85
drank Assam Reserve by Teas Etc
1118 tasting notes

Looks more like Assam Gold Rain (very tippy and pretty) than Thomas Sampson does, but smells more like Thomas in the dry leaf. Rabs mentioned potting soil, and I get that as well, though it’s drier and leafier than potting soil (which right out of the bag tends to be pretty moist). That was a good sign, as the yeasty smell of the ASR dry leaf was replicated in its taste and was a flavor I didn’t love.

The tea’s aroma is even more promising. It doesn’t have the yeasty (bakey?) flat note that the ASR had. I’m starting to wonder if I just got a bad batch of ASR. Maybe. In any case, the Assam Reserve has more depth to the aroma, and it has a sweetness. I’m not getting malt as I think of it, but there is a natural planty sugar to it. The liquor was lighter than I expected, a medium amber.

The taste is much smoother than the ASR, which had a sharpness to it that I didn’t find pleasing. It’s somewhat astringent, and it has that sweetness that I found in the aroma. It’s not sweet enough to be malty or biscuity as I think of those terms, but it does have that sort of sweetness you get when you’ve eaten a non-sweet baked product (like pretzel, cracker or plain bread) and let it sit on your tongue for a while so that it starts to break down into sugar in your mouth.

I’d like to try this next to Thomas Sampson. I know I like it better than the ASR by a lot, but I don’t have a gustatory memory of Thomas to compare it to.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Rabs

Great note! I’ll totally agree with you that the “potting soil” was a dry leafy one (not right out of the bag). I’m super-curious about the Thomas comparison and look forward to reading what you have to say :)

Stephanie

Great description of the non-sweet baked product sweetness! :)

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Rabs

Great note! I’ll totally agree with you that the “potting soil” was a dry leafy one (not right out of the bag). I’m super-curious about the Thomas comparison and look forward to reading what you have to say :)

Stephanie

Great description of the non-sweet baked product sweetness! :)

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Bio

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. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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