1120 Tasting Notes


Sipdown no. 161 for the year 2014.

I tried this hot at least once, but alas, I appear not to have written a note about it. It was a while ago, but my recollection is that it was pleasantly fruity, with the fruit dominant over the tea flavor. The fruit is, I suppose, currant, though I think of currants as tasting raisin-y and this tastes more grape-y or perhaps a grape-cherry mix of some kind.

But I remembered reading somewhere that this was good iced (I think it was Angrboda whose note I’m remembering) so I decided to give this a try as a cold brew. Unfortunately, given the size of my preferred cold brew receptacle, that pretty much did away with all of what was left in the packet, and there wasn’t even quite enough to make me confident that this would brew well cold (because the leaves are so much bigger, I was planning to put in a couple more spoonfuls than usual).

Fortunately, it was enough, and it worked really nicely. I steeped this for probably longer than I should have, about 12 hours, but no bitterness. A really nice fruit flavor, and a little bit of a leafy white tea flavor in the background, which, thankfully, doesn’t have that dead plant thing going that white teas sometimes have.

I’m really sorry I don’t have any more of this. I’m rating it high because it’s one of the tastier cold brew experiences I’ve had. Very refreshing, very mellow, really hits the spot. And it wasn’t too shabby hot, either.

Now for the sad story. I have a mystery envelope in my Steepster mailbox. I think someone sent me a message then realized they sent to the wrong person and deleted it before I opened it in my mailbox. (I did see an email telling me the post had come but I was tied up and couldn’t get to it for a few days.) Somehow this had the effect of making a permanent red envelope with a one on it in my mailbox. I wrote to the Steepster overlords who suggested clearing my cache. I have just started using Google Chrome (I am still nervous about it, as in my book Google is the new Microsoft and I’m not too excited about their having information about what I do online but so many sites are now optimized for Chrome I finally gave up) so I went to clear my cache and when I did, Chrome suggested I browse incognito. Stupidly, I said yes, then couldn’t figure out how to get rid of that mode. I searched online and everything I read said you can’t get rid of it without editing the registry. Well, I was a crack at DOS, but I have never gotten along with Windows, so I wasn’t about to attempt that. I found a utility on CNET that claimed to remove incognito so I downloaded it. Guess what. Got rid of incognito but loaded me up with malware! Thirty minutes later I’m much better (thank you Malwarebytes, you’re my hero) but after all that I STILL HAVE THE RED ENVELOPE!


Iced 8 min or more 8 tsp 64 OZ / 1892 ML

Oh man, sorry to hear about that annoying envelope. I hate when my apps on my phone have little red notification bubbles. For something so small, they sure are annoying!


I know, I hate those little things on my phone, too. Ugh.

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drank Orange U Slim by Teas Etc
1120 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 160 for the year 2014. It was overcast this afternoon as I went home and so I actually felt like drinking hot tea for the first time in a while. So I decided to polish off this sample.

More orange this time, and more flavor overall, but still not a favorite.

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drank White Ayurvedic Chai by Teavana
1120 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 159 for the year 2014. Two big containers of cold brew later, I get to say goodbye to this one.

And the good news is, it is MUCH better cold. If you have this and are not a fan, try it cold. Overleaf it, too. I used about 10 heaping DavidTEA spoon scoop fulls for 2 quarts of water.

I should also say that for a white/green blend, it is very forgiving as a cold brew. I left mine in for more than 24 hours and it came out without any bitterness.

That said, much better isn’t anything to write home about. Mostly I taste pepper, cinnamon and water with perhaps a very light tinge of tea to it. However, the lotion-y note is gone, and the spicy water flavor isn’t so awful as a water alternative to thirst quencher. I’ve just had much better.

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drank White Ayurvedic Chai by Teavana
1120 tasting notes

Ever look at your teas and have a total blank in your mind where information about how you ended up with it should be? That’s this tea. I thought it might be a tea of the month acquisition, but I had two 2 oz packets of it and the tea of the month club I belonged to only sent 2 oz per flavor. Big mystery here.

In any case, this containing both white and green tea, I steeped it at a low temperature for a short time and I intentionally overleafed because it’s Teavana, and it has big hunks of stuff in among the leaves. Coconut, dried pineapple, red peppercorns are very visible as is the lemon grass with its attractive geometry. It smells a lot like cinnamon in the tin.

After steeping it smells a little like cinnamon, a little like clove and cardamom, and a lot of that weird lotion-y note that I so disliked in the Teavana Tulsi Dosha Chai. Which makes me think that I perhaps unfairly pinned that note on the tulsi rather than on some oddness inherent in Teavana non-black tea chai. The liquor is a lemon yellow color and rather cloudy.

Rather unfortunately, the taste is a sort of generic, watery, cinnamon-y, pepper-y spice, with the weird lotion-y note in the aftertaste. I don’t taste any of the fruit, and I taste very little of the tea. I will try overleafing more severely next time and perhaps bump up the steep time and temp a bit, but I fear overdoing those and ending up with a bitter mess. It’s not as bad as I remember the tulsi being in terms of aftertaste so I’m giving it a few more points there, but this is going into the sipdown immediately category. I may even try cold brewing it to get it over with faster.

And of course, this is among the flavors Teavana still offers. Why do I always like the ones they discontinue and with a few exceptions dislike the ones they continue? Another mystery…

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

TF, I hope not! LOL


I have that problem often, Morgana. When I worked at the body shop they constantly discontinued my favourites, or the scents that worked best for me.


So frustrating!

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Sipdown no. 158 for the year 2014. I’m having this hot because I’m out of cold brew black tea and waiting for another batch to do its thing in the fridge. I’d love to try a jasmine green cold brew, but I am hesitant to part with the amount of tea it takes to make up a batch since it’s such a favorite. I may break down and do it, though.

This isn’t the most spectacular jasmine green I’ve had but it’s quite good for one on the light side (both the tea and the jasmine).

Happy July 4 to all you Americans in Steepsterland!


woot! grats on the sipdowns :)

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Sipdown no. 157 for the year 2014. This is a back log from yesterday when I polished off the last little bit of this as my morning hot cup.

I’m on a sipdown roll with these black Leafspas. Though Darjeeling isn’t really black, they just call it that. This is the third sipdown of a mega tin inside of a week, helped tremendously by the cold brewing that is going on pretty frequently these days given the heat here. I let this one steep a bit too long I think, but it’s still tasty and just a tad bitter. Darjeeling makes an interesting cold brew. I don’t know that I’d pick it for that ordinarily as it’s a little piquant for a cold tea in my book.

Which raises a question. What else do you like to cold brew? Is oolong a good choice? I have a ton of it and not as much time these days as I need to enjoy it hot through multiple steeps. If it’s a good choice, how long should it brew, or does it matter?

Also, what about pu erh? I have a lot of loose pu erh and the idea of cold brewing it sounds kind of yuck, but I dunno, maybe it would be interesting?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and sorry for my continued sporadic appearances. Things are getting kind of complicated here. The BF was admitted to the hospital last night with raging diabetes, and they haven’t let him out yet, so things are under an unusual amount of stress. Hope everyone else is having a better week. :-)


I cold steep oolong. It’s also really good if I only have time for a few steeps and then throw it in cold water in my fridge.


Wish your BF get well soon
I cold brew oolongs.


We do miss you Morgana …sending good vibes your way, hope he gets well real soon.

I cold brew EVERYTHING! Oolong, especially milk oolong is pure awesomeness. I love shou also, and I’ve been on a cold brewed chai mode the last few weeks. So good!


Excellent! I shall try an oolong cold brewed, probably sometime his weekend. And TF, cold brewed chai made my ears perk up. How do you do that? Do you brew it in milk and sugar?

Thanks all for the kind wishes. The BF is home after spending about 24 hours in the hospital. They gave him some drugs and a glucose monitor. His sugars are still quite high, but he’ll go back in a week to get checked.


It’s good news! Happy 4th of July !


Glad he’s home :-)

No milk, just about two teaspoons in a mason jar. I do cold brew chai in coconut or almond milk though….so good!


Oh, and add a little maple syrup to cold brewed chai, decadent!! :-)


Sending you big hug


I’m glad to hear he’s home. Hopefully, he’s doing even better today!


Thanks everyone!

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Sipdown no. 156 for the year 2014. I had the last bit of this this morning as I somehow let myself run out of coffee.

This one rather whizzed by. After trying this initially years ago (judging from my first note), I returned to it when I went on my second major tea binge earlier this year. I managed to polish off the entire tin (4+ oz) in not very much time, largely through a combination of cold brewing and using it as extra tea for chai, and if I didn’t have so much tea I would regret having plowed through it quite so quickly without really savoring it.

It’s a nice yunan. In looking back over my first note I mentioned a thick mouth feel, but I didn’t experience that this morning. It was rather on the light side in terms of body and flavor. Pretty much everything else I said in the initial note seems right, though.

And it made a really nice cold brew.

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Sipdown no. 155 of the year 2014.

Hi everyone! It’s pretty hot here and I find myself not much in the mood for hot beverages. But somehow tea is even hotter when hot than coffee, so coffee has taken over as my morning beverage. Perhaps it’s the chi (qi?) factor? No idea.

Periodically, though, I’ve been making up batches of cold brew, and between those and running out of coffee and drinking the rest of this hot this morning, I’ve reached another major sipdown. This made a really nice cold brew, better than the hot version. The citrus gives the cold brew a tiny tang that makes it interesting.

My sipdown project has obviously been derailed, but I’ll continue on through the summer to the extent I can. Baseball season is over, school is over, etc. but we’re now gearing up for a vacation in Scotland later in the summer, and work has maintained a steady state of busyness so life remains hectic. On top of all this I’m trying to keep writing and taking classes regularly. And did I mention exercise? I gained back all the weight I lost and got horribly out of shape due to stress and blues, but with the trip coming up I’m trying to shed some pounds (it won’t be nearly enough but it should help some) and get some basic aerobic fitness back so I’ll enjoy myself rather than feeling tired and out of breath roaming around Scotland.

In any case, sorry for my continued scarcity. Hope all is well with everyone!


Scotland…dreamy :-)


Enjoy your trip


Thanks, we’re looking forward to it!

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I love jasmine pearls in both green and oolong form. Jasmine tea in any form is awesome in my book if done well, but pearls are particularly candy like.

This is a mellow one. Everything about it is mellow, from the scent in the packet, to the pale yellow liquor, to the floral aroma, to the flavor which isn’t so jasminey that the green tea is untastable and isn’t so light as not to merit the name jasmine.

Not as tasty overall as the Leafspa, but I’m bumping that one up still higher so I can give this a solid score. I haven’t met a jasmine I didn’t like, I have just met some I like better than others.

Still battling some time sinks at work and home that are keeping me away from tea and here, but hoping to figure out a way to manage the various pieces of my life better.

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

I need to try these!


Miraculously, it is still on offer at Teavana (I’m fairly sure I got it as part of my tea of the month club membership a while back, and most of those have been discontinued).

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Hi all! Generally hot weather, combined with end of school year craziness with the kids and the fact that one of my colleagues at work recently departed so (guess what) I am now doing part of his job as well are all conspirators to keep me from enjoying sitting down with a cup of tea, much less writing tasting notes. However, I’ve been coughing for the last couple of days and today, I woke up with a squeak in my voice signalling the beginning of laryngitis. Ugh.

The good news is that baseball season is almost over, one of the kids’ other activities is on hiatus until the fall, and school will be over in a couple of weeks.

This tea has now become part of my work stash, and I’m glad I had it here with me today. There really is nothing like a cup of warm tea for any throat ailment. I see more warm tea and potentially a few notes in my future. ;-)

I was cold brewing for a while and then got side tracked by some other bright shiny objects and haven’t put any up for a while, but I think I will do that tonight as well.

Hope everyone’s doing well!


Welcome back!


Thanks! I will try to stay “back” but it’s so crazy right now. Sigh.


I know. I have 2 proms and 2 orientations to attend. Busy with dresses and shoes. Oh they drive me nuts. You are so lucky! Boys don’t care abt this stuff

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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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