751 Tasting Notes

Can’t imagine how I haven’t reviewed this yet. It’s sweet and deep and savory at the same time. Longer steepings bring in that not unpleasant sour note along with a deeper savory nature. Maybe a little ash in the background. And I am not buying more tea this year. Which makes me really sad to note tonight that my supply of this is getting dangerously low.

Having tea with all the pets tonight and using a repaired pot. I didn’t get all the crack sealed, apparently, as it is still leaking a bit. I don’t like the JB Weld repair much since it is shiny. But, it’s better than never using this pot. Maybe if I get back out to Seattle some time, the Market Spice Tea shop will have another one that might not be cracked. :)


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drank Jasmine Pearl by Vital Tea Leaf
751 tasting notes

Not a review for drinking this tea, but rather for sort of cooking with it.

This was originally posted by Tealeaves. I have modified the directions quite a bit to make it very simple.

5 ounce log of goat cheese (chevre)
5-6 teaspoons green jasmine tea (obvs I used jasmine pearls from Vital Tea Leaf)

Grind tea leaves fine in food processor, coffee grinder (one without coffee smell – I use mine for herb grinding not ever for coffee) or even with a mortar & pestle in old-timey manner. Roll cheese log in ground leaves. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Serve on really mildly flavored rice crackers or something similar. Or with a savory rosemary scone. Original recipe suggested drizzling with melted orange marmalade, honey is equally good.

These jasmine pearls have a sweetness to them that I think helps complement the sourness of the cheese. I don’t know how well this would go with a more floral jasmine. But I’ll try eventually. :)


Sounds yum!

Evol Ving Ness

Indeed. Delicious.


Nice idea!


I am going to experiment with some other teas as well. It turned out much better than anticipated. I thought the tea leaves would be dry and prickly and throw off the texture, but after sitting overnight and especially the 2nd day, the moisture in the chevre had really softened them up and the jasmine started to flavor the cheese as well as the tea.

Evol Ving Ness

Mmm, even better.

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drank Honey Jade Oolong by Mountain Tea
751 tasting notes

This is lovely. I’ve had it several times now but am just now doing a note for it. Green oolongs are my favorite oolongs.

Visually this is appealing as are most oolongs. Leaves unfurling to immense sizes compared to the tight little balls they start as. And there are little hints of reddish brown around the edges which is neat.

This one has nice floral notes up front with a light buttery feel. Almost a jasmine but not really. Second steep becomes more like jasmine. It goes well with a jasmine green tea rubbed goat cheese drizzled with a tiny bit of honey. The strong sour notes in the cheese are offset by the floral jasmine tea leaves, which also bring out more jasmine in the tea itself.

Lengthy steeping brings out a faint bitterness so avoid that. I started with about 30 seconds, left leaf in water while drinking, so probably 2:00 for second cup, 4:30 for third, 6:00+ for fourth – by then it was developing some bitter notes. Watch water temp as well.

With the second pitcher, I waited about a minute before pouring the first cup. Third pitcher was still decent.

Fourth pitcher and a large portion of the flavor was gone. So a good 8 ounces, a decent 4 ounces and then a not great but drinkable 4 ounces on a teaspoon and a half of leaves.

And continuing Use All The Teaware month:


I think I got this travel set from Verdant last spring. I really haven’t used it much. It’s pretty but 1) I’m nervous about traveling with glass and 2) the infuser basket takes up a good chunk of water space. It came with 6 cups but you’d only be able to serve 4 mostly full ones on a single steeping. I like the cup size, but for this pitcher, they are too large. Not that it matters tons, I rarely have anyone at all to drink tea in this style with me, much less 6 someones. :)

185 °F / 85 °C

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I love the design of this. The aesthetics really appeal to me. The plunger does indeed stop 95% of steeping. Medium sized and larger leaves don’t skoosh out around the edges, not sure how it would do on something like rooibos.

You can’t toss it in a bag, or even go around curves very fast with it full – liquid will splash out. It’s nice to be able to drink from anywhere around the lid, but not optimal for taking in the car.

Also, it gets really, really uncomfortably hot to hold if you are doing water temps around 200F.

Still searching for a steep and sip travel tea tumbler that isn’t stainless.


totally read that as jellyfish press


On the go jellyfish press. For when you just have to have fresh jelly for that peanut butter sandwich.


Haha weird, I read jellyfish at first too!

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drank Kenyan Black by Justea
751 tasting notes

Still thick, malty and Assamy after a year or more. Not going through this quickly but I am starting to see the bottom of the tin. I can see in a couple of months needing to decide if I should restock this or if the other Assam types of tea I have on hand are good enough/better.

Not lying if I say that a large part of the appeal of this tea is the company and what they are doing. I am happy to see that the site now offers bags as well as tins, though I wish they would say how much tea is in each. I am also guessing that this is now Mount Kenya Black.

Use All The Teaware for this cup is my Emma Bridgewater Badger mug.


And since we are having pizza for dinner, Coke is kind of necessary. Assam types of tea go pretty well with pizza but I just can’t go without a Coke with it. :) And yes, I have been eating and tea-ing my way through today.


I was JUST on Justea’s website today. :D


You are a horrible influence. :)


Mmmmmmm Coke from a bottle!!!!! Almost impossible to find glass bottles here – you don’t realize how much better it is until you can’t find them.
I really need to get more of this. It’s great tea and I too love the work they are doing in Kenya. :)


@Dexter – And it’s Mexican Coke so it has sugar instead of corn syrup. You probably have less expensive shipping and don’t have to deal with crummy currency conversions since they are in Canada, right? … D’oh, just checked the Where to Buy link and apparently there is a store local to me that sells it! Well, I know what I’m doing next Monday!


Shipping sucks even within Canada but being in CAD is a beautiful thing. The USD/CAD exchange is just pathetic right now. My Africa trip is sliding through my fingers because of the exchange rate – it’s just crazy expensive…..
Yay for you being able to buy it locally!!!!


Aw, no. :( Is the exchange rate as stinky for CAD/GBP? Maybe you could find a British company to book through?


I’m finding all the companies are quoting in USD (or courtesy conversion but must be paid in USD)
Waiting til after the holidays to look at one more compromised option – but once you’ve looked at private custom tours it’s hard to go back. You have to do what you can afford, but at what point is no longer what you want to do? Need to decide if I want to compromise or if I want to wait a year or two and see if the dollar recovers. It’s just scary to be at the mercy of exchange rate when it’s plummeting and the “experts” are saying to expect it to fall lower yet.

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drank Figgy Pudding by Capital Teas
751 tasting notes

So, so tasty. Fig and cherry and some almond. So good. This is the only tea from Capital that I haven’t been able to get a close approximation of elsewhere and I feel silly ordering just one tea. So thanks, Liquid Proust for sending some of it along in a swap awhile back!

Use All The Teaware:

A 16 oz Santa teapot, a thistle cup & saucer set my Aunt K brought back from Scotland and an adorable penguin plate that Mom gave me – covered in fresh oatmeal shortbread cookies! Yay!


Apparently we like many of the same teas! I know, big surprise right? I also have some Figgy Pudding, courtesy of the every wonderful Liquid Proust and am debating whether or not to order more. The smell is worth keeping it on hand.


This is hands down the best fig tea I’ve had.


is this one best with sugar? I can only use Truvia though (dieting)


I’ve never put sugar with it.

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Mmm… having a mug of this since a nice swap from tea-sipper reminded me how much I love it. Gorgeous golden curly leaves that are so soft and downy.

Thick with cocoa and butter and no smoke. Mmmm….

And continuing the Use All The Teaware theme:

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Much good. Wow cocoa.

A big mug of this tonight. Apparently December is going to be use all the teaware month. :)



What a unique design! And that’s a good idea, having a teaware month. So much of mine is packed away or just sits there whilst I use the same Nordic mug all over and over again.


I realized I’ve been doing the same thing. Figured I should be using stuff. After all, I have them because they are beautiful AND useful, right? :)


You got that mug!! I am so glad, I have been drooling over it for a month now, and I’m delighted you have one. And the tea sounds heavenly. I have been drinking an Upton version of that, but can’t quite get the parameters correct.


I couldn’t resist the mug on sale. :) It’s a perfect size to get settled in with a blanket and cats and not get up for awhile.

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Grabbed a tin of these sachets and a sample of plain old English Breakfast to see if I could tell the difference.

Verdict after a tasteoff: nope, can’t tell much difference and I don’t think I’m really an English Breakfast person at this point. I’d prefer a thick Assam, a Yunnan or a Taiwanese black to be my first cup of the day.

2.5 grams to 60 ml of just off of boiling water (tap water). Steeped for 35 seconds.

1. English Breakfast HT Blend:
dry leaf scent – like smelling freshly turned earth, hints of a malty scent
taste of liquor – light fruit, dry mouth feel, maltiness from scent not present
wet leaf scent – definitely fresh earth, this has a deeper, more complex scent than the normal EB. That would seem to indicate that the taste should be deeper and more complex and I am just not getting it.

2. English Breakfast:
dry leaf scent – light fruit and earth but not as fresh as the HT blend
taste of liquor – a somewhat lighter version of HT with more fruit notes coming to the fore, still induces a dry mouth feel. I don’t get any smoke and isn’t that what Keemuns are kind of known for? This is 100% Keemun according to the website.
wet leaf scent – reminds me of a second flush Darjeeling with a lot of fruit notes on top of the mild wet earth scent, no malt that I can discern

Always possible that if I try again with different steeping parameters (lower water temp, less tea) these may be easier to differentiate and I may like them better. For now, I get a lot of Ceylon taste in the HT blend and just basic tea from the EB, pretty much. If I had to decide tonight, I’d keep neither in my cupboard though I’d use the sachets when going out to restaurants as it is better than the junk you normally get there. :)



I am not really an English Breakfast person either, although if I mixed it with something else, maybe?


Yeah, maybe. I figure there are enough teas out there that I do love that I don’t have to have EB in my cupboard. :) I’ll use this stuff up without problem but it may be in iced tea for guests who don’t care or can’t tell the difference. There’s nothing wrong with these blends, either of them. Just not my first choices.

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Did a Jin Jun Mei tasteoff today, though I discovered afterwards that I had left out Verdant’s JJM. Ah, well. It’s a start.

Did 2 grams of tea to 50 ml of water at just below boiling. I did not use filtered water since I think that whether or not I keep tea on hand should depend largely on whether or not I like it with tap water. Steeped each for 15 seconds, tasted, let tea continue steeping another 60 seconds while tasting and tasted again. These notes are based on an overall impression, not separated out by 1st and 2nd steeps.

1. What-Cha China Fujian Wuyi ‘Jin Jun Mei’:
scent of dry leaf – meat and smoke
taste of liquor – smokiest of the 4 teas, savory meat, very drying to the mouth
leaf appearance – medium leaf size, some gold leaves, mostly black

2. YSG International (AliExpress) 2014 Top Wuyi Black Tea Jin Jun Mei:
scent of dry leaf – savory smoke and wet leather
taste of liquor – light ash and smoke, a little bit of sweet, more of sour, leaves mouth dry
leaf appearance – medium leaf size, some gold leaves, mainly black, not nearly as gold as the product picture on the site.

3. Shanshuijian (AliExpress) Jinjunmei Paulownia:
scent of dry leaf – hardest smoke & ash scent of the 4 teas, charred wood
taste of liquor – smoke, ash, bitterness, drying in mouth
leaf appearance – largest leaves, no golden leaves, all pretty uniform black
*note that this tasting varies from my earlier note on this because that was with filtered water at work. This should be a work tea since at home I am not very fond of it.

4. MinRiver Tea Jin Jun Mei:
scent of dry leaf – not much smoke and wet cat
taste of liquor – sour, sweet, fruity like date or fig
leaf appearance – smallest leaves, lightest liquor color



…and the verdict is?


I did kind of leave that off, didn’t I? The sad verdict is that I’m still looking for a MinRiver replacement. I like the Shanshijian the best of these, but not as much as the MinRiver by a long shot.


dope. well if i find any in my travels i will let you know :)


You are not a big JJM fan, are you? I seem to recall you kind of liking some but not nearly as much as some other straight blacks.


The Kimicha JJM is really good. The only one a friend of mine adores out of a bunch he’s tried!


Thx for the reccs! I’ll have to check out all of those.


@nicole just ‘cause they’re not my fav doesn’t mean i wouldn’t pick some up and send it to you and terri hahahaha


Oh, I know that – we are all shameless enablers. I was just gonna send you some till I remembered that it isn’t your thing.


haha i’ve found one or two that i like, but so far, since they’re middle of the road to me, better they go to you and terri. I did buy some the other day to see …so every noe and then i get some

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Tea afficianado & founder of the Midwest Tea Festival. I wish I could make a living creating and serving tea parties, but alas, bills prevent that possibility. :) So I make do by catering tea parties for friends and co-workers and drinking tons of tea with my cats on my lap. :)


Kansas City, MO



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