If it seems like I’m only writing tasting notes when I’m sick, that’s probably because I’m only writing tasting notes when I’m sick. Because that’s when I’m mostly drinking tea these days. Though with the new year comes the resolutions, and one of them is to wean myself back off of Diet Coke and back onto tea as part of the diet improvement plan of 2014.

This was given to me as a gift from a colleague in Texas as part of a larger gift box that contained cocoa mix, steak rub, some coffee products, etc. and its gift box name is, cutely, “Tea is for Texas.” However, the company just lists it as Chamomile/Peppermint Plus. Chamomile is one of those herbal flavors that I wish I liked better than I do. Sometimes it sounds really good to me but more often than not, it’s disappointing when I drink it. There’s something going on with the flowers that hits me the wrong way most of the time. I think it’s that good chamomile has such a creamy consistency I expect it to be sweet but it often has an almost bitter note that messes my tasters up. Or maybe it’s just psychological because I associate it with being sick.

In any case, the good thing about this one is that the peppermint takes the edge off the chamomile leaving it more as an undercurrent than the main event. The aftertaste is minty rather than flowery, too. There’s still the occasional high flowery chamomile note, but it’s less problematic for me when it isn’t the only flavor.

It’s a good herbal for a sore throat. Not sure I’d seek out the flavor it I wasn’t feeling under the weather, though.

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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 tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

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 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; 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.

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.

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


Bay Area, California



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