1119 Tasting Notes

drank Lady Bedford by Todd & Holland
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 153 of the year 2014.

I think I have figured out what Harney tea this reminds me of. Ready?

Queen Catherine!

And here’s the really amusing thing. I see that I rated this and Queen Catherine the same without realizing at the time what the comparison was.

I had the kids do a sniff test of what was left in this sample bag against what was in the Queen Catherine sample. They both said this one smelled more “green.”


I’m pretty sure my namesake can take any queen any day.

Just saying.


Anna Maria Russell, Duchess of Bedford? Originator of “afternoon tea”? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Russell,_Duchess_of_Bedford

You have a point there. :-)


Exactly that namesake.

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drank Fruta Bomba by Teavana
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 152 of the year 2014.

Not much to add to previous notes. Pleasant enough, just not particularly distinctive as fruit flavored green teas go.

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drank Orange U Slim by Teas Etc
1119 tasting notes

This is a nice sized sample in a sealed packet. Too much to be sipped down in one sitting. It’s enough for two servings.

This has a faint orange fragrance in the packet, and I don’t smell tea underneath. The leaves are dark with curls of orange peel among them.

After a rinse and an initial 15 second steep in the gaiwan, the liquor is darker than I expected, sort of a natural honey color. There’s a dark oolong stonefruit aroma with a slight citrus note.

I get what Rabs said about this, there’s an earthy flavor. Even after a very short steep it’s almost bitter, which is disappointing. I get not much in the way of orange flavor. It’s very faint. It could be a fair amount stronger without running the risk of overpowering the oolong base.

Second steep, 20 seconds. The liquor is darker, a sort of brandy color. More orange in the aroma, along with the typical dark oolong toastiness. Still not much orange in the flavor, and as dark oolongs go, this one doesn’t seem to have a lot of flavor to the base, either. It’s not bitter on this steep, but it doesn’t have much complexity.

Third steep, 25 seconds. The flavor has opened up some. There’s a bit more orange flavor, and a rather pleasant, thick mouthfeel. Some astringency and some peach-pit notes starting to emerge from what seemed before a sort of generic woodiness. A slight bitterness at the finish.

Fourth steep, 30 seconds. Pretty much the same as the third.

I may fiddle around with this through a few more steeps, but it’s not doing much for me. It’s drinkable, but it doesn’t bowl me over.

Flavors: Orange Zest, Stonefruits

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Mayan Chocolate Chai by 52teas
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 151 of the year 2014. This time I made it with plain Assam (LeafSpa Banaspaty Bliss) as the extra black tea rather than spicy chocolate to see what difference that might make.

It does tone down the spice to about an 11 from a 15 or so, but it’s still quite spicy and there’s a substantial afterburn. Certainly a bit more than I can handle on a regular basis, but every now and then something like this could definitely hit the spot.

I really do like chai, which may explain why I seem to have it coming out of my ears. I haven’t counted all my chais, but I have two other chocolate chais from 52teas and at least ten others (some chocolate, some not) that I can think of offhand, not counting samples. It’s likely that number is higher. Sipping down chais isn’t all that easy for me. It’s higher in calories (because milk) and more labor intensive than most other teas, so I can’t drink it as frequently as I’d like. So getting this sipdown in gives me a feeling of accomplishment!

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This is yum.

I think I bought this sample because I liked the name (both because of the London neighborhood and because of the movie), but I’m glad I did. It’s a bold, hearty breakfast tea without being heavy. In the packet, I can smell both a bit of sharpness from the Assam and maltiness from the Yunnan. The steeped tea has a sweet, malty aroma and is a clear, mahogany color.

It has been a while since I had the Earl Grey Shanghai, but this reminds me somewhat of the base of that tea (must be the Yunnan) without the bergamot. I definitely get the “woodsy sweetness” of the description, as there’s something very arboreal about the flavor. I’m conscious I’m drinking something made from leaves when drinking this, and it’s a pleasant reminder. I can also get a hint of sweet tobacco.

Definitely many notes in this one, all of which work together nicely. It’s going on the shopping list.

And happy Easter to those who are celebrating.

Flavors: Malt, Tobacco, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Ahhh, that movie brings back old memories…way TOO old, lol!!


Hah! I didn’t even remember when it came out, I had to go look it up. 1999. Doesn’t seem that long ago. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see it until years after it came out, so maybe that’s why.


I loved that movie! Glad the tea did not disappoint.

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Wow, it’s been five days since I posted a note. Which goes to show how crazy it has been.

The kids were on spring break and going to a day camp, so our schedule got all discombobulated from that, plus work has been such that I come home every day feeling as though I’ve been crushed and ground into a fine powder. And then some nights, I had to get back on the phone for calls with Asia. My left eyebrow has been twitching intermittently for the last week, which sometimes happens when I’m overtired or stressed.

I have been feeling unmoored and I think it is because all vestiges of routine have been abandoned. I haven’t even been having breakfast, really. No morning coffee or tea, or at least not on a regular basis.

Also, it’s been warm-ish here, so I haven’t been craving hot drinks.

But as I mentioned in the last note before the lapse, I cold brewed some of this.

I don’t think my palate is very refined when it comes to tasting iced teas. I mean, I can taste a difference between this and the other cold brewed blacks I have had lately, but not a great difference. I suspect that the fact that the difference isn’t that great is reason enough not to brew this cold, unless I try it hot and it doesn’t send me. Darjeeling may be too complex a flavor to translate to iced tea readily? There’s a little more sharpness to this than there is with the cold Assam but sharpness isn’t really the right word because the cold brewing has blunted it. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a decent black iced tea and does the job of being a refreshing cold drink.

Continued apologies for not reading/commenting as much as I’d like.

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

No routine is brutal. Hopefully that is a short-term thing. :)


I’m sorry you are stressed. I cannot wait until spring break is over. Apr22 is jury duty. Oh we’ll…


Thanks. Yes, I think I need to make an effort to get the routine back on track. I would also probably help if I ate less food that was bad for me and exercised….


Oh my, I hope you can get back to a “normal” life really soon. Not the eyebrow, but my left eyelid also twitches when stress becomes too intense, very unnerving…


Thanks, TF :-) Usually it’s my lid that twitches, too, but this time it’s higher up. Annoying.


I had the eye twitch last week too! Hope next week is better for you!!

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Made some of this cold brewed using the same formula I used for the Grapefruit Black. It was quite good, a great thirst quencher which is really one of my main requirements for cold tea. No. 1 liked it as well.

I’m now trying cold brewing the LeafSpa Goomtee Darjeeling. I’ll let you know how it turns out sometime after 5 p.m. tomorrow.

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drank Fruta Bomba by Teavana
1119 tasting notes

I realized that I forgot to post no. 1’s results from his piano Certificate of Merit exam and now I feel bad about not posting it because (to the extent anyone thought about it at all ;-)) my silence may have led you to believe that he crashed and burned.

Brag starts here:

However, such was not the case. He got all excellents except for in sight reading, where he got a good. And he got a branch honors sticker on his certificate.

So now that I’ve set the record straight. This tea is definitely a step up from the Choconut and a decent flavored green tea, but not very distinctive. It’s one of many tropical fruit flavored greens I’ve had that are solid but not exceptional. So I can’t say I’ll miss it much when it’s gone, which should be fairly soon, because chances are I have another tea with a similar flavor somewhere in my stash. Perhaps even two or three…

carol who

Congrats to No.1!


Thank you. :-)


Congrats!!! So, is it going to affect your son middle school choice? We have crazy competition in NY.


Nah, he’s just going to go to the neighborhood public school (unless he stops learning at it, in which case I’ll have to figure something out). I am thinking about private high school, but it’s hard to know what’s right to do. California public schools have a pretty bad national reputation because there’s no money for them because of Prop 13, but the ones in our town are rated higher than most and they make up for some of the deficit with private educational foundation contributions. But high school I’m not so sure about. There are arguments both ways—that you have a better shot at getting into a top university from a private school because your education is just better all around, or you have a better shot of getting in through a public school if you’re in the top 5% or so of the class because in the private schools everyone is applying to the same places. It’s pretty confusing. I sometimes think about going back to school and I wonder whether I’d be able to get in now, and my university and professional schools weren’t too shabby by any standard. Sigh.


Top 5% that’s what I heard. My older one just got a letter of acceptance to two great high schools in NYC. We decided on the one which is smaller and close to home. My middle one has to get some news on middle school any day now. So exciting and frustrating at the same time. I can’t afford private school w/ 3. Hoping for the best;)


Yeah, I keep hoping he’ll settle down by high school. Right now he’s one of those kids that’s very smart but not very careful and doesn’t really see the value of studying. Of course, I didn’t see the value of studying until I was in college, so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

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drank MateVana by Teavana
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 150 of the year 2014!

I feel like I’ve accomplished something. On the other hand, I’ve got a long way to go.

I’m glad to see this one go. It’s marginally better than the other mates I’ve had including the flavored ones, but it is far from a favorite. Also, the more I drink it, the more I taste a weird liquor-y note, like a brandy flavor or something. Not fond of that.

Happy tax day to those of you paying U.S. taxes. I had to get an extension because my bank failed to send me the correct documents on something. Bother.

And happy Passover to those celebrating. Chag Pesach sameach!


Last night we watched “Prince of Egypt” for maybe 10th time.


Haha! My kids love that one.


I haven’t watched that in forever! When my son was little (he’s 15 now…), he’d run around the house yelling “LET MY PEOPLE GO!” If we were out in public when he did it, we got some strange looks. lol


haha! happily, or sadly, we’re still on the lego movie with my six year old. EVERYTHING IS AWESOME

that, and, i wanted to like MateVana. i could not. was quite sad.


I know. I wanted to like mate, period. But it was not to be. About the Lego movie. Did anyone else find yourself completely not into it UNTIL the human kid and dad showed up? I became emotionally engaged when they showed up, and I kept thinking how much more I would have liked it if they’d shown up a lot earlier.


I have to agree abt Lego movie. But my 7yr old just ready to watch it 24/7. On the other hand today they watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And he is so into HP. He read all the books

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drank ChocoNut by Teavana
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 149 of the year 2014.

I’ve been drinking this one down gradually, interspersed with other things, and had intended to write a note about it this weekend but then Earthlink went kablooey. (Shakes fist at sky.)

I had rated this fairly high initially, I think because I was coming off of a lot of bad flavored green tea experiences and this one was better by comparison. But now that I’ve had a lot of really nicely done flavored green teas, I am dropping this one down a bit. Chocolate in green tea didn’t sound good to me (and I only bought this because I was in a phase where I was buying everything with the word chocolate in it) and I recall being surprised that it was as tasty as it was. After drinking it more, though, I started to become aware of its downsides.

The primary one is that chocolate in green tea didn’t sound good to me because it’s not really the best and highest use of both flavors. Chocolate ought to be rich and luscious, and green tea ought to be refreshing and light but tasty. Their purposes in life are different, in my view. The chocolate here doesn’t overpower the green tea, but that’s part of the problem. It has to hold back to avoid doing so. And the green tea here doesn’t add to the richness of the chocolate and in fact works against it.

Bumping it down a few points. I wouldn’t buy it again, though that’s irrelevant now, as Teavana has apparently discontinued it.

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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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