2274 Tasting Notes

I have already made a long tasting note on this one, so I will simply say that this is a lovely, gentle cup of black tea with sweet potato and citrus notes, but no astringency and no lemony tartness such as one gets with the citrus flavor a some Ceylon teas.

This was my elevenses tea with Camembert and crackers. I used the suggested parameters of 194F for three minutes. Methinks I will be able to get a resteep from this, even though it was made western style.

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This is a sample sent by Teavivre for tasting. Many, many thanks!

I made this to share with my youngest daughter during our homeschooling this morning. We have already had a very light breakfast so it isn’t our breakfast tea, more of an early elevenses tea.

I used their recommended steeping time and temp even though I know that usually the instructions are for a lighter cup than westerners typically drink. I enjoy having these teas several ways to see which I prefer, and sometimes I change it up based on time of day and pairings.

At 194F for three minutes this tea was fairly light in color for a black tea. It reminded me of the first time I made Ruby #18! But even though the color is light, the flavor is not weak.

I was surprised by the malty cocoa flavor. It is not as deep as it is in their Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls. There is a nice honey aroma and then the tea, though light, has that scrape-y tongue feel I get from dry cocoa powder. Again, it is gentle.

I am eager to try it with western steeping – 212F and four or five minutes, and see how it changes!

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I had this tea twice yesterday so I will include both reviews in this one note, as they were made differently and I had a different companion each time.

My first cupping was Sunday morning. I had a gong fu session with my dog, Sam, and a wheel of Camembert. It was my first time having Camembert, and when I first opened the package I kept looking for the broccoli in the garbage can, wondering who had cooked broccoli without me knowing about it, and noting how remarkably clean the can was and oh my goodness was that smell coming from the cheese???? Yes, yes, it was. It smelled like Panera’s broccoli soup and since I love broccoli soup I figured I would like the cheese. I did. Sam did.

Hubby stumbled in about thirty minutes later, all stuffed up. As far as I know it was his first time having a sheng puerh. It was also his first having Camembert, but he loved it.

The tea was quite yellow, a really lovely color, and we made about a liter all told. It really could have gone longer but we couldn’t drink anymore and hubby had to leave. We were drinking from Teavivre’s double walled glass cups. I love them! A friend saw them and handed me money and said, “Get some for me!” Next I want to get the bat cups!

It paired nicely with the food. My first steep was short and the golden liquid was smooth, lively, and had nice woodsy flavor. The second steep was left a bit longer and was brisk, but pleasantly so, and was perhaps a better steeping time considering how strongly flavored our cheese was.

The second time I had this tea was with my bestie who came over for tea and cookies. This time it was prepared western style, using a 22 ounce Beehouse pot. We made two steeps. Again, the liquor was golden-amber. I am pretty sure it was my friend’s first sheng, although she has had a lot of shu and loves it. We were having this time instead of savory but the tea was quite good paired with cookies. There was not a terribly noticeable difference between the first and second steeps. I saved the leaves and will most likely be making a third lot western style later today.

Thank you, Teavivre, for the opportunity to try this tea!


I have Gongfu sessions with my dog as well :-) Sometimes the tea smells so good, I see his nostrils going like a radar!


LOL! Sam was very intense about the cheese but he really freaks out when I offer him tea. I don’t know why. (I fostered his family from the time he was one day old.) His sister got to some of my shu puerh when she was about nine weeks old and just lapped it up!


Aww, puppies and tea, adorable!!!


TeaFairy: does your dog drink the tea or watch?

carol who

Not only does your significant other like your tea and cheese, your hubby does, too. ;-) Lucky girl!


Oh, Carol Who, that is too funny! Last weekend I was looking in an antique shop that has a section for spoiled dogs and the lady asked me in front of my husband who I liked snuggling with more, him or the dog. My husband said, “No contest, definitely the dog!” (I can force him to cuddle!)

Hubby used to drink only cheap black tea with tons of sugar and milk, but joyful, joyful, now loves green, white, and oolong tea sans additions and doesn’t even touch black tea anymore except iced!


Teavivre’s double walled glass cups +1
“… smooth, lively, and had nice woodsy flavor.” – Sounds good!
Raw Pu-erh Western style? I only read about pu-erh Gongfu-style.


Ashmanra, yes he does drink it, pu’erh being his favourite it seems…probably due the smell!


An antique shop with a spoiled dogs section, awesome :-)


LooseTman: we frequently go western for puerh! Bonnie taught me one of my favorite summertime ways to drink it. Make one western style pot hot to drink, save the leaves and put them in cold water in the fridge for a day or two, and drink cold. Delicious and ultra-refreshing! I have only done this with shu thus far, but might give it a try with sheng.

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drank Oolong by Oliver Pluff & Company
2274 tasting notes

I could have sworn at first that this was a Formosa Oolong, but the company website says it is from Fujian. The smell of the dry leaves even reminded me strongly of Formosa oolong, but the steeped tea did not. This is not a green oolong but not a heavily roasted one either.

We used my small gong fu pot and my daughter was suitably impressed with the magnificent expansion of the leaves from little rolled pellets to a pot more than half filled with unfurled leaves.

We made several steeps. The second steep came out a bit strong but was good with our snacks. It would have been too strong standing alone, so next time I will cut my steep time just a bit. I gave the first steep 4 minutes and the second was untamed, but I am guessing it was about the same.

This is lightly roasted, a little nutty, a little sweet.

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My daughter and son-in-law came to celebrate Mother’s Day early with me today. My gift was this tea plus one other from Colonial Williamsburg, and a sugar cone! Our local German grocery sells them as Zucker Huts, which is really fun to say.

My eldest daughter doesn’t really care for black tea, but she loves green tea, white tea, and matcha, as well as some puerh tea. She likes coffee, so I thought this one might appeal to her. I liked it – it is a mild black tea with light smoke flavor though heavier smoke aroma. There is a clear, light, sweetness to the base which seems very like – if not the same as – the base for their Lapsang. Her husband does like smoky tea at all, but she liked it and had two cups with me. This was good, and was definitely a lighter Bohea than the other two I have tried.

I tried both teas, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to unwrap that lovely sugar cone in the blue paper!


I love sugar cones! I used to work at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg when I was a teenager. I owe a great deal of my love of history to hanging out in Colonial Williamsburg on my days off.

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drank Paul & Virginie by Dammann Freres
2274 tasting notes

My daughter has given me Dammann Freres teas several times over the past two years or so, and they always send samples. I am so excited about them, and then I forget to drink them! How many people wait for just the right moment to try new tea? I thought it was high time to taste this one.

It is a bag, so I used my eight ounce pot to steep it with boiling water and used probably only seven ounces of water. The aroma of the dry tea bag dismayed me because it smelled like rooibos….cherry cough syrup.

Happily that is NOT the taste of the tea. It is rather mild and the berry flavor dominates, mainly cherry, and caramel and vanilla are waaaay in the background for me.

The second steep was forgotten and I have no idea how long it steeped. It didn’t matter, though, as it was quite good. I only expected to get two steeps but I am tempted to try for a third and see what happens. This would not be a breakfast tea for me as it is far too civilized to get most people going, but is delightful for any other time of day!

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drank Queen Catherine by Harney & Sons
2274 tasting notes

This is far from being the most refined or most expensive tea I own. I have written so many tasting notes on it and still it surprises me when I haven’t had it in a while.

Yesterday I had to work the election. That means getting up at 4:30 to shower, dress, have a glass of Instant Breakfast, load the supplies, and arrive for set up at 5:30 am. We open at 6:30 am and have to stay until about 9 pm.

Around 8:30 am I realized that I needed a mid morning lift. I asked my daughter to bring me a JoeMo of this and a Nonni’s biscotti. I don’t like drinking tea from any closed container as the aroma is limited and you miss out on a lot of the pleasure in my opinion. I had her bring a Beehouse cup for me to use and I am so glad I did.

As soon as I poured it, the Queen both comforted me and fortified me for the day. I had one of those hug-the-cup-shaky-knees moments where there is no one in the world but you and your tea. Ah, yes. Love.

Cocoa, light smoke, rich malty black tea. Body that let’s you know you have sustenance flowing into your body. I love you, Catherine. I guess I always will.

I had a cup in bed after my seventeen hour shift, and another this morning, and more this afternoon with tea time brownies and strawberries and homemade cookies. Yes.

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drank Matcha organic 40g can by Zen Tea
2274 tasting notes

I forgot I had this, so when I was digging around in the matcha drawer of the refrigerator I figured I had better finish up this tin. I needed some ice cold beverages to serve at lunch as we were hot and pretty wrecked from working in the garden and I hoped the matcha would restore some zip.

I put a teaspoon of the powder in a cocktail shaker that I scored for $5 at an estate sale. (It came with a bottle opener and something else, too.) I added a little sugar and some lime juice, rather a lot I thought so I was afraid it would be too strong. I shook it up and poured it – a nice, deep green!

Hubby came in to eat, looked at his glass and sarcastically said, “Well, that looks tasty!” Then he surprised himself by liking it very much.

I am satisfied with the quality of this matcha for the price, but the pricing confused me last time I reviewed it. Even now, the site shows the original price as 34.50 and says it is on sale for 24.50. It is a good price for this matcha and I am sure we will finish it off quickly now that I have a cold matcha recipe that most of the family loves.

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This is a magnificent tea. It reminds me of the finest tie guan yin, but with even more flavor, more sweetness. Well worth the price, I will continue to buy an ounce or two at the time and cherish each steeping.

I shared some with my 18 year old male student who is rather new to “real” tea and he said it was his favorite so far. I don’t know when I should break it to him that he has very expensive taste in tea!

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Backlog from last week: There is one student to whom I offered at every week, but he never took me up on the offer. He is eighteen, and when his mother and little sister used to come with him, they would always get a china cup and have tea together during the lesson.

He drives himself now, so the past few weeks I didn’t offer tea. But this time he came in and said, “I know you always offered me tea and I never took it, but today I really need some because my allergies are making me feel terrible.” Yippee! (For the tea, not for him feeling terrible.)

I steeped pot after pot of this and he said it made him feel better. It was his first time having tea other than fruit flavored black, except for the one time he accepted (and liked) some puerh.

He ended up staying an extra two and a half hours, watching YouTube with me. I introduced him to Steam Powered Giraffe and he introduced me to Foals and David Garrett!

carol who

Yeah! Another tea convert on his way!

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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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