1178 Tasting Notes

drank Pharoah's Dream by Sanctuary T
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 15 of 2016 (no. 226 total). The last of the green tea sampler.

The dry leaves looked like the gunpowder of yesterday with some mint leaves among them and smelled quite minty. The steeped tea is a clear golden yellow and smells minty and grassy. It actually has a pretty interesting note, like very fresh water from a glacier or stream. I think that’s the mint at work as well.

It’s a nice Moroccan mint tea, refreshing, light and tasty. Good on a throat that isn’t yet back to where it should be.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Mint, Vegetal

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

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drank Classic Black by Art of Tea
1178 tasting notes

A name like Classic Black sort of begged for being made into a cold brew, so my first encounter with this puppy is in icy mode. And it is, in fact, an excellent cold tea. There’s a softness and smoothness to the mouthfeel that is quite nice and though the flavor doesn’t call attention to itself, there’s some complexity. A touch of sweetness, a touch of fruitiness, and much “essence of teaness.”

I am looking forward to trying this one hot.

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Sipdown no. 14 of 2016 (225 total). A sample, the second to last of the samples in the green tea sampler.

This is an interesting putty-green color in the packet, with some rolled leaves and some that are less rolled. It smells vaguely smokey before steeping, and after steeping it has an interesting aroma. Slight butter and vegetal, with a smokey, woodsy edge. The liquor is a rich liquid butter yellow and clear.

I have a bit of a sore throat today, and this is gentle and soothing to the throat. It’s a mellow tea, not sweet, but not bitter, with a richness to it that goes deeper than a lighter vegetal green. The smokey, woodsy edge does come through in the flavor, but it is somewhat subtle. It’s really a great tea for me today; it’s pushing all my yum buttons.

P.S. Steepster thinks I’ve rated 599 teas. This isn’t true. I will be celebrating 600 soon, but in three more teas than Steepster thinks, because I have two teas in my log I have never tasted and can’t figure out how to remove. And I have a joke entry for “wine” which is what I was drinking one year on my birthday.

Flavors: Butter, Smoke, Vegetal, Wood

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

If you click on “Edit”, then down on the bottom right is “Delete this Note”. :)


Yeah, there’s no note to delete. It just shows up in my log no matter what I do.


@__Morgana__, nice review! @OMGsrsly, you beat me to it :D ha ha!


@__Morgana__ are you sure theres no edit button?? i deleted one of mine that had no note :/


There never was a note (that I added) because I didn’t drink the two teas involved. So there is nothing to delete.
But somehow I must have accidentally clicked something I shouldn’t have, and now I have two teas in my tealog that I never drank.


That’s weird. I’ve accidentally added teas with no notes and been able to delete them…


Sure seems like it should be able to be done, but I haven’t hit upon a way to do it.


Here’s an example. See the “invisible” note on this page? I see a note that has no content, but when I try to click on it, I get an error message. This is what I think is keeping the tea in my log.



doesn’t even show up :O


@__Morgana__, contact steepster support


Oh wow!

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drank Tangerine Dream by Sanctuary T
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 13 of 2016 (no. 224 total). Another green tea sampler sample.

In the packet it smells like, I kid you not, latex paint. Fortunately, it doesn’t smell like that once steeped. There’s an orangey or really a more generally citrussy note and a butter yellow, clear liquor.

The flavor is strange. It’s not really tangerine tasting to me, though I know what about it is supposed to taste like that and I suppose there is a sort of flavor to it that is a very subtle version of a orange flavored chewing gum flavor. Which is, at least, preferable to baby aspirin, which is another thing that orange flavor often evokes.

It’s not bad tasting, it’s just that I really love tangerines and had high hopes for a tangerine flavored tea (the only other one I remember having was an Adagio that wasn’t to my taste either). This one is sort of an off-orange flavor and didn’t meet my expectations.

Flavors: Orange

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

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drank Yunnan Tippy Mao Feng by Andao
1178 tasting notes

Another of the Andao teas that I never got around to opening before the company went kaput.

At least I had the foresight to buy some yunnans.

This one has really pretty dry leaves. Long and twisty, with more dark than blond but still a nice variation in color from the tips. A malty, cocoa scent from the dry leaves.

The steeped tea is clear and brandy-colored, and it smells bready with a hint of pepper.

The flavor carries some of that breadiness over. It’s medium bodied, with a bit of perk to it. It isn’t sugary sweet like some yunnans, but it does have a gently sweet aftertaste. More cocoa than honey.

I’m going to enjoy sipping down this one.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Pepper

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 6 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

Oh, that sounds tasty.

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This is another sample from the pure T sampler, and the first of the Sanctuary T samples I haven’t sipped down in a single serving. It’s about 9g of tea, and that was too much for my gaiwan. So I get more than one shot at this one.

I expected this to be pretty much what I’ve experienced in other tieguanyins from the look of the dry leaves and their green, floral aroma.

But I started with hotter water, and the first steep after rinsing (15 sec) was more like a darker oolong. More of a roasted flavor than a floral/dairy one. The steeped tea does have a strong floral/dairy note, but it’s got a roastiness as well.

So I decided to go cooler for the next steep and see what that did. The water temperature didn’t seem to make much difference in the flavor. So I’m concluding that this is a medium or dark roast tieguanyin, rather than a green.

There’s an interesting toffee-like note to this, particularly in the finish, and once I stopped looking for the green oolong flavor, I could focus on the nuttiness of this one.

I took it through several more steeps, but I’m reserving the rating for now as I’m not sure how to classify this. I’ll think about it more and give it another try before rating.

I spent the morning going through papers that had piled up and have paper cuts on three out of five fingers on my right hand, so my notes are likely to be a bit shorter than usual for the next day or so. Ugh.

Flavors: Almond, Floral, Nutty, Toffee


may i post this review on my group in FB?

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Sipdown no. 12 of 2016 (no. 233 total). The rest of the sample.

I almost drank the Teavana Almond Biscotti. Then I almost drank the Brioche.

Then I thought, why do that when this one ties for second among the three and there’s enough to do a sipdown?


Excellent reasoning!

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Sipdown no. 11 of 2016 (no. 232 total). The rest of the sample.

Damn, that was fast. I was finishing my cup of this when no. 2 and the BF both asked to taste it and both requested that I make more immediately.

Now, it is gone.

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Time to try a new tisane. I have a few samples left, as the collection continues to get whittled down.

In the packet, it smells like some sort of baked good. Gingerbread, maybe? It’s not so chocolatey that I’d identify it as a chocolate aroma. The mixture looks heavy on the chocolate and caramel pieces and light on the honeybush and rosebuds.

Steeped, it smells boozy. A liqueur smell. Kahlua, maybe, though it has been a while since I had Kahlua. It has a tea-colored liquor that’s remarkably clear given the various sugary things in it that undoubtedly melted when steeped.

Fortunately, it doesn’t taste boozy. Well, at least not in the sip. There’s a bit of liqueur flavor in the aftertaste. The sip is mostly caramel, with some vaguely cocoa notes. It’s smooth and tasty, and a bit on the subtle side which I think improves it over what it might taste like if it was the sort of thing that hit you over the head. I can’t really taste the honeybush, which is a plus.

I was going to say I couldn’t really taste the torte, either, which would be a minus. But as it cools, I do get a suggestion of baked goods. Not as strong as the one in the Amaretti Cookie, but it is there.

This is the sort of thing I would have gone nuts for a few years back when I was marveling at the fact that a drink could taste like a decadent dessert without the calories. It’s good enough that it’s tempting me back toward desserty non-fruit tisanes tonight.

For that I rate it high, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make me completely buck my trend of late to crave fruity tisanes instead of desserty chocolate, caramel, cake, etc. ones.

Flavors: Alcohol, Caramel, Chocolate

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I had never had Kahlua, not being a coffee drinker and not really drinking alcohol much at all, but I got bored one night and saw a recipe on Pinterest for homemade Kahlua so I gave it a try. Oh my, that is tasty stuff! A few people have tried it and say it tastes like the real thing and they loved it. I mainly made it to go in recipes that call for it.


My dim recollection of Kahlua is that it tastes best with something creamy. There was a place in Boston when I was in law school that made an amazing drink that was almost like an ice cream sundae (though served hot) with carmelized sugar melted over the glass and all kinds of other things, and I think there was Kahlua in it. It was delicious and warming. I’ve had it “straight”-er in things like Black Russians and didn’t love it that way.

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Sipdown no. 10 for 2016 (no. 231 total).

After sipping my way through this, I can safely say that the ginger was more prominent than the lemon throughout, not just in the cup I wrote about initially. I continued to enjoy the ginger flavor in this, though I can’t say that in the last few cups I sipped down I got the effervescence impression that I mentioned initially. Perhaps that is a function of age (the tisane’s, not mine).

Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Wet Wood

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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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