1462 Tasting Notes

67

Sipdown no. 57 of 2018 (no. 413 total).

It didn’t bowl me over as an iced tea, either, though it was pleasant enough.

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90

First to write a note on this? Unbelievable.

I tried to fix the picture but I couldn’t. (Why? I tried several different ways and all I can get is more images farther down the page.)

I wasn’t sure I’d like this one from the smell of the dry leaf. It has no sweetness in the dry leaf aroma and a rather ashy fragrance that usually spells dislike for me with lapsangs.

But you can’t judge a book and all that. The aroma of the steeped tea is quite different — sweet, molasses-like, leafy and tree-like, with a lot of depth and surprisingly little smoke. The smoke is really verging on not there at all, except in the aftertaste and fortunately it doesn’t add bitterness to the lingering flavor. The liquor is dark amber with a reddish tinge and clear.

The flavor has a quality that reminds me of black coffee, but not as bitter. The smoke, molasses, and tree are all there in the flavor as well in pretty much the same way they were in the aroma. Thankfully there’s no ash, no meat, and no resin (though if you like those things in a lapsang, I guess that’s not a plus).

I’m torn because I think this is great compared to others I’ve had recently, but that’s because it departs from qualities I associate with lapsang that make me view it as a once in a while thing. If this is the sort of flavor Churchill prized, I can see why he drank lapsang daily.

I haven’t had the Samovar in a long time. I rated that one 90 as well, so I think I should taste it again sometime soon and see if adjustments are warranted.

But it makes it a bit easier to decide which is the next sipdown candidate in project lapsang sipdown. It won’t be this one.

Flavors: Coffee, Molasses, Plants, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
teepland

This sounds amazing—adding it to my wish list!

__Morgana__

Hope you enjoy!

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69

I liked this one more than I expected to from the smell of the dry leaf.

It has a strange, papery smell in the tin, but that doesn’t carry over (much) into the steeped tea, which is a reddish brown and translucent.

The flavor is rather more subtle than I would like, but it’s tasty. I get a nutty, caramel/toffee flavor from this that approaches, but doesn’t quite become brittle. There’s not enough nut, and not enough overall oomph to get it there.

I generally count lots of points off for teas that don’t live up to their names, so I feel constrained to do that here. But like the Leland Pear Caramel, the tea is better in an absolute sense than my rating suggests. It’s totally pleasant to drink, it just doesn’t taste like Cream and Nut Brittle to me.

Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Paper, Toffee

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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92
drank Black Frost by The Simple Leaf
1462 tasting notes

Another of my hoarded Simple Leaf teas that I just opened up. I steeped this hotter than the package directions mostly by accident. I didn’t think about looking at the package this morning. I’ll try it the other way another time.

I don’t have a distinct mental flavor profile of a Nilgiri even though I’ve had them before. For whatever reason, there’s not a distinctive map in my mind that identifies Nilgiris, the way I have a map of Assams, Darjeelings, Yunnans, and Keemuns. But this particular one is lovely in my book.

In the packet it smells bready. After steeping I get sweet notes of caramel, coffee, and berry. The tea is a clear, light-hued coppery golden.

It’s a mellow, mild flavored tea. Generally less sweet in flavor that aroma, but with bursts of sweetness that pop in the mouth during the sip and just a tad of smokiness. There’s an interesting softness to the mouthfeel that makes it very pleasant to drink, and a cooling sensation in the aftertaste.

It’s one of the better Nilgiri’s I’ve had. Even though I don’t have a mental map, I can remember that though I’ve liked some of those I’ve had in the past, none of them have really bowled me over.

This one comes close, which is why I’m sad it’s no longer around.

Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Coffee, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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72
drank Lapsang Souchong by Lupicia
1462 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 56 of 2018 (no. 412 total).

I’m disappointed in my recent sipdown count. I think I need to sip down some samples to make myself feel a bit better about it.

On the upside, the last four or so were full sized tins. So there’s that.

This is notable because it’s the third lapsang I’ve sipped down of my full sized tins since project lapsang sipdown began. I haven’t decided which one is up next. I am thinking of trying the Tea Trekker against the Golden Moon to see which I prefer first. I might also throw the Mariage Freres into that mix. Oh what the heck, maybe I’ll pull them all out and taste them against each other.

This one was good. I just don’t need more than one lapsang in my life, or two at the most.

Evol Ving Ness

No need to be disappointed. You are drinking and you are noting and you are counting. Sounds like a win to me.

Evol Ving Ness

There used to be an option to delete comments or am I dreaming that up?

ashmanra

You are not dreaming! I wonder where our little trash can went?

__Morgana__

That’s weird — how could that disappear?

Lexie Aleah

It still works you just have to pull up the individual tasting note on the persons profile then click comments to delete.

Evol Ving Ness

I found it—hurray!
Actually, it just appeared when I clicked on this post, so yay for things being easy. Thanks, Lexie Aleah, for writing out the explanation too.

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94

Wow.

I’ve found most of the S&V teas I’ve tried to be very solid, but not terribly distinctive. Solid, very enjoyable, but not stand outs.

This one breaks that mold. This tea does one thing, but it does that one thing extremely well.

Everything is blackberry, blackberry, blackberry — smell in the tin, smell after steeping, taste. It’s a deep, organic infusion of blackberry into the tea base, which is really not all that discernible except as a substrate. If this wasn’t as tasty, that might be a problem for me, but I find the flavor delicious — rich but not heavy, strong, but not too strong, not medicinal or artificial. The reviews on the S&V site disagree with me, finding the flavor artificial. But I’m standing by my tea.

It’s going on the wish list.

Flavors: Blackberry

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Arby

I’m sold. On my wishlist it goes.

__Morgana__

Hope you like it!

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90
drank Amor by The Simple Leaf
1462 tasting notes

I still have a number of unopened packets of tea from the Simple Leaf, which I’m pretty sure has been defunct for a while now. I hoarded these teas because Steepster was in love with the Simple Leaf for a while and I expected I’d have a treat on my hands.

And I do. This is a great Assam — it has everything I like about Assams and none of the things I don’t like about them. Whether this has anything to do with the tea’s age is an open question, but let’s assume the vacuum sealing did its job since it’s hard to imagine a tea this flavorful that was stale.

The leaves smell sweet and bready in the packet, like those King’s Hawaiian rolls. The steeped tea is a clear, medium orange-brown. Pretty much what I’d expect.

The aroma, though, is amazing. It has so many layers, so many different notes that mix together into a really delicious whole. There’s a cocoa note, a fresh bread note, honey and even something I’d describe as gingerbread.

And these come together in the flavor as well. There’s a smoothness to the tea that makes it feel lighter than the stoutness I sometimes get with Assams, and that also makes it somewhat easier on the throat.

I’m sad there won’t be the option to get more of this in my future.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Ginger

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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92

I gave the black tea version of this an 88 a number of years ago, which makes me want to try it again because this herbal version is awesome.

I have to be in the mood for cinnamon, but I was in that mood today. The smell out of the tin is spicy, sweet, cinnamon. Very candy like.

That aspect carries through the aroma and taste of the steeped tea. It’s like drinking liquid candy, which, when one is on a portion controlled and calorie restricted diet, is rather like nirvana.

The best part is, the candy isn’t nearly as hot as red hots, but just as sweet. It’s like someone took the hottest aspect of red hots and removed it, leaving a strong cinnamon flavor that is very candy like but doesn’t hurt the membranes in your mouth.

I wish I was in the mood for cinnamon more than I am. If this was something I’m often in the mood for, such as, oh say, chocolate, and I had this same reaction, this would rate a hundred.

Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
ashmanra

I have tried the black and green versions but nit the herbal. Maybe it is time.

__Morgana__

I haven’t tried the green. There are so few flavored greens I truly like.

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84
drank Guava Cadabra by DAVIDsTEA
1462 tasting notes

Wow, what a shade of pink! Or maybe magenta or maybe melon — not sure exactly what to call it, but it looks more like fruit juice than anything else.

The blend has a strong pungent hibiscusy smell in the packet. Steeped, it retains some of the pungency but also acquires a sweetness, and an exotic guava smell with an undercurrent of berry. This is pretty much exactly how it tastes, too.

I don’t think I have any other guavas, currently, and this is a really nice one.

Flavors: Berry, Guava, Hibiscus

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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84
drank Blueberry Muffin by DAVIDsTEA
1462 tasting notes

What a strange little blend. I can’t decide whether I think it’s really blueberry muffin or something else. Just when I’m thinking it’s something else, I get a real wave of muffin.

To be clear, in the packet the blend has a tart and pungent smell that is nothing like blueberry muffins or even blueberries. Steeped, it smells quite like hot wine to me — but I think that’s the raisins. It’s possible that I got a large clump of raisins in my spoons tonight and this might not be the same with a different mix in the spoon. The liquor is a vibrant cranberry red. Really gorgeous color. I want a sweater this color.

The flavor, as I mentioned, is somewhat sneaky. At the beginning of the sip it has a winey flavor that doesn’t make me think of blueberries at all, but by the mid-sip and finish I’m getting muffin. Not so much blueberry muffin as muffin in general. It’s a pastry-like flavor, and as it settles in, a buttery, blueberry circles around and sneaks in.

It does live up to its name, which is pretty astonishing. I give it mega-points for that, tho on the whole, it’s a bit on the heavy side for me and I think it would mostly function as a dessert substitute in my world.

Flavors: Blueberry, Butter, Pastries, Raisins, Red Wine

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Fjellrev

Hmm, I swear I have had that happen with another muffin tea of theirs, some cranberry one. Like, it had fleeting aspects of muffin but something else entirely different taking over it.

__Morgana__

I know, it’s very strange.

Fjellrev

I’m wondering if it’s some sort of muffin flavouring that just doesn’t quite hit the mark?

__Morgana__

Sounds like a good bet.

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Profile

Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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