311 Tasting Notes


My colleague spied my bag of this on my desk at work last night and, after I invited her to take a whiff, remarked that it smells just like “ripe, golden peaches in the sun.” Yes, yes it does. And what a beautiful description.

It really is one of those that demands no sweetening – in fact, I think adding sugar would make it cloying – as it’s got such a lovely naturally sweet quality to it. Not sugary, but just that subtle sweetness you get from something like steamed artichokes and green beans. This is doing it for me today, and getting up to go to the kitchen to resteep is giving me an excuse to wander away from my desk for a while when, frankly, my workload is finally winding down and I’m desperately trying to stretch it out over the week. Feels a lot better than being swamped, that’s for sure. I think the restful times are finally allowing me to get over this blasted flu!

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Oh good, apparently my body’s decided that now virtually no foods agree with me – or at least not potatoes, vegetarian sausages, and brussels sprouts. That’s a pretty healthy plate of food, and OH MAN did I get the worst stomach pains from it last night. Like, it’s only this afternoon that I don’t totally feel like a 10-pound food baby is about to burst out of my abdomen and start dancing, and I only ate a normal portion of food.

Trying to sort my tummy out with good, plain teas, this one is really doing it for me today. It tastes of honeydew melon and condensed milk, which sounds odd and is glorious. And I am starting to feel better, so that’s a thing. Oh man.

Plus I think I chipped my tooth again on, like, a cheese and onion roll. I’m going to end up with no tooth at this rate unless I give up sandwiches and burritos, which I probably should anyway. Stupid deviating mandible.

Christina / BooksandTea

I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Have these food problems been going on for a while?

Sami Kelsh

It comes and goes. Never been THIS bad, though. I think I really just need to be more careful. It sure is extra annoying when it’s “healthy” foods that set you off, though – I know chowing down on like an entire baguette and a wheel of brie for dinner is a bad idea, but sprouts are supposed to be good for you, it’s not fair!

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Guys GUYS remember that time I visited the set of Doctor Who and interviewed the Christmas special guest cast and all of the things and it was the best day ever? I CAN TELL YOU ABOUT IT NOW: http://www.cultbox.co.uk/features/previews/doctor-who-christmas-2014-special-set-report/

(Also I had fish and chips in the BBC canteen that were really good, Brian Minchin is the nicest person ever, Peter Capaldi said hi to me and I blushed, I stole a handful of fake snow from the polar base, and contemplated stowing away on the TARDIS but settled for taking a buttload of selfies because I am a professional)

Oh and I had this tea for breakfast and it was really lovely and smooth and silly and warm.



carol who

You are so lucky!! I imagine all the Steepster/Doctor Who fans are envious! Loved everything in your post on Cultbox. Thanks for the link. :D

Sami Kelsh

Thanks Carol! I feel crazy blessed to have such a ridiculously nifty job. Now if only my Doctor Who related ventures were enough to allow me to quit the exciting world of academic administration… (A girl can dream)

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drank Pu Erh Tahiti by Adagio Teas
311 tasting notes

Drank this one at work today. As I find with a lot of coconut teas, I mostly just taste coconut. Like I can tell that it’s pu erh, but mostly I’m getting coconut, and maybe some other tropical fruitiness coming in underneath. I’m not the hugest fan of coconut to begin with – like, I have to be really craving it, so this was sort of a gamble for me. And it’s actually not bad. It doesn’t have the most inviting bouquet I’ve ever experienced from a tea, which to be honest put me off at first, but actually, it’s got quite a nice, soft texture that’s pretty pleasant. I’m tempted to experiment with combining it with other flavours that might tone down the HOLY COCONUT BATMAN nature of it – maybe something more predominantly coconutless tropical fruit in nature, or just cutting it with a plain pu erh. I wouldn’t keep this one in constant supply, but I’ll enjoy what I have of it, in any case.

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Raisins and hay! Malt and dates! All my favourite things (well, my favourite things that I like to taste together in certain kinds of tea)! I don’t know. You know there are just certain flavour combos that just make you super happy? This is totally one of them. It’s so grounding and cozy when you finally see a morning frost on the shrubs outside your house for the first time this season. It’s a source of strength when people keep throwing things at you to do because you’re probably the only person in your office who actually knows how to do stuff. It’s surprising in the depth and complexity of flavours it brings, with such simple ingredients compared to a lot of flavoured blends. It’s just pure joy.

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drank Cherry & Cinnamon by Twinings
311 tasting notes

Still fluey, and as such staying away from anything that will a) give me caffeine jitters; and b) takes milk. This is a nice one that I don’t feel guilty about drinking in abundance because it’s also pleasantly cheap. But it’s got that nice sort of cherry jam flavour that reminds me of making Hungarian crepes, and filling them with cherries, topping with sour cream, sugar, and cinnamon, and baking until it goes all delicious. Basically the best food ever.

And consequently a nice brew to enioy when I’m sat on my bum at work and 90% sure there are loads of things I ought to be doing, but I can’t think of any.

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Yay, I can sort of taste food again! This flu’s gone on for ages and doesn’t show nearly enough signs of letting up, but I can taste my tea.

This is a good comfort tea for me, when I want something that doesn’t take milk, which I don’t when I’m this nose-blowy, but it’s got such a lovely peachy, rhubarby, very green taste that tastes like I’m drinking something good for me in the best possible way. Maybe it will speed my recovery. That would be nice.

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drank Peppermint tea by Twinings
311 tasting notes

I’ve been horrifically ill with flu since I was on the train back from Manchester on Saturday afternoon, so this has pretty much been all I’ve been drinking.

And my sense of taste is such that I can only tell you that I think it probably tastes like a standard cup of peppermint tea, probably?

In less tea-related news, I decided on a wedding dress, providing that 2 months of the 5:2 diet and a pair of spanx work their magic and I manage to get it zipped up on the big day, and tonight I get to go home and review the special features for this past series of Doctor Who. Special features are my favourite thing about television.

But mostly I miss being able to properly taste stuff. Like, I genuinely had a cup of this tea yesterday, and if I hadn’t made it myself, might not even have guessed it was peppermint. Stupid sense of taste. COME BAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK

carol who

Boo on feeling sick! Yeah on finding a dress! Yeah on DW specials! Boo on loss of sense of taste!

Hope you feel better soon.


I wish we could get BBC America. I miss Doctor Who. Best of luck with the dress and the wedding. Feel better!

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drank Aussie Wattle Breakfast by T2
311 tasting notes

Man, this is one of my favourites ever. The base shines through as a solid, smooth black tea, and it’s got all that lovely warm, nutty, cinnamony sweet awesomeness that is apparently what wattleseed tastes like. I spent all day attempting to complete a new software training course while also still having to do the usual amount of work, and writing three articles for Cultbox. So I’m just going to sit here and drink this forever until I’m no longer exhausted and sore. It’s like a big cozy hug.

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Seemed like Leela was an appropriate choice for breaking in this new Doctor Who mug:


And also an appropriate choice for the end of a weekend where I ate WAY too much bad food (Canadian/American Thanksgiving party times) and need something with lots of wholesome goodness too soothe my tummy. Leela’s a blend of oolong, pu erh, and roasted mate, so she seemed like a good choice. And it’s so earthy and warm and smooth, with forward notes of cocoa and chicory, followed by soft hay and a slight creamy nuttiness. Yeah, this is good.

OH MAN, I missed Thanksgiving not doing it last year! And it gave me an excuse to make puff pastry from scratch for an apple tart, and a batch of pumpkin muffins, which are the best part of autumn. Good.


LOL! Love the mug! I made that scarf for my youngest daughter. Tom Baker was my first doctor. :)

Sami Kelsh

Tom Baker is a very special Doctor indeed. I’ve had this mug for like 18 months and only just now started to use it because it’s just so special :p

carol who

Tom Baker and Liz Sladen were my first! Cute mug. I have to be careful or I could become a seriously disturbed collector of DW stuff. I am still working through my Adagio DW sampler very slowly because I want it to last but… now I have to speed up a bit or it will get old.

Got to love Leela! She was so unique! There has never been a companion like her (at least not that I can think of).

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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.


Probably a small grey sofa in Oxford



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