This is from the second group of TeaFrog samples. I discovered I actually still have a few more from the first sample group. I have my teas in boxes according to color (well, sort of… I sometimes find that I haven’t been very strict about the enforcement of this sorting mechanism) and I discovered I have a green and a couple of whites that I’d forgotten about. In any case, I think I like darjeeling, but I’m still pretty new to them. So I’m interested to try this one. Especially since it is Far Too Good For Ordinary People ;-).

It’s leaves are variegated in color, mostly various shades of brown upwards toward the paler tips, but there were a few bright green leaves that were somewhat surprising. I don’t know whether something is off with my smeller, but the last few samples from TeaFrog I have had difficulty smelling in the sample bag. The sample bags seem to have taken on a smell of their own. Perhaps they take on the smell of the most aromatic thing in the shipping box. Not sure. But everything smells a sort of berry-like fruity smell to me. I poured this one out into a dish to try to get a better sense, but in the dish I wasn’t getting much of anything. I think the subtleties of aroma were beyond me at that point since I had the fruity smell in my nose already.

The tea smells buttery and surprisingly green! They weren’t kidding about the golden infusion, either. The liquor isn’t dark and “tea colored” like that of some other darjeelings I’ve had. It’s a tawny gold, very pretty.

It took a fair amount of sipping for this to start tasting like a darjeeling to me. Even when I start to get some of the taste characteristics, it’s still pretty different. It isn’t as brisk and perky as some darjeelings. It’s mild, and it has a buttery taste and feel. It isn’t overly grapey and doesn’t have that characteristic darjeelingness that I believe is described as muscatel (though I have yet to determine whether I think is muscatel is in fact muscatel), except very slightly. To me, it’s reminiscent of an oolong.

It’s tasty and different, and, as it describes itself, mellow. I like it. I’m not sure exactly where it would fit in the scheme of things as far as my tea cabinet goes, but I’m happy to think on it.

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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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