1685 Tasting Notes

drank Coincidence Noir by THE O DOR
1685 tasting notes

I’m getting closer and closer to having tasted all the black teas in my cupboard once with a note to show for it. By current count I have 15 still untasted and unwritten about including this one.

Two caveats, though. First, I went looking for the Upton Castleton darjeeling today and I couldn’t find it. So I suppose it is possible I put that one in there by accident, but I don’t know for sure. I’m leaving it in for now because sometimes things turn up. There may be others that fit that description as well. Second, I am hoping that after this long weekend, I’ll have reduced that number to nine. If I continue at my current pace, I’ll have gotten through them all by the end of the month, what with Thanksgiving falling in the middle there.

So yay.

I’ll be a little sad when there’s nothing left to discover for the first time with my black teas, though. This one for example.

Everyone says it tastes like Marco Polo by Mariage. I wish I had tasted that more recently,
though I clearly loved it because I gave it a 92. I got some strawberry with that one. I’m not really getting strawberry with this so much. Maybe a little.

In the tin I smell berry fruit, raspberry maybe. And a cocoa note. I smell even more raspberry in the steeped tea. Not much of a cocoa note, though, more of a cream one. The tea is chestnut colored and clear.

The flavor starts out like the smell, but there’s more to it than that. In the aftertaste there’s a pleasant caramel note that has a touch of sweetness.

Just a really wonderful taste to start the day with.

Flavors: Berry, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Raspberry, Strawberry

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

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Jasmine green, a perpetual favorite of mine if done right.

Done right to me means:

1. The jasmine smells and tastes like the essence of flowers rather than a flavoring agent.
2. The jasmine is integrated into the tea, rather than smelling and tasting pasted on.
3. The tea base is both a great delivery vehicle for the jasmine and not completely overpowered by it to the point where it disappears.
4. Extra points for juicy, flowery goodness.

This tea, which is a vibrant, clear golden color after steeping gets high marks on the first three. The underlying tea contributes a soft, buttery aspect to the tea.

It could be juicier. But 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Flavors: Jasmine

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

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Catching up on my TV watching this morning. Kids’ piano recitals this afternoon.

And I voted yesterday so I don’t have to think about how to work it in on Tuesday.

The tea smells very lemony in the tin. Tart, with some other spices in the mix though I can’t tease out individual smells.

After steeping, the tea is a medium gold color, with suspended particles in it and smells like a less tart version of the dry leaf smell.

Lemon is definitely the main flavor here, and it’s a nice one. It’s not sweet, but it is neither bitter nor too tart. Whatever other spice (clove?) might be in the mix gives it a sort of sultry flavor, which keeps it from being too perky.

It’s a very nice lemon flavored green tea. I’m trying to remember whether I’ve tasted others of this type and I’m not remembering, though it seems very likely. It’s times like these I would love a meaningful way to search my own notes.

Flavors: Lemon, Spices

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

Way to vote!

Mastress Alita

The lack of a meaning way to search the notes on here is why I actually write all my tea reviews on a Notepad file and just paste them to Steepster; then I can at least Ctrl+F and text search my file to search through it, which is far more useful than ever hoping for future updates to this site, I’ve learned. (Also, I have a backup of all my tasting notes, heh).


I have so many notes at this point I could only do that if there was an export function. Either that or spend an inordinate amount of time copying things. :-(

Mastress Alita

Well, I wrote everything externally from the beginning. I’ve been so used to forums “eating” my writing it’s just been my practice to do that so I always have a safe copy that I can back up on my HDD. It occured to me later I now had the added handy ability of quickly searching for flavors, tea names and other things since I had them all on a single file.

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drank Je T'Aime by THE O DOR
1685 tasting notes

So right before this I had Gauguin, and when I tasted this I thought: Gauguin without the fruitiness.

There are some other differences. The smell in the tin is more intense with this tea and it has an almond pastry note in the dry leaf. It steeps a little less dark than the Gauguin, though the leaf looks similar. This is more of a clear, dark amber.

I totally get the macaron aspect in the aroma of the steeped tea, which, come to think of it I got in Gauguin as well. Some of what gives it that aspect is, I think, the coconut. Some of it is the cocoa and caramel notes. I wish the pistachio was more pronounced as I love pistachio.

The flavor is very reminiscent of the Gauguin of this morning, but without the fruitiness. I kind of like the addition of the fruitiness, but it’s otherwise too close to call.

Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Nuts, Pastries

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

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drank Gauguin by THE O DOR
1685 tasting notes

This tea is something of a mystery. I can’t find any information about it online, and The O Dor no longer sells it.

It’s definitely a black tea, not CTC, and it has bits of what look like dried fruit in it. The dry leaf has caramel and cocoa notes. I am thinking it is likely an Assam base or at least has Assam in the base. The steeped tea has that, as well as some fruity notes and a little smoke. The tea is dark brownish red and clear.

The tea reminds me a little of the Mariage Freres Wedding Imperial from yesterday, except that it isn’t nearly as heavy and is fruitier. If I’m guessing, I’m going to say mango (because Gauguin) and maybe some red berry. I get a little bit of a raspberry note.

It’s rarely the case I have a tea that is as clean a slate as this one. I wish someone else had some and would write about it. Would be fun to compare.

Edited to add: See also note on The O Dor Je t’aime — this has a lot of similarities. Yeah, I think I didn’t zero in on the coconut, but Gauguin has that as well.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Fruity, Mango, Raspberry, Smoke

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

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drank Ginseng Oolong by Teas Etc
1685 tasting notes

When I first opened this, I was terrified! I thought something had gone wildly wrong between the time I bought this and the time I opened it, years later.

What a relief to see the picture on this page and read other notes that talk about the pellets!

I am doing the compulsory short steeps in the gaiwan starting at 15 seconds.

I know of ginseng only as an herbal supplement that is supposed to do various things for you and I certainly couldn’t tell you what it tastes like. But this tea has the following attributes:

Dry smell: wood
Steeped smell: wood and rocks
Flavor: wood and rocks

I taste no licorice, by the way. Though the fresh aftertaste is reminiscent of the effect in the mouth after chewing anise seeds.

The color is a light amber.

I’m glad I tried it. It’s tasty enough — a little toasty in with the wood and rocks. I might even keep some around just for the entertainment value of spooking myself every now and then with the pellets. (Why are they pellets, anyway?)

But the flavor doesn’t bowl me over.

Flavors: Toasty, Wet Rocks, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C

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I forgot I even had this. It was in a sealed, never opened packet.

When I first started drinking green tea I didn’t get dragonwell. But now I love it. And despite its age, this one smells wonderful in the packet. A little juicy-vegetal, a little sweet grass/hay, a little nutty. After steeping, its a pale, clear golden yellow and smells like sweet grass.

It’s slightly sweet, slightly nutty, and a little grassy in flavor. I think I’d also taste the asparagus everyone else tastes if not for the fact I just ate some asparagus for lunch.

It’s hitting the spot after today’s special Pokemon event. Alas, I didn’t get a shiny Gengar. :-(

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Nutty, Vegetal

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

I was too exhausted so I didn’t even get out try for a Gengar :D Maybe someone I know has an extra one they will trade me :D Trading helps :D


I got a boatload of them, but not a shiny. :-( However, last night, I got a shiny Pinsir from my bed. LOL

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drank Gyokuro Suimei by Den's Tea
1685 tasting notes

My favorite thing about gyokuro is how it looks. I love the fine leaves that look so soft and richly green. The dry leaves smell nutty, a bit like almonds, and the aroma has a juicy character.

I also like the color of the steeped tea — the green in the liquor, rather than the typical color somewhere on the yellow spectrum. This one is a light greenish yellow, more green than chartreuse.

The steeped tea smells brothy, a bit salty, a bit nutty, a bit vegetal. The flavor is grassier than some, which I like, but also has the seaweed notes that I’ve come to expect, and something a little on the nutty side, like edamame.

I made this at a slightly higher temperature than recommended for a first steep, mostly because the Breville won’t go lower than 160.

The description says this is Den’s best, and it is quite good. I wish I appreciated gyokuro more in general. I enjoy it but I feel as though its greatness is somewhat wasted on me since I’m just as happy to drink a good sencha.

Flavors: Almond, Broth, Grass, Nutty, Salty, Seaweed, Soybean

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Confucius by Mariage Frères
1685 tasting notes

Continuing with the project to get through all the teas in my cupboard and write a note about them, I am almost to the end of 15 out of 21 cupboard pages. w00t! And even more yay because until this morning, I had 22 cupboard pages. But with a spidown I cleared out that pesky page with only one tea on it. So there.

And I’m not fully neglecting my samples either, those little packets that don’t get a place in the cupboard but still take up space in tea world.

Even with all that, I don’t feel like I’m making a terrific dent in my supply here. Sigh. All I know is I haven’t bought any tea since I replenished my (gone) herbal/fruit blend stash months ago. So where they come from I have no idea.

This one is quite smoky in the tin. A woody smoke, like the remains of a wood fire in the fireplace. Charred wood, but not ash, which is fortunate. Not much resin, and no meaty-bacony smell either. Also fortunate.

After steeping, the smoky aroma spreads out and mellows some. It’s still there, but it’s more subtle. Not so much at the center of things as the edges. The color is very pretty, dark reddish-amber.

The tea has sweetness to it, and the flavor isn’t overly smoky though there’s a hint. It’s surprisingly smooth and gentle on the stomach. I would call it a medium-bodied to light bodied-tea. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft.

It’s enjoyable, for when you want a hint of smoke but lapsang is too much. It’s at least as good as I remember the Mariage Freres Lapsang being, though different. Rating accordingly.

Flavors: Campfire, Smoke, Wood

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

Wow! That is quite a project! I have done two stash declutterings/organizings of late and am happy with the way things are headed. I am seriously going to try NOT to order any tea (maybe a Keemun for brekkie, tho) and maybe I will actually get things under control.

Cameron B.

I, too, am trying to taste and write about all of my teas! Almost there I think. You can do it, hurrah!

@ashmanra – the key word there being “try”! ;)


Yeah, it will take me another several months, I think. But I’m going to keep plugging.

Cameron — go, go, go!

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drank Jun Shan by Teas Etc
1685 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 122 of 2018 (no. 478 total). I wonder if I can make it to 500 sipdowns by the end of the year? Probably not. I do think I’ll have something on the order of 10 more, though, if I hit the samples.

I sipped this one down Wednesday. It had become my take it to work tea.

After looking back at my original note on this, I don’t have much more to say about it other than to agree with myself that it did make a nice work tea.

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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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