953 Tasting Notes


I started the day with a cup of the Irish Breakfast (no notes on that one today because I’ve nothing new to say) and then decided to see how this compared. I see from my previous note that when I drank it way back when, I used boiling water. I’m going to lower the temp this time because LeafSpa recommended it, and also because that’s how I’ve been steeping the Irish Breakfast.

I’m doubling up on the bold breakfast blends today to get the day kick started after spending the morning in bed watching Catching Fire on pay per view. I have wanted to see it for freakin’ ever, and I’d invited every single family member to go with me to see it in the theatre but no one was excited about it except me. So we ended up going to things like the Lego movie instead. The lot of being a parent, I guess. I really enjoyed the movie. Not surprising, because I quite liked the book. In fact, it may have been my favorite of the three because I really liked the arena design aspects. Also, I didn’t know Amanda Plummer was in the movie, which was a pleasant surprise. I am so glad she’s working.

Anyway, there’s a definite difference between the Irish Breakfast and this, it is very apparent when drinking them back to back. Judging from my earlier notes I would have said I preferred the English version but now I’m not so sure. The the Irish is definitely sweeter. It has the natural Ceylon sweetness. The English is maltier, has a fuller body, and is less sweet. I’m definitely getting smokiness this time, particularly compared to the Irish. I’m wondering whether there might be a little Keemun in the English. It has a bold flavor, and while I wouldn’t say it tastes like coffee it announces itself in a similar strong and no nonsense way.

Now I need to try it by itself again to see what I think about it on a clear palate.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Lego movie:-) my son went w/ hubby. Girls said no. Went shopping instead. I wish i went see movies. Hate shopping and prefer shop online.


I love the Iris Breakfast Tea from Au Bon Pain…
I need to try more of that variety &
Then try the Organic English Breakfast Tea.
I have to admit, I like teas on the sweeter side, generally speaking ;-)


Irish not Iris….ughh…New phone and don’t have all the appropriate
spellings in its dictionary YET…I absolutely hate auto correct.

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drank Sleep Tight by TeaGschwendner
953 tasting notes

I’ve been working this into my rotation every night for the last few nights as I have a ton of it having bought the smallest available TeaG size and I’ve decided it’s something that needs to be sipped down.

Last night I was drinking it while watching Grey’s Anatomy (am I the only person in the world who still watches that show?) and I was actually getting a pretty nice note toward the end of the sip, something that crossed over from savory into sweet right at the end.

Not enough for me to bump the rating, but if it repeats, it’ll make the sipdown somewhat easier than I’d anticipated.


Come to think of it, I don’t really hear anyone talk about that show anymore. But then again, I never got into it myself and maybe I’m just coincidentally hanging around non-GA fans.


It sort of jumped the shark a long time ago, but I still watch it because I need something to amuse me and there aren’t enough shows I like to go around. ;-)


I got suckered back into watching it through a friend of mine (the only other person I know who is still watching). Something about medical dramas/sitcoms always gets me..


I fell behind this season because there is so much good tv lately (Homeland, True Detective, House of Cards, Californication, etc etc) but yes, I still watch.

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I had such a good time with the Formosa Pouchong last night I decided to do another green oolong tonight. This is also from the maestro sampler set.

The leaves do an amazing job of expansion. They essentially tripled in size during multiple steeps. Whoa.

I love the Iron Goddess, but somehow this one wasn’t as magical as yesterday’s pouchong. Perhaps I still had too much left on my palate from dinner, so I won’t rate this just yet. It has a very similar buttery, creamy, floral aroma and taste, but the pouchong is lighter and oddly, I think, at the same time more complex and flavorful. This one has a flatter aspect, and doesn’t morph as much from steep to steep as the pouchong did. It’s still quite nice, though, and perhaps if I’d had this first after my long green oolong drought I would have preferred it. Who knows. There’s enough similarity that it’s at least possible. This one doesn’t have the amazing sugary finish, though.

I want to try it again soon, though.

195 °F / 90 °C

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I usually give points for consistency of flavor in a tea. There’s something comforting about being able to rely upon a tea delivering a particular flavor when you’re looking for that flavor.

Some teas, though, are inconsistent in a good way. I don’t perceive them as tasting the same each time, but the differences are always enjoyable.

This is one of those teas. It’s not as fresh-baked-bready today as it was the last time I had it. It’s quite sweet today with a dark honey note heading toward molasses. The aftertaste is very nice and tea-y. This might not sound great to most people, but it’s a flavor that reminds me of the smell of those freeze dried tea crystals from Nestea or the like, which is a smell I associate with summer as a kid, when I could make my own iced tea from those crystals and feel so grown up.

In this tea, not tasting the same each time is definitely a strong point.

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Sipdown no. 116 of the year 2014. Just enough left for me and the BF this morning.

An enjoyable sipdown. I hope for more like this, where I’m not dreading having to make the tea go away (and arranging it so the BF’s cup is much bigger than mine each time I steep it).

I should find/drink more orange flavored tea that I like. I’m sure I have some in the stash somewhere. I really do like orange flavor. I have an orange from our tree in my refrigerator at the moment. I didn’t even know we had an orange tree until the BF and kids came in with three huge oranges. I think what happened was: we had a crazy neighbor who we couldn’t work with on a fence repair so the deer had been eating the little trees and the fruit. The crazy neighbor died, and a couple with kids bought her house and completely gutted it and made it look very nice. They also, of course, worked with us to put in a new fence. I think the tree has recovered! I’m pretty sure we have a tiny lemon tree out there somewhere too.

Lest you think it is weird that I don’t even know what sort of trees I have in the backyard, our house is on a hill, and it’s a pretty steep slope. The backyard is terraced but not very easy to get to and not overly usable, so we don’t go down there a lot. I’d like to change that—would really like to completely redo it and make it kid play friendly but landscaping is so incredibly expensive.

Time to buy a megabucks ticket.


Nice that you can have citrus trees outside where you live. I have some baby dwarf ones indoors in containers. In a few months I will put them outside for the summer!


Yeah, I’ll say one thing for this area. The weather is nothing to complain about!

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I haven’t had an oolong on the greener side of the spectrum in a long time and I’d forgotten how much I like them.

The leaves are jade green in the tin and they expand and unfurl and turn olive green after steeping. I steeped this in the gaiwan at 30, 45 and 1 minute, 2 steeps each.

The liquor is a yellow with no gold in it, that leans toward a green tone without actually getting to green, and it’s clear. The aroma is creamy, buttery, and floral. I wish I could identify the flowers. I want to say lily of the valley? Maybe lilac? But I’m not sure. There are various degrees of cream, butter and sweetness in each steep, including some downright sugary finishes. There’s something else too but for the life of me I can’t put my finger on the smell or taste. It’s really nice, though.

I quite liked this one. Yes, it’s been a long time and yes, I have very little memory of the last green oolong I had and how it stacks up, but as it stands now, I’ll definitely enjoy drinking this again.

195 °F / 90 °C

This sounds lush.

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drank Kuki Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

It’s a lot more mate than kuki today, and that makes me want to bump it down (so I dropped it a few points). Also a lot of dusty residue in the bottom of the cup, which I’d had more with the plain mate and less with the kuki until today. Maybe I just hit a few scoops that had more mate in them. Who knows.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, as I’ve passed the halfway point on this tin.

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Another long ago 52teas purchase that was never opened. I’m breaking this one out in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. I’m only just the tiniest bit Irish, but hey it’s an excuse. I can see the St. Patrick’s Day menu now. This, Irish Breakfast, some green tea later in the day. Maybe some corned beefy lapsang, or something with a potato note. Who knows what else I might have in my stash that’s appropriate. Heh.

The packet has a creamy vanilla fragrance with a darker undertone, and this also comes through in the aroma of the steeped tea. It has a reddish-maple colored liquor.

There’s something dark-ish about the cream flavor in the tea that’s almost got a chocolate tone to it. Not so much a whisky flavor, but I “get it.” It’s a nice approximation of an Irish Cream like Bailey’s in tea form. The BF said he “got it” right away, too.

It gets high marks for flavor replication and pretty high marks so far for drinking pleasure. I don’t think I’ll have a “food tea” problem with this, but the flavor is a bit heavier than some of the other 52teas blacks I’ve had recently so it may not be something I can drink easily every day. We’ll see.

Flavors: Cream

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML
Sami Kelsh

This is a flavour I approve of in just about every form they can put the flavour into. Heck, one of my favourite cocktails (yes it’s a cocktail) is Baileys and milk.

(I wanted to order it at a bar in LA, and my date was like “are you seriously going to make me order this?” and then apparently the bar had no milk, which is super weird, and I think they thought I was creepy. I settled on an amaretto sour. It was $14 and it was fine, I guess.)

I feel like I need to investigate this, though, because dude. Good flavour is good.


Baileys on the rocks is better…

This sounds far more appealing than the creme brûlée flavours I’ve seen around!


“beefy lapsang”…haha! i’ve got you covered on the potato note- just look for Echinacea Plus by Traditional Medicinals & you’ll get raw potato (with the skin still on) dunked in water prior to boiling. soon after, it is followed by mint


I just checked and it’s out of stock, but I bet if enough people clicked on “please reblend” they’d do it for St. Paddy’s day!

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Wow, this one is already close to sipdown. Like maybe as early as tomorrow. Did I mention I was a heaper?

I love it when I’m enjoying a tea such that a sipdown sneaks up on me rather than looms over me. This one is definitely in the former category. It’s a definite, but not overpowering orange flavor without a citrus tang (which keeps it from being mimosa-like), and instead with a suggestion of effervescence like an orange soda but of course, without the bubbles, which seems fitting for the “champagne of teas.”


I love that! But I also hate it, because when you’re on a good thing you don’t wanna get off it :( I am known to hoard boxes of teas so I never run out of some blends.


Yeah, I know. I hoard the stuff I love the very best, but I have to start letting go of the stuff that is short of that or I won’t ever make headway in my effort to clear out my overabundance of tea.

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drank Red Hot Cinnamon by 52teas
953 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 115 of the year 2014.

Nothing to be said that hasn’t been said already—it was a good solid cinnamon, though not my top pick in the category. An easy sipdown.

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and 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’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to 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. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

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

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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