1673 Tasting Notes


This came in a mystery box from Katiek. Blue River Tea is new to me. The few ratings seem a bit lackluster. This tea looks much darker than most white teas. Very dark green (white peony?) It is large broken pieces.

The taste is nice. It is primarily rose (there are blossom pieces in the mix) and the pomegranate is actually in a supporting role here. There are visible pieces of pineapple in the mix but I can’t pick them out. I taste the white tea in the aftertaste.

The instructions say to steep 2 minutes. I went three or four. That was a mistake. This is fairly bitter but I believe that to be my fault for ignoring directions. The second cup was lifeless as I drained most of the flavors out in the first cup.

Tomorrow I will again and this time pay attention. Except for the bitterness, the cup was pleasant enough to warrant a retry. Holding off rating until later.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec

As the second cup cooled, the flavor came back. It is light but there is no bitterness. It added a peppery note too.

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Last Sunday we had a silent auction at church. There was a tea for one set that I came home with for $5. So for my second cup of Silver Needle, I used the cute little cream colored tea pot to steep. I never use a tea pot and now I know why. It worked fine but I would need to get a tiny strainer from the kitchen to keep leaf out of my cup. I am not so inclined. I’ll probably just move the pot to the living room for tea bag use or more likely put it on a shelf as decoration.

The tea turned out fine. Much like the first cup. I just prefer my French press, besides I like to watch the leaf dance.

Soap box ahead and not tea related – I am sitting in my den surrounded by pictures of my wife and kids – two sons now grown. I sit here today reflecting on the joy and the beauty that surrounded me over the years and realizing how I did not fully appreciate the moments. I was so wrapped up in trying to get ahead and trying to please the boss who never shared the same loyalty and respect. As a laid off old fart I’m begging you, don’t waste the years trying to please your boss or be too devoted to your job in general, if it is keeping from fully enjoying the moment – start looking for something that will. I have 2/5ths the income I had a year ago, no insurance, and I am 100 times happier away from the rat race. I just wish I had my sons to raise over. I would be there more for them now. I am sure some of you older folks know exactly what I mean.


100% percent agreed.


I have been out of the rat race for just over 15 years. And I am hoping I don’t need to go back. Even when my kids are grown, there are so many worthy places that could use a hand. College is just around the corner, though.

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3:00 pm and my first cup of tea. sigh. Better than yesterday but not by much. Tomorrow is already set to be another busy one.

I used two heaping wooden spoons of leaf and let it steep the recommended 4 minutes. I am used to very subtle white teas. This is a little more pronounced though still light. Does that make sense? The main flavor I am getting is oats. There is also a peppery element. As it cools I get a fruity aspect along with a touch of earthy.

A nice afternoon cup.

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drank Earl Grey Decaf by Bigelow
1673 tasting notes

It is after 11 pm and I just finished my first cup of the day :(
I needed an Earl Grey. I was so desperate tonight that I honestly could not have told you this was decaf if I didn’t know. I noticed the bergamot is on the orange end of the taste scale. Twinings EG is more lemon to me. This is a lot closer to Lady Grey. Hit the spot tonight.

When you are too busy for tea, you’re to busy. Hope to do better tomorrow.

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drank Special Blend by S&D TEA
1673 tasting notes

Apparently I am now once again a college student. After getting registered I had a club sandwich a mountain of onion rings and this tea. I think I finally figured out why this appeals to me so – besides it is different than the usual restaurant iced tea. I think if I iced a Yammamotoyamo oolong this is what it would taste like. There is just something roasty/earthy about this stuff that appeals to me as an iced tea.


Congratulations and good luck!


Good luck!






Way to go!


That’s wonderful! Good luck!

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I got up and stumbled to the den in an early morning grrrr. Tea, must have Fujian Congou tea! Where is it? Look again. Nooooo! One more time. Dig deep. It has to be here (panic). Ooooh, glorious morning! I knew I had some of this left.

The ratings are a bit scattered, but I guess it depends on how you feel about Fujian black tea. This is really a good solid one. Molasses, caramel, malt, hints of yam, cocoa, even a wisp of roastiness. This just hits all my buttons.

I’m off to attempt to register for a fall course in 3D CAD modeling. I got permission from the Prof. to skip the prerequisites based on past experience. I am a little nervous health-wise but also looking forward to learning something new.


Oh, I thought this one was great!


This was on my “please buy me a whole pound” Christmas and birthday wish list. Got ignored both times :( but next holiday I am going to highlight and put exclamation marks around it.


Ask for money and buy it yourself – that’s what I do anymore. I gave up on the family grasping the need.


Yeah, but then there’s nothing fun to open. Some things you just never outgrow…


I find that with my family getting them to order online is the sticking point. They either never remember to do it in time or lose the site address. If they can go in person somewhere I stand a much better chance of getting the tea I want. :)


Nicole, I agree. I just wish there was a brick and mortar within 30 minutes of home. I would get what was on my list then. Nearest place is 1 1/2 hours away. It’s a good one though.

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drank White Bud Puerh by Vicony Teas
1673 tasting notes

The leaf is from Friday. It’s Sunday now. I just hated to toss it. So… This cup was so caramel. Yum. And bonus, I didn’t suffer any ill effects. Score. Ah, life on the edge.

Charles Thomas Draper

What ill effects do you suffer?


It was tongue in cheek. Using leaf more than a few hours old freaks some Steepsterites out. If I am leaving it overnight I drain it well and leave the lid off. I have never had problems other than occasionally a loss of flavor.


I re steep a lot of puerh overnight for the next day. So far so good.

Charles Thomas Draper

Absolutely. Steep it overnight or leave the leaves for the next day.

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drank White Bud Puerh by Vicony Teas
1673 tasting notes

I have several teas that really need a sipdown due to age. This is not one of them. It is supposed to get better with age. I just couldn’t help myself and now it is gone. A wonderful fermented white tea. Retains enough of its white tea traits to be recognizable and supplements it with fresh raw puerh like earthiness. This is from Yunnan but I don’t know if it is truly a puerh but somehow calling it dark tea doesn’t seem correct either. How about I just say it was really good. Definitely worth trying if you can find it.


Yep, they are making white pu-erh cakes now.


Interesting to spot pu-erh being reviewed upon my opening this page and not for a while now. I am having a cup of pu-erh this morning from one of the tea bags that Azzarian sent my way.

I have not had pu-erh in a long while and this one is most welcome. It is raw, damp richly dark red in color; smelling of damp earth and tasting as such and richly in minerals. All of this from a cup of dampness pu-erh.
If I have not made sense then I don’t understand the drink that is pu-erh.

I find this tea to be well fermented since the aroma/odor and taste depicts as much. Similarly so to your White Bud pu-erh description. How interesting?

Thank you for sharing, hope you don’t mind my jumping in.

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2nd cup. This time with a salad of fresh greens, banana peppers, muenster, and chipotle dressing. Tea was a wonderfully cooling creamy accompaniment.


I LOVE this tea!

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I have a Russell Hobbs kettle with tea pot and warming tray in my living room. It is plastic but works fine. When I recently set up a second station in my den I tried using a one cup drip coffee maker. It worked but it was slow and I don’t like waiting for the water to cool for green and white tea. I started to buy an inexpensive and very basic but mostly stainless kettle when I spotted this at Walmart. I am having a blast with this thing.

First the negatives:
It is 1.7L. I wanted smaller but those don’t exist in the land of super-size.
The lid is plastic as is the small viewing window. Neither of these bothers me as I only heat 12oz or less at a time so the water never hits the window anyway.
The cord is too short. You have to use a heavy duty extension cord if you aren’t on a kitchen counter with an outlet at the kettle.

Now the positives:
I did not pay $200 or even $100. It was only $40.
It heats very quickly and then holds the water temp for 1 hour unless you stop it.
There are five preset temps – it holds the last setting used in memory.
It easily can be custom set between 150F and 212F. (Can be switched to read C)

Bottom line:
I haven’t had it long so I can’t speak on the durability. It feels solid. It heats the water just like it is supposed to do. I detected no off odor or taste to the water. The price is very reasonable. Honestly, I don’t know what else I would want from a $40 kettle – except contain no plastic and be only 16 ounces. Since that is not going to happen, this will do nicely.


Ohh, you have tea stations in your living room and your den? I have some serious envy! My tea making is confined to my kitchen. You are living the dream!


I have this kettle, but the not programmable kind. I have had it for 2 years and so far works really well. I have always had good luck with Hamilton Beach. (All of the negatives are the same for this one too).


Rosehips – My wife isn’t so sure it isn’t a nightmare. It’s all in the interpretation ;)

Lala – The one you have is what I was going to get before I saw this one. Glad to hear you have had a positive experience.


I ordered this from amazon last week and I’m patiently awaiting it’s arrival. Will definitely post an initial review when I receive it :)


Looking forward to reading your review. I am still very happy with it.

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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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