Life In Teacup

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Recent Tasting Notes



Getting towards the end of my Dark Matter teas now, but still a few treats (including this one!) to go. The initial steep initially tastes like wet raw wood, but that gives way very quickly to a fairly intense sweetness. There’s a fruitiness (stone fruit?) that lingers in the aftertaste. It reminds me, at this stage, of a roasted oolong – although a really good one!

Second steep is woodier and earthier, more approaching shou pu’erh levels of flavour. I’d say it’s also slightly less sweet, although there’s still an element of sweetness that keeps the other flavours from becoming too overpowering or savoury. The initial fruitiness has disappeared.

Third steep is similar, although less intense overall. The raw wood flavour is still most prominent, along with a subdued earthiness. The sweetness is diminishing rapidly.

I’ll probably give this one another few steeps, at least until I go home for the day. I don’t mind it, but it’s not making my soul sing in the way some of the other Dark Matter teas have done. It’s fairly middle of the road, in my estimation.


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drank Pine Needle by Life In Teacup
1961 tasting notes


This tea came to me from Liquid Proust’s Dark Matter group buy, all the way back in 2016. That’s how very behind I am with tea things in general. I decided to try this one first as I recently tried the Teavivre version, and I really want something to compare it to. Judging from the notes, this one’s going to be a very different experience!

I brewed this one western style, for around 3 minutes. I can’t say I was paying that much attention if I’m absolutely honest (work…), but it wasn’t longer than that. It’s a beautiful golden brown in colour, and smells rather deliciously of chocolate and malt.

The first thing I noticed was how smooth it is. I’ve said that about teas before, but this one brings new meaning – it goes down like silk. In flavour terms, it’s absolutely delicious – dark chocolate, with a touch of blackcurrant, and a slight underlying earthiness. A far cry from last weekend’s “sweet water” experience. It’s malty, too, but not at the expense of the other flavours, and less prominently than I expected.

This is a tea that shines. I could drink it all day, and I just might do that!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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ok…I’m embarrassed to admit that while I spent all of yesterday afternoon drinking this tea, I didn’t write anything down and seem to have amnesia about it.
I do remember that it was enjoyable, a little bitter at the beginning but not in a bad way, and gradually sweeter, and it had a nice tanginess. Also a little shroomy brothiness at some point.
I know…that’s pretty generic…sorry…


It’s happened to me plenty of times.

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I had eye surgery a few days ago, so now I’m sitting around wearing sunglasses, basically doing nothing, except sipping tea & listening to podcasts, while I wait for the swelling to go down. In order to read, I have the words on the screen expanded to a ridiculous size, but other than reading a few tea reviews, I’m mostly sitting around with my eyes closed.

So, I swear I wrote a review about this tea a few years ago, but it is nowhere to be found, so I guess not. This tea was a $1 sample that Life in Teacup was selling a few years ago, and of course, with a pic of Che on the wrapper, who could resist, right? I didn’t buy a whole cake, just the sample, but somewhere I’m sure someone has that wrapper framed and mounted. Just because it’s cool looking :)

7g + yixing X 10/20/30/40/…

I’m steeping in pairs, as I often do, so one round is actually 2 steeps, but sipped separately.
The first round is mildly sweet, with a creamy sensation, and faint undertones of molasses, toasted barley, and well composted pine needles. Nothing fancy, but pleasant enough.
Round two adds a little bolder coffee-like depth, and a thicker resinous quality.
Round three less sweet, more savory, kind of like a chewy barely sweetened (black strap molasses) whole grain bread.
Next round same, with a slightly grassy aftertaste…make that sweet grass…
The next 2 steeps are 90 seconds, and 2 minutes. Nothing new, still drinkable, but fading.
I might go a few more rounds @ 3,4,and 5 min, but I need to take a break for lunch because too much tea on an empty stomach = not so good for me.
However, all in all, this is a pleasant little shu. Nothing complex or particularly nuanced, but there aren’t any off flavors too it, & @ 15G for $1, I’m not complaining.


Hope you have a speedy recovery. Enjoy your rest.


oooh hope you feel better soon lady!

Terri HarpLady

thanks! I feel like it’s coming along…


Speedy recovery Terri!


Swollen eye! What does the other person look like? :-) Well wishes that you’ll be reading regular font soon!

Terri HarpLady

you guys are awesome :)


So are you!

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Mild and woody, with a satisfying bitter note at the beginning & a rising caramel undertone in later steeps, this tea is very smooth and seems to go on and on. I’ve been sipping infusions for most of the day, and it’s been a pleasant companion.

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OK, so I don’t really have much to say about this one, even though I’ve been sipping it all afternoon. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. I just that I’m not feeling particularly poetic today, and I can’t think of much to say.
It has a pleasant tanginess & a kind of fresh taste, which I like. And it’s very ‘clean’ tasting, no musty shroomness or anything.
The leaf is beautiful, and hydrates up very quickly, with a fresh light green color.
It’s not overly sweet, although it smells like it should be sweetish, but that sweetness never did materialize.
The flavor profile stayed the same throughout: Green apricot, creme of wheat cereal, and fresh hay
Also not really a huge dose of chaqi on this one, just a very mild buzz. Very mild.
OK, so I’ve popped back in and edited this 3 times, LOL
One more comment, which is the taste of olive leaf in the later steepings, and some bitterness that is satisfying, but not over the top.

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It’s raining here in St. Louis. It’s been raining all day. That makes it a perfect day for tea, right? Not to say that every day isn’t a perfect day for tea, because really, I drink tea all day every day. But something about a damp rainy day that is somewhat cool, like today, puts me in the mood for making a pot of soup & long tea sipping sessions. And so, I continue on my quest to sample all of the Life in Teacup samples that have been loitering in my shelves, waiting for their opportunities to shine.
My formula = 7G + 120ml yixing
I kept it real short at first, like maybe 5 – 7 seconds?
quick rinse
The first steep – interesting milky kind of feeling, nice and smooth, even reminded me of the taste of milk somehow
2. tangy green plum, hinting at sweet, but not really.
3. More green plum, but also a bitter note on the back of the tongue, which will hopefully pass, because there is bitter, and then there is Bitter, and its the later of the two.

I continued on through several more steepings, but quit counting. The bitterness became a little tingly as well, kind of like Hops, with a nice ‘green’ taste.
That milky quality came back, but more of a feel than a flavor.
It never did really get sweet. The plum idea went away and was replaced with more of a persimmon dryness.
That’s all I’ve got.
Enjoy the weekend, everybody!

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I’m not sure if this is the right tea, as mine doesn’t have the word “Alkaid” on it. I know I got it as part of a sample set a year or 2 ago, and I’m finally drinking it.

So…I’ve been sipping this tea all afternoon & evening, per the usual Sheng parameters…and I don’t really have much to say about it, not because it isn’t good, but because in between sips I’ve had several students, a few hours of practicing for an orchestra concert this sunday, and some time spent in the garden, ‘obtaining a yield’, as we say in the permaculture world (aka harvesting veggies and stuff).

So what can I say about this tea…
it gives a good tea buzz, which interestingly seems to be centered on the left side of my brain, that’s a little different…
It’s a little rough on the tummy, so that I had to take a few breaks to ingest carbs, in the form of plantain chips, to avoid queasiness…
It’s a little on the bitter and astringent side for me, however it is very clean tasting, no mustiness at all.
Tastes like…hay, mainly. Kind of a strong grassy taste overall. Very herbaceous, although in the later steepings I got a hint of weird fruit loops kind of taste/aroma, LOL

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I’m finally working my way through the various tea samples I got a year or 2 ago from Life in Teacup. I didn’t drink my daily quart of Nettles over the weekend, so this morning my allergies are back to full bloom, resulting in overall irritation and headache, and low motivation. I’ve been sipping nettles all morning, and starting to feel improvement, and so I’ll take a break from that herb and sip some shu for awhile.

Sometimes when drinking Shu I treat it like black tea, 4 Grams in a standard cup steeped for 3 minutes, followed by a resteep of 5min. For this tea I broke out the yixing and am going with a parameter 6G X 10sec/15/20/etc, or something like that. I’m still pretty fog-headed, so my counting might not be exactly accurate today. Anyway, each Round is 2 steeps, combined in a mug.

The initial aroma of the rinsed leaf reminded me of cream of wheat with a little honey in it, and the taste of the first round even reminded me of that, in a way, with a hint of a dark chocolate base note. It was actually very sweet! And very smooth as well. And very dark!

Round 2 is more of the same, but with a buttery taste to it, and I’m thinking of a bowl of Hominy with butter, and a side of whole wheat toast. This round is not as sweet as the first, and has what I like to think of as a Matte Finish (I don’t know how to explain what that means, but lets just say it’s smooth but not too shiny?). I can feel a sense of electricity starting to happen, as if my synapses are rebooting, and it feels good.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep sipping, and report back if I have anything to share.

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I’ve been enjoying this one today, and am glad to finally be going through the Life in Teacup samples I got a year or 2 ago (has it really been that long?)
So…usual parameters…, yishi, short time, etc, combining 2 rounds at a time in one mug, so that I could carry it around with me and sip while I was teaching this morning.

This is a savory broth of wood and maybe a little smoke, with an underlying bitter base note that I found satisfying overall. It has a very clean mouthfeel & taste. This is one of those teas that is probably more about effect than taste, and very quickly there was an electric current flowing from my tongue to my brain, awakening all of my tastebuds and neuro-synapses up and down my spine, spreading to all my extremities and leaving me with a mixed sensation of heightened awareness and relaxed acceptance. Perfect for gardening, so I’m headed out the back door right now!

I’ll come back for more steeps this afternoon, as I’m sure there is a lot left to these leaves

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This tea has been in my stash for awhile, so it’s time to sample it, finally.
I went through all the usual gongfu protocol…I’m not going to insult the collective intelligence and experience of this group to describe it in minute detail…
So this tea is smooth and sweet from the first sip, kind of with a creamy vanilla mouth, and essence of tangerine and sandalwood. It kind of reminded me of root beer, for some reason. There is a lingering sweet aftertaste of sandalwood and honeysuckle flowers, and by the 3 and 4 steeps it was rich with a thick quality and an almost cloying sweetness. Sadly, this was about the same time my soft palate started itching. I took a few sips of the next few steeps, but the itching only got worse spreading to my sinuses & eyes, and so the tea had to be retired early. Too bad, I was just starting to get a buzz on. And it’s a very tasty tea as well.
I regret not being able to carry it all the way through the rounds :(


Good to see you!

Terri HarpLady

Good to see you too! Hey, I have about 7 grams left of this one. Do you want it?

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This was a very mellow and mild cuppa.
The initial aroma was of tangy green apricots and burning green wood. It wasn’t necessarily smokey however.

The initial steeps were of a lightly salty mineral broth, gradually building a little apricot tanginess, then morphing into a tasty roasty cup, and then gradually getting sweeter. At that point, I had drank plenty of tea and it was getting later in the day, but I plan to revisit this more today, after a quick rinse, because I’m certain that it has much more to offer, and I’d like to be there to find out. Overall, I found this to be a very smooth and soothing session.

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Oh but this is smooth.
This is a very nice tea, with a creamy feeling to it, a touch of sweetness towards the end of the sip, and a touch of brightness.
I’m only sorry that what I had was only a sample, and I’m out now!

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I am happy to announce that a good tea has become great under my care and while living in my pumidor.
I got off of work at noon today because I am prepping for a vacation weekend and have drank this for over four hours… still kind of blows my mind.

Using boiling water at this point but it’s solid.
Good day.
p.s. this is raw


Old pumi is working well I see!

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Gift from Life in Tea cup : )
This is such a beautiful raw with the ability to brew at such length with depth and development in taste throughout.

In the beginning it was like old wet forest grass at night, but by the end it was like wet bark laying on a forest on its last few weeks before the season ends.

The brew was gold in color. The storage taste very clean and dry, but its nice that it brews up like its been humid at one point in time. Overall, this was one really pleasant tea that I brewed for 10 minutes during the later steeps to enjoy that dark tasting raw puerh that comes about over time.

Really glad that I was able to steep this 15+ times with multiple people at my place : )


i got this as a gift as well during an error in shipping a teapot. i got enough for two sessions and loved the first one. very strong tea. i wish he sold it on the website. id like a tea from the year i graduated HS

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drank Pine Needle by Life In Teacup
455 tasting notes

A tea I haven’t gotten to from Dark Matter 2016 yet. This tea wasn’t what I expected at all. The dry leaf was greenish, so I was kind of expecting something in the vein of a sheng puerh, which made me curious as to how it got into the Dark Matter group buy. To my surprise, this turned out to pretty much be a black tea.

The leaf smelled like a fruity black tea – I got notes of dates, fruit jam, blackberries and malt. The flavor of the first steep exhibited very similar notes to the aroma – malty with some dates or blackberry finish. The fruity flavors only lasted around one steep. After that, the tea got nice and malty with a bittersweet chocolate finish and sticky mouthfeel. Around the fifth steep, the texture started to thin down a bit and the chocolate notes mostly dropped off. After that, I just got another four or so malty and sweet steeps.

So I’m not really sure what this tea is, but the aroma, taste, and appearance of the wet leaves were all that of a hong. The dry leaf looked green (much like pine needles) but I guess that was just an odd anomaly. Certainly an interesting find in Dark Matter :)

Flavors: Blackberry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dates, Jam, Malt

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Pine Needle by Life In Teacup
268 tasting notes

I had to add some sweetener, possibly because I may have underleafed this. It started off tasting watered down until the addition of the sweetener. Overall incredibly tasty. Made in my gravity steeper.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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From LP Dark Matter

This tea was great. I’m not a fan of shou, but this had zero fermentation flavor and was fruity, complex, and well-balanced. I kept going back to the gaiwan. Didn’t keep count, but I think I had at least 20 steeps over a period of 5 days. Later steeps were more fuity and complex, to the point where I bumped my rating up a couple of points.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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From Dark Matter 2016:

Near boiling water, gaiwan, rinsed once, steeped starting at 5 seconds and increasing.

I love the large leaves on this. I grabbed one out that was longer than my pinky. The tea brews to shades of dark dusky amber never getting truely dark. I found the flavor to be rather subtle, not in a bad way just not what I was expecting. It stated with a bit of briney flavor and a few steeps in had a nice earthy funk. Got some woody and mineral flavors in later steeps and some sweetness at the end. Pretty refined for something with both “Tibetan” and “Hei Cha” in the name.

Flavors: Earth, Marine, Wood

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From Dark Matter 2016

I wanted to write a second review on this tea because I’ve spent the past two days drinking it (approximately 25 cups). As I mentioned in the previous review, this tea didn’t come to life until the fifth steep, with the help of increased water temperature/longer steep times (15s, 30s, 45s, 50s, 60s, etc). Once the tea was able to open up, though, it was so complex and delicious. It had that nice deep earth flavor that I enjoy in a ripe. A bit of a wet moss, “dirt,” slight mushroom, wood, and various minerals on the tongue. I rated it too soon before I was able to really hit the tea much harder than I had. Overall, I’m impressed, and will probably add this to my increasing wishlist.

Side Note: Finally finished with the first half of school….It only took 5 years…Anyway, I have two semesters left until I completed the History/English part of it all. However, considering that I am hopefully going to get my MA at UNC in the next two years, I wanted to start working on my entry level “Historical Account” of an era that most suits my interests; therefore, I’m researching topics about the American Civil War and 20th century. Just so that you’re aware, I LOVE writing research papers…So, there’s the most recent update in my life.

Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Mushrooms, Wet Moss, Wood

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Dark Matter 2016

Pretty good. Deep Earth. Really picked up after steep 5 (increased temperature to near boiling, longer steeps at 20 seconds). 80/100.

PS. Got pretty tea drunk.

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Apparently I’ve had this before. However, my notes from this session have changed. I had a lot of floral & light malty notes derive from the tea. Quite nice, if I must say. I realize teas like this give me the hope that I could like a “malty” tea, but it has to be both subtle and non-astringent/bitter as some tend to be. Very enjoyable session.

Flavors: Floral, Malt

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From Dark Matter 2016

1st steep: Very rich chocolaty notes, with a hint of floral undertones. The mouthfeel is slightly drying. These flavors linger on the tongue whilst brewing a second cup.

2nd steep: There seems to be a honey note to the second infusion. A little bit of malt and hay as well. Still sweet, though.

3rd, 4th, and 5th steep: On the go…I’ll add a comment later…..

Note: My mother’s cousin passed away this week (Thursday). I didn’t know him that well, but my mother is taking it kind of hard, since they were close and he was the same age as my dad. The tea is mostly for the drive there…Anyway, sad day.

Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Honey, Malt


Sorry for your family’s loss.

S.G. Sanders

Thank you. I didn’t know him that well, but thank you…


Sorry for the loss. Monday will be a year since I lost my Father I will pray that your Mother will have comfort.

S.G. Sanders

Thank you for the prayers :)

S.G. Sanders

I’m sorry about your father….I lost both my grandpa and closest great aunt three years ago. I remind myself a lot that they’re much happier now.


I agree a happier place awaits but with friends we can find joy here as well.

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I like heicha on cloudy days, so the weather told me that it’s time to drink this tea. The brick is lightly compressed consisting of brittle twigs and black leaves. The little guy had a fragrant aroma of dry mahogany, slight grassy tones, and some musk in the background. I warmed up my gaiwan and placed a chunk inside. The scent deepened to a wet forest moss, some tobacco, and a sweet raisin undertone. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste began as very sweet with some light spiciness, A heavy wood base lifted these flavors up and crafted a soothing heavy brew. The brew became slightly more sweet and an underlying roasted tone became apparent in later steeping. This tea was a very easy drinker, but it lacked any complexity or deep character. The brew finishes with a quick drop off to mineral tones alike copper, iron, and dry stone. The drink in it’s red liquor form and metallic taste reminded me a little of blood… Anyways, hahah, it was a good drinker, and for the right price I could see it as a nice rainy day brew; however, I’ll learn next time to not push the tea so far into the vampiric territory.

Flavors: Dark Wood, Metallic, Mineral, Raisins, Roasted, Sweet, Tobacco, Wet Moss

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

…and suddenly after this tea and for no reason I began to crave Anne Rice novels.

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