1586 Tasting Notes

drank Green Pomegranate by Art of Tea
1586 tasting notes

I opened this for the first time today because I’m trying to taste a new green and write a note about it at least every time I sip down a large tin of green to keep a balance going.

The ingredients list mentions rosehips and raspberries “and other natural flavors” which is interesting given the name. The other natural flavors must be the “essence of pomegranate”?

There’s a strong fruity smell in the packet. If I didn’t know about the raspberries, I probably would have said it smelled like pomegranate. But knowing, I sometimes smell pomegranate and sometimes raspberries.

The tea is a strong, gold color and has a juicy fruity smell.

Amazingly, in the flavor, the combination of raspberry and whatever the flavoring agent does remind me of pomegranate, though not as tart. Which is actually good, because if it was that tart I’m not sure I’d enjoy drinking it.

The berries sweeten the flavor up nicely. Certainly, at times while drinking this I think of raspberry rather than pomegranate. But I quite like raspberry, so that’s not such a bad thing.

I didn’t experience any of the bitterness others have mentioned steeping at my standard time and temp for green tea.

Very nice indeed.

Flavors: Fruity, Raspberry, Sweet

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

This was one of the first flavored greens I ever had when I first got into tea as a hobby, and it’s still one of my favorites. Seeing this brings back a lot of nostalgia. I still have a large bag in my cupboard, maybe I’ll make a cuppa this afternoon being reminded of it!

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Sipdown no. 100 of 2018 (no. 456 total). A sample.

Since there was so little left after my stove top cup this morning, I decided to make the rest, about half a cup’s worth, as a plain black tea.

Much more pepper this way. A nice little peppery dance on the tongue. Not sure why it hides so much made on the stove top, but that’s what makes tasting teas so endlessly fascinating!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Today, I opened up the sample I found of this post-project chai sipdown to give it a whirl. Made on the stove top using the Samovar method.

The tea blend doesn’t give off much pepper, and if you know me you know I rather like black pepper in chai. This is true after steeping, as well — mostly I smell ginger and cinnamon.

The flavor has these, and also a discernible cardamom. Not so much clove, which is fine with me. There’s a slight spicy hotness on the tongue in the finish that is likely the pepper asserting itself, but I would have preferred a bit more in the pepper department. I don’t taste a lot of vanilla, but that’s ok with me. What is there adds to the creaminess of the milk.

That said, it’s very tasty. I think a lot of its tastiness comes from the tea base. ATR does (did) good base.

I’ve settled on a couple of favorites in the chai department, but this probably would have come in third or fourth if not for the fact that ATR is gone and it is no longer available.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Vanilla

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Pathetic: I thought I had mistakenly entered this tea in my cupboard because I searched for it and searched for it and couldn’t find it.

Then today, when I was looking for something else (which I didn’t find), I found it.

Too much tea!!! How is that that I’m hovering at 100 sipdowns for the year, which means 100 containers jettisoned either outright or because I transferred their contents into a tin (the number of which remains static) and I still feel like I can’t find anything? Sigh.

As with the white peony, I am not convinced this is a different tea than the one without the Organic label, but this entry had more notes so I’m parking mine here.

I steeped according to package directions.

The dry leaves definitely smell nutty, like the meat of a Brazil nut with a sharp note.

The steeped tea is barely a color other than clear, which does not bode well. Usually if I can’t get color out of a white tea, I also can’t get aroma or flavor.

The tea does have a smell beyond that of hot water, but it is that diffuse, slightly sweet, fresh water smell. And the taste is about the same.

I am going to turn up the heat on this next time and see what happens. For now, I’m disappointed.

I seem to be nearing the end of the white teas in my cupboard as far as initial tastings go, so I’ll be starting to revisit a lot of those I’ve tasted and moving on to doing an initial taste of all my oolongs.

Flavors: Nutty, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

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Sipdown no. 99 of 2018 (no. 455 total).

I made the last of this today — a big pot — because the BF is still sick and he wanted “some tea, something hot, anything really.”

It grew slightly on me over time, but never more than slightly. If I think about why, it’s the mint. I think I would have liked this a lot more without the mint. With it, I focus to much on the mind and not enough on the delicate floral flavors it is overpowering.

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drank Honeydew Melon by Rishi Tea
1586 tasting notes

Steeped this one according to package directions.

The dry leaves have a very identifiable honeydew fragrance, as well as an earthy undercurrent.

The steeped tea is a pretty intense golden yellow and clear. It smells like honeydew.

It’s a pleasant, light, melony tea. It’s rare for me to have so little to say about a new tea, but this one is pretty straightforwardly what it claims to be. Or as we used to say back in the day, what you see is what you get.

I remember quite liking the Lupicia Melon White, in which I tasted cantaloupe quite vividly. I wouldn’t put this on a par with the Lupicia, but it’s pretty great.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Sipdown no. 98 of 2018 (no. 454 total).

An ok take-it-to-work tea. Nothing objectionable about it, just not overly special.

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drank Orange Cookie by Premium Steap
1586 tasting notes

I’ve had this before but never written a note about it, apparently.

The degree to which the dry mix smells like an orange cookie is remarkable. I smell a very definite pastry/cookie note, as well as orange, and some spices that aren’t listed in the mix which I find fascinating. I smell more ginger than coriander, more cinnamon than clove.

The pastry note remains to some degree in the steeped tea’s aroma and flavor. But all of those spices I smelled in the dry transform into the listed ingredients. The pepper note, in particular, stands out — which makes the tea flavorful but less pastry-like. The color is dark orange-amber and clear.

The smell I found so remarkable returns in a different form as the finish and aftertaste of the tea. That pastry note does survive once the stronger spice notes retreat.

It’s a pretty interesting tea. I am not sure it is quite up there with The Tea Table’s version. I had that last a while ago so it’s hard to know. But even if it doesn’t, it isn’t far off.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Ginger, Orange, Pastries, Pepper

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

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drank Jun Shan by Teas Etc
1586 tasting notes

This is a yellow tea, though the labeling is confusing. The name is “Jun Shan white tea” but the ingredients say Chinese yellow tea. Thanks for that, Teas Etc.

In any case, I steeped somewhere in between what I’d normally do for a yellow, which is essentially what I’d do for a green, and what the label suggested.

I get what Auggy means about this feeling somewhere between a green and a white. I definitely get that from the smell of the dry leaves. On the green side, there’s a vegetal green smell and on the white, a more pungent woody smell that combine into one thing.

The color is very pale yellow and clear. The steeped tea smells like a straight up green to me. I get a spinach note from it, though not a strong one.

Flavor-wise, I also get more of a green tea taste. It’s mild, and not at all bitter and the flavor isn’t strongly spinachy. It’s a little more asparagusy. But it isn’t strongly vegetal, just enough to make it recognizably tea.

It’s plenty pleasant, and will make a nice work tea.

Flavors: Asparagus, Spinach, Vegetal, Wood

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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The sweet alpine water I get. But the rest… I’m so frustrated I could cry. This tea has excellent, excellent reviews here and I barely taste anything!

I thought I was going to make a breakthrough with this one because the dry leaves have a very intense woody/nutty smell. But after steeping all of that goes away. The tea’s aroma is so subtle I have to strain to get anything out of it. It’s clearly not just hot water, but floral? No, I don’t smell flowers at all. Maybe a slight sweetness, toward that spun sugar I sometimes taste in white teas, but not fresh cut roses or apricot blossoms.

The tea is almost the color of unsteeped water, so I am wondering whether I should go hotter on this — maybe do the herbal steep method and see if I can get more. There is a slightly nutty aftertaste if I squint really hard, but very little to the rest of the sip other than a subtle spun sugar note.

It’s not terrible, but it just tastes to me mostly like particularly fresh and clean water. But if I wanted that I could drink Fiji, no?

Flavors: Nutty, Sugar

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 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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