186 Tasting Notes


OH GOD NO ANYTHING BUT KANDYMAN IT IS THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES and I’m almost sorry that it’s actually cracking good stuff, for reals. I mean, the tea’s a visual cacophony of myriad bits and sprinkles, but it smells gorgeous, all sweetness and berry candy, with a splash of watermelon to finish. Once it starts to brew, the aroma turns sour, like, mouth-puckeringly tart and tangy sour sweeets, with a liberal dose of sweet-tart lemonheads thrown in for good measure. And it’s definitely tart when it’s brewed up too, but with waves of juicy fruit flavour and a little sweetness. Add sugar and it tastes like melon berry skittles and still smells like lemonheads. And it’s definitely safer than the fondant surprise. And sprinkles.

Seriously, I had panic nightmares at least once after Miwk commissioned me to paint the Kandyman because he scares the living crap out of me. But I persevered in the name of, like, a paid illustration job for publishers I love doing Doctor Who.

In other news, I’m wearing an elastic sort of awkwardly looped on my finger as a placeholder because HE SAID YES, GUYS. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


Congrats! Such exciting news and the latest Steepster freeze kept us from hearing it until now.


Woot! Woot! Congratulations!

Sami Kelsh



Congrats on the engagement!!

Sami Kelsh

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee, thank you!

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drank Yunnan by T2
186 tasting notes

Hay. So much hay.

Okay, not a TON of hay, but hay is the predominant note I’ve gotten out of this twice now. Go figure. Fruity a bit when it cools down a little, but wow. Totally hay.

Also, now working in an office where I’m not supposed to drink tea at my desk because it doesn’t “look professional”. It’s a nightmare. I hate it. I am so the wrong person to be working there. Thank Gosh it’s only a week and a half.


Tea is always classy :-). That office sounds absurd


hummmm drinking tea doesn’t look professional ? Sounds weird especially in the UK ! Are you working in a Coffee bar ? It could be the only reason for a manager to say that !

Sami Kelsh

I can’t eat or drink anything. It’s awful. I was starving by the end of the day and I still have a headache because I’m dehydrated. I’m used to being able to graze on stuff like raisins during the day. I’m not a big hoover-an-entire-sandwich-in-5-minutes-at-lunch person. Plus I’m having to try and get all my daily water in after work’s done, which means I’ll be up all night needing the toilet. I hate it and I hate how much it bothers me with my stupid needs.

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I’m just going to drink all the comfort tea until everything’s okay, and this is one of the most comforting tastes I know. And also, it’s Doctor Who night. Comforting times.

I just can’t eyebrows like Capaldi, but MAN Twelve tastes like love. The scent comes on strong, with a bold bang of rose, backed by dark chocolate. This carries into the brew, the rose sharpened and brightened with a touch of sweet-tart lemongrass, then rounded by the creaminess of the chocolate. Milk and sugar bring out its hidden cuddly side and bind it all together into something incredibly comforting. It’s at once sophisticated and silly, dark and complicated and perhaps an acquired taste, but oh so worth getting to know. This is making me feel better.

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Oh jolly good! Some shitty faced wank stain sorry excuse for a human parasite broke into my house yesterday afternoon and stole a bunch of shit from me and my flatmates. Pardon my French. My laptops are gone, Gentleman’s laptops are gone, and mostly I’m pissed because they weren’t even good laptops but they were mine and they’ll probably have binned them anyway and so the whole venture just means they got nothing out of it and we had to have a new window put in and now we don’t have our computers that, frankly, given all the crap we’ve been through in the last few months, I can’t bloody afford to replace. GOSH DAMN MOTHER FLIPPING BEESTINGS.

So I guess this is kind of an angry review, as I’ve been crying a lot more than I can blame on my period, but I thought, you know, oolong’s nice. And it is, and this is a nice oolong. It’s a darker one so you get that muesli, autumn flavour, but it’s quite a distinctly fruity muesli. Like, there’s some toasted oats and nuts in there, but also an unusual number of raisins and sultanas and stuff. It’s good.

Gentleman’s just walked up to me and handed me a piece of cheese. I’m blessed to have him. We can weather any crap as long as we have each other. I’m grateful for that. I’m so grateful.


Sorry to hear this!! Where do you live?


so sorry…. :(

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I’m not normally a big fan of Ceylon teas, but this one does it for me. There’s a certain fruitiness in the aroma that I can’t quite put my finger on, and a clean sort of autumn leaf taste, and a fruit-floral note to it. The company describes it as floral, but to me that sort of manifests itself in a lighter, fruitier sense, and less in any sort of heavy or super-fragrant way. Good.

Also, I wore a shirtdress I haven’t worn in ages today, and then remembered why I haven’t worn it in ages. It makes me look like either a nurse or a schoolgirl. Seeing how I’m not either, kind of not good. At least Gentleman told me I looked nice. He’s good at knowing what to say.

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I just love this tea a lot, okay? I confess that it’s really nice having a day off of work outside of the weekend, and I’m taking full advantage by, uhh, bingewatching cooking shows and drinking tea. Perfect. This one makes me so happy. It’s almond with cinnamon. How could I not love it?

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Guess who picked up a giant box of tea from the post office this morning?

This happy little dork! BEST THURSDAY EVER

It’s like my mouth has gone mad with flavour. The smell and taste of this tea start out strong, with the buzzing, almost manic smoke of the lapsang standing out at the fore as you’d expect, but there’s an earthy backbone running under it, followed by sweet, true apple flavour. In the cup, this translates to a wonderfully textural, juicy finish. It’s dark, bright, calming, and absolutely delicious. I’m always slightly nervous with any blends where lapsang’s involved as it can easily overpower subtler flavours if you use too much of it or with the wrong thing, but the balance here is good. It’s like eating a bumper crop of fresh autumn apples around a campfire on a cool evening. A cunning blend indeed.

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One of the perks of being a temp is getting to fascinate/horrify a whole new group of coworkers with my interesting teas every time I start a new contract! As it happens, today’s the last day of my new contract (only 3 days, and I bloody like it here! Boooooooooooo) and I think the response to my interesting teas has been largely positive, though I must say this is a very coffee-and-tea-friendly workplace to begin with, with two fully stocked kitchens. GLORIOUS. So I decided to make another steep of this while waiting for the messenger post to arrive.

Ohhhhhhh baby. I don’t quite understand why coffee works with tea, but I suppose if it’s going to work with any tea it’ll be a pu erh, with its complete lack of bitterness and dark notes. I think I actually like this better than coffee (and I do love a good cup of coffee), and it’s one of my favourite pu erhs. It’s a kind of magic. I love Bluebird a lot.

(And yeah, you’ll notice I’m going through my Bluebird samplers again. They’re just the right size bags to carry with me to work and back without weighing me down/looking a bit crazy)


I’m sure you already miss theses 2 kitchens !

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Steeped this twice at the new office today, and OHHH BABY how much have I missed an office with a real kitchen. It was magnificent. They had mugs! They had spoons! They had a sink and so much fresh milk in the fridge and freshly ground coffee!


Seriously though, I don’t know if I just got a lot of oolong in this spoonful specifically, but it was definitely prominent enough alongside the peppermint on first steep, the latter of which actually did still hold its own on steep two, albeit milder. Such an indulgently cozy combination. Ohhhhh baby.


Congrats on the new office job! When did you start working there?

Sami Kelsh

It’s a three-day assignment, but THE OFFICE HAS TWO KITCHENS I could cry.

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Hmm. Feeling it a bit less today, actually, even though this cup is basically half Amy Pond and half sipdown of Captain Jack with the aim of minimizing the things I don’t like about each blend. I’m not sure if it’s the berry with the chai that I feel sort of meh about, or the amount of rooibos taste I’m getting, but it’s not a favourite. It’s tasty, but not something I’d buy an entire thing of. Sorry, Amy!

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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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