150 Tasting Notes

75

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
150 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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90

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
150 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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90
drank Rhubarb Green by Adagio Teas
150 tasting notes

Ok, I REALLY need to get a proper big bag of this stuff before it’s properly gone, because I love rhubarb. Indeed, if anybody has any other rhubarb teas they love, I’d be happy for the heads-up!

I decided, because I’m a rebel, to completely disregard all tradition and tea-making wisdom and ADD MILK TO A GREEN TEA. And you know something? It’s actually really nice. It adds a creaminess behind the lovely rhubarb flavour, backed by a pleasing whisper of green. It probably shouldn’t be good, but it is. Too darn bad. Good Gosh, this is pretty.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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100

My life continues to be a big bowl of scary, and as such I’m drinking tea until I’m not scared any more. It’s impossible to be unhappy while drinking a tea this silly. This is silly, silly tea.

Okay, okay, this tea is meant to be a bit ludicrous, admittedly, but don’t think for a moment that it isn’t also very moreish. The real question ought to be ‘how many cups of Nimon blend tea can you drink in one sitting?’ and the answer is loads of them. The tea smells like a luscious chocolate liqueur, with masses of depth and sweetness. It brews beautifully into a soft, sweet blend, the background vanilla and almond notes adding layers of complexity to the chocolate. It’s lovely with a bit of milk and sugar, and I love it as much as Soldeed loves his Nimon friend. And the rooibos is flavoured in such a way that it harmonises with the other flavours and isn’t super-strong, which is always a bonus because rooibos as a thing in itself isn’t really my scene. The Nimon be praised!

ALSO, AND THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT: The last time I drank this tea, I spilled a 20-ounce cup of it on the shorts of a prominent children’s author who shall, for the protection of his shorts, not be named, while we were having an afternoon by a hotel pool on a sunny day in Los Angeles. It was hilarious and great.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
carol who

I just happened to hear the May podcast of Krynoid pocast where they review the various Classic episodes. Guess which episode it was… Horns of Nimon. Talk about a silly tea… so was the episode. Soldeed is so over the top! I’m glad its a good tea. You are so lucky and I’m so jealous of your teas.

Sami Kelsh

I looooooove the Horns of Nimon. And Soldeed chews so much scenery, especially toward the end. SO GOOD.

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80
drank Beet It by Bluebird Tea Co.
150 tasting notes

GOOD GOSH it gets stupidly humid around these parts! I had the most ridiculous headache this afternoon before it finally broke and started raining for a while. Such a blessed relief when it did.

Wednesday I’m having a chat with the university about doing some admin work soon, so fingers crossed. I’m fine with the baking (though MAN, if I can escape the politics of that place sooner rather than later, good) but it’s hot as balls in the bakery and it’s doing bad things for my eczema! Ho hum.

This is another tea it turns out I much prefer when it’s cold. It’s got a nice balance between earthiness from the beet and sweetness from the fruit. I dig it.

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80

AAAAAAAAAAA STRESS

Back up in Manchester and packing up a ton of stuff to move down in anticipation of having proper new digs in 2 weeks. Moving is the most stressful thing ever.

BUT. Today is the 40th anniversary of Tom Baker first gracing our television screens as Doctor Who, and some friends of mine and I have some things to say about it (and I painted a thing):

http://blogtorwho.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/40-years-of-tom-baker.html

Oh yeah, and this tea! Okay, so this wasn’t my absolute favourite the last time I tried it. But you know something? It definitely improves when you cold-brew it overnight in the fridge instead of serving hot. Yes, definitely. It’s meant to be refreshing and sweet-tart, with citrus and jammy sweet. This is good.

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Profile

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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