676 Tasting Notes


First Tasting…from a sample I received with my last Verdant order. (Prior to my full cake purchase arriving.)

I didn’t realize at first that the sample I received with my order was the same as the 07 cake I later purchased. The label was marked 06 instead of 07.
I thought I had received one of those extra’s that are never going up on the Verdant site, or a future tea that might be released in a few weeks. You never know with tea, things are always changing.

Tasting at H.L.
So I took my little sample to Happy Lucky’s to taste with my tea friends, Sam and Joe, and my granddaughter Schey.
Joe set up a little Gaiwan and 4 cups, then rotated through 7 short steepings.
From the beginning I didn’t think he used enough leaf and the steep time was instant, but he thought otherwise.
The first steeping was tongue numbing, and tasted ashy. The smell was sweet tobacco. The Pu’er was never bitter or harsh, just ashy tasting and vegital.

That didn’t concern me, I knew how a first steeping was so often unreliable in judging what future steepings would taste like.

It took 3 additional steepings for the ash and tobacco taste to subside, finally allowing a lighter, green tea flavor to emerge with a slight astringency.

I determined then to spend time at home brewing this Pu’er ‘MY WAY’. Something wasn’t right.

Curious about my sample, I sent David Duckler an e-mail. He said the handwritten sample said ’06 but was really the 2007 Fuhai Sheng. Aha!

Now I knew how to brew!

I decided to do a Western Style brewing to get a larger amount of tea all at once to envelop myself in the aroma and flavor. I also wanted to use lots of leaf.

I used SPRING WATER!!! (I do believe this made a big difference)

Steep time….1 minute! 8 oz water 5 grams or so leaf

The aroma of the leaves was lightly vegital with a background scent of Grammer School paste.

The color remained pale yellow.

The scent of the tea changed in such a peculiar way. I smelled sweet tobacco in the beginning then sweet spiced pickle, cinnamon, savory and sweet green tea.

Second Tasting Western Style
With the very first sip I was stunned at how instantly the tea numbed my tongue. Not just the tip but under the tongue.
The flavor was an ash-vegital taste that wasn’t too salty. The Pu’er was never bitter or harsh and had a natural sweetness.
I had the sensation of cream without a thick mouth-feel.
As the tea cooled just slightly there was a growing presence of cinnamon.
I was pleased that my choice to brew Western Style using more leaf and longer steep time had worked out so well!

The second steep was like the first and the third was less ashy, dryer and a weaker cup.
I needed to make an adjustment!

At Stepping #4, I changed the time to 1 minute 45 seconds. Perfect!

Always the experimenter, and following a hunch…I took a small break, took a bite of chicken and came back to my tea (just seconds away to keep the tea hot).

By taking that break, I discovered the Pu’er’s Savory personality! Sipping the Pu’er was really good with my light chicken dish in a way that an excellent light savory broth would be.
I could still feel a bit of tingle, that numbing feeling in my mouth that was kind of cool and a green plantain starchy flavor that is a little sweet as it begins to ripen with a hint of cinnamon (super light). (The cinnamon was sometimes only on the nose)

For my first encounters with this Pu’er, I didn’t taste apricot or nut.
The environment often changes what you taste from one day to another too. This is why I seldom eat before tasting tea.
Perhaps in the future my experience will deepen and I will taste many things as the Pu’er itself changes.

My recommendation is to use the best water, don’t skimp on leaf and steep long enough to get good flavor. If at first you don’t succeed try again. I bought a cake and a sample size to play with. Sheng is not like Shu Puerh. This is not earthy, fishy or mushroom tasting.

Sheng are a whole different adventure in the world of Pu’er and I for one have a lot to learn.


nice, I ordered one of these too. ;)

Terri HarpLady

I ordered the sample, which arrived today, but did not order a full cake (although I almost talked myself into it when there was only one left…). I’m looking forward to giving it a try!


Well, today’s the day. I’m going to that tea bar to see what I think. Wish me luck – hopefully I’ll be making friends! =)


Good Luck…have fun…at least we get a story out of you!!!


Okay it was awesome! I’m so glad I went. It was strange because it’s run out of an upstairs apartment so going in you feel like you’re going through someone’s house you don’t know, but once we got inside there was a little bar set up and a friendly guy behind the bar serving gongfu tea. He was very informative and the tea was great! There were 2 other people that were there and they were very friendlly as well. It was so much fun to drink tea with other people who actually enjoy tea and not people I’m forcing to drink tea who have no clue what I’m trying to do when replicating gongfu with stuff in my kitchen lol!! Yeah…I think I’ll make it a regular friday thing. So happy I read your reviews and decided to check my area again because they defintiely were not there before!! =)


Hooray!!! Probably this will be your tea bar or pub! As you get to know people you might even share samples. I take tea to drink with my servers and they give me tea sometimes too or a free pot of tea. You learn so much more that way. Good for you!


I’m so excited I even got to buy some tea from the tea farm he worked on over the summer in Hawaii. I can’t wait to go again next Friday and I feel like he can really teach me a lot about puer because he loves it and I don’t know much about it, so I am hesitant to include it in my online orders. Yay tea friends! Woohoo!

Terri HarpLady

Yay, Mrnixonpants!! Sounds like an awesome experience!


Woo Hoo indeed!


Awesome! I wish there was a place like that around here – I would be all over it.


Sunday I was invited to a Sunday google+ tea chat group that meets at 3pm at a local shop. I was recommended by Eric at Happy Lucky’s…still another benefit of visiting places LIVE and seeking them out!. The group sips tea and blogs about it on google+ just for about an hour.

Terri HarpLady

Well, that’s cool! Fun with tea drinkers!


Still, I’d rather be on a cruise ship riding around with all you guys sippin…


Hehe, that would be awesome!
Teatanic: The unsinkable tea convention… :D

Thomas Smith

About how much leaf was used in the gaiwan and was there a rinse? When I read you used more leaf at 5g/8oz I kinda choked a little on the bran flakes I was eating, hahaha. I always start around 4g/100mL with both sheng and shu, though I vary the time and temp between ’em.


Thomas S- Well, the first time (using a Gaiwan) was about 2g in 4oz water for about 20-30 seconds and weak (remember I said I told the guy he needed more leaf) so I knew that going to 5g in 8oz water would be fine. I did 1 rinse. It was the time that mattered. I increased the time to about 1 minute right off.
(Verdant suggests 4g for 8oz water starting at 30 seconds for Western Style then increasing to 1 minute)

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Thanks mrmopar for this nice Puerh Sample!

Yesterday someone said in their review that it seems that overnight the trees had turned color without them noticing the change. Blink and it’s Autumn!
I agree! When I lived in California the seasons didn’t change as dramatically as they do here in Colorado.
I was just looking at the forecast this morning. 82 today dipping to 28 tonight (Obama and Romney better have Jackets in Denver) and on Saturday the daytime will be 37 degrees (that’s an almost 50 degree drop!). ‘The times they are a Changing’.

One September I went to visit my mother-in-law Selma in Fairbanks, Alaska and drove way out along the Pipeline towards Valdez. After you pass the Air Force Base around North Pole Alaska, you see few people or cars. After about an hour, if you pull to the side of the road and get out, there is a panorama of golden trees UNBELIEVABLE and not the sound of ANYTHING. No birds, bugs, people, cities or cars. Total quiet. (The birds have gone South and the animals are hunkering down for the Winter which would come within a week or two.)
On the return drive, as the night sky turned black, the Aurora Borealis lit up the sky with an iridencent green light show. Again, stopping and getting out of the car to hear the siren sound of the sky and see the amazing movement of light that only is visable twice a year.

Ah Autumn. http://flic.kr/p/dgv2Nm Fall Alaska Set


The color of the liquor for this Shu Puerh was first a golden honey brown and thereafter a clear dark red-brown.

Although I love to smell wet leaves, I didn’t find this to be a extremely potent or strong smelling Puerh. It was just a mellow, easy scent that was tame, a little earthy and pleasing.

After one 30 second rinse, I kept steepings at 30-45 seconds which was more than enough time for a rich broth.

The lightest (and first) steeping was like honey and Bing cherries with a light spicy finish. There wasn’t any earthy flavor or bread taste. I did find the sensation to be wet, not juicy.
My mind went off to thinking about water and then I came to my senses realizing how odd that was.

I poured another cup. This was more like the Puerh’s I was used to, like digging into rich, dark and chunky premium potting soil.
It tasted juicy and extremely smooth, becoming thick at the back of the palate.
There was something sweet about this Puerh. A cherry flavor and a creaminess during later steepings that I had not come across often in Shu’s. (I thought I was wacko about the cherry flavor but I tasted this tea over again the today and I’m convinced, though the Bing cherry taste is elusive.)

The other illusion that I had with this Shu was water.
As I sat sipping one round after the other I began to tea regress. Have you ever felt like tea is your shrink taking you back to your childhood? Well I have.
I thought about a night sitting on the beach in Santa Cruz, CA all alone. It was one of those starless nights when all you could hear were the waves crashing like thunder. Now and then, there was a glimmer of light from a wave but nothing else as I dug my toes deep into the still warm sand. I must have been 16 or 17 years old and a real dreamer. Fearless and full of wonder.
An older guy in his 20’s that I knew came along, sat down next to me and we began to verbally make up poetry in the dark. He said a line, then I made up a few, then he made up some more. A perfect romantic experience in the purest sense.
We never spoke again.

Tea can be a beautiful moment like that. Like a poem or a crashing wave.
Some are an experience that lingers for a little while.
My favorite ones are the tea’s you remember forever.
And some, well not so much.

This one was better than many I’ve had and will linger.

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I have always wanted to go to Alaska. Someday….


I lived in Alaska and feel blessed to have witnessed the golden yellow of the birch during the fall and the wonder of the Aurora, as it sounds like you have. It’s great to hear someone else share about a few of Alaska’s many wonders.


Wow those photos take my breath away!
Fall is slow coming here, but I hear it gets beautiful! I’ll take some pictures if it proves true :)


Good….love to see peoples pics!
SimpliciTea- Where? The Birch is so bright gold it almost blinds you. I went back the end of November when Selma passed away and it was -20 and never complete daylight. Very dry in Fairbanks too. Loved Caribou Sausage!

Invader Zim

Beautiful pics Bonnie! I’m supposed to be going to Alaska next summer and I would love to see the Aurora Borealis!


I lived in Fairbanks and traveled all over the state (including going to a few villages in ‘the bush’). The tundra, a little north of Fairbanks, is absolutely incredible to behold in the autumn: the blueberry bushes (and other very small bushes) that carpet the floor of the tundra turn almost any color imaginable and are set against various shades of golden leaves which are in turn held up by birch trees clothed in chalky-white bark, and if your lucky there’s even a snow-capped mountain in the Brooks range in the distance (I think the range is called the Brooks). I’ll never forget it.

Obviously, I loved Alaska. Thanks for asking. : )


Invader- The Aurora Borealis is best viewed in the months of Feb., March, Sept. and Oct.. http://fairbanks-alaska.com/northern-lights-alaska.htm (watch out for mosquitos in the Summer before September, be prepared!!!)


I would love to see this in this lifetime!


Those pictures are beautiful. Is the picture of the Aurora at Chena Hot Springs (I think it’s about 25 minutes outside of Fairbanks)? That’s a hot spot (pun intended) for viewing the Aurora Borealis, away from the city lights, and all. And, yes, the mosquitos really are bigger in Alaska.


Thanks for sharing


bonnie you are a dear and i am glad you enjoyed this! a dib for garret and mandala for this wonderful tea!


SimpliciTEA- I didn’t take that picture, I have only a few original Alaska pictures because my ex-husband has the rest on his computer and it’s been hard to get them from him. The link above has some Chena Hot Springs pics. That photo is on Wikipedia and you can the video if you go down the page to the right. I saw the Aurora outside North Pole Alaska which was quite dark. When I left Alaska a week later,I saw the Northern Lights again from the Airplane. That was cool! The Moose and Fall pictures are mine. The 2 going towards Valdez (mountains) are where I traveled but not in the Fall.
The tundra with the purple, red and green was gorgeous!


Thank, Bonnie. I appreciate your bringing this up because it brings back lots of wonderful memories for me. I’m glad you had a chance to view the amazing colors of the tundra in autumn as well.

Terri HarpLady

Tandem Poetry on the boardwalk, now THAT’s my cup of tea! Beautiful review, as always, Bonnie!

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Story (I have a review of tea for the morning)
I’ve had quite a long day. My ex-Husband, needed me to get some legal paperwork together so that he could sell his house (not mine anymore). I had to prep and fax 47 pages off to California along with notarized proof of my name as a favor.

What did I do to relax afterwards? Go to Happy Lucky’s for tea!

I always know that it’s dead quiet around dinner time, nice time to relax at the tea pub.
Sam was about to get off work and Joe (the cute guy in the picture that some of you ladies commented on) was minding the shop alone.

After a few minutes at the bar, my granddaughter Schey came in with Purple Hair…very cute on her…and joined me for tea.

We really had a great time until….the ghost tour arrived again. The line of ladies (no men) filed behind the bar, downstairs, then up again…grabbing iced tea and back out the door.

We drank our pot of yummy puerh (this is a great and reliable, smooth and rich puerh! I’ve reviewed it twice before and this is my really tasty every day kind of puerh. Not fussy, makes a good latte too.)
So we’re drinking puerh and then Schey had a meeting and left.

All of a sudden, 7 women came up from the basement with purple, pink, black and blond wigs on…all dolled up. Older women looking like they’ve been up to something (no idea what though).

I have no idea where they came from.
Joe said, “Didn’t you see them go downstairs before?”
“No I didn’t!”, I answered. Which was true. I never saw them go with the other people and why were they coming upstairs long after the others had left?
Strange. Don’t you think that’s peculiar?

I pointed out the firehouse poll and said something really stupid.

“That’s where the employees pole dance.”
(“OH shut up Bonnie! Whatever are you saying!!!”, I thought, exasperated with my bad habit of speaking without thinking first.)

The next thing that happened was that each woman had their picture taken in a sexy pose with the firehouse poll in the middle of Happy Lucky’s. Yes. Of course they did this. It was almost my idea!

Joe was laughing, I was hoping he wasn’t going to be mad at me later for my big mouth! (I did give him some news though.)

Hope the word doesn’t get out. I’d hate Happy Lucky’s to be the place in town for pole pictures!

Such is life. Never a dull moment.

Good Puerh and an interesting way to end the day!


Sounds like a wonderful way to end the day!


LOL I’ve heard pole dancing lessons are the new “thing” to do. Move over Zumba haha


Funny huh! Poor Joe, he was outnumbered! His last comment as I was leaving was…“Oh well, a lot of beefy good looking firemen came down that pole who wouldn’t have minded what just happened here tonight!”

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Thank you Terri HarpLady for this sample tea!

The London Tea Room is a local place where Terri meets her friends for tea and friendly conversation, sort of a fancier version of Happy Lucky’s Tea House with a food menu. I’ve seen some of her pictures and I can see how much fun she has!
When one of you Steepster people comments “I wish that I had a Happy Lucky’s by me”, or “I wish that I had a tea Pub”, I often look up your town or city…hoping to find somewhere for you to go. A special little place of your own to check out for tea. The internet isn’t always helpful unfortunately.

With her trips to The London Tea Room, Terri has acquired a good stash of their tea’s for her cupboard and has shared some in a swap with me. Thanks Terri, I need to buy your CD now!

I used more than the normal amount of leaves (on a whim, at least a tablespoon and a half) and steeped them for 3 minutes in 6 (not 8…again a whim) ounces of water.
The first steeping was a little bitter, harsh but fragrant. It tasted vegital and the coconut was a little strange tasting too.

I repeated the same 3 minute steeping with the same amount of water and voila’….perfect coconut Oolong tea!
There wasn’t any bitterness or harsh flavor, just a subtle, creamy coconut taste with an aroma that smelled like cream pie.

As the tea cooled down the creaminess increased and coated my tongue, my teeth, my lips…so eh cudnt tk! (pause)

This was REALLY CREAMY COCONUT OOLONG! And yes, I did sweeten mine!

Here’s the deal though…and don’t forget!
The first steep is YUCKY!
The second steep is YUMMY!


I love the London Tea Room! That is where I had my first Cream Tea! Oh how I became addicted to clotted cream because of that place. Also the very first place I got my initial stash of loose leaf tea!!! I am almost out of this coconut oolong too! Need to make an online order.


Coconut oolong? Definitely going to have to try this out. Sounds amazing. Giant fan of coconut.


I was one of those people who said that. I wanted to let you know even though I’ve looked before, I decided to type my zip in the places section and something new popped up! Looks like small tea bar in the neighboring college town! It doesn’t look like much, possibly even run out of a dorm room, but I see a really cute gongfu set up and a makeshift “bar” with people around it sipping tea! I’ve facebooked them for more info, but it seems I may have found a Happy Lucky’s!! They even take credit cards =) Woohoo so excited right now!


The change in flavor is interesting! Actually, quite peculiar.


Mrnixonpants…I hope so! Keep us informed!!!

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drank Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea
676 tasting notes

Story more than review
Here’s my latest update on this amazing tea!

I brought some Earl of Anxi for my friends to taste after Church today, curious about how the Frankincense would be appreciated by a group of people who are familiar with the use and smell of this resin incense (although not in tea).

A few days ago I shared some with the guys who work at Happy Lucky’s Tea House and they loved it! We discovered that the incense resin really blooms beautifully at about the 3rd steeping.

Today, I set up my hot water kettle, small sipping cups and Gaiwan then waited for people (victims) to come by for a chat and tea.
One by one, I went through a round of steepings and then another…each time with great interest on the part of those sipping the tea and smelling the aroma with incense. Everyone loved the tea!

Finally, Fr. Evan came into the room…chatting with people and easing back towards me. (I know he saw my tea things, since we always have tea when we get together for our regular talks)

I steeped a last portion, steep #3, and poured tea into a tumbler. Then I handed the Gaiwan full of wet leaves to Fr. Evan and asked him to tell us what he smelled.

Everyone was watching…

“Hum, spinach…
….and something else…..Frankincense!”, he said with authority…not even doubtful for a minute.

He got it right! Wow! I know he’s a Greek Orthodox Priest but still, these were wet leaves and a mix you couldn’t look at and identify easily. Not bad!

I handed him the rest of my Verdant packet. Now I’m OUT! O U T!
More is on the way though. I knew I was going to need more. I gave some away to three people already so now I have to hoard more for my own enjoyment too.

Tea is my bridge to communicating with people face to face again. I’ve been scared, letting my disabilities hold me back. For the past two years I’ve avoided people other than going to my tea pub. This is my next step, sharing tea. Several people say they’d like to have tea with me at Happy Lucky’s. It’s time.


Props to you Bonnie!


Thanks Azz


You are most welcome! The world deserves you! xox


Wish I was there and I wish I had somewhere like Happy Lucky’s!


The reason I always write about my tea pub is 1. I like it and 2. I think people should look for one…really hunt them down around where they live. Or start something.

Yogini Undefined

Such a nice story! I love that you set up a tea time after Church. A great opportunity for people to experience new tea, in a whole new way! :)


I’m working on some recipe idea’s with this tea for the holidays…


Good stories as always :) and same as Mrnixonpants the more i read your story the more i wish i had a Happy Lucky’s near where i live who know maybe starting one some day after a couple more year of practice with tea :P


Zoltar, I hope more people DO start places to share tea! Walking into a tea shop where tea is sold but you can’t sit and drink tea isn’t the same thing. Having knowledgeable, well paid servers who see their work as a career is key I think too.


I’m definitely going to try some sort of recipe with this tea! We should swap recipes when the experimenting is done, perhaps ;)
(if mine turns out that is – there’s always risk when it comes to experiments! That’s the fun!)


I’m not going to squeek any more details to you daisychubb…we should see what we come up with. I have 3 ideas now. All VERY different for the coming Holidays!!!!


What a good idea! Okay, they shall be secret surprises :3

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drank Laoshan Genmaicha by Verdant Tea
676 tasting notes

The Tea
I ordered this tea just in the nick of time so it seems, because the stock has already sold out. I know that Verdant will blend some more as soon as the autumn harvest of Laoshan Green is in! Waiting, waiting, wanting!

When I read that Minnesota wild rice and Jasmine sticky rice were being roasted at Verdant to be blended with the superior Laoshan Green tea to make this Genmaicha, I was all in. My taste imagination recalled the buttery green bean smooth tea. Um, with a pairing of toasted rice how brilliant!

Laoshan green leaves are lovely to begin with, very small and curly. The white and black rice, slightly puffy from roasting, made a pretty speckled trio with the tea.
The scent was roasty, like sweet sticky rice and the aroma of buttered popcorn.

The taste didn’t disappoint me!
The flavor was my best experience with a 4 hour Wedding Banquet at the ‘Empress’ in Chinatown San Francisco, and the best day at the
Butte County Fair eating BBQ Corn dripping with Buddah’!

This tea rocks! (Now that’s something you’ve never heard me say!)

The tea is SAVORY and a little SWEET at the same time almost like kettle corn. You won’t be able to stop because of that sweet, savory addictive quality that begs you to have more and more.

I can hear my self now…“Hi, my name is Bonnie and I’m addicted to Laoshan Genmaicha.” …“Hello Bonnie”, thousands of voices respond with the same problem. Sigh. (I’ll have to fill the complimentary hot beverage containers in the back of the room with this tea hee hee!)

There is enough flavor to drink this with a meal. I love the way the taste lingers lazily, a long while after the sipping is done.
With a piece of toast and honey for a snack or at breakfast…yum.

The Story:
Last night I stopped at my tea pub (Happy Lucky’s for those new to my stories) and brought Eric and Sam a sample of the new Verdant Earl of Anxi tea blend with the Frankincense in it. The evening crowds were gone (dinner time) all was quiet and I sat at the bar while they lined up tastings from a small Gaiwan.
The first was great, the second steeping also, but the THIRD…well that’s when the Frankincense began to bloom and meld with the Oolong into an aroma and flavor that amazed them and me.
What an awesome experience. I gave each a little sample to take home and then ordered a pot of Assam and a ginger cookie (Sam’s shift was over and he went home).

People began filling up the shop and I chatted with some, helping others while the lone Eric rushed to make tea orders. This lasted for an hour until another lull arrived.
Still sitting at the bar talking about tea while he frothed some milk, a long line of people came into the shop, behind the bar, past me and Eric and disappeared. “What’s going on?”, I asked surprised.
“Uh, oh, he chuckled, it’s the ghost walk.” “The what?, I answered, is this place supposed to be haunted?” “Well, you know this was a firehouse and had a jail in the back…but in the basement was solitary confinement,” Eric informed me. Yikes! And a few minutes later, a line of people came back up (about 25-30 in all) and filed past me again only this time I held up my hands and said BOO!

I watched the young couple on a date, the oldsters on a night out. The young couple with a baby enjoying Chai. Four friends playing a board game. Most of the people stayed to drink their tea as the sun went down and it became dark.

Never a dull moment at Happy Lucky’s Tea House! It’s beginning to be my Lake Wobegon.

I’ll have to share some of this Laoshan Genmaicha Tea too!
(but just a little since I only have an ounce!).
The sharing makes the tea taste even better I think!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

What a great review! Amongst other things, I love the reference to 12-steps groups.


That’s fantastic!

Terri HarpLady

Yeah, Bonnie, looks like You, & Nik & I are officially a 12 step group now!


And I use a cane so my I have to be careful with my STEPS or I’ll fall over! (I need one of those canes with a secret insulated tea compartment in it.


Oh my gosh, this tea! I need it in my life. Just as much, if not more, than I need a ghost tour this Halloween! That’s honesty, Halifax has a lot of ghostly history! ;)


TEA PUB! OMG! green with envy!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I want a Happy Luckys ! ♥

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drank Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea
676 tasting notes

I’ve been waiting for this tea to arrive, so curious about the use of Frankincense in tea. It is curious also that my new blog (soon) is called tea and incense and that the incense I use at home is the same type of resin incense used in the tea. FRANKINCENSE

When the tea arrived I wasted no time making a cup. The wet leaves were beyond amazing…with an aroma that transported me by scent association to ‘Places of Prayer’, ‘Honey Cake with Orange and Nutmeg’, ‘Ancient Holy Spaces’, ‘European Museums’, ‘Grandmothers Antiques’ and ‘Lightly Bergamot Scented Linen’.

I was stunned!

I took a sip of tea and the scent and flavor were one and the same.

What to do? The Oolong tea, orange, jasmine and goji berry were woven together so beautifully that the hint of saffron warmth and incense unfurled like an exquisite silk carpet full of intricate patterns.

Impusively, I called Verdant to leave a message of congratulations and David Duckler answered.

(I’m not going to pretend we’ve never talked before, we have. And I’ve chatted by e-mail with other Tea Company owners who make an effort to be friendly like Stacy, Garrett, Bo, Elise and many others.)

We talked about this tea, how he lets the tea (this Oolong) guide him as he pulls down one ingredient, then another in some mystical way until he has the final blend.
I kept telling him how beautiful the wet leaves were, the cream colored puffy jasmine with the dark green Oolong leaves set off by long rusty red goji berries.
Then the scent, perfectly peppery when cold…then almost nutmeg. I kept picking out pieces of jasmine to eat, then nodding my head down again to smell the aroma.

We spoke about my use of Frankincense and how older cultures used resin instead of chemical incense, how my brother uses a long censor with 12 bells on it to bless the people during Vespers on Saturday nights. With a flick of his wrist, out goes the censor using a technique that looks like he’d be super great with a YOYO.
(My brother is a Deacon)

In the cultures where this type of resin incense is used the smell goes into carpets, furniture, wood and fabrics usually creating an association with a ceremony, season of the year or holiday.

We went on to talk of other things, other tea’s and the trip to China in the near future. I kept coming back to this tea, however. I couldn’t help it.

I said, “David, I’ll probably review the Earl of Anxi tomorrow since I want to think about it to do it justice. It’s remarkable! Earl Grey lovers who love the strong taste are going to complain probably, but I think you were right to keep the bergamot very light! It’s in harmony with the other flavors!” He agreed that it was better this way, saying that the softer and lighter nuance doesn’t overpower the blend.

This was absolutely a mind-blowing and unique Verdant tea!


I had some more tea later in the day at my tea pub and by the 3rd steeping the Frankincense became more pronounced in a very fragrant, flavorful way which blended with the Oolong tea and Jasmine beautifully.


Can’t wait to try this one!


omg, I’ve been trying not to buy tea for a while and I just…might…have to. This and the Genmaicha…

Thanks for the review.


Bonnie – once you get your tea blog up, please let me know. I’d love to feature you as a CelebriTEA on my own blog! keenteathyme.blogspot.com


What a great review! and very much looking forward to your blog.
Also? I love Water Night. Have you heard the BYU recording?


Thanks KeenTeaThyme!
Spoon- I think Water Night is beautiful. Eric’s website also posts lots of other creative material from poetry to art which is inspiring. My granddaughter has written a couple choral pieces and loves his work. Thanks!


Bonnie I have some resin both Frankincense and Myrrh – I can dig it out and send you some! Unfortunately I had to use my blending room for an exercise room after my daughter’s surgery but now we are re-converting it into a bedroom.


Thanks Azzrian, I still have Frankincense and some others (I can get resin type at church from Mt. Athos) I found a site that discusses lots of incense types from all over the worlk and rates the quality in a way that sounds like how we describe tea. olfactoryrescueservice.wordpress.com


i think your blog will be cool! be sure you let me know about it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Wow. This sounds amazing. And I love frankincense.


beautifully written! thank you for this vivd note that i would imagine is the next best thing to an actual tasting first hand :-)


Thank you! I’ve already ordered more because I gave all mine away!

Terri HarpLady

Thanks, as always, Bonnie, for the wonderful review. I brewed a small pot of this today & shared it with my son Drew.


I ended up ordering 2oz of this tea with my latest order! Lol Bonnie, “My name is Jim, and I have a Tea problem!!” It’s actually funny for me to say that, as I did have a very bad drinking problem, and went to rehab and AA…4 years and 3 months without drinking! Although I’ve only started drinking tea profusely in the last 8-9 months, it’s become a “good addiction” for me! I just love how there is always something new to try, even different harvests of the same tea! I am interested in seeing how the autumn Laoshan Black is different from the harvest I have now…spring I think. Also I’m going to try the new harvest Zhu Rong! Also had to get some Mi Lan Dancong Black, and I’m finally trying the Yabao Silver Buds :) So I am going to be very busy this winter trying all of these teas! Next Sunday cant come soon enough! I’m ready for a little R&R :)

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

even tho Im kind of allergic to it, that scent always reminds me of mass too

Michelle Butler Hallett

I;ve just ordered some of this. It will take well over a week to get to me. Very excited.


This tea just came in the mail today.
[email protected]
I thought my nick was so original… :-/ …lol
I am going to check your blog


Wow! This review takes me back! Somewhere on pinterest, I have a picture of a cake I made infused with a syrup from this tea last Christmas.

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drank Gui Fei Oolong by Butiki Teas
676 tasting notes

Thank you Stacy at Butiki for this sample tea!

I didn’t have any tea this morning because I slept in. Luxury!
It’s something I don’t do very often though.

Everyone thinks that one day when they retire, they’ll sleep in every day but it just doesn’t happen that way.
I’ve often wondered how I worked 8 hours a day, managed kids and bills and raking leaves on my own for the 10 years I was a single parent (I worked another 20 years besides that).
I got in a grove for 40 years like a slot car and off I went.

Last night one of my granddaughters said, “When I get to be an old lady, I’m going to have a blast and do all kinds of things with my grand-kids, drink tea like grandma and write music.” That did my heart good. She said that many of her friends say they hate old people.

I’m trying to show how them (and their friends) that getting older can be wonderful.
Most of the people reading these tea reviews (like you) are young. You’re parents or grandparents might be getting older. (Heck, everyone will be old one day.) I’ll tell you this…I’m free to be myself now, more than at any time in my life. Old isn’t bad, it’s a challenge at times and an adjustment. (My peeps landed on the moon, protested for Civil Rights and Woman’s Rights, invented and built the Computer Industry, the Beetles, Rolling Stones, Richard Gere (63) all from oldies. Talk to an oldster sometime. You’d be surprised at what they know.) It’s fantastic in many ways!

Tea Review:

I chose this Butiki sample and was stunned at how wonderful the aroma of the wet leaves were. Savory, roasty and a little floral in a way that matches the best quality Oolongs I’ve tried. Stunning scent…hard for me to pull myself away from the dark moss green leaves.

Taking my first sip I wasn’t disappointed. The roasted flavor was smooth and rich, honey with a little potato mouth-feel thickness.
I remembered that this was the tea made sweet by leaf hoppers chewing on the tea tree leaves forcing the tree to work harder producing new leaves with more sugar in them. (The sweetness was lovely!)

Stacy has noted an apple, raw almond and lightly burned toast flavor…which I thought about for awhile. I could imagine a fragrant yellow apple, home grown…sweet and cold chopped and mixed with a little grilled white pork and sprinkled with some almonds. The meat would have to have some roasty bits from the bottom of the pan.

I get carried away….

Boy this is good tea! An Oolong that doesn’t get astringent, has just enough roasty, floral, fruity flavor too! This is not your average Oolong. It’s substantial!

This Fui Fei Oolong would be a great choice for Fall and Winter.


I love old people and hate children. :-P


My hats off to “old” people although I don’t really look at age. I am 37 and most of my friends are 70-80. Makes me sad everytime we have a funeral around here thinking one of my friends could be next!

Butiki Teas

Your granddaughter sounds very sweet :)


You might like my little boy grandchildren Amy since they drink tea. One loves Pu-erh. The older girls are not children…15,17,18. Darby, you are in charge of remembering them and carrying on the good lessons. What a nice way to be. I like younger people myself. Old people make me laugh though, we’re funny!


Well Bonnie, don’t know for USA but I’m pretty sure it’s the same everwhere : young people don’t hate old people but they like to do “as if” when they are talking to friends…they feel like rebels doing this (!)
And anyway, we are always the old of another one ! I am 38 and I heard my neighbour of 20 years saying “the old” about me !


Oh dear Ysaurella, you ARE young! I’ll tell you that my two best friends in California are 35 and 50 which is a lot younger than I am. One from Eretria and one from Lebanon. One day I’ll tell their stories of bravery! You are younger than my daughter!

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Tonight my daughter and two of my grandaughters (Megan and Kiah) came over and brought me presents! (not an occasion, just being nice!)

A new electric tea pot (stainless this time) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel DVD! Yes!
I’ve already seen the movie and it’s really fun to see especially with Chai.

Because I knew the ladies were coming over I warmed this Chocolate Phoenix Chai in 56 oz. of milk slowly on the stove, adding honey just before straining and serving.

The tea was frothy and creamy smooth, full of caramel and cocoa.
The taste of natural, subtle vanilla had bloomed in the warm milk.

I had placed a bowl of ginger cookies on the coffee table to eat with the Chai. Dunk and eat or sip and take a bite, whatever the style, the pair went really well together. The Chai wasn’t too spicy so the cookie spiciness was perfect.

I had to make this second tasting note since we had such a great time sipping this Chai tonight, watching a good movie together.
What a great family!

I’d love to have a Chai holiday party. Everyone brings a hot Chai in a thermos so it doesn’t have to be heated. Has to be labeled and let the tasting begin.

Great Chai! Cheers!


On my shopping list this goes!


Ditto – this sounds so delicious, and perfect for the holidays! :) (OK what tea isn’t?)


I’m going to have to try that! Might need to order more Phoenix as I’m sure it’ll be TASTY!


I love this one.

Terri HarpLady

Wonderful, Bonnie! I was just sitting here, sipping a Butiki Org. Assam, & thinking that with this fall-like weather, I’m in the mood for a latte type beverage. I’m going to follow your lead! So I’m heating up almond milk, with the Laoshan Village Chai in it, & we’re going to the bubble bath together: me & myself, & chai


Might be gone now. BUT, all the Chai’s are wonderful. I’ve tried them all and can’t wait to taste the new blends. (Terri, you’re heading to my kind of old ladyishness. That’s the kind of bath thing I would do! I have Root Beer Philosophy Bubble Bath for when grandkids sleep over and they get rootbeer floats to drink while in the tub!)

Terri HarpLady

Nice, Bonnie!! I like that root beer float idea! My bubble baths always include tea, a book, music, sometimes a snack, & bubbles, of course!

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Thank you mrmopar for this sample Pu-erh!

My education in Pu-erh has come from the generous people here on Steepster who share with me from their personal supplies of Pu-erh (like mrmopar, Roughage in the U.K. and others) and samples put in with my orders from so many vendors. Thank you all!

It’s funny to look back and remember my first experience with
They were so heavily flavored that I could barely detect the underlying earthiness…but it was there, and I developed a hunger for it.
This is where I began this morning. Thinking about the ignorance of the newcomer to Pu-erh. My ignorance, which I still have.

Recently on a discussion thread, someone took a shot at one of our vendors, then at me (for knowing nothing about Pu-erh).
When I read their linked blog comments they were also critical of ‘all’ of us on Steepster.
I was offended not so much for myself but everyone else.
The potshots at me were correct though. I ‘am’ a learner and I ’don’t’ know very much about tea yet.
My lack of humility suckered me into a dialog that I should have stayed out of. The people who made the comments don’t write reviews on Steepster. They just appeared out of the blue.

I’m learning about Pu-erh because of you wonderfully kind Steepster people.
One thing I swear I never want to be is a TEA SNOB! I’d rather stay right here and review tea than gain the respect of those who despise Steepsterites!

The Pu-erh for this morning:
The aroma of the wet leaves for every pour was mild shoe leather.
On all but the first steep the liquor was dark red-brown and clear.

1. After a 30 second rinse, the liquor was light brown. It was tight, compact bark waiting to open. The flavor was light cedar, a little rough and furry with a slight pepper on the tip of my tongue.

2. The flavor was much smoother but with an almost bitter chicory cedar taste. The other comparison was the thick bitter taste of dark rye bread. There was little saltiness or sweetness but lots of juice.

3. This steep produced a softer, milder cedar flavor and thickness. There was an alfalfa sprout scent and sweetness with the taste of water crackers. The earlier bitter edge was gone but the chicory was still there in a palatable mild form with a rich mouth-feel.

4. Up front there was pepper and juiciness. The flavor was similar to steeping #3 and smooth.

I thought about this Pu-erh, and even though this has been rated as ready to drink…it seems to me that it still hasn’t developed full depth. Maybe this is where it will remain though. If it were a wine I would liken it to a mild Merlot (and Merlot is NOT a dirty word, it just was overproduced in horrid amounts by every closet winemaker on earth!).

So much of what I love about Pu-erh comes from my Winery background and from living in Morgan Hill where we grew mushrooms, and were surrounded by farms and wineries. Living next to Gilroy, Salinas, Watsonville and Monterey with all the fruit, vegetables, mountains and Sea gave me a sense of what I look for in Pu-erh.

I may be wrong some of the time, or maybe all of the time but I’m certainly enjoying myself!

I have found what I really love to drink and I think the love shows.


I don’t understand the snobbery associated with anything. Everyone has to learn at some point, and not all take it as serious as a heart attack lol. Does Pu-erh taste like wine? Or it just seems to have a more natural base…


The comparison to wine was the strength of the taste, the richness. I used to describe an icky Merlot as tofu when I worked at a winery so thinking of Pu-erh in a wine frame of mind would be natural for me. The connection with the seasons and earth, the wet mash or leaves and fruit…aging and history are both attractive. My father trimmed vines in Napa in the 1920’s as a boy and my cousin has a vineyard. The association with wine is personal and probably doesn’t have much to do with flavor literally. I have flavor memory, my curse.

Autumn Hearth

Sigh hugs I just read the thread. I logged onto Steepster to escape the drama on the ADF lists and Facebook. Something must be in the air.


Oh Bonnie, I just noticed that you coloured your bio! Awesome! Also, I’m totally oblivious to all the drama. You are awesome, Bonnie! (I swear DaisyChubb had commented on here too…. weird…)


Where were you when we were coloring Kittena
awhile ago? It was my 400th review! And I do appreciate you and everyone else!


I think I read that one, and saw you guys playing with colours a bit in other posts, but just noticed your bio now! It made me smile :) I’ve been really absent lately, aside from typing up some tasting notes.


Interesting so it’s more the feeling of the tea. Makes me think I want to try it lol. Ahh to be rich.


If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the internet, it’s that relative anonymity breeds nasty behavior.
I have really enjoyed being on Steepster and getting to read about a lot of new teas, and I hope I never get to the point where I feel the need to crap on a bunch of people because I think I’m collectively “better” than them based on what kind of beverages I drink. My 2 cents.


Good for you Claire! Finn88, I can’t sent out lots of tea every month to lots of people because I’m on a fixed income. It’s the postal rates that get me. I just sent off a couple that were far away and that’s it for a few weeks. Send me a PM to remind me and I’ll send you a few samples next go around or anyone reading this chime in and see what you can do.


Oh Bonnie. That was really sweet and unexpected. Thank you. I will send you my information but believe me I completely understand the income aspect. Don’t feel pressured to have to send anything. If you would do the same I can send you what I can, although it is limited I must say.

Terri HarpLady

Thanks for the review, Bonnie, and as for snobs & people who want to judge others, to hell with them! We’re all having fun here, trying new teas & trying to find the words & images to describe what we taste. We’re children of all ages, playing together & having fun. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Not me! You just keep being your wonderful open hearted self, & know that you are loved!

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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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