Unlabelled Samples

What’s your thought on samples which are unlabeled or unsourceable?

Several times I’ve gotten samples in trades which have been just the name of the tea, or sometimes even just the tea family. Sometimes I can’t read the package labelling.

I kind of treasure these teas (especially if I like them!) It provides a bit of mystery and sometimes it’s more special if I know I can never get that particular tea again. I tend to focus more on the cup at hand when I know it’s impossible to find.

What are your thoughts?

9 Replies

I have only one unlabeled tea sample, usually I can trace teas at least back through the cupboards of the person who traded it to me, had to do that a couple of times. This tea sample is vaguely chocolatey with lots of different ingredients in it and tastes pretty good and I have no idea what even classification it would be under, herbal perhaps? I feel sad when I don’t know.

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yssah said

i’ve never really gotten around to asking the senders very much. they go to a category called unidentified tea companies :)

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I have only had this happen with one swap and I honestly find it a nuisance. I haven’t gotten very good at gauging how to steep at tea just by looking at it yet, so most often I like to have the original instructions. I have a few pu-erh cakes that remain untouched because I am afraid to ruin them. :S I always make a point to properly label my swaps, although I suppose the situation would be different if I ever reswapped anything.

mrmopar said

Put pics of those puerh cakes up. There are a lot of eyes on here that may be able to identify them for you.

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I usually check the cupboards of those I have been swapping with recently, then if that does not prove useful, I try to contact the sender, If I can pair the address correctly.

I use them often for my evening teas or when I’m going into town, doing computer work…if I like them, and they have partial details, I will try to look them up, but won’t log them till I have a reliable source.

Some I will use up myself, especially if they are unflavored greens or oolongs.(I can recognize many of these types by sight, smell or texture)

many I pass on to a friend who needs teas that she can use when her tastebuds are off during illness flares (when she does not want to drink her best stuff). What she does not use, she passes on to a few folks she knows who struggle to keep afloat.

Others, I pass on to my parents.

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I’m bad about putting tea companies on labels. Next time, I’ll just have to write a note including more information.

Most of the teas I get name the company.

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darby select said

I prefer labels so I can order if I like it

same here.

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I’ve not done any swapping through Steepster yet, but generally I do prefer good labelling of tea… Like Darby and Kasumi, I think it’s good to be able to buy again, if I like it. Otherwise, I’m likely to waste samples by thinking, “Oooh, I love that one, but don’t know what it is and won’t be able to replace it, so must hang onto it.” Then I’ll hang onto it for too long, and it goes past its best.

At a tangent, but – I think! – related, I do get frustrated when I buy tea and the shop doesn’t bother to label it properly. This is one of the reasons why I like Mariage Freres – they always label with name; country; MF code, and brewing particulars. I also have labels I have designed that have all of this information, and a tick box section for “Black / Green / Oolong / Other”.

Yes. When it comes to tea, I am ‘anal’.

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