81
drank Bogart by Leland Tea Co
1981 tasting notes

I can’t believe I’m trying this for the first time!

What an interesting tea. I don’t think I’ve had anything quite like it before.

There are big honking pieces of cinnamon in the blend, and because of that, I expected this to be another tea where cinnamon is pretty much all you can taste. But
cinnamon is just one of many things this tea has going on.

The aroma of the dry leaf almost defies description, but I’ll try. It has something deep and rich about it that I want to call cocoa or coffee, but that is probably a very beany vanilla. It also has a more surface level pastry aspect with a hint of caramel. There’s definitely a nutiness, but it’s a confectionary nuttiness. I’m reminded of pralines, though the nut isn’t pecan.

After steeping, the aroma has a lot of vanilla, some spice, and something else that I expect must be hazelnut — but if I was doing a blind taste test I wouldn’t have identified it as such. The tea is a dark, tea-colored brown and clear.

I’m puzzled by one thing. I think a number of folks have read this to contain lapsang souchong. I don’t think it does. I think that Leland is suggesting that it be blended with lapsang, and that if it is, it will please coffee lovers. While I can’t be certain this is the case, I taste and smell no lapsang without trying so hard I am wondering if I’m tasting something merely through power of suggestion and not because it’s there. It seems like a very odd thing to blend with a tea of this type. Which is why I wonder if there’s an interpretation issue here. If there is, perhaps Leland should make its description less ambiguous.

In any case, I tasted mostly vanilla at the beginning of the cup, but now at the halfway mark I’m noticing the hazelnut a lot, particularly in the finish and aftertaste. Really, the only thing that is missing from this that would make it truly wonderful in my book is some natural sweetness to the tea base. I suppose I could sweeten it up myself, but I’d rather I didn’t have to think about it. And I’ve tasted enough black teas with natural sweetness (even lapsangs) that I think it must be possible to achieve that with some thought and experimentation.

It gets points for originality and for complexity, but I’m having a hard time getting myself to the same high rating scale on this one that so many others have had.

I could just be in a critical frame of mind. There was a time when my ratings were pretty much all in the 80s and up, and I’ve been noticing that I’ve been having a hard time justifying higher ratings these days.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coffee, Hazelnut, Pastries, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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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

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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