332 Tasting Notes

drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
331 tasting notes

Backlog from Friday night.

I was so excited to make this in the gaiwan and to test out my newly-acquired gaiwan pouring skills.

I don’t think I ever noticed how cute the leaves were. They’re downy, and the contrast of the black and gold is very pretty.

Steep 1: 1 min. Everything you hear about this tea is about deep, sweet flavors like sweet potato and yam, but the predominant flavor I get is mulchy, wood-like, with a sweet undernote.

Steep 2: 2 min. Eh, still getting the mul – YEP there it is! The sweetness comes later in the sip. It’s the sweet potato/yam thing, but there’s also some fruit.

Steep 3: PBBT
Knocked over the gaiwan in the middle of the third steep and spilled tea and water everywhere. Computer was just barely rescued. Siiiiiigh. And I still have hot water left…

So I put in some new leaves and started over, steeping until there was no hot water left.

Not quite the tea tasting I’d hoped for, but still quite enjoyable before and after the spilly spilly.

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drank Pu Erh Poe by Adagio Teas
331 tasting notes

Errgh. Didn’t sleep well last night, and one of those mornings I woke up stressed. Need something thick.

Made an extra big cup this morning. I know this isn’t the highest-quality pu erh by any means, but the musty-earthy taste has grown on me. And it’s SUPER musty.

In other news, I did Drink Militia’s autumn interview! http://www.drinkmilitia.com/autumn-2014-interview-holly-faye-steep-inclined/ Pretty sure I have nowhere near as much expertise as some of the people who’ve already done this. But I had fun!

2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank My Morning Mate by Teavana
331 tasting notes

I had completely forgotten about this tea. I really need to start drinking it on work mornings instead of coffee. I still really enjoy the thick, chocolately-banana mix. It’s not subtle by any means, but it’s just fun and it smells so good.


This used to be the tea I drank every single morning when I was getting up at 5:30. I loved the taste and it was a good caffeine boost when having to deal with children so early.


Right? I don’t like the taste of normal mate, but I could very easily see myself drinking this every day!

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First things first: it’s me, formerly known as TeaKlutz! I’ve changed my name and image in the hopes of being able to better connect this to my blog, Steep Inclined! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/
(Gotta say, I do kinda miss my old profile pic… ah well.)


So I poured the last of my leaves into the infuser, expecting there to be, oh, about a teaspoon. Out come like two and a half teaspoons of tea. Oh well, I think. Just steep it for three minutes and maybe it’ll be alright.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh lord did I screw this up. Bitter. Maybe if it cools – egh. Nope. Bitter bitter bitter.

Sad sipdown. I really liked this tea, I wish I had given it a more carefully prepared sendoff. :C

Oh well. More room for new teas!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Your blog looks good! :)


Thank you! It’s my first real blog, so I’m learning a lot. And thank you for checking it out!


I like your blog too! It’s organized nicely and you’ve already got a lot of great articles.


Thank you!

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drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
331 tasting notes

…Wait a minute, this is a white tea?

So I totally thought this was a black tea this whole time. Welp, the caffeine from last night’s cup must have been a placebo effect!

Somehow I wound up with like 50 sachets of this. This tea smells sooooo sweet. In a good way. It’s fruit-y and light vanilla-y. When I drink it, I get more of a light floral flavor, but the sweetness lingers as an undertone once the tea cools a bit. Of course, now that I know it’s a WHITE tea, I want to try it at a lower water temperature next time.

I like it!

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This is my second cup of this today. (I’ve been writing a blog post about Earl Greys.)

Oddly enough, I think I like this tea best when I’ve had it for a few months and it’s mellowed a bit. The first time I had it, it was a sample sent by someone else and I LOVED it. When I ordered my own batch, I was kinda “meh” when I made the first cup. But now I love it again! I like when the cream flavor is able to shine through and offset the bergamot, without either flavor being IN YOUR FACE.

Happy place. :)


I have read that newly made flavored tea needs time for the oils to absorb and for the flavor to meld. Maybe that is why it needed to sit awhile!


I’ve never heard that before! Perhaps that explains it. I’ll keep that in mind! (And now this makes me want to go back and try my other EGC that I always find WAY too strong…)

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drank UVA Highlands by Harney & Sons
331 tasting notes

This is literally the THIRD Saturday I’ve had off since early August. And this is the first one of them I haven’t been traveling. I don’t know what to do with myself! (Oh, wait… yes I do. Homework.)

Normally, I shy away from this kind of tea; I have to be in the right mood for something “minty” like the packaging describes. Today, I wanted to try something different, and this fit the bill.

The leaves are small and dark brown. The aroma is pretty faint, but a little odd… it’s not quite smoky, it’s more rubbery.

The water wasn’t quite boiling when I took it off the stove, but I steeped for about four minutes. It might be partly my fault, but this tea is quite brisk. I can see where they get “mint,” but it’s more of a vaguely “cool” note than true “mint.” Not really a flavor I enjoy, but definitely a good pick-up.

I may have to try this on a shorter steep time before I pass my final judgment, but my first impression: not bad. Nothing to write home about, unlike some of the other teas in H&S’s same sample pack, but not bad.

EDIT: Almost forgot – I have a tea blog! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/

This is my first blog, so I’m still learning a lot of the ropes. It’s a beginner’s guide to loose-leaf tea, and while it’s basic at this point, it will eventually become a “tea guide” so that if you’re curious about something particular about tea – say, Earl Greys, Da Hong Paos, variable-temperature kettles, or shopping for matcha ware – it’ll give you a starting point.

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Congratulations on the new blog!

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drank UVA Highlands by Harney & Sons
331 tasting notes

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drank Panyang Congou by Harney & Sons
331 tasting notes

So I asked for some teas from the Harney & Sons print catalogue for my birthday, since grandparents are old, have a hard time getting out of the house, and really only order things from print catalogs. Among other things, I asked for a black tea sampler that had this and three other teas.

Well, I got everything I asked for. Plus a POUND of this. I have no idea how I wound up with a POUND, but I’m not about to complain.

Fortunately, I like this tea. Small, thin black leaves and a warm dry leaf smell. The scent of the liquor itself is roastier, with some barky/mossy notes. The taste I got, which matches the scent, is a little on the bright side without being astringent or citrus-y. It’s a very pleasant tea, it reminds me a bit of a bailin gongfu. I love the barkiness as I swallow.

I would put it higher than a 78, which was its Steepster score at the time I wrote this. I don’t think the flavor is quite full enough to put it in the 90’s – may need a few more leaves – but it’s very enjoyable. I could easily see this becoming a staple tea. Especially since I have a pound of it.

Also! I’m about to start a tea blog! I’ll post the link for it once I’ve got it set up, but I plan to write a tea blog that’s a resource to beginning, casual, or just generally inexperienced loose-leaf tea drinkers who wish to broaden their horizons. There’s definitely going to be a little of “learning alongside my readers,” but I’ve wanted to start a tea blog for some time… and now that creating a blog is one of the long-term projects for my Writing in Digital Media class (I’m going for my Master’s in Professional Writing), what better opportunity?

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Pu Erh Tahiti by Adagio Teas
331 tasting notes

Upon hearing me talk about how much I like pu erhs, my boss recently gave me a handful of her flavored pu erh teas from Adagio. Among such selections as Pu Erh Chorange (which I really like) and Pu Erh Spice was this little gem, Pu Erh Tahiti. Which is apparently a pu erh with tropical fruit flavors.

Uh huh, this tea is every bit as weird as it sounds. When I smelled the bag, I thought, “Well, maybe it’ll taste better in liquid form.” Aaaaaand it doesn’t. I don’t know how to describe it. Let’s just say that earthy/fishy and mango/pineapple/citrus/tropical do not go well together – the final result is somewhere between burnt rubber and something going bad. It’s even worse when it cools. (…Which I accidentally let it do. Whoops.) I’ll try to finish the cup, but I make no guarantees.

Actually, this is part of what I love about talking tea. I love telling stories about the weird-ass, disgusting teas almost as much as I love spouting poetry about the really good ones. Another weird-ass tea tasting for the win!

(Side note: speaking of coworkers and weird teas, I offered to let one of our part-timers – who is not a tea drinker at all – try one of my favorite shus recently, just for the experience of having a tea that I kept describing as tasting like dirt. He was like, “This does taste like dirt. … It’s really good. Like, I would drink a whole pot of this!” I have created a new convert! SCORE!)

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The name’s Holly. 27. Work for a small IT company. About to finish a Master’s degree this winter. ISFJ for what it’s worth. I play various instruments (mostly bass guitar right now), attempt to write songs that I’m too scared to play for anyone, and I’m currently taking voice lessons. I also enjoy starting various hobbies, wearing monochromes, writing, cooking, taking walks, and various and sundry other things…

I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is a source of happiness, positivity, curiosity, and relaxation (…and caffeine) for me.

I’ve been on and off this site over the years, and I even had a separate tea blog at one point. For now, I’m just working on getting back in the habit of enjoying tea regularly and to its fullest.

Love: Malty Chinese black teas, shu/ripe pu erhs, soft flowery teas (esp. jasmine teas)

Like: Japanese green teas, sheng/ripe pu erhs, white teas

Still trying to get into: Most oolongs, chai teas

Not crazy about: Roasty teas, fruity teas, rooibos, many (not all) herbal teas

90-100: YEAH!
80-89: Nice! This is good stuff.
70-79: Respectable tea.
60-69: Not bad.
50-59: Middling. Not really worth it.
25-49: Eeeeeugh. Not good.
0-24: Did you know you can use tea leaves as odor absorbent?



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