2229 Tasting Notes

drank Lapsang Souchong by Dammann Freres
2229 tasting notes

I love love love Lapsang Souchong Crocodile, and this one is close on its heels. Most people would probably prefer this one, but I love the heft and smoke.

On that note – this was awesome today. It is cold, I got lost in a really bad section of town while under time pressure to get somewhere, and I hadn’t had breakfast. When I got home I knew I needed something a little fortifying this morning.

This is stronger than the lapsang teas we have been having lately and I welcome it. You taste the base and not just the smoke. It is sweet and smooth and the smoke doesn’t have that ashtray smell that even some of the nice lapsangs have. (They do usually taste good even when I don’t like the smell.) This one has a nice campfire aroma. I am ready for a nap, though. I am so ready for spring!

S.G. Sanders

I think that it was a great day for a Lapsang. After scraping ice off of my car this morning, all I wanted was something warm and smoky. That was exactly what did the trick.

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The owner of Tin Roof Teas was kind enough to share several sample cups of this tea with me as I browsed the shop today. It is a new tea in his shop and will be part of a raw puerh tasting event coming up on January 28, 2016. If you live in North Carolina and can go, I recommend it. I went to a puerh tasting last year and it was great! They do a tea flight about once a month and often do pairings with the gourmet chocolates they sell or samples from their honey bar. They have a honey room and stations for refilling your honey containers, as well as bee pollen, herbs, candles, teaware, and tea candies and such. Follow their Facebook page and send them a message if you want to reserve a spot in the tasting.

This is not a puerh, but an aged black tea. It reminds me very much of a mature sheng. The dry leaves had a unique aroma, first of turnip greens then immediately followed by a deep oak-y scent. These were loose leaves, not a cake.

The steeped tea is pale for a black tea and much the color you would expect of a mature sheng. This tea came from a puerh master and is probably not called puerh simply because of where the leaves were grown. (You may remember that Harney and Sons sold a green tea cake a few years ago that could not be called puerh because of where it was grown but it was in every respect an excellent puerh-type tea.)

The flavor was mild and not as green tasting as the aroma of the dry leaf led me to think it would be. It also really did not taste like a black tea, but some customers who were primarily black tea drinkers in the shop took it without question, drank it, enjoyed it, and I think they may have even purchased some. Our first steep was about 8 seconds, and the second was about 12, I believe. The instructions say that it gives about eight good steeps.

The tea was smooth and mild. It needed no additions. I would have purchased some but I am trying to reduce my cupboard, especially since I just found that exquisite 2013 TGY that I adore and have neglected because I have TOO MUCH TEA. I plan to drink and drink and drink what I have so I can feel good about ordering more when the new harvest gets underway. And yes, I share, swap, give away, invite people for tea, but I still have too much!

One nice thing about the shop is that they normally sell 100 gram bags and 250 grams and up, but you can request a sampler pack of fifty grams each if you buy at least four different teas, and you choose your teas. They also have premade samplers of various kinds like flavored black blends, or all greens, etc. They have quite a variety, too, some blends being TeaGeschwendner and some in-house.

They will also try to make special request blends when they have time.

S.G. Sanders

There’s nothing like a good pu-erh!


Wow, I didn’t realize how many Steepster people were in North Carolina when I was actually there. I’m from Raleigh, but have recently moved to Connecticut.


Also, this place looks like it has a nice selection. I wish I’d stopped in while I was still there.


That store sounds like a lot of fun!

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drank French Quarter by Tin Roof Teas
2229 tasting notes

Information on this tea may need to be updated soon as I didn’t write down the ingredients in the store when I tried it. This is Tin Roof Tea’s in-house effort to create a blend similar to Paris by Harney and Sons. In addition, they intend to tweak the blend as customers taste it and express their preferences.

First, the aroma of the dry leaf was heavy on caramel but the berry flavors certainly put on a show. The bergamot was evident in the scent but not overpowering.

Steeped – the tea is smooth enough to drink sans additions. It is not very similar to Paris to me, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad blend. It is much more caramel flavored than Paris and when steeped the bergamot almost disappeared for me. The berry also backed off and were lighter. They considered increasing the bergamot but I recommended bringing up the berry flavors more instead since there are so many people who do not like bergamot. We shall see what other customers think and what they ask for.

It was a fun day hanging around the tea shop, looking at all the goodies and talking tea talk.


Ooh! More cowbell, less bergamot sounds like my kind of “just right!”

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Apparently, this particular tea is no longer available. I need to stop hoarding! The packaging says it is the 2013 harvest.

About a year ago, a lady was dropping off her son at my house for a young people’s writers’ group that meets here and decided to come in and visit. Naturally, I offered her tea and she stayed until 1 am!

I got a text a few days ago asking if we could do that again. She asked to bring a young friend as well. While the young folks (age 17 to 23) had their meeting, we drank tea. The young lady had never had anything but Celestial Seasonings and Lipton and such. She said she was adventurous, so we started with pu-erh, but I am reviewing this tea first because it was her favorite.

I am glad this tea was in individual sealed packets, then in a foil pouch, then in a zip top pouch! It has stayed fresh, but I will be diligent to finish it soon.

When I drink tea like this, I wonder why I drink anything else. I just want to buy the really good stuff and keep less around, but have it super fresh. That would be the right thing to do, but we need our daily drinkers and adventure teas as well, I suppose.

This was her favorite of all the teas we drank that night. They remarked on how pale it was. Maybe they expected it not to have much flavor since we had started with a puerh. The young lady loved it and drank cup after cup.

The first sips are sweet and smooth, and as you drink a light creaminess builds and the floral aroma becomes a prominent floral taste and this, too, builds and builds. I did a quick rinse and the first steep was good, but the second was even better. It continued making great tea for several more steeps.

I have four little pouches left and I plan to finish them soon so I can have an excuse to buy the new harvest.

We drank tea from 6:30 pm until 12:30 am! Served with lemon iced cookie bars and cream cheese chocolate chip squares.


Late night tea drinkers! Sounds like a nice party with fancy desserts.


Ha, in the space of a week recently, I ended up almost exclusively reviewing teas by companies that no longer exist.

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drank Black tea-Keemun Finest by Zen Tea
2229 tasting notes

This has been my breakfast tea of late. I need the strength and bold flavor to give me fortitude!

My mother-in-law is in an assisted living facility. The administrator told us in early December that she could save about $200 a month if we do mail order pharmacy. I was elected to handle it. I don’t know how that happened since I wasn’t running! I was told it was because I was the only one who could pronounce the names of the meds!

Red tape. Doctor’s voicemail. Compounding pharmacies. Automated calls – three per day for every script called in and every refill that ships, and you have to respond if you don’t answer the phone and get that 22 digit tracking number written down. Studying the meds and realizing that one hasn’t been given to her in weeks – a strong narcotic patch that is no doubt being sported by staff and lasts three days – and also has potential fatal interactions with two of her other meds. Having aforesaid med cancelled so it won’t kill her since she says it has never helped her pain anyway. Also, the admin said he ddin’t want it in his facility because they know staff steals it off the patients bodies. (???) Finding an alternative source of protein because why should an 81 year old be forced to drink a nasty beverage they hate twice a day when there are other choices. Websites that don’t work properly, but finally with the help of their tech support who couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working, I have the ability to handle all of this online and cancel those stinking phone calls and bypass some of the nonsense to make getting her meds easier. This has been my thing lately.

Bring on the tea. This is a super tasty one. I drink it straight for breakfast and love the cocoa scrape across the tongue and the bloom of flavor. I have also added brown sugar and made a sort of milk tea with it and it was delicious. This will be a re-order when it started getting low. I do strongly prefer this one to Harney and Sons English Breakfast, which is also 100% Keemun.


Owie, owie, owie! Elder care is not for the faint of heart! In the separation of duties, medications did not land with me, which is probably a good thing. Drink up :)


Ugh. The only thing harder than dealing with mail order pharmacy is doing so for someone else. The election may have been rigged but the right person has the job. My next door neighbor is in assisted living temporarily. His wife found out they weren’t giving him all of his medicines. Hard to believe this stuff happens. Stay strong and stay observant. Hugs and prayers.

Christina / BooksandTea

Wow. You are made of strong stuff indeed. I hope that you get the help you need.


Ugh. Sorry.


Dealing with that kind of stuff is so frustrating!

Evol Ving Ness

Keep fighting the good fight! She is fortunate to have you on her side.

Our societies have a long long way to go before we figure out how to appropriately take care of our aging population. However will we manage when it is our turn?

I am delighted to have this tea here waiting for me to get around to it. Now that you have rated it so highly, I will make sure to get around to it sooner.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
2229 tasting notes

It seems like it has been a while since I had Paris tea. I had tons of it, then bought a pound of Tower of London which is very similar (but maybe a little more beloved for me?) and waited to replenish my Paris until that was all gone. My son-in-law tried this one and loved it so I had purchased some for him as well a while back. It is a real people pleaser.

One fun thing – I had made a pot of this and a pot of Keemun from Zen for tea party yesterday. There was a lot of Keemun left and just a little splash of Paris, so I combined them in one pot and put it in the fridge to reheat for my breakfast. It was really good and the Paris flavor came through like gangbusters even though there was so little in there. I really need to try mixing this up with some of my other teas more!

Paris from Harney and Sons, Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip from Teavivre, and Puerh teas are my two best friends when it comes to recruiting new tea people.

Interesting side note – our nearest real tea shop is Tin Roof Teas in Raleigh and today they posted on Facebook that so many people stop in asking for H&S Paris that they decided to make their own blend. I plan to buy a bit and give it a try next time I am up that way.

S.G. Sanders

A majority of my friends go out of their way to have a cup of Paris, since it’s always in stock (perhaps I’ll start charging them for it). It’s a nice tea. Very smooth, rich, mellow(?), creamy and dessert-like. It has definitely helped me reduce the amount of sugar/desserts these past few months, so I find it necessary to have it around.

It does go well with Keemun, Ceylon, and Assam teas. However, with an Assam, I would use more Paris than Assam due to the smokiness that Assams tend to have.


This just appears to be a very popular flavor combo. Our little Savoy shop down in Arkansas has a Paris Morning that has the bergamot-caramelly thing going.

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I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this before. Is Steepster eating tasting notes again?

My husband bought me these adorable cups with a fish molded in the bottom from an eBay seller and they sent a sample pack of a Lapsang. It was the unsmoked type, and it was super delicious. I realized I had bought some from Teavivre and had not been drinking it as much as I ought so I made a pot this morning.

There are strong notes of chocolate – not cocoa, milk chocolate. The taste is reminiscent of Da Hong Pao. Although not astringent, I do not find it to be a terribly “wet” tea. But it isn’t drying and puckering my mouth.

And remember how hubby used to drink all black tea with lots of milk and sugar, and started only drinking green and white and puerh because he likes them plain and wants to be healthier? He drank this one plain! He had a cup at breakfast with me and I suggested that since it was so mild he might like it just as it was, and he did like it!

I have known for a long time that Souchong means the larger leaves about five leaves in on a branch, not those cherished two leaves and a bud that we so often crave. So I assumed that Lapsang meant smoked, and wondered how we could have Lapsang tea that had no smoke at all. I looked it up and found that Lapsang is an English equivalence for a place name, not for a method of production. Lapsang is so commonly smoked that most people associate it irrevocably with smoked tea.

But both of these that I just tried, the sample and the Teavivre one, were excellent and not smokey at all. So the Souchong leaves are not as inferior as one might think if it brews something this good.


Wow, I totally thought it meant smoked too. Thanks for this educational review.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, very helpful.

Is there some sort of way of distinguishing the smoked from unsmoked varieties by name or what-have-you?


Weird, I figured Lapsang would be a place name but still figured that the term in its entirety belonged to smoked varieties. Interesting!

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Last night was okay, but not particularly festive. We are pretty much stay at home folks for New Year’s but I got bored watching tv and listened to some music by myself. So tonight when we played Ticket to Ride and feasted on some great champignon brie and um…M&M’s (weird combo?), I really felt like we were having a party! Pathetic? I think not!

This has been our go-to puerh when we have big crowds, and we drank it a lot through Christmas when everyone was here and we are continuing to plow through it now. I actually felt I understeeped it a bit on the first steep in my big tetsubin, but hubby was thrilled with it. He thought it was excellent just as it was. The color was really light compared to how strong I usually make my puerh tea. I still liked it and it wasn’t too weak tasting. It went really well with the mushroomy flavor of the brie, too. And this tea is such a great resteeper we will probably have a couple of liters off of these leaves tomorrow!

Oh, and if any of you are following ChelseaR here on Steepster, my son proposed to her last night in New Hampshire where they are skiing with her parents as the fireworks exploded overhead and she said “Yes!” So congrats to my Sandtrooper and ChelseaR!

Evol Ving Ness

Happy post. Congratulations! So lovely to hear such news.


Congratulations to them…and to you! :)


(snoopy dance!) What lovely news to start a year!


Congrats to the married to be and you.


Congrats to you all!


Great news! Congrats!

Terri HarpLady

Yay! Congrats!

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I have been drinking my matcha in a little soup bowl for years now. It is okay, but one who loves tea just needs teaware, right?

For years I admired the Zen Brush bowl at Zen Tea Life, but when I finally decided to bite the bullet and ask for one for Christmas they had stopped carrying the dark blue one and had a brown one. They had this lovely Aurora bowl in blue, though! Yes!

I love using it! I have had matcha every day. The depth is great for whisking. Also, you can swirl your tea so the particles don’t settle and it is deep enough that it doesn’t slosh over. I love the scalloped, wavy lip so you can pick your most comfortable spot to sip. It is very pretty and when it is wet from washing, the lighter blue shades almost sparkle.

Evol Ving Ness

So, one can use it directly for drinking? Yay! It sounds like the perfect thing.


I panicked when I read your comment. I wondered if maybe you were not supposed to drink from the bowl. I wouldn’t know as I have never seen anyone use one and I just assumed. So I googled it and indeed, it looks like one IS supposed to drink from the bowl! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Oh, no, no judgement on my part. I just wasn’t aware that that was what people do. And now I am, so thank you.

Evol Ving Ness

I have the tea and I have the bowl, but I have yet to unpack things. (Not from Zen.)


I think you’re supposed to drink from the bowl because it helps you smell the tea? At least I remember reading that somewhere.


Evol Ving Ness – I am glad you said something so I don’t make a fool of myself! However, when we were tasting some new matcha, I did froth it in the big bowl and then dip in my tiny tasting cups and pass around sips for everyone. Matcha is too expensive to make a whole bowl per person just for testing purposes, and I am a big believer in repurposing and multipurposing!


I have an identical one that I got off ebay, but mine is white with small crackles. I agree that it functions very well!

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about seven years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…


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