Tomorrow is my son’s birthday and I although I took the day off of work, I was scurrying around pretty much all day making preparations and it was every bit as stressful as going into the office. I considered taking a nap when I got home, but instead, it appears I will be drinking tea.

I got some cool little tea storage cans, and I decided that ritually transferring my Dammann Freres teas that Doulton so lovingly packed up after our buying fandango into these little tins would give me a great opportunity to sniff all of them and decide what one to taste next. I had to peel her labels off and stick them onto the tins (this one has a lion on it, my totem animal or at least one of them) because they’re so adorable. Anyway, this one called to me. It has an amazing, amazing smell coming out of the dry leaves. It’s a thick, rich, caramel that you can almost see melted and dripping over ice cream. Yum!

The aroma of the tea has a milder caramel smell, and the tea’s own rich, dreamy aroma comes out as well. Rich is a word I think I’ll be using a lot here. Just a warning.

I love the way this tastes. It’s… rich. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s deep. It’s a seamless blend with the tea. It’s smooth. It has that French black tea blend thing going on that makes you want to take a spoon to the leaves. They seem as though they’d melt on your tongue like mousse. (Though I wouldn’t try this at home, or anywhere for that matter.)

A good, comforting choice to punctuate a hectic day before the hectic evening picking up kids, getting them fed, getting homework done, etc. starts.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Oh… I have this one all set out to try in a bit, after I’m finished with my final cup of Shanti!


Now I have to decide whether I like this or the Kusmi better… hmmm…

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Oh… I have this one all set out to try in a bit, after I’m finished with my final cup of Shanti!


Now I have to decide whether I like this or the Kusmi better… hmmm…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



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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