1243 Tasting Notes

drank Copacabana by Todd & Holland
1243 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 20 of 2017 (no. 301 total). My numbering went sideways somewhere — I think I’ve corrected it now as I found one obvious error since I started counting again, but I didn’t go back all the way. I’m close to having written about 666 different teas, and I’m a little scared.

A sample.

It did ok as a work tea for the one day I had enough to fill the Timolino after my initial tasting, but I didn’t have quite enough so I had to fill in about half a teaspoon with the Art of Tea Tropical Green Tea Pineapple, which I noticed I have yet to write a note about though I could have sworn I did.

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drank The au Chocolat by Lupicia
1243 tasting notes

How is it I never wrote a note about this?

Yesterday I made a pot of this big enough for the kids to try. Today I made a smaller pot. They’re like two different teas. I’m not sure whether it’s the amount of leaf, or the amount of nib in the scoop, or what. But yesterday, the tea was so chocolaty it was almost too much — dense, even oily on the surface of the tea.

Today it’s much more toned down, but still very chocolaty. I like it better today when it’s more of a mahogany color than a coffee-black oil slick. Yesterday was so intense it started to do a number on my stomach.

This is a popular tea and I find myself agreeing with many of the notes. Yes, it’s very chocolaty. Yes, it’s very DARK chocolaty. The tea base is really a delivery mechanism for the chocolate flavor, which is okay in my book. I enjoy both the sorts of flavored black teas that try to blend themselves such that the tea flavor is integrated and those that are sort of a platform for the flavor. This is in the platform category.

I would love to be able to compare this to other chocolate teas, but it’s been so long since I had any I honestly can’t remember them well enough to offer a comparison. This is a good one, though, provided that you don’t get too much nib in your mix.

Also, it goes really nicely with Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream Greek Nonfat Yogurt. :-)

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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drank Morning Dew by Todd & Holland
1243 tasting notes

What an interesting tea!

It smells and tastes nothing like its ingredients led me to expect.

In the packet, there’s a sort of a citrusy smell, even though the ingredients are green tea and flowers. And also flavor. Maybe the flavor is lemon/orange?

This carries over into the aroma of the steeped tea, though I also get a whiff of rose at first that resolves into that citrus thing. The tea is clear and medium golden yellow.

There’s even a hint of that citrus thing in the flavor, along with a very delicate rose. The green tea isn’t overly noticeable, but neither is it completely missing.

It gets points for surprise.

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Rose, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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How ’bout that NYC Marathon?

Continuing on my flavored green tear as of late with this sample. I always love how teas with flower petals in them look. The smell of this in the packet is indeed quite melony. Cantaloupe, is what I’m getting.

I saw some notes on murkiness, and my tea has a fair amount of cloud in a dark golden liquor. There’s a mild, and pleasant, melon aroma with just a hint of grassy green tea underneath.

It tastes like it smells, but has a touch of bitterness in the finish. I think with both this and the Immortal Green of yesterday, I am going to cut back the steeping time just a bit next time. I’m not sure that green melon can beat white melon (like ever) but this is a strong second, bitter finish notwithstanding.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Grass, Melon

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

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drank Earl Grey Creme by Art of Tea
1243 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 19 of 2017 (no. 300 total).

This was an excellent Earl Grey Creme. Very creamy vanilla lilt and gentle on the stomach. My kids liked it, too. Bumping the rating

I’ve written several notes on this one before, and I won’t repeat myself here. I’m sorry to see it go, but I have to be brutal about getting through some of these teas or when I die of old age my heirs will have to decide what to do with them.

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drank Moroccan Mint by Todd & Holland
1243 tasting notes

One of my very favorite teas is the Samovar Moorish Mint, and because I have such a deeply ingrained bias toward it, it’s very hard for any others in this genre to compare. I know that’s not really fair, because, for example, this tea I’m drinking now doesn’t have all the same ingredients as the Samovar blend. But then again, that’s the reason I’ve always loved Samovar — their blending superpowers.

This sample packet smells very strongly of peppermint. That’s really all I smell. The dry tea volume is about four times the usual for a Todd & Holland sample, but it’s pretty clearly because there’s so much mint in here.

And really, that’s all I taste as well. The tea, if it’s in here, might as well not be — I can’t taste it, nor can I taste any effect of it, such as damping down the volatility of the peppermint. Ironically, I do get a bit of green tea background in the steeped tea’s aroma, but it doesn’t come through in the flavor.

It’s tasty if you like peppermint, but honestly, if I wanted this flavor, I’d just drink straight peppermint and not have to worry about the caffeine. This lack of tea-ness has caused its rating to suffer at my hands, because one criterion I use for rating is whether a tea lives up to its name — Moroccan Mint is a category that should have some tea flavor coming through, even if it is minimal.

Flavors: Peppermint

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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First of all, I love the name. I think I’m going to adopt ’Lil Immortal Green as my rapper name.

I also love the idea of a peach green tea. Remind me that I can’t mention the existence of this to my BF who likes all things peach just slightly more than all things pumpkin.

The smell in the sample packet is a rather generic stone fruit one, but the aroma and flavor of the steeped tea is much less so. I taste the passion fruit more than the peach in this cup, but that could be because of the vagueries of what showed up in my two spoons this morning.

I’m glad I have a bit more to try again. I wanted to love this. And I like it, but two things are keeping me from getting there 100 percent.

The aroma of the steeped tea has a note that I find off-putting. It might be the passion fruit, or it could be the marigold, or a combination of the two. It has a heaviness, almost a pungency, that takes away from what is a rather light fruity taste. I’d prefer if it smelled the way it tasted. Also, I’m detecting a tad more bitterness in the finish than I find happy-making, but that’s a very minor point. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it if not for the aroma, because the contrast between that pungent smell and the flavor highlights it.

Still, this is unique enough that I might consider having some around. But you know, I’ve been saying I’ll come out of lock down for about 3 years now and I’m still not even close.

Flavors: Green, Peach

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

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drank Waikiki Beach by Todd & Holland
1243 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 18 of 2017 (no. 299 total). A sample.

It’s turned chilly here, and I woke up to rain today. Looking forward to some nice tea weather!

This was a surprisingly nice work tea. I am actually disappointed that I don’t get to take it in to work with me another day. Pretty sure I have more pineapple green tea somewhere, though…

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Sipdown no. 17 of 2017 (no. 298 total). A sample.

I liked this more the first time I wrote about it, perhaps because I was focusing on it and hadn’t brought it to work.

It isn’t a great work companion for me. The smokiness is a bit too ashy for me, and that made me think about the tea too much which isn’t really what I want to be doing while I’m at work.

Bumping it down. I should try one of my other gunpowders just to make sure. It may be that I don’t love gunpowder that much any more. Or it may be that, like some lapsangs, the ash is too dominate when what I really want is smoke.

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drank Waikiki Beach by Todd & Holland
1243 tasting notes

Another sample with a tropical vacation spot name. In this case, I don’t have to worry about the pineapple overshadowing other flavors because it’s the only flavor.

In the packet, the pineapple has a rather bitter scent, which worried me — but after steeping that’s gone. While it’s not exactly that sweet, ripe pineapple scent and flavor that makes eating fresh pineapple worthwhile, or even the candified dried version of sweet, it’s not bitter either.

The tea itself its visually weird in that it is rather cloudy and has some floaters on the surface. I’m looking at it more closely than most people probably would, but it has a sort of yellow pond water quality to it that I’d rather unsee.

It tastes good, though. I like the purity of it — the pineapple only factor. If I ruled the world (or had a tea company) pineapple would only appear in green teas without other fruits so we don’t have to play “where’s the mango.”

185 °F / 85 °C 1 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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