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933 Tasting Notes

84

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Not that I really need one, but what a great excuse to do a thematic tea drinking experience today. You don’t have to be Irish to miss the celebrations in NYC, the parades, the green beer, etc. It’s not that there isn’t an Irish community in the SF Bay Area, it’s just not very big by comparison.

After having the English Breakfast for a number of consecutive mornings, I can say there’s a big difference between the two. I go back and forth on which I like better. Initially I thought it was slam dunk English, then I thought it was hands down Irish, and now I think it really just depends on what I’ve been drinking more frequently—the more I drink each of these, the more I like it.

No. 2 sipped this this morning and said, “I like the breakfast teas because they’re plain.” By which he means unflavored and taste like “tea.” This doesn’t have the body of the English Breakfast, but if anything, that just makes it easier to drink in the morning when the stomach still hasn’t gotten with the program.

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58
drank Sleep Tight by TeaGschwendner
933 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 125 of the year 2014. Happy dance! Currently, this is my least favorite tisane in my cupboard so the fact that it is no longer there is a cause for a minor celebration.

Apart from this herbal, I drank NO tea today. Was out of the house most of the day and constantly on the run. I’d really like to go to bed now but must get my writing exercise in for my class before I can crash.

As the name of this says, sleep tight, all!

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79

Sipdown no. 124 of the year 2014. Back to the gaiwan for the final serving because not enough leaf left for the Yixing.

I still feel somewhat intimidated by pu erh and I’m not sure why. I think I just need to drink more of it. Desensitize myself to my fear, so to speak.

I hope this will have provided me with a good baseline for a higher quality, unflavored shu as I sally forth into the pu erh world.

MzPriss

Ive been exploring the pu world as newbie myself. I LOVE it. I’m totally in love with Mandala Special Dark. Its loose not a cake and its divine!

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88
drank Almond Biscotti by Teavana
933 tasting notes

Had breakfast at Starbucks today with no. 1 on the way to kung fu. I had my usual, a spinach wrap, but as often happens when I’m in Starbucks I was really lusting after one of the pastries. I would much rather have had something with the almond paste-y flavor of a bear claw or an almond croissant this morning, but I behaved myself. For most of the day, though, I’ve been thinking about pastries and I wanted to have some Brioche. But I’m saving it for a special occasion, so I had this instead.

Sweet, buttery, almond-y goodness. Yum.

Sami Kelsh

Ooh, NOM.

__Morgana__

NOM indeed.

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75
drank Bourbon Vanilla by Kusmi Tea
933 tasting notes

This is actually my fourth tea of the day, it’s just that the other three have been the subject of several notes already and I don’t have exciting new discoveries about them to record. I thought I’d give this one another try. It’s one of the lower rated Kusmi’s I’ve already tasted and I’m lowering the temp and increasing the time to see if that makes a difference (195, 4 minutes).

Kusmi makes an outstanding caramel and some really terrific fruity combinations, but I don’t care for what they do with chocolate. My recollection is I had a similar reaction to their treatment of vanilla though not quite to the same extreme. It’s been a while though, so we’ll see.

I’m pretty much in agreement with my first tasting note of way back when on this one. The lower temp and longer time may make some difference, but it’s not extreme. The vanilla is definitely present, but in a subtle way, and it’s definitely more present in the aftersip than during the sip.

On the other hand, it’s not the bakey fakey vanilla that really gets my goat and that I tasted in the Numi and the Adagio oolong. It’s not a bad flavoring agent, I’d just prefer there was a bit more of it as it seems to me to get lost in the tea base.

I’m considering taking this one to work when I need to bring in some more tea, which will be soon. Since it’s not a favorite, I’m not concerned about getting the temperature just right, and I have a lot of it, which seems important in a work tea. Otherwise I have to remember to schlepp in new stuff constantly.

I’m drinking more black tea than I would ordinarily today in the hopes it will keep me awake enough to do some writing. I just realized I have a couple of weeks before a deadline I’d like to make and I have a story that’s is in the awkward tween stage after the beginning and before the middle that I can probably finish and polish in time if I get on the stick. Then again, I won’t be able to get any quiet time until the kids are in bed and a lot can happen between now and then to affect my awakeness level. ;-)

Flavors: Vanilla

TheTeaFairy

Have a food time writing :-)

__Morgana__

It’s still a big “if” given how tired I feel right now. LOL

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Just noticed my typo “food” instead of “good”… Well “good food” might keep you awake then???

__Morgana__

It would certainly be a boost to the blood sugar. ;-)

TheTeaFairy

Lol, just read your Almond Biscotti review, not that you weren’t tempted! You’re such a good girl ;-)

__Morgana__

I try, I try!

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58
drank Sleep Tight by TeaGschwendner
933 tasting notes

I’m taking a mug of this to bed to watch the old version of The Manchurian Candidate.

The good news: I can see the bottom of the tin! The bad news: it’s another couple of servings before total sipdown.

We went out for dinner tonight at a Mexican place and I had two Margaritas. Oh hai!
Who’re you again?

sherapop

Great film! Much better than the remake (predictably)…

__Morgana__

I watched the remake two nights ago and the original last night. It was interesting to see what was considered dark and edgy in 1962. I really love Liev Schreiber so his appearance in the remake colored my opinion of the film, but I liked the choice in the remake to make Raymond Shaw a likeable character from the beginning.

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84
drank Lotus by Tazo
933 tasting notes

If LeafSpa Eagle’s Nest Ever Drop has been my commuting to work tea lately, this has been my commuting home tea. I am down to my last eight bags of this, two currently steeping, four in my work stash and two in my home stash. So there will be a sipdown coming next week.

I really will be sorry to see this one go and I expect I’ll buy more, eventually. I have to get closer to sipping down all my decaf options before I do, though.

It’s such a pleasant light floral flavor that really isn’t like anything else I’ve had on a green tea base that can be abused with impunity and which doesn’t taste at all like a decaf. My association with this tea is floating on my back in a swimming pool that’s deserted and still except for me, in the late afternoon while the wind is rustling the leaves of the trees around the pool.

carol who

Empty as in no water? or empty as in no other people? LOL

__Morgana__

Empty as in no people. Hahaha. ;-P

Jennkay

Hahah, I just had the funniest image of a person “floating” on their back at the bottom of an empty pool.

TheTeaFairy

Haha! I thought about the exact same thing!!

Suziqzer

Ditto… same image came to mind when I read that :)

__Morgana__

Well gee, that was a total literary fail! I must pay more attention to what I write in my notes while I’m in the office. ;-)

__Morgana__

I changed it to deserted. Does that help?

TheTeaFairy

Nooooo, you should have left it, it was just more fun that way :-) :-) :-)
That’s exactly the kind of thing that makes reading notes so much fun and interesting, and no worries, no one doubt your literary skills, lol!!! I’m French, i make REAL mistakes all the time :-O

__Morgana__

I make real mistakes all the time too. Homophones are the bane of the internet. I’ll be typing along and realize I just spelled something like their there because I was going by sound instead of thinking about it.

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79

Sipdown no. 123 of the year 2014. Yay. Nothing like getting the daily sipdown taken care of in the first few cups of the day!

An easy sipdown. Nice cashew flavor today. Pretty sure this is the “old” black base that is currently under discussion on the discussion board given when I bought this. I have to say I’ve never had an issue with this base in and of itself, but I haven’t tried the new one. When I have issues with the 52Teas flavored blacks it tends to be with the flavoring and sometimes with the effect the flavoring has on the base. To be honest, I don’t notice the base that much in most of the 52Teas flavors because the flavoring is the main event. I’d notice it if I thought it was too harsh or too strong, though, and that’s not my reaction.

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71
drank Ginseng Vitality by Teavana
933 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 122 of the year 2014.

I’ve been making a concerted effort to sip down my less pleasurable herbal and fruit blends, and so I’m happy to report this sipdown. I have had some of this for a couple of nights after attempting to dig out the bottomless tin of TeaG Sleep Tight, and by comparison I prefer the Ginseng Vitality. However, that’s only by comparison.

In a way, it’s a blessing I don’t love this because Teavana has, of course, discontinued it. What is it with them? I’d say they treat their tea blends like car models, but even car manufacturers these days keep the same general chassis design from year to year for a while before a major overhaul. I can understand dropping a blend or two that’s not selling once in a while, but they seem to drop even the blends that get great reviews. I don’t get it. Do they think that the American public doesn’t have the attention span of a three year old? (They could be right about that in some respects. Don’t get me started on what constant bombardment by information has done to attention spans in adults. But still, why contribute to it? There’s so little stability in the world as it is. Maybe that’s why I like companies like Harney & Sons that seem to find things that work and stick with them.)

Anyway, I could rant more because I feel like ranting, but it’s not exactly productive. I think I’ll go do something more productive like watch television.

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79

Steeped this in the little Yixing this time, which leaves just a tiny amount for the next serving. Not even enough for the Yixing.

It’s interesting to compare what I remember of the taste when steeped in the gaiwan with this. It is a much rounder flavor out of the Yixing, as though any sharp edges have been filed off. It’s also a bit less flavorful overall, which I take to be a sign that the little pot is still leaching flavor from the tea and hasn’t reached its saturation point. It’s less like a tree and more like a mushroom this time. Still earthy but not in a green or barky way. I’ve put it through three steeps so far after a rinse.

Yikes, I didn’t realize it was so late. I hope it doesn’t keep me up.

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Profile

Bio

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.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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