A woodsy, not overly sharp smell comes from the dry leaf. I steeped at a lower temp than usual, 195F for 3:30. I think I might have to up the temp some. The tea’s color is a sort of apricot-to-amber and a bit on the pale side, which makes me think hotter might get more out of the leaf.

I smell the Sakura from yesterday in the steep — it must have worked its way into the Breville or I failed to rinse it fully. The flavor is mild, vaguely like champagne.

I am going to do this again at 200 instead, and hope that the Sakura has been ousted.

Second try at 200F. The combination of the hotter temp, and the Sakura having washed away (or at least not being noticeable) is an improvement. The tea is a little darker amber, too.

This is a very mild darjeeling. Smooth, no sharp notes at all. No water logged effect on the stomach that I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings.

This is actually a blend of teas from various estates. I don’t think there is a Princeton estate — I did google it and nothing came up, but I suppose it could be the one thing that managed to escape google.

The tea has a fruity aspect, grape, maybe some plum. And a woody aspect, though it is subtle. Not much earthiness.

It’s really everything I like about first flush darjeelings and nothing I don’t, which is why it is getting high marks from me.

Flavors: Champagne, Fruity, Grapes, Green Wood, Plums

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 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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