2272 Tasting Notes

drank Keemun by Marks & Spencer Tea
2272 tasting notes

Apparently this tea does not exist. It came in a box but the box got a bit flimsy so I put it in a good tin and labeled it as Marks and Spencer – Keemun. And I have had it for a while so it should have already been in my cupboard. Now I find that it isn’t on Steepster and when I google it I can not find that it ever existed. I am pretty careful about labeling my tea, though, so it really should be the right name. Maybe it is just discontinued?

Anyway, I have been making it in large batches as good old sweet tea, Southern USA style. I use about four tablespoons steeped for three minutes in a pot of 212F water, then pour it over two cups of sugar which has 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to keep it from going cloudy. Then I add water and ice to bring it up to about five quarts of tea in my large glass dispenser that is kept in the refrigerator.

The leaf particle size is better than dust, but is not whole leaf. I would say most of it is about the size of gunpowder green tea. It makes a decent pot of hot tea but it is really shining cold. It is very, very dark, though, which I thought the family might find off putting, but nope.

Everyone is guzzling it, so I guess I will have to try to get some more when I ….wait for it….GO TO IRELAND THIS FALL! Yes, indeed, I, who have never even been on an airplane, am supposed to go to Ireland in October! I expect I will be coming back with some new goodies from Gurman’s, too! And O’Connail’s chocolates, which you really must try if you ever get a chance.

Maybe I can find out if this tea really exists while I am there…


Congrats on Ireland! You’re overdue for such a treat!


Oh I’m jealous, have a great time. I miss Ireland. Though every once in a while I run into odd connection to !y time there. The other day I ran into a man who’s family owns a pub we would visit from time to time in Malahide ( it was kind of a focal centre for people working out of Dublin airport and they keep Dublin’s Millennial clock in the courtyard). I’m so glad you will have friends and family to show you around. I miss hiking in Howth and Bray as well, there are gorgeous cliff side walks there and we used to go to Howth to watch the seals! So happy for you!


Enjoy your trip! Sounds lovely.


Drinking tea that never existed – next stop the twilight zone!

Ireland – Awesome!


So are you taking donations to pay for your extra baggage for all the tea you’ll be hauling home? ;)

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Backlogging from last weekend: I had this a couple of mornings for breakfast, of all things. Usually matcha and matcha lattes are an afternoon thing for me, often to satisfy the “thungries.” Do you remember that ancient Quik commercial that recommended their product for that?

Those mornings, I had some things to do and my energy levels were not quite up to snuff. I didn’t have time for a sit down breakfast, so I made Carnation Instant Breakfast in vanilla flavor using skim milk. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding 1/2 teaspoon of French Vanilla matcha. It was excellent, and stood me in good stead. Delicious, too, and took the vanilla taste right over the top!

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Do you know that song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2? I was singing it every time I had a cup of Keemun tea. I had a memory of what I wanted for breakfast, but I wasn’t finding it. Don’t get me wrong, I had some great Keemuns, but they were either so smooth and fine they were really for afternoon or they were so harsh and brassy I needed milk to tone them down.

But here it is, the very flavor profile I was looking for. I have had a hard time describing the tongue scraping feeling that some teas give. I don’t mean sour astringency, and I usually describe it as the way dry unsweetened cocoa powder would feel on your tongue. But when I saw the mention of “wood” in the company description, I thought of those little wooden spoons that used to come with the rare ice cream cup in the school cafeteria. That is the feeling I mean, the way that wooden spoon felt.

Keemun Grade 1 – I am so glad I found what I was looking for.

7 g 22 OZ / 650 ML

This is a good one. Have you had the Hao Ya from Teavivre? I remember liking it once I got over my initial shock – at the time I thought it was smoky.


Congrats on your 1,800 tasting note! Way to go ashmanra!

Cathy Baratheon

I kinda love the taste of wooden spoons


K S: I did try it, a long while back, and it is probably the tea I was remembering now that I look back at my notes. I like smokey tea! I only had a sample, though. I ordered the Superfine Aromatic from them and love it, but it is so very smooth that it doesn’t do breakfast for me. I drink it in the afternoons.

looseTman: I didn’t even realize! Thank you! I need to push for 2,000!

Cathy: My hubby feels the same way. He loved the taste of those wooden spoons!


Premium Keemun Hao Ya “the very flavor profile I was looking for” for breakfast and Superfine for afternoons, sounds like a definite plan! I’ve been enjoying Premium Keemun Hao Ya for breakfast for about a year. My 1st TeaVivre order was 700 g of it. The 2nd anniversary sale was 1 kg! The 3rd anniversary sale was 500 g of it and 500 g of Golden Monkey.


looseTman: Those sound like lovely and exciting orders!

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I ordered one of the 3rd Anniversary special sample packages when I ordered puerh for my son (and maybe some Jasmine Silver Needle White for me ssssshhhhhhh don’t tell anybody.) This is one of the additional samples I chose.

I drank it with my bestie because she loves the Jasmine Silver Needle and she drinks chamomile just about every night, so I was interested in how she would like it. Also, it is a great opportunity to get friends addicted to new tea so they come and see you more often. :)

I used the whole sample in my 22 ounce pot. When the pouch was opened the aroma of chamomile filled the whole kitchen. It was stronger than if I had straight chamomile! I put the leaves in my display dish so she could she how lovely the tea was before we started steeping. The white tea is so downy, soft, and fluffy, and there are loads of chamomile blossoms and rose buds. Beautiful! But once it sat in the dish, the dominant scent was rose. What a chameleon!

Steeped, I tasted mostly chamomile, but it was made thick and creamy by the white tea. I did not taste very much rose, which is contrary to the experience of one other reviewer.

I resteeped the leaves but I had a student on the way over and lost rack of time. I know I oversteeped it badly, but it did no harm. I drank the whole second pot by myself and didn’t get any bitterness. It’s nice when tea is forgiving!

One thing I know is that this is going in my cart for next order as it is on sale soon. Even though there is caffeine in the white tea, the aroma is so soothing and comforting that I will be craving it on cold evenings this fall.

Edited to add: I forgot to say that this tasted very sweet to me even though we made no additions. Very sweet!


I put a sample of this in my cart while stocking up on jasmine dragon pearls and powdered green tea. Sounds like I am going to like it!


Jasmine Dragon Pearls will be on my order, too. I love them! The Chamomile Rose had a similar effect on me as the JDP….instant serenity.

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drank Special Dark by Mandala Tea
2272 tasting notes

I have had this a couple of times lately but haven’t logged it. Last Wednesday night I drank several cups of it in the evening and was WIDE awake until around 3 am! That may have been the tea, the cake I had with it, or just a fluke.

I had it again today. A friend is moving away and we met for possibly the last time. She has recently become quite sensitive to gluten, so my daughter made some delicious flourless chocolate cookies for us, and I made deviled eggs. It was all we could come up with on short notice that was gluten free! It was good, though, and she really seemed to love it.

This is the friend who thought she disliked tea, and I introduced her to puerh and to Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle and she in turn got her mom totally addicted to puerh. Don’t you LOVE it?

This is a great tea to serve with sweets because it doesn’t compete, it complements. I also like serving it when I think the fats in the food might be hard on the system. I suppose it is preventive maintenance.

This is not a horsey puerh at all, but rather one of the smoothest. It is very mild yet flavorful. We drank two steeps western style in a large pot and the second steep was as good, as flavorful, as dark and tasty as the first. It is not the darkest puerh I have had, but it is indeed very, VERY special.


Dear ashmanra, I just purchased SD and have started to become acquainted with it. I can see how this tea would easily complement sweets. What brewing parameters do you favor for this “very mild yet flavorful” shou? Thanks!


Since we were drinking a lot of tea that day, LooseTman, my daughter used a 22 ounce pot and about three and a half teaspoons of leaf. It was steeped for about four minutes for the first steep and four and a half for the second, using boiling water.


Thank you! Pu’erh by the pot – I’ll have to try that!
Do you typically brew pu’erh Western of Gong Fu style?

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drank Ruby #18 by A Southern Season
2272 tasting notes

This tea has lots of meaning for me. It was one of the first “fine” teas I ever bought, recommended from the fine tea wall at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC. The first time I steeped it, I was sure I had done it all wrong. I had forgotten it and oversteeped, yet when I poured it the liquor was light orange. What happened to my black tea?

Instead of being astringent, it forgave me utterly and yielded a cup of raisin-y goodness. Steep after steep.

This was also the last tea I sent to Doulton, a much loved steepsterite who disappeared a long time ago. She was a delight, NAND I was thrilled that she loved this tea.

Today I made it because I am making my own breakfast for the first time in my recovery period, and I knew I might not multitask really well today. (I sneaked into the garden early and tried to hammer a brick clip up with a piece of 2×4 so I could hang some garden art and got caught by my daughter. I had to come in so she wouldn’t rat on me.)

I have absolutely no idea how long this steeped, but it is perfect. Thick, golden raisin taste drained from my cup rapidly. Thank goodness I made a whole pot.

Flavors: Raisins


thats great news! wishing you the best!


Good news is always welcome. I think LooseTman would like to hear from you as well. Prayers for you!


Thank you! I feel really good, just tire easily and have to be careful. Glad to be on the recovery side of things!

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Let’s just call this review a “my bad.”

I had my daughter make this yesterday by SOP. Three teaspoons leaf, boiling water, 4 1/2 minutes, 22 ounce pot. I knew better, because this tea tastes just plain weird to me when made that way. It is Fujian, but doesn’t taste it. It gets a strange taste like…grapefruit that isn’t very good and you hope you don’t have to eat them for breakfast every day.

I enjoyed it when I made it gong fu style. I should have read my tasting notes first!

I have very little left and it is old, so now I am trying to decide whether to throw it away or go ahead and use it for gong fu serving. Why when there are about 200 other teas that I enjoy more? I suppose I can pass it in to someone else and see if they like it, but I hate to do that with teas I don’t enjoy…

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drank Mon Secret by Nina's Paris
2272 tasting notes

My youngest daughter has been spoiling me with breakfast in bed since my surgery. Almost every day I have chosen an omelette made with eggs from my French Black Copper Marans, French thyme, peas, and cheese, accompanied by a piece of whole wheat toast with Bon Maman cherry preserves, and tea. With all the French goodness on my tray, I thought I should add a French tea!

I really, really like this one. For starters, I love the Keemun base that Nina’s uses. I had my daughter steep it for three minutes in boiling water and we had just enough leaf left for two good sized cups of tea. Youngest tried it and said she really liked it. She has just started taking her teas without milk and sugar which has me excited, of course! Hoorah! Hooray!

Although drinking the tea with a hearty breakfast made me miss some of the nuances of the tea, I enjoyed it very much. It was strong enough for breakfast but the fruity flavors still came through.

Drinking this also makes me realize how much I miss Nina’s Earl Grey. I need to order some more soon! Youngest loves Earl Grey tea and Keemun so I will justify buying it by pretending it is for her and not for my stash.


Yum—great meal! ;-) You are sure to feel better soon!


Your youngest has good tastes (EG!) lol. Glad to see you are in such capable hands.

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This was my first tea after surgery yesterday. For some reason I have always associated this tea with healing. It is addictively delicious. I have had one other ginseng oolong and it couldn’t hold a candle to this one. It was such a comfort to have favorite teas from my favorite tiny cup away from home.


Wishing you speedy recovery!


Hope all is well and you recover quickly.


The day after surgery and you’re writing tasting notes – what a trooper! Angel should be especially pleased you chose a TeaVivre tea at such an important time for your healing. We hope you have a speedy recovery!


So good to see you on the board! Still praying!

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Pretty big surgery yesterday. Morphine button a bust – turns out morphine just makes me violently ill. Went painkiller free other than essential oils on my feet and this tea, sent up in a JoeMo by youngest daughter. This tea takes me to my happy place. It really helped me relax and soothed my throat which was irritated by the throat tube. Best of all, having a familiar and beloved tea made me relax, which means hurting a little less. Two containers were sent up, and eldest daughter drank one and loved it. This was her first time having it but I have a feeling it wasn’t the last.


Wow, feel better! Sorry you’re dealing with that…


When in pain, reach for jasmine!


Glad that this tea can help you.
Hope you will feel all right very soon. Take care.


Can’t think of a more lovely tea to recuperate with. Glad to see you on Steepster.


Take care! Tea must be truly comforting in a time like this and I’m glad you have it.

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