1255 Tasting Notes

drank Darjeeling 1st by Tavalon Tea
1255 tasting notes

I am not sure whether it is because I just had sardines and toast, but this is pretty awesome. It’s a very delicately flavored darjeeling when made according to the directions at a low temp, which is surprising because the dry leaf has that very distinctive and very strong sharp smell of many darjeelings. The basic underlying character is there in the steeped tea’s aroma, just smoothed out by a factor of about 30.

The liquor is golden, a surprisingly light color, and the flavor is mellow and strangely buttery, not a quality I’ve observed in a darjeeling before. Really, it’s like a layer of melted butter with a gentle greenish tea underneath.

For those of you who went ewww when I said sardines, this is one of the only things my dad used to make. He had a repertoire of about three dishes, one of which was taking canned Portugese skinless and boneless sardines in olive oil and mashing them up with lemon juice and vinegar, then having them on toast. Low calorie, high protein, and not a deep sea fish so the heavy metal concerns aren’t as great — easy, cheap, and delicious.

P.S. Am now binge watching Justified. Anyone else watch it? I was surprised that it was so funny, in a Pulp Fiction sort of way.

Flavors: Butter, Green

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Justified was awesome.


I’m up to season 5.

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Opened up a new sample packet of this just now. Wonderful smell in the packet. Almost chocolatey, earthy, a little bit like dark chocolate baked goods. The steeped tea aroma is smooth and a tad sweet. It’s like the standard American notion of black tea, a bit reminiscent of Lipton.

The liquor isn’t as reddish as I generally expect from Ceylons. It’s a sort of brown-orange.

The flavor is quite mellow and smooth, not what I’d call “brisk” really though there is some astringency. It has a slightly metallic note, which is interesting. And though there is a honey note, it isn’t particularly sweet in the sip.

I like this one a lot. I think it would make a great iced tea as well.

Flavors: Honey, Metallic

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Sencha "Uji" by Lupicia
1255 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 59 of the year 2016 (no. 270 total).

I found more of the Maeda-En 2010 Sincha, which I thought I had sipped down. Apparently I had three containers of it originally, and am now down to part of one, so that has been my go-to green tea for work lately. But I’ve mixed it up some by having this as my Timolino accompaniment on some days to break up the Sincha stream.

Yesterday I was reminded how much I love this. After drinking a sweeter green for several days, the difference is much more pronounced. I’m bumping it some points.


i love the asparagus taste in most senchas

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Sipdown no. 58 of the year 2016 (no. 269 total).

Combined the last bit of this with the Kusmi Makaibari first flush in a pitcher that is now doing its cold brew thing in the fridge.

Honestly, I feel as though my tea breeds at night when I’m not looking. No matter what I do, I really don’t seem to be making a substantial dent in the stash. Bah.


I totally agree. I’ve been doing a lot of sipdowns lately, but I don’t seem to be making any progress.


b/c of renovations to the house, i lived in a hotel for all of april, and i swear when i returned to the house, the tea corner of the kitchen had expanded by at least 3 square feet. i think it is bent on world domination!

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Another tea of which I have very little left and yet have managed somehow not to have done a tasting note. I think I mostly enjoyed this as a cold brew and then forgot about it when I ended up with less than I need to make my standard pitcher.

The leaves are darker than some other darjeelings I’ve had and I they are indeed longer, though to be honest, if I hadn’t opened up a another Makaibari darjeeling to compare I might not have noticed. They don’t have a strong piquancy in the dry leaf aroma, and the tea’s aroma is smooth and almost sweet, though a subdued muscat note is definitely there.

I steeped this in the Breville at the first temp that came up when googled darjeeling, which may be lower than I’ve used in the past (though most of my darjeelings are second flush, which is probably why). It generated a dark champagne colored liquor, and a gentle, pleasant flavor.

The flavor is lighter and greener than I expected, which again, may be the first flush/second flush distinction. The difference seems analogous to the difference between green oolongs and dark oolongs, though the flavors are quite different. There’s nothing green oolongy about the flavor of this. If anything, it’s more dark oolongy. There’s a nuttiness in the finish, a suggestion of chestnut.

I’m sort of assigning a random rating to this because it has been so long since I had a first flush darjeeling hot; I honestly can’t remember how it compares to others I’ve had, I’m just enjoying it quite a bit.

Flavors: Chestnut, Muscatel

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I am certain I have had this before, but surprise! No tasting note.

In the search for interesting things to try cold brewed, no. 2 suggested this one. And he was very happy with the experiment.

Personally, I find it a bit weird. It’s not the spicy part, it’s the chocolate part. Having a cold chocolate flavored tea reminds me a bit of why I never really got into ice cream sodas. Chocolate flavored cold water without the creaminess of milk to give it depth tastes odd to me.

But I expect we’ll be doing this one cold a few more times since no. 2 likes it, and since the cold brew experience in general makes me happy because I get to scoop 8 spoons of tea into a container at a time, which is very sipdown inducing.

Evol Ving Ness

Sounds like it might need a spoon or two of condensed milk.


Hmm. I wouldn’t have thought of that with a cold tea, but it’s an interesting idea.

Evol Ving Ness

I would suggest steeping it strong first. It might be all kinds of deliciousness.

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drank Indian Mint by Tavalon Tea
1255 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 57 of the year 2016 (no. 268 total).

I think I am off mint flavored black teas. Chocolate mint still interests me, but plain or predominantly mint flavored black teas lately have not done much for me.

I had the last of this hot so I could rate it, but it was mostly a cold tea choice for me. And I liked it marginally better than the Purity as a cold tea.

The same is true of it hot. I like it marginally better than the Purity, which didn’t have enough ginger to make it interesting and which might as well not have been a black tea as I could not taste the tea base at all.

This one doesn’t have the ginger, and it is still mostly mint, but there’s a tawny undercurrent to it both in aroma and flavor that I am guessing is what the black tea contributes to the mix. It’s not awful, it’s just not doing much for me. I think I’m to the point where if I want to drink something mint flavored I’d go with a tisane, or maybe a Moroccan mint green mix.

Flavors: Mint

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Sencha "Uji" by Lupicia
1255 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking a lot of green tea lately and really loving the experience.

This one is up there with the sincha I just polished off. I like it slightly better because it’s less sweet and more savory, with a flavor that evokes a lot of different notes. There’s a rice-like aftertaste, a nutty finish, and a vegetal flavor that I can’t really pin down. My default for vegetal greens is spinach, or perhaps bok choi, but this has aspects that make me think of asparagus, too.

It’s not super delicate, but it’s easy to drink. The liquor is yellow and clear and the aroma is mostly vegetal. The dry leaves are quite delicate and look like cut golf course grass.

I really am quite undecided about what to do when I’ve made my way through all the Japanese greens in my stash. No one talks about the reactor these days. Maybe because no one knows what’s happening? I think we would have heard if everything had been contained….

Flavors: Asparagus, Bok Choy, Nutty, Rice, Spinach, Umami

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Indian Mint by Tavalon Tea
1255 tasting notes

I made a batch of this cold and it makes a pretty good cold mint tea. It’s similar to the Tavalon Purity in that I don’t really taste the black tea. It’s just sort of a backdrop for the mint, which gives it a bit more heft than a pure mint tisane would have, if that makes sense. Like the Purity, it also delivers a lot of mint leaf into the iced tea as they are slippery little devils and evade the strainer.

The main difference between this and the Tavalon Purity, besides the hint of ginger which this doesn’t have, is that this one has some serious astringency.

Which is a downside, in my book, for an iced tea. The last thing I really want to feel after drinking iced tea is that I need to drink water to rehydrate my mouth and throat.

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drank Ceylon OP1 by Teas Etc
1255 tasting notes

It’s been a while since I had a Ceylon so I thought I’d enjoy one this morning. Besides, this was sitting on the counter and I didn’t have to look far.

I always love the sort of bird-nesty leaves of Ceylons and the earthy smell of the dry leaves. This one has a really lovely steeped aroma. Sweet, almost caramel-like. The flavor is not really sweet, but it’s pleasant. It’s got that quintessence of tea-ness flavor that I’ve sometimes described as now Nestea smells, but of course it is a much more deep, smooth, and genuine flavor that one gets from freeze-dried granules. ;-)

This would make an excellent iced tea, I can just tell. I don’t have much of it, though, and I can’t see using all I have to make a pitcher of tea. It’s too good for that.

There’s a soft mouthfeel that’s really nice, too. And a smooth, pleasant aftertaste. A tiny bit drying, but not enough to bother me.

Good stuff. I am putting in a dummy rating because honestly, it’s been so long since I have had a Ceylon I don’t remember how I rated them and why. That’s why it would be really nice to be able to search my own tasting notes using keywords.

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Sweet, Tea

Boiling 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 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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