Ahh. Wednesday. A work from home day.

Which means my overflowing shipping boxes full of recent tea deliveries are surrounding and beckoning to me. Yes, that’s where I’m now reduced to collecting (I won’t say storing because that might mean it would become a permanent solution) my tea deliveries, one for each type from black to white. On second thought, beckoning is the wrong word. It sounds gentle and polite, or at least resistible.

But first, I must not ignore my crusade to drink up the bagged tea to make room for all the new stuff, lest the boxes indeed become permanent. The good news is that though there are still way too many, I’m finding that I’m running out of ones I haven’t written notes on.

This is one. The bag has a deep “black bagged tea” smell, a bit like the Numi pu erh bags but minus the leathery/earthy notes. It steeped to a dark brown. I used 2 bags in 14-16 or so oz of water which likely resulted in a darker liquor than would be typical.

The tea smells much nicer than the bag; it has something similar to that sweet, brown sugary/malty smell I detect in a lot of the black Samovar teas and that I just love.

The sweetness isn’t as apparent in the taste, unfortunately. There’s a tiny bit of sugar in the finish, and a full, malty flavor with some astringency. It seems better than many of the bagged blacks I’ve had. But it lacks the depth and smoothness of the loose blacks that are my frontrunners at the moment. I’d be afraid that steeping any longer than 3 minutes would turn the corner into bitterness.

I’ll finish this up and would choose it over other bagged blacks in a pinch, but there are better teas. I’m spoiled by Samovar and Mariage Freres and look forward to more spoilage as I work through the contents of my shipping boxes.

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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.

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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