1180 Tasting Notes

drank Kukicha by The Tao of Tea
1180 tasting notes

I haven’t had kukicha before and it was a pretty interesting experience. I steeped according to info found on the internet, but I think next time I’ll go a bit hotter and a bit longer. There’s an interesting flavor there, but I’m not sure I’m getting the best of it in this cup.

The leaves aren’t so much leaves as little sticks. Sort of reminds me of very fine mulch or tambark, but more uniform in size, shape and color. I do get a bit of a chocolately aroma from sticking my nose into the tin. And it’s there in the steeped tea, too, a sort of toasty chocolate, like a very subtle ’smores aroma. The tea is almost copper in color, pink/brown/yellow.

I say I’m not sure I’m getting the most flavor out of this because it comes across as subtle, a sort of houjicha-ish flavor but a darker note. It’s classified as a green tea, and it does have that character in a houjicha-ish way, but I think I expect more flavor because of how it looks.

Which has no basis in anything other than some weird association in my brain.

I like it. I think I would prefer houjicha if I was going for a roasty green tea, but perhaps this will grow on me. It leaves and interesting coolness in them mouth. It has a barky, bamboo like aftertaste.

It’s fun to try something new and different for a change.

Flavors: Bamboo, Bark, Chocolate, Green Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I love green kukicha. Never tried it roasted before.

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Sipdown no. 66 of 2016 (no. 277 total).

I forgot how much I like houjicha. When I did the big stash organization project, I found a number of opened or not optimally stored samples, all of which tasted pretty much like dust. But this was a full sized, never opened, hermetically sealed package. What a difference! And I’m sure that something less elderly than my package would be even better.

I steeped this one hot and short. Boiling for 1:30 according to package directions. It’s obviously green tea, but of a completely different tone than sencha or sincha. Less like vegetables or fresh cut grass and more of a slightly sweet tree taste.

Awesome. I’ll miss it.

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drank Shincha Kunpu by Den's Tea
1180 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 65 of 2016 (no. 276 total).

It really seems like I’ve had more sipdowns than I’ve recorded this year, but I’ve been pretty religious about it so it must just be one of those things that seems different than it is.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Not as juicy as the Maeda-en, but still, in the words of George Harrison, sweet and lovely.

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Sipdown no. 64 of 2016 (no. 275 total).

Used the last bit in a cold brew with the Tavalon Darjeeling 1st making up the difference.
Very nice while it lasted. Nothing to add to previous note.

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drank Darjeeling 1st by Tavalon Tea
1180 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 63 of 2016 (no. 274 total).

Used the last bit in a cold brew with the Kusmi Darjeeling Makaibari making up the difference. Very enjoyable while it lasted. Can’t improve upon my earlier notes.

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Sipdown no. 62 of 2016 (no. 273 total). A sample.

I’ve been extremely busy at work, so much so that I am feeling it physically. My body feels beat up.

Meanwhile, both kids have playoff games today (two different teams).

Drinking the last bit of this one as first tea of the morning, without any fish accompaniment despite my discovery that darjeeling and fish work well together. I also forgot to use a lower temp which had worked well. But it is hitting the spot anyway. The muscatel notes aren’t as sharp as some others, but still give a grape-flavor that I’m enjoying this a.m.

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Sipdown no. 61 of 2016 (no. 272 total). A sample tin.

The leaves are gorgeous and look like a cross between silver needles and dragonwell leaves.

I had two servings left of this and took one to work last week. Taking the last bit with me today. My original note on this is still my opinion. I’m interested in trying other yellow teas for comparison.

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drank Tenryu Sencha by Todd & Holland
1180 tasting notes

I seem to have two sample packets of this, and I’m trying to open up some alternatives for my green teas to take to work so cracked open one of the samples today.

This is a surprisingly complex sencha. Often they seem to me to have a single note of grass or hay, but this one smells like rice and edamame in the packet and like all sorts of things after steeping. There’s a salt note that’s interesting, a salty flavor but without actual salt. It’s more vegetal than most senchas I’ve had, and a bit more astringent. There’s definitely a drying to the mouth in the aftersip.

It’s light yellow in color in the cup.

A very enjoyable tea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be available from Todd & Holland anymore.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Grass, Marine, Rice, Salt, Soybean

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Not quite to the bottom of this sample yet, and really enjoying this cup.

It follows the Tea Gmumblmublecan’teverspellitwithoutlookingitup Marzipan and a tuna sandwich. One or the other or both, or perhaps making this at a slightly lower temperature (200F) has brought out a really lovely second flush flavor.

We’re heading into the very hot months in my neck of the woods, when traditionally my tea consumption drops off and so does my note posting. In fact, I often disappear for months at a time right around now. The draw of cold brew may keep that from happening this year. We shall see. It will be a busy summer. The kids aren’t quite out of school yet and both kids’ baseball teams are still in the running during the little league playoffs. Plus, no. 1 got on a summer tournament team (great honor for him, lots of schlepping for us) so it’s gonna be a busy few months.

I think I’ve concluded that darjeeling goes well with fish.


Heeheehee! We all know EXACTLY who you mean!

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I have an embarrassingly large collection of chai, so much so that I think it’s probably impossible for me to drink it all hot in this lifetime. Plus, the few LeafSpa teas I have left are leaving the realm of ancient and entering the realm of prehistoric, so I am trying to find ways to sip them down quickly.

That led me to wonder what a chai blend would be like in an iced tea. So I cold brewed some.

I am not sure what I was expecting. Part of me expected it to suck, and part of me was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. The reality is somewhere in between.

If I didn’t have a ton of this to get rid of, it wouldn’t be an experiment I’d repeat. But it’s not awful, so I’m repeating it. It tastes a lot like cold water laced with pepper and cardamom.

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like it might need a glug of condensed milk to turn it into glorious.


If you brewed it hot, with the milk and sugar, and then chilled it in the fridge, I’m sure it would taste a lot better, like bottled masala chai. chai with black tea than with rooibos when it comes to cold masala chai.


I’m sure it would be better initially brewed hot too, as much as I love the cold brewing method. Those spices fare better that way, I think!

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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