308 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! Even though this isn’t my favorite tea, I felt like having something with a distinctive flavor and that fell outside my normal tea regimen. This did the trick. I steeped it too long, just carelessness, and there’s a little hint of astringency, but certainly nothing to ruin the smoothness.

Can I just say THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY?!?!? I am SO looking forward to having a real weekend. I’m going to visit some friends, and I always have a lovely time when I see them. Yay!

Once again, thanks Nicole for the sample!

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drank Assam GFOP by Kusmi Tea
307 tasting notes

Backlog from Tuesday.

I haven’t been on Steepster nearly as often as usual the past few days. I don’t know why, but this week’s had a lot of stuff going on (not bad stuff, just a lot of stuff), and my mood has been pretty up and down. Maybe I should get in the habit of getting on Steepster again, that might help level me out a bit.

This is a decent tea. It tastes like an Assam. Not an exceptional Assam, but an Assam. I don’t really have a whole lot to say about it, but that’s partially because most of my experience with it was from drinking it out of a traveling mug at work or on my way to work.

Thanks to Nicole for the sample! Somehow, this got lost on my shelf, so I’m glad to have found it again!

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Vague horror movie talk in the next paragraph…

So basically I’m really out of it. Last night I went to a midnight screening of The Shining that was happening in downtown Columbus (largely so I can finally understand the 900,000 references that have been made to that movie), and I had tried and failed spectacularly to take a nap beforehand. I got home from the screening at about 3:30 AM, but had to watch goofy anime before I went to bed to take my mind off… no, not the movie, but this one fake commercial in the pre-entertainment. I won’t go into details unless you want me to (I don’t mind, but I don’t want to upset anyone), but it says something about my psychology when a “hilarious” vintage-cartoon-gone-horrifyingly-wrong disturbs and upsets me more than ALL of a splendidly made Stanley Kubrick psychological thriller. More than just about any horror movie I can think of, for that matter. So then I wound up picking a really dark and angsty episode of a really goofy anime, and despite its angst it STILL took my mind off that stupid commercial, then I went to bed at 4:15 and woke up 4 hours later and my mind was going IT’S YOUR DAY OFF YAY GET UP GET UP GET UP and I’ve been awake ever since and I’m physically and mentally really really out of it!

…Yeah! Tea! This one came out really bergamot-y this morning. I was hoping for more cream, but with the way I’m feeling, some citrus perkiness may not be a bad thing.

Again, many thanks to Nicole for the sample! It’s been an absolute pleasure!


O.O I am the same way. I even feel a little angst just wondering what the commercial MIGHT have been. It helps if I know what is going to happen and when, but don’t surprise me. My kids sit beside me in theaters going “no lookie, no lookie, no lookie, okay now you can look.” But I get used to it and just watch if I see the movie several times.


Sometimes it is the little unexpected things that keep us up. :) I was reading a horror book the other night (yeah, I’m masochistic that way…) and it wasn’t any of the big stuff that kept me up after I put the book down – it was the tiny things that didn’t even do anything in the story, they were just set dressing. But it took me forever to go to sleep. :)

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There are certain teas that just command your respect when you drink them. They may not be your favorite, favorite teas per se, but you just go, “Wow. That’s quality.” There are two teas that are like that from me, and they’re both from Teavivre. One is their exquisite lapsang souchong, which I can’t seem to drink without raving like a proud parent talking about her honor roll kid who placed first chair in the band and directed an anti-bullying video. The other is this one.

I don’t know if “complex” is the right word, but the flavor evolves. The longer it stays in your mouth, the more it progresses from earthy to malty, like a chameleon changing color. And it’s a pleasant and satisfying taste all the way. It’s one of those teas that’s best enjoyed when you don’t have to put all your concentration on something else. It is just really, really well made.

I wish it wasn’t night. Because I want another cup of this. Actually, screw it. I’m making another cup!


Hahaha. I’ve done that so many times. There’s no proper deadline for me to stop drinking my black teas!


I’m just like, caffeine be dratted! I’m going to drink a tea I really really want to drink!

Terri HarpLady

It’s been awhile since I had this in my cupboard, but it is definitely a tasty tea!

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Did a second steep on this this morning, for a little under 2 minutes because it was a resteep. It’s actually pretty similar to what I tasted last night, except without seeming underleafed. I actually quite like the tea itself, although I think I have to be in the right mood for it. Earthy is a good flavor for foggy gray fall mornings. Still a malty aftertaste, which is unexpected but cool. The smell is something I have to get past.

Next time, I’m rinsing this!

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Uh… 3-4 teaspoons for 8 oz?


This is what happens when they don’t put the leafage on the bag! Grrr!

Ah well. It’s a free sample, so there’s only so much griping I can do. I would try steeping it longer, but I have a bad feeling that would only result in the overwhelmingly flagrant essence of FISH! Like the last pu-erh I had, which is still sitting in a bag in the back corner of my cupboard with absolutely no plans for a sipdown anywhere in this dimension of time and space because it tastes exactly like FISH!

This one is… earthy? It’s got a fair amount of FISH!, especially in the aroma, but the flavor itself is darker and bassier. There is actually a bit of maltiness in the aftertaste too. It’s actually fairly pleasant, at least once I stop smelling it. Next time, I’ll use more cake per water. Also I won’t spill it all over the damn stove as I’m trying to pour it.


some really are that way,though i have no idea why. verdnat’s golden buds puerh isn’t and the mandala puerhs aren’t…. but i’ve discovered that i taste a moss pillow or fish if there isn’t astringency to balance it(but that’s just me). =0)


Yeah. I was wondering about that, since I’d only had one other pu-erh and I figured since I’d heard good things about that kind of tea, they can’t all taste like FISH! In fact, I’m curious to explore the world of pu-erhs simply because I’ve heard so many contradictory and counterintuitive things said about them, I can’t help thinking they must be such an interesting tea, even if not my favorite cuppa.


have you tried steap shoppe’s cinnamon swirl bread? that’s a combination black and puerh with the puerh playing the part of the bread VERY convincingly. so long as you like cinnamon this may be a good way to get into them?

i started with flavoured ones from david’s teas and teavana and then moved into the unflavoured. for myself an astringent (but not acrid or bitter) balance is necessary or i really feel like i’ve been whacked in the tongue with a moss pillow dipped in fish, lol.


I’ve never had this pu’erh, but Teavivre has good quality teas and all the reviews are favorable. I’m just wondering if you didn’t rinse it enough. Sometimes lack of rinse or too long of a first steep with yield some fishiness even in great pu’erhs. I would suggest 2 10 second rinses and then short first steep. Even western brewing a pu’erh I usually only steep 20-30 seconds for the first steep. I’m not sure, just suggesting. Did you resteep it? Was the next steep also fishy? If not then I would look at longer/more rinse for next time.


James, I have yet to try a flavored pu-erh. To be honest, the flavor of pu-erhs is so distinctive I have a hard time imagining them with other flavors! It sounds like at least the cinnamon swirl bread was a success though?

Dexter, it’s definitely a good tea. I have yet to rinse a pu-erh although that’s something I’ve heard you should do, more than anything because I just haven’t had the time/patience to do it yet. :P I would have resteeped, but it was late at night and I was afraid to do more than one cup of a fairly caffeinated type of tea.


Ew. There’s tea that tastes like fish in this world? Even if you rinse it…I just. I can’t imagine why you’d rinse away the fishiness of tea when there’s so much tea that isn’t fishy to begin with?


LOL keychange – I’m not sure if that’s a rhetorical question or if you would like an explanation. My answer would be because great pu’erhs are AMAZING teas. If you look at my tea ratings and change the sort by to highest rated, 5 out of my top 6 are pu’erh. When it’s good it’s amazing, but it’s not for everyone – some can’t get past the fishy, some can’t get past the “earthy”, “barnyard”, “mouldy”, “stinky feet” part of it. There are lots of unflattering words used to describe it. I put some in the travelling tea box. You should at least give it a sniff if you get the chance. :))

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Just poured the rest of my leaves into the strainer and steeped for a little under 4 minutes. a-HA! THIS is the renowned Assam flavor! Bold, sweet, honey-esque, a translucent flavor. Kind of a classic “black tea” taste with little to no astringency.

This is really good. I don’t know how often I’ll drink Assams, but I’m glad I now have more than one reference for the flavor. I recommend this to anyone who’s an Assam fan, or even just a black tea fan.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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Tea is my happy place. I drink tea when I’m at home, when I’m at work, when I’m waking up in the morning or winding down for the night or when I need a little boost in the afternoon. Tea is my official side hobby, and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve discovered such a vast world of flavors, aromas, varieties, and traditions – encapsulated by a beverage that I used to shrug at.

My taste in tea always seems to be changing!

Black teas are far and away my favorite. Great Chinese black teas are one of my weaknesses. I also like a lot of the Earl Grey relatives and I have an affinity for floral teas, especially rose-flavored ones.

I don’t drink green teas as often, but there are a few I quite enjoy.

Same with white teas.

I have some experience with oolongs, but not much. Most of the ones I’ve had taste the same to me, and I’m not huge on the roasty-green flavor. I kinda like the juicy-green ones, though.

I’m exploring pu erhs. I haven’t had many, but the ones I’ve tried have been really intriguing when done right, and it seems like the pu erh universe is a rich and complex one once you get past “IT TASTES LIKE FISH!”

I like rooibos, but I have to be in the mood for it. And it HAS to be in a sachet or a bag. Loose rooibos is more of a pain than it’s worth.

I go through different phases when I’m trying teas. Sometimes, I really want flavored stuff; sometimes I just want to try pu-erhs; sometimes I’m on a rose tea kick, etc. I enjoy building up my base of tea knowledge and even more the experience of finding a new and unexpected thing I love.

I have a tendency to ramble in my tasting notes. Sometimes it’s on topic. Much of the time it’s not. You have been warned.

As for me, I’m 25 years old and I work at a music store and play various instruments. Besides tea, I love bicycling, writing, teaching myself French, watching things from everyone else’s childhood, ASMR, Star Trek, cats, and awful puns. I’m an INFJ and a Libra too, for all it’s worth.

Steepster is absolutely the most positive, kind, and intelligent online community I’ve ever found, and I love meeting fellow tea enthusiasts through here. I look forward to meeting you!

P.S. Any rare soul who recognizes the profile pic gets bonus points forever.


One foot’s on the Holodeck. The other’s in Lancaster, Ohio.

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