2021: Sipdown Progress Thread

Much like Roswell’s yearly “How Much Will You Spend on Tea This Year!?” thread to track spending habits, I think it is about time we had a yearly thread to do the same for sipdown progress! We did, in fact, have one in 2019, but did not have one during 2020 (oh, 2020). Here is that past thread:

2019: https://www.steepster.com/discuss/29734-2019-year-of-the-sipdown-challenge

The purpose of this thread is to track your progress on sipdowns over the year, encourage other Steepster members in their sipdown and/or general cupboard reduction/maintenance efforts, and most importantly, have fun while doing so!

What is a Sipdown?

A “sipdown” is drinking the last of a tea so that it is no longer in one’s cupboard. Since different people inventory their collection differently, some people count sipdowns of each individual package of the same tea, while others wait and only count the sipdown once that particular tea is completely gone from their cupboard. There is no right or wrong way to go about it; the purpose is to drink the tea one already has while reducing binge tea ordering habits to, ultimately, get a tea collection that feels “out of control” to feel more “under control!”

Ways to Sipdown

There are lots of ways to go about challenging yourself to sipdown more tea! Here are a few I’ve heard. Do you have a favorite method? Share your thoughts in the thread and I’ll add it to the list!

-Drink by Date: Clear out the oldest tea in the cupboard first, making room for the newer, fresher tea.
-Drink by Rating: Clear out lower-rated teas, either by experimenting with new ways of drinking them or gifting/trading them away!
-Sampler Sipdown: Focus on samplers or tea packages depleted to just a few servings, by making a dedicated area in the cupboard for teas that meet this criteria. They go quickly and can free up a lot of space!
-Go Halfsies: Have a large package of tea that just feels like it will take forever to reach that final cup? Set smaller goals (a certain amount of grams, finishing half the package, etc.) and then put it away and move on. When you come back to it, the smaller amount left won’t seem so daunting to take on!
-Randomizer: There are lots of different ways of using random generators to select a tea to focus on; the surprise from the random selection can be a lot fun!
-Keep Current on Subscriptions: Signed up to any tea subscriptions? Keep caught up on drinking subscription tea so it is out of the cupboard before the next subscription box shows up!
-Make a Focus Box: Separate out teas you want to work on sipping down into a dedicated box in your cupboard or area of your stash, and only pick teas from that selection. Once a few are cleared out, refill it with some new ones!
-Cupboard Clearout: Have packages of tea that have been sitting around because they just aren’t favorites and you can’t seem to get through the packages no matter how hard you try? Then consider hosting a cupboard sale at the Official Stash Sales Thread (https://www.steepster.com/discuss/6840-official-stash-sales-thread), or heading over to the Tea Swaps Board (https://www.steepster.com/discuss?category=tea-swaps&page=2) and starting a Traveling Tea Box or seeing if you can trade/gift your unwanted tea!

The Zen of Sipdown: Acquiring Less Tea

The best sipdown efforts in the world become a moot point if the amount of new tea acquisitions from orders, trades, tea boxes, and gifts exceeds the amount of tea being sipped down. The idea of decreasing the total amount of tea in the stash to a point of feeling in control and happy (note that this “amount” will be unique and different for everyone!) is to drink more tea that you already have than you are bringing in. Here are some tips to help make that possible:

-If you order a lot of tea, set a budget that can’t be exceeded to help curb impulse or binge buying.
-Unsubscribe from tea company mailing lists to resist the urge to jump at every sale e-mail that comes in.
-Go “window shopping”: create carts on tea sites but wait a week before buying. Often the browsing/cart building is the most “satisfying” part, and a week later you may feel different about actually purchasing the items!
-Do not be afraid to say “no” or not participate in teaboxes, tea exchanges, and group-buys.
-Don’t be part of “enabler culture” when you know someone is working hard toward sipdown goals/reducing their cupboard; for some, saying “no” to proposed teaboxes, tea exchanges, and group-buys on a site filled with fellow tea-lovers can be very difficult! Remember to always be supportive of someone working toward sipdown/cupboard reduction goals and never take someone’s decline for a swap personally.

Remember, working towards proper cupboard management does not mean you can never place a new tea order or jump into a teabox or tea swap: it’s about finding and maintaining the right balance for you and your cupboard. Create sipdown goals for yourself! If you meet those goals, feel free to reward yourself with some new tea! Attempt to keep new orders coming in less than the amount of tea cleared out, and cupboard numbers will start to drop!

This Month’s Sipdown Challenge

The Monthly Sipdown Challenge is just a fun way to have a general “theme” with which to work towards your sipdown goals! You can choose to participate as much or as little (including not at all!) as you would like! Feel free to be as creative as you want and remember to have fun!

May Theme: Gifts From the Garden – In honor of Gifts From the Garden Month, this month focus on those teas that remind you of spring garden growth — fruity and floral notes, herbal tisanes, fresh grassy green teas, oolongs full of vegetal notes! Perhaps decorate your favorite tea-drinking spots with fresh flowers, or take the time to have some sessions outside!

And a few funsy days! Feel free to scavenger hunt through your cupboard and find a cuppa to drink that fits the theme for each of these days!

Sunday, May 2nd: National Lemonade Day – Cold brew a tea in lemonade, or drink a tea with lemon flavor notes!
Sunday, May 9th: Mother’s Day – Drink a tea that reminds you of your mother!
Monday, May 17th: National Pack Rat Day – Drink a tea you just can’t bring yourself to sipdown, or a tea that is a permanent cupboard staple!
Saturday, May 22nd: National Vanilla Pudding Day – Drink a tea with vanilla flavor notes!
Wednesday, May 26th: National Blueberry Cheesecake Day – Drink a tea with blueberry flavor notes!

149 Replies

I had 203 sipdowns for 2020. This is up from 151 sipdowns in 2019! Time to reset the stat sheet and start over for a new year!

I love this idea! I recently made a tea cupboard spreadsheet and have since started trying to drink up my oldest teas, so I guess I’m all set for January hah! But I am also trying to keep up with subscriptions and sipping down some small packages at the same time.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

TOTAL 2021 SIPDOWNS: 283

Starting cupboard size: 413

January
Sipdowns: 73
Monthly Order: 3 Leaf Tea (5 teas – 150g)
Ending Cupboard Size: 382

February
Sipdowns: 57
Monthly Orders:
+ Naoki Matcha (2 teas – 80g)
+ New Moon Tea Co. (6 teas – 260g)
+ Yum Matcha (8 teas – 160g)
Ending Cupboard Size: 364

March
Sipdowns: 74
Monthly Orders:
+ Bird & Blend subscription additions (3 teas – 60g)
+ British Corner Shop (3 teas – 120 teabags)
+ Dessert by Deb (8 teas – 170g)
+ Ippodo (1 tea – 20g)
+ The Silk Tea Co. (3 teas – 75g)
Ending Cupboard Size: 339

April
Sipdowns: 73
Monthly Orders:
+ 3 Leaf Tea (5 teas – 50g)
+ Grocery store (1 tea – 18 teabags)
+ Japanese grocery store – (3 teas – 18 sachets)
+ Kyoto Obubu (4 teas – 355g)
+ Lupicia (7 teas – 340g)
+ Rishi (3 teas – 15g)
Ending Cupboard Size: 339

May
Sipdowns: 6
Monthly Orders:
+ Bird & Blend subscription addition (1 tea – 30g)
+ Teavivre (13 teas – 127g)

Nifty idea! Looking at the spreadsheet now. You have a LOT of tea!

Hence the sipdowns, ha ha! XD

I also have a spreadsheet, and find that little bit of organization goes a long way! I’ve been using mine for years now and have it available on Google Docs here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing

It says “No preview available. File is in owner’s trash”.

Huh, I have no idea when Google changed my settings… And Steepster has disabled me being able to update my profile, so I can’t even fix the link I always keep on my profile, argh!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing

Todd said

Oh, I like how the ingredients that go bad the fastest are color-coded, like coconut.

I put the dairy ones in bold face just so I don’t accidentally send them to you, lawl!

I like the idea of the flavor profile column, I’ll have to add a “tags” column or something to mine for that purpose…

I have those and ingredients so I can use the “Sort” functions in Excel to, say, get a listing of all my Dessert teas, or all teas that have peppermint in them!

Todd said

Ah, the magic of spreadsheets! <3

Ah! Thanks for doing this, especially the funsy days. :D I will follow along. I was just looking at my oldest teas when I stumbled on this thread. The goal for this year is 130. Taking it up a notch.
2019 sipdown total: 92
2020 Sipdown total: 102
2021 Sipdown total: 66

An Ode to Tea

A –
B –
C – Candy Cane Truffle – 52Teas
D – Dark Rose Hearts – Octavia Tea
E – Eggnog Marshmallow Treat – 52Teas
F – Frosty Osmanthus Oolong – Daoist Meditation
G – Gingerbread Blondie – Davidstea
H – Hand Picked Summer TieGuanYin – Verdant
I – Irish Breakfast – Dollar Tea Club
J – Jun Chiyabari Second Flush Nepal – Single Origin Teas
K – Korakundah Estate BOP Organic – Upton Tea + Kung Fu- Silk Road Teas
L – Lychee Jasmine Green – Tealyra + Lavenderberry – Tea Source
M – Mokalbari East Full Assam – Harney & Sons + Molly Hooper Blend- Adagio
N – Nirvana – American Tea Room + Nice Vanilla Spice – Plum Deluxe
O – Orzo Strawberry – Lupicia
P – Poundcake – white2tea
Q – Qing Pin – Yezi Tea
R – Royal Blend – Fortnum & Mason
S – Silver Needle “Yinzhen” white – Silk Road Teas + Snow Day – Davidstea
T – Taiwan Four Seasons Light-Roasted Oolong – What-Cha
U – Unbridled Love – Teavivre
V – Victorian London Fog – Harney & Sons
W – Witching Hour – 52Teas
X – Xin Yang Mao Jian – Teavivre
Y – Yeti White – Wendigo Tea Co
Z – Zealong Black – TeaGschwender
*True sipdowns in bold

You can do it! 10 a month with a few random small samplers throughout the year and you’ve got this!

Thank you! Already have the teas in mind for GEEK DAY tomorrow. :D

Shae said

What a fun challenge! I’m not currently trying to reduce my cupboard size, but I am working through some of my older teas to make room for newer purchases. I also have several teas I haven’t even tried or opened yet, maybe a quarter of my stash, so I am currently focusing on those. I keep a spreadsheet as well, but I might be adding a few columns after looking at both of yours.

2021 Total Sipdowns: 62
January: 42
February: 8
March: 2
April: 7
May: 3

Once you get your cupboard where you are happy with it, there is still a certain amount of zen to maintaining the balance! Looking forward to your tea journey this year!

Shae said

Definitely! The spreadsheets help with that and are a lot of fun.
I’m so indecisive, there’s got to be some system or I’d spend all day trying to pick something. :D

Yes, I’m terribly indecisive too! Sometimes I have used Randomizer.org to pick a random selection of numbers and then go back to my spreadsheet and pick something from that set, or sometimes I use this handy spinny wheel to pick teas (it can be customized however you want!: https://wheeldecide.com/index.php?c1=black&c2=green&c3=white&c4=oolong&c5=pu%27er&c6=herbal&c7=rooibos&c8=yerba+m%C3%A1te&c9=chai&t=Tea&time=5 ) When one is indecisive, one gets creative…

This last year, though, I mainly focused directly on my “Date” tab, working on my teas from 2017!

Shae said

Oh that’s fun! I found a randomizer formula for my spreadsheet in Excel so if all else fails I turn to that. Love the wheel though!

Took me some tinkering to get my super old Excel 2002 that (amazingly) still works fine on Windows 7 to work with the random formula, but I finally have it working! Thanks for the tip!

I will work on sipdowns for sure, but won’t take the fun part. Mostly, because it would cause lots of organizing and making spreadsheet actual again and things like that. Maybe after the finals.

Just sipdown tea, Martin. Getting rid of old tea to have space for new tea is the fun part!

As a fun part I meant taking part in the themes and challenges. But I see your point. I will count as a sipdown tea of what I have more than one serving (as I have lots of tea bags too). Won’t count my big bags stash, as I don’t know how much tea bags are there still with tea in. There are some I do not want even to try, and I am the one who drinks almost everything.

But I will try to count actual numbers, even it’s “just a number”. And after finals, I will do my own spreadsheet, with graphs and statistics.

So far 6 in 6 days… good pace I guess :)

I love this idea so much!

And I think I’m going to find the themed days VERY helpful as well – if you don’t mind, I think I’ll share on instagram using the hashtag #2021steepstersipdown in case anyone wants to follow along for the themed days/just in general. I really hope the themed days continue along into the rest of the months – but with this quantity. I don’t think I’m ready to commit to a year of daily themes…

My MAJOR personal goal for the year is to get to under 1000 teas in my cupboard and to get my tea sample drawers to be at a place where they can be physically opened/closed without difficulty. With that in mind, here are some mini goals:

1. Reduce the amount of free tea PR/review offers I accept through instagram to a max of one per month, or less…

2. Until I’m under 1,000 teas the only orders I can place are for limited edition pu’erhs and other aged teas that cannot be ordered at a later date & will only improve with age/time.

3. Only take home newly released teas from work, and only in quantities of 25g or smaller – AKA no restocking things that are carried year round or returning seasonals that I already have.

4. No subscription boxes.

5. No travelling tea boxes. Swaps/trades are fine for EQUIVALENT amounts of tea only – this must be made expressly clear to whomever I’m swapping with.

TEA CUPBOARD TOTAL BEGINNING OF 2021: 1287

JANUARY SIPDOWNS: 31
TEA CUPBOARD TOTAL END OF JANUARY: 1316

FEBRUARY SIPDOWNS: 34
TEA CUPBOARD END OF FEBRUARY: 1333

MARCH SIPDOWNS: 33
TEA CUPBOARD END OF MARCH: 1367

APRIL SIPDOWNS: 44
TEA CUPBOARD END OF APRIL: 1393

MAY SIPDOWNS: 16
TEA CUPBOARD END OF MAY: ???

SIPDOWNS FOR THE YEAR: 142
TEA CUPBOARD TOTAL END OF 2021: ???

I’m not an Instagram (or social media in general!) person in the slightest; feel free to share what you wish there but I’m very hands-off with anything related to the Facetwitgram. :-)

I tried some of the “daily” theme lists from Instagram and found they just didn’t work for me, with my personal schedule and the way tea fits into it (not to mention, I found many of the prompts very specific or designed “for the Instagram crowd” with references I didn’t even understand). That’s why I am only doing one “silly day” a week, with a “broader” monthly theme that can better fit a wide variety of tea-drinkers. I do plan to try to come up with something every month!

I love your goals! Good luck!

My main goals at the moment are:

-Finish off everything from 2017 in my stash (these are mostly 50g bags and will likely be designated as “daily drinker” teas until finished off. Slow but steady…)

-Finish all samples that came from past Tea Festivals/Expos

-No orders for the time being (reassess in March for a possible small birthday order depending on sipdown progress!)

I should probably set some goals for myself, but I don’t really know what number of sipdowns is reasonable for me…

Great goals. 750 teas in cupboard is so much… but I am not that far, especially when I have to share my room. Haha. Good luck with passsing at least the number of teas.

Yeah, I agree with Ros – I wouldn’t want every day to be a themed day, but this is the perfect amount of fun sipdown ideas. :D

As I already mentioned in my above reply, I personally tried doing just a single month of “every day is a themed day” (from a thing Variatea gave me from Instagram last fall) and I hated it. :-P It just doesn’t work for my own personal schedule and the way tea fits into that schedule. It will only be 4-6 “random fun days” a month (plus a broader monthly theme). If themes help “guide you” on a sipdown journey, feel free to use them. If they don’t, just keep drinking tea! Clearing tea (any tea!) out of one’s stash is really the whole point. :-)

Sil select said

Well i don’t really have much in my cupboard to participate with BUT i need to drink up some of my puerh, so that’s what I’ll be working on over 2021. I rarely get time to sit and just drink tea with the little one at home 24/7 and work being super busy. So i’ll start the year with trying to get one session in every month.

Finding the time for gong fu brewing is something I really struggle with as well! I really like this goal, I think I’m going to try to aim to squeeze in at least one session every month as well!

I love this! I have 337 teas in my cupboard currently, and I’d like to get things a bit more under control. I created a sip down basket and will be working on finishing off the ~50 teas that are in that basket.

I have a little corner of my kitchen where I keep the brewing stuff (the kettle, gravity well infuser, and milk frother sit there) and beside them I have this little kitchen organizer thing that is two slide-out baskets. I have random steeping gear and things like honey and sugar and such in it, but I now stick the specific teas I’m “focusing on” in that spot since other people had mentioned “focus boxes” and it really does help! I don’t have to dig through the big collection and just pull new things over to it as needed.

Shae said

Oooh I like this idea. I’m learning so much from this thread.

The focus boxes definitely help! I try to have a wide variety of tea types, so there’s always something that will both fit my mood and work towards the sipdown.

Dustin said

I love the fun themed days! I’m going to have to go dig in my cupboard for a geeky tea right now!
Thanks for sharing your spreadsheets! I just made one and it’s a little clunky. Looking at what others have created gives me some ideas for fine tuning mine!

Woo, joining the spreadsheet revolution!

#teamspreadsheet!

Shae said

Same here! I’ve been working on updating mine since seeing the others here. So many good ideas.

Dustin said

The idea of making a spreadsheet was intimidating at first, but it ended up being fun going through all my teas and figuring out when I got them.
I think I’m going to add a category for a permanent place in my cupboard, as in teas I always want to keep stocked.

I have a list of those on my Steepster.txt file! (The document where I write, save, and backup all my Steepster notes before they go up on the site). When I sip something down I really love, I try to make a note of it there so I remember to replace it again next time I make an order from that particular company!

Dustin said

Now I’m wondering if there is a way to download all my notes on Steepster to a file. It would sure suck to loose them all if this site went down. :/

If you go to https://steepster.com/Dustin2Dust/feed.rss it has the text for all of your notes at least. It’s in XML format, but it’s better than nothing.

Ya, I don’t trust websites so I never put my writing “directly” on any forum/site. I wrote all my notes externally on a file from Day #1 and then pasted that data in the input box to post. So I’ve always had a copy on my HDD, and I have that file backed up automatically in multiple places.

Dustin said

Wow! That was 400 pages of copy and paste! Thanks!
I’ve on occasion (like when the site was acting up) written my notes in a doc, but it’s far from the normal. I wish I had been doing it the whole time!

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