82 Tasting Notes


Nothing like a cozy camomile with which to settle in for the evening. Nice, with sweet vanilla and honey flavors. I added a bit of wildflower honey (I so love honey) that brought out a pleasant butterscotch flavor. Yummy!

Flavors: Butterscotch, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Love it when you can find a great, easy-to-find grocery store tea. Will have to chase this down locally.


Oh, I love this one! Its been too long since I had it.


This is one of my top camomile teas. You just can’t go wrong with Twinings! :)

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“Autumn Flush: The Best Darjeeling Tea You’ll (Likely Never) Taste” smugly proclaimed an October ’16 Tea Tuesday NPR story. Boulderdash! Shame on you NPR. This plain old Virginia boy has just imbibed the autumnal nectar of the Darjeeling gods!

The dry leaf had a sweet, sugarcane aroma with a suggestion of dried fruit. I used a rounded teaspoon (1.25 tsp) to 8oz of spring water. I use only spring water for fine Darjeeling. The suggested steeping time was 2-3 minutes. I steeped for 2 minutes and 45 seconds at the recommended temperature of 95C. The result was a very richly flavored Darjeeling. There was a red wine sweetness reminiscent of a fine dessert wine with notes of dates, black figs and wildflowers. Positively splendid! Hands down one of the greatest Darjeelings I’ve ever had. And NPR said it would most likely never happen. Ha! Piffle! Stuff and nonsense!

I love What-Cha Teas. They are simply the best! Very fast international shipping. Plus a much appreciated kind and thoughtful note from Alistair, who happened to mention that Red Thunder Darjeeling is one of his personal favorites. He also included a generous sample of a Nepali tea that I cannot wait to try. Thank you, Alistair!

Flavors: Dates, Fig, Flowers, Red Wine, Sugarcane, Sweet

2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

The description of the tea was well worth reading on the tea’s main steepster page.

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I happened upon this one at my local tea shop this afternoon. I’ve been experiencing the GI joys of diverticulitis and recently read that green tea can be helpful for that condition. Green tea seems to be quite the panacea, effective for a multitude of miseries.
What a wonderful medicinal – No spoonful of sugar needed to help this medicine go down!

The dry leaf smell is sweet and mildly floral. As the tea steeps the aroma is very strongly evocative of oolong. The flavor too suggests oolong, along with floral notes of chrysanthemums and wildflower blossoms with a bit of honey. There is a mild vegetal note – Just enough to remind you that it’s a green tea you’re drinking.
I was a little leery about the 190F brewing temperature, but no bitterness. I used 3 generous teaspoonfuls for a 16 ounce pot and steeped for four minutes.

Yunnan Orchid Green is a lovely green tea – One of the very best I’ve had. My tummy feels better already.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Sweet, Vegetal

190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Wow, 100!


It really is a glorious green! :)

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drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
82 tasting notes

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drank Assam Breakfast by Zhi Tea
82 tasting notes

Oh my! This is a delightful Assam tea. I’m getting lots of sweet stone fruit flavors of bright cherry and deep, ripe plum. It’s pleasantly malty and smooth – Very smooth. There are no bitter notes or rough edges, only a pleasant astringency typical of Assams. Overall the tea was creamy and sweet. I detected a smidge of cocoa.
For those who are Assamaphobic, this Assam would be a safe choice – Sturdy, but oh so gentle and completely delicious!
Thanks for the sample, Josh! I loved every sip!

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Plums, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Assam Breakfast by Zhi Tea
82 tasting notes

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When I was in Paris a few years ago, right before bedtime I would head to the little cafe around the corner from my hotel to people watch and wind down with a cup of chamomile tea. It was very good chamomile tea that I often drank with a sweet. I learned that chamomile tea is especially good with just about any French pastry! By the end of my stay the waiter would see me, smile and exclaim, “Ah! Monsieur Chamomile!” Happy memories!
Anyway, this tea is absolutely the best chamomile that l’ve had since then. It’s appley sweet like chamomile is supposed to be. No off or bitter flavors that I have encountered in lower quality brands. It’s organic too. If you’re a Monsieur or Madame Chamomile like moi you will not find better! Now, maybe un petit peu de chocolat. Bonne nuit mes amis!

Flavors: Apple, Sweet

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

I will have to get that tea. Read my review on Stash Organic Green Tea. Brew it properly and add the right amount of sugar and perhaps you will taste a very good green tea.


You just can’t go wrong with Stash Tea! I have to give their Organic Green a try!

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drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
82 tasting notes

A poor man’s Darjeeling. This British legacy tea treasure has significantly more muscatel flavor than even the venerable (and expensive!) Jungpana Estate second flush Darjeeling that I drank yesterday evening, and it’s half the price!
As it steeped, the aroma was actually a little reminiscent of Jade Tieguanyin oolong. The taste was mildly floral and subtly sweet, with lemony notes and a forest hint of pine. This high grown Ceylon is quite like a fine first flush Darjeeling – Margaret’s Hope first flush, one of my favorites, pops to mind. There was just a pleasant bit of astringency. Although it’s light bodied, Lover’s Leap Estate Ceylon stood up beautifully to my vegetarian Hungarian chicken paprika and noodles, Italian green salad with extra garlic onion dressing, and dark chocolate eclair dessert of my Sunday supper.
This second review of Lover’s Leap confirmed my findings of the first – What a delightful, delicious Darjeeling double!

Flavors: Floral, Forest Floor, Muscatel, Pine, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you.”
-William Ewart Gladstone

“Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.” – George Orwell

I am definitely a Darjeeling kind of guy! I have come to realize that I have a strong preference for Indian tea.

Darjeeling, the apotheosis of tea!
Darjeeling tea is at the very top of my favorite tea list. It’s the tea that first inspired me to delve deeper into the wide, wonderful world of tea – My first love, so to speak. Darjeeling will forever reign supreme in my tea pantry! I love all Darjeeling flushes for their unique characteristics. Margaret’s Hope second flush Darjeeling, my first Darjeeling, has a very special place in my heart. It is my all time favorite tea and my go to Darjeeling.
Gopaldhara Red Thunder Gold autumn flush Darjeeling from What-Cha is nothing short of spectacular, and my other must have Darjeeling. Margaret’s Hope first flush, Makaibari Estate first and second flush organic Darjeeling teas, Glenburn Darjeeling Autumn Crescendo, Jungpana second flush and Darjeeling Tukdah first flush are other favorites.

Other teas that I especially enjoy:

Black Tea -

Second Flush Assam Tea
Nilgiri Frost Tea
Sikkim Tea
Nepali Tea
Keemun Tea
Yunnan Teas
High and Mid Grown Ceylons
Orthodox Kenyan Tea

Oolong Tea -

Darjeeling Oolong
Si Ji Chun “Four Seasons” Oolong
Formosa Oolong
Bao Zhong Oolong
Wuyi Oolong
Tieguanyin Oolong
Dong Ding Oolong
Ruby Oolong
Milk Oolong

Green Tea -

Mao Feng Green Tea
Yunnan Green Tea
Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea
Houjicha Japanese Green Tea

White Tea -

I also quite enjoy most white teas, especially Bai Mudan and Silver Needle. Kenya “Rhino” Premium White Tea from What-Cha is amazing. Royal Wedding from Harney & Sons is a fantastic flavored white blend.

Flavored teas that I particularly enjoy:
Black Currant
Bergamot – Earl Grey
I positively adore all florals – Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Lavender and Violet.
Love smoky teas too – Lapsang Souchong and Russian Caravan.
Fruity Greens – Blueberry, Strawberry and Cherry.

As far as herbals go, I really, really love camomile! Rooibos, anise and peppermint teas are extremely good too. I actually enjoy a fairly wide variety of herbal teas, especially in the evening.

Ardent Anglophile that I am, I am unquestionably devoted to British tea culture which is quite reflective of my tea preferences. Love a good old English Breakfast blend!
Russian tea culture also holds a certain appeal, and I quite enjoy Russian style tea blends. I long to own an antique Russian samovar!

I very seldom add sugar to my tea, though I do love honey and a jot of milk in my breakfast cup. A spoonful of cherry or raspberry jam, Russian style, is quite a treat.

Favorite Vendors – Top 40:
Arbor Teas
Rishi Tea
Bellocq Tea Atelier
Harney & Sons
Kusmi Tea
Steven Smith Teamaker
Mark T. Wendell Tea Company
Grace Tea Company
Simpson & Vail
Carytown Teas
Mandala Tea
The American Tea Room
Fortnum & Mason
The English Tea Store
Whispering Pines
Culinary Teas
Zhi Tea
Silk Road Teas
The Tao of Tea
Adagio Teas
Joseph Wesley Black Tea
Single Origin Teas
Capital Teas
Mariage Frères
Verdant Tea
Upton Tea Imports
Palais des Thés
New Mexico Tea Company
The Tea Table
Tin Roof Teas
The Whistling Kettle
The Tea Spot
Tea Trekker
Golden Moon Tea Company
Stash Tea Company

Rating Guide:

I only review and rate teas that I especially enjoy. Life is too short and time is too dear to dwell on subpar tea!
In my opinion, anything below 70 is not something that I would tend to keep in my tea pantry. That said -

100 = Perfection/Tea Nirvana – Teas that I cannot live without and will always be in my tea pantry forever and ever. Amen!
90-99 = Excellent tea! I will definitely keep this one around to enjoy regularly. An essential pantry staple.
80-89 = Very good! Tasty tea. Would gladly drink again but not necessarily on a regular basis. Could still, perhaps, be found in my tea pantry.
70-79 = Good, but nothing that sparkles. Most likely would not worry about keeping this one around as a staple.

Tea is my passion. It has become so much more than a hobby. For me, tea is a way of life. I do tinker around a bit with blending teas. Two of my blends, Virginia Breakfast, a blend of Imperial Keemun and a second flush Darjeeling, and my Russian Caravan Blend with Keemun, Wuyi Oolong and Lapsang Souchong, are sold at a wonderful French tea shop – salon de thé :) – here in Richmond. My own small claim to tea fame.

I work in the medical field – Charge nurse of an advanced dementia and hospice care unit. I am also a dementia care training instructor, so I stay pretty busy. I have a multitude of interests. Strong advocate of LGBT rights and animal welfare! I’m a big time lover of cats! I love jazz, blues, classic rock, opera and Russian symphonic music, classic cinema, cooking (I am mostly vegetarian), gardening, gemology, vulcanology, history – Especially English history. Passionate Anglophile! Love to travel (When I can afford to). Love England, France (Paris is heaven!), Canada and the American South. Love day trips to D.C., the beach and Shenandoah Valley of my beautiful Virginia. I am fascinated by Australia. Aviation is another major interest – Love my flight simulator. I love baseball. Enjoy swimming and bowling. Ardent bibliophile as well – Vast and eclectic library!

“While there’s tea there’s hope.” — Sir Arthur Wing Pinero


Richmond, Virginia, USA

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