79 Tasting Notes

100

I happened upon this one at my local tea shop this afternoon. I’ve been experiencing the GI joys of diverticulitis and recently read that green tea can be helpful for that condition. Green tea seems to be quite the panacea, effective for a multitude of miseries.
What a wonderful medicinal – No spoonful of sugar needed to help this medicine go down!

The dry leaf smell is sweet and mildly floral. As the tea steeps the aroma is very strongly evocative of oolong. The flavor too suggests oolong, along with floral notes of chrysanthemums and wildflower blossoms with a bit of honey. There is a mild vegetal note – Just enough to remind you that it’s a green tea you’re drinking.
I was a little leery about the 190F brewing temperature, but no bitterness. I used 3 generous teaspoonfuls for a 16 ounce pot and steeped for four minutes.

Yunnan Orchid Green is a lovely green tea – One of the very best I’ve had. My tummy feels better already.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Fjellrev

Wow, 100!

Teatotaler

It really is a glorious green! :)

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100
drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
79 tasting notes

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96
drank Assam Breakfast by Zhi Tea
79 tasting notes

Oh my! This is a delightful Assam tea. I’m getting lots of sweet stone fruit flavors of bright cherry and deep, ripe plum. It’s pleasantly malty and smooth – Very smooth. There are no bitter notes or rough edges, only a pleasant astringency typical of Assams. Overall the tea was creamy and sweet. I detected a smidge of cocoa.
For those who are Assamaphobic, this Assam would be a safe choice – Sturdy, but oh so gentle and completely delicious!
Thanks for the sample, Josh! I loved every sip!

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Plums, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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96
drank Assam Breakfast by Zhi Tea
79 tasting notes

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100

When I was in Paris a few years ago, right before bedtime I would head to the little cafe around the corner from my hotel to people watch and wind down with a cup of chamomile tea. It was very good chamomile tea that I often drank with a sweet. I learned that chamomile tea is especially good with just about any French pastry! By the end of my stay the waiter would see me, smile and exclaim, “Ah! Monsieur Chamomile!” Happy memories!
Anyway, this tea is absolutely the best chamomile that l’ve had since then. It’s appley sweet like chamomile is supposed to be. No off or bitter flavors that I have encountered in lower quality brands. It’s organic too. If you’re a Monsieur or Madame Chamomile like moi you will not find better! Now, maybe un petit peu de chocolat. Bonne nuit mes amis!

Flavors: Apple, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
MrQuackers

I will have to get that tea. Read my review on Stash Organic Green Tea. Brew it properly and add the right amount of sugar and perhaps you will taste a very good green tea.

Teatotaler

You just can’t go wrong with Stash Tea! I have to give their Organic Green a try!

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100
drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
79 tasting notes

A poor man’s Darjeeling. This British legacy tea treasure has significantly more muscatel flavor than even the venerable (and expensive!) Jungpana Estate second flush Darjeeling that I drank yesterday evening, and it’s half the price!
As it steeped, the aroma was actually a little reminiscent of Jade Tieguanyin oolong. The taste was mildly floral and subtly sweet, with lemony notes and a forest hint of pine. This high grown Ceylon is quite like a fine first flush Darjeeling – Margaret’s Hope first flush, one of my favorites, pops to mind. There was just a pleasant bit of astringency. Although it’s light bodied, Lover’s Leap Estate Ceylon stood up beautifully to my vegetarian Hungarian chicken paprika and noodles, Italian green salad with extra garlic onion dressing, and dark chocolate eclair dessert of my Sunday supper.
This second review of Lover’s Leap confirmed my findings of the first – What a delightful, delicious Darjeeling double!

Flavors: Floral, Forest Floor, Muscatel, Pine, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Viennese Earl Grey is the smoothest EG I’ve ever had. The bergamot is perfect – Not overpowering or perfumy at all. The Darjeeling base is wonderfully fruity. Indeed, it compliments the citrusy bergamot fabulously, adding a bit of sweetness. This medium body tea stood up well to a bit of milk and honey – Not that it needed any! I was just feeling a little decadent this Saturday evening.
Based on a blend by Demmers Teehaus in Vienna, Austria, this Teutonic take on the British classic is definitely my new go to EG. Heavenly with my chocolate chip cannoli for desert!

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Classic tea. Bouquet of Flowers No. 108, created in 1880 by Pavel Kousmishoff in St. Petersburg, Russia to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth, is Kusmi Tea’s oldest blend. It was the favorite tea of Tsar Nicholas II. Fast forward 136 years later and 7000 miles west to a Russian tea lover in Richmond, Virginia, USA. It is a sunny springtime Sunday afternoon and I am feeling a bit nostalgic today. April in Virginia is glorious! Drinking Bouquet of Flowers just seems right as I gaze thankfully into the garden at my flowers that survived last night’s frost – Hopefully our last! I think that the odd spring cold snap must have put me in the mood for something Russian.

I love all things floral and I especially love floral teas. A brazen, unapologetic floral fiend I am! That said, I honestly think that many folks with floral fears in regard to tea might just find this tea to be quite acceptable.

The dry leaf smells mostly of lavender, and there is a hauntingly pleasant woody scent that calls to my mind the smell of an old antiques shop or, perhaps, the library of an old English country estate. That kind of woody scent. There is a bit of spicey sweetness in the fragrance that lingered into the three minute steep.

Flavor wise, the tea base of Ceylonese, Chinese and Indian tea creates a very smooth base, with a pleasant bit of bread and malt, along with the woody note. The main floral note is lavender, but it is not overwhelming or perfumey. I also detected a hint of sweet violet. The citrus components from the bergamot, mandarin, lemon and lime work very well to keep the floral components in check.

This is a tea of masterful synchronicity. Everything comes together just right to produce the classic cup of Imperial Russian tea. It makes a fabulous afternoon tea – Great with sweets! The fact that Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 has been around for over 130 years says something. I am surprised that this tea is not more highly rated. As far as I’m concerned, if it was good enough for Tsar Nicholas II it is certainly good enough for little old me.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Malt, Sweet, Violet, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML
Xxxxx

As a person with floral fears in regard to tea, I loved this review! Thank you.

Teatotaler

Thank you, Whiteantlers! I’d bet that this antique tea would compliment your antique European tea ware beautifully! :)

Xxxxx

You’re right, and I am going to acquire some. I tip my hat to your masterful enabling. :)

ashmanra

I need this tea.

Teatotaler

I’m running dangerously low on this and plan to order some myself, otherwise I would gladly send some samples your way, Whiteantlers and Ashmanra. it just so happens that Kusmi is having a 20% off sale this week on all orders of $35.00 and over. That’s a perfect excuse for me to pick up some of their Samovar blend too – I’ve been dying to try it!
Ashmanra, I really enjoy reading about your tea parties!

Xxxxx

Teatotaler, I am making that purchase this and appreciate you letting us know about the nice discount. As for your love of traveling, please know you are always welcome to have tea and good food with me if you are in Philadelphia. :)

Teatotaler

I will definitely do that, Whiteantlers – Thank you! I would like to extend the same invitation to you if you are ever in Richmond. :)

Xxxxx

That’s very kind and I would be delighted to call on you if I am there! :)

ashmanra

I looked at A Southern Season yesterday and they only had one Kusmi tea left. Just one tin. And it looks like they have greatly reduced their stock of teas. Sad! I guess it will have to be a mail order! The Violet tea has me intrigued. Thanks for the sale tip!

Teatotaler

My pleasure, Ashmanra. Kusmi’s Violet is a splendid tea! Positively splendid – Like drinking violet candy!

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100

Roses for the Queen. What a superb idea! I’ve been on one of my Keemun kicks here lately. Whenever that happens I tend to spend a great deal of time at the court of gracious Queen Catherine who benevolently bestows upon me her rich gifts of fine, sweet cocoa and malt. With a deep sense of gratitude I decided to bring her roses, a gift for her unrelenting kindness and grace. She loved them!
Two parts Queen Catherine and one part Harney’s Rose Scented Black was spot on perfect. I used one heaping teaspoon of this blend to eight ounces of 205F water and steeped for three and a half minutes. Just right! Although no additions were needed, a jot of milk and a dash of sugar only enhanced the rosy chocolate treasures of the tea.
The Queen loved my roses so much I’m thinking knighthood here. I see a long and happy future for myself at good Queen Catherine’s rosy court.

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Profile

Bio

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone

“Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.” – George Orwell

I am definitely a Darjeeling and oolong kind of guy!
I do, however, enjoy many varieties of black tea, and green tea too.

Darjeeling!
Darjeeling tea is at the very top of my favorite tea list. It’s the tea that first inspired me to delve deeper into the wide, wonderful world of tea – My first love, so to speak. Darjeeling will forever reign supreme in my tea pantry! I love all Darjeeling flushes for their own unique characteristics, although I generally prefer a nice rich second flush. Margaret’s Hope second flush Darjeeling, my first Darjeeling, has a very special place in my heart. It is my all time favorite tea and my go to Darjeeling.
Gopaldhara Red Thunder Gold autumn flush Darjeeling from What-Cha is nothing short of spectacular, and my other must have Darjeeling. Makaibari Estate first and second flush organic Darjeeling teas, Glenburn Darjeeling Autumn Crescendo, Jungpana second flush, Margaret’s Hope first flush Darjeeling and Darjeeling Tukdah first flush are other favorites.

Other teas that I especially enjoy:

Black Tea -

Keemun – Imperial Mao Feng
Yunnan Teas
Nepali Teas
Second Flush Assam Teas
Nilgiri Frost Teas
High and Mid Grown Ceylons
Orthodox Kenyans

Oolong Tea -

Darjeeling Oolong
Milk Oolong
Bao Zhong Oolong
Wuyi Oolong
Tieguanyin Oolong
Dong Ding Oolong
Ruby Oolong

Green Tea -

Mao Feng Green Tea
Yunnan Green Tea
Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea
Houjicha Japanese Green Tea

Flavored teas that I particularly enjoy:
Vanilla
Caramel
Black Currant
Lychee
Almond
Coconut
Citrus
Spice
Bergamot – Earl Grey
I positively adore all florals – Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Lavender and Violet.
Love smoky teas too – Lapsang Souchong.
Fruity Greens – Blueberry, Strawberry and Cherry.

As far as herbals go, I love chamomile, rooibos, honeybush and peppermint teas. Anise tea is very good too. I actually enjoy a fairly wide variety of herbal teas, especially in the evening.

Ardent Anglophile that I am, I am unquestionably devoted to British tea culture which is quite reflective of my true tea preferences. Love a good old English Breakfast blend!
Russian tea culture is interesting – I long to own an antique Russian samovar.

I never, ever add sugar to my tea, though I do love honey and a jot of milk in my breakfast cup.

Favorite Vendors – Top 40:
What-Cha
Arbor Teas
Rishi Tea
Bellocq Tea Atelier
Kusmi Tea
Steven Smith Teamaker
Harney & Sons
Simpson & Vail
Mark T. Wendell Tea Company
Grace Tea Company
Carytown Teas
Mandala Tea
The American Tea Room
Fortnum & Mason
The English Tea Store
Whispering Pines
Culinary Teas
Zhi Tea
Silk Road Teas
Yunnan Sourcing
The Tao of Tea
Adagio Teas
Joseph Wesley Black Tea
Single Origin Teas
Capital Teas
Mariage Frères
TeaGschwendner
Verdant Tea
Upton Tea Imports
Palais des Thés
New Mexico Tea Company
The Tea Table
Teavivre
Tin Roof Teas
The Whistling Kettle
The Tea Spot
Tea Trekker
Teabox
Golden Moon Tea Company
Stash Tea Company

Rating Guide:

I only review and rate teas that I especially enjoy. Life is too short and time is too dear to dwell on subpar tea!
In my opinion, anything below 70 is not something that I would tend to keep in my tea pantry. That said -

100 = Perfection/Tea Nirvana – Teas that I cannot live without and will always be in my tea pantry forever and ever. Amen!
90-99 = Excellent tea! I will definitely keep this one around to enjoy regularly. An essential pantry staple.
80-89 = Very good! Tasty tea. Would gladly drink again but not necessarily on a regular basis. Could still, perhaps, be a staple in my tea pantry.
70-79 = Good, but nothing that sparkles. Most likely would not worry about keeping this one around as a staple.

Tea is my passion. It has become so much more than a hobby. For me, tea is a way of life. I do tinker around a bit with blending teas. Two of my blends, Virginia Breakfast, a blend of Imperial Keemun and a second flush Darjeeling, and my Russian Caravan Blend with Keemun, Wuyi Oolong and Lapsang Souchong, are sold at a wonderful French tea shop – salon de thé :) – here in Richmond. My own small claim to tea fame.

I work in the medical field – Charge nurse of an advanced dementia and hospice care unit. I am also a dementia care training instructor, so I stay pretty busy. I have a multitude of interests. Strong advocate of LGBT rights and animal welfare! I’m a big time lover of cats! I love jazz, blues, classic rock, opera and Russian symphonic music, classic cinema, cooking (I am mostly vegetarian), gardening, gemology, vulcanology, history – Especially English history. Passionate Anglophile! Love to travel (When I can afford to). Love England, France (Paris is heaven!), Canada and the American South. Love day trips to D.C., the beach and Shenandoah Valley of my beautiful Virginia. I am fascinated by Australia. Aviation is another major interest – Love my flight simulator. I love baseball. Enjoy swimming and bowling. Ardent bibliophile as well – Vast and eclectic library!

“While there’s tea there’s hope.” — Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Location

Richmond, Virginia, USA

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