911 Tasting Notes


My last of this tea and I’m impatient for the water to cool so I’m using the opportunity to try this at a higher temperature. It seemed like a good tea for after the flavorful pasta that was lunch. The higher temperature brings out more of the lapsang souchong and makes the berry slide a bit into the background to where it is a strong note of sweetness instead of an overly berry note. I think I prefer it at this temperature, actually. Really quite nice. Still not quite where I need to make a purchase specifically for this tea, but if I’d toss it in my cart if there were other things I’d be getting.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I don’t like smoky teas, but the name makes me smile … my husband and son are V for Vendetta fans and can recite most of the first stanza of the poem from memory…

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Tweaking parameters to see about getting back to the stronger caramel flavor. Water from the Zojirushi at 208° into an empty pot, then poured in the leaf, left the lid off for most of the brew (honestly I just wandered away and forgot). Decanted, let it cool for a few minutes while I made the husband a big mug of PG Tips.

Now I’m sipping on it and it’s heavy and silky so I’m thinking this is good. I’m barely into the cup at all and getting burnt sugar. The smoky flavor is just a hint without the edge I sometimes get from it when brewed stronger.

Okay, half way through the cup now and this tastes like a silkier, slightly heavier version of the Lupicia’s English Caramel from yesterday. And the more I sip, the stronger the caramel taste becomes and the more in turns into a caramel chew.

The last third of the cup is filled with sweet caramel. So sweet and smooth and just awesome. It’s like a thin caramel sauce – silky, heavy, sweet, rich, sweet, caramel. I pretty much gulp the last third of my cup down because it is so delicious.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec

Argh!! I feel sad because I’m still not getting caramel chew, just smokey pine :(


Nice! I’ve liked your reviews of this one. I just gave in and bought the set, but haven’t tried Jackee yet cause I usually prefer Assams to Keemuns. This will totally useful for when I do.


Does this tend to work with keemuns in general or is it just this one?


Auggy, which Zojirushi do you have?


Is Shantea purchasing a Zojirushi now? =]


Shanti, the less leaf I use, the less pine I seem to get and the more caramel, but the cup has to cool a decent bit for it to really pop and get gooey.

Harfatum, I adore Thomas! Jackee didn’t overly impress me until I accidentally ended up with the caramel and then it became pretty awesome.

Angrboda, I’ve never had this happen with another keemun but I haven’t tried to get it from any others either. I think it’s just this one. Maybe.

Shanti, I have the 4-L Zojirushi CD-LCC40 (http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/elepots/cd_lcc.html ) but have been eying the CD-WBC40 (http://www.zojirushi.com/ourproducts/elepots/cd_wbc.html ) since it has a 140° setting. Just waiting for an excuse!


I have that one! The one with 140F. I realize it wasn’t that important after I got it and I wish I got the newer ones that allows me to unplug it from the wall and still dispense water. So how do I knock it down to 140F or any temperature quickly? I usually leave it around 3L. If I need to drop the temperature really quickly, I just pour in some room temperature water. That seems to do the trick =]


Part of me wants to make some of this today, but a bigger part of me wants to try some of the tea I got in the mail, so Jackee shall need to wait until tomorrow. I’ll be trying less leaf when I do, though.


What’s the minimum amount of water you have to add to the machine for it to work? Can it do 8 ounces of water at a time, or do you have to do more?


You can do 8 ounces, but it’s kind of a waste. Basically you fill it up and just leave it there and it keeps the water at that temperature. It’s 700watts when it’s boiling and 120watts when it’s keeping warm. I use to boil water throughout the day with a 1500watt kettle so that burned a lot more electricity. 4 liters of water lasts me about 1-2 days.


Ooh, I’m so glad you mentioned wattage since I’m trying to keep my energy bill low. :) So do you set it to boil once (using 700 watts) and then keep it on the “keep warm” setting all day? Does that use up 120 watts every hour?


Oh wait, I think that’s wrong…anyone want to explain to me what watts means, in terms of the amount of electricity used?


Well, we’re billed by kilowatts. Zojirushi has an energy saver thing. Basically you can set it to go to sleep in X time and then wake up and reboil. I’ve never used it.

Before I use to hit the reboil button on my 1500watt machine 5-6 times a day. Let’s say it took 10 minutes to boil water. That’s 1500watts a day. My zojirushi, it’s basically, HEY, I’m not saving electricity =P It’s only if I use the energy saver that I would really be saving electricity. Oh well, it has it’s convenience. I should time how long it takes for my electric kettle to boil water. I know I use to hit the reheat button a lot of times throughout the day. If it’s only ten minutes to heat water, it won’t make much of a difference. If it’s 15 minutes and I boil it 6 times, then zojirushi wins. Too many factors to weigh in.


So the most energy efficient way would be to just boil each time you want hot water? Or is there some other way… (Sorry for all the questions…I am awful at engineering and physics, lol)


Yeah, I’m pretty bad at this too =]

I believe so, I mean if you just boil exactly what you need it would obviously be the most efficient. Then you wouldn’t be wasting any electricity =]

I have a tendency to boil a huge pot of water, because I’m too lazy to keep refilling and reboiling, etc. Basically it’s just convenience here. I don’t have to wake up in the morning fill my kettle with water and hit the reboil button. I mean I could fill the kettle with water the previous night and just hit the button in the morning, but whenever I want tea, I can just press dispense on my Zojirushi.


Ah, okay! That makes sense. Thanks Ricky for your patience with my ignorance :)


I love my zojirushi so, so much. Having hot water immediately ready when I stumble into the kitchen in the morning is awesome. The only way in which it could conceivably be more awesome is if you could program it with a clock, so that it automatically popped to 208 in the mornings to give me my black tea caffeine fix after I spent the evening drinking oolong and white at 175 for those times when I forget. Hardly complaint-worthy!


Yeah, the convenience is amazing and the fact I can actually get the water at the correct temperature! =] I’ve done that a few times, but 175F to 208 doesn’t take that long to annoy me. If I’m in a big rush, I just use my good old water kettle.


I’m with sophistre on the Zojirushi love. I’m too impatient to wait for water to boil each time I want a cup. And then if I had to wait for it to cool down to 175? No way! Each night I set the sleep timer so the water is at 208 for morning tea, then set the timer again (this time on 195) when I go off to work. When I come home, I knock it to 175 and do my normal just got home stuff. By the time I’m ready for tea, so is my water! When I don’t have the convenience of my Zojirushi, I drink a lot less tea. ♥ my Zo.


Just to jump in on the power discussion really briefly, we’re actually billed by the kilowatt hour. [Not to nitpick, but I’m taking physics this semester which is bringing up to a rumbling two years.] There’s some extra conversion that needs to happen to really be able to figure out your actual bill [Shanti, if you really want an explanation feel free to DM me], but I’m not going to get into it because I’ve been whipping my nerd around a bit too much here.

Regardless, figuring for proportionate power usage will help you figure out things well enough, though some companies have fixed payments for power usage no matter what you use, and some bump their rates up once you surpass a certain number of kWh.

Ok, seriously, that’s it. Yay Zojirushis, even though I don’t have one. I’d like one. Someday.

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drank Gunpowder by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

I was in the mood for a green, but an energetic tasting green or, since I was having trouble finding that, something new. And this is new! I can’t believe I haven’t tried this yet – teaplz sent it to me a bit ago but it got hidden behind other things and was only recently rediscovered.

Not overly familiar with a variety of Gunpowder teas but the tea smells salty, so I have a little fear. But on my first sip, I’m really nicely surprised. Yes, there is a bit of tingly salt lick taste at the very back but the overall is remarkably sweet. There’s a bit of smoky/toasty taste to it – it reminds me a bit of a boring genmaicha (not my addictive Ryokucha from Samovar, mind you) but a little more… grown up or mature. After Andrews & Dunham’s Caravan, Samovar’s Russian blend and a variety of Lapsang Souchong teas, I don’t know if I would really define this as truly smoky. Just roasty with an edge. Darkly toasted bread, perhaps. Sprinkled with grass sugar (work with me here) and then chased with a light touch from a salt lick.

So yeah, great cup! Very drinkable and enjoyable. A good green that is sturdy, not delicate. I could totally see myself ordering a couple of ounces of this (if only Adagio actually sold teas in 2oz containers…).

Thanks teaplz!

ETA: So I tried a second steep and not all that great. Not horrid but a bit too salt-lick for me. Pretty much the same experience I had with the non-horrific second steep of Rishi’s Jade Fire. There is a hint of that initial sweetness on the very first part of the sip but then it just turns into a big ole liquid salt block. First steep is a keeper, second steep is not worth the water. Dropping the score 1 point cause the second steep makes me grumpy.

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Whoo! Glad you enjoyed this one! I really like it as well. It’s an entirely different smoky from a lapsang. It’s gunpowder smoky! But yeah, it’s pretty hearty and nom.

I didn’t like the second steep of this. Tasted like spinach!


Aha! I’ve had this in my tea drawer for a while now, and I almost made this last night but after much mental debate decided not to. (As this would be my first gunpowder, I was scared off by the spinach comments). But if you two are feeling it, I’ll have to give it a go!


teaplz, Yuck on the spinach! Hopefully I won’t get that but I’ll still give a second steep a shot!

Laura, I admit, I had somewhat low expectations but this tea (at least the first steep!) is quite nice!

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drank English Caramel by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

Tea bag version. Smells really good. Very caramel-y and rich smelling. I poured the water into my cup and let it sit for however long it took me to refill the kettle and take the cup to my desk, then I put the bag in the cooled water. Not sure on the exact temperature so I’m guessing. I did realize though that I probably need to descale my electric kettle here at work. Yuck.

Anyway, decreasing the steep time and temp makes the tea less biting in this. It’s more of an accent on the caramel. It’s not quite caramel chew but close – more like unsweetened caramel chew blended 50/50 with tea. There is a burnt caramel aftertaste that is a little bitter but in a nice way. I could see this easily being a caramel and tea flavored chew.

Overall very enjoyable and supereasy with the whole tea bag thing – it works out very nicely for work (though every time I say ‘tea bag’ I think not so tea-related things… I blame my husband’s old fraternity). I might have to get more Lupicia bagged teas (ah, much better) for a work stash.

ETA: Second steep at 5:00 and it’s pretty light. The taste is still consistent with the first steep but it is much lighter in color and flavor. I was tempted to do it another minute but I’d rather have it light than bitter. But the first steep was really quite nice so I’ve upped the rating a bit. At a lower temp and shorter steep time, this is a tea I’d buy again.

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Okay… comment fail.

The comment I was trying to make was that I love Lupicia’s bags. That’s sounds weird, but I’m leaving it.


Okay, I snorted when reading that, especially considering where ‘tea bag’ makes my mind go. Hehe! But yes, they have great bags. (I need to stop laughing).


Call them tea sachets – you will think of…lingerie drawers. Sigh. It all leads back to sex in some way, doesn’t it!

Cynthia Carter

Freud certainly thought so. But then, he was fond of a good cigar.

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drank Morning Tea by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

Little mixed on this tea this morning. Used sugar and half and half. It had a nice taste to it with some cardboard-y texture to it but I was wanting it a little thicker – it’s fairly thin bodied even though most other teas that share similar tastes seem to be thicker bodied. The vanilla wasn’t so much vanilla as a vanilla bean musky sweet note. It wasn’t overly complex but it was nice. I just wish it would have been a little thicker and that decreased my enjoyment this morning. Apparently I wanted a chewy tea and this one wasn’t.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

hrmm…is that a breakfast tea I see there? lol


Hahah! Why yes, it is indeed! I know we are all shocked at that, right? :)

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Mmm. Smells floral and almost lemony. Tastes rich and chewy and buttery. Today this is reminding me of some pouchongs I’ve had. Solid and thick and rich but not heavy. There’s a good, interesting flavor to this tea but it is also very drinkable. For me it seems to straddle the line between a good everyday tea and a more special occasion tea, ultimate tipping over to the everyday tea side.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Sakurambo by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

Just finished off this one. The tart sweet cherry taste is very nice. Surprising and refreshing. I wonder how adding sweetener would change the tea? I think this tea would be a very nice one for spring.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I was feeling a little moody this morning when I selected this tea, so I thought I would have it with milk and sugar… which I don’t typically do with Darjeelings but I was feeling the need and I had given it to the husband that way once (when I was too sleepy to realize that I had grabbed Darjeeling and not his breakfast tea) and he enjoyed it so I figured it couldn’t be too bad.

It wasn’t. It was actually pretty good. Insanely nutty. Nuttier than I’ve ever noticed when having it straight. Perhaps because the half and half toned down the astringency, which I could feel poking out even with the not insubstantial amount of additives I put in. It wasn’t quite sweet enough to be a pecan nutty but it was a much stronger nutty taste than a walnut and after that I’ve pretty much exhausted my nut knowledge so I’m stuck with just ‘very nutty’. There was still some tartness to it – not really bitter but a tart, astringent, mouth-coating something – even with the milk and sugar, so I’m actually really happy with it.

I have enough tea for one, maybe two more mornings and I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding milk and sugar to it those remaining days.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
911 tasting notes

I wanted something more to drink tonight but it is pretty late so it needed to be decaf. Fortunately, I’ve managed to amass quite a collection of herbal samples! This is my last of this one and while I’m pretty sure I won’t reorder, I have really enjoyed a full-on rooibos/honeybush base that doesn’t taste sour or off or just plain ole nasty. I don’t know if that speaks to the quality of rooibos that Samovar uses or their stellar blending ability (though perhaps both).

This is definitely woody but there is some nice spice and warmth to this that keeps it from being a flat, boring wood taste. Now that I’ve finally gotten used to the fact that this is rooibos but not evil, I seem to give different spices each time I take a sip. Ginger, cinnamon and cloves all pop up at the front of sips and I’m getting something almost citrusy at the end.

I don’t think I’ll ever be a huge fan of anything with this much rooibos but then I think it’s pretty surprising that I like this one as much as I do.

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

I’m going to chalk this one up as a win.


You totally should! The more I have it, the more I like it. It took me a bit to get past the rooibos taste. Well, not get past it but stop noticing it so much because I was expecting it to be evil so each sip I was almost bracing myself for sour and when it wasn’t all my brain could think was “WOW! Non-sour rooibos.” After a couple of cups I think my brain is finally not having to go through that so I can pay more attention to the other stuff going on in the tea and it’s really quite lovely. I could totally see myself ordering some of this at a later date when I felt the need to increase my nighttime-friendly teas. Which mean the rating probably should go up a bit!

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I’m down to one more cup of leaves after this one. I kind of wish I had more even though I would prefer a different berry flavor. But at the same time, I don’t think I actually want to buy any more. I need a company to offer something like this but maybe with strawberry or another berry and to also have lots of other teas I love so that I can throw this one in an order. Because it is worth being added to an order, but not quite worth making an order. If that makes sense.

Anyway, could have brewed it a little longer but I didn’t and it is still nice. Very fruity but with a nice smoky note in the background. I like this one because it is a smoky tea, but it is sweet and soft at the same time. Hmm, I wonder what would happen if I brewed Samovar’s Russian Breakfast blend the way I brew this one… That could be interesting.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

I love that you blended Russian Blend and Breakfast Blend into your head.


Oops! I was thinking about the Russian blend but have been craving the Breakfast blend so I mushed them together!

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I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.

1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.





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