818 Tasting Notes

I’ve kinda been neglecting this one lately. Too much tea! I wanted a comforting, silky, creamy cup, and that’s what I got. Still amazing!

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There was an earthquake last night, or shall I say, really early this morning. My husband and I woke up to our bed moving side to side like we were in a rowboat! And it lasted so long! Really freaky, considering I haven’t felt one like that in probably two decades. Turns out the epicenter was between American Canyon and Napa…not very far from us and the magnitude was 6.0! Our house is fine, but our kitties completely disappeared! Poor kitties! There is a bunch of damage in Napa though.

So, after all that, I enjoyed a cup of this tea this morning. Figured I should have something comforting and this hit the spot! The last time I had this one, I made it with microwaved water at work and loved it. Trouble is, I have no idea what the temperature of the water was. Someone on here was remarking that the recommended steeping temperature was too low, and I think I might agree. I steeped this one at 176 degrees for 2 minutes. It still tastes great, but I think the microwaved cup hot more flavor, and I’m assuming that cup was hotter than 176 degrees. So, maybe some trials at 185 and 195 might be in my future to really see which temperature brings out the most flavor. This time, I got more of the smokiness, and less of the cocoa. Still a great cup and it was gone way too fast!


I felt it too! It was really confusing at first, I didn’t know what had happened, but after I figured out nothing was going to fall on me, I relaxed a little. I hope your kitties are alright.


I’m glad that you are OK.


Ya, the kitties are fine. They showed up for breakfast right on time! What part of the Bay Area are you in?


Thanks, NofarS!


I’d glad that you and kitties are okay. They probably have some clever kitty shelter for such occasions. :)


Oh my…so scary. Glad you are ok!


I’m actually in the valley, so the earthquake is just a shaking, not the full on feeling of a quake. Still, if you can feel it here, you can tell its a big one. Glad the kitties came back. Breakfast is a powerful pull.

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I rediscovered this tea recently when I reorganized my tea cabinet. I remember this one as being good, with a distinct creaminess at the end of the sip. It’s still good. Della Terra knows how to flavor rooibos and they got the vanilla cream flavor right. I feel like some companies’ rooibos teas are overwhelmed by the rooibos flavor, but not Della Terra. Don’t get me wrong…the rooibos flavor is there, but you still get to enjoy the other added flavorings. Overall, this is a nice, creamy, caffeine free, cozy cup!

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Steeped up a cup of this and threw it in my timolino for our drive this morning. Seems terrible to put such a quality tea in a travel mug, but it was still delicious! Sweet yammy goodness! :)

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Sipdown! I had one little sachet left. It was sitting around for months! One sachet away from finishing off a tin, so I drank it! I’m already ready for fall flavors. I really like this one, so would definitely pick up another tin this year, but I bet Trader Joe’s won’t have pumpkin stuff until November. I’ll just have to content myself with the DavidsTea fall collection in the meantime. Can’t wait for next week!

Hannah F.

VariTEA sent me the Victoria Teas one. It’s delicious! I recommend adding a shake each of ginger and cinnamon, use some brown sugar, and vanilla soymilk.

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drank Yi Mei Ren by Yunnan Sourcing
818 tasting notes

Stephanie threw this one into our swap as a bonus tea. Thank you! I’ve been eyeing the teas on Yunnan Sourcing’s website recently. Everything looks delicious, but I really better wait on buying more tea. ;)

This is a nice black tea. It was malty, sweet potato-y, and after looking at the description, I think I’m convinced I tasted molasses as well. Sometimes I wonder if I actually taste a note listed, or if I’m just easily persuaded! Ha! Overall, though, a very enjoyable tea.

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Puerh and I have not yet become friends, so I jumped at the chance to try a number of good quality puerhs in Mandala’s new sampler. I thought the sampler might help me get a better understanding of ripe puerhs, and see if there are any I might truly enjoy. Thanks, Garret, for offering this sampler!

I wasn’t sure which one to try first. It might be helpful if the note that comes with the sampler also indicated which puerhs were good for beginners to start with. I decided to start with this one, since it was listed first. Logical, eh?

I don’t have a gaiwan yet, so I used a small teacup and covered it with a saucer for steepings, a Pyrex measuring cup for a pitcher, and one of my cute cherry blossom teacups for sipping. Verdict? I think I need a gaiwan. ;)

I followed the recommended brewing procedure and here’s what I got:

Overall aroma – sweet, milk chocolate, vanilla. Yay!
30-second steep: leather, earthy, smooth, maybe some cocoa in aftertaste, maybe some cedar.
45 seconds: silkier, similar in notes to previous steeping, more cocoa coming out at end of sip. Yay!
1 minute: I think the note I used to think as leather is really a cedar note. More cedar than cocoa this round.
1min15sec: less cedar, more balanced.
1min30sec: generically sweet, honey.
1min45sec: same as previous.
2min30sec: sweet, weak. I think I’m done now. ;)

Favorite steep: second one, because more cocoa!

Side effect: serious caffeine effect…very jittery. Guess I should watch that.

Overall, I wouldn’t mind if this passed my way again, but I probably wouldn’t seek it out. I’m definitely looking forward to the other samples!

Question: Do you reheat your kettle for all steepings? Mine cooled significantly between steepings.

In other news, I made my first kale smoothie today, with mango and banana, and it turned out pretty good! This has been a “try new things” day!


I used to reheat my kettle, then I started keeping the water in a thermos so I don’t have to keep going to the kitchen.


That’s a great idea, Marzipan! Will try that next time.


Is the hold temp. function of the Bonavita helpful for this purpose?


Ya, I thought of that, but didn’t do it…I lacked follow-through! Haha!


Marzipan that is brilliant


My tea kettle has a hold temp function but I’m too zen (lazy) when doing gong fu to run back and forth to the kitchen. My mom had this Gevalia carafe thing she got with their membership that she gave me and it works great.

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drank Peaches & Cream by DAVIDsTEA
818 tasting notes

I guess I never wrote a note about this tea, or even put it in my steepster cupboard. Weird. I think this was from the spring collection. Anyway, I didn’t like it much when I tried it hot….it was okay, but not great. Fortunately, I only bought a small amount. Today, I decided to ice the rest of the leaf, and be done with it. Once again, it’s not bad, but kinda artificial. Not the peach flavor I was looking for. I guess I should stick with Lupicia momo black or momo oolong when I want peach. Anyhoo, SIPDOWN!

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Stephanie sent this as a bonus sample in our swap. Thanks, Stephanie! Not one, but two A&D teas to try!

This tea is what you would expect from a blend of Indian teas…malty, bright, with some citrus notes. It’s a great tea to pair with breakfast. Recently, though, I think my tastes have moved away from Indian black teas and more towards Chinese black teas, but it was nice to try it!


Oh, that was my 500th tasting note! Woo!


woohoo! grats!


Congrats on 500!


Yay! 500!

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drank Keemun by Unknown
818 tasting notes

Wow, there’s already a tea page for Keemun by unknown. Nice! I was going to use random steepings, but this works.

Went to a local cafe to relax and read today, and they have quite the list of teas. Probably 50 different ones to choose from! I chose the Keemun, due to my recent love of that tea. They scooped it out of a large canister. Who knows where they source their teas. I did see a few small Kusmi tins on a shelf, but they probably buy bulk teas from somewhere and stash them in the humongous black canisters. Anyhoo, I got a cup of hot water and some loose leaf in a strainer. :)

This Keemun was more prominently smokey, and less chocolate-y than the other ones I’ve had. It was nice to sip on while reading though. I’m in the middle of The Brothers Sisters…pretty entertaining so far.


What’s your favorite Keemun?


Hmmm, out of the few I’ve had, probably TeaVivre’s organic superfine fragrant Keemun. I’ve also tried Keemuns from A&D, Stash, and this one, but I also have another Keemun from Teavivre as a sample…the Mao feng, so the verdict is still out!

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Another profile facelift! My tastes have changed a lot from when I first discovered loose leaf tea.

I can trace my tea journey back to October 2012, when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed high tea at An Afternoon to Remember, which has since closed.

I went through a period of wanting to try all the teas, and was really into flavored teas, especially dessert blacks, but my tastes have substantially changed over time.

I still enjoy the occasional flavored black or rooibos, but I’m more into unflavored black teas right now and recently, puerh. Chinese black teas are amazing…with their notes of chocolate or sweet potato, who needs a flavored tea? I had a much steeper learning curve when it came to puerh. I used to dump out cups of puerh for tasting like leather. Now, I am really enjoying them. I think it took finding good quality puerh and steeping them gong fu style to really enjoy them.

I also, on occasion, enjoy a good oolong, white, or green tea.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Mandala, Teavivre, Butiki, Golden Moon, Lupicia, and DavidsTea (for teaware mostly).

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)


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