932 Tasting Notes

“Trip to Changtai, vol. 7”

This is definitely the thickest semi-aged puerh I’ve had to date. To be honest, it’s overwhelming. The tea starts of ridiculously thick with medicinal, tobacco and camphor tastes and a balanced, aged, calm feel. It develops a caramel flavor as steeps progress and that sweetness is very evident in the aroma. It also quickly turns sandy-tongue astringent and bitter but but it’s an alkaline flatness instead of an engaging bitterness. The very thick character amplifies the flat alkaline taste and mutes the feel of the tea in general. Didn’t bother going beyond 7 infusions. It’s… interesting. Like the flat character, it left me feeling as such.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Camphor, Caramel, Dark Wood, Herbaceous, Leather, Medicinal, Smoked, Sweet, Thick, Tobacco, Wood

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drank Lavender Earl Grey by Cuppa Geek
932 tasting notes

Advent Day 21, From the Depths of the Grab Bag. We’re a little behind, plus there’s more than 24 teas in the bag.

sniffs the packet "Oh. Oh boy. "

Would you like something else tonight?

“No, let’s do it.”

I brew it up.

“At least this smells similar to the candle we’re burning. (I think it’s lavender-scented) Maybe a little ginger in there? Smells nice.”

What does it smell like?

“It smells a little floral. Smells floral and a little spicy. And there’s something, um, something like ginger in taste and maybe something like lavender or something. I like it. It’s not too bad. The black tea is not real tannic. I like it. I think it’s pretty good. It smells so nice, like a potpourri. It’s got a little bite. I think it’s not these… picks up the bag of Flamin’ Hot Keto cheetohs she was snacking on I’d say it’s an 8. I could drink it again. What is that stuff the Persian tea has in it? (referring to this: https://steepster.com/teas/alvins-of-san-francisco/36266-persian-choice-royal-earl-grey). I can never remember that name. short pause Bergamot!”

It’s a simple tea. You pretty much nailed it. It’s Lavender Earl Grey.

“Alright!! OK!! Haha-HAHA! I like it, I like it. It’s a solid 8 for sure. Did it have any ginger in there?”


“It must’ve been the cheetohs, haha!” burrrrrp

Mastress Alita

I love me some LEG, but I would never think to pair it with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Martin Bednář

Another note that made me laugh :)


She’s a strange bird. The flamin’ hot… I guess they’re flamin’ hot keetos? were gross. Dear Glorb.

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What is Laponic? I don’t know. A made-up French word?

Here’s a tin of tea, the last from a long-ago swap with ashmanra. Why did I not try this last holiday season?

This tea evokes many memories of my first job at 15, a wrap we made, specifically the pinto beans we put in it. The tea’s not at all beany, though. Basil is the strongest note for me, dried, savory. Cedar flavor provides a cool, woodsy tone. The blackberry leaf is very mellow in its flavor and sweetness. The base white tea is also mellow and slightly vegetal. There’s a very light tang I think provided by the berries.

Gentle tea, rejuvenating like a light broth. I like it. It reminds me also of Ohio and hiking in late fall through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Forest understory, maybe? Hemlock growing in secret locations atop sandstone ledges, narrow, silvery waterfalls disappearing down beech ravines, brambles lining meadows. God, Ohio has some modest beauty.

Whatever Laponic means, it’s a comforting, gentle tea to have on Christmas day as the rain falls in straight lines from the low, grey sky.

Merry Christmas :)

Flavors: Broth, Cedar, Forest Floor, Herbaceous, Herbs, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
White Antlers

I may be wrong, but I think the word means referring to/related to Lapland. In light of the notes you wrote, that would make sense.


Merry Christmas! And I am glad you enjoyed it!

Cameron B.

Merry Christmas, to you and Kiki too!

Martin Bednář

White Antlers is correct. Lapland is an area in Finland, partially Sweden, Norway and Russia. Unfortuantely I haven’t been there; but I would like to one day. And this tea sounds just amazing. And somehow indeed Nordic to me. I wonnder why basil though; but somehow… it just reminds me Finland. Maybe it’s the Laponic?

White Antlers

Martin I want to visit Lapland, too. I have been fascinated by the Sami people and their culture for decades. Perhaps we’ll have a tea meeting there someday!


I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas? The better to stay in and sip with!


Let’s meet in Lapland, please!

Martin Bednář

That would be awesome experience :D Steepster Meet in Lapland!


I’m pretty sure that a Laponic is a cocktail comprising equal parts gin, kahlua, cognac, and light rum that is garnished with lemon.

White Antlers

eastkyteaguy-It’s both; the drink you described and also referring to or relating to Lapland.

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Advent Day 20, From the Depths of the Grab Bag.

Kiki’s confused again by the smell of the packet. “Smells like butterscotch. Butterscotch again? I wonder what makes me think that.”

I sniff, I say it smells like vanilla and redfruits, medicinal.

“That must be what makes me think butterscotch — vanilla. I think because it may not be natural vanilla.”

You mean like vanilla beans?

“Yeah, yeah, I think that’s what I mean. It’s not like vanilla beans. But I do smell something red like cherries. It reminds me of cough syrup.”

“I think it’s— I like the black tea better with the vanilla, better than without the black tea. I think it’s got a little rosehip in there maybe. Some kind of fruity thing but mostly vanilla. I don’t know if it’s astringent from the rosehip or the black tea. And that’s basically all I’m tasting. It’s okay, I’d say it’s a 7. It tastes okay. So what is it? Black tea with vanilla?”

Well, it’s called Chocolate Covered Snowballs.

She makes a funny face. “Okay.” Finishes the mug.

It didn’t taste like chocolate to you?

“Now that you say it, I guess so. Not compared to that good chocolate we ate earlier this morning. I guess I should know that when it smells like butterscotch, it’s probably chocolate haha.”

There’s also berries in it. Blueberries.

“It had a little fruity but…”

And there’s peppermint and teeny tiny candy cane flakes in it.

“I didn’t smell ’em.”

There are no rosehips in it, so it was probably the black tea that was astringent.

“It’s still a 7. Merry Christmas!”


This review made me laugh. Merry Christmas, Kiki and Derk!


There’s always room for laughs :) Merry Christmas, Leafhopper :)


Merry Christmas.

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This tisane fits a specific circumstance for me, that of waking up much too early with a racing mind and needing a soothing, warm beverage to cradle me back to sleep, or to at least gently lead me into the dawn hour. I said before this is liquid biscotti to soothe the sad-sack soul. I firmly lie by this notion, under the warmth of a down comforter and the heaviness of a weighted blanket, feeling grateful for the riches bestowed upon me.

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drank Baked Apple Pie by Cuppa Geek
932 tasting notes

Advent Day 20, From the Depths of the Grab Bag.

I’m falling asleep over here on the couch, so this is really short.

“smells tutti frutti juicyfruit gum.

tastes kinda peachlike, maybe some red clover

i like it, it’s good. it’s a good number 9. very tasty, very satisfying, i love it! apple! cinnamon?"

<me, sleepy> Baked Apple Pie

“tastes like apple pie, smells like apple pie. nine-plus.”


I haven’t picked a CG favorite just yet, but this is definitely in the running!

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drank Christmas Tea Vert by Dammann Freres
932 tasting notes

Advent 24, 2 of 2 :)

I had to close two big projects for customers and tie up all the loose ends before I could leave for the day. Both guys didn’t end up contacting me until 2 hours before the end of my shift, so I had to hustle to get everything done. I came home surprisingly exhausted.

The tea. I could smell bubblegum in the dry leaf and was confused because this doesn’t contain any of the gingerbread flavoring that I thought was the culprit for this impression in other Dammann Frères teas. The base scent was very fruity, with apple and orange but somehow also like fruit punch. The bitter almond came out as a marzipan note, with cinnamon and ginger accents softened by vanilla.

Steeped up, this is a pretty delicately flavored green tea with a gentle, spicy-sweet and fruity aroma. The base green tea is thick and a bit brisk with a grassy-dry grass tone. On the sip, I can taste almond followed by soft and sweet cinnamon and mild ginger. The taste overall is interesting. It reminds me a bit of fruity-mineral sauvignon blanc or a white sangria. But I can also taste the well integrated mild spices. The swallow leaves a soft cinnamon-vanilla whipped butter with almond. It calls to mind, dare I say — I don’t want to dissapoint — churros. The aftertaste lingers lightly with a very natural and gentle apple-cinnamon flavor.

This tea was a pleasant wind down and a cup to gently lift my spirits :) It has smooth tastes overall but is more disjointed in how those tastes spread across the palate.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apple Skins, Butter, Cinnamon, Dry Grass, Ginger, Grass, Marzipan, Mineral, Orange, Smooth, Thick, Vanilla, White Wine

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drank Christmas Tea by Dammann Freres
932 tasting notes

Advent 24, 1 of 2 :)

The cherry flavoring is different than any of the other blends featured in this year’s advent calendar. It’s maraschino, as opposed to plain ‘cherry’, and I can certainly smell it as more of a cough syrup note than a fruity, bright cherry. Not to worry, though, since that medicinal aroma smooths out in the tea. There is a soft, sweet undercurrent of caramel and the brightness of the pineapple, while I can’t necessarily taste it, lifts up that big, round cherry middle. The orange seems to be a solid link between the pineapple and cherry.

I get the feeling this is the same black tea base used in most of these blends. I can taste it’s woody briskness and love its smooth, thick body. I’ve never tasted tobacco in these black tea blends but here I think the maraschino cherry flavoring interacts with the black tea to produce a tobacco tone.

This is probably my favorite of the cherry flavored blacks that have been part of this advent season :)

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Medicinal, Orange, Overripe Cherries, Pineapple, Smooth, Thick, Tobacco, Wood

Martin Bednář

That sounds pretty much good! Hmm, cherry + black tea, without any cough syrup? And pineapple with orange. I guess it says Christmas to me, or at least festive!

By the way, you got a message from me here on Steepster :)

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drank Happy Dreams by Dammann Freres
932 tasting notes

Advent 23.

Well, I oversteeped this since I was enthralled with Kiki’s reaction to the CuppaGeek Blackberry Lavender I made for her this evening.

Major lemongrass with a nice, soft vanilla-creamy finish. It’s clean and thick and just very nice despite my non-love for lemongrass and lemony cream flavor. I wish I hadn’t oversteeped. Even with my neglect, I couldn’t taste the star anise, of which there were 3 or 4 seeds in the sachet. I ended up cracking them open with my teeth and am going to do a second steep to see if I can pull anything else from this tisane.

Flavors: Creamy, Lemongrass, Thick, Vanilla

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drank Blackberry Lavender by Cuppa Geek
932 tasting notes

Advent Day 19, From the Depths of the Grab Bag.

sniffs packet repeatedly “Mmmm it smells good! Fruity. Strawberry? Some kind of berry?”

dunks the steeper, the one sent by CuppaGeek with a different order “Let’s take a smell. buries face in the steam It smells like incense doesn’t it??”

<me, digging the smell of this tea> I smell… hrm no, I think it smells like what was in the packet.

“In the packet? Yeah. K. It smells like strawberries, maybe a little blueberry or something. Incense-like.”

sip “Oh, it’s a little spicy.” sips more, looking confused

<me, offering advice> Maybe you should let it sit for a few minutes to cool down. With some black teas the flavor comes out more as it cools.

long swigs and sniffs “I like it. It smells good. I can’t tell what it is. … That was good. I liked it.”

<me, surprised> You’re already done?!

“Yeah that was really good. I liked it. I’d say it was a 9. deep belch MmM! I’d drink it again.”

<me, pressing, because I want to buy her a few of her favorites from this advent> And again?

“Yeah and again. Yeah. Look. Boom! sips dregs from mug Huh that tasted like licks lips perfume. It smelled so good. Very nice.”


Omg, she just sucked the juice from the bottom of the steeper.

Cameron B.

I love how she goes from strawberries and blueberry to “incense-like”, LOL!


I am picturing this whole delightful scene unfolding! LOLOL


Oh it’s great that you’re going to buy her the favorites! :D

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Tea Habits:

Among my favorites are sheng puerh, Taiwanese oolong, a variety of black (red) teas from all over, all teas Nepali, herbals, Wuyi yancha. I keep a few green and white teas on hand. Shou puerh is a cold weather brew. Tiny teapots and gaiwans are my usual brewing vessels when not preparing morning cups western style and pouring into my work thermos. Friend of teabags. Hold the milk and sugar unless we’re talking masala chai.

In my late teens, home-brewed unsweetened Lipton iced tea was the drink of choice to combat cottonmouth. The following years saw the appearance of the odd box of tea from Trader Joe’s. About 4 years ago, walking out of the parking garage where I kept my motorcycle, I came across a move-out dumpster treasure: single serve packets of what I can look back now and say was Wuyi yancha. Yes, I drank dumpstered tea and honestly, that’s what blew the doors wide open.

Preference Reference
“That’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be great daily drinkers.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possesses off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Character Rundown:

Boring pandemic hermit whose only current hobbies besides tasting tea are skateboarding and learning herbalism. Will update as the times change.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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