Sipdown! (30/368)

Hello steepster! So it’s been another month again! I knew I wasn’t going to have much time for steepster of late, but am hopefully going to be able to write up notes more often now. I’ve had to admit defeat and apply for extenuating circumstances with my remaining work, which means that if it’s granted I won’t be graduating this summer, but in November instead. ):

I’m moving out of my student flat at the end of June, and want to have less tea to pack when I do move, so I’m going to be concentrating on sipping down a lot of teas! This was one, because I’d been saving the last bag to review and the box was taking up room. It had been a while since I drank this tea, and was actually only down to the bottom of the box because I’d been palming it off on Frank, so I couldn’t really remember how it tasted. The bright red liquid and slightly sour smell instantly screamed ‘hibiscus’ to me, and I added a sweetener stupidly without trying the tea first. This was a mistake. The tea was so sweet I could barely bring myself to drink it! Had it not been the final cup I think it would have been dumped. Blech. Although having said that, had I not added the sweetener I think this would have been very pleasant. It’s not often I come across a bagged fruit tea which isn’t overwhelmed by hibiscus. The strawberry comes across strongly and is very much at the fore of the sip, with the mango being almost undetectable – merely a whisper in the background. It does add another dimension to the tea than if it were simply a strawberry tea, but I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a dimension that I like, or is needed. The flavours also come across as somewhat artificial, which I’m not too surprised about from a basic Twinings tea. I actually think this would be quite enjoyable if I wasn’t so spoiled by good teas, and Frank seemed to like them.
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 9 OZ / 266 ML

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I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a good few years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years (and have purchased several fandom tea sets including the Sherlock one I lusted over for so long).

Flavoured teas make up the majority of my collection, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I usually reach for a black, oolong or white tea base over a pu’erh or green tea, though I do have my exceptions. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: I’m generally easily pleased and will enjoy most flavours, but my absolute favourites are maple, caramel, chestnut, pecan, raspberry, coconut, blueberry, lemon, pumpkin, rose, hazelnut and peach

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander/cilantro, cardamom, liquorice, pineapple and chocolate

I am a 25 year old bartender, English Literature sort-of-graduate and current student working towards finishing my degree. I am hoping to one day complete a masters degree in Mental Health Social Work and get a job working in care. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV watching, football/soccer (Sunderland AFC supporter and employee of my local football club), music, artsy weird makeup, and learning new things (currently British Sign Language).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.
Currently unable to swap as I’ve returned after a long hiatus to a cupboard of mostly-stale teas I’m trying to work through before I let myself purchase anything fresh

I also tend to ramble on a bit.


South Shields, UK

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