1119 Tasting Notes


Sipdown no. 141 of the year 2014. I’m still one sipdown behind to keep up with the daily count, but I have another one lined up. If only I can get to it today.

It continues to be a good, strong breakfast blend with a lot of brightness to it from the darjeeling. It’s going on the shopping list.

Things are continuing to be rather crazed on this end. Several emergencies at work, plus little league season, plus no. 2’s after-birthday party coming up on Sunday.

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


It’s ok—you take care of you and yours right now. We’ll be here when the dust settles :)


Thanks :-)

I am worried I may have O.D.‘d on tea a little and that’s why I’m not craving it/drinking it much these past few days. I need to remind myself to do things in moderation.


i’m the same way, and have had those times too. i think we all understand. (:


That’s why you guys are so awesome!

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drank Ginger Peach by Todd & Holland
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 140 of the year 2014. I did not do a sipdown yesterday so I’m going to try to get in two today.

As against other caffeinated teas that are heavy on the peach, this one is very good, but I prefer some others I’ve had recently.

Interestingly, the decaf version stacks up very well against other decaf blacks and I see that I rated that one higher than this one, since it’s being judged on different attributes. That may be the first time that’s ever happened.

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To give you an idea of how my day has been, I thought I needed to start with something really strong, so I made coffee. A whole pot. Now it’s 8 p.m. and I realize I have not had a single cup from that pot. Nor have I had anything else to drink besides water.

Now it’s too late to drink caffeine, and since I’d mentioned that I had this the other day, fully intending to drink it on the same day as the non-decaf version, I thought it would be a good candidate. But then I went to write a note and it wasn’t in the database. No problem, thought I, I’ll just set up a page. But apparently Todd & Holland no longer sells this, so there’s no picture or info on their site to use to spiff up the page. (Sorry.)

It smells like peach in the packet, but it’s not as rich a peach smell as the caffeinated version. There’s also the sort of chlorine-y note I get from decafs . The first thing I thought when I smelled the tea’s aroma was “cannabis” and but there’s a peachy note too. Very deep red color. Quite pretty.

I was prepared for a very washed out flavor when I smelled the chlorine-y note but surprisingly, that’s not what I’m getting. Though it doesn’t pack the punch of the caffeinated version, there’s nothing washed out about the flavor. It’s a nice round peach flavor, not heavy on the ginger, with a mild Ceylon underneath.

Figures that I’d like this one since it’s no longer available.

I am hopeful things are going to settle down a bit now and I’ll be able to be more attentive to my tea drinking. I fear that I may have to drink my Vanilla Comoro tonight just to get in a sipdown. Ah well, it had to happen sometime. My sipdown strategy seems to be failing abysmally, primarily because I haven’t been drinking enough tea.

Apologies for not being able to read/respond as much lately during this period of high intensity non-tea related commitments.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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drank Welcome by Art of Tea
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 139 of the year 2014.

I just realized that until now, I’ve had no tea or coffee or anything to drink today except water (and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner). No wonder I have a headache. Caffeine withdrawal!

This blend isn’t helpful for caffeine withdrawal, but I am going to have to try to go to sleep soon. The work week is already looking scary and I’ve been staying up too late.

I continue to find this something that was pleasant enough while it lasted but unfortunately not the highest on my current list of preferences for herbals. If someone were to offer it to me I’d drink it, but I have learned enough about my chamomile preferences lately to know that I prefer sweeter chamomile without the intervention of other herbs intended to take away from the sweetness.


quite the interesting name for a tea eh? :)

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drank Great White by Tavalon Tea
1119 tasting notes

Steeping in the gaiwan brings out a bit more flavor, and this one doesn’t have the rather nasty dead plant taste that I’ve had from white peony before, but the flavor is still fairly elusive to me. I get something sort of darjeeling-y from this, but much lighter, like a pastel version of darjeeling.

I have yet to taste a white peony that really knocks my socks off and I’m starting to wonder whether as a genre, it just isn’t the tea for me unless it’s the base for a nicely done flavored white. I’m torn on how to rate this because it’s better than some other white peonies I’ve tried, but on an absolute scale it’s not as flavorful and enjoyable as some other teas I’ve rated in the 70s. So take that into consideration when interpreting the rating.

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Sipdown no. 138 of the year 2014.

Woke up with a headache, so I started the day with coffee for the first time in a long time. Just this minor break in routine was enough to derail my tea drinking for the day. I had big plans for getting a number of things close to sipdown, but now they’ll have to wait.

In keeping with the theme of not following routine, I am drinking this now at about 7:30 at night. I have no fear of caffeine tonight because I have a lot of work to do.

This was a really delicious blend, so rich and full and malty. I will miss it.

On another note, last night I finished watching a re-watch of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s only season. I was trying to figure out why I get such a feel-good sense from watching Aaron Sorkin’s various series-es [what’s the plural of series?] and I realized that one of the reasons is because even when everything goes wrong for the characters they love their work. Something to think about.

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Sipdown no. 137 of the year 2014. Not the only tea I drank today, but I’ve been trying to stay off the internet as much as possible today so I can get a lot of writing done on my day off. I’ve written about eight pages today, as well as revising twelve I’d written earlier to incorporate workshop comments, etc. Pretty good productivity considering yesterday I had doubts I’d get anything done at all. I still have to write the climax and the end but I have them in my head. The title is a problem, still. I like the story, though it’s an experimental in structure and tone and you never know how something like that is going to be received. Oh well, can’t worry about that now. Must finish.

I’ve been sipping this puppy down over the last few nights. I’d forgotten I had it. Then I remembered I had it but couldn’t find it. When I found it, I realized there wasn’t really that much left, nor did I love it, so I should add it to project immediate sipdown.

Then I went to write this note and realized I never wrote about this way back when I originally tried it. Probably because there’s not a lot to say about it.

It’s an herbal spicy chocolate blend that smells like weak chocolate and strong cardamom/ginger before steeping. After steeping I can smell that ersatz coffee chickory smell along with the weak chocolate and now weak cardamom/ginger and maybe some clove.

I don’t get a lot of flavor from it. It’s rather light weight all around. The flavor it does have is mostly chocolate and isn’t horrible, it’s just not enough to excite me or make me really look forward to drinking it. I drank it straight up, though it does have a chai-like profile, because there’s no true tea in it and I’m not moved to go to the trouble of making a stove-top effort for a tea-less concoction.

This sounded so much better than it turned out to taste. Ah well.

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

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drank Ginger Peach by Todd & Holland
1119 tasting notes

It seems I have a sample of this in both a decaf and a non-decaf version, and since it’s still fairly early in the day I thought I’d give the regular version a try and perhaps follow it up this evening with the de-caf just for fun.

In the packet, there’s more peach fragrance than ginger, and a bit of a toasty black tea fragrance underneath. After steeping, I smell mostly a sweet, malty, medium-light bodied tea that’s a really lovely color, almost a ruby red.

The flavor is interesting. The peach is the stronger flavor by far, but I can taste the ginger. The tea is a tad bitter which makes me think I steeped too long and I’ll cut back to three minutes next time, but it’s definitely not occluded by the fruit flavor. I’m intrigued to see how it tastes if it’s steeped for less time and also how the decaf version does.

But I think I kind of have to side with the BF on the thought that peach doesn’t really need ginger, and on balance I prefer a really good single fruit flavored black tea of the peachy variety.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

hmm, can Canadians get this tea?

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
1119 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 136 of the year 2014. Whew. Since I started counting sipdowns I’ve managed to do at least one a day. I even have another one already lined up for tomorrow. I have some individual serving samples I can also use in a pinch, but I’m trying to get some of the bigger containers in a position to sip down on account of that’s where the real clutter problem lies.

This was my second tea of the day, and it turned into a cold tea experience because I spent the morning on my tax information collection project and I got stuck on the phone with the bank and the benefits person at work trying to figure out whether I had a documentation gap. During that time, this became very close to an iced tea.

The good news is that it’s actually quite good cold. I wouldn’t have thought that would be the case, but it is. It’s actually pretty refreshing, and though I wouldn’t ordinarily think of a coconut black as something to drink iced in summer, that idea is now firmly implanted in my mind.

The only downside is that the coolness doesn’t change the missing pie-ness. It’s a tasty coconut flavor, but I don’t get pie. (At first I thought maybe I did, but then I realized it was the macaroon I ate while drinking this. That wasn’t intentional, by the way. We had a big tray of macaroons leftover from Heritage Night at the kids’ school so I grabbed one without really thinking about the connection between it and what I was drinking.)

BTW, the tax info collection project went much smoother than anticipated. In fact, I’m ready to take the whole she-bang over to FedEx/Kinkos, make copies and ship them off to my accountant (who also happens to be my cousin). That means I have a vast stretch of not that many hours left until the kids get home to do other stuff. And tomorrow. Let’s not forget tomorrow, which was the cushion day I took off in case I found huge gaps in my tax records and had to try to get copies of stuff. I might have a day in which I get to pretend I’m actually a writer for a living.

What a thought.

That’s great – Enjoy your writing day tomorrow! :)


Thanks, I will try! I am worried I’ll get picked on to join some work calls even though I’m supposed to be on vacation. :-(

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Sipdown no. 135 of the year 2014. It wasn’t the only thing I drank today, but it’s the only thing I’m recording because it’s a sipdown.

Today was one of the more brutal work days I’ve had in a while, probably made more so by the fact that I’m planning to take tomorrow and Friday off to work on gathering up my tax info and if I have time after that do some writing without having to snatch 15 minutes here and there. In any case, it was pretty much back to back stuff and I’m exhausted.

That accounts for the non-recording of my teas, and also for the non-reading and liking and commenting of notes. I will try to catch up but I might just have to jump in where I left off, and if so, apologies all around.

In any case, I’ve decided to bump this down just a bit. The more I drank it, the more the honeybush became one of the main flavor components, and it was a sort of a woody, cedar chippy one that distracted me from the cherry/pineapple/cake flavor of the blend.

So while I give it many points for nailing the flavor, I have to mark it down on the overall experience, because although I don’t mind honeybush having a bigger role than rooibos (as in general I prefer its flavor), this one was less of a sweet, mellow flavor base and more of a reedy, woody one.

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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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