2000 Tasting Notes


Sipdown no. 14 of March 2019 (no. 49 of 2019 total, no. 537 grand total).

Most of the last of this is cold brewing as we speak, with the last couple of spoons as my first morning hot tea.

I just updated my thoughts on it yesterday (the hot version) but I’ll note anything interesting about the cold version later if it’s worth writing about.

Meanwhile, I’m closing in on my stretch sipdown goal for March. One more and I’ll be 3 for 3! And most of these have NOT been samples, which is awesome!

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Rethinking my rating on this one, particularly after sipping down the Teas Etc. Summer Currant recently.

This is really heavy compared to the Teas Etc. and this morning, it’s sitting like a rock in my stomach. The flavor is grapey as expected and not bad, but the heaviness seems unnecessary.

Also, as with other Simpson & Vail flavored teas, this has something a little generic about it, as though the mingling that went on in the shipping box is carrying over and flattening the flavor into some common thing that could be a signature if it were only something that was clearly done intentionally.

I noticed the same sort of thing with the Harney fruit blends. They all have a similar base of hibiscus, with a surface of the namesake flavor. But somehow that seems more intentional.

Bumping down the rating.

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Another pu erh sample that I haven’t tried or written about yet. It has a sort of pungent, arboreal scent in the packet.

Gaiwan. Boiling. Rinse. Let sit 15 minutes. 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

The most noticeable change in this from steep to steep is in the color. It started as a sort of apricot color and moved to a dark amber.

The flavor seemed to me rather consistent from steep to steep, and rather what I generally taste in sheng. A sort of white chocolate, buttery note. This one has a bit of sweetness to it, and also some smoke.

I don’t get the bitterness others have noted, but then I steep very short. The one time I steeped sheng long, I did get quite a lot of bitterness.

It’s a good tea. I have to say that I’m discovering I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to pu erh. The production of doing multiple steeps makes the experience less enjoyable for me. I know I’m in the minority — and the mindfulness of taking the time to steep is relaxing to some people. But for me it’s more of a chore than anything else.

Then again, I could just be feeling the pressure of all that’s going on in my life. New car has arrived and I’m going to pick it up later today!

Flavors: Butter, Smoke, White Chocolate

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drank Summer Currant by Teas Etc
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 13 of 2019 (no. 48 of 2019 total, no. 536 grand total).

This is probably better than an 80, so I’m bumping the rating a tad. My original note likened it to wine. I’m not getting that so much now, but then this tea is quite old and it’s possible that some of its wineyness was lost over time.

But like a nice red wine, what it morphed into with breathing for quite a long time was also interesting and pleasant. Much more of a subtle currant flavor, good for sipping while taking a day off and catching up on Madam Secretary episodes.

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Sipdown no. 12 of March 2019 (no. 47 of 2019 total, no. 535 grand total).

This was the very first loose leaf tea I experimented with after I joined Steepster 9 years ago. So it’s a nostalgic moment to sip it down.

I took this to work last week. After all this time, it’s still a solid, though basic, dark oolong.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
2000 tasting notes

What was I thinking, back when I rated this an 80?

I was probably thinking that 80 was a good, solid rating. But right now my cupboard is full of good teas. And this is better than my recent sipdowns by a lot.

Bumping the rating.

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drank NYC Breakfast by Tavalon Tea
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 11 of March 2019 (no. 46 of 2019 total, no. 534 grand total).

I just wrote an updated note on this one a few months back, so have nothing to add.

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drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 10 of March 2019 (no. 45 of 2019 total, no. 533 grand total).

It has been a hard few weeks. Work has been intense. The Bar Mitzvah preparations have been intense. I have been stressed, and I think the stress has been affecting me physically, which makes me anxious about my health and that leads to more stress.

Then this week, we had to take one of our cats to the emergency room. He was having trouble breathing. He turned out to have a mass in his abdomen they thought was probably cancer, but in any case, was inoperable.

His decline after that was steep and fast, and last night we had to say goodbye. It was something of a shock. He was 16 but he didn’t seem sick at all, while his sister and litter mate has been ailing for a while now and we’ve pretty much been expecting her to take a turn for the worse any minute for months.

Anyway, I feel really drained and not in the best shape. I don’t have a lot to say that I haven’t already said about this tea, other than that I made my sipdown goal for March with it, and most of this month’s sipdowns have been large or medium sized tins. So there is that.


I’m so sorry you had to say goodbye to your cat. Every cat is so special in its own unique way, and I’m glad you got to enjoy so many years with yours. <3


Thank you. :-)


I’m so sorry for your loss. Try to take care of yourself!


Sorry about your loss. I lost chaiman meow a few years back myself.


So sorry to hear about your cat. It’s tough enough when you know it’s coming, but so much harder when it’s unexpected :(


<3 to you and your fam, Morgana.

Mastress Alita

I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your fur-baby. Hears to sixteen beautiful and memoriable years and what sounds like a relatively quick and painless passing for the dear. Stress really can take a toll, I went through a rough few months the last two months and am only now getting back to normal, but at least it does pass and start to level out, even if it sometimes takes a while. Hoping for the best for you, try to take care of yourself, Morgana.

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Sipdown no. 9 of March 2019 (no. 44 of 2019 total, no. 532 grand total).

I drank the last of this as a cold brew. My initial notes on this tea are still ringing true to me, though I wouldn’t have identified a smoky note in the most recent cold brew, I don’t think. At least I’m not identifying it now.

It’s the sort of thing where I’d be happy to drink it, but I don’t need another tea like it. It’s solid but not distinctive enough to merit a permanent cupboard spot.

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drank Ginseng Oolong by Teas Etc
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 8 of March 2019 (no. 43 of 2019 total, no. 531 grand total).

I was considering keeping this around for the entertainment value of the pellets, but then decided I needed the easy sipdown more than I needed an entertaining tea.

I wrote the initial note on this one relatively recently and can’t improve upon it.

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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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