1085 Tasting Notes


Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Thursday, November 25th: Thanksgiving – Cookies

~also October 2021 Tea!

Sipdown. Is it a Thanksgiving cookie? Yes? No? Maybe? All I know is I tend to eat a lot of gingersnaps around this time of the year, although far less since the border closure preventing my sister from going to Trader Joe’s and buying more of “the favoured ones” (I eat hers, yes). May the gingersnaps return soon.

This has excellent ginger flavour which will be sure to dismay as many as it delights (probably a little more dismayed as ginger is one of those ingredients). The apple is a bit of a fun twist though and, while it works well, kind of comes across as a zesty apple crisp (the Darjeeling base concurs with full throttle fruit). Still good but not entirely a full cookie experience. It’s particularly nice when your throat is sore though.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Candy, Fruity, Ginger, Malt, Muscatel, Spices, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

President’s Choice used to have amazing crystallized ginger cookies. A-ma-zing. I hope they bring them back.

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Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Thursday, November 25th: Thanksgiving – Pumpkin Dessert

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today! (and a happy last Thursday of November to all us us who aren’t. November speeds by so quickly.) I’m thankful of all the amazing people in this little community – you all rock. :)

While I’m not doing anything special today, I thought it’d be fun to try to “recreate” a Thanksgiving dinner via tea sipdowns. Except it seems I’m starting with dessert (typical). I’ll probably end it with dessert too, if I actually end up drinking up more than one tea (unlikely).

I was initially a little conflicted with this tea, but then remembered that with the pre-Anne 52teas I used to understeep them for preferred results – especially the “cheesecake black teas”. Change the steep time to 2min30s @ 205F and magic! My tea now contains all the smooth tangy cheesecake notes I desire without a good portion of the tannins and bitters from tea and spicea (cheesecake is still subtle but something my brain consistently reads as cheesecake; mileage may vary though). It doesn’t need milk like this; it already tastes creamy, with an assortment of spices. It’s a pretty good way to finish this one off!

Steep Count: 3 (all around 3min and all quite good).

Flavors: Cheesecake, Cinnamon, Cloves, Creamy, Ginger, Lemongrass, Nutmeg, Pepper, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice, Tangy, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Evol Ving Ness

I tend to understeep all black teas too: lower temperature and fast-ish. I do probably use more leaf too as I measure using a heaping DT’s perfect spoon, which is likely designed for tea which contains heaps of non-tea.


My leaf measuring varies so much from cup to cup… This cup, I think, was slightly underleafed. XD

That’s a good theory about DT’s “perfect spoon” (I always thought it was a ploy to work through more tea quickly).

Evol Ving Ness

I think both are true. I used to be quite frugal with leaf, but now the norm for me is a heaping DT’s perfect spoon and fast cool steeps. Why do you underleaf and why does it vary?


I sometimes overleaf too, and it all pretty much amounts to laissez-faire measuring practices (what I “feel” looks right). It often depends on the tea company (52teas I usually underleaf because I don’t want too much flavour; this dates back to “old 52teas” preferences), the tea type (leaf size, fruit pieces), or whether or not I want a milk cup or not (milk gets more leaf).

I don’t always use a spoon to “measure out” tea leaf either. I’ve shaken it out directly from the tea package before (ex- to avoid breaking big, long leaves). I’m definitely not exact XD


This one was underleafed because I reached that awkward end of the bag amount lol

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for clarifying.

Ah, that’s when I haul out my Keemun Classic to make up the difference. Or if not black, then I just overleaf to avoid having to deal with the awkward amount (or make a little tiny cup).

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Spring 2021 Harvest

I love Silver Needle more than words can express. It’s pure calm in a cup, it’s smoothness a balm to a turbulent day. My associations with this tea type are of cool spring rains, early bulb sprouts, new verdant grass, and the bliss of coming in to warm up in the old, red brick and cedar wood buildings in downtown Victoria.

A mouthful is like a timely visit to the spa – it’s clean cucumber water with a dash of lemon. This one has a lot of cucumber, and an increasing amount of thick, sweet melon to finish. On the fourth steep, the sweetness is so prevalent it’s almost jam-like.

Steep Count: 5 – and it was still going strong, even in western style, but then it was midnight, and this tea type actually has a lot of caffeine. I was so buzzed. Also, this tea is adaptable and forgiving – yielding flavourful cups regardless of temperature (ranging from 175F-195F).

Flavors: Citrus, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Melon, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Mastress Alita

I love Silver Needle as well!



I was going to ask in my note if anyone else loves this tea style like I do. It’s one of my all-time favourites and I don’t drink it enough.

Evol Ving Ness

I’m putting it on my list.


You got me with melon

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drank Eventide by August Uncommon Tea
1085 tasting notes

Sipdown! I enjoyed this one for the most part, despite being a roasted oolong. It reminded me that sometimes I need to give teas another chance with a different steeping method (western was decent but gongfu was much more fun).

Gongfu: 15 second rinse, 5-15 seconds steep times (it’s been a long time since had a gongfu session, and was with a new set, so I didn’t quite nail it).

Steep 1-2, leaves not fully expanded: these cups had a thick floral and subtle honey sweetness (not as cloying as some), infused with a slightly fruity sour tang. Reminds me most of the small soft purple plums, with a rich gold center, from our old plum tree (RIP – you were an amazing fruit tree).

Steep 3-5, new fully expanded leaves: the sweetness is slowly becoming a secondary and complimentary component to the the sour and malt notes. The vanilla aspect is now noticeably present but is a reminder that that which smells nice isn’t always “sweet” (those who’ve tasted vanilla extract know what I mean). I’m also reminded of a savoury- sweet sourdough, or a starchy banana- maybe a more savoury plantain. My fourth cup is velvety and very good – possibly enhanced by a tiny spoonful of honey I tried prior to gulping No.4 down. No. 5 has the roasted oolong note which I dub ice cream cone.

Steep 6-7, toppings for toast: the honey returns (No, I promise didn’t eat more honey)! These were nice cups, and the wet leaves went from a roasty roast wood aroma to a jam one, but unfortunately it got a bit late last night so that’s the end of that.

Across the board, the aroma is delicious – like vanilla (orchid) and heliotrope (can’t eat but smells divine), with varying levels roasted malt.

This would possibly go nicely with Cantonese style BBQ duck. It’s lovely with the Vindaloo I was eating alongside it- both have a vinegary/sour note that I’m really craving right now. The curry’s profile of roasted cinnamon, mustard seeds, cloves, and other spices really shines with the florals in general – particularly rose – but the stone fruit and vanilla notes of this tea also pair well in a pinch!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Banana, Floral, Honey, Malt, Orchid, Plum, Roasted, Sour, Stonefruit, Tangy, Vanilla, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Coconut Kiwi Green Tea by 52teas
1085 tasting notes

September 2021 Tea

Still not a big fan of Chinese Sencha. However, since it has a similar flavour profile, it does exceptionally well when paired with kiwi; the overall effect is a bit like a tropical green smoothie! I generally like coconut of all kinds and there is a lot of that here too. The flavours supports my current daydream of being on a tropical vacation, which is extremely welcome imagery in the middle of November (it’s sunny today too so the weather is working with me here too).

I enjoy this tea increasingly more as it cools.

PS- I added strawberry, banana, and pineapple to the “flavours” here because we don’t have kiwi in the database – but kiwi has similar characteristics to those three very different fruits (tart, acidic, citrusy, pithy/starchy, soft jam sweet, mellow sweet). The coconut kiwi combo kind of creates its own mock-banana note actually.

EDIT – kiwi was added to the database (Thanks Cameron B.) but I’m still keeping “banana”.

Flavors: Banana, Coconut, Fruity, Grass, Juicy, Kiwi, Sour, Spinach, Sweet, Tart, Tropical

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec
Cameron B.

I added “kiwi” as a flavor tag.


You’re the best! :)

Cameron B.

Aw shucks ha ha…

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drank Arabesque by August Uncommon Tea
1085 tasting notes


My opinions haven’t changed in four years. I still think the flavouring of orange, vanilla, and sandalwood is pleasantly clean and aromatic in a way that invokes incense or essential oils. It’s also vibes like an orange creamsicle in places. The base is meh (Chinese Sencha is my “blah” tea).

Flavors: Cream, Grass, Orange, Orange Blossom, Spinach, Tart, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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drank Jet Black by August Uncommon Tea
1085 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Saturday, November 20th: National Absurdity Day

While it’s not unheard of, there’s something odd about coffee flavoured teas (who wanted this and why). For one, All the coffee drinkers in my life dislike every single one I’ve ever showed them (this one being no exception).

The coffee beans in this are nice ones and when I got the steeping parameters right my cup tasted like a coffee cake, which is alright. Maybe. Unfortunately for this sipdown, the mate in the blend is coming through in an overly earthy way today. It tastes like dirt coffee compost. I do not love it. I want tea.

Flavors: Cake, Coffee, Dirt, Earth, Malt, Roasted Barley, Sugar

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Cameron B.

I like the concept of coffee-flavored teas, but I think the only one I’ve really enjoyed is Fairytale of NY from Bird & Blend.


That one sounds neat! I’m intrigued with the choice of rooibos base :)


I have a favorite coffee tea with puerh…perfect for me, since I love the coffee smell but don’t want the coffee buzz.

Evol Ving Ness

My favourite one is Coffee Caramel by nineteen-o2. excellent, IMHO.

Evol Ving Ness

And Canadian. BC even.


I have a Dandelion Dark Roast blend by Teeccino that’s designed to be a caffeine-free coffee alternative, and it does taste exactly like coffee, but it steeps like a tea.


Those all sound neat too (and look how many of them there are)! I’d never pass up a cup of coffee tea but… like, I don’t even enjoy tiramasu :P

Evol Ving Ness

Not everything is for everybody. There’s that.

Lexie Aleah

I second the Dandelion Dark Roast and the other ones you all mention sound intriguing!


Yes, even though I don’t like coffee as much as other foods/beverages I’m slightly enticed to pick up a small amount of all the ones mentioned here if/when I buy from those companies :)

Despite being in the same province as me, the one located in Gibsons may be the hardest to access (and therefore the most intriguing). One day, in Gibsons.

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October 2021 Tea

When the cream cheese icing flavour peaks through and blends with the cinnamon strawberries this tea hits a glorious sweet spot. I didn’t add sugar but I find the cream cheese comes out more as it cools. Its tangy sweetness is an indulgent finishing note.

I wasn’t too certain about this one because of the cinnamon and gunpowder, but the cinnamon is at a perfect level for me (a little heat and only a tiny bit barky = perfect). It makes a convincing cinnamon roll with that excellent cream cheese flavouring. The smoky gunpowder adds dimensions to the cinnamon roll but it still isn’t quite my thing; luckily it’s not the only green tea present (I’d be curious to see if these flavours could be replicated in a black tea base too)! The strawberry is that tasty berry candy thing that I often enjoy from 52teas – especially in the summer months. It plays into the cinnamon and cream cheese flavouring better than I anticipated, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

Overall, I love the flavouring and concept. I can live with the green base blend too (it does have its moments, but gunpowder is not my fav).

Steep Count: 2 – not quite a successful second attempt for the icing but alright.

Flavors: Butter, Cheesecake, Cinnamon, Cream, Smoke, Strawberry, Tangy, Toasty, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec
Cameron B.

I can appreciate gunpowder green tea on its own, but it’s not generally my favorite as a blended tea. Except for with mint, I suppose.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, I’m a big fan of gunpowder. This sounds like it might be my cup of tea.


I think if i had more of this my rating would creep up over time. I also enjoy gunpowder on its own :)

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Now this is more like it. Usually I’m extremely disappointed in chocolate pepper teas; they’re never fiery enough, or the chocolate is off (and Silencio was just black pepper, not good chili pepper). This, however, has a decent fiery kick and tastes like Mexican chocolate minus the actual powdery texture. Although it feels like it’s crunchy.

I drank this all today, in-between the 5 hour power outage and news updates on regional flooding and landslides (In the Lower Mainland, we are effectively cut off from the rest of Canada right now; all of our main highways took some serious blows). I’m trying to imagine being in a baking hot desert that is not flooding aggressively and this tea helps.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Pepper, Spicy

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Here’s to a little sunshine!

Evol Ving Ness

Gah! Thank goodness for delicious tea! Stay safe. Hopefully, this upheaval is a fleeting transient thing.


Thanks! We got lovely sunshine here today but I know in the Interior it’s still not great with flooding (I’ve friends in Merritt); I hope they catch a break soon!

Evol Ving Ness

Indeed. Me too. The news is somewhat terrifying.


I hope you and your friends are safe. This has been a bad year for B.C.

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Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Saturday, November 13th: National Hug a Musician Day – Dead Can Dance

Sipdown! This tea is musty, bittersweet, and earthy in way that does feel like an old library, but it also has lots of sweet grain and nut notes. Its profile and creative vision remind me of that time I was an anthropology undergrad student, reading lots and lots of books and articles late into the evening (and early in the morning) on agrarian societies, reciprocity, liminality, snub-nosed monkeys, funerary practices, and the like. Dead Can Dance was not the only music to get my through my school work but it’s definitely the one I most associate with the smell of musty books, grains, old bones, and pottery fragments…

Here. Have a book. “Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOunrC2QQa8

Taken with milk.

Flavors: Citrus, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grain, Licorice, Malt, Nuts, Rye, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

I enjoy your associations and voice. And Dead Can Dance. Good pick for the tea.

Evol Ving Ness

I adore Dead CanDance and Leatherbound and associations. It’s 5:30 am. Thanks, neighbour’s. Not listening just now.


Why are they making so much noise so unspeakably early?

From my past experience though 3:30am -5:45 a.m may possibly be the best time to listen to DCD (but maybe with some comfy headphones) :P

Evol Ving Ness

Comfy headphones, yes! (no idea where those might be currently.)

Not noise so much as whatever devices they are plugging in? Using? I have no idea what they might be—wireless / Bluetooth something or other? All their wifi etc. Command stations are set up on the adjoining wall. They are avid exercise buffs who have ALL the things—peloton,wii, video games, etc, etc. And they have a large extended family. And they keep odd hours. She stays up late doing whatever wired / wireless things she does. He comes home late—3? 5? And they argue and/or exercise in one form or another. It is the electromagnetic current that wakens me and then I hear the activity.

Evol Ving Ness

And/or he wakes early to work out. There are also two kids that get shuttled around at various times by/with friends/family. Babysitting arrangements? Shift work of babysitters? Who knows.


I’ve been woken up/prevented from sleeping by the hum/whine of electrical equipment. Can’t even sleep in the same room as my cellphone or have my laptop or PC turned on in the adjacent room.

That’s a lot of tech in close proximity.

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I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

My favourites are teas like Milk Oolong, Silver Needle,and Japanese Sencha/Gyokuro, but I generally enjoy ALL the tea, including flavoured blends and a good ol’ cup of Earl Grey.

Subjective Rating System 4.0:
I don’t give a lot of low ratings out, since I tend to grab tea I know will appeal to me.

90-100: Exceptional and all-time favourite teas. I struggle between hoarding these like a dragon and consuming them like a poorly adjusted black hole.

80-89: Favourite teas (usually flavoured) that I try to keep around when possible.

70-79: Good teas that I’ll happily drink up, but with minor issues.

60-69: Ok teas, but I may have a few problems with quality, consistency, ingredient chemistry, and/or personal preferences.

50-59: Average to mediocre cup. Personal preference issues are apparent but still drinkable.

11-49: Varying levels of undrinkable tea.

1-10: Nightmare tea from the chaos realms. This tea is the embodiment of the primordial swamp, an unholy abomination. It’s very gross and I’m almost positive it doesn’t exist.


Vanilla, Maple, Caramel, Butterscotch, Cream, Toffee, Nougat, Marzipan, Butter

Blackberry, Raspberry, Currants, Blueberry, Elderberry, Banana, Melon, Pineapple, Persimmon, Rhubarb, Passionfruit

Lime, Grapefruit, Lemon, Bergamot, Yuzu (orange is a hit or miss)

Anise (but not licorice), Ginger, Clove-forward chai

Musky, “Fresh,” and/or Woody Incense-like stuff: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Juniper Eucalyptus, Mints

Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Lilac, Violet, etc. ALL the flowers!

Spinach, Grass, Hay, Cucumber, Rice, Sweet Potato

Less Preferred Flavours/Ingredients:

- Stevia and most sweeteners
- Cinnamon-forward blends
- Prunes
- Dark Roasts (oolong)
- Orange (if it’s a creamsicle)
- Mango pieces (love mango outside of tea though)
- Cocoa Nibs, 95% of the time.


BC, Canada

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