1537 Tasting Notes


Sipdown no. 78 of 2018 (no. 434 total). A sample.

I didn’t have quite enough for the minimum steep in the Breville this morning, so I rounded it out with some Jasmine Silver Needle from Todd & Holland.

From one perspective, this was a mistake because I really can’t taste anything other than the jasmine. From another, this was not a mistake because at least I can taste the jasmine.

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drank J'Aime Vert by THE O DOR
1537 tasting notes

I’ve had this tea (unopened) for a while, but surprisingly I hadn’t put it into my cupboard here. I’ve now remedied that misstep. Finding more tea that I haven’t put in the cupboard isn’t exactly encouraging. I am finally down to under 400 tins, and I had hoped I’d be down one more today. I’ve said before, it sometimes feels like my tea breeds while I’m not looking. It feels like that today.

But anyway, I really like this one. At first I didn’t get the macaron reference, but then I don’t get much almond from this. It’s not that it isn’t there — there’s a nutty aura to the aroma of the dry leaves that carries over into the tea’s aroma and flavor, but it’s not the primary note.

Instead, I smell and taste cherries in a big way, and some other berries and some creaminess, almost.

As the tea cools, the macaron reference becomes more understandable for me. The almond is more pronounced when the tea is cooler.

I don’t taste the tea base much, though there’s some green-ness tempering all of the above.

Complex, interesting, and really appetizing. Yum.

Flavors: Berries, Cherry, Creamy, Grenadine

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

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drank Kookiedoodle by Leland Tea Co
1537 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 77 of 2018 (no. 433 total).

Tossed the rest of this into a pitcher and it is currently cold brewing in the fridge. It’s been super hot here so I’m going through cold brew pretty quickly.

If there’s anything interesting that comes out of the cold brew experience, I’ll record it.

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I have a number of unopened American Tea Room sample packets, still. It’s kind of sad to know that when I drink them down, that will be the end of American Tea Room in my stash.

And yet, this one is consistent with my experience of white tea so it won’t be one I’ll miss. I tried it at two different steeping temperatures: the Breville white setting (4 minutes at 184F) and as an herbal. Neither way gave much aroma, color or flavor. The color was a very light beige that was almost clear. The most interesting parts of it were the leaves (very fluffy and furry) and a sort of artichoke like aftertaste.

Flavors: Artichoke

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I don’t get “ripe fruit on a tray” here, but there is something fruity about this. I’m just not sure what kind of fruit.

The smell in the tin is more floral than fruity, but not a floral I can identify, and somewhat spicy. It’s not jasmine, rose , or lily of the valley. Do cornflowers smell, I asked myself? And the first answer that came up on google was “green, earthy, with a subtle peppery note.” Yes, that’s the floral, then, because I was going to say pepper and then went, “nah, that doesn’t make sense for a green tea.” Who knew?

Now for the fruit. After steeping there’s something melony about this. I don’t really get the citrus others did, but I do understand the reference to baby powder. It’s not unpleasant, just weird. I can see lychee, as others have said, but I’m wondering if the fruit I’m smelling is dragonfruit as there’s something kiwi-esque about it. I’m going out on a limb here because I have never smelled, nor tasted, nor even seen the fruit known as Hand of the Buddha, but I’m wondering if that is the citrus others have smelled. It would go with the name.

The tea is golden and fairly clear with particles afloat in it — and it tastes like a melony green tea.

Not my favorite, but interesting.

Flavors: Floral, Melon

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

It’s been years since I had this one last but I can still vividly remember it’s odd fruity-floral smell. Have you ever had a persimmon?


I know that I have in the past, but most recently I’ve only had dried persimmons. Do you think this tastes like persimmon? The dried ones aren’t very flavorful.

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drank White Peony by Todd & Holland
1537 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 76 of 2018 (no. 432 total). A sample.

Steeped at the “white tea” setting in the Breville. Not as hot or as long as herbal, but resulted in pretty much the same flavor. Strange. This is different from the experience I’ve had with other white teas.

In any case, my thoughts on the flavor haven’t changed since I wrote about this first a week ago.

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Sipdown no. 75 of 2018 (no. 431 total).

The bag this came in was humongous, so this sipdown is a feat. I’ve been drinking this daily at work, and also made a few pitchers of cold brew.

The cold brew is why I’m bumping the rating. It’s decent and refreshing. I’m still not loving this hot, but you can’t win them all.

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Happy 4th of July to my U.S. peeps! Today I intend to spend planning our vacation to Italy!!!! I haven’t been to Italy in years. I can’t now remember whether it was the late 80s or early 90s, but now I’m looking forward to going back. No. 2 is quite a sports car aficionado so we’ll be visiting the Ferrari and Lamborghini museums, but otherwise I expect the trip to be similar to the one I took years ago. Though this time I’d like to try to get to Lake Como.

Anyway, it being a holiday, I cracked open a couple of teas. The first, the Art of Tea green pear, was in a tall, tubular tin, so I thought I’d go with that same theme. This is in exactly the same tin design, with the little interior “plug” with a knob on it. Cute.

I had to read up on what this tea is supposed to be because Mariage Freres is nothing if not coy in their descriptions. Spices can mean anything — here it means caramel/creme brulee apparently.

Which is amusing because when I opened the tin I smelled chocolate and rose. After a while, I realized it wasn’t chocolate so much as caramel.

Now, I’m not a custard fan. I don’t do creme brulee, though the BF is a huge proponent of it. It’s a texture thing for me. Still, this is a tea worth having.

The aroma is pastry-like, cream-caramel with rose at the end, and that’s how it tastes, too. The tea is very dark amber and clear.

This is a blend that shows off Mariage Frere’s blending prowess. It’s very well done; the blend is one with all of its elements and with the tea base, which is smooth. It’s sweet without being cloying, and there’s a bit of a coolness in the mouth after the sip, which is pleasant.

I like it better than the last tea I had with something close to this flavor profile, the Leland Bogart. This is not as “dark” a flavor. Rather like the difference between dark roast and medium roast coffee, and I prefer the more medium for this flavor.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Pastries, Rose

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

Nothing like a Barchetta or a Countach at full song. A delight for the motorhead senses.


Where did you purchase this tea, Morgana? Caramel, pastries and rose make Fall in Love a must have for me!


@mrmopar Vroom vroom

@Teatotaler It has been a while so I don’t remember exactly, but I think I ordered it from The Cultured Cup. I just checked their site and they don’t have it now, but it’s available at the Mariage Frères site.


Thank you, Morgana! :)

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drank Green Pear by Art of Tea
1537 tasting notes

Pear seems like a tricky flavor. I’ve had pear teas and while they’re always tasty, they don’t always taste like pear.

If the dry leaf was any indication, though, that wasn’t going to be a problem here. The tea in the tin smells like the juicy run off from canned pears, without the sugar.

Steeped, the aroma is less intense and greener — the tea base comes out a bit more. But there’s still more than a definite hint of pear in the aroma. The tea is an intense gold color and remarkably clear.

It’s in the flavor, though, that this really shines. Though I have to focus my mind a bit on the warm pear desserts I’ve had in the past to get past the initial jarring effect of hot pear, that’s what this is. Hot pear, not sugary, with a grassy green sencha coming through mostly around the edges. It’s amazingly true to flavor, without any artificiality.

I dub this my official top pear tea so far.

Flavors: Pear

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

I just realized I have never had a canned pear. In fact, I am not sure I ever registered that they were sold in cans, but now that I think about, my mother-in-law used them for a pear salad she made at Christmas but I never ate it. I think she put mayo on it and topped it with cheddar cheese. It’s a southern thing?


pear and mayo and cheddar sounds revolting, but that might be my northern sensibilities talking.


My parents were raised in the depression and they always had canned fruit (and other canned goods) because they were very cheap, and they lasted essentially forever. So you could stock up during sales. :-) I switched to frozen vegetables when I got older and had my own house to avoid the sodium, but I still can’t really keep fresh vegetables in the house. I don’t get around to making them in time and they spoil.

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drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
1537 tasting notes

I cracked this open for the first time yesterday, but didn’t get a chance to write a note about it.

Interestingly, when I had it yesterday, what I tasted was chocolate and raspberry. Then I read the description. Cranberry and almond!

However, it appears I’m not the first to taste/smell chocolate, so I feel a little better.

In the tin, I still smell chocolate and I still smell berry, though what I smell might be more cherry than anything else. Like chocolate covered cherries? Not cranberry for sure, and not almond.

After steeping, there’s not so much chocolate in the aroma and something that is definitely nutty. I can get to almond if I try. And the strong smell of cherry/berry is less, too. I can get to cranberry, but honestly I wouldn’t pick it out if I was blindfolded.

The tea is medium brown. Sort of “chestnut” as in the color of a horse.

Regardless of what this is supposed to be and what I get out of it, I really like it. It’s very flavorful, naturally sweet (but not too sweet), still has that hint of chocolate/cherry even in the flavor. But I do taste the cranberry, and I like cranberry quite a bit. So there’s that, too.

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Chocolate, Cranberry, Raspberry

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

I looooove this blend. This is my “good book and blanket on a cozy rainy day” tea! The sweet solitary companion to Cranberry Autumn, which is a bright and social 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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