Recent Tasting Notes


It’s a really hot day here in New Zealand (being summer and all), so was in the mood for something refreshing. Upon opening the packet I wondered if this was going to make my mouth pucker when steeped, as it smells quite tart. I was definitely wrong however. When steeping this smells absolutely gorgeous! Very similar scent to when I make berry syrup oddly enough.

8 minutes – Ooh, this is quite nice. Not what I expected, but in a good way. It’s on the far end of light, moving towards medium strength at this stage, so I figured I’d let this one steep longer.

10 minutes – Very good, but now I’m interested in seeing how strong this will go before compromising the flavour – which is SO good! Not the most logical thought process for a tisane, but the man likes his flavor hits and I’ll be making an iced version at the same time.

16 minutes – Better and better. It’s now reminding me of a refreshing juice, but really hot obviously.

23 minutes – This is where I decided to stop, but I reckon that you could easily go for much longer and not have the tartness develop too much. Excellent blending by Teavivre. The flavour overall is an interesting one. It doesn’t scream apple, but there is a strong apple aftertaste. I definately get the lemon and verbena. I’ve never tried roselle before, but assuming that is the bulk of what I’m tasting, it’s lovely. Kind of berry-ish, but not. Hard to explain. The rosehip note has come out more and more the longer it’s steeped.

I tried this cold in three different ways;
Straight – Much more tart when cold (this is probably a “thing”, but I’m new to iced teas). Still refreshing, but I prefer it sweetened when cold.
Sweetened with sugar – Yum. I can tell this will be the man’s favorite.
Sweetened with honey – Yum! The honey I used has a very distinctive flavor (a native called Manuka) but they go together really well.

On the whole, hot or cold, this is an excellent fruit tea! I will definitely be including this in my next Teavivre order, and am curious about their other ones.


Login or sign up to leave a comment.


This is a very pleasant puer!!! It seems I have been drinking almost exclusively puer lately. This is probably due to the fact that my dear wife’s stomach is acting up and Puer is the only tea she can drink. The Chinese attribute a lot of health benefits to Puer, and in a culture where, “food is medicine”, puer does seem like a very healthy drink. If even half of its attributed benefits are true, I should live be ~178.
Anyway, I’m rambling…onto the tea
Usually one can describe puer specifically, and tea generally in associative terms, i.e. leathery, nutty etc. This puer, however, is a little different. Both the aroma and the taste don’t necessarily have noteworthy associations. Rather, this tea is pure, clean, whole, complete. I’m really enjoying this! It is soooo smooth and crisp, not like tea at all.

I normally steep puer short, from 5-15 sec. After several short steeps (all enjoyable cups), I decided to let it steep for 90 secs to see what would happen. I was yet again rewarded with a smooth, subtle and wholesome cup.

I enthusiastically recommend this tea. Not because of its complex flavors, but because of its complex nature.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I agree that this one is hard to mess up. Very forgiving and easy to drink. A good pu-erh for people transitioning from coffee I think.


I love this one, too! Inspired by Bonnie I did one steep hot and cold steeped the leaves for an iced tea and it was magnificent!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Steeping this in my gaiwan tonight while I play Sims 3 :) It’s as nice as I remember. Pu erh night for me I believe.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I got some awesome lip balms in today from momo! I had the hardest time choosing which ones to keep. I need to give three as gifts but I want them all! aaargh. You can buy some here!
I think they would make great holiday gifts. :)

So this tea! I’ve read nothing but praise for this, and today, I am totally understanding why. The dry leaf smells sweet like cookies. The tea tastes like dark cocoa and rock sugar. mmmm… The color is a bit lighter than expected, but the flavor is full on nonetheless. I can also taste some toasted grains. Maybe like the dark crust of some excellent multigrain bread. I’m adding this to the list of black teas to buy again!


Haha I had to help a friend pick which wax tart to use first, let me know if you need any assistance too :D

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


This is just a really good tasting tea, its vegetal like dark green veggies(spinach) roasty toasty and just so slightly smokey, I think that what I wrote the first time and very little astringency was a little off I think that it’s more of a slight pleasant bitterness rather than an astringency if that makes any sense at all. This is a really nice green tea, I would say different from most green teas I’ve had but I have very little exp with green teas. I think I’ll buy more of this very soon to keep on hand for my visitors and company who ask for a green tea because I won’t serve a visitor a tea that I don’t like(unless they ask for it specific) and I think it is a very good green tea for company.


I agree. This is a good one.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Thank you Angel & TeaVivre for this wonderful sample of tea.
I have to say, I LOVE the samples from TeaVivre, they are SO generous!

After all my gigs these past 3 days (and students), it’s really nice to have a morning to chill out & just sample some teas. It’s taken me an hour to get through my breakfast, simply because I was more interested in the teas. This will be my final review of the morning, as I have to meet a friend at noon for, you guessed it, Tea! LOL!

This is really nice. The dry leaf smells of hay…& chocolate…& there’s one other aroma I’m trying to place…it’s sweet…its…caramel!

2t + 8oz @ 2 min = YUM!

It’s smooth, dark, sweet, and its…its gone??? Little Terri!! You drank the whole cup!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I brewed this at a lower temperature this time. Smooth, light, and sweet potato like. Just what I needed this morning.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


TeaVivre has sent me some samples that have been just delicious and this is no exception. this is a delicious raw Pu-erh with a flavor profile very similar to a 1995 that i am wildly fond of from Portola Coffee Lab here in Orange County CA that costs three times as much. this tea is earthy and woody, slightly smoky, a bit dry and astringent with only the slightest hint of vegetal finish. there are some subtle fruit notes in the middle of the sip, but having just realized my last sip is gone i’ll have to wait till i steep another cup of this golden elixir from the generous sample provided to give you accurate notes :-)

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Time to get going for the day!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Thank you Angel of Teavivre for this sample.

Such an enjoyable tea. A bit of maltiness, fruit, and smoke. I really liked the smokey flavor and how it lingered after the sip. The tea is smooth, and while it has some strength I would not call it a robust tea. In the future I’ll drink this as an afternoon tea. I like something with more kick to it in the morning.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’m so happy so far with my finals results! I even got 100% on my presentation last night and I’m not one for public speaking; so that was a miracle!
This tea was another of Teavivre’s generous samples. Unfortunately, my lid fell into my cup when I was poring so some leaves got more steeped than others. This steep reminds me mostly of deep greens like spinach. It is just a bit sweet. There is also a back flavor of a bit of barley like baked-ness that reminds me of Rishi’s Tie Guan Yin. The major difference between the two is that this one exhibits more creamy flavors than the Rishi version.


Woo-hoo to you. Such a relief to get finals overwith!


Oh I’m so excited because I don’t actually have any tests this semester. It was all presentations and papers so I don’t even have to go next week! >:)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I was about ready to give up on this one until I ran across momo’s post about trying to cook with it. That inspired me to put a little kick into the turkey gravy that I was making for tonight’s dinner.

I put about half a shotglass worth of leaf in a shotglass and filled it up with water to brew. Then when it came time to add water to my pan to make my gravy, I strained the cup through a strainer and used the tea. I also used a little bit of cayanne pepper and some black pepper on the sausage because dad didn’t spice the sausage enough for my taste.

It came out pretty good! There is a different note underneath the light smokiness. I think that is the actual black tea base. It was different enough to be pleasant and went very well with the turkey sausage.

I want to make a version of this again for the whole family only instead of using a meat for the base, I want to try it with onions and mushrooms. That way I can mold the turkey sausage to look like little t-bone steaks for the family. That will surprise them.

Cooking with this tea might have saved it for now. I will have to figure out how to use it in a satisfying way.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Well once again the sample wins out over the tea I actually ordered. I was looking forward to the Milk Oolong from Teavivre, which ended up being moderately disappointing, and was delighted to find a selection of sample one of which was their Bailin GongFu black tea. I steeped a pot from the generous sample and it was delicious!! With so many blacks to choose from they really have to stand out to impress me and this tea did. It’s light and fruity right off the bat with cherry apple and and finishes with all nutty hints of almond and walnut. This tea is great served hot how tea is supposed to be, but serves up great iced like my American brethren seem to prefer. It’s good as is as God intended or with the addition of a sugar cube straight from the pits of hades the fruit flavor explodes up to a whole new level. This is a great back tea

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

One of my top 10 black tea’s.


i know right? it’s that good. i was delightfully surprised :-)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

I’ve been holding off on reviewing this one for a while and give this tea as many tries as I could for the best opinion. It makes a nice cup, but it isn’t really anything I would show off to friends. I fear too much roasting is what did this one in. Charcoal and woody flavors overpower many of the subtler tastes the leaves offer, and tend to cause a fuzzy and drying mouthfeel and a somewhat bitter aftertaste. Thankfully, the leaves have an inherent sweetness to them, and counterbalance this enough to make the overall flavor enjoyable. I have difficulty finding any floral tones throughout steeps, but if I try hard enough I can just pick them out. I find the flavor profile to lean more towards tart fruits than florals, and this is mirrored in both the wet leaf’s aroma and the aftertaste. The first few steeps gong fu style tend to be the most interesting for me. I receive notes of apple, cocoa, and malt in addition to the aforementioned charcoal and wood tastes. Honey flavors creep in into the third or fourth steep, but besides this addition, the complexity goes a bit flat and the flavors fade out quickly for this tea type.

The dry leaves have a nice deep brown appearance and smell of hay, dried fruits, and somewhat biscuity. The wet leaves expand to reveal a very green coloration. They release dark aromas of earth, pure tea, cocoa, and tart berries. They appear in decent shape, although there are a few quite large empty stems. The leaves are, however, very dusty and leave a layer of silt at the bottom of my cup after every steep. Untwisting the the wet leaves, I dragged my thumb across the surface of a leaf and received a fair bit of black specks on the tip.

I suppose my expectations were a bit too high, as this tea just tastes common; there is nothing exciting or unexpected hiding in the leaves. I’m okay with this, though. It’ll give me something to drink when I don’t have time for other complex teas.

200 °F / 93 °C

Feel you on this one. This is very common, now everyone has ‘Da Hong Pao’. Last time I referred to this as ‘Burnt Mi Lan Xiang’ when they have excess of the lower quality stuff and decide to make it in to Da Hong Pao :P


“Burnt Mi Lan Xiang” is quite an accurate description, JC. Sadly, I’ve had my share of a few teas that seemed to be excess scraps labeled as “Da Hong Pao.”

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I decided it was tea time and I was getting my tea ready when I noticed that my little sampler bag of tea was harder to open. It was the long skinny type and usually there is one serving in there. When I dumped it into my press it really started to look like two servings in there. Maybe it just looked like that because the leaves are so fluffy. I brewed it anyway for one minute and then poured it into my TARDIS mug to take downstairs with me.

The liquor was really yellow. I was expecting it to be pale since my other white tea was water-like in color. It smells like a flower. I’m not sure what a peony smells like but I imagine this is spot on. I could wear the scent as a perfume.

It tastes exactly like it smells. It is not chemically or perfume-like, but it tastes like a flower. I ate a dandelion one time and the way this tastes reminds me of that texture.

I’m not sure if I actually like this or not. I get the mouth feel of chewing a flower and it smells like a flower but it is tea. I can see why people like using it as a base for flavored teas. I bet this would add a lovely texture to other flavors. I can imagine making a really good vanilla cake tea out of this.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Well, since there’s no way I’m drinking this, I tried cooking with it. I infused butter with some of the leaves and brushed it onto a spaghetti squash to roast. Then I added a bit more in there, and tried it that way. Couldn’t take it.

I ended up making avocado sauce too (lemon juice, garlic, avocado, salt, pepper) and that went along even better, though the raw garlic is pretty strong.

I just don’t like the smokiness. I am going to try it with meat instead, maybe spaghetti squash isn’t savory enough for me to enjoy lapsang (not that it tastes like anything anyway!). I will find a way to make the smokiness enjoyable!


I have the same feelings about all the Lapsangs I’ve tried. My alternative is either to pass it on to those who actually like the extreme smokiness or mix with vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup as a BBQ sauce. I’ve also been told that almost all is produced for export. Apparently the Chinese aren’t big fans either.


BBQ sauce sounds like a good use, I’ve seen a lot of people say they use it as a rub. I typically don’t ever make anything that requires one so that may be the way to go instead.


hah, well, maybe try mixing it with a few other teas? idk. you’ve probably already tried that.
i actually am in love with the adagio Sherlock blend right now, which has Lapsang Souchong in it. but is also mixed with Assam Melody and Oriental Spice teas. I can’t seem to get enough i like it so much!
but ya, a rub does sound yummy.


I could not handle the smokiness the first time I tried it too. I couldn’t even handle having the tea in my house, it was so strong. I’ve since learned a better way to infuse it – it does help lighten the smokiness somewhat, maybe if you infuse it this way, it will work for you when you cook? When you brew it, use a method that makes it easy to discard the first infusion … in other words, you’re going to do a “rinse” of the leaves for 15 seconds. I use my gaiwan, but, for cooking purposes this might prove to be a lot of effort since the gaiwan is small. You could also use one of those “smart brewer” type of devices, brew for 15 seconds, discard the liquid, and then brew for 2 1/2 minutes. A lot of the smokiness – especially that dusty smokiness – gets rinsed away with this method.


I’m going to try using this tea in my turkey gravy tonight since I still have my sampler pouch on me too. I will report back to see how that works.


I make a rub by grinding a little with sea salt, black peppercorn, urfa hot pepper (you can use something else). Don’t overdo the tea. I’ve added granulated brown sugar or granulated maple sugar to the rub mix and used both on chicken and fish.


I’ve thought about making the last of the sample I have of the LS and putting vanilla or raspberry syrup in it. Which might make it totally gross, but….it might not.

Terri HarpLady

Momo, I have a recipe Tea Brined 5 spice Chicken. It uses Lapsang, & it was pretty tasty, as I recall. Let me know if you want the recipe.
I’ve been thinking of cooking a pork roast in the crock pot, and using a cup of Brewed lapsang instead of water…


Or, i can send you some Oh Canada and you can mix them together and drink bacon


Hahaha bacon!! like like like!


Haha, that sounds good but I know I won’t like it. I just cannot drink this stuff!


Yeah it’s not for me either. The smell brings back some cozy memories from my childhood but it also is super offputting for me.


I like the smell of smoke from campfires, but the smokeness of this tea…..found it hard to deal with.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

In spite of the fact that I have a gig this morning (I have to leave by 10:30, which is way better than yesterday when I had to leave around 6:00), I stayed up kind of late (“how late?” you ask. “I’m not telling”)
So Little Terri, Theresa, and I were jammin’ with the AX, and IT IS SO MUCH FUN!! We’re already fantasizing about Youtube videos with Little Terri playing Bass on the AX, Theresa playing some percussion toys (yes, I have quite a few of those too), and me playing my electric harp & singing a Janis Joplin number. We’re all gonna dress up to express our personalities, and it will be awesome. Oh, the possibilities!!

I originally got this tea as a sample from Angel@TeaVivre. It was quite tasty, and she was sending me some more samples, so I ordered some more of this lovely tea (along with several other items), and had her package them together. No point wasting shipping costs!

I steeped one T in 8oz @ 195 for 2min. It’s a very gentle Keemun, essence of malt, sweet potato, and roses. It makes me wonder if there are rose bushes planted around the tea plants, but probably not. The re-steep was 3 minutes, and that’s a pleasant cup as well.
It’s not particularly smokey, like some of the Keemun’s I’ve tried, but it is tasty, and that’s the most important thing!


Have fun with your new toy!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


An interesting tea. Baked, sweetness, with each successive steep providing a stronger and stronger honey flavor. Greener oolongs are still preferred, but I’ll definitely be keeping this around for when I want something different.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Chocolate, honey, sweet potato.. This is good tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I prefer Keemuns to be a bit smokier but this is still quite good. Nothing extraordinary, but it hits the spot.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Wow. Tied with Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu for being my favorite tea ever. Strong sweet potato taste. Resteeps well.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Very, very good. Sweet and slightly floral, with each steep becoming more and more floral. I prefer Teavivre’s Milk Oolong, but this really is quite good.

205 °F / 96 °C

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I’ve been away for a bit. However, if anyone cares, I am now a tandem reviewer. With great pleasure and endless frustration, my dear father-in-law is visiting for a few months and will be teaching me how to properly evaluate tea!! He is a fairly well recognized actor who starred in the highest grossing Malaysian movie to date. Nonetheless, he is a kind old man who has tolerated a white devil son-in-law, therefore I hold him in fairly high esteem. He has (of course) been drinking Chinese tea for his entire life (>7 decades). I’ll try to be a good student. Anyway, onto the tea!

I humbly express a huge “thank you” to Angel for the generous samples.

Sheng Ancient tree Puerh

Dry aroma: puerh, not remarkable
Wet aroma: sweet, honey, freshly cut cherry or maple…Pleasant and exciting

Yixing small pot…208F 30-45 sec after two washes (substantial discussions with Chinese grandfather as to the reason, but OK)

First steep: (I’m going to go narrative from here on because the flow, as the tea demand it). The pre-drink aroma was pleasant if unremarkable, but the first sip was oddly delicious and a bit scary. My mind thought, “strange brew”, but I must have more. This is definately Puerh, but Puerh with a funny, not unpleasant twist. I couldn’t put a finger on the curiosity….therefore I had to wake my wife to translate for Mr Lim (my FIL) He did a lot of gesturing and loud talking to express himself. Turns out, he was saying “cats should be grass” “Mao Xu Cao” which translates into Orthosiphonius (Chinese herb). He was quite excited at this point.

The second steep was for three. My wife joined us in the evaluation. This tea is getting stronger and smoother. The partakers are becoming happier. An interesting thing happened at this point. My esteemed Father-in-law began speaking about the goodness, tastiness of the bitterness. I hadn’t noticed much if any bitterness, except for a little bite at the end. What I might have thought as a detriment, my father knew as an attribute…. New way of thinking and tasting….
He is correct. He has experience. I could explain the taste in terms of barkyness or mossiness, but I will simply say that this tea has everything you might expect from a sheng puerh, but it has a significance that appeals to the novice and is noticed by the expert.

This is a tea that should be tasted because it has some uncommon attributes that are exceedingly pleasant.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

How lovely to have people at home to drink tea with and who know what to look for. I drink alone most of the time which isn’t best. I hope your FIL has a wonderful visit!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Drinking this straight after a cold third steep of Verdant’s Mi Lan Xiang Honey Phoenix.

I’m noticing that this tastes much softer. The flavors blend and meld into each other. The autumnal taste is more like leaf litter while the other is more like the crisp air of a forest. Yet, in both the honeyed note is clear. Clear but so different. Fascinating.

Today’s been an oolong-y day. Had three different teas, all dark oolongs. I suppose it’s just what I’m in the mood for. I hope it helps my tummy because I feel kinda crappy there. Must sleep soon. Tired. blargh. Long day.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.