234 Tasting Notes

70

And my good mood has come crashing horribly back down into the bleak pit of garbage that is pretty much my life. Yippee! I had the delightful pleasure of paying rent on the flat I’ve already moved out of (because I was able to give them notice just one blasted day shy of a month, and thus get to pay for July even though I’ve been living in Oxford since the middle of May) and who the heck knows when I’ll get my deposit back on that place. And since my one gig ended with the uni and I don’t have another definitively lined up yet, who knows whether I’ll be able to cover my bills and stuff for the end of this month either, let alone cover my massive and constantly escalating debt?

So if I seem to mention with annoying frequency that I take art commissions and knit stuff on etsy and all that, it’s only because I HAVE RUN OUT OF PLACES TO PULL MONEY OUT OF AND THE BANK IS STARTING TO PHONE MY HOUSE AND I’M REALLY SCARED AND I CAN’T FIND A WAY OUT AND IT IS REALLY SCARY

I’m so blessed to have the most supportive and wonderful partner in the world to keep me calm through all this nightmare, admittedly. If he liked teas that weren’t PG Tips and the like, I think he’d be something like a black dragon pearl.

As for Amy, she’s grown on me a little. Bumping the rating of this one up a bit as I rather enjoyed it today. Somehow the balance just worked for me, or maybe I was just in the mood for fruit and spice. She’s a pleasant brew today.

Christina

What’s the URL to your etsy page? I looked on your profile and on your site, and couldn’t see it.

Sami Kelsh

It’s http://everythingok.etsy.com and mostly it’s tea cozies and scarves. Man, I really look forward to at some point in my life not being perennially worried about being beyond broke. I used to, and it was glorious! :p

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74
drank PG Tips by PG Tips
234 tasting notes

Ok, so this tasting note actually represents the million or so cups of this I inhaled over the course of Friday and Saturday on the way to and from the Wirral to do social with a bunch of people from the Doctor Who. And I did! With copious amounts of tea.

This may have something to do with the fact that somebody bought me drinks on Friday night and couldn’t bring myself to, like, say no to free champagne. And I kept getting sidelined by people I hadn’t shared a string of terrible jokes with every time I insisted I was going to bed. I love the Doctor Who people who know how to have a good time.

(I also love the half dozen tea bags I totally stole from the breakfast bar at the hotel.)

carol who

Ohhhh! you are so lucky t be able to actually associate with DW people. Are these fans or somehow involved in the world of DW?

Sami Kelsh

Some fans, some professional fans as it were, some writers, some acting folk. Who the heck knows how my circle of friends extends in the ways it does. I think it’s the accent. It fools people into thinking I’m interesting.

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81

Oh, yes. This was an impulse feelings-purchase after learning that my favourite Starbucks in Oxford is closing. After a wistful hour or so perusing job listings from the cozy upstairs loft overlooking High Street after finishing work at the Examination Schools for the day, I meandered over to the Whittard across the road with a taste for whatever was the closest I could get to caramel. This seemed to fit the bill.

And indeed it has! It’s got a nice sweetness and a nutty flavour that reminds me a bit of their vanilla shortbread tea, but where that one has notes of vanilla and biscuits, this one has a cozy malt and caramel tone. I have a feeling this’ll blend well with a pu erh if I’m feeling creative.

yyz

Starbucks….I have several thoughts about them. I appreciate that its one place that you can find free WiFi pretty well everywhere, useful for travelling,but for a while I had a deep resentment towards them as they had a habit of outbidding leases on culturally important businesses in Toronto and then rubbing salt in the wounds by naming drinks and desserts in reference to what used to be there. They took over my favourite book store on yonge street one of those awesome beautiful ones, and they took over the Sanctuary in Toronto, which was once a centre of the Goth community.

The one near me also has a tendency to burn their coffee and seems to define the little stain in a macchiato as a touch of coffee in foam instead of the other way around.

Sticky Toffee sounds nice.

Sami Kelsh

Yeah, I’m torn between resentment and the fact that I can’t really go to the independent coffee shop around the corner because I worked there for a few weeks and I still feel a bit awkward about it because I know why the staff turnover is so high.

yyz

Awkward!

Sami Kelsh

It’s probably slightly my own fault. I sort of self-ostracised myself from my two coffee shops of choice back in Manchester when I fell out with a barista at one because a creative project he’d asked me to work on with him fell through, and then I dated and subsequently was dumped by an ESL teacher who held a lot of his lessons at the other coffee shop. And now I live in a new city, where I hope there are enough coffee shops that I won’t be able to run out of them.

yyz

Hopefully! I understand the discomfort though. I’m one of those strange people who require noise to deeply concentrate. So, if I have to study for something, I’ll often go to a coffee shop. This sometimes backfires on me because I’ll either run into people thanking me for looking after someone at work ( this still happens almost 6 yefter the fact in some cases), or who come to me to chat. I lie right on the line of INFP and ENFP on Myers Brigg, but when I slip into an introverted phase this can backfire because it can be hard to find true privacy.

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75

Hellooooooooooooooo baby. I don’t know what it is, but this is totally hitting the spot today. I totally didn’t time how long this steeped for, but yeah. It’s light and lovely.

This tea pairs especially well with hoovering an entire bag of bbq popchips and bingewatching Archer before going to work. Yeah, perfect.

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70

I’m sat in bed in my beautiful new home, watching Celebrity Masterchef and drinking a soothing cup of this before bedtime. It’s still a fairly understated brew to my palette, but warm and cozy and certainly pleasant with its notes of chocolate and almond. And the fact that it doesn’t taste overly of rooibos. I’ve still got about a million money woes, but I feel like I can finally rest a bit. My new digs have a gorgeous kitchen, an augur, a piano, and a pond. And my bedroom has this crazy little window seat balcony doodah. It’s good. I just have to remember that the ensuite bathroom door faces directly opposite the window, which faces opposite lots of other people’s houses, so I really ought to remember to close the curtains before getting into the shower in the morning, lest loads of my neighbours see me in all my glory! I shouldn’t like to be responsible for blinding half of the people in my postcode :p

Though I like to think Captain Jack would approve.

mj

So jealous of your “window seat balcony doodah” :-)

carol who

Okay, so I’m dumb… what’s an augur? A person telling the future? And how do you get one?

TheTeaFairy

New home sounds fabulous :-)

Sami Kelsh

The window seat balcony doodah is SO cool and also makes me a bit nervous that if I gained even an extra pound in weight it would collapse and I’d fall out into the garden.

And it’s a weird, beautiful old skool cooker, Carol Who, and I’m probably spelling it wrong, but that’s what it sounds like to me. I could just google it. I am a poop.

Angrboda

Do you mean Aga?

Sami Kelsh

THAT’S THE NAME OF THE THING. Apparently even though the name’s on the thing, none of us here in the house knew how to spell it. GENIUS.

Angrboda

They’re not uncommon in the UK. I’ve seen ‘Aga kitchen’ quite frequently when reading house sales ads. :) (Not going to buy anything in the UK, but I just like reading the ads for some reason. I like seeing the pictures. If I see a house near where I live that is for sale I always look it up online to see pictures. How else would I find out how that house looks on the inside?

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80

Guess what, guys?

I’M LIKE TOTALLY DONNA NOBLE NOW. By which I mean I started a temp gig with the uni today, and actually I love it a lot? I’m in my thirties, I’m a temp, I have like no money and no idea what the crap I’m going to do with my life, and I sincerely hope that my partner isn’t too good to be true and secretly in cahoots with evil aliens and stuff. Or maybe I’ve already gone adventuring with the Doctor and I don’t remember? OH NO :(

And this tea is still pleasant, but just not quite as BAM! wizard as it could be. Though as far as cinnamon and orange is a winning combo with tea, it’s a winner. Cozy, cozy flavour.

mj

Congrats on the new position :-). Better to have adventured with the Doctor and not remember than to not have adventured at all?

Sil

awesome! great news! happy you’ve found something :)

TheTeaFairy

Congrats, glad you found something you like :-)

Angrboda

So, if you lived in Chiswick, would you also be the best temp there?

Sami Kelsh

I WOULD BE THE BEST TEMP IN CHISWICK. Hands down.

Already got a second assignment after my first is done, I think they like me!

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85
drank White Blueberry by Adagio Teas
234 tasting notes

Ok, so I’m not changing my assessment of this that it’s good, but if I’m honest, it’s not that often that I’m drawn to wanting a white tea at all, and I probably could have gone with something a bit more robust today, though my stash of temporary pre-move teas is getting pretty thin, so I made do. Oh well. Still tasty, don’t get me wrong, but maybe next time I get round to using this, I’ll just do a cold steep in the fridge to have something to sip on throughout the day when it’s hot as balls, rather than as my morning cuppa.

Because I mean, WHAT A DAY IT’S BEEN. Pretty low-pressure in terms of workload, but found out at about half past four that I have an assignment from the uni that starts tomorrow morning, so sudden YIKES DO I HAVE ANY CLEAN OFFICE CLOTHES type panic. It’s only a two-day stint, with a weekend in between (albeit a weekend of driving up north and back to pack and move), but since it’s been a while since I had a proper office job, a decent way to ease myself back into the exciting world of administration. I’m stupidly excited. Filing stuff? Preparing department records for an audit? TAKING THINGS AND PUTTING THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER? I’ve missed having an outlet for my love of arranging things in sequence.

Like, it’s taking all my restraint not to catalogue and recatalogue my beautiful spreadsheet of teas. And then take my tins, boxes, and bags of tea, and arrange them in the right order. Yeah. There’s a reason I spent over a decade working in a library. Mmmmm, order.

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94

Hello, gorgeous.

After reading *TheTeaFairy*’s inspiring note about Mandala’s milk oolong the other day, I developed such a hankering that I’m really grateful that I had a little ziploc of a milk oolong of my own that I brought with me to tide me over until I can move my whole tea stash down from Manchester into my new flat here on the weekend. I do love a good resteepable tea that I can just keep drinking all day, and man, does this one go on forever. So much lovely, sweet honeydew flowery goodness, perfect for an idle Tuesday of drawing some things for a secret project for an interesting publisher, wandering to a wool shop down the road from Gentleman’s home, and making Hungarian cucumber salad. I shouldn’t be in such good spirits for someone so recently unemployed, but I think just not being in a godawful job anymore is enough to make me feel a little better about the world.

TeaBrat

I know, I was pretty upset when I lost my job but I wasn’t happy there anyway. In some ways it’s just a relief to be moving on.

TheTeaFairy

Hehe…Happy to inspire, the tea sounds lovely :-)

Sami Kelsh

Yeah, sometimes the relief’s enough to elevate your mood, in spite of everything. And MAN, what even was my life before milk oolong, for real?

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78

Today’s mildly more exciting than yesterday, at least inasmuch as I bought office-appropriate linen trousers from M&S and I’ve decided to phase out wheat and processed sweeties in order to try and get my inflammation in check a bit, given that my ankles now hurt to stand on. Tomorrow, I’ll invest in some pineapple. Pineapple’s an anti-inflammatory.

So something moved me today, before dashing to submit a few job applications before their noon o’clock deadlines, to do a few steeps of this oolong. It’s not the most remarkable tea in the world, and it’s not something I crave very often if at all, but sometimes it’s a good, simple I-don’t-know-what-I-feel-like-drinking-so-I’ll-just-have-this choice, and it fulfilled it well. Still as autumn-leafy as ever, at once light and wholesome, with toasty granola notes and traces of dry earth. Ho hum.

TeaBrat

Yes I am doing the same thing. Other sources of inflammation include animal products, esp. red meat

Sami Kelsh

Indeed! It’s thankful I’ve pretty much been meatless for years. Sweeties, on the other hand… I had such a time saying no to a half price bag of Haribo gummies at the supermarket today :(

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90
drank Mambo by Adagio Teas
234 tasting notes

Well, poopsicles. Looks like the computer ate last night’s tasting note somewhere between my writing it and it actually being posted! And here I was just thinking y’all didn’t like my ridiculously over-sharing personal rant-reviews anymore. Let’s see if I can remember what I had to say:

Ah, well. Remember that bakery job I told you all about that I started a few weeks ago? Hated it. Hated it so much that I quit on Saturday. My manager, an absolute sweetie to whom I bear nothing but good feelings and apologies for taking off without a notice period, was absolutely understanding. That, at least, was something. The upshot of it was that instead of the R&D I’d been told I was going to be doing, they started what will be about 3 months of ongoing renovations, leaving a kitchen with concrete dust and wires hanging from the ceiling while people are trying to make bagels and brownies in a tiny, cramped space that’s scarcely sufficient for the volume of stuff being done. It’s hotter than Lucifer’s scrotum, and in addition to my hands seizing with tendonitis and becoming useless, it hurts to stand on my ankles, and my eczema’s manifesting itself in places it’s never been before, like the backs of my hands and arms. It’s not like building up the muscles you need to do heavy lifting. This is the kind of chronic stuff that only gets worse. Coming home in tears isn’t worth 4 6-hour shifts a week at 6 quid an hour. Sorry, gang, it’s back to a functional home bakery (and unemployment) for me. OH GOOD.

I’ll miss the fanta floats. It’s not on the menu, but man, a pint of fanta with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream? MAGICAL.

So last night, feeling a combination of relief and fear (given that I’m paying rent on two flats for the month of July, which I decidedly couldn’t even afford on my meagre bakery income, let alone none at all – feel free to tell your friends I’m taking illustration jobs!) I brewed myself a load of mambo, because mambo is a feel-good tea. It’s got just enough je ne sais quoi to it to keep you interested, without being overly challenging. It’s smooth and gentle and recalls flavours of ripe peaches and soft dustings of cocoa. There’s something incredibly comforting about it, while retaining a lightness: it’s like being hugged by downy soft pillows when you need someone to tell you that everything’s going to be okay. I’ll be sad when I run out of this one, and then I’ll be immediately onto Adagio’s website to restock.

Christina

Oh, that whole situation sounds so upsetting. Aside from illustration gigs, what sort of work are you now looking for?

TheTeaFairy

Hope your future holds better things for you Sami. But I see you keep your sense of (dark) humour, I have never heard of “Lucifer scrotum” before and I am still ROFL about it ;-)

TeaBrat

Sorry, I hope you find something better soon!

Sami Kelsh

Thanks guys! I’ve been through enough silly garbage in the past year that if I can say that this is the grim nadir of my working life, I’ll be quite all right with that. My ambitions have shrunk a little, but I’d still quite like to write for Doctor Who, while also working in academic administration? Sigh. You guys are awesome.

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Bio

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.

Location

The Mancunian Wilderness

Website

http://samikelsh.com

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