676 Tasting Notes


This is an excerpt from my blog that also has a picture of this tea and a story with review at www.teaandincense.com

I received a gift box of Pu-erh from a kind and generous friend, I was so overwhelmed that the first person I told was a fellow Pu-erh lover Eric, who works at Happy Lucky’s. I shot him a quick note on Google+ and we arranged to bring my treasure by HL on Friday.

When Friday arrived, Eric was laughing at the amount of Pu-erh I had received! I told him to pick out anything for us to taste and his face lit up.

“I’ve never had a Tangerine Pu-erh,” he said. “Me either, I replied, and there’s three in the box, take your pick!”

I hopped up onto a bar stool to watch the opening of the plastic wrapped dry tangerine. (You couldn’t actually see with all the wrapping and the labels).

First, he opened the larger of the tangerines which had some mold on the fruit skin. We didn’t know what to do about this. Would we get sick if we drank the tea inside?

Eric went to the computer and shot a note out for our tea club members who might shed light on the safety of drinking the tea and then we made a decision to wrap it up and try another one of the tangerines just to be safe. (Later we found out that unless it was extensive and close to the Pu-erh it was probably OK).

We were determined!

The next tangerine is the one pictured. A Gold Horse grade 5 (that refers to the size of the leaves). http://flic.kr/p/dphcWo


sounds like some good tea bonnie. i may have to try this one. tangerinepu or putangerine? what a dilemma!


Sounds heavenly, Bonnie! At first, I wasn’t catching that the link above didn’t have the .com on the end, which lead to a “could not find” message. I was thinking you must have been in the middle of reconstructing the website. www.teaandincense.com to those not familiar with Bonnie’s blog. Very nice blog – btw. Love the “Music for Tea Drinking”. Nice addition!


Put on the .com. Thanks for the reminder! Try this mrmopar. Good to see you have power and are fine! I know this would be a treat and your “Love” would like this too!

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Thank-you to Whispering Pines for this Pu’erh sample!

Sunday afternoon I was ready for my second session on a live Google+ video chat with my new ‘teageek’ group. Our discussion was set for a Liu An Basket-aged heicha tea (which I had never heard of before).

One by one members joined in from Canada, Australia, Seattle, California, New York, Oregon and Eric (Happy Luckys) and I in Colorado. (There are others in other locations who come and go). It’s so much fun!

The reason I’ve been mentioning this group is that so many people have said, "I wish I had a place like Happy Lucky’s to go and drink tea!

“Bonnie is so fortunate to have a tea pub in her town!”

True, True.

So why couldn’t a few Steepsters get together now and then to drink tea on a google+ video chat?
It’s so easy to do! Pick a common tea, discuss it and enjoy each other’s company! Think about it!

Back to this tea!

I didn’t have one of the basket tea’s to taste for the meeting so I began about an hour earlier with some Imperial Shou to get myself in
a proper fine state of mind.

I had been reading about several methods that two very different
experts use to prepare Pu-erh . One is more geared to hospitality and ritual, going to great lengths to preserve multiple steeping’s over a long time period.
The second method is faster, poking the leaves during steeping to release more flavor, and keeping the steep time at about 30 seconds.

I chose the second method.

I used a 4oz. Gaiwan and I understand that this Pu-erh is from the Menghai factory.

1. The wet leaves had the scent of sweet leather, mushrooms and vanilla and the liquor was golden brown.
This first cup tasted smooth and sweet with no earthiness. There was a little cedar flavor but not much. I felt a mulch, fuzz texture and sensed that this was going to be a special tea.

2. I picked at the Toucha while it was steeping then poured the tea through a strainer. The wet leaves smelled like black cherry,
and liquor looked like very dark drippings from a pot-roast.

I was stunned at how exquisite the taste was. The mouth-feel was smooth and silky like a placid lake. The flavor was close to a pot of creamy bitter hardly sweet chocolate still warm on a spoon, being licked off and melting in my mouth.

There was a very light cedar flavor at the finish but not much.

It was the silkiness that impressed me so much.

3. The leaves were now completely disintegrated from the little Tuocha and they looked black, holding a light leather aroma.
The liquor was still deep espresso brown.

I can’t remember ever tasting a Pu-erh that tasted like CAKE but this one did! How? I dunno! This was good! How interesting and continuing to be very smooth!

(I noticed that the water had been a little cooler, and maybe it had been a factor. I don’t know.) This was so delicious that I was impressed. Most Toucha’s are just not this complex!

Because of the cake taste, I added a little sweetening to the last of my cup which made the tea very caramel, creme brulee tasting.
A nice little dessert flavor.

I went one more steep, still finding the leaves full bodied, rich and smooth. Filling my cup again, which I took to my desk for my ‘teageek’ discussion group.

My vote on this Pu-erh is a big thumbs up! Whispering Pines picked up a fine quality Toucha!

Invader Zim

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who pokes at my puerh to make it fall apart faster for more flavor!


If you’re following the notes on the China trip on Verdant, it talks about two Pu’erh ‘experts’ and the two methods they prefer for serving which I compared to my own. I like this method because unless I have a guest or intend to steep all day, this is very effective.


i break it up into small pieces on the breaking board before it hits the yixing.


We could use a tea pub in our area too. I really like that concept! You could have Happy Hour and two-for-one drink specials without the repercussions that occur with OTHER pubs. Hmmmm…here’s something else to add to my list of things to do when I win the lottery!

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Thanks to Janet at sTEAp Shoppe for this tea sample!

This review is part of #2 Virtual Tea Tasting. What a great idea!

I’ve been chatting a bit with Janet, getting to know her better and she’s a really nice person! We Steepsters are blessed with tea vendors who don’t just care about making a living with tea, they want us to really have a great experience with their companies too!

The Storm-Sandy
I sat down today flipping between the Weather Channel and CNN, watching the development of Hurricane Sandy. Like a grandma Hen, I’m worried about all my Steepster friends in the South and East who are going to be in the path of this monster system. If I could manage it, I’d scoop everyone of you up and bring you to my house for the duration, feed you and serve you tea.

I have not forgotten the kind words when the hills were ablaze during the High Park Fires here in Colorado this Summer, the comfort when I was hunkered down with a cloud of smoke like fog outside.

Now, it’s my turn and I will keep you in my prayers also!

The Tea!
The dry tea smelled roasty, reminding me of coffee and chicory with a little sweet caramel.
The wet leaves had the aroma of a cocoa-raisin energy bar.

The base flavor tasted ‘green’. Maybe it was the fenugreek but I’m not convinced. The tea wasn’t malty or strong like I had expected.

Plain (no cream or sweetening) there was a light cocoa flavor and caramel scent more than taste. A bit disappointing.

I was certain that what the tea called for was sweetening and milk to bring out the true flavors. I added sweetening first, which brought out the caramel right away, then milk which brought out the cocoa taste just a little.
(I wouldn’t recommend drinking this without sweetening it at the least.)

There was an aftertaste of raisin…not sure why.

The only thing that I would love to taste more of is ‘chocolate’.
A little more of the nibs would be fantastic or a maltier tea.
(I didn’t feel that the base tea was contributing enough depth to the blend.)

Knowing the sTEAp Shoppe this will be part of their continuing commitment to bring quality natural ingredients and good taste to tea drinkers like us.


Last night I was repeatedly checking the weather too. My dad lives on the southwest coast of Kauai and was told he had to evacuate, but it turned out they were fine and he is home now, thank goodness.


I’ve been to Kauai and it’s beautiful! Glad he’s ok. I haven’t heard anymore about the earthquake today but last night I was watching the news. What a crazy bunch of weather stuff!


These teas sound delicious!


The combination of the hurricane and this cold front is terrifying down here. No rain but the wind is like straight out of a blizzard! It’s 50 but feels like 43…definitely drinking a lot of tea once I’m done hiding in my bed.


Thanks for the good thoughts Bonnie :)
My grandma phoned today to make sure we were okay – with any luck we’ll just get some heavy rains, but it never hurts to be prepared – the weather is unpredictable!


aren’t I just so lucky i was in Foco for the fires, and now after hardly a month of living in NY I get to experience my first hurricane! excluding some of the folks here all is still calm. bonnie i would love nothing more than to cozy down at your place for tea, sounds heavenly. if the electricity is still up in my area in the morning I’ll surely be making myself a hot cup of chocolate tea as i watch the storm from my window. thank you for the tempting review and the warm wishes.


Oh my goodness, Hi HabikiTea, I was just talking on goggle+ to Eric at Happy Lucky’s and I can’t believe you left here after the fires and moved into a Hurricane! How’d you do that?! I think Chai is good for hurricanes and strong black tea! Take care of yourself. I’ll tell the guys about you! Keep us updated OK?!


Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, Bonnie. =) Currently it’s quite windy here already, but we’re told that the brunt of the storm will hit Monday 4p-Tuesday 4a. It will be interesting to see how much the wind and rain pick up in the meantime. Having experienced a few hurricanes while I lived in Orlando, I’m having a tough time buying into Sandy. Mostly I’m surprised that such a hullabaloo is being made over a category 1 ‘cane. Then again, we’re not used to storms of this calibre in the northeast, so I suppose some concern is warranted. They’re telling us to expect widespread, extended power outages. Eep! Hopefully their estimates have overshot the mark and we’ll get power back soon if/when it goes out. It was out for 8-11 days when I was in Orlando, and boy, that was not fun. (Okay, it was fun for the first 16 or so hours, while I made a fort out of cushions like I did when I was a kid, and read books by candlelight, but after that it stopped being fun.)


All the best Nik and everyone in the East! It seems like the surge of tide waters inland and the fact that the trees still have leaves which will bring them down on power lines is one factor that you wouldn’t find in Florida. I’ve been in winds that strong with trees coming down in the West but California doesn’t have hurricanes and now I live at 5000ft.
A redwood tree came down and just missed my daughters house and crushed the car, a camper and all the kids bikes before we moved to Colorado. Scary! Stay indoors!


hmmm chai… thats a good idea. I’m pretty much stuck indoors all day and i still have about 2 oz of happy lucky’s india assam. I’ll keep you guys posted. its still pretty calm here.


If you have a thermos, Make hot tea later tonight in case the power goes out!

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I was out and about, running errands and stopped in at Happy Luckys to meet up with tea guru Eric (who works at Happy Lucky’s) to taste some Pu-erh that I received from a Steepster friend. That review will be on my blog in a few days and is remarkable!

When we finished our Puerh tasting, I still wanted some tea! Our little delicate cups of gentle Shu were wonderful but now it was time to pour the big lady serious tea and get down and dirty.

I was sitting at the bar.
I wanted a pot of Lucky Tea House’s finest black tea. Now.
Sam looked at Eric and said under his breath, “How about the Kenyan Ajiri?…no, no, it’s too strong…well…maybe she would like it, she likes strong tea. What do you think?”
“Hum, Eric laughed, maaaybe, OK.”

Then they turned to me.
“Let’s do it guys, I’m that kind of gal, wild and crazy! Set it up!” I said.

First, Sam brought me a tin of the super-small black leaves
(they looked more like poppy seeds) which smelled salty and savory.

Then, the wet leaves which were smaller than coffee grinds were presented with a very malty, rich aroma.

Last the dark brown liquor which was very strong tasting, and I liked it! It wasn’t smoky or malty but tasted solid and a bit fruity. I sipped for awhile.

I then added some cream (I was told the tea was too strong to drink plain but found it to be smooth enough for me).
After drinking a full mug of tea, I ordered a ginger cookie to eat along with my tea. The taste of these two together was out of this world! I’m a bit of a ginger cookie, black tea lover. An addiction as a treat!

A great piece of information!
100% of the profits from the tea sales of AJIRI goes to pay for uniforms and books for orphans in Western Kenya! What a great way to
enjoy tea and help others!

Check out www.ajirifoundation.com

Asante sana (thank you very much!) http://flic.kr/p/dphd5h

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I feel deprived…I’ve never had a ginger cookie. :(
But on a good note, I have like 12lbs of Kenya tea that I have yet to indulge in, excited to dive in now! :D


You’ve never had a Ginger Cookie! :O You haven’t lived! lol

Terri HarpLady

I love all things ginger, yum!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I must research this ginger cookie you speak of… :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Ohhh, it’s short for a gingerbread cookie. lol…i hadn’t made that connection. Yes, I hav lived…and now I have to go buy some because tis the season, right? haha :D


No no! Like a ginger snap or ginger molasses cookie! They are chewy and amazing!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:O wheree can i find these things?!


Some stores carry the larger semi soft ginger cookies which are very nice. You break off a bit of cookie then drink some strong black tea (malty tea’s go well with these too) and eat and sip. This way, I don’t sweeten my tea at all but if I want to, I add cream to my tea. Some brands of boxed ginger snaps are nice and spicy. OK in a pinch.


do you have a Starbucks nearby? up in Toronto, they have them in the shop and are seriously tasty!!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

No, I live in the middle fo nowhere. Haha. But I’ll definitely find some :)


Squash banana. :D


if you like supporting tea farmers in Kenya…and love really amazing tea…go find Royal Tea of Kenya…truly amazing…especially the Royal Golden Safari…wow


I’ve had other Kenyan tea’s. This one is a very strong tea for people who like super strong Irish or Scot’s Tea or Keemun, this would be one for you!

Hesper June

Hehehe, the picture you gave me with your words, Bonnie…you at the bar…tea canisters behind the bar, the boys wondering if it would be strong enough or too strong, and you…“Set ’em up, Sam!”
Its like a wonky old western film;)


Well, that’s my life. Sam is real though. Everyone in the shop is involved with tea and charities.


nice…sounds like a wonderful spot

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Ha! I finally tried Ginger Snaps and they are awesome! :D


Great! Spicy cookies with black tea is a favorite sin! Especially malty black tea’s.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I was dipping them in my lapsang, Ashes of Autumn :D

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drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
676 tasting notes

Another hidden DAVIDsTEA in the tea bin that I needed to drink up or shut the door. I loved this tea when I got it. The coconut and chocolate were so delicious. Now, 9 months later, what would I think of it?

I woke up to 3 inches of new snow outside and a forecast of 60 for Sunday and back to the high 70’s next week. This is typical of the weather here. Keep the boots and flip flops handy! Make your hot tea and Chai when it’s cold then switch to the cold brews when it heats up. I get weather whip-lash! (but the variety is thrilling)

I have a growing collection of Pu-erh that I’m taking to show Eric at Happy Lucky’s today. He’s a more knowledgeable person about such things and can help me sort out what I have. For me, this is FUN!
As much fun as shopping at the Mall ‘USED’ to be for me.
(I can’t believe that I just said that).

Back to this morning’s tea, which needed to be a tea other than a Pu-erh which I’ll have later, I remembered how much I liked the coconut flavor and chamomile blended with the black and white tea base. It’s an interesting combination. Most people either loved it or hated it when I read reviews before. I was one who was a lover.

I taste the coconut, which I like, not much chocolate though,
which was the same as before. Now, the ‘not much chocolate’ has a sourness that comes from the artificial flavoring which I don’t like.
If this ‘flavoring’ was corrected with natural cocoa nibs or hulls this would be a much more delicious tea.

The use of natural flavors costs more, but the result is so much better tasting that I wish DT would set an example and convert more of their tea’s (like this one).
I don’t buy from DT often and I know they have/had some unflavored tea’s now and in the past that were/are very good. I hope the demand for natural flavors increases!

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drank The Cardio by DAVIDsTEA
676 tasting notes

I’d almost forgotten about this old DAVIDsTEA herbal blend. It’s an old tea friend that tastes really good.

I don’t think DT has carried it for some time. It has Hawthorne berries, eleuthero root, linden, ginkgo, nettle leaves and rosehips. You steep it for 4-7 minutes and wind up with a sweet berry-like tea that has other taste nuances I have a hard time figuring out.

I have no idea how to describe this tea other than… light berry cream with light rose flavor and ground nutmeat. Something close to that. Light and tasty. Oh bother!

I wish this was still available. Caffeine free and delicious isn’t easy to come by now, is it?!

Earlier today I reviewed a Ginger Chai, one of the bottled concentrates by Third Street Tea out of Boulder, Colorado.
For dinner tonight, I decided to use the Chai in my stir fry
along with some soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic.
When my sliced chicken was ready, all nice and caramelized in the Chai sauce, I made a slurry of water, more chai and cornstarch and added this to the pan to thicken into a sauce with the meat.
The whole dish served over rice was a success.
No, more than that, it was super good! The sauce was perfect!
One thing I like about this particular brand is that it’s not overly sweetened and the concentrate is nice and strong. Good for making Chai and good for experimenting in recipes. If you want to try Chai this way, look for a low sugar concentrate or unsweetened.

I can replace the liquid in deserts with Chai and add some to squash soup.

Lots of options.

This is what I do with my cold snowy evenings!


Interesting combination of ingredients!


I would so love to open a restaurant using tea in all the recipes one day. You could be my experimenter Bonnie! :P


I wish they still made this! Sounds lovely!


NO! I would eat all the product! I do love to cook and figure out how to use ingredients though. Just wait, I have some holiday tea goodies I’m working on. I think snow keeps people indoors to COOK and BAKE!

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Let it snow let it snow let it snow!

All the people in California, Washington and Oregon who were dripping wet a few days ago from horrid rain storms, Thank you! It turned into pretty white flakes of Snow when it hit the Rocky Mountains!

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to stock up on good stuff for watching snow from the warmth of my couch. I put gas in the car, went to Sprouts (grocery store), then Happy Lucky’s for a blend of Keemun/Assam Tea with a side of ginger cookie. Hurrying home to unload and I was off again to ‘Open House’ at the grandson’s Charter School.
When I arrived at the ‘Open House’, my little guys were dressed as Greek and Roman citizens, ready to display their knowledge of art, architecture,WEAPONS and literature to grandma Bonnie.

When the event was over and we walked outside of the building, it had begun to snow lightly. I was thrilled. As I drove home in the dark, I was careful on the icy roads. I couldn’t wait for morning and the first look out the window. What would I see?

This morning…
There was only about an inch of snow on the ground, with steady light flakes falling.
I found my warm robe and fluffy socks, pulled this Spicy Ginger Chai from the frig and put 8oz of 2% milk on the stove to slowly warm.
Part way through warming, I added 4oz Third St. Chai and 1TB honey.

(I had learned from previous experiments with the vanilla flavor Third St. Chai that a 50% Chai to 50% milk ratio wasn’t to my taste. I liked about 1/4-1/3 Chai to milk better.)

When heated, the flavor was wonderfully spicy with a bite but not bitter. It was very fresh and gingery! I loved it!

One thing I’ve discovered about this brand is the versatility of liquid Chai. I can add it to other tea’s so easily, or to sauces if I want to. One day, I made a tea that was a little weak and I added a little of this mix and perked up the flavor. I’ve added a little to a stir fry base and it gave a sudden zing to chicken cooked with sesame oil and a little soy sauce.
I have some squash soup and I’m going to add a little to the soup at lunch!

Today, I sat like a lump on the couch in my robe with my fluffy socks and a big mug of real Ginger Chai, sipping and looking out my patio window at the snow. In my mind, I wanted it to snow some more and I wanted to play in it. I’ll always be a kid at heart, but I’ll have to be content to play with my tea and enjoy the view!

The wheels are in motion for the adoption of one of the Foster toddlers! Court was yesterday and the decision was made that makes this possible! We are all thrilled! He has really bonded with my son-in-law, my daughter and especially grandson Micah.
I couldn’t be happier for him and for us! When it’s legal to do so I’ll post a picture! He’s SOOOO cute!


That’s fantastic news Bonnie! Congratulations!




Congrats! What a lovely full life you have! :)


Azz- I do have a great life, I still am terrified of people and have no close friends at all. Not a one. I’m trying to get out and meet people to get over my fear though. It wasn’t only what my ex-husband did that almost distroyed me, but my best friend turned cruel. It’s amazing what people will do when they think you are sick or weak. But like any PTS Disorder, you can work it out. I’ll get through it.


Bonnie, you are such a kind hearted person that I’m sure you will make friends very soon.
Also, congratulations to you and your family!


This little guy is sooo smart and funny. If you can imagine Madea (you know who Madea is) as a 23 month old little boy, well…this is what you’d have. He has attitude. He is sooo funny! And, a fat butt!


I’m glad our soak-fest got you a bit of the white stuff! I always hope for lots of snow days here, but they’re kinda rare. Also, yay for fat-butted babies. :)


we are your friend till the end! never change who you are! you are a special person and linda approves and we love ya!


You guys are the best! You know that already. My Priest Fr. Evan says he can really see the progress since I’ve been drinking tea and doing reviews. I’ve got him into drinking more tea also! We are tea evangelists are we not?!

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drank Love Tea #7 by DAVIDsTEA
676 tasting notes

It’s been a loooog time since I drank this tea!

I stood at my kitchen counter just standing…looking at my electric kettle. What to drink this morning? Shrug.

I had a big day ahead, off to the Justice Center to talk to a Pro Bono Lawyer about a Trust. Faxing a legal paper to the ex in California, groceries and Open House at the grandson’s school. A busy day for Grandma. (Tomorrow it’s supposed to snow…get it done today Bonnie!)

Tea, Tea, Tea. What will it be?

I opened all the drawers in my to be reviewed container and each time it was nah, no, uh uh.
I went to the BIG CUPBOARD with my BIG STASH of favorite tea’s and larger, non-sample sized tea’s. Verdant, Butiki, Happy Lucky’s, Kally, Teavivre, Menghai Puerh, UK, and…up on the top shelf…

Wow, how long had it been since I picked a flavored DAVIDsTEA?

These were my fav’s 9 months ago. I waited for the packages to arrive from Canada…raving about the peppermint or chocolate flavors. It seems like such a long time ago!

I picked Love Tea #7. Yes! I needed some love to start my day!

I made a whole little pot of tea, sat on the sofa with the Today Show as company and sipped my way down memory lane.

It was like going back to Disneyland as an adult. Fun to do but not as great as the first time when it was new. When I was less exposed to other tea’s it was the bomb. Now, I can taste things that I don’t prefer…but I’m willing to ignore just because it’s an old memory
that I don’t want to mess with. I prefer natural flavors more now.

This is still tasty.


Awww tea memories!


Oh yeah, I was going to say I just ordered my first ever gaiwan! I’m waiting to really dig into my unflavored teas (oolongs, puer samples, etc) until it arrives. I have a feeling things will change for me as well once I get the hang of brewing with my new gongfu set!


I have my original gaiwan (I broke the lid so I use the saucer as a lid to filter with!) and I have a clay gaiwan with a handle which I use for pu-erh (no burned fingers). I have a nice little tasting set for Oolongs which is handy too. These and a glass pot are what I use most often. I’d love some little Yixing pots but that’s down the road I guess. I have a little Yixing tumbler for puerh when I’m out and about. Main thing, I have TEA! Enjoy hot fingers for a day or two, then don’t worry! I still use my finum when I don’t want to fuss.


Good advice thanks =)

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Thank you Mrmopar for this Puerh Sample I’m backlogging for a reason.
Here is the beginning of the review of this tea, but the rest of the review can be found on my new blog www.teaandincense.com so please take a look!

Any corrections or suggestions, let me know. I’m a rookie! The music is my granddaughter Megan’s that she wrote when she was 16.

I chose this 2010 High Mountain Charm Pu Erh because of soft earthy floral quality, and smoothness. I was looking for the best tea to pair with my trip to the Scottish Games in Estes Park, Colorado.

Pu Erh is a wild tea in my opinion, and there is nothing tame about a Shu! Something about Shu says Men in Kilts, Pipers, Whiskey, Laughter…and friendship all around (at least it says that to me)!
On the ‘Cameron’ side of my family, joking and golf, singing and laughter (always more golf), bagpipes, the fiddle and dancing are who we were. (We still try to live up to the old ways.)
Grandpa Charlie made bathtub beer during prohibition in San Francisco. His Uncles and Great Grandpa Duncan would drink beer and Whiskey. Jack would play the fiddle, Alan the pipes, Duncan told jokes in Gaelic and all sang loudly half the night. My mother (only about 6) would sit hiding under the dining table listening with glee, laughing with them and understanding not a word.


Yay! Bonnie has her new blog!! Oh, I’m such a gropie already, congrats!

Terri HarpLady

I love your blog, Bonnie!


Thank you. For those of you who have blogs, you know how hard it is to take pictures. For instance, the picture of the tea and incense was taken on my BED! I know I need to add recipes and lots of other things but I have time.


looking forward to checking it out!


Congrats on your blog!!!!!


congratulation Bonnie ! I’m looking forward to see your recipes


If you never go to my blog but once, please read my whole bio. It tells you who got me to do it in the first place and who did the real work kick starting the whole project and deserves a huge thank you! (Prodding from Steepster’s and this person made me say OK)

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Thank you mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample

With Steepster down, I had time to reflect on some things that have been on my mind.

My writing has been slushy. You know…when I try to write and for whatever reason I just don’t sound like myself. I haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong.

Sunday, I was invited to be in a Google+ live video tea group with people in various parts of the World. I was the least tea educated person, the dumb one in the group but ready to learn. Most of the others spoke Chinese, owned tea companies etc. As we discussed the tea of the week, I became sicker and sicker and almost had to sign off early. Something was wrong with me.

The rest of that day I had a terrible migraine that felt like the flu.
Monday came and Steepster was down. I had the flu-like symptoms still hanging on, coming and going with body aches and nausea.
What had caused my illness?
When I was on the chat Sunday I was sitting by a window with the curtains closed. However, there was still enough bright light outside that even though I was wearing my dark glasses, the light made me sick! Isn’t that crazy?

Why am I telling this story?

I was thinking last night about this time of year and writing about tea. I remembered that in the Winter when the barometer changes setting off my migraines almost every few days, I write more from the heart.
I see clearly, listen better, appreciate my time with tea in a deeper way. Life is more precious.

Could this be why I haven’t been myself? Did I need this malady to write better?

Embracing what is ahead with all it’s difficulties far outweighs the pain. My experience in the quiet places where there is true beauty, is why I began my journey with tea in the first place.

There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters.

I’m glad to return to the place of struggle even though I’m sure to complain now and then.

Tea Review

Timing and prep.
Gaiwan 4oz. 30 sec. rinse and 30 sec. steeps.

Wet leaf scent changes! Here’s what I like to do.
First, I put my nose over the rising steam and breathe it in and out, deeply.
Next, I put my nose closer and almost hyper-ventilate, then back away and come closer again.
Finally, I pass the leaves side to side at a distance of about
7 inches to catch a lighter scent.
I smell the leaf aroma hot, warm and cold.

These particular leaves smelled like Nilla Vanilla Wafers and Camphor then later like light Leather, Bread and Earth, then Light Leather and a Sweetness which is where it remained.

The first steeping was salty and tasted like a Trisket Crackers, not sweet but smooth. The finish had a little sour black current flavor.

The second steeping was strong, dark like coffee and tasted like cedar, rasins and velvety 90% chocolate. I was so intrigued by the idea of the chocolate that I sweetened the end of the tasting which didn’t mask the flavors but removed the bitterness almost entirely.

Steeping three was lighter with a salty/savory cedar flavor becoming peppery at the end and astringent. I was distracted by my own awareness of well-being. My nausea was gone and I was feeling such a great sense of gratitude for what this Pu-erh was giving to me.

Ah the forth steeping and beyond. This is where I believe the Pu-erh was at home. Lighter, sweeter with a cinnamon spicy taste and less cedar. There was so much light and smoothness here without having lost body.
At one point I added sweetening to see what would happen for those who sweeten Pu-erh and found that the flavor didn’t change
(some Pu-erh’s take on a floral or caramel taste with sweetening) but remained spicy.

A solid, recommended Pu-erh!

Personal Notes about Pu-erh:
I’ve found Pu-erh to be a faithful friend. Since my Migraines and Fibromyalgia both have chosen to attack my core more than anywhere else on my body, my stomach area is often twisted with nausea and pain. My back hurts and bones ache.
When I drink Pu-erh, the nausea and pain are greatly reduced without an upset stomach. Pretty wonderful benefit for me wouldn’t you agree!


Glad to hear you are doing better. If you like jasmine or chrysanthemum you should get some of each and use it when you are not feeling 100%. Really good and fragrant.

I love smelling my tea leaf dry, wet and in later steeps and love smelling the lid of the gaiwan. I had a similar ‘humbling’ experience with a few new friends. I tend to deeply exhale and then slowly breathing in the vapors from the gaiwan. And now I slurp… LOUDLY lol.

It is hard because must cultures slurping is a bad thing or just rude. But turns out it is pretty common in Asian cultures and it is the ‘proper way’ to taste. Do you do this?


Yes, in the tea world, slurping is correct…accepted and encouraged to get the tea to all the tastebuds (much like wine tasting which I was familiar with already). It’s the caffeine in Pu-erh and tea in general helps migraines.


Ah, well I hope you don’t have to go through that again. I don’t ever get headaches. And the only time I did it was a migraine (according to a doctor), due to excessive work, mental from (work), physical (from working out) and well lack of sleep. Not fun, I never though I would hiss at the sight of the sun. lol


Thanks JC I hope you stay well. Life is what it is.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I have migranes every day…but I also drink pu-erh every day, so sadly I don’t think that’ll help me. BOO! haha. Glad you’re feeling better! Did anything come in the mail lately from my side of the country that might make you feel better? :)


Bonnie I am happy you figured out the source of the problem. I am so sorry you were feeling down. Much love to you! I also can relate to how you felt in that group! The thing is your knowledge far surpasses mine on here haha its okay to be around those who have more knowledge! Without YOU I would not know as much as I do! :) xo


You’re very kind and always supportive Azz. Thank you. My point was that the down has meaning too…when I’m sick, I see things differently than when I’m well. As far as knowledge, we all have our own set of glasses…our own view and I learn from everyone. I think that I have the luxury of time. Not everyone has as much time as I do (or age!).


Sorry to read that you weren’t feeling well Bonnie, and I hope you get all better soon.
I sympathize with the nausea problems, I’ve had problems with my thyroid since my early 20s. It’s definitely changed my relationship to food and how much I appreciate being able to enjoy things when I feel well.
I agree that it’s nice to read everyone’s different perspective and views! I love all the different posts I get to read on Steepster.


Bonnie, I won’t say much beside what you already know: poeple here REALLY care, for the good and the bad stuff that’s happening to us all. What you said «There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters» is beyond wise… In this life, I find acceptance to be the hardest thing but it’s the beggining of all recoveries…
Having said that, no one should live in constant pain, and I wish peace for your mind and for your body…hugs xx


Steepster is the kindest village with the best neighbors. I wish we could have a big party and I could cook for you and invite you all for tea. You are the fresh ‘Spring Water’ that I make my tea with!


Bonnie, I won’t say much beside what you already know: poeple here REALLY care, for the good and the bad stuff that’s happening to us all. What you said «There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters» is beyond wise… In this life, I find acceptance to be the hardest thing but it’s also the beggining of all recoveries…
Having said that, no one should live in constant pain, and I wish peace for your body and soul…hugs xx

Terri HarpLady

A big hug for Ms Bonnie, & I hope you are feeling better. I struggled with migraines & other health issues for years, & in my case it turned out to be a whole bunch of food sensitivities. Once I got my eating straightened out, the migraines, immune problems, tendonitis, digestive issues, & various other aches & pains went away. All the things we go through, especially the painful ones, strengthen us in the long run, developing our character, but that doesn’t make it any more fun when we are suffering. Acceptance is the key, along with kindness to ourselves. Love & hugs, & your blog turned out beautifully!

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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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