Another Todd & Holland unopened sample. I am almost to the end of the black tea sample packets, not only of Todd & Holland, but of other companies as well.

This may not be exactly the tea for this entry. Mine is called Satrupa Estate Gold Tip Spring Reserve. But rather than create another entry for something that may or may not be the same tea, I’m logging it here anyway.

The dry tea has a strong, coffee-like smell with a sharp note.

The word that comes to mind here is hearty. Hearty smell, hearty look, hearty taste. It’s hearty in the same way beef stew is — it feels like it would put meat on your bones.

The aroma is sweet and malty, with a molasses note. But it’s also got something I’d describe as grape or wine-like. Not a high sharp, note as with a darjeeling, but a low, dare I say it, HEARTY note, like a full bodied red wine. The tea is clear and a dark reddish brown.

It manages to be hearty without being heavy, which is more than just a difference of a few letters.

There is a cooling after effect in the mouth, though it’s not without an occasional throat grab. If I keep the tea forward in my mouth before swallowing, I seem to be able to avoid the throat grab.

I can’t really imagine drinking this in hot weather, like I don’t really think of picking beef stew in the summer. But then again, something tells me this would make a pretty solid iced tea.

It’s a conundrum because I like it, but it feels like a bit of a niche tea to me. It’s an evening gown or a tux, rather than a black dress you can dress up or dress down. And like an evening gown or tux, I could see drinking it on occasion, which limits its appeal to me.

Not sure how to rate it. I’d say in terms of taste it’s in the mid-80s, but I’m not rating it that high because: niche.

Flavors: Coffee, Grapes, Malt, Molasses, Red Wine

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

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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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