3205 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
3205 tasting notes

February Sipdown Prompt – a tea that reminds you of a favorite book

I am dismayed to come on here to make a tasting note and see that it was not listed in my cupboard. It is nearly always on shelf. Ah well, I have a couple of sipdowns coming up soon that will send numbers back in the right direction again.

This was a tough prompt. I decided to go with this one because it feels cozy like a good book in winter when days are short and nights are long and reading makes you feel twice tucked in – once tucked into your warm house with a blanket or shawl about you, and also tucked into your own mind, imagining a completely different world.

I have read that when people say they love the smell the smell of old books they are really detecting a vanilla-like aroma being given off by lignin in the paper. But I don’t associate books with vanilla from the actual smell, it is rather the feeling of warmth and comfort that comes with escaping for a little while into a world created by ink on a page and my own imagination. So this tea is a tribute to all the books I enjoy, and not just one.

Not on shelf, indeed. Hmmph.

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A few days ago I received a handmade card in the mail and a sample of this tea from gmathis! I don’t deserve you, G! Thank you!

I saved it for Valentine’s Day because today is just all about chocolate to me. Yes, I know, love and such but also chocolate. I made myself a special little breakfast to have with this.

It is astonishing how chocolate-y the cup smells. With eyes closed, this could be a cup of super rich hot cocoa. I did not add milk or sugar. It did not need anything at all to dress it up. I would definitely love to purchase this someday.

The color of the steeped tisane is gorgeous, such clarity and a lovely color quite like a cup of black tea that steeps on the lighter side. The aroma, though, is what gets you. Sooooo good. I even saved a little for Ashman to try when he gets home.


I gave Ashman the bit I saved for him without telling him what it was. His eyes were huge after he sniffed the cup. He wouldn’t even sip it at first. He said, “You know how I tell you that chocolate in tea smells like mildew? You know? It does to me. It smells like mildew. But THIS smells like real chocolate!” He enjoyed it very much, so I think once a couple more sipdowns happen, I will splurge on a tin!


Oliver Pluff has turned into one of my favorite purveyors.


There was a shop that carried some of their teas locally. I need to find out if they still do….

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drank Hojicha Powder by Den's Tea
3205 tasting notes

I just wanted to tell y’all about something delicious cuz that’s what friends do.

I started my hojicha journey with 3 Leaf Tea hojicha powder, plain and flavored ones. They were good and I did quite a few lattes with them. Then I tried this one from Den’s but derk sent me an awesome hojicha that is not a powder. You steep the leaves and it is awesome and we have been drinking that in the evenings when we have Asian food. So this powder has been a bit neglected.

Now I love ice cream and tea together and found out I adore ice cream with a small pot of lapsang, but the caffeine was keeping me up so I switched to hojicha. It was awesome. But I started thinking about how hojicha would probably make an awesome ice cream syrup.

I tried it today and I love it! I mixed a tiny bit of hot water with sugar and stirred and stirred. Then I added hojicha powder and stirred and made a huge mess because it was basically acting totally hydrophobic. It went everywhere. I finally held it over the sink while I stirred until it was a smooth mixture of syrup consistency. It looked for all the world like chocolate fudge sauce at that point.

I poured it over some homemade vanilla ice cream and it was EXQUISITE. If you have any hojicha powder sitting around neglected, I highly recommend this as an occasional treat. (Disclaimer – I felt like I had to say occasional for health reasons. I want all of y’all to live a really long time.)


Ooooooooo! Sounds good!


Your kitchen accidents turn out amazingly. My kitchen accidents just clog the sink.

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February Sipdown Prompt – Mardis Gras: your most colorful tea

This tea is ten months past the best by date and colors of dry leaf have faded. It mostly looks like black tea and mint. There are whole blackcurrants in it, but they are coated with black tea and also look very dark. So while the picture on this page is quite colorful, mine no longer is.

It is, however, still quite glittery! And that had a Mardis Gras vibe to me.

Thanks to butterfly pea flower (groan) this steeps to a murky purple. But the swirls of glitter are fun and fascinating. The flavor is fine despite the age, and tastes as advertised – blackcurrant and mint. I would probably like this a lot more without the mint as I am not a huge mint fan. I love blackcurrant flavor, though, and there are plump, whole berries here.

Additional fun is adding some more tea to “hot up the cup” as my friend says. The glitter rises and swirls like mad, adding a bit of entertainment to breakfast. I think this will be more enjoyable as a sweet iced tea, and there is just enough left for one carafe.

Roswell Strange

Stealing that phrase


Ros: :D

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drank Lost Malawi by Rare Tea Company
3205 tasting notes

February Sipdown Prompt – an unflavored black tea

This was selected to go with breakfast this morning – homemade blueberry syrup and plain old Eggo Blueberry Belgian style waffles, all topped with whipped cream, of course.

This was Ashman’s first time having this tea, but since he liked Fortnum and Mason’s Darjeeling as well as Lupicia’s Premium Sakura, I thought he would enjoy this one.

His opinion was that it was a very good pairing and he felt that it would be an excellent tea paired with most food. He doesn’t like astringency much and said that he found this to be smooth and easy to drink.

I made two steeps and combined them and then intended to make a third steep after breakfast to see if we could get just a bit more out of the leaf. I really think we could have, but I got distracted with yard chores (squirrel!) and left it far too long. I didn’t risk a bitter experience and chucked it out. Maybe next time I can go for three steeps and see if it works.

Delicious, and would purchase again. The aroma of the very fine dry leaf alone is a treat.

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It has been a while since I drank this tea and I saved the wrapper so I wouldn’t forget to review it, because it deserved a genuine and thoughtful review. I am 99% sure this came from derk.

Mine has the word roast circled. I don’t know if that is true of all the ones reviewed here. It also says June 2022.

This tea was fantastic. I know it was fantastic because it immediately got added to my wishlist and that is something I am trying to avoid doing because I am trying to sipdown and not add to the cupboard. This oolong is worth it, and deserves attention and gong fu preparation if you have time to do it.


Good tea :)

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drank Da Hong Pao by Bellocq Tea Atelier
3205 tasting notes

February Sipdown Prompt – a tea that makes you feel cozy

Both Da Hong Pao and Dong Ding teas are very cozy to me. I am surprised that I have not reviewed this one yet! This was a gift from Superanna.

Yesterday afternoon I felt like continuing my celebration. I chose three chocolates and this tea, and used a scent cup to get the full sensory experience of this tea.

Honestly, as I sat there inhaling the aroma from the scent cup, I felt that I could stop there and say I had enjoyed a great tea experience. It smelled so good. As I cast about in my mind for how to describe what I was smelling, I finally settled on cinnamon rolls baking in the oven, nearly done, not too much cinnamon. Or a sweet bread, warm and waiting to be lightly glazed. How lovely that I het to drink it, too!

The tea was clear and of medium body. There is a light cinnamon note, a hint of minerality, and well-rounded flavor.

Second steep got the scent cup as well, and this time the freshly baked sweet bread has stepped back a bit and the minerality has come forward, like a hint of rou gui, just a little rock oolong peeking through. The change in the aroma is reflected in the flavor with mineral notes replacing some of the sweetness. It is by no means less enjoyable.

A third steep was made but I did not use the scent cup for this one. It is much the same as the second steep and I think that a fourth steep would not do this tea justice today. I ended my session. I want to remember you like this, Da Hong Pao.

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drank Black Currant by Elmwood Inn
3205 tasting notes


This is a tea I would gladly repurchase. It is great with breakfast hot and plain, lovely as a sweet tea iced at lunch, nice with afternoon chocolates or cookies. The black tea base is a nice tea and not just a carrier for flavoring. The fruitiness of the black currant is present but not candy-like and it doesn’t smack of chemicals.

Just a very nice tea. I would love to try more from this company someday.

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I had this as a quiet celebratory tea this afternoon after a long morning of scans, but I got cleared at this six month follow up. Nothing that looks like cancer, they said!

My brain, when I heard those words, immediately projected a picture of the box of Bissinger’s chocolates that I got for Christmas and have only eaten three pieces of. Angels were singing and bells were ringing, and of course, I wanted to have tea with my chocolates.

This good sized sample has been hanging around here for a while and I chose it for my celebration. I was going to take out my Awakening Bell from Woodstock Chimes but as I began to set things up, the wind chimes on the porch began to ring beautifully.

I decided to toss the rinse as it was very clear even after twenty seconds. There wasn’t much aroma yet, either.

I only made two steeps because there was a good bit of leaf and I was making a fair amount at the time. The first was 30 seconds and the second was 45.

I didn’t get any strong chi but I was already high on my good news so that could be why. But the flavor was quite good! This was a very easy to drink sheng. There was a bit of camphor, a bit of chilly cave with mineral scent, a fleeting fruit note, and some light and fresh vegetal flavor, slightly savory like a root vegetable. The sides of my tongue tingled just a little but not enough to be perceived as sour or harsh.

This would be a great starter sheng for someone afraid to dive into the sheng pool but interested in easing in one toe at a time. Have saved the leaves for more sessions tomorrow.


Such good news, congrats!


Thank you, Kaylee!


Congrats on your awesome news! Extra enjoy those chocolates. :D


Glad to hear scans were good! :)


Thank you, everyone!


Congratulations, sending you all the best!


Thank you, blueyedsurprise!


Yay for good news!

Tiffany :)

Always nice to receive good news :)

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February Sipdown Prompt – a tea ordered online


This tea was ordered online by me for me. Ashman liked it, which was a bonus because he doesn’t like fig flavor, figs, or fig jam. He loves strawberry tea, though, so I guess the strawberry and vanilla in this complemented the fig nicely enough for him to like it.

I was happy to get a couple of sipdowns today, but noticed that Harney and Sons has a brand new strawberry vanilla black tea and it is testing my resolve sorely. I hope to stay strong and maintain my buying ban for a little while longer.

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I am a music teacher, tutor, and former homeschool mom (25 years!) who started drinking loose leaf tea about fourteen 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…


North Carolina

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