311 Tasting Notes


Ok, so the week before Christmas, I finally gave up any attempt at looking like a serious-business professional, bleached the golden blonde ombre ends of my hair to the lightest they would go, and painted a whole bunch of pastel colours in. Tomorrow, I make an appointment for a haircut. I’m a little bit sad. I mean, I did do the mermaid hair knowing I was planning a cut anyway, so it didn’t matter if I damaged the ends or it looked a bit naff or whatever, but I’ve really grown attached to having violet and pink and blue and the-dye-just-won’t-take-to-these-chunks silvery blonde in my hair, that once I’m finished cosplaying brunettes at a Doctor Who convention in February, I may well put some bleached chunks back in.

I was ID’d for a bottle of cider at Christmas. I’m over 30. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I’ve been drinking a lot more heavy, full-bodied teas lately, so made a change and went for something brisk and light this time. I like it because it’s not as full-on EG as some, but rather dry and slightly peachy. I don’t know why artichoke tea tastes like crunchy peaches to me, but it super does. I like it better than a lot of actual peach-flavoured things, really. It’s the sort of peach that plays really well with the green tea in this blend.


Getting ID’d is a good thing!

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You know sometimes, there are those teas that you SUPER love, then revisit later on and they just don’t have the same magic?

Yeah, this ACTUALLY KEEPS ON BEING MAGICALLY DELICIOUS INSTEAD. I guess I was just in the mood for buttery biscuit last night, what with the sad feelings of the day, and it hit the spot. It’s one that demands milk and sugar for me (as is the case with most “dessert” or sweet-flavoured teas, which taste of cognitive dissonance to me if they’re not actually, physically sweet) and that’s the kind of cozy I was after. I guess it’s still healthier than actually eating biscuits.

Though I did, in a moment of grief-induced weakness, have a pain au raisin for lunch yesterday. Today I will be better. I have TWO apples in my purse.

Speaking of grief, I was torn yesterday between just feeling really shocked and personally affected by the news that the Goblin King has departed the planet, and touched and inspired by the outpouring of stories from other people who had such similar and diverse experiences growing up with this dude’s music. The only fitting tribute I could think of is just to be better, and to get creative and keep creating.

You know, as soon as I’m finished printing out all of these damn committee papers at the office. Ho hum.

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So I’d meant to add a sample of pu erh spice to my Adagio order today, and apparently clicked on pumpkin spice instead. I’m honestly not the biggest lover of pumpkin spice, so there may be a sample of it up for grabs shortly, depending on whether it changes my opinion or not… (And I was really looking forward to trying the pu erh spice. Oh well.)

Also, does it bother anyone else that we’re still producing romantic comedies predicated on the question of whether a guy and a girl can be just friends? Like, if they can’t, I’ve got a lot of male friends to disappoint and never speak to again. This would be sad. Especially as I’ve dated girls to, which basically means that romcom logic dictates I literally can’t be friends with anyone apart from the person I’m married to. Bummer.

At least this tea’s still a pleasantly caramelly delight. I’m not 100% sure what the hop flowers are bringing flavour-wise, but it’s just a little bit marshmallowy and nice with a splash of milk.

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In a moment of weakness, I just ordered 3 new teas from Taiwan Tea Crafts. I’m supposed to be not buying any more tea, since I sort of accidentally ordered twice as much Bluebird as I’d planned to, due to a confused shopping basket. But never mind that. It’s jolly good stuff, I’m packing up some gingerbread chai to a friend as a little birthday gift (shh, don’t tell her) and I may well be foisting some fancy French teas on you guys, if anyone fancies helping me make a little room in my cupboard.

But that’s that, and this is what I’m drinking this dreary afternoon. I’d had my eye on this one for a while, as I like sweet lemony things and have far too little of it in my tea rotation. This one looks like there’s a lot of verbena and lemongrass and other lovely herbs going on, with a sprinkle of sweet little dark buds of green tea poking out here and there. This tells me it might be a good choice for evening drinking, without leaving me in that awkward state of wiredness where, in spite of being fatigued all day, I SUDDENLY WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS and devote myself to doing a terrible sketch of Captain Phasma holding a stack of performance reviews.

(Seriously – I actually get paid to be an illustrator, and I just feel constantly in awe of how much faster and better literally everyone else is at drawing than me. It’s weird.)

But I digress. As for the flavour of the brew itself, it’s a pleasantly herby not-too-tart Meyer lemon sort of lemonyness, which I think I like taking brewed strong and with a spoonful of sugar to ramp up the sherbet part of the name. I think this one might have to become a fixture in my cupboard, for those times when only sweet lemon will do.

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I’ve been remiss in doing tasting notes because, well, a combination of holiday excess making me even sleepier than usual, and being away at the in-laws with less wifi than usual and a very small complement of tea I stashed in my suitcase before leaving.

GOSH, I am not looking forward to being back at the office on Monday, but at least I have a few days to chill and pretend to get stuff done, I guess. There’s a novella that’s hanging over my head and shouting WRITE ME! and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so stressed about writing a thing, knowing at some point in the near future an editor I dearly respect will be knocking on my door asking to see a completed draft. AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa curls up in a ball of sheepish insecurity

So so so so so, this tea. Thematically-linked to the aforementioned novella in ways that will become clear if I write the damn thing, and one of the very tastiest teas I know. It’s got a lovely, gentle warm sweet spice from the cinnamon and aniseed, and the hojicha is roasty and cozy. Always with milk and sugar, because that’s the kind of person I am. So comforting.


Good luck with the novella. I hear you. I have four stories all shouting revise me, four shouting send me out, and frankly it’s so loud in my brain right now I can’t even hear the one in there I know is shouting write me.

Sami Kelsh

You can do it! waves pom-poms of writerly encouragement

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Last day in the office before Crimble! Just trying to plough through as much crap as I can before biffing off for the year – apparently they’re letting us (all 2 of us from my office who bothered to come in this week) leave at 3, but apparently my colleague over on the other side of the building is just going to skip lunch and go at 2, so I think I shall do the same. We’re in blue jeans and tshirts! I feel so free!

And it’s windy as heck outside so today was a day for something warm and smoky. Mmm, fiery apples. Lapsang is so weird, but I do like the way it pairs with the juicy apple. It’s quite a buzzy texture from this one, but I’ve tempered it with milk and it’s a gentle buzz now. And it’s also two minutes past 2 apparently, so I’m chugging the last half of this and buggering off out of here! WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

gleefully closes spreadsheets and outlook and runs out the door

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I’m writing this while asleep. I mean, my Gosh, it shouldn’t be humanly possible to be this tired. Two blood tests later and I’m on the verge of maybe the doctor having some idea what’s wrong, but I’ve been asked to ring tomorrow to make a follow-up appointment and instead of feeling relieved, I’m just scared. Like, not so much scared that it might be something serious, but scared that it’ll be one of those things they’re totally just guessing at and nobody knows the cause or treatment for, and I’ll spend the rest of my life going in for tests and being put on this or that supplement until they give up and tell me it’s probably stress.

And then there’s the joy of unsolicited medical advice from everyone and their grandma who don’t know jack about your medical history and HONESTLY, THE LAST THING YOU WANT IS A BUNCH OF WELL-MEANING ACQUAINTANCES TELLING YOU YOU’VE GOT IT ALL WRONG AND YOU JUST NEED TO CUT OUT DAIRY OR WHATEVER. STOP.

So, strong tea. Caramelly sweet strong tea with the heady fragrance of cardamom, like warm spiced buns on a chilly afternoon. It’s also kind of making me sleepy, but in that nice, cozy warm cuppa tea sort of way. I do love this tea.


I hope you’re able to get some answers. I’ve been going through something similar for the past few years without being able to figure out what’s wrong. I mean, of course I’m glad not to have gotten a scary diagnosis, but at the same time the prospect of having to go on like this indefinitely is really hard to face.

Sami Kelsh

Ugh, agreed. I’m really grateful at the moment that my local GP is being really proactive about trying things and regular follow-ups to monitor blood and stuff. Fingers crossed we’ll both find our way to feeling better! hugs

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Picked this one up again because it’s good to have something in the office I can resteep like 4 times in a day and is best unsweetened.

Especially as I’ve had two Christmas lunches now, and we just keep eating Yorkshire puddings at home, and I keep baking gingerbread, and I feel like SOME aspect of my life needs to be at least a little virtuous, as I feel like a horrible heffalump just at the moment. Ho hum.

This is so weird and tasty, though. Fragrant green oolong with light astringency and overtones of buttery basmati rice. Smells exactly like shortbread, though. It’s wild. Expensive, but if you ignore the brewing instructions and just keep resteeping like a teaspoon of leaves throughout the day, it’s really not that horrific.

Also, oh man. Blood test yesterday morning has left me with a nice big purple bruise inside my right elbow, and my arm’s all randomly sore when I try to use it. Fun! I sure hope they don’t need any more of my blood. I might run out!


I haven’t heard the word heffalump in a while. LOL


the international order of heffalumps and woozles have asked me to enquire whether you are on facebook. giggling

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drank Dozy Girl by Bluebird Tea Co.
311 tasting notes

Ahhh, this is nice.

It’s been tired times for little Kelshy and I am so over having blood tests taken, but I hope they’ve got enough of my blood to actually figure out how to make me feel less like perma-garbage. And way heavier than I’ve ever been. And always sleepy.

And yet I still managed to be awake until midnight last night, even though I specifically made myself a nice cuppa this to help me drift off into dreamland and maybe, just maybe wake up refreshed instead of exhausted? Oh well. Tasty, though. I love lavender, but it needs to be balanced with the right other flavours otherwise it’s a bit like drinking soap. And it needs to be sweet, otherwise, again, soap. So brewed this up with two little spoons of sugar and tucked in while finishing my evening attempt at finishing that awful race off the end of the heli-carrier in Lego Marvel Superheroes on the Xbox. The chamomile balances out the lavender beautifully, with just a touch of the other bits giving it lift and balance. It’s like being wrapped up in a warm blanket of lovely flowers that I’m magically not allergic to. Lovely.

But I also made a little gaggle of five-spice gingerbread Daleks and TARDISes to take to the office last night, and they went down an absolute treat. Huzzah! Five-spice makes the best gingerbread.

And here’s something I wrote where I talked to some nice gentleman about a Christmas special they made for a show called Doctor Who:



I hope you start feeling less like perma-garbage soon. (Great description, though.)

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It’s been days and I’m still reeling from the weeks of emotional anguish that the last few episode of Doctoroo put me through. And this is in spite of previewing everything a few days early in the interest of journalism. I should have been prepared. We watched it as it aired at my friend’s birthday party in London and when it was done I cried a lot and my poor, long-suffering spouse had to comfort me until I was in a fit enough state to play board games with everyone again.

Also, I baked chocolate, orange, and cardamom biscuits with the intention of using my Dalek biscuit stamp, but sadly, the dough was too soft to stamp out properly so I just did rounds instead. I managed a single, mostly recognisable Dalek. I haven’t been able to bring myself to eat it yet. Maybe tonight.

As for the tea, I dunno, this tea is so massively seasonally-appropriate right now. Warm nutty spice, an almost gingerbreadiness. Chestnut tea just somehow brings wonders to every blend it touches. SO GOOD. I love it with all my heart.


Aww. Those cookies sound like they taste awesome, at least. Cookie stamps (and presses) can be so frustrating. It’s like they’re designed for specific recipes. Very little room for creativity.

Sami Kelsh

Yeah, as much as I was keen on dorky shapes, I’m even more keen on exploring flavours and textures, even if my biscuits are just vague circle-shapes. Mmm, chocolate-orange-cardamom circle-shapes.

(I also made the mistake of promising my coworkers I’d bring in a batch of five-spice gingerbread next week, so I guess that’s where my weekend’s going…)

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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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