913 Tasting Notes


I finished this off last night after coming home from watching Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in the theatre. The theatre near us is doing this “digital film festival” thing and bringing a bunch of old classics to the screen. So yesterday my hubby and I watched both The Road Warrior and Ghostbusters in the theatre. In a few hours we’ll be watching Labyrinth, so I can bask in the wonder of David Bowie’s Magic Pants Dance.

I don’t know, but The Road Warrior really bummed me out last night. It was a fun movie, and it definitely had a spark of something interesting in it, an authenticity and uniqueness. But it also acted as a trigger for a source of anxiety I don’t talk about very much: climate change. Thinking about stories set in a post-scarcity world always freaks me out because I can’t help thinking we’re close to the cliff’s edge, about to catapult into such a world, and I think that if only I had turned my lights off more or used less plastic, we’d be a bit farther away from that cliff.

Anyways. What I mean is that I really wasn’t in the best frame of mind when finishing this tea off last night. Thinking about the fate of the world and the possibility of living in a scarred, ravaged landscape doesn’t really go well with herbal tea.


Actually, it’s the people who worry about turning off lights and using less plastic who are the solution, not the problem. :-)

Christina / BooksandTea

Well yeah, but those are the easy things. Do I invest in green energy companies? No. Do I write to my local representative to advocate for certain pieces of legislation? No. Do I donate my time or money to environmental initiatives? Not really. Small changes surrounding personal consumption aren’t really enough to turn things around.

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Sample sipdown – this was a swap from Sil at the Tea Festival yesterday (holy alliteration, batman!)

This smelled like grapefruit dry, and it still smells pretty citrusy brewed. I’m surprised by how true to taste and tart the tea is, and how well the hibiscus is blending in. This tastes kind of like really sour orange juice, and the flavour of the orange peel is bang on. I also get a hint of chamomile here, even though it’s not included in the ingredient list.


the tea bags are totally from MissB and her adventures in all fairness. You just weren’t around when we were knee deep in her teas. I found a few i had stashed away so figured you should get some of the fun too!

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Sipdown backlog from a few days ago.

I generally dislike teas that are heavy on peppermint (I prefer spearmint), and I really dislike white chocolate, so I wasn’t really looking forward to trying this. But I summoned the courage when I got it in a gift box set.

It’s not bad, but not that great. Minty, chocolatey, meh.

Sami Kelsh

That’s funny because I like peppermint but not spearmint! Wacky. :)

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Another sample from the Toronto Tea festival yesterday. Not that bad, from what I remember, but not something I’m aching to keep with me.

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I had this as a sample at the Toronto Tea Festival yesterday. And thank god I got to try some without shelling money for it, because I disliked this.

Maybe it’s just me, but this reminded me an awful lot of cough syrup. The stevia didn’t help.


Maybe someone at DavidsTea has misspelled it. sTEAvia. So it just goes into everything because it’s tea, right? ;)

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I had a small sample of this at the Toronto Tea Festival yesterday, and it really did taste and smell like fruit loops! There must be some vanilla or pastry seasoning here in the blend in order to accomplish that.

It was tasty, but lord I have way too much tea already! I resisted buying this.


Sounds awesome! Glad you went. :D

Evol Ving Ness

I enjoyed this one. By the time I sampled it, it was already sold out.


bought some but haven’t tried anything from the festival yet haha


This one does sound tasty :)


I got lucky, this one was sold out by the time I got around to asking :P

Evol Ving Ness

We both got lucky then. :) :)

Sorry I missed you later. I only stayed for a couple of hours today and then quick overwhelm. Left at about 2:30 or so. Hope you enjoyed your afternoon.


No worries, its easy to get overwhelmed the first year you go especially! I spent the afternoon catching up with people from the Tea Guild that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I love the energy, everyone was so excited :)

Evol Ving Ness

yes, there was a nice buzz in the air. it was good to be a part of that.


Definitely! Some of our tea guild meetings are like that as well. So much fun.

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The dry leaf is long and twisted, dark forest green, and somewhat feathery. It looks lovely. But more than that, it smells amazing — rich, buttery, and floral. The floral creaminess and grainy undertones intensify when the leaf gets warmed up in the gaiwan, and the whole thing reminds me of uncooked jasmine rice, or butter on toast.

The first steep was 40 seconds long, and the resulting brew was clear and light golden, with an intensely floral and buttery smell reminiscent of magnolias or gardenias. Wow! The aftertaste was sweet and grassy, and played along the sides of my tongue. The second steep was a bit darker.

It’s also stronger in flavour and more distinctly floral than the first steep; it reminded me of perfume. The third steep was similar to the second, but it had a more mineral, sweet aftertaste.

Overall, the tea stayed pretty consistent from steep to steep — I did about 8 steeps, and while the last few were more mineral, the colour didn’t change much.

I also have to note that the tea leaf was very high quality, because there were very few instances of broken leaf or tea dust clogging my strainer as I poured the liquid out into my cup. The wet leaf for the spent tea was a deep spinach green.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/01/sanne-tea-samples-oriental-beauty-and-bao-zhong-oolong/

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The dry leaf is dark, curly, and multicoloured, with yellow and white flashes throughout; it smelled of plums and honey. However, after I steeped it, the sweet smell deepened into something closer to tobacco.

The first steep was for 60 seconds, and resulted in a cup of light amber liquid with sweet, papery, and woody overtones. On my tongue, it was sweet and woody, and there was also a flavour slipping along the bottom that made me think of birch bark — dry, cool, wispy, papery. The mouthfeel was thick and it coated my tongue, providing a metallic aftertaste and a syrupy sweetness similar to Thompson raisins.

The second steep was much darker than the first, with a deeper amber colour like beer. The flavour also intensified, with notes of raisins, honey and birch bark coming to the fore. I noticed that the quality of the leaf was very high; I found very few broken leaves, leaf fragments, or dust in my strainer or cup.

The third steep was even darker and stronger-tasting than that, although the honey flavour receded. Instead of sweetness, I tasted metal. The fourth steep was fairly similar to the third steep. However, as I continued to steep (I did 7-8 in total), I noticed that the mouthfeel became thinner, dryer, and woodier.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/01/sanne-tea-samples-oriental-beauty-and-bao-zhong-oolong/

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Sipdown from a swap from Lala.

Maybe I’m not brewing it right, but I’m getting really fruity notes rather than the malty ones I was expecting. Either way, I’m not feeling this, but am glad to have another tea out of the way.

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Backlog and sipdown

I finally finished this off the other day – I looked at what was in the tin and decided to overleaf my teapot to get rid of the remainder. It’s long past its prime. I’m sad, but I’m sure that there are equivalent blends out there. Besides, this was one of the oldest teas in my cupboard.

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Updated February 2014:

I’m a writer and editor who’s fallen for loose-leaf tea hard. Within a year of joining Steepster, I’ve spent at least $500 on tea, and gotten a whole bunch in swaps! At this point I’ve got a better handle on what I like and dislike, but I’m sure that there will always be more to discover.

Likes: Green tea, sobacha, fruit flavours, masala chais, jasmine, mint, citrus, ginger, Ceylons, Chinese blacks.

Dislikes (or at least generally disinclined towards): Hibiscus, rosehip, chamomile, licorice, lavender.

Things I’m on the fence about: Oolong, vanilla (I prefer it mixed with black teas or rooibos rather than green tea), white teas.

Still need to do my research on: pu’er teas.

I rarely score teas anymore, but if I do, here’s the system I follow:

100-85: A winner!
84-70: Pretty good. This is a nice, everyday kind of tea.
69-60: Decent, but not up to snuff.
59-50: Not great. Better treated as an experiment.
49-0: I didn’t like this, and I’m going to avoid it in the future. Blech.


Toronto, ON, Canada



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