well to a Pu-er like this one? (He only carried a handful of Pu-er’s in the shop) We talked about the new website which I knew would benefit from having a tea like this one and he agreed.(George is a smart man!)
Nepali Tea Traders donates all their profits to benefit the Nepali Youth Foundation and tea industry growth. (The owner’s parents worked in Nepal so there is a connection with a small area of tea farms)
Happy Luckys had a tasting at the shop which drew 45 people (a large crowd in our town), and the star of the show at that tasting and in the days to since has been this Nepal Ruby Pu-er Style Black Tea!
The flavor is warm and fruity. Cherries and brandied peaches, walnuts warmed in a skillet, wood and clover honey. All this might lead you to think of some dark and heavy tea but it’s not. The tea is light, almost like a wheat beer in color and smooth.
The second steep was sweet and buttery, a honey molasses stick of candy. No earthiness.
You’ll have to be careful not to over brew or the tea can become bitter. I added a little sugar (might add some honey next time) and the flavor was luxurious.
(If you like a little bitterness, it reminded me of some of the craft beers in town over at O’dells or New Belgium Breweries.)
Nepal is so close to Darjeeling that the tea can taste almost the same but fame has been out of reach for Nepal due to isolation and war.
Love, love, love this Pu-er style tea!
It is my understanding that this is the first Pu-er style black tea from Nepal
Quick Notes Thanks to Bonnie for sharing with me!
Dry – Hickory smoked salt rub, hints of orange and sweet.
Wet – Smoky and more citrusy, sweet and somewhat spicy.
Liquor – Light brown/caramel.
1st 3mins – Smoky, sweet with orange citrus hints up front. It goes down smoothly while retaining the citrus notes, it has a savory ‘back bone’ with the smoke that allows the rest of the other flavors to come up.
2nd 3 1/2mins – Smoky, sweet and tart orange up front. It is smooth and smoky with a full body, yet the citrus notes gives it a ‘juicy’ feel. At this point I can taste vanilla hints which I think most come from the jasmine since dried jasmine is subtly sweet but not perfumy at all.
3rd 4mins – Sweet, tart citrus with some smoke up front. The tea continues to be smooth while going down and has a more subtle smoke note, the orange is more present now and lingers a bit more in the mouth.
I loved this one! I usually avoid blends with tea, but this one is well done. (In case you are wondering why I usually avoid blends: it is because Herbals have completely different infusion times and sometimes temperatures from that of tea. Basically you end up having tea the first try, the second faded tea with some herbs and then over steeped tea with herbal tea.)
I liked this one. Thanks Bonnie!
Drinking this sample from Bonnie makes me wish that I could move back to Colorado. I lived there was a kid and I would be excited to have a tea house around the corner from me, although I am sure there are some in NJ. (Any recs would be awesome) I seem to like a nice strong black tea when I wake up. To be honest, I am not the friendliest person in the morning. NOT a morning person.
I organized my tea stash last night and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to go through all of my samples, I have way too many. This one called out to me because it comes packaged in the cutest little pearls of tea. Bonnie’s instructions were to use 4 or 5 of them for one 8 oz glass of tea. I dutifully followed her instructions…and boy am I glad that I did!
A beautiful dark brown liquor with a little sugar and milk. Delicious! Has a hint of cocoa but is nice and smooth. Easy to drink and probably get addicted to. I would definitely buy this :)
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.
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.
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!
Wah? It’s St. Andrews Day, (Patron Saint of Scotland) and if you’re a Scot like me you’re supposed to be wearing plaid all day (which I’ve been doing!).
Last night was a Japanese Green Tea class at Happy Lucky’s taught by capable Joe. It was great! However….the amount of Green Tea I drank at 8PM kept me up until 1AM!
One of the tea’s we drank was a method of brewing Gyokuro called Shinobi-cha. (Putting the tea leaves over ice to extract the pure amino acids and flavor) Delicious and potent! http://youtu.be/4UEZcq1qVtw
So, I was up late and had to wake up early for the Blessing of the Tartan’s (Plaids) at St. Spyridon’s.
Of course, I was decked out in my Johnstone plaid and had my mothers Cameron plaid for my granddaughter to wear. I also had Earl Grey shortbread, oatmeal cookies and all my tea fixings for after the service to celebrate!
When you step into a Greek Orthodox Church, it’s supposed to say to you ‘Heaven and Earth are not separated’.
Look around…there are pictures of hero’s like Elijah, John the Baptist and Angels like Gabriel.
After the Blessing was over, I made Black Pearl Tea for all that wanted to have some.
It seemed right to have real, brewed tea today. I’ve been purchasing these pearls from Happy Luckys since the discovery that they taste just like the favorite brand I used to buy directly from China.
One lady sat down for some tea and told me how she was served tea in England at the British Embassy by Mr. Twinings himself!
Then, Fr. Evan came over and had some tea straight up before heading off to a meeting.
(I’m out to convert my Church to real deal tea one person at a time!)
My granddaughter and I had ours with cream and Butiki’s raw sugar crystals.
This was a luscious, rich and malty, cocoa tea without astringency.
Such a perfect tea with scones, shortbread and pasties.
Yes, someone made pasties (small pies) with potato, peas and mushroom broth.
Sipping tea, I was able to share some of the old family stories from Scotland, which is what a Grandmother is supposed to do.
You may think this is all a bit corny. I make no apologies because I am corny and becoming more so!
Good tea though with good company on a grand occasion!
http://youtu.be/PSH0eRKq1lE Scotland The Brave!
Yesterday, I had to run by Happy Lucky’s in the afternoon to sign up for two tea classes. One, for that evening (Gonfu Tea Ceremony with Eric) and tonight will be a Japanese Green Tea class with Joe.
I don’t step over the doorway without having a cuppa myself…so I ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast Tea and some dry leaf to take home.
Irish Breakfast gets you going when you have errands to run. I had to go to Whole Foods and read labels, traversing through the isles under fluorescent lights that make me woozy. Give Me Strong Tea!
Granddaughter Schey came to the class last night which was fun for me. Everyone had a chance to use a Yixing and Gaiwan to pour both Oolong and Pu’er for the small group. Eric is a Scientist and teacher which makes him interesting.
This morning, I took the Irish Breakfast Tea that I had purchased and made a pot to linger over while watching the morning news.
This is one of the best things about being retired.
If it’s too cold outside, I’m warm and comfy inside with my fresh pot of tea on a tray. I have a lovely, large quilted-dome tea cozy from April Cornell that keeps my pot of tea hot between pourings.
(I always have cream and sweetening on the tray just in case I want to add some.)
Ahhh. Dark, strong….strong….Irish tea!
This isn’t one of those wimpy Irish wanna-be tea’s. Without being astringent or dry, this delivers a warming cup that’s what you’d want in a thermos out on the peat fields when the wind has kicked up and a drizzle is beginning to threaten with a damp shiver.
I like my tea with milk.
Drinking one mug, two…then three was easy.
The whole pot gone in no time.
Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the tea in my pot. It seems to disappear without me drinking it.
No matter. It’s delicious!
I set a plan with my new tea energy to put up my Christmas Tree today.
Tonight is another Tea Class and Tomorrow is St. Andrews Day,
the Patron Saint of Scotland. All Scots are supposed to wear Plaid
Here’s another bit of news I found out…
Looks like my daughter and son-in-law are going to adopt BOTH of the 2 year old Foster boys they have. The boys are 6 days apart in age.
I couldn’t be more pleased!!! One has special needs (Williams syndrome) so I’m happy he’ll be in such a loving family of 5 boys and 3 girls!
I went to the IRS today. (That should have made even the most cheerful among you shudder!)
There were taxes from my divorce that I didn’t know would be coming and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do. One thing I’ve learned over the past few months is that I need someone to help me organize parts of my life. I don’t understand paperwork so I’ve got myself into a little (or big) tax mess.
Imagine being very competent mentally but waking up one day unable to understand what you’re reading. Like dyslexia. Information is scrambled and makes no sense. This is what’s been happening to me. I can understand if you show me how to do things, but not paperwork and sometimes I go blank on questions. (I don’t have dymentia, thankfully (I was tested for that).)
Anyway, I went to the IRS in the middle of a brain fog with some papers they asked me for. I was handed papers and asked questions and I just couldn’t understand anything. I told the person, “I have no idea what this means, it could be in a foreign language, I can’t explain anything, I don’t know what to say.”
I got a look and comment…“You need someone to help you.” “I’m not supposed to do this but go to the Senior Center and find help.”
I left and made a ‘B’ line for Happy Lucky’s Tea House.
I looked 3 shades of pale puke…feeling sick and hurting all over from fybromyalgia (which has been a bear the past month!).
Andy (TEA GURU!) took one look at me and said…“Whatcha drinking Ms. Bonnie?”…then he said…“How about a Chocolate Matcha?!”
“Oh YES please!”
I sat at the bar watching the foaming and frothing, stirring in the specialty cocoa…A-n-t-i-c-p-a-t-i-o-n!
Finally a big mug of fluff was set in front of me with a tall tumbler of ice water next to it (thoughtful). Fireworks!
This was thick, thick, thick cocoa Matcha, so creamy and warm with an interesting, almost savory then sweet complex flavor. The foam was playful and wonderful like a puffy sigh of relief.
It didn’t take long for the caffeine and green tea L-theanine to work on my pain and foggy brain.
I’ve noticed for some time that tea helps me feel better. I don’t know how, and it’s not a tea high or anything…but my pain isn’t as bad when I drink certain tea’s, especially Pu-erh and Matcha. This is good! It might not be this way for everyone, but it works for me.
While tea doesn’t cure all my problems, it has given me a way to help with my physical discomfort without resorting to narcotics for pain.
By the time I finished my fine mug of chocolate Matcha, I was feeling so much better and the taste was fantastic!
Why would I post all this here on Steepster. Seems kind of private and personal and inappropriate doesn’t it.
It is personal. And real.
I want you to know that this part of Elder life is joyful, funny, and has challenges just like being young.
“Stand at the brink of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little, and have a cup of tea.”
― Elder Sophrony of Essex (A Monastery in England)
Tea makes everything better.
When I walked in the door of my favorite tea pub today, the first person I saw was Andy, all tan and refreshed looking…back from Cambodia and a long honeymoon!
He was wrapped with Christmas lights, tasked with decorating the shop for the Holiday’s. All the other servers were bustling about with an influx of tea patrons that had just about used up all the available teapots and tables.
I sat on my usual bar stool, waiting and watching. They all know that I don’t mind waiting when it’s busy.
Besides, I enjoy the show.
Today I came to see George (the H.L. owner). I was there to drop off two tea and spice rubs that I created with tea from Happy Lucky’s and some seasonings from Savory Spice Shop.
Eventually, the crowd in the shop thinned out and I was able to order a tea that I wanted to take to my daughter’s house for Thanksgiving Day. I already knew that Vanilla Black was pretty popular with flavored tea drinkers at Happy Lucky’s, so I gave it a try.
Joe had blended the tea with natural vanilla. This makes a big difference in the taste, and I remembered how we had discussed how even natural flavors are tricky. You have to add just the right amount of vanilla especially and not overdo it.
The base Black Tea wasn’t malty, but was a straightforward Black Tea. (I wish it was malty. This is a matter of my own taste though.) It had a full vanilla flavor. The vanilla wasn’t bitter and softened the stiffness of the Black Tea.
Without milk but sweetened, the tea was a bit brisk but good enough.
When I added some cream, I liked the tea better, creamier.
I’m sure my daughter and granddaughters will enjoy this tea on
Thanksgiving with the other tea’s I bring to share. Vanilla is, after all, comforting and enjoyed by most people.
This evening it’s COLD outside! Burr!
Last night one of my alarms began to beep. I thought it was the carbon monoxide alarm so I changed out all 3 batteries. Still, the beeping continued.
I kept fiddling with it for a few hours, charging batteries and trying them again until I discovered the beeping was coming from my smoke alarm on the 9 ft. high ceiling. That alarm was too tall to reach without a ladder. Beep, Beep, Beep!
Finally, hours later, the beeping went dead!
Today I called my son-in-law to come with a ladder to change the battery and he was in and gone in less than 5 minutes.
Beep, beep, beep.
Right away the beeping began again.
It appears that I need a new fire alarm, and I’ll have to put up with this stupid beeping until tomorrow afternoon when MR. son-in- law can return to disable the bleeping device.
I’m getting edgy!
I soothed my nerves and drank this beeping beautiful tea.
This was so good and roasty, a tasty fruity Darjeeling Oolong that’s a little peachy but not too sweet.
I really love Autumn tea’s (this tea reminds me of Autumn).
They’re comforting with the taste of the liquor left from baking peach or apple pie. I’ve made lots of pies for contests and when I bake an apple pie especially, I always add a little brandy which this tea reminds me of. It’s light but smooth and fruity.
No more beeps though, I’ve had enough!