1155 Tasting Notes

79

Sipdown no. 19 of the year 2014 (a tiny one as there’s almost nothing left in my sample)!

Steepster is angry with me this morning, I think. I can’t “like” anything, get my notices, etc. and when I tried posting this before it disappeared. I hope that’s not an omen for the rest of the day.

I put this one on my shopping list. My problem with Harney & Sons is I have a hard time disliking anything they make. I did honestly want to try to whittle things down, try to make some fine distinctions among their black blends, but I think I have to admit that I’m at the point where I just throw up my hands and say you can never have too many Earl Greys and you can never have too many delicious black blends.

And be grateful that tea takes up less space than shoes.

51
drank White Tangerine by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 18 for 2014.

Drank the rest of this cold steeped this morning. Though it didn’t increase the tangerine flavor, it did make the white tea taste very flavorful.

Note to self: make white tea cold in the summer!

boychik

sorry it didnt make much of a difference

__Morgana__

Oh, no problem. It was worth a try! And it tasted fine other than the tangerine. :-)

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87

I wanted to try this on the kids tonight, but they fell asleep before it finished steeping. There’s always tomorrow.

I haven’t had this in a while and I worried that perhaps it would have faded some but looking at my prior note it’s exactly how I remembered it. The key to this one is to double the amount of “leaf” (it’s not really leaf so much as fruit chunks) you’d ordinarily use to get a good, strong flavor. It’s a nice, sweet lemon, with just a hint of strawberry, enough to act as natural sweetener.

I’ll be taking mine to bed with me shortly. I hope there’s a new Castle this week.

TheTeaFairy

Strawberry Lemonade? For sure your kids will embrace it :-)

__Morgana__

I suspect you are right. The BF loves this one, too.

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76
drank Gyokuro by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Yum.

That is all.

(Did someone say cheesecake? We’re going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Woo hoo!)

VariaTEA

Lucky!! Have a piece of cheesecake for me!! I won’t be able to have their tasty food until I am in Florida in March.

__Morgana__

I will be eating from the skinnylicious menu, unfortunately, but I may allow myself a bite of someone else’s cheesecake and I’ll be happy to do it in your honor, VT. ;-)

VariaTEA

Awww so sweet. Enjoy yourself!!

Roswell Strange

Urghhh… Too much cheesecake talk :(

__Morgana__

Sorry RS! ;-)

Fjellrev

I’ve never been there before but I heard it’s pretty good!

__Morgana__

F, it’s decent for a chain. Lots of selections so something for everyone. But ridiculously HUGE portions.

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51
drank White Tangerine by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Trying this today with a lower steeping time (3 minutes) to see whether that helps bring out the tangerine flavor. Alas, it doesn’t seem to have made a difference with regard to the tangerine, though it does perhaps make the tea a bit lighter overall, which has the effect of making it somewhat less planty. Oh well. I am closing in on sipdown with this one but not quite there yet.

boychik

Have you tried cold steeping? Sometimes it helps to bring the flavor.

__Morgana__

No, I haven’t. I should, though. Thanks for the idea. :-)

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87

From the Maestro sampler set.

Really beautiful leaves, like a tin full of little ampersands. Not just gold, but a range of colors that ends somewhere with dark green.

I love how Yunnan smells, dry leaf, wet leaf, steeped tea-all of it. This has a rich, smooth malty scent with tangy, champagne-like high notes, but it’s more complex than that. There’s something that’s almost like tobacco, something almost like cocoa. A lot going on.

Peachy-golden in the cup with a wonderful malty-leathery aroma. The flavor is interesting and I wonder whether I should try it with more leaf. It’s not as rich as I expected, but it’s very smooth, and leaves a really pleasant, sweet hay-like aftertaste. Like with the Yunnan gold, I can taste something that I am sure is what is described as pepper, but without the spicy kick of pepper.

I should try this next to the Yunnan Gold some day as I quite liked that one as well, and see how they compare. Since it has been a while and I don’t really remember that one apart from my notes, I’m rating this the same for now as a sort of placeholder.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

Another tea I bought way back when but never even got to open before life intervened. The BF was very interested in it this morning, so I opened up the packet.

Wow. The dry leaf smells just like the ice cream tastes-sweet and nutty and buttery, and a good bit of that smell carries over into the steeped tea. The flavor is really true to its name, too. In judging teas like this, I give lots of points for trueness to the name. But it’s clearly tea as well, with a black base that plays nicely. Every now and then it comes to the fore but just enough to wave hello.

What I like best about this is that before I tried it, I thought it would probably need to be sweetened or to have milk added to make the flavor taste like what’s in the ice cream. BUT NO! It’s lovely and sweet enough as is, sans any additional caloric content. (For me, anyway. The kids took a sip and said “needs sugar.”)

Of course, those who snooze lose in the 52 teas game, and this is no longer available. I will have to husband my supply.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Yvonne

I wanna try this so badly it hurts!

__Morgana__

Maybe we can petition Frank to bring it back!

Yvonne

Good idea!

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92

Sipdown no. 17 for 2014. First cup of the day. Getting a late start today because I stayed in bed, it being a holiday in the US, and watched the Tivo’d first episode of Sherlock, series III, and the little documentary afterwards.

All that stuff I said yesterday about the flavors having come unbalanced? Today this is working just fine for whatever reason. Isn’t it funny how tea does that? I suspect there’s actually a reason, which is that I used a bit more leaf today.

I’m sorry to see it go and I definitely want to get more, whenever the day comes. Meanwhile, I have lots more ATR samples to try.

The peanuts, by the way, each had a tiny sip and decided this wasn’t for them. Not really surprised, and secretly relieved given the label says caffeine content: high.

sherapop

Sorry to be obtuse, but “sipdown” means that you finished it off and have removed it from your cupboard line up? Thanks for the clarification.

__Morgana__

Sipdown in my case means there’s no longer any in the house-last of the sample, or the tin, or the box, or whatever container I have. Not all of what I have is in my Steepster cupboard, but if I take something out of the cupboard, I’ll mention that. ;-)

K S

Mogana sipdown means the same to me. I don’t use the cupboard.

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90
drank Lemon Drop Cooler by 52teas
1155 tasting notes

Once upon a time, I was searching for the perfect lemon blend. It has been a while, and I don’t really recall how the things I tried on that search tasted. I’ve read back over my notes and I see that some were disappointing and some were quite good.

Apparently, I didn’t get around to trying this one and I wish I had.

I can’t now remember where this would rate among the others I’ve tried so I sort of have to start over, but damn, it’s a GREAT lemon, even given its age. The sad part is that I checked the 52 Teas site and it’s, of course, long gone.

In the package, the lemon smell is divine. Rich, sweet, tart, no bitterness, and the honeybush is definitely in the background.

After steeping, it’s a milder smell, but retains the character it had before steeping. The flavor is a really nice lemon. Not bitter, like some I’ve tasted, not too tart. Just when I thought it might take a tart turn, the sweetness would come back. And I am not even aware of the honeybush.

I can only imagine what this was like in its prime. I wish I’d gotten to taste it then and stocked up!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
Yvonne

This sounds like you wouldn’t even need any sweeteners – delicious.

__Morgana__

No, I am drinking it straight up and it’s sweet enough as is!

Yvonne

I think the last time I had honeybush (Honey Bee by DT) I made the mistake of adding sweetener, and it was awfully, awfully sweet…
That reminds me, I need to remake that one sometime.

TheTeaFairy

Sounds great! Ah! Lemon…i personally stopped buying lemon flavoured teas…dunno what I’m looking for exactly, maybe it’s unachievable, but I never seem to get it. Too bad, love anything and everything else lemon…

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85
drank Bamboo Shoots by TeaFrog
1155 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 16 for 2014. Another sample in the “to be drunk soon” box that I didn’t get to during my last tea tasting frenzy.

The dry leaf has so many interesting shapes and colors in it. ;-) The red peppercorns are really pretty. They look like miniature holly berries against the green of the tea. I can see little squares of what must be the papaya or the pineapple (probably papaya because of the color). And the little cardamom pods! The dry leaf has a mostly sweet scent to it with just a hint of spice.

The liquor is golden and smells very fruity. I get a lot of pineapple in the aroma.

I’ve had some bad experiences with flavored greens, but not so here! Very tasty and not at all bitter. Not as toasty-ricey as I expected, though there’s a hint around the edges, and I’m not getting the spice I thought I’d get with the pepper and cardamom (though there’s a peppery kick to the aftertaste that’s playing with the tip of my tongue). I get mostly pineapple, as a gentle fruity flavor. As I was sipping I wondered where the bamboo was, but I’m getting it, a long with the toasty rice, in the finish. I should perhaps have steeped this a bit longer. I also suspect that with teas like this with all the various ingredients a lot depends on the individual makeup of your sample. I’d drink it again, though I don’t love it enough to buy it.

And now I really must detach myself from the internet and go write something. Alas, I fear I will not be successful.

ETA: The fruity tea lover in the house, the BF, had one word for this.
“Aces.” I’m bumping the rating because he’s more of the target audience than I am. I’d give it a 75. He’d give it, I’m sure, at least a 90. So I’m putting it at 85. I also have to revise my prediction as to whether I would buy this, because he’s already asking if there’s more!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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Bio

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. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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