1153 Tasting Notes

Sipdown no. 16 of 2016 (no. 227 total).

So this not so happy thing happened.

I was looking forward to trying this sample, which I got when I got my yixing, for days. I even remembered that I’d had peppermint in the Breville last night and did an extra long rinse to get rid of the peppermint aroma so as to be sure it wouldn’t affect the flavor of this sample.

Alas, despite my efforts, I taste peppermint in this. Ugh.

The leaves were so pretty, dark and golden, “superfine” in texture (they weren’t kidding), and smelled so sweet. But I taste peppermint.

I can sort of make out a sweet honey note and a bready note, but mostly I taste peppermint.

And I didn’t win the powerball. Dammit. When I bought my ticket, I asked the woman to sell me the winning ticket, but she didn’t. Fraud!

And then there is the double whammy of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

Not rating this, because peppermint.

I think I may go back to bed now.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Christina / BooksandTea

Ah, that’s sad. This is one of my favourites. It’s definitely a keeper.

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drank Sweet Dreams by Todd & Holland
1153 tasting notes

Backlogging from last night. Another tisane sample cracked open.

The BF’s tummy was upset and this looked like a promising tummy soother. It seemed to work for him.

Flavor wise, it’s mostly peppermint. The ginger and lemon are discernible, more ginger than lemon, but it’s more about the mint than anything else.

It was nothing special flavorwise, but gets big points for being soothing in a medicinal sort of way.

Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Peppermint

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

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drank Hojicha by Kusmi Tea
1153 tasting notes

I didn’t recall that I had a couple of Kusmi green teas. I found them when I did the “inventory.” This is the first time I’ve tasted this one.

The brown roasty leaves smelled like fried rice in the tin. The tea has a ricey, roasty aroma that runs right up to nutty.

The liquor is clear and a light yellow with a coppery tinge.

It’s been a while since I had a hojicha that didn’t seem to taste like dust because it was past its prime, but this one, fortunately, kept well in its multiple layers of sealant (interior cellophane, tin, exterior cellophane). It’s tasty; less ricey than its aroma and nuttier, with a caramel note that is subtle but pleasant.

I’ll be sad when I’ve sipped down my Japanese teas. I’m still hesitant to eat sushi or buy any food products from Japan. No one is talking about the nuclear reactor anymore but the last I heard, it was still giving radiation off into the ocean. I haven’t googled it recently, though.

Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Rice, Roasted

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

Much as I hate to give up Japanese sencha, I worry about this too, especially since there’s been no word of an actual solution to the problem, and it appears that there’s little news coverage simply because no one knows what to do about it. Also, some of the actions of the Japanese government seem pretty shady, I know they raised the limit of what they considered “acceptable” radiation levels.


Yunomi is safe. They don’t sell products grown in affected areas. Or, well… At least, I trust them if they say that. They’re a reputable company.

I mean, if you drink tea from China, you might be consuming lead. It’s sort of a…pick your poison if you’re a regular tea drinker — and then don’t worry too much about it. Just enjoy the tea.


(And I say this as someone with a compromised immune system, stage III chronic kidney failure and a neuromuscular degenerative disaese affecting my mobility. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t give medical advice… But I’ve sort of taken an attitude that I don’t worry about something unless solid scientific research tells me I must.)


Yeah, I’ve had this discussion before about pesticides, etc. Of course, there are all kinds of things that could be in tea. I just have a phobia about radiation but not about those other things. :-)


Ah, understandable. I think my main phobia with tea is things I can see. So after hearing about someone finding a tooth pick in their shou, I’m sort of terrified of…rodent remains or something. Which wouldn’t hurt me. I just wouldn’t drink the tea. It’s just… Some things kind of ruin a thing forever for me, you know?

I don’t worry as much about pesticides, I think…probably because I’d rather drink chemicals than animal manure when it’s used on organic tea.

Are there this many possible concerns with coffee, I wonder?

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drank Classic Black by Art of Tea
1153 tasting notes

Trying this hot today. Nice earthy smell to the dry leaves. Dark reddish mahogany liquor, and an amazing aroma. At first, it was deep and chocolately, and then became something fruity, plums I think. But such a strong, fruity aroma, almost as strong as I’ve smelled in some flavored blacks. Pretty wild.

The flavor is smooth, and fruity/chocolatey. Almost reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries, but not fakey or overly sweet in the way those cherries are. There is some sweetness in the aftertaste, though. An almost brown sugary one.

The only negative to my palate is a tiny bit of bitterness at the finish, but it’s not a huge downside. Just enough to keep this out of the mid-90s.

I like this one a lot. Tasty and also versatile as a cold brew. I expect it would be awesome in chai as well.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Plums, Sugar

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Mmm. Sounds nice.

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Breaking open a new tisane sample. I’m getting close to the end of my tisanes, which will open up all sorts of buying opportunities. LOL

This is a chunky fruit blend. The orange “edges” are the biggest chunks, followed by the strawberries. I can see the lemongrass as well.

It has a pretty decent orange smell in the packet. Not medicinal, not tang-like. The hibiscus gives it a gorgeous garnet color. The aroma is orange, and pretty tempting.

The taste is pretty interesting. There’s a slight bitterness, but it doesn’t taste like it’s from the hibiscus. It tastes like it’s from the orange peel. I wouldn’t call it particularly sour, or particularly sweet, but it’s actually pretty pleasant. The orange flavor isn’t as strong as I’d like. I taste the strawberry in there, and I wish that I didn’t, or alternatively that it was billed as orange-strawberry. If there was more orange, I’d be totally sold on this.

I’m weird in that one of my favorite flavors for things is orange. Since I don’t often see orange flavored tisanes, this might be one for the buy pile.

Flavors: Hibiscus, Orange, Strawberry

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

I really like orange flavored things as well. A strawberry-orange tea sounds tasty.

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drank Pharoah's Dream by Sanctuary T
1153 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 15 of 2016 (no. 226 total). The last of the green tea sampler.

The dry leaves looked like the gunpowder of yesterday with some mint leaves among them and smelled quite minty. The steeped tea is a clear golden yellow and smells minty and grassy. It actually has a pretty interesting note, like very fresh water from a glacier or stream. I think that’s the mint at work as well.

It’s a nice Moroccan mint tea, refreshing, light and tasty. Good on a throat that isn’t yet back to where it should be.

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Mint, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Classic Black by Art of Tea
1153 tasting notes

A name like Classic Black sort of begged for being made into a cold brew, so my first encounter with this puppy is in icy mode. And it is, in fact, an excellent cold tea. There’s a softness and smoothness to the mouthfeel that is quite nice and though the flavor doesn’t call attention to itself, there’s some complexity. A touch of sweetness, a touch of fruitiness, and much “essence of teaness.”

I am looking forward to trying this one hot.

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Sipdown no. 14 of 2016 (225 total). A sample, the second to last of the samples in the green tea sampler.

This is an interesting putty-green color in the packet, with some rolled leaves and some that are less rolled. It smells vaguely smokey before steeping, and after steeping it has an interesting aroma. Slight butter and vegetal, with a smokey, woodsy edge. The liquor is a rich liquid butter yellow and clear.

I have a bit of a sore throat today, and this is gentle and soothing to the throat. It’s a mellow tea, not sweet, but not bitter, with a richness to it that goes deeper than a lighter vegetal green. The smokey, woodsy edge does come through in the flavor, but it is somewhat subtle. It’s really a great tea for me today; it’s pushing all my yum buttons.

P.S. Steepster thinks I’ve rated 599 teas. This isn’t true. I will be celebrating 600 soon, but in three more teas than Steepster thinks, because I have two teas in my log I have never tasted and can’t figure out how to remove. And I have a joke entry for “wine” which is what I was drinking one year on my birthday.

Flavors: Butter, Smoke, Vegetal, Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

If you click on “Edit”, then down on the bottom right is “Delete this Note”. :)


Yeah, there’s no note to delete. It just shows up in my log no matter what I do.


@__Morgana__, nice review! @OMGsrsly, you beat me to it :D ha ha!


@__Morgana__ are you sure theres no edit button?? i deleted one of mine that had no note :/


There never was a note (that I added) because I didn’t drink the two teas involved. So there is nothing to delete.
But somehow I must have accidentally clicked something I shouldn’t have, and now I have two teas in my tealog that I never drank.


That’s weird. I’ve accidentally added teas with no notes and been able to delete them…


Sure seems like it should be able to be done, but I haven’t hit upon a way to do it.


Here’s an example. See the “invisible” note on this page? I see a note that has no content, but when I try to click on it, I get an error message. This is what I think is keeping the tea in my log.



doesn’t even show up :O


@__Morgana__, contact steepster support


Oh wow!

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drank Tangerine Dream by Sanctuary T
1153 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 13 of 2016 (no. 224 total). Another green tea sampler sample.

In the packet it smells like, I kid you not, latex paint. Fortunately, it doesn’t smell like that once steeped. There’s an orangey or really a more generally citrussy note and a butter yellow, clear liquor.

The flavor is strange. It’s not really tangerine tasting to me, though I know what about it is supposed to taste like that and I suppose there is a sort of flavor to it that is a very subtle version of a orange flavored chewing gum flavor. Which is, at least, preferable to baby aspirin, which is another thing that orange flavor often evokes.

It’s not bad tasting, it’s just that I really love tangerines and had high hopes for a tangerine flavored tea (the only other one I remember having was an Adagio that wasn’t to my taste either). This one is sort of an off-orange flavor and didn’t meet my expectations.

Flavors: Orange

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Yunnan Tippy Mao Feng by Andao
1153 tasting notes

Another of the Andao teas that I never got around to opening before the company went kaput.

At least I had the foresight to buy some yunnans.

This one has really pretty dry leaves. Long and twisty, with more dark than blond but still a nice variation in color from the tips. A malty, cocoa scent from the dry leaves.

The steeped tea is clear and brandy-colored, and it smells bready with a hint of pepper.

The flavor carries some of that breadiness over. It’s medium bodied, with a bit of perk to it. It isn’t sugary sweet like some yunnans, but it does have a gently sweet aftertaste. More cocoa than honey.

I’m going to enjoy sipping down this one.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Pepper

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 6 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

Oh, that sounds tasty.

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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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