953 Tasting Notes

drank Malted Genmaicha by 52teas
953 tasting notes

This isn’t the only tea I’ve had since this morning, just the only one I had anything to say about. The others were all from teabags, consumed on the way to or at work, in various stages of sipdown. The good news is, I have several sipdowns of my starter teas coming up in the next few days. Yay!

I had this for the first time last night but it wasn’t under the best conditions. I intended to take it with me in the car on the way to meet another family for dinner out, but the BF was in a mood and eager to get going and was unwilling to wait the 1:30 it would have taken to steep this. Sigh. So it sat in the Breville until we returned and was room temperature, which this time of year is more like cold. I drank it cold, and it wasn’t bad that way, but I suspected it would be better hot.

So I’m trying again tonight. I really like genmaicha, and even without enhancements it gives me a bit of a malty grainy impression sometimes. This is like that natural maltiness dialed up to 11. I can smell toasty rice in the aroma of the steeped tea and barely any malt, but the flavor is as though someone has taken the insides out of malted milk balls, smashed them up and sprinkled the resulting powder into genmaicha.

There’s also an interesting milk note. I noticed a lot of discussion about the symbolism of the glass of milk on the label, and my own contribution is that perhaps it is referring to this milk note and not so much the idea of malted milk.

The tea liquor is a clear, light yellow.

I give it high marks for living up to its name. I suspect, though I don’t know for sure, that unlike a couple of the other elderly 52 teas packages I’ve cracked open lately this one won’t turn on me. It has a different aspect to it altogether that isn’t causing me vertigo from drinking tea that tastes like a completely different non-drinkable food. Yay!

Flavors: Malt

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

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drank Maple Bacon by Man Teas
953 tasting notes

I mentioned that the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast gets exceptionally high marks from me for successfully evoking its name (on the order of 90+ points), but that I had to mark it down because the overall experience of drinking it was uneven and also I concluded it wasn’t really a taste I wanted in a tea.

I’m having a very similar reaction to this one, and it is now something I’ve put in the active sipdown category.

Today I’m definitely tasting maple bacon. 90+ for getting the flavor right. But it’s just too weird for me to drink this flavor. If I was at a breakfast buffet and dropped a piece of maple bacon in my coffee or tea, I’d probably be grossed out and dump the cup.

I did choose this as something I’d like to try, so my reaction isn’t that severe, and I’ll be able to drink my way through this. But the cognitive dissonance I mentioned in my previous note is a strong factor here. My brain feels fooled into drinking something that shouldn’t have this flavor, and it gives me an overall feeling of uneasiness.

In the future I intend to stay away from ordering food-flavored teas unless that food is some dessert confection that contains chocolate, vanilla, nuts or fruit, all flavors that can be found naturally in the tea leaf without additional flavors. ;-) One might argue that bacon can be found in lapsang and maple in other teas, but I haven’t come across this combo anywhere in nature.


I feel rather the same way about food-flavouring. I did have a peach and thyme blend recently that was surprisingly lovely, but that was actually made, I believe, because they thought they were good flavours together and not so much in order to be whacky and gimmicky.


That one sounds nice. Yeah, I don’t mean to make it sound as though unusual blends per se are out. It’s more that I’d be much more willing to try something called “chocolate mousse” than I would something called “western omlet.”


Or omelette even.

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Sipdown no. 93 of the year 2014.

I have to settle on a rating that’s lower than I was prepared to give yesterday.

The bulk of this rating reflects the amazing ability of this tea to conjure that for which it is named. On that score, as I said before, it gets something like a 90+.

However, it’s easy, through preparation, to get it somewhat off, and when that happens it heads for a chemicaly flavor that sits like a rock in my stomach. Even when it is prepared well and tastes like its name without the chemical overtones, I’ve concluded that it’s just not a flavor I really want to drink in my tea.

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It has been a long time since I had any of this and when I had it way back when it was in teabag form at the office, so not particularly expertly steeped.

This is apparently one of Angrboda’s favorites. Kidding! Her note about this cracked me up. I have to say that although I don’t remember my grandmother smelling like this, I get what she means. There’s something about the smell in the tin, the musty floral spice scent, that reminds me of antique shops, and I suppose that could be extended to antique people.

The aroma of the steeped tea is very similar to the aroma in the tin—spicy but not savory, floral, and very very vaguely Earl Grey-like. I don’t get any soapiness. The underlying tea is sweet and pleasant.

It’s not my favorite, but not because there’s anything wrong with it. More because it just isn’t very distinctive. Still, I’ll enjoy drinking it more than some others I’ve tried recently. Bumping the rating.


I have to revisit this tea. My tin is almost full. My first experience with this tea reminded me licking ashtray. Another not successful blend was Kusmi Earl Grey Polish blend #18. I would mix them up like 1:2. It was ok. Just ok. I cannot believe that Russian Czar would like it. But what do I know…


Ugh! I don’t get any ashtray, fortunately. But I agree it’s not very “special.” Maybe I’ve just had a lot of not great tea lately and it just does well by comparison. ;-)


I had a hard time to finish my small tin of this one…only 25 g…but had the feeling to get 250 g due to the time it took me to finish it :)


It hasn’t been something I’ve found myself rushing to either, but something about it today seemed better than before. I think it was the base, it had a sweetness to it that the other teas I had this morning didn’t really have.


The world does not contain enough bleh to aptly cover my experience of this one. :p


Haha! ;-)

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Sipdown no. 92 of the year 2014! Three down, two to go on the SpecialTeas samples.

Taking off a small number of points because the last couple of days this has been heavier on the coconut oil than it needs to be, probably because I was getting to the bottom of the packet. The flavor was still good, just a little on the oily and heavy side unlike the initial taste.

I have a lot of other coconut teas, so fortunately, I won’t miss this one.

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Today I steeped this one at boiling and tacked on 30 seconds, steeping for a full 5 minutes.

This may be the sweet spot for this tea. Not chemical-y, and the very strong butter flavor I got before is somewhat milder. More raisin is coming through, and somehow the combination of the buttery and raisiny, even without a separately identifiable cinnamon flavor, is evoking the toast very nicely today.

I have to bump it up just a bit. I think I have one more pot left before sipdown. I hope by then I’ll have figured this out enough to zero in on a final rating.

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drank Decaf Chai by Tazo
953 tasting notes

I haven’t had this in a very long time. I have something like eight bags at home and the same number at work. I have been meaning to have it at work in the afternoon, but I keep forgetting to nab some milk and sweetener from the coffee kiosk while it’s still open.

I remember thinking, when I was drinking a lot of this some years back, that it wasn’t fair to judge this by the standards of the type of chai you can actually make on the stove, nor was it fair to judge it against a caffeinated version since decaf pretty much always comes across to me as lacking something.

For what it is—both a bagged chai and a decaf one—this is quite decent. It does require milk and sweetener, though, or it’s just a sort of harsh spiced tea.

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drank Tiramisu Treviso by Teavana
953 tasting notes

Another acquisition that I attribute to the Teavana tea of the month club. When I went to write this note, I saw I had put this on my wish list a long time ago (so long ago, young whippersnappers, that they called it the shopping list back then), so it’s kind of nice to place it in my cupboard and remove it from the list.

I got a strong liqueur scent from the package—Amaretto? Frangelico? Who knows. There are both almonds and hazelnuts in this, but no coffee, though I think of Tiramisu as primarily coffee flavored. Perhaps the chocolate is meant to stand in for the coffee? The BF, by the way, smelled orange, though I didn’t (but there is orange in this).

I do smell an orange note after steeping, and a really interesting smell that approximates lady fingers! Somehow, the combined flavors after steeping give an impression of Tiramisu despite the lack of coffee.

The flavor isn’t bad. It’s just not overly close to Tiramisu. It’s more of a chocolate flavor than a coffee one. Most Tiramisu I’ve had does have some chocolate—usually flakes sprinkled on top, so in that sense it isn’t completely inaccurate. And every now and then as I sip I get flashes of a pastry-like lady finger taste, which is weird since the body of the tea and the mouth feel isn’t particularly chewy. In fact, it’s fairly thin. I think if they’d managed to get the mouth feel thicker, I might have been lulled into believing I was tasting a Tiramisu flavor.

It’s a nice collection of flavors, but I don’t think I would have identified it as Tiramisu if I didn’t know that’s what it was trying to be.

The rooibos is nicely in the background, too, to the point of not being noticeable. Yay.

Low marks for getting the flavor to match the name, but high marks for a nice, tasty dessert replacement drink.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Took this through four steeps tonight after dinner. A bit too rushed in terms of oolong time for me, but at least I got one in! Nice and toasty, as before. In my haste, I didn’t fully appreciate the peach note tonight. It was more of a generic stone fruit.

I need to refresh my oolong knowledge. I used to know a lot more about the different types. Now that I’ve ordered my Yixing (yes, I did it, I did it) I feel the need to brush up and decide where to dedicate it.

Or perhaps I’ll dedicate it to a pu-erh. (Those I remember the differences between.)


Congrats on the Yixing!!!!
Where did you order it from?


Teavivre! It’s one the Teafairy recommended—I am on the ipad or I’d link it.


LOL Awesome. I have one from Teavivre – ok I have the same set that TheTeaFairy does. I have Yixing pots and I haven’t seasoned any of them yet. I HAVE to do this. Buy cute pots and then never use them.
Hope you enjoy yours!!!


Hah, I can totally see myself doing that.


I just seasoned my brand new baby Yixing with some oolong yesterday. I also got it from Teavivre:
http://www.teavivre.com/economical-yixing-zisha-tea-set-14pcs/ Its very sweet.

I also ordered another Yixing that will not arrive until April – I think it will be for shu puerhs.

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My last Shanti sample. Am I the only person who tries the samples before the actual order? Hehehe.

I don’t think I’ve had a green Darjeeling before. I steeped it as a green tea, though I’m not sure whether that was right. The dry leaves have the Darjeeling sharpness but in a muted sort of way, with an underlying greenish scent.

In the cup, it looks like a green tea—pale yellow, clear liquor. The aroma is very Darjeeling-y, more so than green tea-y. It has the light, clear water scent that sometimes reminds me of water chestnuts as well as that grapey high note that I think is what people mean when they say Muscatel. (I really must get some Muscatel sometime to see what it smells and tastes like.)

It’s a really nice flavor. Very light bodied and fresh in the way a Sauvignon Blanc is but without tasting like one. It is much more smooth and has a slight vegetal undertone. Artichokes, perhaps? A bit of butter.

Very yum.

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

i usually do the samples first heh mostly to get them out of my cupboard first haha


I do the samples first as well, mostly to prolong the excitement because I’m a geek like that haha.


Hahaha. I do the samples because they’re small, too. Prolonging the excitement seems like a much more well-developed reason. ;-)

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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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