1248 Tasting Notes

85

Another of the many LeafSpa teas I ordered a while back (before they closed their doors).

I steeped some of this in the Breville and poured it into my brand new Timolino to take to work. (One of the several tea ware items I allowed myself to buy at my recent visit to DAVIDSTea since I wouldn’t let myself buy any tea other than what I could drink there.)

Really loving the Timolino. The best travel gadget I have. I love the fact that you can sip it from any direction without taking the lid completely off, and you don’t have to push or poke anything to get the tea to come out. But that’s beside the point.

I didn’t spend a lot of time with this prior to pouring it in the Timolino so I’ll have to do a more detailed note later invoking other sense perceptions, but for now I wanted to record my first experience of the flavor.

I think I might steep it a bit shorter next time because I get a little bitterness around the edges, but other than that, this is a very refreshing tea. It has a vegetal flavor that isn’t overly sweet or buttery but has a little of each. I’m thinking a very light bok choy? Maybe a little spinach, too. There’s a pleasant aftertaste that’s vaguely nutty, in a very light, greenish way, like the aftertaste of Brazil nuts.

I’m going to enjoy getting to know this one.

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

Woohoo for your timolino!

__Morgana__

I’m so glad I got it!

Fjellrev

That is so exciting that you got a Timolino! I love mine too. Which colour did you get?

__Morgana__

They call it “midnight green.” It’s a really intense, deep metallic green color. V. pretty.

Fjellrev

Nice. :)

TheTeaFairy

Sadly, I don’t like their teas anymore but I’m ADDICTED to DAVIDsTEA teaware!! I just find it annoying that they are continuously out of stock on many items…
Glad you are enjoying your new baby, great colour!

__Morgana__

TF, I really love their tea ware, too. They were OUT OF THE MASON JAR at the location I visited or I certainly would have had to get one of those. ;-) As it is, I got this, some bubble cups and a couple of spoons. I really like the way their spoons feel in the hand. Nice weight, nice balance.

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81

Sipdown no. 95 for the year 2014! It’s looking like I’ll make it to 100 this weekend. Woo hoo!

I am sorry to see this one go, so I’m bumping the rating. Another of my “starter” group, it became the commuting and toodling around tea after the Three Kingdoms Mao Feng, mostly because it was in bags and it was easy to drop into the travel contraptions, but it’s also just a nice, fairly light, tasty-without-calling-attention-to-itself tea.

No. 1 really liked it as well.

It’s one of the few in the starter group I’d consider buying again, along with Refresh and Lotus from Tazo, and Chinese Breakfast Yunnan Black and Monkey King Jasmine Green from Numi.

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79

My first Earl Grey in a few days. It’s nice to change things up every now and then.

Had a terrible scare this morning. Okay, I probably over reacted, but no. 1 got into an argument with his dad and left the house without saying where he was going. I figured he’d come back in in a few minutes, but he didn’t. Took no. 2 to President’s Week Camp figuring that perhaps no. 1 had walked over there. He wasn’t there. Came back ready to call the police, but cooler heads prevailed—got in the car with the BF and started to cruise the neighborhood. Got out of the car to ring the neighbor’s bell and no. 1 was coming out the front door right when I walked up.

We had a long discussion about leaving the house at age 9 without asking permission or saying where you’re going.

My throat was a bit tight from the length of the discussion and from the panicked tears.

This helped.

keychange

Oh my gosh, that sounds very scary. I’m glad everyone is safe and sound. Not being able to appreciate consequences is such a hallmark of childhood

__Morgana__

Thanks so much, and indeed, the consequences thing. And it turns out he told the dad of the family whose house he went to that we knew where he was and it was okay with us. So there’s the honesty piece as well that needs to be worked on. I am thinking I should find old Leave it to Beaver episodes for him to watch, because my recollection is they addressed just this kind of thing each episode. ;-)

boychik

Im so sorry. i can imagine what you are going through. My older one left the house at 6am when she was 6. went to a golf course just because she was bored and everybody were sleeping. i had 3 yr old and infant on my hands. she was picked by security. thank G-d there was no play yet. now my kids would never walk away because they are scared to be kidnapped. another thing, if some kid wonder in my house i would double check with the parents. Im surprised they didnt call you.

__Morgana__

Wow, how far away was the golf course?? How terrifying.

I agree, I would have double checked. But I can’t really fault this dad. No. 1 can be very convincing. I should probably have a chat with them though to let them know I’d appreciate a double check call if he shows up unannounced again.

boychik

Our summer house is on a golf course but she went far down maybe like 3 holes. i wasnt really mad at her because i was terrified myself. i was afraid to scare her. but in my mind… you dont want to know what i was thinking…we had a long talk. she cried and plead not to tell dad. she still remembers she will be 14 soon.

__Morgana__

Well, she learned from it, which is good. :-)

pyarkaaloo

awww, i’m sorry to hear all this transpired. hope your nerves are calmed with some much needed tea time :)

__Morgana__

Thank you. :-)

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60
drank Maple Bacon by Man Teas
1248 tasting notes

This morning, for the first time, I’m actually tasting tea in this. Being able to taste the tea is an improvement. It helps with the mental confusion I’ve described in previous notes.

It also takes the edge off both the bacon and the maple.

It’s really not bad this morning, but I haven’t changed my mind about the food genre. The BF likes it in any case, so I have a sipdown helper.

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58
drank Calm by Tazo
1248 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 94 of the year 2014. Bye bye sachets!

I’ve been thinking about why this doesn’t do it for me, and I don’t think it’s the chamomile.

I’ve had some really terrific chamomile lately, either by itself or in a blend without any of the following: hibiscus, mint, licorice.

It’s these other ingredients that are making this not work for me. They suck the delicious natural sweetness and creaminess right out of the chamomile and reduce it to some straw-like imposter that’s tastes like a mouthful of chamomile potpourri.

I had the same problem with the other mint/chamomile blend I had a while back.

I think I’ll stock a chamomile blend when all is said and done, though I don’t often crave it. But at this point, I think it’s going to be Harney’s Yellow and Blue unless something else comes out of left field and bowls me over. (How’s that for a parade of cliches? It’s late. Night night all.)

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91
drank Pina Colada Honeybush by 52teas
1248 tasting notes

It has been a really long time since I had a Pina Colada. In fact, it’s entirely possible I never actually had one….

So I can’t really rate this against its purported flavor. I suspect if I were to do so I’d give it a lower rating because, well, just the barest suggestion of rum, and I know enough to know that Pina Colada has rum in it.

However, the other two flavors, pineapple and coconut are wonderfully done. In a way it’s surprising, because in the packet I mostly smelled sort of sour wood. But after steeping, that goes completely away and the slight woodiness from the honeybush is barely noticeable. The pineapple and coconut are very well balanced, with neither flavor overpowering the other, and I don’t get an artificial note from either of them even though both flavors are very easy to go toward artificial with.

I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did, which always makes for a nice surprise.

Flavors: Coconut

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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78
drank Malted Genmaicha by 52teas
1248 tasting notes

This isn’t the only tea I’ve had since this morning, just the only one I had anything to say about. The others were all from teabags, consumed on the way to or at work, in various stages of sipdown. The good news is, I have several sipdowns of my starter teas coming up in the next few days. Yay!

I had this for the first time last night but it wasn’t under the best conditions. I intended to take it with me in the car on the way to meet another family for dinner out, but the BF was in a mood and eager to get going and was unwilling to wait the 1:30 it would have taken to steep this. Sigh. So it sat in the Breville until we returned and was room temperature, which this time of year is more like cold. I drank it cold, and it wasn’t bad that way, but I suspected it would be better hot.

So I’m trying again tonight. I really like genmaicha, and even without enhancements it gives me a bit of a malty grainy impression sometimes. This is like that natural maltiness dialed up to 11. I can smell toasty rice in the aroma of the steeped tea and barely any malt, but the flavor is as though someone has taken the insides out of malted milk balls, smashed them up and sprinkled the resulting powder into genmaicha.

There’s also an interesting milk note. I noticed a lot of discussion about the symbolism of the glass of milk on the label, and my own contribution is that perhaps it is referring to this milk note and not so much the idea of malted milk.

The tea liquor is a clear, light yellow.

I give it high marks for living up to its name. I suspect, though I don’t know for sure, that unlike a couple of the other elderly 52 teas packages I’ve cracked open lately this one won’t turn on me. It has a different aspect to it altogether that isn’t causing me vertigo from drinking tea that tastes like a completely different non-drinkable food. Yay!

Flavors: Malt

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

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60
drank Maple Bacon by Man Teas
1248 tasting notes

I mentioned that the Buttered Cinnamon Raisin Toast gets exceptionally high marks from me for successfully evoking its name (on the order of 90+ points), but that I had to mark it down because the overall experience of drinking it was uneven and also I concluded it wasn’t really a taste I wanted in a tea.

I’m having a very similar reaction to this one, and it is now something I’ve put in the active sipdown category.

Today I’m definitely tasting maple bacon. 90+ for getting the flavor right. But it’s just too weird for me to drink this flavor. If I was at a breakfast buffet and dropped a piece of maple bacon in my coffee or tea, I’d probably be grossed out and dump the cup.

I did choose this as something I’d like to try, so my reaction isn’t that severe, and I’ll be able to drink my way through this. But the cognitive dissonance I mentioned in my previous note is a strong factor here. My brain feels fooled into drinking something that shouldn’t have this flavor, and it gives me an overall feeling of uneasiness.

In the future I intend to stay away from ordering food-flavored teas unless that food is some dessert confection that contains chocolate, vanilla, nuts or fruit, all flavors that can be found naturally in the tea leaf without additional flavors. ;-) One might argue that bacon can be found in lapsang and maple in other teas, but I haven’t come across this combo anywhere in nature.

Angrboda

I feel rather the same way about food-flavouring. I did have a peach and thyme blend recently that was surprisingly lovely, but that was actually made, I believe, because they thought they were good flavours together and not so much in order to be whacky and gimmicky.

__Morgana__

That one sounds nice. Yeah, I don’t mean to make it sound as though unusual blends per se are out. It’s more that I’d be much more willing to try something called “chocolate mousse” than I would something called “western omlet.”

__Morgana__

Or omelette even.

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69

Sipdown no. 93 of the year 2014.

I have to settle on a rating that’s lower than I was prepared to give yesterday.

The bulk of this rating reflects the amazing ability of this tea to conjure that for which it is named. On that score, as I said before, it gets something like a 90+.

However, it’s easy, through preparation, to get it somewhat off, and when that happens it heads for a chemicaly flavor that sits like a rock in my stomach. Even when it is prepared well and tastes like its name without the chemical overtones, I’ve concluded that it’s just not a flavor I really want to drink in my tea.

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78

It has been a long time since I had any of this and when I had it way back when it was in teabag form at the office, so not particularly expertly steeped.

This is apparently one of Angrboda’s favorites. Kidding! Her note about this cracked me up. I have to say that although I don’t remember my grandmother smelling like this, I get what she means. There’s something about the smell in the tin, the musty floral spice scent, that reminds me of antique shops, and I suppose that could be extended to antique people.

The aroma of the steeped tea is very similar to the aroma in the tin—spicy but not savory, floral, and very very vaguely Earl Grey-like. I don’t get any soapiness. The underlying tea is sweet and pleasant.

It’s not my favorite, but not because there’s anything wrong with it. More because it just isn’t very distinctive. Still, I’ll enjoy drinking it more than some others I’ve tried recently. Bumping the rating.

boychik

I have to revisit this tea. My tin is almost full. My first experience with this tea reminded me licking ashtray. Another not successful blend was Kusmi Earl Grey Polish blend #18. I would mix them up like 1:2. It was ok. Just ok. I cannot believe that Russian Czar would like it. But what do I know…

__Morgana__

Ugh! I don’t get any ashtray, fortunately. But I agree it’s not very “special.” Maybe I’ve just had a lot of not great tea lately and it just does well by comparison. ;-)

Ysaurella

I had a hard time to finish my small tin of this one…only 25 g…but had the feeling to get 250 g due to the time it took me to finish it :)

__Morgana__

It hasn’t been something I’ve found myself rushing to either, but something about it today seemed better than before. I think it was the base, it had a sweetness to it that the other teas I had this morning didn’t really have.

Angrboda

The world does not contain enough bleh to aptly cover my experience of this one. :p

__Morgana__

Haha! ;-)

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Profile

Bio

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. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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