1504 Tasting Notes

drank Bogart by Leland Tea Co
1504 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 73 of 2018 (no. 429 total).

I wrote to Leland a week ago to ask whether there is in fact lapsang souchong in this tea, or whether the description is intending to suggest blending this tea with lapsang souchong.

I hoped I’d have an answer by sipdown time, but alas, they never responded.

In any case, this tea grew on me. There was one time, last weekend, when I thought perhaps my interpretation was incorrect. I thought I might have tasted some smokiness which could mean lapsang was in the blend. But I got over it.

If they ever write back to me, I’ll let you guys know.

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drank Bogart by Leland Tea Co
1504 tasting notes

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drank Birthday Tea by Mariage Frères
1504 tasting notes

I got this through the Cultured Cup. The packet says it’s India black tea with vanilla and bergamot, which is interesting given the “rare citrus fruits and spices” description here.

In the packet, the smell is strongly bergamot, but in a citrusy way, not a perfumy way. I can also smell vanilla, though it is less.

After steeping, the beramot aroma is very dispersed, and the vanilla more pronounced. The tea is an interesting color: a medium-light amber/copper, which is proof (if any was necessary) that the base is darjeeling.

The sharp, piquant muscatel note that I associate with darjeelings is present, but the vanilla tamps it down nicely. Though if that’s your favorite part of a darjeeling, that’s probably not a good thing.

For me it is, as I like darjeeling flavor but don’t love the sharpness.

I don’t know whether it’s my mood, or the fact that I’ve been using zinc to stave off a cold (maybe it’s true that it does a number on your ability to smell), but my experience of this tea is good but not spectacular. It does have the expert blending of the French thing going on, which would ordinarily send me into a happy place. And it does, just not the happiest of happy places. I might have liked this better with a China black tea base.

Flavors: Bergamot, Muscatel, Vanilla

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

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The package says to steep at 160-170F for 2 minutes. I’ll try that later, but for now I’m steeping at the Breville’s green tea setting.

The leaves of this one are long and twiggy. They’re a bit coarser and more tubular than those of the Mengding Mountain yellow buds, which were flat and shiny like dragonwell leaves.

In the packet, the leaves smell a little nutty, and also like dried hay.

Steeping at this time and temp may not be enough. I’m getting the white tea syndrome from this. Almost colorless liquor, very little aroma and flavor.

I’ll try again tomorrow using the scale instead of spoons and steeping according to the package directions. We’ll see what that does.

For now I have to rate this low because — no flavor at all, really.

Flavors: Hay, Nutty

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

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1500th tasting note!

Sipdown no. 72 of 2018 (no. 428 total).

This had become my take it to work tea as a break from green.

A mellow but tasty tea. Not much to add to my initial note.


Wooo! Congrats on 1500 notes!


Thank you!

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drank Gina Amaretta by TeaGschwendner
1504 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
1504 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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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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