1506 Tasting Notes


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
1506 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
1506 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
1506 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
1506 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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Continuing with the breaking open of white teas that I’ve had for a while but never before opened or tasted, given that I’ve at least tasted most of my unflavored black teas to the point where it’s hard to dig out the last few untasted ones.

I skipped right to the steeping method I used with the Silver Needles from Tea Trekker — boiling at 7 minutes. I noticed that everyone else who has written notes on this tea has steeped at a lower temperature and mostly for less time. I have a lot of this so I’ll be able to try different methods.

The dry leaves smell earthy and a bit odd, and plastic-y which I suspect has nothing to do with the tea and everything to do with the container it was in.

After steeping, there’s still some earthiness but none of the weird drowned plant smell that I sometimes get from plain white peony. Instead there’s a kind of a sweet, honeydew note. The color is light gold and clear. As a side note, steeping at low temps often results in colorless or near colorless white tea for me, and I feel comforted by the fact that higher temperatures bring out some color in the liquor. It’s probably just psychological, but it makes me feel like the tea is going to have more flavor.

The flavor is a bit plantier than the aroma and there’s a quality to the flavor that reminds me of trees. More leaves than wood, but there wasn’t a leaves flavor option.

I’ll experiment with it more, but I have the usual white tea problem with this one. I’m not sure I am tasting it as it was intended to be made. In the past, I’ve not considered plain white peony particularly tasty or interesting though I’ve had some nice blends with it as a base. That’s true here, too. I preferred the silver needle, once I was able to get any sort of flavor out of it.

Flavors: Honeydew, Wet Earth, Wood

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

I admire your unwavering determination to wring something good out of white teas, one way or another. You are my role model.


Awww, thanks. Well, there’s definitely flavor with this one when steeped hot for a long time, and also cold.

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drank Anna's by TeaGschwendner
1506 tasting notes

I’ve had this one for a long time, and I know I’ve tasted it before. It appears I haven’t written a note about it before now, though.

The name makes me think of Steepster’s Anna, who I enjoyed following while she was hanging out here. Anna, if you’re listening — come back and say hi!

There’s not a very distinctive smell of the dry leaf, though as mentioned, this tea is old. Perhaps it had more aroma when it was younger. Now it smells earthy and oddly peppery, without any real berry or cream to it.

After steeping, the aroma turns more toasty/rich with berry high notes and a sort of creaminess around the edges. It’s a dark reddish amber and clear.

The flavor takes this even a step further with the berry, though not with the cream. More raspberry, and about the same amount of creaminess. It’s just a hint, really, not a definite, heavy vanilla of the creamy or beany variety. It has something of an odd, papery flavor to it that is noticeable at the beginning of the sip, but thankfully dissipates.

It’s enjoyable (except for the hint of paper, which I’m willing to discount) and was probably even better when it was young. But I prefer the French red berry blends. Mariage Freres and Kusmi do wondrous things with berry flavors, as did the late great American Tea Room (which, though not French, was still wondrous).

I can, however, already tell that this will make an excellent cold tea. So part of my rating is anticipatory.

Flavors: Cream, Paper, Raspberry

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

I miss this one! My daughter is Superanna here and steepster and I bought this for her fiance years ago when he was still living in Ireland. I love Marco Polo, but it can be finicky. This one would suffer abuse and not get nasty.


I think it is supposed be strawberry and yogurt. I guess I have to go back to Marco Polo, although Gurman’s has a good strawberry black tea…

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Sipdown no. 67 of 2018 (no. 423 total).

It feels good to sip this down because it was a big honking bag, almost dimensions of letter sized printer paper. I’d say it’s about 8×10.

Lesson: hot water and long steeps gets some flavor out of white tea, as does cold brew.

I’m still not sure I grok unflavored white tea, or perhaps it’s that I don’t fully appreciate it because I am not sure I’m tasting it prepared as it was intended. I should probably try some at a tea house somewhere, where a professional makes it, so I know I’m getting the preparation right.

Still, what I’m tasting in both hot and cold brew grew on me enough to get this into the green smiley face column, ever so slightly.

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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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