953 Tasting Notes


Second tea of the morning and now poised for sipdown tomorrow.

I realized that in addition to the Butter Pecan and the Irish Cream, I still have some Coconut Cream Pie from 52Teas. I like all of these so they’ll all be enjoyable to sip down.

As has been this one. If the flavor had been just a little stronger on both the cashew and the white chocolate sides, I would have bumped this up to the excellent category. It isn’t that it isn’t really nicely done. I just want more flavor from it.

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Sipdown no. 121 of the year 2014. I almost typed 212. LOL. Wishful thinking.

My very generous teaspoon from DAVIDSTea polished this one off in two tastings. An equivalent of about four cups. Before, I was getting more out of the ATR samples, but in this case, I think going heavy on the leaf can only have helped.

It’s not something I’m going to buy, but I’m glad I got a chance to see what a decaf Earl Grey is like. I’ll be sticking to the caf versions.

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Drinking this while at the kids’ kung fu class. I’m a little conflicted about sipping it down, which it appears will happen sooner rather than later now that it is the default commuting tea. But for a really dumb reason. I just love the name.

It’s got the sour dough bread thing going today. It’s not a heavy breadiness such as I sometimes get from black teas. It’s more like the aftertaste of eating a really flavorful piece of hot, freshly baked sour dough.

I have to stop talking about bread now because I’m getting hungry….


Cool that they’re taking kung fu!


They really like it!

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Woke up this morning tired, not hungry, not thirsty, went through most of the day that way. Finally having my first tea of the day at almost 3 p.m.

It’s a little on the cold side because it sat for 44 minutes before I was able to get off the phone to drink it, but it’s pretty tasty. I think it would be good iced.

Now I want a nap.

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I’ve been meaning to try this sample for a while. I’m actually not sure what possessed me to buy it, as I don’t usually have any urge at all to drink Earl Grey except in the morning. I’m pretty sure it was one of those TRY ALL THE TEA moments that compelled me to stick this in the shopping basket.

The dry leaves smell strongly of a floral bergamot. After steeping, the bergamot note is much more of a citrus-y one but I can’t really discern the underlying tea. There’s a “decaf” aroma though. Something that smells like decaf. It reminds me vaguely of the smell you get from laundry detergent when you open the washer while it’s running. Not soapy but vaguely chlorine-y. Fortunately, that’s secondary to the bergamot aroma. The liquor is an amazing red. Garnet. Really gorgeous.

The flavor is about what I expected. It tastes like a rather watered down version of the
Earl Grey Sterling. It doesn’t have the maltiness of the Shanghai, which is why I picked on the Sterling. Being a decaf, though, this one doesn’t have nearly the fullness of flavor of the Sterling. It’s like an Earl Grey that’s been scrubbed against a washboard over and over until it grew thin and faded. Fortunately, the chlorine-y note in the aroma doesn’t show up in the flavor.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t had another Earl Grey decaf, so as far as I know, this is a strong example of the type. It’s not something I feel the need to keep in my cabinet, though. More because I don’t really feel like drinking Earl Grey when I’d want something decaf than because of this tea, though it does have that “less than” quality that so many decaf blacks have.

I won’t have trouble sipping this one down, but for reasons already explained, it’s a miss for me.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

i love this washboard comparison;)


Heh! Thanks!

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drank Silver Needle by Shanti Tea
953 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 120 of the year 2014. I’m having to do caffeine tonight to get in a daily sipdown… I steeped this one in the gaiwan this time.

Wow. What a difference. It’s like a completely different tea. It must be because of the amount of leaf, because I steeped at a lower temperature (175) and shorter (1 minute) than the first time.

The black tea undercurrent I mentioned in the original note is much more prominent. I’m reminded of the flavor of the green Darjeeling from Shanti, but instead of having the buttery vegetal plus Darjeeling, this one has a fresh, light snowy Darjeeling-y note.

I have a way to go before I feel comfortable that I’m getting silver needle completely right, but I finally feel I’m on the right track at least. Not sure this is the right silver needle for me, though. I have to shop around a bit before I settle down.

I am going to need something comforting after this because I had a disappointment earlier today. I suspected it was coming, because I knew this publisher was in trouble after a merger with another company than seems to have gone awry, but now it’s here. The first magazine to buy one of my speculative stories has announced that it’s releasing all the stories back to the authors. Essentially, they’re shutting down the magazine and all the magazines under the umbrella of this company. My story was supposed to be published (originally) last June, but never was, and then it was supposed to be published sometime before the end of this year. Now it’s been released back to me without seeing publication. It’s rather a saga and I won’t go into it further, but if you’re really interested I posted a note about it on my web site. So sad and disappointing. Such is the world of small presses, apparently.


Sorry to hear that your story is not going to be published… :((


Sorry. Good things will happen, they are just around the corner


Thanks guys. It sucks, but what can you do. I’m starting to feel oddly uplifted because at least the story isn’t in limbo anymore.


Ouch, that sucks :( But just like boychik said, it will all turn out great in the end :)


Definitely the world of small presses – but that just means now you have ownership of your work again to shop it around for an even better, higher-paying market! :)


Hehe, MissB, let’s hope so!

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Ah yes, much better than either of the other two yerba mates. Because tastes like peppermint, and only like peppermint for the first few sips. :-) Then the mouthful ’o dirt flavor starts to become apparent.

I thought this was the last of my yerba mates but it appears I also have a Teavana from the old tea of the month club subscription. MateVana. That one seems to have a lot of other stuff in it that may also be successful at masking the mate flavor at least for the first few sips.

Well, at least I know what not to get going forward. Mate has officially been added to my list of NO.

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This has become my commuting tea of late somewhat by default. I had hoped to co-opt the Tavalon Great White for that purpose but was disappointed by the flavor I got steeping that one western style. I suppose I could do a bunch of short steeps to toss into the Timolino but I’m usually pressed for time in the morning and that seems like a plan that would be frequently foiled.

I’ve found that in general, I tend to prefer somewhat lighter teas as companions for commuting or bopping around running errands. Greens or whites, mostly. This one is a green, but as I have mentioned, it’s a strange green in that it is much more substantial than most. It’s almost like a black tea in body and flavor.

But because of its unusual attributes, I’m not really sure when I’d drink it if I didn’t drink it in the car. It’s not hefty enough for a first morning tea, and its too hefty for an evening one. Hence the default commuting tea.

It’s actually lasting well beyond the commute because it isn’t as smooth of a sip as a Chinese or Japanese green. It’s a good tea. I’m just a little annoyed with it because I don’t like it enough to create a special time of day category for drinking it, and I’d much rather be drinking a lighter weight green on the commute.

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Second tea of the a.m. after the LeafSpa English Breakfast (which was pretty much the same as yesterday, so no new note).

I shook the packet this time. I’m getting much the same as I did the last time, but on looking back at my original note, I think there wasn’t all that much difference between my original tasting experience and my current ones. I still have the Cabury Fruit and Nut association, and I still get the cashew. I have to keep reminding myself that white chocolate is really butter and not chocolate, but once I do, I get the white chocolate, too.

In my original note, I seem to have been pleased with the subtle interplay of flavors and now I’m feeling like I’d rather be hit over the head with them a bit more. I don’t think the flavor has faded significantly from the original tasting, I just think that my expectations have changed given the much more potent flavoring in other 52teas blends.


I hear you. When I want my tea flavoured, I want it flavoured.


It’s funny, sometimes I really dig the subtly-flavored flavored teas as in those mysterious French blends. But 52teas blends are usually SO flavored that if one comes out subtle I wonder about it. LOL.

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drank Sleep Tight by TeaGschwendner
953 tasting notes

It seems I was so successful in cutting the caffeine intake, I took a nap as soon as I got home from work while the BF had the kids at kung fu. I needed that. I need more than that, but it’s a start.

That also meant I didn’t have much tea today. Which is a bummer.

And now I’m having this.

When dry, this tisane is so fluffy it’s a little scary. I think I’m making a dent in it, but every time I open the tin it seems to have increased in volume rather than decreased. Obviously, this can’t be true. Or can it? (Twilight Zone music.)

I wish I liked this better than I do. Then I wouldn’t care if it was in fact a bottomless tin.

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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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