257 Tasting Notes


What did I do before milk oolong? Seriously, what? I honestly don’t know. Bumping the rating up on this one a little because I just love it so much.

I’m on, like, my fourth litre of cold resteeps of this spoonful of leaves and I swear they’ve STILL not fully unfurled and every new tea is as magnificent as the last. SUCH JOY. Such creamy, green, almost melony joy. It’s the Friday before a long weekend, and everyone in my office has buggered off to the department head’s leaving do, so I’m all on my lonesome, catching up on tea and deciding where I want to go when I head into London with Gentleman on Sunday. It’s positively glacial in here. Bliss.

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I have learned a valuable lesson: lapsang and my thermos do not mix. Good Gosh, I love this tea, with its warming spice and smoke cutting through a background of smooth dark chocolate, but it’s going to have to soak in warm water and a squirt of washing up liquid for the entire bank holiday weekend, lest whatever I decide to have on Tuesday morning taste like campfire. How the heck does a stainless steel thermos retain so much flavour? I honestly thought I’d be safe with stainless steel!

It was totally worth it, though.


Could it be said that, um, the tea showed it was Master over the thermos. (ducks and hides)

Sami Kelsh

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! giggles

carol who

lol! Looks like someone else is celebrating the new Who coming up tomorrow with DW teas!

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Thank goodness it’s Gurpgork. I’m watching Captain America and oh, bless Bisexual Stevey Rogers’ little magical super face. Also, grilled cheese and tomato soup and SO MUCH TEA. I love that it feels less like oppressive summer and I feel like I can eat real food again. I love less that I totally didn’t sweat out any of my winter blubber over the summer. Ho hum.

Tea, though. I always think this is going to be crazy sweet, but there’s this sort of depth under it that keeps it in check and it’s just, like, a bit quietly sassy. The fruit lends a bit of sharpness over the caramelly richness and I might have been a touch overzealous in the sugar application today, but I might have also forgotten whether I’d put in one spoon or two and put in like half of a third by mistake. It’s still good, and I do have something of a sweet tooth, don’t you know.

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Oh civilisation! Tea! Actual tea! I’m so happy I could weep!

I like breaking the don’t-drink-earl-grey-with-milk rule more often than not, and always do with this one, and it’s so bloody precious. Can I describe a tea as precious? It’s got this creamy, slightly flowery fruitiness and a teensy bit of orangey sharpness, but mostly it just sort of makes me want to hug it. And tea and hugs are my two favourite things in the world, so yeah.

Also, got the advance copy of a book I did some art for today, and eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee IT IS THE BEST THING.

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Not gonna lie: I bought this because the box said it contained approximately 50 bags. We counted. There were 50. This was a waste of the word “approx,” really.

That being said, for like 2 quid it’s a decent standard tea. A bit malty and sweet, but a bit astringent for my taste, really. Mostly I bought it because I’m on holiday with Gentleman’s family (hence the lack of communications, what with there being NO SIGNAL IN CORNWALL) and I’m trying to ease them into knowing that I’m a little bit batshit when it comes to how seriously I take tea drinking. One person thought I was having a cup of seaweed. It was milk oolong. I can see this is going to be tough :(


I’m laughing out loud right now. I think we have all been there.


Lol, seaweed!

Cameron B.

I can totally see how someone who didn’t know better would compare oolong to seaweed… The leaves get so huge! :P

Sami Kelsh

I love how huge the leaves get! I’ve also slightly sort of been told by my boss to keep my giant bottle of tea out of public view on my desk at work. Probably because he thinks it looks like compost. Lots of people think it looks delicious! GRUMP

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Things I totally didn’t miss about working in an office when I didn’t work in an office: people who thrive on being in a constant state of stress, and try to project their stress onto everyone around them. One of my visiting contractors asked me today: “everyone looks so miserable, all scowling and stuff. Is this a really terrible place to work?” And I told him it’s really not (because it isn’t) and just about everyone’s really nice (because they are) but that due to the unique way in which one of the best-regarded universities in the world is managed, the department’s in a permanent state of snafu and most people are so absorbed in their own crap that, like, half the people I work with think my name is Amy NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I SIGN EMAILS WITH MY NAME OR SAY MY NAME WHEN I ANSWER THE PHONE. But! I mostly don’t stress about any of these things and just knit when there’s nothing to do. Today I finished a new scarf!

But I’m miffy that there’s no sink in my new office and nobody seems to have noticed this but me and I don’t want to kick up a fuss about it BUT MY THERMOS WILL DEVELOP A TEA-FLAVOURED PATINA IF I CAN’T CLEAN IT SHORTLY AFTER USE and the last thing I want is the heady aroma of lapsang souchong permeating every other tea that ever goes in that blasted thing. And yes, I know it’s made of stainless steel and shouldn’t hold flavours but it has a flavour memory, I’m telling you! And tea is too precious to me to let all the flavours merge into one vague metallic blob. No sir. My tea and I deserve better. GRUMP. I want my sink back.

Oh yeah and Eight is still ridiculously tasty and sweet and fills me with such joy and delight. Cherry and apricot and almond are such good friends. Oh FEELINGS. FEEEEEEEELINGS.

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Watch this space for forthcoming news about an exciting Seventh-Doctor-related thing at some point in the near future, woohoo!

But in the meantime, I’m trying to conjure up all the words to describe this cuppa: woodsy, earthy, nutty, toasty, roasty, sweet, creamy, light. Yeah, I think that’ll do well. I’m too sleepy to elaborate further on those words, and they sum it up admirably. What I will say is that I always debate with this one whether to use the metal strainer and risk bits in the bottom of my cup, or use up a paper filter even though I’m at home? Today I went for some bits. Mate’s always a pretty fine tea, and tends to go through a lot of tea strainers, but bits don’t really trouble me, as I also tend to cold brew tea in plastic water bottles in the work fridge and then let the flavour continue to deepen as I drink them throughout the day. You get some bits. I don’t mind. I’m weird like that.

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Cold brewed this in the teensy fridge that probably isn’t coming with me when my office moves down a floor next month. OH MY GOD RAISINS. There was so much raisin in this one in a cold brew. Just, like, a festival of raisins on a bed of dry autumn leaves. It was really good today. I think this is the way to drink it.


Oh, love that description «festival of raisins on a bed of autumn leaves» :-)

Sami Kelsh

I don’t know how else to describe it! I must be on a raisin kick, as I’ve also been taking those little kid-sized boxes of raisins to work for my afternoon snack, and I’m not tired of raisiny things yet ;)

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Ok, I mean, I know why I’m tired: we spent the whole weekend walking to town and back for friends’ anniversary doodah, for which loads of friends were coming to visit from out of town, some of whom were sleeping over. Plus I made pancakes. And spent a lot of time in the fresh air. Tuckers me right out, I tell you.

So, sleepytime comforting buttery spice is in order, especially since I sort of had pancakes for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and a burrito for dinner. Bloat city. The spices ought to go some way to sorting that out, and it’s SUCH a blanket of comforting warmth at the same time. I’m still always pleasantly surprised at how much this tea manages to taste like fragrant, buttery basmati rice to me. So good.

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I need a comfort tea again.

The stupid rent saga continues: so I submitted the request to have my deposit returned from my old flat a few days ago, and the building’s new landlords still haven’t approved it. Like, they just haven’t done anything. And it takes up to 5 days to process returns and I kind of needed parts of that to pay the rent on my new place at the end of the month? Yeah, AERGH DAMMIT STOP BEING BUTTHOLES AND LET ME HAVE MY MONEY BACK.

I miss when I wasn’t always so stressed and upset over money! But having 6 quid in my bank account apparently until the end of the month is, well, stressful. Grumpy times.

In other news, my super secret story project thing is progressing well, and I taught myself a new knitting technique while at the office. And this tea always makes me happy. It’s warm and creamy and almondy and strong and sweet. My favourite flavour is beige. Though as I was saying to Gentleman last night, Petey Davison is totally better looking now than he was in the 80s. What is it with me and, I dunno, cuddly middle-aged gents?

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My Time Lord name is the Brewmaster. Currently working on People Of Who, an exhibition of portraits of the people who made Doctor Who happen. Professional dilettante. Literary enthusiast, frustrated sometime writer. Knitter of things.


The Mancunian Wilderness



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