1183 Tasting Notes


Uh-oh. I thought I’d sipped this down. [Twilight Zone Music]

I was going through my tea to see what Earl Greys I hadn’t tried or otherwise had left and I found another sample packet of this. I must have gotten one with the Earl Grey sampler and another with another sampler, perhaps something like breakfast blends?

I’m going to count it as two separate sipdowns anyway since there are two containers. I’m enjoying this this morning. There was more of the mineral note than yesterday. I suspect it is a function of the bergamot oil somehow and that as the oil is more exposed to air and loses volatility the mineral note also gets weaker.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Sipdown no. 58 for the year 2014. Sipping on this as I listen to a podcast of a lecture for my writing class. Trying to think of what to write about for my exercise due at midnight tonight. Pressure’s on!

I’m still conflicted about this one. On the one hand, it is one of the less offensive rooibos blends I’ve had. On the other hand, I wonder how much I’d drink it if I wasn’t going for the sipdown, given its spiciness and my propensity to drink rooibos, if at all, at night because of the lack of caffeine content. Would I reach for this instead of, say, something mint or something fruity? I don’t really know, but I like it enough that I’m adding it to the shopping list for further consideration if/when I ever come out of lockdown and place another Adagio order.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Sipdown no. 57 for the year 2014 and also the end of revisiting the handful of Golden Moon samples I couldn’t decide about the first time through.

I will say that although this sample was tiny (about 1.5g) it was very aromatic in the sample packet. Having spent some time away from oolongs, I was really liking what I smelled. A lot of chestnuts and cedar, and yes, I could smell the dates and the orange blossoms, too. Sometimes being away can really refresh your senses. I rinsed the leaves and went for a first steep.

The aroma is very toasty and I definitely get chestnuts this time (I steeped longer-4 minutes for the first steep). There’s a sweet fruitiness that I’m ready to call dates. Both the chestnut and the date come through in the flavor, and around the edges and in the finish, I understand the claim to cedar. There’s also something like stonefruit.

The flavor is not as deep and round as I expected. I recall some other dark oolongs I’ve tasted as having that quality. But I think it’s better than I judged it to be the first time around when I had tea fatigue.

Second steep. I went longer this time 5 minutes. More chestnut, and a mellower, sweeter fruity taste.

Third steep. 5:30. It continues to mellow and get a little rounder in flavor.

The wet leaves have a smell I’d describe as green coffee beans.

My main issue right now is that I have a lot of oolong in my stash, more than any sane person should have, really. And because it is the sort of thing that I like to take my time with, steep multiple times, savor, etc. it tends to get drunk less than blacks, greens, whites and herbals. (The only thing that gets drunk less is pu-erh and that’s basically for the same reason.) I need to drink some of my other oolongs and see how they stack up.

I’m going to go ahead and put this on the shopping list. It’s a safe decision, both because I’m on lockdown and because even if I wasn’t, I have too much oolong and too much other Golden Moon tea to justify ordering more of this any time soon. (Don’t you love this public self-talk thing? LOL)

Bumping the rating a tad because I liked how the taste and the description on the label matched up.
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


I am fairly sure I got this sample as part of a give away a few years ago here on Steepster in which I was the lucky recipient of a beautiful cast iron teapot from Georgia Tea Co. If memory serves there was a trivia contest involved and my lightning fast typing skilz served me much better than my actual tea knowledge, but in any case I knew enough to win. ;-) I believe this sample was one of a couple that accompanied my contest winnings.

I am wondering how it is that I haven’t tried it until now. The ingredients list alone is amazing. It’s like the Long Island Iced Tea of non-alcoholic beverages, the Heinz 57 of tea, insert your favorite metaphor here for a cornucopia of ingredients both tea and fruit. Whoa.

I’ve steeped mixed black and green teas before, but I don’t think I’ve steeped a mixed white and green. The suggested steeping time scared me a little—I worried that the green would go bitter. But fortunately, it didn’t!

The dry leaf has a light fruity smell, a little berry, a little grape, a little tropical. The steeped tea smells mostly like pineapple to me. It’s a light yellow color.

The taste is sweet, fruity, nectary. I expected the pineapple to predominate in the flavor because of the aroma, but it doesn’t. I can taste it, but I also get a softer flavor, likely the mango and papaya. I don’t really taste the other fruits as separate flavors, but they all combine into a nice, light fruit flavor that isn’t in the least cloying, bitter or anything else fruity whites and greens can sometimes be.

I noticed there’s jasmine in here from the ingredients list, and it’s a pretty strong flavor. I’d expect to smell or taste it taking over, but it doesn’t. In fact, I’m not really noticing it. If I didn’t know it was in here, I wouldn’t know it was in here if you know what I mean.

A really nicely balanced fruit flavor, with just a hint of tea peeking through in the aftertaste as a nutty roastiness.

180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 7 g 25 OZ / 750 ML

What a wonderful, informative note! I wish I could write mine like this… I think I am WAY too lazy :|


I think it is far more likely that I’m just long-winded. ;-) But I’m glad you found it informative!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Sipdown no. 56 for the year 2014. A sample; another in the “not sure, try again” category after my massive Golden Moon order.

Trying this side by side with the Vanilla Mint to see how different they are. I will say that the Vanilla Mint has much more of the Andes/Girl Scout thin mint thing going on than this does. This is much more of a pure mint smell in the sample packet.

The steeped aroma is a delicate mint, and the flavor is pretty much as described in my original note. There’s a definite difference between this and the Vanilla Mint. This has a fresher, cleaner taste from the green tea base, with a rather buttery green flavor underneath. The Vanilla Mint is creamier and heartier from the black tea and vanilla.

I like this quite a bit. If I didn’t already have other green mints in my collection, I’d probably add this to the shopping list.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Vanilla Mint by Golden Moon Tea
1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 55 for the year 2014. A sample; another in the “not sure, try again” category after my massive Golden Moon order.

I see in my previous note that I wanted to try this one next to the Moroccan Mint to see how they compared. Which probably explains why I also have a sample of the Moroccan Mint.

I’m going to steep them right after each other and taste them side by side. I’m going to try this one at 185 for 3 minutes since my previous note indicated that hotter water worked better.

I should caution you that sniffing the sample packet is risky because it’s amazingly reminiscent of Andes mints, or Girl Scout thin mint cookies. I see I said that in my original note as well, so I’m not crazy. See, there’s that chocolate/vanilla continuum thing again! There’s really no reason this should smell like chocolate mint since it’s vanilla mint. But that’s what I smell—chocolate mint!

I’m having a very similar experience this time around compared with what I documented in my first note. One thing I’ll add to the steeped aroma—there’s a spicy note I didn’t mention the first time, kind of a peppery kick to the aroma.

The flavor is a soft mint, with a creaminess to it from the vanilla. Its a somewhat heartier, full bodied flavor overall than the Moroccan Mint, because of the addition of black tea and vanilla. But standing on its own, this is a lighter, medium bodied tea.

It’s quite nice and I’d drink it again. Would I buy a full size tin? Hard to say. Probably not now as I have too many other mints and if I were to feel like mint I’d likely go for the straight mint of Tazo Refresh, the green mint of Samovar Moorish mint, or perhaps one of my various chocolate mint combos.

And gee, I’d tag the flavors, but there’s no mint among them?

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Sounds decent! I saw a few missing options for flavor tags, too. No muscatel either. :)


Heh, and that’s a key one, too!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Anhui Keemun by Adagio Teas
1183 tasting notes

Since we’re all about changes to Steepster the last day or so, I really wish there was a way for me to sort my Tealog by tea type. So that I could, for example, key in “Keemun” and get everything containing Keemun I’ve logged so I can compare how I rated them, rather than having to remember which ones I’ve had, what they were called, etc. Please please please put this at the top of the list for new changes, O Steepster gods. As my log gets longer and longer it gets harder and harder to sort through stuff and it would be great not to have to read each blend’s description to know whether it includes Keemun.

I know I’ve had Keemuns before in blends, but the only thing I can find in my log that is called “Keemun” is another Adagio, the Keemun Rhapsody, and a Life In Teacup Keemun Black Tea Grade II. It has been a while but judging by my ratings, I liked both. This one appears to be a crowd favorite so I was psyched to try it as my last black tea of the day.

The dry leaves are quite pretty, very small and delicate looking. They remind me of seeds. Dark green and tippy. They smell like smoke to me on first sniff, but as I sit with the smell I get a definite cocoa note and a bit of leather underneath the smoke.

Steeped, the aroma is not very smoky and richer, with a baked bread quality at the surface and saddles underneath. The liquor is lighter than I expected, a sort of chestnut color.

What is fascinating to me about this tea is that on first sip, I’m not seeing what the fuss is about. But as I follow the flavor from the sip through to the aftertaste, the complexity of this becomes apparent. It reminds me of how a really nice wine becomes even nicer as it breathes.

The beginning is mellow leather, the midsip is sweet, smoky bread, and the finish is buttery sweet wood with a tiny dash of salt and spice. The mouthfeel is soft, and thick without being too clingy. The aftertaste goes on and on. A bit of smoke, a bit of sweetness that isn’t quite cocoa but could be and isn’t quite malt but could be.

This deserves some attention to see whether I’ve steeped it as well as it can be steeped. I suspect there is even more to this that I’m not yet getting. I’m more in the Angrboda camp on this one than the Inguna and Auggy camp at this point. It’s lovely, but to me it isn’t perfect. Of course I’m entirely willing to attribute that to user error.

ETA: The wet leaves have a sort of spicy, salty smell that reminds me of olives!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Leather, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 7 g 25 OZ / 750 ML

I love your description! It’s making me want some, and I’m not usually a big fan on Keemun.


If you get a chance to try this one, you should. It really is something special.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Peach Oo-la-long by Honest Tea
1183 tasting notes

Had some of this at Whole Foods where we stopped to get lunch today. I have a soft spot for anything having to do with Berke Breathed because he used to do the comic for my college newspaper before he did Bloom County, and the label gets a lot of mileage out of his being among the company’s first customers. There’s a picture of Opus the penguin on the front.

It’s decent for a bottled tea. I don’t taste a lot of oolong flavor, but I do taste the peach. It has some sugar in it making a bottle 60 calories, which I could do without. One of the reasons I drink tea is because it has no calories.

Flavors: Peach

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


It’s raining here after months of drought, and it makes me want to curl up with a book and do nothing but drink tea all day. We’ll see how that plan goes.

This is another of the 52 Teas flavors I bought a while back and am just now getting around to trying.

There are big honking chocolate and peanut butter chips in the blend which is exciting. The dry leaf has a rich, cocoa smell.

The steeped tea has an aroma that has hints of chocolate and nuttiness, and also a slightly woodsy note. It’s a pretty, cherry wood hue in the cup. With a splash of milk added, the peanut butter nature of the nutty flavor becomes more focused.

The flavor really is peanut butter and chocolate, but it’s subtler than some of the other 52 Teas blends I’ve tried. This could have something to do with the age of the tea, or maybe not (it was sealed in the original packaging before I opened it this morning).

I don’t usually add milk to tea, but I tried it with this one and it brought out more of the peanut butter, whereas without milk I tasted primarily chocolate. I suspect how much of each one tastes in each cup might depend on whether you got a chip or two in your cup, and what the balance of the peanut butter to the chocolate ones is.

52 Teas blends are really good guinea pigs for the new “flavors” feature on Steepster. I went to add flavors just now and guess what? No peanut, no peanut butter. Just nuts (and peanuts, as we know, are really legumes-no legumes either). I’ve suggested they add them.

Anyway, not a favorite with me, though I’ll happily drink the rest.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Nuts

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Caramel by American Tea Room
1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 54 for the year 2014. It wasn’t an intentional sipdown. I’d intended to have a couple more tastings of this, but the BF really wanted tea because his throat is bothering him so I made a big pot. This time, I shook up the sample packet (not that it probably matters since this is the end of it). I also tried steeping at my usual 4 minutes for black tea today, but determined that this really does require five minutes to bring out full flavor, so after taking a sip I put it back in to steep for another minute.

Pretty much everything I said yesterday held true for my tasting of this today. There’s definitely a sweet, milky caramel-y flavor. The tea base doesn’t come through much for me underneath the sweetness. It’s a good tea and pleasant enough to drink, it’s just not among my favorites either as a black caramel blend or as an American Tea Room flavored tea.

Flavors: Caramel

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 far less appealing to me. 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.

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



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer