1250 Tasting Notes

drank Kashmir Tchai by Kusmi Tea
1250 tasting notes

Cold-brewed, this produces a very interesting flavor.

It’s the pepper.

The pepper does a solo with the rest of the spices and tea as the backup band.

I really do love peppery chai hot. I’m not sure what I think about it cold yet. It might grow on me. I’m going to give it another shot. Right now, it’s just weird.

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drank Chai With Chocolate by 52teas
1250 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 6 of 2017 (no. 287 total).

Because I have an overabundance of chai to the point of it being questionable whether I can drink it all in my lifetime, I’ve taken to trying them cold. Not with milk and sugar, just plain. Many of them make a decent cold spiced tea.

This tea is very long in the tooth. I enjoyed it hot, made on the stovetop, in its youth.

Cold is not its forte. Two flavors come to the fore, the chocolate and something else. If there’s cardamom in this, that’s what the something else is. The flavors were much more integrated hot.

That said, it’s not awful cold. Just not great.

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Todd & Holland doesn’t have this on their page anymore, so I can’t provide a picture or a description from them for this entry. This is a sample I got a while back. It was sealed up and never opened and has been in a cool dry place since I got it, which may be why it has preserved its aroma and flavor.

The dry leaves are quite beautiful. Deep, rich green, with a very fine, silky, soft-looking texture. In the packet there’s a juicy “green” smell, somewhere between grass and vegetable.

The tea is a medium yellow, sort of a light gold, and clear. The aroma is of warm, sweet grass.

In trying to describe the taste, I find myself thinking in synesthetic terms. The tea tastes golden, not silver, by which I mean it’s a warm taste rather than a fresh one. It’s a snuggly flavor. Very pleasant, but delicate to the point where it is probably best drunk alone. Strong flavors in food, such as marinara would not pair well here.

It’s too bad that it’s no longer on the site. It’s a lovely tea.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Sipdown no. 3 of 2017 (no. 284 total).

Same deal as with the Sri Lankan Leafspa oolong — put a bunch in to steep as a cold brew and found myself left with just enough to give it a whirl in the gaiwan.

Also, I am so glad I remembered to write down which of my yixing pots I seasoned for which teas. I would never have remembered. I thought about using the pot after I’d already started steeping. Oh well.

Anyway, this is a decent green oolong. I put it through four or so steeps starting at 15 seconds after rinsing. It’s enjoyable enough, but has a slightly bitter edge in the longer steeps. I am reminded of why I love green oolongs. It’s like putting my nose into a bouquet of flowers.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Orchid

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Sipdown no. 2 of 2017 (283 total).

After putting most of the last of this into the fridge to brew, I had a little left over. Since I’d barely tried this hot, I figured it was my last chance to try it in the gaiwan.

I rinsed and steeped in the gaiwan. It took me two steeps to realize something was wrong with the water. (Hope I don’t get sick.)

I’d filled up my water boiler and later realized I hadn’t emptied it. The water must have been in there over a year! It was musty and gross. I dumped it out and started over with fresh water.

Better, but hard to get over the trauma of the gross water.

Hot, it does have floral and butter notes which makes it come across as a green oolong. The liquor is golden with a hint of green, and the aroma has a freshness to it. Ironically, it’s a “fresh water” smell that came through despite the very unfresh water, along with the floral and butter in the flavor.


Flavors: Butter, Floral

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Revising this to add that I finished it and it’s sipdown no. 4 of 2017 (no. 285 total) because the page appears to be broken. The note below was from tasting last week.

When I last got derailed from my serial obsession with tea into some other obsession for a while, I believe I had picked this one as my next “take it to work” tea.

When I started my new job, which isn’t so new anymore (I’ve been there more than 18 months), I started taking a Timolino of green tea to work every day. Then I discovered that the company made Numi teas available in bags, and they had a couple of greens so I got lazy and stopped making the tea before I went into work. Instead, I started making it at work. After a while, I started to get tired of the two greens, then I stopped drinking tea for a while.

Which brings us to yesterday, when I went back to trying to establish the Timolino habit. I think I had had this before but I hadn’t ever written a note about it.

Now, unfortunately, like pretty much all of my tea it is rather far past it’s “tastes best by” date, but I’ve never let that stop me before. The dry leaves range in color from a medium-dark green to a silvery green and they’re geometric and stick like. They remind me of what herbals with lemon grass in them look like. They have a sweet, grassy, almost haylike smell.

The tea is a dark golden color and clear. It has a grassy, sweet aroma.

It tastes pretty much like it smells. Rather refreshing without being too drying in the mouth. It’ll be a pleasant commuting tea for as long as it lasts. I could see buying something like this again, maybe. Hard to know at this point as I don’t ever see myself buying more tea given how much I still have.

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Sweet

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

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Hi everyone! It’s been a long time. A lot has happened since I last posted, but I’m going to spare you the details of most of it. Just know I’ve been thinking of you all.

Had a lovely vacation in the Netherlands and Denmark this past summer. Got screamingly good internet. Have had some story sales — some of my stuff is free to read on the Internet, so if you’re so moved you can check the latest on my writing site. Kids are doing well — they’re both in middle school now (gulp). No. 1 is in his last year, too. Mind blown.

I haven’t been drinking tea, though. A lot of sparkling water and coffee so it hasn’t been all bad — but I had a really nice iced jasmine green at a Teavana store the other day which reminded me how much I like tea. I’m trying to get myself back there and part of what may make me do that is I’m loving spinning right now — I feel so clean and awesome afterwards it feels like tea is the right thing to put into my body. So maybe I’ll be around more. But I can’t make any guarantees because the new job is totally wonderful but also pretty demanding.

Anyway, this is sipdown No. 1 of 2017 and no. 282 total.

I believe I made it through the entire 4 oz without actually making this hot. In the old days, that would mess with my OCD. I’m trying to be more zen, though. It’s nice to start the revisiting of tea with a nice-sized empty container I can repurpose.

It’s funny how exercising regularly in a way that makes me feel pumped also makes me want to declutter and put other aspects of my life in order. Anyone else notice that?

Anyway, the last of this is currently cold brewing in the fridge and should be ready to consume tomorrow morning. I expect it to be about the same as last time. Maybe a little weaker as I didn’t have a full 8 scoops to put in my container. More like just over 7.

Hope you’re all well!

Iced 8 min or more

Not sure if the news made it all the way to Netherlands… you might not know that Teavana is closing down. So stock up while you can!! Welcome back :)


Welcome back! Tea always tastes better when you’ve been away awhile :D


Hiya! Yeah, I heard that about Teavana, but the one we went to was in Palo Alto and it showed no signs of closing down. And I agree, tea is a fun thing to come back to!

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drank Kukicha by The Tao of Tea
1250 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 70 of 2016 (no. 281 total).

Is there a word for the reverse of when something grows on you?

After drinking this as a daily go to work tea for a while now, I got to the point where I wasn’t finishing the Timolino-full during the day. That never happens.

Bumping it down a bit.

P.S. I’m almost level 10 on team Mystic. How about you?

a bad pasty

Hmmm, how about “this tea wilted on me”? Maybe try boiling the tea next time; According to Cwyn this is the preferred method for twiggy teas.

I’m almost level 13 team Mystic. I was snubbed by a Beedrill today, but managed to catch a Golbat to make up for it.


GO TEAM MYSTIC that said, i’m only a level 7. my son and i are about to go on a tour of the neighborhood to fix that, tho.

second the boiling for twig tea, if you haven’t done so yet. NOM!

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drank Tenryu Sencha by Todd & Holland
1250 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 69 of 2016 (no. 280 total). A sample.

Really sorry to see this one go. Not much to add to my previous note other than that I will be very sad when my Japanese greens are all gone.

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Sipdown no. 68 of 2016 (no. 279 total).

Enjoyed this while it lasted. It was trading off with the kukicha as my “take it to work tea” for the last couple of weeks. Makes me think of rice crispies. My description of my first encounter with this in a previous note is pretty much still spot on.

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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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