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Recent Tasting Notes

I drank a pot of this earlier this afternoon. So tasty, so richly sweet potato & malty. Delicious! Just what I needed.


that’s an excellent description… sweet potato. very effective!

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I’d like to start the day by saying, “Thank you Sil”
Thank you for being the best tea sister ever, & for sharing this teavivre order with me. Even with the crazy postal mix ups, its SO worth it. This cup of tea is lovely, a perfect start to what will be a busy busy day with me cloistered away in the practice room at UMSL, followed by a rehearsal with the choir, followed by more cloistering, a lesson with my student there, dinner at a BBQ joint nearby, a little more practice, & then the concert tonight. I’m bringing my laptop, just in case I have time to take a break from playing music & work on my novel a little. That’s my day. This tea is wonderful. Like a comforting baked sweet potato, straight from the oven. So rich, malty, & soothing.


Ooo, I can’t wait to try this one!

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This was first cup of the day, I’ve reviewed it before, so all I’ll say here is its tasty! I’m taking the re-steep to the bubble bath.

Terri HarpLady

Sip Down! This morning I polished this off, as my first tea of the day. It’s been a pleasure to sample, so once again thanks to Angel & TeaVivre for the generous sample of this excellent quality tea.

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Good morning Steepsterites!

I’m enjoying the 2nd steeping of this lovely Golden Monkey, with its malty sweet potato profile, a nice start to a busy day. I drank the first steeping while I fixed my breakfast. There is also a buttery texture, it’s the ‘sparkly’ sensation I get from some teas, it’s like my taste buds take turns twinkling like stars. I don’t really know how else to describe it, but I like it!

This is a wonderful tea to relax with, hanging around in my ‘roadie’ outfit (jeans & T shirt) before I head out for a very busy day. I have an Electric Harp gig at Whole Foods Grocery from noon til 3:00, where I’ll be dressed in a long red xmasy outfit with what I call Angel Sleeves (the kind that drape down), playing a mix of Holiday music (xmas, Chanukah, classical, peace & snowy weather related), along with my usual mix of Jazz, Rock, Originals, & Blues with vocals. Hopefully I’ll sell a bunch of xmas CD’s so I can buy more tea! (you can get yours at www.harpsinger.net)

After that gig, I’ll grab a bite to eat, change to a long black velvet outfit with draping chiffon sleeves, & go play a church service gig with the choir & orchestra. I’ll be done around 9pm, I think. Just in time to drive to Tony’s & watch SNL!

Thank you, Angel & TeaVivre for this delicious sample!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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I was not too excited to try this one because I’m not a big ginseng fan. But I do like oolong, and Teavivre was nice enough to send me the samples, so time to finally do it!

As an oolong it was really good, kind of roasted, but still vegetal. The ginseng kind of reminds me of a hybrid of some kind of sweetener and eucalyptus. It had that cooling feel but the aftertaste was this lingering, back of the throat sweetness. I didn’t really like that part.

I started drinking it far too late to get any more steeps out of it, but I plan to try it again soon. I imagine past that first steep that sweetness is more subtle as the ginseng fades, and I am pretty curious now about the oolong in here by itself too.

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I made a cup of this in the morning to drink in the car en route to work, drank a few sips, & then accidentally left the rest of it in the car. By the time I realized it, class was starting, so it sat out there all day. On the way home, I sipped it. It was chilled & super yum!


Instead of sheng I opted for some Teavivre black tea as well. I’m REALLY enjoying the Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree. I’m 7 steeps into it and its DELICIOUS

Terri HarpLady

yeah, that one is really nice!
I need to polish off some of my tea vivre teas & I’m so close, so that I can place a new order! I also need more money ;)

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I’m taking a few moments to enjoy a cup of this lovely one before I leap into action. This morning it is sweet, a little tangy, with a sweet potato richness. I’ll take my resteep to enjoy on the road. We got our first snow of the year this weekend, but of coarse, it wasn’t enough too cause any travel problems.

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It’s been a busy day, so no real tasting notes on this, but I’ve reviewed it plenty of times. It’s a lovely buttery rich brew, no astringency, smooth & sweet, & I can drink it on an empty stomach whilst contemplating what to have for breakfast, & that’s what I did this morning.


I,ve had my share of black teas today, but now you remind me I could totally fix myself a cup of this wonderful tea :-)

Terri HarpLady

Glad to inspire! :)

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I’m enjoying this & watching Supernatural. We’re on episode 102, LOL.


Yay for Supernatural! Hope you are enjoying it :)

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It’s been awhile since it had this one in my cupboard, so with all the recent sales, I restocked! Some of the bolder breakfast teas that I love make me queasy on an empty stomach, but Dian hong don’t share that feature. The buttery richness might be the reason, but more likely it is the lack of astringency. This is not a bold tea, but it’s not a wimp either. The ensemble it inspires In my mind is all wood, bamboo & air today: Breathy bamboo flutes of varying sizes, a variety of wood/temple blocks, rain stick (sound of running water), bamboo wind chime with a gentle breeze. Soothing, random, ambient.

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And another delicious rich cup from Teavivre. Yum!


I got some of this on BF too. One of my favorites.

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Thank you to Angel @ TeaVivre for this generous sample!

My daughter Arianna is here for breakfast & tea. We started with this wonderful sample of Golden Tip Yun Nan. Yunnan teas are one of my most favorites, with their thick maltiness & sweet caramel undertones. This one does not disappoint in the least! Malty & sweet, with a bit of sweet potato in there as well. A lovely start to my morning!

Donna A

One of my favorites from teavivre. Love the maltiness and sweet caramel undertones.

Terri HarpLady

yes! Anything that tastes of Malt, chocolate, caramel, or sweet potato, please!

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Yesterday afternoon after Ari left I went on a black tea binge. In part, because I hadn’t had enough black tea to start my day properly, in part because I have a collection of tea samples to get through:
1. Assam Melody – I’ll give a proper review later, but for now I’ll say it’s Malty, Bold, somewhat acidic, and mouth watering.
2. Yunnan Gig – Cocoa brown, mahogany, and gold finely twisted strand, with a bright but malty, caramel buttery taste, and a cocoa powder finish.
3. Yunnan Noir – cool looking little cocoa brown rolled leaves, twisted into little knots, with highlights of gold. Nice deep malty taste, hints of chocolate and a peppery finish.

Ok, now that I’m caught up, this Yun nan that I just finished drinking is yummy, tasty, and smooth. It is a proper start for another busy day. I’ve already reviewed it on my tealog in greater depth, I think, so I’ll end by staying Thank You once again to TeaVivre. This is part of a sample they sent me, which I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Now, on to play a 4 gig, and then my weekend begins!

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Thank you for this sample, Teavivre! Sorry for taking 3928752 years to get to it.

I wanted more white tea tonight, and realized I had a lot of unopened silver needle samples. Jasmine sounded especially nice so I brewed this one up.

This is really light after 90 seconds. And I don’t know if I like jasmine with silver needle, because it tastes so amazing by itself. I’ll give it another try at some point, because it was just too muted for me.

I feel like Goldilocks…first a white has too much flavor for what I was looking for, then the next one is too light! I’ll revisit this again soon and steep it longer.


Woaaaah… you are old! :D

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Another sipdown of another sample!
I just got home from a performance with the UMSL University Symphony Orchestra. The highlight of the performance was a cello concerto, Schelomo. The young man who played it was amazing, I feel honored to have been part of the orchestra tonight!
So I’m having this tea to wind down, & also getting ready to start on my taxes in a few minutes. I have to tell you, this tea brewed beautifully! The chrysanthemum floated to the surface & looked so perfect, that I took a pic & posted it on my FB. If you want to see it, go to https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak.

Anyway, a beautiful evening!


Yeah on the concert! Boo on the taxes.
Besides the beautiful display, how does this differ from the rose tuocha? The rose is definitely smoother than the straight mini.

Terri HarpLady

I wish I could answer that question! Since I drank one in the morning & the other in the evening, it’s hard to say.
I can say I enjoyed them both, that they were both smooth, & slightly nuanced by their respective flowers. I haven’t tried the plain one, & probably won’t because I have so much puer here already, if you know what I mean! I think if I purchase more, I’ll brew a cup of each & sip them side by side to observe their differences. I do think the chrysanthemum was slightly more flower flavored than the rose.

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I’m a little behind on my tea sampling, at least in my opinion. Of course, in my opinion I’m behind on everything (ask my sis Ms Whatsit, who just listened to me whine for 20 minutes about trying to get things done…)

So, this is from a sample from Angel & TeaVivre, and I’d like to say, “Thank You” to them for the lovely teas that I’ve enjoyed so far.

I have a bit of a love affair going with Puerh Tuochas right now. I’ve been told somewhere along the line that Tuochas are made from the lesser quality Puerh, but if that is the case, and I doubt that it’s the case for all of them, then I don’t really care. Tuochas are cute, they are aesthetically pleasing, they are convenient, and they say, “Drink me”. So I do. Yes, some are better than others.

This Tuocha is especially attractive, with it’s Chrysanthemum flower ornament. It doesn’t lend a lot of chrysanthemum flavor, but that’s ok, because the Puerh itself is a tasty one. Deep & dark, with a mellow & slightly sweet woodsy flavor, & a buttery sensation. I steeped the first 8 oz cup for 2 minutes, & the 2nd cup for 3. Both are delicious & smooth, with NO fishiness or saltiness, just a pleasant minerally brew. I wouldn’t mind a little more intensity, and since there is another Tuocha in the sample, I will brew that one at a later date in my Gaiwan.


“…they say ‘Drink me.’ So I do.” lol. Love!

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I finally recieved my beautiful gaiwan tea set from Teavivre yesterday. This morning when I woke up I knew exactly what I was feeling ready for, a pu-erh. Now I haven’t really tried much pu-erh yet so keep that in mind.

I spent lots of time last night pouring with my gaiwan and getting a feel for brewing this style. I feel so important and involved with this process.

I’m not really sure how to review pu-erh tea. I’m not really familiar with the termonology I see other people using to describe pu-erh but I’m going to wing it here. I’m using the suggested gaiwan brewing times from Teavivre.

The first steep is curious. Not as overwhelmingly strange tasting as I was expecting it to be. It’s an interesting flavor, something I’ve never really experienced before. Maybe a tiny bit fishy? But it’s actually not offputting….very weird…

Wow. The second steep looks like a completely different tea. It’s so much darker than the first! The wet leaves smell a little smokey. This steep tastes like the first one, but with a little more oomph.

After a third steep the wet leaves are starting to smell leathery. Now I understand what people mean when they use “leathery” as a description. This steep is surprsingly sweet in a way. Much different than the previous steeps.

By the fourth steep I’m starting to get stuck on the fish smell for some reason. It doesn’t really taste fishy, but it smells just fishy enough to be getting a little weird. I’m having trouble focusing on anything else. One thing I am noticing though is that my tummy is feeling much better than it did when I woke up this morning. It could just be in my head but either way it’s a plus.

I think I’m going to have to stop here. I know I could continue steeping but I think I’ll have to dive into a few more pu-erhs before I take this one all the way. I’m going to hold off on a rating for now.

And I almost forgot to thank LiberTEAS for sending me some of this! What an interesting start to the day =) Oh, I forgot to add I haven’t burnt my fingers once yet! Woohoo!


How fun to have a new set! I don’t know how long your steeps are but maybe too long? They should be 20-30 seconds in a gaiwan and you should have rinsed once first for that long too (which you probably did). I find that this helps. But, there are lots of milder pu-erhs out there too. Some like vanilla, some like bread, some like cedar wood or mushrooms. I wouldn’t stop trying.


I used the suggested times on Teavivre’s website which were : rinse(10s),10s,15s,20s,25s,30s, etc.

I’ve got quite a few more pu-erh samples around here that I have been saving to try so I’m looking forward to how the next one will compare. It’s not that I didn’t like it….just that I’m not sure what to make of it yet. Who knew tea could be so complex?

Brewing this way is so interesting and relaxing to me. It’s so much different than putting the tea in my Breville and letting it do all the work for me. Yeah, I’m definitely enjoying this tea set!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Bonnie, can you recall one that was especially cedar-like? I’m looking to find one – since cedar is one of my favorites :)


WP 2 that are carried by Mandala are 357 gram 2007 Menghai Jade Luster and 357 gram 2008 Menghai Dayi Hong (I reviewed both). Both have nice cedar. The Menghai Dayi 8592 2009 has nice Vanilla.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Mmmm the Dayi Hong sounds delicious!


Thanks for the tea suggestions Bonnie!

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This sample is yet again thanks to the Teavivre gang:)

This tea is not one I am inclined to have again after I am done with the sample. It’s drinkable, but only just. Frankly I got plenty of fruit teas that I enjoy alot more then this, and can get them locally. I’m thinking I should of stuck to black, greens, oolongs, and whites in my taste test, as I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons beyond the herbal, fruit and rooibos teas that have pretty much taken over my cupboard. That being said however, I am looking forward to trying the last tea of the bunch, the Apple Awakening.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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