1408 Tasting Notes

I’m baaaaack. My son and I built a new desktop computer. I used parts off my old system – power supply, cooling fan, DVD/CD player, the case from an old system my son gave me, along with his old graphics card. Then I ordered a new motherboard, CPU, RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. I now have a monster system. Because I didn’t think it through, I bought Win7 64 bit. This meant all kinds of headaches with my older programs. To make it worse my old system had melted down making transferring data a real challenge. The last hurdle was moving my mail and address book without being able to launch Vista to do it. What a bear – and what fun. I’m weird that way.

Anyway, yesterday I had one cup of tea. Teavivre Keemun grade 1. I didn’t log it as I was still too preoccupied to notice much about it.

Today is my first day be able to pay attention so I grabbed this Yunnan. First off the price looks a lot higher than my general teas. Reading on, the recommended leaf works out to 2.5 g per 8 oz cup. That means this is roughly $0.75/cup. That is less than McDonalds charges for their corn syrup water or whatever it is. Resteeping twice brings this down to a quarter a cup. Who wouldn’t pay that?

OK, the next thing I noticed was this higher end Yunnan is made from a tree variety normally used for oolong. That is why the bud and leaf is so dark. I found this information on Teavivre’s website.

Opening the sample (provided by Angel), my sophisticated palate immediately noticed malted milk balls (with the chocolate) and Cheerios. Kind of makes me want to put both in a snack bowl for munching. Once steeped the aroma is brownies and honey. I’m gonna need a bigger bowl.

Tasting this really reminds me of honey without the sickening sweetness. The orange brew tastes like dark browned sugar or molasses. It kind of reminds me of a Fujian tea. There is malt and cocoa I think or maybe my mind just expects those notes. Very smooth. Easily drinkable. Some astringency but no bitterness.


welcome back! I’ve missed reading your reviews.


:) thanks


It sounds truly “nonpareil.”


BTW: Fun? I would weep if I had to do anything more complicated than turn the computer off and on again. And sometimes then.

Terri HarpLady

Welcome back! Congrats on the new computer!! Upgrading can be a pain, but it the long run, it’s SO worth it.
This tea sounds interesting too! :)


Have to tell on myself – when we were installing the RAM, I commented how amazing it is that they could pack 8 mb on one little stick. My son looked at me and said, “What is this, the 90’s? They’re GB’s not MB’s!” Yeah, that’s why he was there. lol. Once the hood is closed I can generally figure out how to make software and hardware work together.

Terri HarpLady

LOL, so exactly how old was your old computer?


Uhm, well, I could still run DOS games. lol

Terri HarpLady

My first computer had half a mg of Ram, can you believe that? That was before Windows, & everything was just DOS commands.


Memories. My first computer ran on DOS 2.0. It had been my uncles and he totally ripped off my mom when he sold it to her. Oh well.


My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20. When was that – early 80’s?

The fried computer we just replaced actually had 1 GB RAM. I just had a brain fart and it amused my son.

Another true story – when I was working I helped introduce CAD computers in to our office. The first units were IBM machines and cost $20k each + software, in mid ’80’s money. We had 3 of them networked to a single 70 MB hard drive. yes MB. The IBM guy told us we would never need anything bigger. How times have changed.

Terri HarpLady

yyz, my dad sold me that crappy computer, LOL. He didn’t think I’d ever need anything more. He included a few games with it, with the favorite one being something called ‘FaceMaker’, I think.
I made him buy it back a year later, once I had a chance to look around & realized just how crappy it was.


Good for you Terri, my mother never said a thing to my uncle…
Sadly he sold it to her in the early 90’s. It was his second computer, before he got into Macs and after the commodore he built from a kit! Still better than the one one of my friends was reminiscing about where you would have to download each page of an essay onto cassette or it would crash. My uncle did include software, some games and an interesting diskette of early virus’s.

Terri HarpLady

A diskette of viruses? LOL!

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This is the first real tea I have since late last week. Finishing this sample off today. Then probably disappearing again. My desktop computer died. My son offered to help build a new one. The parts came in last week and I am still trying to get things set up and old things moved off the old hard drive. Maybe later today I can look up for more than the few minutes it took to enjoy this one. Nice easy to drink, kind of malty tea.

Sami Kelsh

I hope you get your computer sorted soon! hugs


Good luck with your computer.


Thanks. It has been mostly fun putting this together with my son, just time consuming. The big issue is the lack of backups (does anyone really back up their data at home?) I have almost everything up and working correctly now. I went from Vista to Windows 7 64 bit. I installed Thunderbird as my email program. It is my last hold up. Because I cannot launch Vista to export my messages and address book off the old hard drive, I cannot figure out how to import them into my new system – but I will.

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drank Lotus by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company
1408 tasting notes

This is my favorite tea from The Persimmon Tree. If you have had the nice little decaf version from Tazo – this is nothing like that. Tazo is a light delicate little flowery tea. This one is bold and rich. The tea base is Vietnamese green tea which along with the lotus scent creates a star anise boldness with velvety vanilla and nutty undertones along with vegetal notes. It is just so good. It is more than making up for my earlier morning cups of meh.

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drank Orange Pekoe by Mother Parkers
1408 tasting notes

I have had this one often when we go out for breakfast. For a cheap bagged tea I used to really enjoy it. Lately it has become so meh. That is probably the worst thing that you can say about a tea. It doesn’t offend. It doesn’t satisfy. It’s just meh. I hate it when that happens.

Sami Kelsh

Yeah. I’m sure I’ve had this one loads of times, and it’s just… not memorable. Like, I can’t remember anything about it.

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Same as many of you – yesterday it was sunny and near 70 F. This morning woke up to a rumbling rainy day. Now its below freezing and spitting white crap. I hate winter. Go away!

Also yesterday I spent most of the day researching, organizing, then actually preparing my taxes. So many new and unique things happened last year with our finances that it was a challenge. But its done. Today I had to calculate Estimated Taxes so I don’t get a penalty like the state is trying to charge me now. How are mere mortals supposed to know this stuff?

Basically what I am saying is I need a simple moment of relaxing and refreshing. That is where the last of this tea comes in. It isn’t pretentious. It is just simple green tea done right. It has enough depth to be interesting along with a bit of bite. Floral and green and just what I needed today. Inexpensively delicious.


Ditto on the weather woes sigh

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I am in the middle of the other reviewers with my opinion of this one. The dry smell is kind of like musty fish. Verdant calls it raisin aromatics with forest moss undertones or something like that. I get fishy. The dry scent reminds me of a not so good puer I bought in a can some years back. I know the dry aroma is usually misleading so I carry on. Once steeped the wet leaf aroma is still a bit harsh to me but it adds dark notes like cocoa and bread or grain. The taste is old dusty book leather (Oooh I like that) and wheat – like the shredded cereal (I like that too). As it cools I do get some notes I will agree are raisin like. The aftertaste is nutty and fruity. Mid sip the flavor gets real pronounced but not harsh or bitter. All in all, I like this fine but it is not one of my favorite shu. If I change my opinion with more steeps I’ll update. Thanks Terri.


Yeah I try to make an effort not to inhale the aroma of shu. Sheng a different story, the aromas of it are very diverse compared to shu.


Yeah, given our descriptions of the smells it is a wonder any one new ever gives it a try. Almost never is the aroma anything like the taste.

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A sample of this was included with my black Friday order. I am just getting around to opening it. I had this a long time ago and recall liking it but not being as wowed by it as others at the time. One thing I notice today is the recommended steep time for western brewing is 5 – 10 minutes. That sounds excessive but maybe it needs it?

I first catch a spicy note like cinnamon that melts into malt. Just past the malt it becomes nutty/woodsy then gets a brisk little bite. The aftertaste has just enough astringent briskness to catch my interest. I can’t think of another Chinese black that has this element. Better than I remember.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

I looked back at one of my previous notes and it appears Teavivre revised the western steeping recommendation. So it is much longer now.


Yeah, I don’t recall that long of a steeping time before, but perhaps it is so the leaves can open up more.

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Interesting. When labeled Earl Grey Creme this received an 84 average rating. As Earl Grey Heaven it has a 71. Hmmm.

OK, I love bergamot. Earl Grey is not just a tea, it is an addiction. If you mess with it you better change the name – blue cornflowers are an exception, they add nothing to the flavor and are just too cute to dislike. I hate surprises when it comes to EG. The Persimmon Tree clues me in advance that this is not simply black tea and bergamot by adding Heaven to the name. So I will not be taking off points just because there is added vanilla.

The dry scent was almost alcoholic in nature so I wasn’t sure what I was in for here. The wet leaf had a similar aroma. The cup though is very nice. It is very balanced. I know this because if you read all the reviews under both listings there are an equal number saying the vanilla is heavier than the bergamot and vice versa. How you judge it depends on which flavor you want most to taste or which you dislike the most. For me personally, the vanilla could be tuned down a notch but then it would not be balanced.

This not at all bitter. It is slightly drying. As the vanilla/bergamot fade I can briefly taste the tea base before the vanilla bean aftertaste kicks in. I thought this was one of the better EGC’s I have tried. The closest comparison is The Tea Merchant’s French Earl Grey. I recall that one leaning a little heavier on the vanilla.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

+1. Well said!


Yes, the Tea merchant’s EGC is pretty vanilla-heavy.

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I am slow at getting back to this one. I took my wife to the doctor (nothing serious) and am just now getting back to trying to get this one right. So rebooting, I used 1 1/2 tsp and 12 oz of just off boiling water and steeped for one minute. Yeah, this is much improved with no bitterness. I do think 2 minutes might bring out a little more of the flavors. I expected cocoa based on the wet leaf scent, instead I got nice notes of leather wrapped in light smoke. It is slightly spicy with some pepperiness. There is also some earthy/woodsy hints mingled in. Based on the cost – just under $10/3 oz, this has way more depth than expected. This is not Zhu Rhong or Golden Tips but it isn’t competing with the big dogs. I feel comfortable recommending it as a really good value everyday Yunnan.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I could not find this on the website. I have contacted Simple Loose Leaf to see if this is still available. So no picture and no product detail. Actually no real review yet. This is more about being consistent. I normally use a 10-12 oz mug. I had the bright idea this morning I would use a 5-6 oz cup instead. That would be fine had I adjusted the amount of leaf and/or the steeping time. So one scoop of leaf equivalent to about 2 tsp and a 3 minute steep is way too much for this little cup. So its dark, strong, and bitter. I can tell it had some nice smoky/chocolate notes but they are overcome. A packet of Splenda in such a tiny cup is just as bad of an idea. Sure it softens the bitterness but now it tastes like bottled tea. Who needs it that sweet? Time to reboot my day. I owe this tea a better review. I mean its Yunnan tea!

Sami Kelsh

I know this feel. Sometimes things just don’t go right and it’s no fault of the tea. Next time, it will be beautiful!


Well that was really fast! Simple Loose Leaf got back to me almost instantly. So I have updated the product info and included a pic.

Sami Kelsh, I am just happy to know we have enough experience to understand when its our fault.


Splenda is tricky, a little bit goes a long way


i love any Yunnan black. i stick to gongfu treatment. Long steeps for me are exactly what you described above

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Having a passion for tea and living in rural America is a tough combination. The nearest tea vendor is 65 miles away. Joining Steepster has completely changed the direction of my tea journey.

My Rating System

90-100 Love it enough to keep around
80-90 Like a lot, would drink often
70-80 Above average
50-70 Average – take it or leave it
0-50 I don’t like it and don’t want to like it


Indiana, USA



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