951 Tasting Notes


Back to the old stand-by this morning. I woke up this morning feeling really rested for the first time in recent memory. I also had an incredibly bizarre dream, which probably explains while I feel rested. I must have had some decent REM sleep last night.

Alas, I am now off my daily sipdown count again as I logged nothing yesterday. I only had one cup of tea yesterday and (horrors) some Diet Coke, which may also explain why I slept well. But I doubt this has much to do with it.

Not to worry, though, as I have two lined up for today, if I can stay awake long enough to do the decaf one tonight.

Today this is really nice to wake up to. Nice and brisk, and very flavorful. I appreciate it more when I don’t drink it daily. I find that’s true of some teas, whereas with other’s it’s the opposite, almost like you have to build up to a certain critical mass before your enjoyment of it peaks. I wonder why that is.

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Sipdown no. 142 of the year 2014. This isn’t actually the sipdown I had planned. It’s also sort of a cheat to call it a sipdown because although the sample tin is now gone, the big non-sample tin hasn’t even been opened yet. But hey, it’s a container out of my life, so I’m counting it.

Something seems to have gone wrong, though. This steeped very weakly today even though I used what I ordinarily use to measure a single cup serving for the cups I have at work. Not sure what happened.

Since it wasn’t a favorite to begin with, it’s not too much of a disappointment. And any disappointment that might have been had is far overshadowed by the feeling of accomplishment from getting back on sipdown track. Yay!

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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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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
951 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
951 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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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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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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