3013 Tasting Notes

A sipdown!

And I went into panic mode when I looked at my shelves today and loaded a cart at Teavivre…and emptied it again as my sanity was restored. Yes, I am very low on pure green tea. Also very low on flavored green. But I have some left and I need to get lots more tea down the hatch before I order anything else.

Whew. That was a close one.

Anyway, this is a definite reorder because it is so, so good. I like it with pretty much any meal and any type of food, or just as a cup to sip on while reading. It is so smooth. Lacks the sharp, metallic aroma that I assume people are talking about when they say tea is grassy and sour. This is a lovely tea. When I do order, it will be this and Anji Bai Cha.

Cameron B.

You are so strong ha ha! I’m also partial to their Bi Luo Chun.


Wow, this looks like a well-loved tea around here! I’ll put it on my someday-list. :)

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drank Vanilla Rose Cake by Cuppa Geek
3013 tasting notes

May Sipdown Prompt – a tea with a three word name

The green base of this tea has an aroma that I find in lots of flavored greens. It is rather metallic and I suppose grassy, but sharp grassy. The aroma is not favorite and is often the reason why some greens languish on my shelves, but once made – and especially with food – they are fine. I don’t know why I have an aversion to that aroma.

The vanilla aspect of this tea, however, was heavenly. I had this with breakfast, as flavored greens with this base usually go really well with food to me. It was fine and I look forward to the vanilla part of this tea, although the rose was absent for me.

Official Sipdown – May 8

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drank Parker's Blend by Cuppa Geek
3013 tasting notes

May Sipdown Prompt – an Earl Grey plus tea

This is an actual sipdown! Because this tea triple steeps, my remaining two teaspoons gave me enough tea to have it hot for breakfast and set aside a large jar to chill for lunch.

This is light on the bergamot rather than being a powerful in-your-face Earl Grey, and this final bit was especially blessed with lavender flowers. Think Earl Grey Cream with lavender. I consider this to be in the same flavor group as Paris, which I have sipped down, and Perseus, also gone now. They also all start with P! Very similar teas and all very special.

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Almost gave this to Superanna since she loves mint and I usually don’t reach for it, but decided to make it today because a student of mine dislikes almost all tea except mint tisanes.

Did not like. Yes, it was purple. The mint was muddy. Tongue is still muddy minty tasting long after even though I didn’t feel like the mint taste was clean and fresh, so I would have thought it would have gone away by now. No fruitiness.

Not for me.

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drank Earl Grey Cupcake by 52teas
3013 tasting notes

Breakfast tea – but only just opened so I am going to pick something else to be my sipdown challenge Earl Grey plus.

The bergamot in this is light and very well-behaved. I dislike bergamot on a Ceylon base – I find most Ceylon a bit lemony and I prefer my bergamot on a base that contrasts with it, as this ones does.

I read through the other notes and I have to agree that I would have pegged this more as a macaron flavor today than cupcake, although I think as it cools it began to lean in the cupcake direction.

Either way, it was a good tea and I enjoyed it!

As expected, the doc thought a biopsy was in order. Results next Monday when I go to get my stitch removed.

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drank Decaf Paris by Harney & Sons
3013 tasting notes

Making a second note on this one today to log the SIPDOWN! And I beat the best by date by six weeks! After a long day of driving (total of 4 1/2 hours round trip) to visit family, with the trip out having hard rain the whole way, I decided to unwind with the last of Decaf Paris and some M&Ms.

Tomorrow I have an appointment that is almost certainly going to involve a biopsy, possibly two – sus spot rapidly changing in the area where I had radiation eleven years ago – so tonight I am going to do what I want and eat what I want.

I felt a bit panicked about being out of so many Harney teas – this one, regular Paris, Apricot, Midsummer’s Peach, Decaf Ceylon. I almost rushed outside to tell Ashman WE HAVE TO PLACE AN ORDER IMMEDIATELY!!!! I reeled myself back in and realized I prefer Decaf Muscat to this, I have some decaf Carol left, I still have some Parker’s Blend left which is a great stand in for Paris, I have Celebration which is an apricot blend….so yeh, I’m good for now. I will get at least a few more sipdowns in and then make an order list after really examining what I love.


Good thoughts your way for the appointment. <3

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drank Decaf Paris by Harney & Sons
3013 tasting notes

April Sipdown Prompt – a tea you give to tea newbies

All I have left is the decaf version of this, and to a tea newbie I would probably give the caf version. Also, this is a tea for the person who is coming to have tea and chat and maybe, just maybe get introduced to tea. I did actually use this about two months ago for a tea newbie who is now outfitted with all sorts of tea things.

If someone is truly interested in tea, I first pepper them with questions before their visit. What foods and drinks do they like? Which do they hate? Any allergies? (Pollen allergy folks can react to chamomile and such.) Then I choose a whole tea flight for them. And coffee drinkers get puerh, and that has only failed to be a favorite one time.

But for a casual visit with someone who says they occasionally drink tea and they really don’t want to “get into” tea, Paris is a great choice. It is Harney’s number two selling tea, right behind Hot Cinnamon Spice which has long held sway as number one. That one is too strong for me – I don’t even like Red Hots, but one question I ask tea newbies is whether they like Red Hots, and if they say yes and I happen to have some HCS on hand for the family members who love it, they get that one, too.

Paris is an Earl Grey family tea, with black currant and caramel flavors added. It is smooth and flavorful, and although I drink it plain it does take milk and sugar very well. It has an elegant feel and can even appeal to most people who dislike Earl Grey.


Hot Cinnamon Spice, what a bizarre #1.


Hot Cinnamon Spice is in permanent residence on the work shelf that my um, less tea-centric friends keep stocked. They love it.

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drank Jingle Bells by Lupicia
3013 tasting notes

April 29 Prompt – National Sense of Smell Day: drink your most aromatic tea

Several of my teas could be tied with this one for aroma, especially if they were fresh, but this one does happen to be fresh and wow, that aroma packs a beautiful punch!

It knocked my socks off the first time I tried it. Some teas are all about that base (heh heh) but this is definitely all about the flavouring. This is sooo grape-y. Grape candy, grape Dimetapp (do they still make that or is this like gmathis’ Freakies cereal?)

What sets this apart from their Muscat tea, of which I have only had the decaf version, is the addition of sparkling wine flavor. When I have the two teas pretty close together I feel like Muscat is a substandard substitute for this one, but when I have Muscat on its own without having had this one recently, it is superb to me. When this runs out, I will almost certainly be buying some more decaf Muscat for evenings and maybe some for daytime tea.

It is nicely brisk, so I think you could add milk or sugar, especially sugar to amp up the grape candy aspect. I love it just as it is, though.


So how do we derive “Jingle Bells” from a grapey tea? Hmmm…


I think it must be the “wine” part! Boy do I have a video I need to send you…I’m on it!

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drank Golden Hour by The Silk Tea Co.
3013 tasting notes

April Sipdown Prompt – your fanciest tea

I almost saved this one for tomorrow to fulfill “your most aromatic tea” but I actually have one or two equally aromatic and this one definitely feels like the fanciest. A gift from Superanna – of course.

Clouds and drizzle all day yesterday, and clouds, rain, and storms expected today and tonight. I went all out by having this with breakfast and lighting a candle I hoard – Charles Dickens by Paddywax. If a candle can be a good pairing, wow is that one ever perfect to go with this tea.

Smoky Assam is the first ingredient listed. In aroma and taste there is no smoke and no Assam flavor. What there IS, though, is wonderfully fruity oolong that gives you three really good solid steeps. In the steeper, I saw a whole cardamom pod float to the top. There is so much fruit in this that you would think it would take two scoops of the blend to make enough actual tea in the basket, but not so. Golden color shimmers from the lovely oolong base.

I finished my waffles and the bacon I share with Sam and went to pour another cup. About two ounces dribbles out of the pot. I have glugged this 21 ounces down without even realizing how much I was drinking.

Due to the ingredients, I have to stop hoarding it now and drink it. I refuse to commit the crime of letting it fade.

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I debated with myself whether to try this tea today. This was the tea that was the catalyst for the swap between beerandbeancurd and myself.

I have tried only a few sheng puerh teas and most of those were not enjoyed. One from Wymm Tea stood out and was declared my favorite and one or two from Crimson Lotus have been very nice, but quite a few have been as fun as trying to drink nail polish remover, and the kids had one they called “murder tea”. So when I said I was jealous of beerandbeancurd’s experience with this tea, it was the experience I was jealous of – the peel myself off the floor tripping on tea experience.

The morning was cool but sunny and then clouds rolled in. Gray. Cozy in the house, or bleak, depending on where your head is. And after my first students had come and gone and then lunch, it hit me that I wanted to go ahead and try this tea. I only had one hour until my next students and the whole time I was setting my gong fu tray in the spare room I was telling myself, “You shouldn’t try this. You don’t have time. This is dumb.” But I did it anyway.

Three Stracciatelli truffles from Lindt because I usually do a little something special with gong fu and if it was murder tea I would need the sweet.

Didn’t rinse. Warmed the teaware and placed leaves in the warm gaiwan. Noted that the stiff, deep green leaves reminded me of the Purple Sencha I just finished from Postcard teas, a tea that turns a truly beautiful shade of purple that I couldn’t capture in a photo. Allowed the leaves to rest in the warm, damp gaiwan.

Sniffed gaiwan lid. JUNIPER AND ALCOHOL. Sniffed gaiwan. Less alcohol scent than lid, so the boozy smell must really rise on the steam. Mostly juniper. Forest. This is promising.

First steep – 30 seconds. Trees. Injured pine that fell in a storm and shattered and filled the air with its scent. Sap everywhere. Juniper. There is as much juniper taste in this as there was juniper aroma in the actual juniper tips tea beerandbeancurd also sent. That tea smelled strongly of juniper but the taste was milder. This is full on juniper.

Second steep – I don’t need the truffles but I am eating them anyway. Half a truffle, melting in my mouth while I mentally count out the next steep. This time 45 seconds. Again, trees. Now the cedar chest with the sweater Ashman never wears but won’t give away and the ten pairs of gloves he bought for just in case children come over and it snows (almost never) and their hands are cold. And the christening gown found in his mom’s house after she died, handmade. Who wore it? Who made it? It must be sixty to eighty years old, or more, might even have been hers. Digging around in the cedar chest to see what is there.

I don’t want to have just 45 more minutes. I want to sit here on the floor, and feel my soul, and look out the window, and sip the tea.

Third steep – boozier. Tongue and cheeks are tingling. Maybe I lost count? So good. Getting giddy. Losing track of time. I turn off the music at 1:59 especially to hear the chimes from the Catholic Church a half mile away and at 2:01 realize I didn’t hear them. I guess I was distracted. Music stays off.

Steep four – seriously, just read beerandbeancurd’s note. It isn’t an exaggeration. The flavors are spot on. Only for me add that there was a fleeting flash of high quality vanilla that came out of nowhere and surprised me.

I peeled myself off the floor. I went to the living room to prepare for the next students. I tried to use the burglar alarm remote to turn on the electric candle in the sconce on the wall and caught myself. Shook my head and grabbed the right remote off the piano. I feel like I downed a beer quickly. I feel like I am BUZZING and need to put forth a lot of effort to appear sober to these kids. I am, no doubt, more animated than usual. Teacher is having an especially extroverted day. (I am NOT an extrovert.)

About twenty minutes into the first lesson, I start to feel more normal. I have never had a tea high this strong. Derk gave me a Ruby 18 white that sent me to peaceful fields for a good couple of hours, so deeply peaceful. This one is giddy, tipsy, dizzy, giggly. But also, I might need a nap.

What a tea, and where can I get more?

Thank you, beerandbeancurd! Wow.


I love this so much. Giggling with you.


Oh, the mental images this is conjuring up!

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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.

I am also reviewing for Sororitea Sisters now!

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


North Carolina

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