2000 Tasting Notes

drank Snow Sprout by Golden Moon Tea
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 7 of March 2019 (no. 42 of 2019 total, no. 530 grand total).

Looking back at my original note on this, it’s clear to me I was trying very hard to taste things in this tea that would make me like it and also make me feel as though I understood white tea. And maybe I did taste all of those things and all these years later, the tea has lost flavor which explains why I didn’t taste those things in the tea I just sipped down as a take it to work tea for the past week or so.

If I was rating this now based on my most recent experience, I’d rate it somewhere in the 60s because I really taste very little in this that makes it distinguishable from hot water.

But I hesitate because I can’t say for sure that when I wrote that first note, the tea I tasted was fresh and that made a difference.

Anyway, it’s gone now.

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Sipdown no. 6 of March 2019 (no. 41 of 2019 total, no. 529 grand total). A sample, with just enough for both a first note and a sipdown. I got this as a sample when I bought some tiny glass glasses from David’s.

It bothers me that there are so many different entries for the same drink. I have, on occasion, made a mistake and entered a tea twice even after checking to see if an entry is in the database, but usually I’m able to find an existing entry by taking a few minutes to do a few different searches. I chose this of the 3 or so entries because it had the most notes by far.

Note to Jason et al — if you want to give me merge powers, I’m happy to fix these as I come upon them.

Anyway. I was only about halfway to my March sipdown goal and it is almost the middle of the month, so I thought I better get on the stick and write a rare middle of the week note.

The rooibos smells strongly of cinnamon in the packet. Very strongly. At first I thought it was stick cinnamon I was smelling, but this is sweeter than that. It’s like Red Hots.

The liquor is a burnt orange color (hook ‘em horns)! After steeping it smells pretty much the same as it did dry. The aroma doesn’t even really smooth out like it often does after steeping.

There’s just a hint of clove in the sip, which is great because too much clove is… ugh. The rooibos doesn’t taste as sweet as its aroma suggests, but it is still very cinnamony. I imagine the apple is there to sweeten things up a bit. It isn’t really an independent flavor.

The rooibos is nicely understated. A slight reediness to the flavor, but no hamster cage chips.

It’s very nice after a long day.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 500 OZ / 14786 ML

I would also happily merge teas as I came across them, haha. Drives me crazy too!

Mastress Alita

The merge functionality is currently broken. Jason has said to e-mail them to him as you come across him because he’s collecting them. I usually collect a bunch and then e-mail a bunch at once. jason [at] [this website domain] And trust me, I would absolutely love if I could merge entries. I’m a librarian, I merge library cataloguing records — quite literally — for a living!


Bummer that it is broken.

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Sipdown no. 5 of March 2019 (no. 40 of 2019 total, no. 528 grand total). A sample.

Trying to weed through my lower rated samples to aid the sipdown effort and this is my lowest rated oolong sample. I made the last of it Western style today.

My initial assessment remains spot on. Pleasant, but not in bowling over territory.

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Sipdown no. 4 of March 2019 (no. 39 of 2019 total, no. 527 grand total).

I have had an inordinately busy weekend getting ready for no. 2’s Bar Mitzvah. I had several panic attacks this morning before I got out of bed. When I think about how after no. 1’s Bar Mitzvah I basically had vertigo for 6 months, I guess the panic attacks may be letting me off easy. And maybe all of this explains why I have been having headaches lately. Ugh. My body is crap right now.

So I haven’t hit the pu erh samples this weekend. I just drank some black tea — and since I’ve done all my initial notes on the ones I have, I was able to do that without any pressure, which is awesome.

I’m starting to get worried about keeping up the pace on sipdowns, though, as I am plowing through teabags and other samples pretty quickly. I went looking for some teas that weren’t rated in the 90s that were in sipdown range and found this one.

It’s quite enjoyable this morning and amazingly makes a good companion to leftover Chinese food (my breakfast). My initial note on this one is still accurate, so I’m just going to end the recording of the sipdown and go enjoy the rest of this cup before I have to run to get some clothing altered and buy some shoes.


Hopefully all goes better this time around and no vertigo! Also, if sipdowns are stressing you, I think you should just be drinking teas you enjoy for the moment. :D


Panic attacks are the worst, I’m sorry. I hope they leave you in peace soon!

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Sipdown no. 3 of March 2019 (no. 38 of 2019 total, no. 526 grand total).

I struggled with whether to up the rating on this in my last note about it. It is a nice tea, and a subtle one which is hard to do with coconut. But at the end of the day, I don’t really disagree with my initial note on it (9 years ago? wow).

Astonishingly, it tastes pretty much as I described it then despite its age. It was a good take it to work tea.

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Sipdown no. 2 of March 2019 (no. 37 of 2019 total, no. 525 grand total). A sample.

This was among the lowest rated samples not yet sipped down, so when I was looking for my next sipdown candidate, I went for this and made a big pot Western style.

A very nice dark oolong that leaves a silkiness in the mouth. Nothing else to add to the original note.

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Another pu erh sample, leaving 13 left to try and write an initial note about.

The leaves smell richly woody dry. I am pretty sure I massively overleafed and next time I’ll cut back a little.

But the effect of the massive overleaf was a very, rich, round, fudgy flavor with a sort of maltiness that I also experienced in the Life in Teacup shu sample I liked so much.

I rinsed at boiling and let the leaves sit for 15 minutes before steeping in the gaiwan at 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

The color ranged from a cloudy butterscotch to a clear amber, and the flavor. Except for a bitterness around steep 4, the flavor was pretty consistent.

I’m a big fan of Life in Teacup’s teas. This is the first of their shengs I’ve tried and I am excited to try the other samples I have.

Flavors: Butter, Malt, White Chocolate, Wood


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I am now working through my pu erh samples. With this one, I have 14 left to taste and write notes about.

I rinsed this at boiling and then let it sit for a bit longer than 15 minutes.

Steeped in the gaiwan at 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60.

I also leafed via eyeballing and not measurement. I filled the gaiwan almost to the halfway mark.

I agree with others who noted the astringency of this tea. It is quite drying in the mouth.

The dry leaf smells sweetly arboreal with a slightly sharp note, and another that is slightly smoky. The tea itself doesn’t have the sweet or sharp notes in the aroma or flavor. It has some of the white chocolate and butter notes, but it has more honey notes than those and something slightly fruity.

It’s not as rich tasting as some others I’ve had recently, but still enjoyable.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Honey, Smoke, White Chocolate


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Sipdown no. 1 of March 2019 (no. 36 of 2019 total, no. 524 grand total). A sample.

I am in a difficult position with black teas. I don’t currently have any that I’ve rated any lower than 79, which is a very solid rating.

So I’m into the great tea sipdown territory, and that is both good and bad. Good, for obvious reasons. Bad because some of the teas I’ll be sipping down, like this one, are really lovely and no longer available.

This is one of those. It tastes the same as it did when I broke open the packet a year ago — so I don’t have anything to add to my initial note. Other than that it is another reason I’m sorry ATR is no longer around.

At some point I’ll have to sip down the rest of my Brioche sample, and then I’ll REALLY be sad.

Evol Ving Ness

I second that. Although I did not purchase from ATR often, I loved and still do love several of their teas thoroughly. I am sorry that they are no longer around.

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Sipdown no. 17 of February 2019 (no. 35 of 2019 total, no. 523 grand total).

There was exactly enough of this left in the tin to make a pitcher of cold brew.

It’s a better cold tea than hot, but still not anything to write home about.

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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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