Sipdown no. 91 of 2018 ( no. 447 total).

I tried this two different ways today, which basically took me to the end of the 1 oz I had. So there will be no iced experiment with this, unfortunately.

First, I steeped it as I would any other black tea (212 for 3 mins in the Breville). One note about that: I had already set aside a couple of tbspns for the stove top so I was short some. I made up the difference with Golden Moon French Breakfast on the theory that since I’m using that for the extra black tea on the stovetop, it would provide a direct comparison — the next best thing to not having to make up the difference with some other tea.

That cup was a decent spiced black tea. Not much in the way of white chocolate flavor, which may be partly explained by the French Breakfast, but otherwise a sort of middle of the road spiced black tea.

Then I tried it again on the stove top, wondering whether I’d end up with a spicy mess since I didn’t shake the packet yesterday. The answer is: not really. Yes, it’s spicier, a definite pepper on the tip of the tongue sort of spicy. And this time, I didn’t get much of a chocolate flavor, white or otherwise.

But otherwise, an enjoyable chai. Just not quite as enjoyable on balance, as, I think, some other chocolate chais I have had. Bumping it down a tad.

And with that, project chai sipdown is almost over. That was quick! Once the The O Dor Bollywood is gone, I’ll have two chais in my stash — my two favorites. So while I won’t need to do a sipdown project, I’ll still be able to enjoy chai — especially when the weather gets colder.

When going through my cupboard to see if I had any other chais, I also noticed that I have a couple of teas that, while they aren’t lapsangs, have lapsang in them. Kusmi Samovar and Harney Russian Country. Not that project lapsang sipdown would or should have caught these, as they aren’t in the same category.

Thinking about my next projects now. I plan to continue working my way through my white tea stash, trying to improve my palate for those. That should take a while. I noticed when I was going through the cupboard that I have quite a few full sized white tea packets or tins, and I’m not through with my samples yet, either.

But that project was already underway. So now I have to pick another new one.

I see three ways this could go: project matcha sipdown, project oolong sipdown, or project pu-erh sipdown.

Right now I’m leaning toward oolongs because I think I have the most of those. Though I’m also thinking that a matcha here and there would be an interesting change of pace on weekends.

In typing this, I’ve just talked myself into oolongs, with the occasional foray into matcha and pu-erh.

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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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