676 Tasting Notes


Thank you mrmopar for this fantastic Pu-erh Sample!

I really should read up on Puerh’s before I go off brewing up on my own. Somehow, a purist will probably be horrified at my methods here.

I was enjoying myself, having a great time with this Puerh!

I have a lovely little seasoned purple clay Gaiwan that I use for Puerh. A pick, strainer and cup is all I need for a good session.

Usually I use less leaf than other people because fibromyalgia has made me very sensitive to taste. I make quantity adjustments because of that and use 3 grams of Puerh when others use 5 grams with the same taste results.

Today, I wanted to try a larger amount of leaves. I used 5 grams, which is a huge quantity for me, then did 2 quick washes.
(I poked the hard nugget of Puerh during the first 30 second steeping to break it up a bit.)
The liquor was dark golden brown with a hint of red throughout.

Steepings 30 seconds unless noted otherwise.

1. First steepings are usually not my favorite. They can knock you down with a fuzzy cedar or redwood taste and texture that’s very strong and sometimes bitter.
But this Puerh…HA!
This tea was extremely Smooth, Juicy and Semi-Sweet, with a light cocoa, sugar date flavor! I was pleasantly surprised!

2. The second steep flavor was like Bittersweet Chocolate or a light Pinot Noir. There was no grit or earthy flavor, but a thick mouth feel that made me think of sipping chocolate.
I added a few grains of sugar and the caramel flavor came up with a richness that I had suspected was hiding deep in the thick, smooth tea.

3. As an experiment, I tried a quick immediate steep.
The color was dark, the flavor…a bit dryer and spicy on my tongue like cinnamon and clove. The creaminess wasn’t as strong and the richness was lighter.
There was more of a wood cedar taste than when I steeped the leaves longer. I liked the longer steeping better.

4. Returning to the longer steeps, this time at 40 seconds, the Puerh was spicier.
Cinnamon, clove and allspice. A bright Paso Robles Zinfandel with Sunshine and Ripeness in the bones of the flavor.
This tea was beginning to remind me of…a Chai base, or Sangria.

It’s the Holidays…and I remembered that the person who sent this Puerh to me…who has become a true friend…has at his side the love of his life. She is fond of Chai.

So, I did what anyone other than me would NEVER do with a great Puerh! I made some Puerh Chai in honor of her, hoping that this is something that he’ll try. Here goes…

I made 2 steepings of Puerh, added half and half, then a little sugar and a little honey (I don’t like too much honey because it can overpower the taste of the tea). Stirred it up…and YUM!

Caramel, smooth, spicy, creamy…(Hey mrmopar, you have 5 cakes of this Puerh, so tell me if you make this for your sweetheart!)

This Puerh is great stuff! Probably the smoothest I’ve ever had and the closest to the experience of drinking wine.

Thanks again mrmopar my friend!


that sounds incredible Bonnie! YUM. I hope we get a chai review from mrmopar ;)


Me too if he doesn’t boop me on the head for screwing around with such a fine Puerh. It’s a super fine brew!

Terri HarpLady

This is one of the ones I’ve been wanting to try! It sounds wonderful!


Mrmopar says it only is sold in 100gr cakes so it shouldn’t be too expensive or hard to find. It’s really good though! Very smooth.


i wont boop you in the head! it is all about the enjoyment of the tea. everyone of us has our own way to prepare it, and yes i may make a chai out of this one. terri it is pretty easy to find and not too expensive. if you look to pick some up i will find a good priced one for you. keep me posted.

Terri HarpLady

I saw it on Beryleb’s page on ebay. Do you know if there is a place to purchase a sample size of it? I know the 2 of you love it, but I’d like to try it before I buy a cake.


I only have a couple grams left. Need to buy some myself. The small 100 gram cake was under $8.00


jas-tea has them u.s. 7.99 yunnan sourcing usa 7.50 or pm me your address i will send you a sample.

Terri HarpLady

I didn’t see it at yunnan sourcing, but saw one on jas that looks similar, listed as
2009 Menghai Hong Yun Ripe Pu-erh -100 grams
is that the same tea?


yes that is the same one. it is just described a bit differently on the yunnan sourcing site.

Terri HarpLady

Thanks, mrmopar. : )


you are quite welcome!

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Thank you Invader Zim for sharing some of this with me!

I have trouble tasting special tea’s alone. If at all possible, I prefer tasting with other people who appreciate tea as much as I do. I’ll usually taste the tea first, then take the rest for a comparison tasting with other people. It’s fun!

I took some of this sample to share with Joe, Eric, Sam and George while the tea shop was quiet. It had snowed and business slowed down for a few hours. This was perfect timing.

Eric set up a Gaiwan and some small tasting cups, washed the leaves and began pourings. We accomplished 6 steepings with great success.

What amazed me first was the scent of the wet leaves. The aroma almost knocked me off the high bar stool I was sitting on!
Man-o-man this was some strong but delicious scented tea!

Floral, a little savory, orchid, honey. It had little scent droplets with wings that fly way up into your sinus’s and explode like pop rocks! Honest!

I told the tea guys that if I pass out, put the wet leaves under my nose. I’ll revive!

The flavor of the tea was milder than the aroma. Hallelujah!
It had a sweet, juicy floral bouquet with a slight roasted finish. (You can see the light roasting on the edges of the leaves)

There’s orchid…and honeysuckle fading in and out…changing, elusive.
Every steeping was like scarves being pulled off a belly dancer one by one as she weaves and turns mystically around and around dancing to the music… with her eyes enticing you to follow her, hands and feet moving with grace.

An exotic floral taste, one that doesn’t give up after two or three steepings.

Everyone was impressed. Quality tea.

I have some more tea left to drink alone.
Really good tea is something I like to taste several times and savor.

Thank you Invador Zim!

I just wrote a story on my blog called Christmas Eve Call. It’s about a call I got from the Police Department one Christmas Eve.
My children were small and a waitress where I had breakfast had remembered my name when she was attacked in her home…


you are a Christmas angel Bonnie!

Terri HarpLady

I like the Belly dancer reference! I was a belly dancer at one time, & am still in love with the dance & the music, donning my “dress ups” in the privacy of my bedroom, & dancing for my own pleasure. I have friends from back in those days who still perform, & still look fantastic doing it!

Invader Zim

I’m glad you enjoyed it and were able to share it with others, and I really love the way you express it, especially with the belly dancer referance!

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The last of my shopping is done! I found the ‘Mister Potato Head’ and the ‘Stuffed Puffy Gorilla’ for the two little bitty 2 year old grandsons. (Don’t worry, the potato head is for preschoolers!)

It’s interesting to have 2 year old boys with completely different needs. One (Hayden) is zooming ahead in his development and one (Owen) is slower.
Owen has Williams Syndrome. He likes soft and cuddly textures so the 3 foot tall gorilla will make him really happy!

Earlier today I took 8 year old Micah and 10 year old Donovan out for tea. We always have fun together! They met all my favorite servers at Happy Luckys, and ate scones. http://flic.kr/p/dDij7X

At one point, I held up my cup…and the boys held up theirs also.
I said, “Let’s make a toast. What would you like to toast Micah?”
PIZZA!”,he said without any hesitation.
I couldn’t stop laughing! Of course he would like to toast pizza. He had no idea what a toast was! (I’m such a dorky Grandma)

We walked around town looking in all the store windows. The rock store, the dog cookie store, the Christmas decor store. Fun!

I dropped the boys off…came home and sortly began nodding off on the couch.
You know what I’m talking about. You turn on CNN and snooze!
It was pitiful!

I woke up amused at being an old lady napping on the couch, and decided to make a pot of tea.

There’s a plastic shoebox of Butiki Tea’s in my Cupboard. I pulled the box down, and remembered that I had some Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips in the freezer. What could I do with them?

Some tea companies mix mini chocolate chips into their tea blends so why couldn’t I mix in some of my own with Almond Indulgence Tea?

This idea sounded good to me and worth trying. It’s Christmas after all and Stacy wouldn’t mind!

I got the ingredients ready and popped some chocolate morsels into the basket with the tea to steep.

While waiting, I thought about what a wonderful person Stacy at Butiki Tea’s is. I can count on one hand the vendors that are really special, going beyond people I buy tea from, becoming people I care about.
Now and then, getting an email from Stacy asking how I’m feeling is something I never expected from the owner of a tea company. Stacy was one of the people long ago who welcomed me (and many of you) into the world of tea.

Thanks Stacy!

The tea was ready!

The taste was yummy (of course it was!) but not as chocolaty as I wanted so I plopped in some more chocolate chips, a little milk and stirred the whole thing together.
Yep, even Santa would be proud to drink this with his cookies on Christmas Eve! Creamy, almondy and chocolaty.

Oh boy! I’m awake now!

http://flic.kr/p/dDijjk OK…this is Preston, another server at Happy Luckys, single…24 and really nice! Merry Christmas I-Bloom and friends!


Haha. All I could think of was, you can send him up here Bonnie and ill wrap him up for the tree for Indigobloom :). Thank you as always for sharing your stories and pictures.


ohhhh MY! Look at those dimples! Sighs. Sil I like the way you think! :P

Butiki Teas

Bonnie, that is a great picture with you & the boys. So sweet! I love that you experiment with additions in our teas. We have a customer that mixes this Almond tea with our Coconut Cream Pie to make an Almond Joy tea. I’ve been meaning to test that out. That’s very kind of you to say! You are such a sweet person. :) Happy Holidays!


Same to you Stacy! I’d love to mix those two but it has rooibos (bean family allergy) and you know how that doesn’t mix with me… but the chocolate chips did taste good so yum!

Butiki Teas

Oh right, the rooibos allergy. Mmmm, chocolate chips. That sounds yummy.

Terri HarpLady

I love the pic!

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This was a nice little sample that came with the chocolate sampler last month. Thank you!

Many of us are looking out the windows at SNOW today. I’m loving it!

Snow arrived a few days ago in the Rocky’s and the next is coming Christmas Eve. It’s half way melted already leaving just enough to look pretty.

Granddaughter Schey came over last night and we went to the monthly Downtown Free ‘Food Walk’.
We were bundled up in boots and warm coats http://flic.kr/p/dD4h7t, walking first into the ‘Welsh Rabbit’ for Cheese Tasting (naturally smoked Wisconson Gouda and English Chedder). http://flic.kr/p/dD9EoU
When we left the cheese shop there was a man with a tray of hot cinnamon waffles from ‘The Waffle Lab’ on the street corner handing out free big waffle sections. http://flic.kr/p/dD9Eef YUM! Hot cinnamon waffles while walking down the street!
We wound up at the end of our ‘Food Walk’ at ‘Happy Lucky’s Tea House’ where Joe was giving samples of flavored, pressed grape oil paired with tea. (my favorite was Russian Caravan Tea paired with Habanaro Chili Oil).

Schey and I finally sat at the bar and ordered a pot of holiday tea and a cookie to share…(which Sam paid for before leaving for the day. His ’on-the-house gift to us).

Today, I’m picking up grandsons Micah and Donovan for a trip back to the tea shop for TEA WITH GRANDMA! A wonderful thing to do right before Christmas! The boys love going out for tea!

To get in the mood, I decided to drink this flavored tea. (I know, a shock!) I don’t dislike flavored tea’s, I’ve gotten more selective I guess.
I appreciate that Della Terra has samplers where you can try lots of different tea’s at a reasonable price. There were some of the chocolate sampler tea’s (like the Chocolate Puerh) that I was pretty fond of.

The Raspberry Truffle was full of flavor. Chocolate, raspberry…all very rich and strong. You know what the tea is all about. FLAVOR!

When you read the ingredients on the package, it says chocolate flavoring and raspberry flavoring. You can taste them.
Some of the other Della Terra tea’s use natural ingredients for flavor and I like that more.
To tame the sourness of the artificial flavoring, I added half and half which helped a great deal. Then I sweetened my tea.

I don’t think this will disappoint anyone who wants a dessert tea. The flavor is exactly what is in the name. You can’t taste any tea but you taste lots of flavoring.

This is the first of the Chocolate tea series that I can REALLY taste the chocolate…very strongly. The play of both flavors (chocolate and raspberry) works.

Not a thumbs down or a thumbs up cuppa tea.

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Thank you mrmopar for this puerh sample tuo cha!

The Tea
This morning, I popped this mini into my purple clay gaiwan, that’s only used for puerh. It was a new tuo cha and I enjoy drinking these when I’ve got a busy day ahead.

As always, I did a rinse, then because the tuo cha was pretty hard I did another quick rinse. I poked the lump of hard leaves a bit after pouring on more boiling water and waited a little more than 30 seconds. (I like to help the steeping along in the beginning)

The wet leaves smelled more like an old book store or library than most. Leather, a little musty and a bit of dirt. Good smells though.

When I sipped my first taste of the dark red brown brew, the liquor was dense like a paint stain, but light and smooth with some faint sweetness.
I expected a cedar flavor which wasn’t present in the tea. No woodsy or earthy flavor, just a mellow…even light American coffee smoothness. Unexpected but nice.

I filled my cup again and again, still holding the same flavor each time without change. A good little tuo cha…thanks mrmopar!

I went to Steepster to begin writing a review about this tea.
When I pulled up the review from the previous evening, something bad had happened.

My review had a comment from someone I didn’t know. He said I was a liar here on Steepster, and that I had an agenda which was to promote only certain tea companies.
It also said that I hide behind my glasses, that I don’t tell the truth about anything. It even misquoted my blog story about the Children’s Shelter Christmas, and said that I beat my children. He said he would like to press charges against me. (The kids were beaten by their parents, not by me!) There was much more!

I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Several Steepster people saw what was happening, as the attack suddenly went live… and came to my defense, Bless them.

At first I was shocked. Then, I realized that the person had to have planned this for some time. They knew things about me.
A troll or someone with an agenda was out to slam me. But Why?
I chose not to engage with any anger.

So sad for them really. What sadness to carry that kind of poison inside towards others.

You who have known me for the past year have seen me go from Celestial Seasonings Tea, to Davids Tea’s and Kally, Butiki,
Steap Shoppe, Teavivre, Whispering Pines and Verdant to name some of the more common ones. (I’ve left out lots of puer from different sources).

Like you, I drink the tea I like. That’s it.

Some of you love Davids Tea or 52 tea’s or Harney & Son’s. You love what you love. I applaud you for that freedom to choose and I enjoy your reviews. Sometimes, I get to try those favorites of yours in a tea swap!

The comments of the troll disappeared off my reviews. POOF, GONE!
So, I removed my comments also. Why confuse people I thought.

I think this issue isn’t done with. It will probably return.

Other people are going to get slammed or insulted by these trolls now and then so here is what you need to know.

They are not who we are.

We are a kind community and one that is free.

We write our own reviews based on our own opinions and I for one am not for sale, and I can’t be intimidated. I am not afraid of drinking tea and writing honestly what I think. I choose the companies that I buy my tea from.

mrmopar, Indigobloom (who saw what happened) and JC who saw too,
and all the most kind people I’ve ever encountered…and I’m not going to run for the hills in fear.

(Stepping off my soapbox now..) Kumbaya! (Well I do have a sense of humor too!)


So weird, the person was following me, and now he disappeared completely from Steepster. Might show up with another name though. Beware!


Ugh, that’s awful. But I suppose every community has its trolls, from what I have seen the folks here deal with them very well and gracefully!

Autumn Hearth

hugs those personal attacks are horrid and ignorant. I didn’t see the comments myself, but I did see Indigobloom come to your defense so I looked him up before everything disappeared. Seemed he had his own struggles, he went from rating Verdant Teas much higher to lower. His review for Laoshan Green I think it was, was very distressing. He talking about order lots of tea to support Verdant helping the farmers, then he got upset when he realized he should be helping local farmers in his community, not over in China, lots of caps and anger there. Very sad.

Bonnie Autumn, from what I’ve learned, this isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. There have been others who have been slammed. I’ve been called a name or two before making fun of me as an ignorant American. Say what they will, they are all correct.

I am nobody special. I’m a tea drinker. That’s all I do here, drink tea and share my experience.


I am so sorry that something like that happened to you. I don’t get people sometimes. :(


Hey, it’s over now…Merry Christmas!!! No Grinches!!!


Bonnie – I received all the comments in my email and read through them. I think your response was absolutely appropriate and unantagonistic. Kudos for not lashing out! Some people just go looking for fights.


Thanks Kittenna, next time…ninja Ibloom, Kittenna and Bonnie!


no you are special as is everyone i have come to know on this site. god made each one of us special. never let these kind of people make you feel down. like you said feel sorry for them because they must have a very miserable life in order to having to resort to an action like this to gain some attention.

Hesper June

I did not see any of the comments, but you are a very special lady to us. And any one that has been on here for than a few minutes knows how much we love Bonnie and value her honest opinions on teas. You were one the first people I followed on here, Bonnie. Because I could see right away that were you were someone I could learn a lot from and I enjoyed your lovely stories. I am glad you aren’t going to let this person ruin your day:-) Happy Holidays,Bonnie!

Invader Zim

I wonder if it was the same person as before with a different user name, or someone within that circle.


Who knows who it is? Might be like you said Invader Zim, the same person.
Thanks for your nice comments everyone! Makes me blush! Anyway, the reason I wrote about the experience is to confront the problem and make other people aware of it because this has happened before and will likely happen again. I received an email from David Duckler last night that said this kind of trolling happens regularly to tea companies on other sites but not hardly ever from Steepster.
We should be proud of that! Best to ignore these sad people, not engage them and get on with loving tea! You are GREAT Steepster friends! Have a Jolly Christmas!

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With 4 inches of ‘New Snow’, I hunkered down yesterday, enjoying TV, and drinking a mini tuo cha and some Lapsang. I didn’t write a review, I just watched the snow. http://youtu.be/25mLJSC1oUQ Ray Charles ‘Winter Wonderland’

Today, my Winter Wonderland was safer to venture out into. Roads and sidewalks had been cleared, the sun was out and shining. It was cold, but at 3:00 PM it was 40 degrees.
Off I went with a Christmas Card for my favorite tea professionals at Happy Lucky’s Tea House.
Burr! It was beautiful but cold in the shadows, with the wind blowing frigid air off the pockets of icy snow. I had forgotten to walk on the sunny side of the street to keep warm!

Eric, Sam, Andy and Diane were working at Happy Lucky’s today and Owner George had a chat with me too. I often bring a sample of some tea to share, and today was no exception.
Eric set up a Gaiwan and cups for everyone, we had several steepings of my tea and discussed the flavor and sometime later, I ordered tea.

I was having a hard time deciding what to drink. After a fragrant and floral tasting, what would I drink? It should be something completely different!

At the end of the tea bar, was a large pot of hot Chai in a dispenser that keeps it hot and has an automatic blending arm that goes around and around, keeping the milk moving. A small sign invites customers to try a sample of Chai, or you can pick a mug and have a full cup.

Most of the Chai’s have ingredients that I’m allergic to. Rooibos is the one that’s the worse for me.
I wasn’t aware that there was a Black Chai on the tea menu that was Rooibos free!
Today, for some reason, I asked Eric if there was a Chai without ingredients that I’m allergic to. He said yes, India 500 Mile Chai!
Great news! I love Chai in the Winter!

Then he asked how I wanted my Chai prepared?
“Indian Style, traditional with whole milk, and honey,” I said.

He went to the espresso machine and ‘steam scalded’ my milk without frothing it, steeped the black Chai (which had no black pepper in it) then added a moderate amount of local honey.

Eric said, “Real Indian Chai should be made with scalded milk so always ask for it to be made this way.”

I took a sip and noticed how mellow the Chai was. Not too spicy and not bland either. Just a nice medium Chai, round and balanced.

Some of my own stock of Chai’s at home knock your socks off with cinnamon, cardamon, clove or chocolate and orange. I like the spicy Chai’s…but sometimes, I want a Chai like this one. I want to taste the milk and honey without having the spices nip at my my tongue.

I’ll have this again and again when I stop at my favorite tea house.

The rest of the Chai was poured into a large cup to go (I had already had a chocolate matcha latte…it’s a long story, but caffeine helps migraines for people like me who are temperature sensitive) and off I went.

I set my tea-to-go cup on the roof of my car, went to the end of the block with my camera, and took a few pictures of Old Town at night. http://flic.kr/p/dCU6ry

What a great way to spend time on a cold evening!

PS…you will see notes below from someone who does not know me
and began ranting…a troll that I’m going to ignore. He posted the
same information on another review of mine. Poor guy. I just feel sorry for him.
OK he removed his comments so I’ll remove mine.


Sometimes nothing is better than a cup of hot, sweet, simple Chai. Especially with snow! I’m envious, it’s raining here in NY. I miss the snow!


I think it’s on the way!


Pretty pictures! And the chai sounds wonderful!


nothing better than a real traditional chai!! I’ve only ever had it in a restaurant, at least well made like that. Hats off to Luckys!


Scalded milk: yes!!!!


TeaFoold, really? are you saying you haven’t done the same on your own reviews? and I quote… “Another beautiful selection…from dry leaf on. Lovely Tea. Bravo!”
There is nothing wrong with being positive or getting excited over finding a new tea to love. Why does it have to be termed hype?


Bonnie, it isn’t just you. I’ve seen this troll post on other people’s reviews as well. Don’t take it personally… just ignore it!
Your reviews are awesome, I love your HYPE

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I did not know that about migraines, caffeine, and temperature-sensitivity. I mean, I knew bout migraine and caffeine, just not the temperature sensitivity part. Thx Bonnie. Will have to google more now.

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http://youtu.be/_NLCbqP6HjE Oh Yes,, Let it snow!!!!

I’m so excited, like a little kid! It’s finally snowing! Big huge flakes of snow (not snowkles!). 3-6 inches tonight (which will melt by Thursday or Friday) and then…the Weather Lady said the next snow is expected CHRISTMAS EVE! It’s my childhood Christmas dream!

You have to understand. Growing up in Northern California and watching all the programs about Santa and Christmas with snow.
I probably asked (begged) God a time or two for a miracle. Oh He heard me alright, but waited for me to need snow. Waited for me to be a child in an old woman’s body. Now, I appreciate the wonder of it all even more because I’ve waited so long!

I plugged in my Christmas Tree and opened the curtains so that everyone driving home in the snow could see my lights as they come down Elizabeth Street.
Then I plugged in the little tree on my tea table (it has an antique mirror behind it) and opened the side curtains in the dining room for people driving into Saddle Ridge to see.

Festivity, lights, sparkle and delight! Snow!

Next, I made a big pot of Ginger Sage Winter Sage Spa Blend Tea with 1 tsp. Laoshan Black added, and a few chunks of 04 Yanxin Reserve Shu Nuggets.(I find that this is a perfect combo…somewhat like the Imperial Summer Breakfast Blend but more savory, spicy).

The Laoshan Black, Puer and Herbal Blend together is so rich, full and robust. (You can add Honey or Milk without weakening the tea.)

Your mood will be elevated, it will make you feel warm all over and relaxed. It’s so delicious…one of my favorites for Winter!

If you’ve looked at the ingredients and thought…“Well, not now,” or if you drank some without adding Honey or Black Tea to it or a little Puer nugget…give it a try. (Plain isn’t nearly as tasty in my opinion, as it is with Honey!)

Happy Snow!


hope santa is good to you!


mrmopar…I got a great box from Santa awhile ago that blew my mind. Puerh…! Know anything about that? I’m still enjoying those little toucha’s like candy!


candy is always good!


I have some of the Basil spa blend coming my way. Ever since that sample you sent me I’ve been craving it badly!


I have it, Indigobloom!! I’m currently at Pearson, too bad it wouldn’t have been easy for you to get here :p


The blends are addictive. They also show what you can do with your tea’s. I add some Laoshan Black to an herbal sometimes (depending on what it is).


Kittenna, no worries we will figure it out in the new year. Have a safe flight! :)
Bonnie: I’m so looking forward to doing that myself!!

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
676 tasting notes

Backlog Sunday 12-16-2012

Yesterday, there was a scheduled celebration at St. Spyridon’s in Loveland for the feast day of our parish. Metropolitan Isaiah (Bishop of Denver which also covers 12 States) was coming…
and then…

Sandyhill…and the killings!

I woke up early. Granddaughter Schey wanted to go to church with me and spent the night on the couch.

I quietly went to the kitchen and made a large pot of Laoshan Black Tea. This was serious tea for a serious time. The Best! A tea that’s good for contemplation and caffeine (both needed today)!
With a large pot and 2 glass mugs on my tray I set the tray on the coffee table bench and whispered Schey… to wake her up.

The tea was a perfect start to our day. (The only thing we would have for the next 6 hours)
Cocoa chocolate, potato….the best rich full bodied tea ever.
We were focused and this tea is focused too. I’ve loved Laoshan Black for so long that it was comforting to drink before going forward with my day.

When we walked into St. Spyridons, the first thing I saw was an Icon of Jesus with many children, a candle and note…
‘In Memory of those Killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School’.

It is comforting to smell incense, to have candles and flowers, hushed tones and chanting at such times.

It struck me that here in Colorado, the Bishop has had to comfort people since the Columbine massacre, and the Aurora shootings and now…to speak about Sandy Hook. His sermon was not just a bunch or empty words.

At the end of the Liturgy, there was a ‘Service for the Departed’ for those at Sandy Hook. This is the beginning of a ‘40 Day Memorial’ in our tradition. A vigil of remembrance.

All over the United States, others were remembering and thinking about what happened in many different ways. This is what my community does and has done.

Watching the President name the names of the Children and Educators made us as a Nation weep. Blessed are those who mourn…

I had a conversation with my 11 year old grandson about what happened…he’s the one who was directing the conversation.
We talked about how to be sure you’re safe and not be afraid.

I told him (without going into detail) about being jumped by a stranger and having that stranger try to kill me. I was afraid!
I stayed afraid until I began to believe that I have so many
days given to me.
Nobody can take them from me or add to them except me!(By that I mean that if I smoke or do things harmful to my body, I can shorten my life).

He seemed to be thinking it all over and thinking about how many good people there were at the Sandy Hook school…helpers…too. The helpers are hero’s!

I’ve rambled…but I had things I wanted to say. I wanted to share what the experience in my corner of Colorado has been.

http://flic.kr/p/dBLy6z (service for the departed)




Thank you for that…

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Friday: After the horrible news hit CNN, I had places to go like most people. First the Post Office and then other errands around town before stopping off to watch my grandson Ian in his school play. He had landed the starring roll in ‘A Christmas Carol’. Ian was Scrooge!

At Happy Lucky’s I ordered something ‘children would like’, a tea that a mom or dad or grandma would share with a 6 or 7 year old.
(I was thinking about the little ones killed in the Connecticut shooting, and contemplating that event.)

Peppermint Pat-Tea was my tea choice. It has mint and cocoa hulls with chamomile which makes a tea that is very yummy. However, tea server JOE told me that when you add another half measure of cocoa hulls and let the tea steep longer (7-9 minutes) it’s ‘super’ chocolaty.

I had server JOE fix me a pot of his ‘special blend’ and then I had some blended to take home for sharing with my grandchildren over the Holidays.
I like to sweeten and add a little milk to this cocoa minty tea. It’s almost like cool-mint hot chocolate! Creamy, warming without the need for artificial flavors to give a ‘Welcome to Winter’ taste that I look for when my mood needs a pick-up.
It’s hard to believe that this is an herbal blend! The cocoa hulls have a little kick…but otherwise you are warm and relaxed by the chamomile.

I left the shop with my tea for home, just as the sun set and the thousands of white lights in the trees downtown turned on. It was COLD! A few more stops and I was still too early for the play.
I stopped again, this time at ‘cough…’ Starbucks…and locked my keys in the car for the first time in my life.


(Shortening the story) Daughter picked me up, saw play (Ian was great), called Insurance which sent towing to open my door…no charge, went home.

When I FINALLY got home, I didn’t want to be on my computer. I watched the news and drank more tea. I prayed and went to bed.

At my age, I’ve had news of many tragedies. A President, his brother and Dr. King killed by gunmen, Wars and more Wars from Korea and Vietnam on. Killings from Jim Jones, the Manson Murders to Columbine and Aurora now this latest horror. I thought of all those we don’t hear about. Children in Syria being killed…the children who are starving in many parts of the world, the missing children here in the U.S.

I’ve thought about this. Sadness, depression and Sadness again.

Long ago, I decided that the evil in the World is not going to steal my joy!
If you’ve ever had a pet dog, you know how they’re in the moment. They hug, jump…wanting attention and love. They give so much affection. In a way, (without the licking and jumping…ha) we need to be like that. In the ‘now’…hugging, oblivious to everything else but the joy of life and love.

Modeling this kind of love can change the people around us.


I’m here again with my dear friends.

I love you guys!


sending love right back at ya :-) xxx

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It’s difficult to come behind Paul and his Pulitzer Prize winning review… such a lovely write-up of this fine tea, but I’ll do a little follow-up.

Paul was so right…the leaves are beautiful.

Sometimes, I look at the leaves and marvel. Long and twisted, blackish/brown with a light smoky scent. I mean it, light smoke.

I love Lapsang. I’ve sent out so much China Lapsang Souchong from my local tea shop (Happy Lucky’s) that many of you have tasted it and know what I’m talking about. It’s been all over the United States, Canada and the U.K. (I even sent some to..gulp…David Duckler!)
I have some nerve don’t I!

My favorite Lapsang has been my favorite because it’s smoky and sweet. I use Lapsang Souchong mainly to COOK with! (David Duckler used what I sent him for a fish rub which is something that I do ground together with Urfa Chili, Peppercorns and Sea Salt)

Master Bi’s Lapsang is NOT for cooking (unless I win the lottery and go to China and buy up all of Master Bi’s stock)! This tea is for DRINKING!

When I was drinking the tea, the flavor wasn’t harsh or flat, but smooth…velvety smooth with a gentle sweetness that’s in a different league than any Lapsang I’ve had… ever.

The Smokiness is like the aftertaste of great bacon or bbq…not the firepit smoke in your face. No smoke knocks you down!

Here’s the part that got my ‘eyes wide open’…I could still taste the ‘tea’ under the smoke. Yes, a raisin, floral, bakery goodness that was present, wafting around in the aroma and taste.
Such complexity is not there in Lapsangs most of the time (IF EVER)!

Oh David Duckler, if you can get this as an item for regular ordering…it’s the BEST LAPSANG I’ve ever tasted!

(As an experiment for those who love Lapsang’s, I added some milk and the flavor wasn’t diminished at all. Still spectacular!)

Further steepings are amazing!!! The roasty oolong flavor with a slight smokiness is the best of the best taste! This is not like anything you can imagine when you think of a Lapsang. Please, don’t just stop at the first steep!

I just wrote a story on my blog if anyone is interested: www.teaandincense.com

Here’s an excerpt:
Our first Christmas…living in the forest community of Paradise…we went on an adventure to cut down a tree together. We bundled up nice and warm and piled into my car.
Christmas carols were blasting from my tape deck and I had a big thermos of hot cider to share. The tree farm was decked out with lights and decorations… welcoming the 6 of us to cut down any tree for $10. (they had Christmas music playing too and a fire pit for warming hands and eating free cookies)

We took our time… going from tree to tree. Which one would it be? Too tall? Too short, too bare or too fat?! Our tree had to be perfect! We all had to agree! For these girls, Christmas wasn’t always a happy time. Someone was often drunk or high or missing at home (if there was a home at all). Some were beaten at holidays.

Finally, the nod was given and we drank some cider to seal the deal. The tree was tied to the top of the car and off we went to decorate our tree!

When we got home, someone had come by with a note that they wanted to give us a tree. I had to make a quick call of thanks and head them off. How nice of them though!

The next day, when I returned from work…the girls were all excited!

“Mom, look what’s in the kitchen…come and see…!”


I’m excited for this one!!!!! Especially after your review! I got my reserve samples yesterday :D

Invader Zim

I have yet to sample this. It terrifies me, but I will try it, and it will be the first Lapsang I will try. Reading you and Paul’s tasting notes on it calms me, and makes me more curious than terrified.


Invader Zim the Brave!


I took some to Happy Lucky’s for my tea guys to try. They were amazed! The best they had ever had too…and the second steep you can really taste the roasted oolong. Delicious beyond what you think of as Lapsang. Almost a new category.

Autumn Hearth

Okay if I wasn’t jealous already I’m certainly jealous now. And there was a moment that weekend when my husband said oh go ahead an subscribe, but I felt guilty, should have leaped on that moment of weakness. Sigh.


i already love lapsang. i want this tea so badly!


I’m hoping that this will eventually become available to everyone since I can’t afford the subscription either. I’d love to be able to buy this!!!

Invader Zim

This one terrifies me because I don’t like black teas to begin with (does that make me a black sheep or a non-black sheep of the tea community?!) and I’m not a big fan of smokey teas. But the way you two (Bonnie and Paul) describe this, it sounds amazing and I’m less apprehensive about trying it. Although, I’d much rather go bobbing for apples…I like apples :)


Do you like oolongs Zimmie? Do you like bacon?

Invader Zim

Is the sky blue Bonnie? lol yes, I like both!


TeaFoold, you are a troll. Please stop harrassing my good friend Bonnie. You are taking her words out of context. What she means (as I understand it) is that some companies are new or want to grow, and deserve to have their delicious teas shared with the world and the HYPE she gives them will help achieve that.


Lol, I guess I missed some drama! Always interesting since I get comments emailed to me ;) Silly trolls!


Kittenna, yes…someone was calling me names here and on another review. Then, the comments were deleted. I took mine off also in the interest of less confusion for everyone and it’s Christmas.

Donna A

Hi Bonnie. You seem like a nice person with interesting reviews and that’s why you were one of the 1st people I “followed” when I joined Steepster. Thanks for taking the time to post! And Merry Christmas.


Thank you Donna…Merry Christmas to you too!

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Colorado Grandma

Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska


Fort Collins,Colorado

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