953 Tasting Notes

drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Not quite so bitter as the last time and a little less like grassy dirt but still not my favorite.

I have two other types of Samovar Yerba Mate that came in the gift box—Peppermint and Kuki. I wanted to get a feel for the plain version before I branched out into those, though. It will be interesting to see how they compare.

Still have a few servings of this one left. Stay tuned.

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Sipdown no. 91 of the year 2014 and one I actually get to remove from the cupboard!

It was a good companion on several commutes and for running errands on weekends. Au revoir, sweet green tea!

Bumping up the rating because this one literally left a good taste in my mouth. ;-)

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Not quite a palate cleanser but a nice, calm, well-implemented single flavor after the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast.

Coconut is a flavor I can quite enjoy if I’m in the mood. Sometimes it’s really heavenly. I feel as though today I’m pushing the mood a little. That’s what comes from feeling the need to tee things up for sipdown I suppose.

I think I would have been more in the mood for a toastier coconut today, but this will do.

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I’m finding that my expectation that the novelty of this would wear off soon is coming to pass. I’m actively working on sipping it down, now.

I think I’m learning that in general I don’t do well with unusual flavors, except, perhaps, in rooibos blends or if they’re fruity concoctions. The non-fruity ones sit too heavily. I’m obviously not counting in this things like chocolate and nut flavors per se. Just things that are meant to conjure a completely different food rather than a flavor or two.

Fortunately, the BF likes it, which will make the sipping down go twice as fast.

Preparing with boiling water as directed seems to keep the “butter” from turning chemical-y, so that’s good to know. I saw some pieces of cinnamon in the blend I steeped this morning, but I’m still not getting a lot of cinnamon.

Though I stand by my assessment that this lives up to its name, the way it has been hitting me the last couple of days makes it difficult for me to justify leaving it at a rating of 82.

It should get very high technical marks for evoking this flavor (a 90 or so) but for me, anyway, the more I drink it, the less I enjoy it.

Docking some points.


Fun that you have a sipdown partner in your household!!


Yes, and helpful, too. :-)

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I discovered the hard way that 4 minutes is too long for this. It takes on a bitter edge. Will go back to 3 minutes in the future.

Apart from the edge, it wasn’t so bad. Just strong.

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Enough flavored blacks for one day. Now for something unadulterated.

I had to add this one to the database, but unfortunately The Tea Table no longer offers it so I can’t provide a picture. They do offer something called Kings Golden Monkey but from the description it’s quite a different tea.

This dates back to my Tea Table tea of the month club. Overthem00n introduced me to the Tea Table and they’re nice people with a good selection of yummy teas.

The dry leaf is a pretty mixture of dark and golden leaves and has a smoky fragrance. It reminded me of the smell inside one of our local barbecue/steak places combined with something that’s close to chocolate. The steeped liquor is a lovely copper color as mentioned in the description, and the aroma of the steeped tea has a fruity thing going on. A little raisin, maybe a little plum.

The tea is smooth and mellow and retains some of the hints of chocolate from the dry leaf. It’s brisk and definitely medium-bodied. I get a slight astringency but not enough to make it not refreshing. It doesn’t leave me thirsty. There’s a slick, slightly thick mouth feel to the finish, and something suggestive of grain—its a maltiness, but not a sweet maltiness so much as a grainy one. I am not sure which grain though. It’s a little like wheat, a little like rye.

And I just noticed that none of the grains I might have picked (including wheat, rye, or just “grain”) are among the flavor options. (Whine. Whine. Whine.)

This is a really tasty black tea that I’ll enjoy exploring over time.


Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Stewed Fruits

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Something about the aroma of this today is hitting me wrong. It’s kind of chemical-y.

Chemical-y, then jasmine-y. That’s the floral note from yesterday? Jasmine? I think so. Interestingly, I think that’s what is responsible for the butter and part of the toast aroma and flavor as well. The raisin also seems to have a floral quality to it.

Fortunately, the tea doesn’t seem to be hitting me wrong. Often when an aroma isn’t quite hitting it off with me, that means the tea won’t be kind to my stomach, but so far so good. I just had a chicken breast sandwich for lunch which may be helping.

I steeped this at less than boiling today to see what that might do. I wonder whether the temperature accounts for the difference in aroma.

I am tempted to sprinkle cinnamon into this as I’m still getting less cinnamon than any other flavor. I am getting mostly butter and toast today. No. 2, however, gave it a sniff and said, “Mmmm raisiny.” So I suppose it is just me.

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Sipdown no. 90 of the year 2014! Yay! Now of course, I’m so close to 100 I can taste it—pardon the pun—and want to get over the 90 hump. It remains to be seen whether I can do that today without setting myself up for failing to reach the at-least-one-per-day goal later this week. Thank you President’s Day.

I tried steeping a little cooler and longer today. 205 for 4 minutes.

The thing that makes this less than excellent for me is that it’s just not quite sweet enough. It’s not that the caramel itself necessarily has to be sweeter. A sweeter tea base would, I think, work just as well. I could, I suppose, put sweetener in it, but I’d be afraid it would take several tries to figure out what kind and how much works best. Since this is a sipdown of a tea that is no longer made by a company that no longer exists, I think I’ll spend my efforts elsewhere. ;-)

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drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
953 tasting notes

As best I can tell this is the same tea I have, though the picture and name are different. Mine is called Coconut Cream Pie Flavored Black Tea and it has a picture of a wedge of coconut cream pie pointing toward the left-hand side of the packet. This is another in my antique 52 Teas collection that was in a sealed packet.

Pretty amazing coconut smell coming from the packet. There’s something else, too, which don’t think I would have thought to describe as mint if I hadn’t read that Jason made that connection. There’s a good, sweet coconut of the toasty variety coming out in the aroma of the steeped tea as well (no mint).

I’m expecting good coconut here. The question will be whether the pie makes it in there…

Swing and a miss. I don’t get pie from this, though I know that 52 Teas are fully capable of producing a pastry-like flavor.

So now I’m in a weird rating conundrum. I like this much better than the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast and the Maple Bacon of yesterday, but I think those flavors live up to their names better. So I’m rating them higher though I prefer this tea and will much prefer drinking it to those. I can already tell the chances I’ll get sick of this are nil, and the chances this will do a number on my stomach on certain days are equally nil. I can’t say that about the other two.

I feel like I need a different sort of rating system, like for Olympic figure skating, where they judge both on the technical score and the artistic interpretation. Mine for a tea like this would be 85 for tea enjoyment and 72 for how well the flavor matches the name.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp

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Sipdown no. 89 of the year 2014. So close to 90! I’m going to have to find a way to get there today without totally messing up my nascent sipdown strategy. I haven’t completely figured it out yet, but it involves trying to position a number of teas of different types so that they have at most a serving or two left in the hopes that I can keep up the pace of at least one sipdown a day for the foreseeable future.

This isn’t my favorite black vanilla or even close to it. It’s somewhat underpowered and the more I taste it, the more the vanilla strikes me as borderline into that fakey bakey vanilla that I experienced in the Numi decaf and the Adagio vanilla oolong. It’s trying to be something other than that. It’s trying really hard, but falling short, as it is neither creamy nor vanilla bean rich (like the flavor of French vanilla ice cream), either of which would have been fine with me. Sometimes creamy vanillas are really well done, but I’d rather have a rich bean flavor. Unfortunately, this is neither. Which is great because it means I won’t have to miss not being able to order it with SpecialTeas out of business and all.

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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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