Gene Vance - Tea Tasting Notes


I cook; I sip; I explore new things; I share with friends, and when I am not trying to figure out how I get to be a host on the Travel Channel, I make my living as a lawyer. I’ve tasted wines for more than 30 years. In the continental European tradition, relationships are born and nurtured over food and wine. In the U.S., a friendship often begins over a cup of coffee. In much of the rest of the world, the drink which brings people together is tea.

For a long time, my teas came in tall, iced and instant glasses (for which you often pay way too much) or they were bags you boiled when you were sick. Then I discovered that tea came in leaves, and I got it. Like wine, the tea leaf is a gift of nature– made of a plant, water and the skill of a human. It is a connection with the earth and with others.

I’ve sampled thousands of wines and made notes of many of the experiences. Though I enjoy them very much, so far I haven’t felt the need to keep notes on coffee, candy, chili or other foods. I do keep notes on tea. Reading and sharing wine notes has always been part of the fun. I hope you will enjoy my notes on teas.
-Gene Vance

*Mr. Vance is not an employee of
NM Tea Co. and is not paid
for his impressions.



RSS FeedBelow is a list of teas Gene has tasted. If you would like to subscribe to the RSS feed (?), and be notified every time a new tea is added, simply click the RSS icon to the right. (RSS Readers)

Ceylon - STGFOP
by Gene
Ceylon - STGFOPWhen I first moved from other beverages to tea in the morning, my first stop was black leaf tea purchased at a food store. I went from Irish Breakfast to English Breakfast to Darjeeling (with a brief visit to Earl Grey) and to Ceylon. I added milk and I was happy. However, until you’ve had a Ceylon of this quality, you haven’t really had Ceylon. This Ceylon tea has an extra helping of the fruity, floral richness of a fine traditional (for Europeans) black tea. The flavors bloom with a teaspoon of whole milk to make a special breakfast treat, but this tea is also lovely on its own if not brewed too strongly. It is smoother than other full bodied teas. If you are hosting high tea, these leaves brew an impressive afternoon. (Link To Product)
King of Silver Needles
by Gene
King of Silver NeedlesThese wispy needles need a long, warm bath to wake up. If you bought a Gaiwan because of its beauty, here is a tea which will put it to perfect use, because this tea seems to need to float freely outside of an infuser to develop its full perfume. For the first infusion, give it 3-5 minutes, or until the needles swell to become beautiful young leaf buds, and a subtle treat awaits. The liquor is an amber color, similar to a light apple cider. The aroma starts as mountain lilac with a stone fruit underneath. becoming more fruity with successive infusions. The taste is a delicate flavor of peaches in dried grass and a lilac perfume. Three minute splashes in hot water keep bringing life to these little leaves. It's expensive, but there is an evening of fragrant sipping in one set of these leaves. (Link To Product)
Monk's Blend
by Gene
Monk's BlendA lighter, more subtle and complex black tea that is tasty with or without milk. This monk’s blend does not appear to have a strong grenadine flavoring for which this tea is known. Instead, black tea fruit and flower aromas greet the nose, but there is something more there. Earthy, herby  notes make this interesting, and it almost tastes Chinese. Somewhat lighter than Ceylon and more drinkable without milk, sugar or lemon. This is very tasty for the price, and another enjoyable but informal afternoon tea. (Link To Product)