1996 Tasting Notes

drank Toupet de Legumes by THE O DOR
1996 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 2 of 2022 (no. 652 total).

This made a surprisingly delicious cold brew — I worried that the cold would make the vegetable notes come out and I’d feel like I was drinking cold vegetable soup with notes of tea, but fortunately that didn’t happen.

Instead, the cold brought out the spicy, peppery note. Which, as I write it, sounds unpleasant, but somehow wasn’t.

I saw a The O Dor store when I was in Paris last March, but I didn’t go in. I was afraid I’d buy more tea and I’m still terribly overloaded with old tea that I need to clear out as I’m contemplating beginning a house remodel — and every little bit I can get out of the house between now and then will help.

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Sipdown no. 1 of 2022 (no 651 total).

Hi! Did you miss me? I missed me. :-) I missed you too. It has been a crazy, crazy time. Not much tea drinking going on over here for a long time until pretty recently when it got super hot and I decided to make some of this iced. Then I made some more, and finally today I put the last bit into the fridge to cold brew.

It made a really nice cold brew. Probably nicer than it was hot, though that was so long ago I can’t say I really remember.

So, news since last time. Puppy is now a dog. No. 1 has graduated high school and is headed off to some form of higher education in the fall. No. 2 is a “rising junior” in high school. Work is still fun, and still very busy.

We have all managed to evade covid so far.

I have started doom scrolling again, which sucks. State of the world (or at least this country) and all.

How are you?


Dogs and teenagers…you have been busy! Good to see you back. We will keep the doom to a minimum!


Thank you!


We missed you! We missed you!


Welcome back! It’s been a wild ride, but I think you’re in good company here.


Good to see you back on steepster!


Welcome back! :)


Thank you all - I am drinking a lot of cold brew during this very hot summer so you may see more of me for a while ;)

Martin Bednář

Welcome back and another covid evader ;)
Times change. I can’t imagine I work for almost an year by now (okay, so far it is “only” 10 months, but you can imagine)

Looking forward to read more notes from you.

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drank Pu'erh Tuo-Cha by Teas Etc
1996 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 30 of 2021 (no. 650 total).

One of the lower rated teas in my collection (since pretty much every true tea in my collection is rated over 80 now with maybe one exception, I’m enjoying an embarrassment of riches).

My original note on this, when I drank it hot through multiple steeps, identified one of its characteristics as fishy. I sipped this down with two cold pitchers worth and neither were fishy. So there’s that.

Cold shu is actually kind of nice when you’re in the mood.

I still have way too much pu’erh.


I adore cold steeped shu. Mmmmmmm


Nevah enough….

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Sipdown no. 29 of 2021 (no. 649 total).

This one strikes me as a true “84.” It’s a good, solid first flush darjeeling. Nice and grapey without the bloaty quality I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings. On the smooth side, not a lot of wood and stonefruit, but some.

And with that, I am down to only 15 cupboard pages in my Steepster cupboard. Huzzah!

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Sipdown no. 28 of 2021 (no. 648 total).

Another “84” that I’ve decided to demote. I just think I overinflated my rating the first time.

As smoky teas go, it’s about the right degree of smoke for me. Like Puer, I think I tried too hard to really love smoky teas and while I can appreciate them once in a while, too much smoke and ash reminds me of why I gave up smoking more than 20 years ago.

A small amount of smoke is fine, but I think that maybe a nice keemun without the lapsang would be plenty for me to have that hint without being hit over the head by it.

I do have one lapsang I quite like, though I could never drink it every day. I’m not sure I would need this in addition, but I’m not saying I’d never buy it again. I’m really, truly, on the fence.


Sounds like my annual attempt to learn to love Earl Grey :)

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drank Cookie by Lupicia
1996 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 27 of 2021 (no. 647 total).

Big news: we got a puppy!

I haven’t been drinking as much tea as usual because two weekends ago, we did a whirlwind road trip down to Southern California to pick up Reggie, our baby Basenji. Down on Saturday (one cup of tea in the morning) and back on Sunday (no cups of tea). Baby is very fun, and very smart — he’s already learned “sit” and is learning “down” — and potty training is going pretty well. After he goes potty outside, he comes over like “bruh, where’s my treat?” which is exactly the point.

Last weekend I had an early haircut appointment on Saturday — following strict covid protocols — so also didn’t get any real tea drinking in because I wasn’t back until the afternoon.

I did drink a bit of tea on Sunday, which enabled me to get into sipdown range with this for today.

I have to say, I’m conflicted about this. I mostly stand by my original note, it’s just that my current thinking would put something described in my original note as lower than an 84. So I’m bumping it down.

As I mentioned, it suggests cookie, but it’s not very sweet, which makes it not quite as cookie-ish as I’d expect. Yes, some cookies are sweeter than others, but most of them are pretty sweet or they wouldn’t be cookies. AmIright?

What kind of cookie? Slightly almondy, slightly shortbready, I guess. Not bad for the right mood. I guess I’ve just become more of a hardass on my grading scale.


Puuuuuuupppppppppppy! Pics or it didn’t happen!


Just for you, a post to my long neglected instagram! https://www.instagram.com/p/CMpuK1kj3BU/?igshid=9z18ta2hqc8a

Lexie Aleah

Aww Congrats!!


Thank you!

Tiffany :)

Sounds like regular life, sometimes it gets in the way of having tea. Also reminds me I haven’t had a haircut since 2019. I should probably figure out how to get that done or just let my boyfriend do it for the first time.. how did it go getting it done (obviously we live in different places)?


I have gone through a number of different scenarios. During lockdown my stylist put the color into squeeze bottles and my bf picked it up from her and then applied it for me. That would have been funny if we hadn’t been screaming at each other through the whole thing. So no cut that time, just color. Then we graduated to he coming to the house, cutting and coloring me and cutting my two boys’ hair. We were all masked and she had on a face shield as well. That happened a few times. Now the salon is open again, with only two customers and two stylists at a time at opposite sides of the room; everyone masked, everyone hand sanitized, no clothing changes, and if you get there early you have to wait outside. Also you have to answer a bunch of health questions. In between the home and reopening there was one small reopening before the tier went back up to purple — same deal then plus temp check.


Thank you for the puppy pic! My phone is almost exclusively photos and videos of dogs…mine, my kids’ dogs, the neighbor’s dog….I can always use a good “squeeeeee!” from a puppy pic!


Her not he.

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Sipdown no. 26 of 2021 (no. 646 total).

Of all the teas I have clustered around the 83/84 mark, this is the most deserving. I’m bumping it.

It’s a great example of a very drinkable every day Earl Grey. Smooth, not too much bergamot (but now I’m convinced, the right amount), aromatic and well-weighted base that gives it a medium body.

While I will always favor Earl Greys with a Yunnan base because of the depth Yunnan delivers, this is one I could see having in my cupboard long term for those days when I want an Earl Grey, but something a bit lighter. I think I either didn’t notice or had spaced that his blend also has white tea in it, which may be one of the reasons it has a smoother flavor than some others.

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drank Night Time by Pukka
1996 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 25 of 2021 (no. 645 total).

Someone at work gave me a box of these teabags because I was talking about my difficulties sleeping. I see that I didn’t add them to my cupboard, but nevertheless this is a sipdown.

As night time teas go, this rather pleasant. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but that’s part of why it’s pleasant. Who wants to be thinking about flavors, good or bad, if you’re trying to go to sleep?

I notice the licorice, but it isn’t strong, which is fortunate because I don’t love strongly licorice tisanes. None of the flavors I would have though would make me dislike this — valerian, tulsi, even chamomile if not well done — are individually discernible, or even discernible at all, really, which is also good. I have no idea what oat flower tastes or smells like, but I am guessing the milder grainy flavor comes from that, and I don’t notice the lavender continually, but it comes through some of the time.

Did it help me sleep? Probably didn’t make much of a dent as my sleep problems are pretty well established by now, but I can’t discount it having a small effect. I have also been trying to cut down caffeine, exercise regularly, not eat too late, meditate, etc. so with all of those causes, who can say what is causing any effects — I am finding it easier to fall asleep, but I still wake up multiple times during the night.

I probably wouldn’t drink this just for fun. It’s better than a purely medicinal drink, but something about the psychology of the name would make me view it as a sleep aid.

At some point, I might get more. Really depends on the state of the cupboard and the fact that I have so many other non-caffeinated options at the moment that I need to pare back.

Flavors: Grain, Lavender, Licorice

Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Orange Cookie by Premium Steap
1996 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 24 of 2021 (no. 644 total).

Yeah, my recent note says it all. Nothing to add.

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Sipdown no. 23 of 2021 (no. 643 total). A sample.

First time trying to make a little nest in the Breville. Unclear how successful an effort it was — the tea seems a little thin, but then again not all that different from how I described it in the initial note. So maybe it was an OK effort?

I have an awful lot of pu er to sip down, including a couple of never-before-tasted-single-serving-samples I really should steep in the gaiwan to do them justice. But since multiple steeps isn’t really something I consider fun, I’m sort of dreading these.

On the bright side, I think there are only a couple that fit into that category, as well as a brick that I had bad luck with on an initial tasting and need to retry.

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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 tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

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 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; 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.

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.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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