1537 Tasting Notes

85

The dry leaves of this smell a bit like candy, sweet and fruity.

The sweet and the fruity are both smoothed out and far less candy-like in the aroma of the steeped tea. But there’s something very cherry about the aroma that is still very appealing.

The liquor is a strong, clear, golden yellow.

The floral aspects come in to the sip. Lavender and rose are what are promised, and they are there, lavender more than rose, but neither to the point of being hit over the head. So many florals tend toward the soapy or lotiony, but this is where the French blends excel. They are able to get that hint into the flavor without the fear of suds in the mouth. And there’s still that cherry-ishness underneath it all, which fills out and morphs into something less cherry one note and more berry blend.

I quite like this one.

Flavors: Berry, Cherry, Lavender, Rose

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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78
drank Bollywood Chaipur by THE O DOR
1537 tasting notes

I’m not entirely sure about this one yet. Chai is a weird beast — usually very dependent on what ends up in the spoon. This time I had a lot of red peppercorns, so I’m tasting a lot of pepper, but I’m not sure that’s really what this chai is about.

I made it on the stovetop using the Golden Moon French Breakfast as the extra black tea.

It turns out I don’t have as many chais as I thought I did. This one, the other two I’ve tried recently, the Tea Table chocolate, the Rishi and the Samovar. I think that’s it.

Samovar will always be my fave, with Rishi as a spicier alternative. But I think this one could be pretty nice. I’m just not sure I’ve experienced it in all its potential glory yet.

Flavors: Cardamon, Pepper

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78

Sipdown no. 86 of 2018 (no. 442 total). Sample tin.

I didn’t think I’d put samples in my cupboard, but every now and then I come across one. I definitely have a lot of samples that aren’t listed in my cupboard, though.

This won the lottery as the lowest rated black tea currently in said cupboard and so I put the rest of it in to cold brew, along with the second lowest rated to make up the 4 spoon deficit, Golden Moon French Breakfast.

It makes a perfectly fine cold brew. I liked this one hot more than a lot of other people did, and I could even see buying it again some day. But not until I’ve sipped down a lot more in my current stash.

I’m actually rather proud of the progress I’ve made this year. I’ll definitely hit 100 sipdowns at this rate, and surpass that number. Even though some are samples, when it comes to making room every little bit helps.

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77

Weekend 2 of project chai sipdown. I made this on the stovetop with Golden Moon French Breakfast as the additional black tea.

It’s tasty — a mild, chocolate chai. I don’t find the chocolate overly strong. In fact, it could be stronger. That might be a function of what parts of the blend ended up in this spoon.

The chai spices are more prominent for me, particularly the cardamom. Fortunately, I’m not tasting the anise.

I wish that this rocked my socks off but it’s not doing that. Still, it’s pleasant and enjoyable as my last tea of the day.

Flavors: Cardamon, Chocolate

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85
drank Acte II by THE O DOR
1537 tasting notes

This is lovely. I don’t think it quite rises to the level of J’aime Vert, or at least how I remember J’aime Vert, or perhaps I like the combination of flavors in J’aime Vert slightly better — but this is something I’ll enjoy drinking and may consider for a long term addition to my cupboard.

The smell in the tin is very floral, not fruity. After steeping there is an orangy citrus note, but it isn’t sharp, and the overall aroma gives the impression of roundness which I think is coming from the rose. The tea is greenish yellow, not as bright as the color of its tin, but in the same color family. There is some particulate matter that settled to the bottom of the cup.

The sip is where all of the flavors come together. There’s a freshness from the citrus note, that stops short of sourness or bitterness though it isn’t sweet. There’s a depth from the berry notes that adds a touch of sweetness, and the rose carries over its roundness into the flavor.

Very enjoyable.

Flavors: Berries, Citrus, Rose

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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50
drank Silver Needle by Todd & Holland
1537 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 85 of 2018 (no. 441 total). A sample.

For my last date with this tea, it wore 190 at 4 minutes. Not a bad look, actually. More flavor and color, and that certain je ne sais quoi that people describe about white tea tasting like black tea, except different, is something that really comes through at this temp.

But alas, in the end we broke up. It wasn’t the tea. It was me.

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71

Sipdown no. 84 of 2018 (no. 440 total).

This became my most recent take it to work tea, and it was great for that. Flavorful without calling attention to itself. The melony flavor that I noted in the original note didn’t stand out enough for me to really ponder it while working, which is actually a good thing.

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78
drank Chocolate and Cream by TeaFrog
1537 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 83 of 2018 (no. 439 total).

A good, milk chocolaty tea — not much to add beyond my original note than that it also makes a surprisingly good cold tea.

It is nice to have such an embarrassment of riches in my cabinet that even the “lower” rated teas are awesome.

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80
drank Kama Chai Sutra by Tavalon Tea
1537 tasting notes

I decided to start my chai sipdown experiment today after the lapsang success.

I made this one on the stovetop using two tablespoons of chai to a cup of one percent milk.

I haven’t had a real cup of chai since the weather turned hot. I expect I’d appreciate this more if the weather was cooler, but it was tasty even in the heat. It’s a nice blend of all the spices with none of them outweighing the others. I didn’t really notice the vanilla, but that is probably because I didn’t know it was in the blend until I started reading the other notes, after I’d finished my cup. The spices aren’t overly spicy, though, and I agree that this could use a bit more oomph. It’s a solid chai, though, and I’ll enjoy trying it various ways as part of project sipdown.

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85

Sipdown no. 82 of 2018 (no. 438 total).

I seem to be nearing the end of project Lapsang sipdown. I think I only have two left. It’s always possible there are more hidden somewhere, or that something with a name other than lapsang is really lapsang. With almost 400 teas it’s hard to know. I’m actually looking forward to the continued culling of the collection. It’ll make it easier to find stuff.

I am thinking I ought now to switch to a different project. Like project chai sipdown.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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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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