1499 Tasting Notes

drank Gina Amaretta by TeaGschwendner
1499 tasting notes

I have had this tea before, as recently as yesterday. I’d intended to write a note about it then, but I got distracted and let the tea get cold. So I decided to give it another go this morning.

In the tin, the dry leaves smell nutty and a bit liqueur-like, with really big almond slices interspersed among the leaves. The smell is the same, but deeper, after steeping. The tea is clear, and a dark amber color.

Just as I find the variations in vanilla teas interesting (is it beany? is it creamy? is it a little of both?) I find the variations in almond teas also quite interesting. This is not a cookie or pastry flavored tea, it’s definitely a liqueur flavored tea. While I haven’t had Amaretto in a while, the aroma of the almond in this tea has a syrupy quality to it that reminds me of the drink. And while it’s not heavily alcoholic, I couldn’t find “liqueur” in the Steepster flavors and scents options, so I settled for alcohol. I don’t mean by this that this tastes of alcohol, just that it reminds me of the liqueur.

So it’s not a substitute for Brioche, which I was kind of hoping. More reminiscent of the Mariage Freres Almond than the Teavana Almond Biscotti, SpecialTeas Almond Cookie, or Brioche, which were all variations of the same idea and all, sadly, no longer available. I am pretty sure I liked the Mariage Freres better. So I’m bumping that one up a tad.

Someone make a substitute for Brioche please!

Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Nutty

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

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I’m a little confused. I think I had shoehorned this tea under another entry that wasn’t exactly the same tea. I think I have it straightened out now.

I steeped this according to label directions. Steeped this way, it is very second-flush like. The dry leaves are dark, but tippy, and they have a sort of a spicy smell — like a gingerbread on first whiff, but that then becomes more winey and earthy.

The liquor is really pretty. It’s the rose gold color that is popular in jewelry for the past ten or so years. Its clear, and smells of stonefruit pits. Peach, I think. And earth. And there’s that pungent wine note that characterizes second flush darjeelings, but without the sharp bite. And weirdly, that gingerbread smell is still there to some degree.

The flavor is smooth. None of the sharpness of some second flushes, but with just a hint of the fullness in some first flush darjeelings that make me feel uncomfortably overfull (what I sometimes think of as a waterlogged feeling). There’s grape in the flavor, and wood, and trees, and peach pits, and just a tiny bit of that unusual gingerbread note.

It’s a solid first flush darjeeling with the qualities I like in teas of this genre. I’d like to taste this one cold.

Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Grapes, Peach, Stonefruits, White Wine

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

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Sipdown no. 71 (no. 427 total).

Delicious and different as a cold tea. I don’t think I’ve had a cold tea before that was in part rose flavored. I was rather expecting it to taste like a mouth full of perfume but was pleasantly surprised. While the other flavors aren’t individuated enough that I can pick them out in the cold version, but they tamp down the rose and keep it from being soapy.

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Sipdown no. 70 of 2018 (no. 426 total).

Another one bites the dust in project lapsang sipdown!

I think I’m down to just a couple now besides the Samovar, the Mariage Freres and the Tea Trekker.

Of course, it’s entirely possible there are more buried among the 400+ containers still in my cupboard.



You need to post a comparison after you finished your Lapsang Souchong project. I would be very interested to know where I can find the good ones and if there are some interesting variations. And I am sure there are many others like me lurking around here. Promise?


Sure! It would be great if we could just search for notes by name of poster and type of tea. I’m pretty sure there are lapsang notes buried in my tealog from years ago, before the sipdown project, too.

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drank Adele H by THE O DOR
1499 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 69 of 2018 (no. 425 total).

This sipdown results from several batches of this made cold — as the temperature goes up around here, I’ve been going through cold tea faster and faster.

It made a weird, but tasty, cold tea. No. 2 liked it.

One comment on the design of the The O Dor tins — that lip at the top is murder on getting the last bit of tea out of the tin without getting it all over your kitchen counter. More user testing, people!

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drank Snow Buds by Todd & Holland
1499 tasting notes

This is a sample I’ve had for a long time but never opened. I’m trying it as part of project white tea tasting.

Because it’s been so long since I got this, Todd & Holland is no longer selling it. I can’t find anything about it on the internet. I think it’s a white peony. It’s a bit too messy in the leaf department for silver needle.

The leaves in the packet have the earthy, honeydew smell that I’ve smelled in other white teas. After steeping there’s a still a bit of the honeydew, but there’s also a bit more non-melon generic fruitiness in a delicate sort of way.

I steeped the hell out of this — steeped it at boiling for 7 minutes, aka as an herbal, and yes, there is color and flavor. The color is a clear golden yellow, and the flavor is much like the smell. There’s a soft mouth feel to the tea, and a sort of light pungency that I often taste in white teas. This one isn’t too planty — it’s more of a flavor on the back of the tongue that says tea, but in a very white tea way. Hard to describe, but it’s the reason I think people sometimes say white teas taste like black teas a little.

There’s also a dewy sweetness with a tad of honey.

Tomorrow I’ll try this at a lower temp for less time, but I know exactly what I’ll get. Liquor color just a shade off of clear water, if that, and a find the flavor game.

So it’s a white tea, but comparing apples to apples, it’s pretty tasty as these go. Better than some others I’ve had.

But I still don’t get white tea. I keep hoping, though.

Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Honey, Honeydew

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Adele H by THE O DOR
1499 tasting notes

Tried this today at 200F for 3 minutes.

A bit less stout, but still, somehow, it isn’t blowing me away. I had Leland’s Bogart immediately after and liked it much better.

Bumping this one down and Bogart up.

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Sipdown no. 68 of 2018 (no. 424 total).

Tried the last of this this morning at a lower temperature (185F) and a shorter steep time (4 minutes).

Prepared this way, it’s a completely different tea. Virtually colorless liquor, very little aroma, and I can’t taste much other than hot water and the chocolate muffin I had for breakfast.

I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me (but it does). It’s typical of my experience with white teas. Unless I steep them like herbals, I get a big fat nada.

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drank Adele H by THE O DOR
1499 tasting notes

All hail the weekend!

I have had a difficult few weeks at work. I’m enjoying the new management gig, but I wasn’t fully prepared for the increased workload.

The name of this tea was very familiar to me, so I googled it — yeah, there’s a Truffaut film called The Story of Adele H. I have to assume that this tea is somehow connected to the film, or to the subject of the film, Victor Hugo’s daughter Adele.

I don’t know the story of the film except for what I’ve read in Wikipedia, which is interesting mostly because it takes place in Canada rather than France during the 1960s. Also, apparently it’s about a romantic obsession. So I’m thinking about all of this as I try this tea.

In the tin, the tea has a fruity smell (the peach) and a spicy smell that is not hugely specific, though I can smell the pepper.

The steeped tea is very dark, like a dark beer but not quite as opaque — the light shines through and where it shines there’s a dark, winy red.

The word I’d use to describe the smell and flavor is stout. I made it the way I normally make black tea and it is extremely strong. Fortunately, the strength doesn’t translate into bitterness, but man, it knocks you back! I think I’ll try steeping it at a lower temperature next time as the other note-writers here have done.

Because I’m so preoccupied with the strength, I find it a bit hard to differentiate the flavors. There’s definitely a peach flavor, and some pepper, particularly in the aroma. I can taste clove as well, but fortunately it’s not too overpowering.

No. 1 tasted it and said “It’s good — peachy but not sweet peachy if you know what I mean.”

Yeah, I do, but I’m having a devil of a time rating this. I can tell it’s a quality tea, and I suspect user error here, but for me it’s not as lovely as I wanted it to be. I’m rating it lower for now until I figure out if I can open up the flavors some with a lower temp.

Flavors: Clove, Peach, Pepper

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

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In the packet, this smells very rosy with a hint of citrus and pepper.

After steeping there’s a more orangey smell. Less rose, but still some pepper. The tea is a clear, medium brown orange.

The flavor is a nice mix of all the scents, heaviest on the rose. It’s not one of my favorites from Mariage Freres, but it’s pleasant. Though I might not put it on a shopping list, I’d drink it again if offered.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Pepper, Rose

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

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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. :-)


Bay Area, California



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