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289 Tasting Notes


I have a Saturday off!!!! WHAT WHAT WHAT!!!!!! AND I have Sunday off too! I have a real weekend?!? WHAT IS THIS??

ahem Sorry. Working retail does things to me.

I think I had this tea exactly ONCE, then never bothered to try it again. It was more smoky than I liked or something. This time around it’s quite enjoyable. I think it’s a tea you need a longer steep time for; I tried like a 3 min steep (Western style, of course) and it was pretty underwhelming. It’s a dark, smooth kind of smoky, like you’d get from a good lapsang. I didn’t really pick up on the sweet potato until I read it in the item descrip; I get a hint of it if I know to look for it. Then again, I’ve never been good with the subtleties.

Don’t know if it’s distinctive enough for me to restock, but clearly a quality tea. Pretty in dry leaf form, too.


I work shift work too, so I totally get it. My team is usually pretty good with scheduling though and balances out weekends with weekdays! I know what it’s like though, working retail is tough because it completely contradicts everyone elses lifestyle for hours.

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drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
288 tasting notes

I really don’t know why I’m in such a crappy mood this morning (headache? not enough sleep? just general ebb and flow of positivity and negativity?), but it’s Friday and I have a real weekend for the first time since September, so I should by all rights be in a really good mood. This is my wake-up cup before work today, and it does what it’s supposed to do. I’m getting a lot of the bergamot this morning, which is fitting, seeing as it’s grey and rainy outside and that’s what bergamot always makes me think of.

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Sipdown! I’m glad I have tea in my life for those mornings I’m feeling a little off. Like this one. (Stupid anxiety dreams.) I’ve gotten attached to the hay-ish flavor in this one. Don’t know if it’s necessarily my favorite tea, but it’s getting up there. Very possible restock.

Sorry my notes aren’t particularly eloquent this round.

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Gunpowder & Mate by Teapots & Treasures

Backlog from this afternoon. This is one I got on a curiosity-whim back when I visited this store in July while I was staying with my friend in Indy, and because I always want black tea, I haven’t done anything with it until this afternoon. Since I was feeling sleepy and wanted to simultaneously tidy up my room a bit and watch Back to the Future: Part 2, I decided to give it a shot.

I think it’s self-explanatory; it’s gunpowder green tea mixed with yerba mate. I have no experience with either, so I have no basis to go on for this tea. I was afraid I was going to roast it; the instructions said “almost boiling (180 degrees).” To me, 180 doesn’t count as “almost boiling,” and that kettle was definitely “almost boiling,” but I poured the water, let it steep a comparatively short time (1-2 minutes?), and hoped for the best.

It’s decent. Since it’s a backlog, not a whole lot to say, but it was quite smoky. Not really in a bad way. A twinge of grassiness, maybe a hint of spiciness but I can’t remember? The yerba mate definitely did its job, though; I was nice and awake for the rest of the afternoon! … Although there was, admittedly, more movie-watching than room cleaning.

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drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
288 tasting notes

Sipdown! This was my post-tornado-warning, get-through-the-rest-of-the-evening tea. It’s been surprisingly enjoyable. It’s not at the top of my list for a restock, but I wouldn’t mind having it again.

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drank Earl Grey Black by Teavana
288 tasting notes

So last night I went to a midnight screening of Back to the Future, which I, unlike most of my generation or the one before, had never seen. Had a blast, got back around 3 in the morning, and got to bed a little after 4. Well, my body no longer understands the concept of “sleeping in.” So in the mist of a rainy Sunday morning, four hours of sleep, Huey Lewis and the News stuck in my head for the next two weeks, and a ridiculous new crush on Michael J. Fox, I wanted something brisk.

I swear I’m only in the mood for this tea once every three or four months, but it seemed right today. I still think it tastes like chilly autumn weather. It’s not necessarily the greatest EG in the history of existence, but that’s okay. I’ve got enough of it left that, at the rate I drink it, it’ll probably last me a while. :D

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown! Today’s cup is gonna be interesting. I wound up with a rather small amount of the genmaicha for a cup, so I threw in some of the plain Laoshan black since it’s used as the base…

Of course it tastes fine, since both teas involved are delicious. I wish I’d picked a smaller mug today so that I could really enjoy the genmaicha without having to throw more base in, since the base flavor kind of masks it in greater proportion. Ah well.

It also just occurred to me that I get paid on Black Friday.

…This could be dangerous.

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drank Yunnan Gold by Adagio Teas
288 tasting notes

What the heck, Adagio?!? You have to leaf the everliving heck out of this to get any flavor! And then it’s still pretty subtle. Leaves are golden and pretty, though. And the aroma is amazing; it reminds me exactly of black dragon pearls. The flavor, though… it’s hard to pinpoint. There’s a bit of cocoa-ness there, but it’s more dark fruit-y. Maybe a mite bit peppery, too.

I don’t really know how I feel about this one. Good, but not one of the better ones out there. It has hints of greatness but it’s just too light.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Ha! That’s how they get you to use it up fast, and then they cross their fingers that you’ll replenish the stock.

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drank Vanilla black tea by Zen Tea
288 tasting notes

I’m trying a new morning schedule. Starting today, I’m waking up an hour and a half before I have to leave for work rather than an hour, which was resulting in me being cramped for time, not getting enough breakfast, not being able to make tea, looking like poop when I left the house, and being late anyway.

I am happy to announce that I have been left with enough time to make and enjoy a nice, big cup of tea. The thing I like about this tea is it’s simple. I don’t have to feel guilty when I make it wrong and can’t taste any of the little nuances. Also, I am surprisingly close to a sipdown!


I’ve been trying to take time in the morning for tea as well. It’s amazing how much better my day goes when I’m not rushed!

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So I went to the gas station while I was on break to get some form of coffeenated beverage to take back to work for the closing shift, and I decided on the cold Starbucks mocha frappucinos that you get in the glass bottles, and there was a little bottle and a big bottle, and I was thinking “Get the small one, you don’t need that much coffee,” but then I was like “No get the big one, that way you can save part of it for later,” and then I drank the whole damn thing in the span of two and a half hours in the evening.




And I’m opening tomorrow. siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh

So tonight’s tea had to not be black. I can’t remember how this wound up in my collection. I think it was from the bachelorette party from two years ago. The one wedding I have ever been in or at, the bride’s bachelorette party was a tea party, and she provided enough different kinds of tea that each bridesmaid got to take home a tea of her choice, and somehow or another I wound up with this one. I think. Or I may have come home with it after the last time I visited them. I don’t know. One way or another, I was organizing my tea shelf, picked up the big honkin tin that I thought was empty and went, “Wait – there’s tea in here. Well then.”

I did not account for the oldness of the tea in the leafing. The leaves are pretty; small, rolled, green, very fine. I’m not getting a ton of flavor. It tastes… grassy. Fresh and grassy. With that slightly weird burnt-y edge, I probably overdid it a bit. I’m not a fan of grassy.

I’ll have to give this a more considerate go before I give it a final rating or a number.

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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 a semi-former trumpet player, current bass guitar learner, music store employee, program note writer, lyricist wannabe, casual makeup enthusiast, even more casual bicyclist, writing major in a past life, eternal designated driver, deadly punster, nerdy dork, incurable escapist, and lifelong introvert. 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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