3602 Tasting Notes


Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #8: A tea that reminds you of an alcoholic beverage

additional notes: Since this definitely tastes like a fruity champagne, this certainly fits for the sipdown challenge! So much flavor in this cup and I didn’t even overleaf… it might be a cupboard essential for me. I have some more of this from a different shop (Tealyra?) so I’m happy to finish this sample from Mastress Alita’s stash (thanks again!)
2022 sipdowns: 10

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drank The Vanilla Earl by teakruthi
3602 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #7: An Earl Grey

additional notes: I have already noted that as this ages, it seems to turn into a straight lemon rind sort of flavor. Definitely not bergamot, vanilla or even the black base. Maybe they have changed this by now? This is two years old already… I like their other lemon tea better, so this was a good time to finish this. The rating would be lower now.
2022 sipdowns: 9

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drank Vanilla Black by ESP Emporium
3602 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #6: A tea with bean notes

So I might be cheating here in two ways – my brain doesn’t usually associate tea with bean flavors, so I say it’s VANILLA BEAN. And the second way I’m cheating — since I didn’t have any vanilla teas that were close to sipdowns, I thought I would allow myself one pass a month to count one challenge tea as NOT an official sipdown, as long as it was the oldest of that type I am drinking and counting for the challenge – so for example, my oldest vanilla tea and not something newer. This is the oldest vanilla I have. Not quite a sipdown yet, but I’ll get there.


Well played :)


Good job! Wow, that sounds like a good one, 97!

Mastress Alita

I also drank a vanilla tea for this one. I already sipped down all my Chinese greens (which always taste like beans to me).

Mastress Alita

Also, the challenge just says “drink a tea”… nowhere does it indicate that it MUST be a sipdown. Every cup is still progress towards a (eventual) sipdown. :-)


For the prompts last year none of the teas I drank for were sipdown notes. This year I decided to only check off applicable teas I manage to finish off (so far) – but that’s because I want an extra challenge right now. :)


Mastress Alita – I probably haven’t made it far enough in the tasting notes yet to see you also chose a vanilla tea. And I’m in the same boat as CrowKettle – last year they didn’t need to be finished teas, but this year I like the challenge. :D


And using the Mastress Alita ingredient search, I think this tea is this one – even has the same description: http://www.dethlefsen-balk.us/ENU/15930/Item.aspx?FromNo=15908&ItemNo=22421 Maybe my opinion on a new version wouldn’t be 97 though..

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Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #5: An apricot tea

additional notes: aw, this one received a middling rating from the Steepster population. I liked it very much. And as one of my most ancient teas, the flavor was enjoyable to the very end. The rooibos is a deep red brew – some rooibos is only so-so orange…. I like these flavors. I would definitely buy this again on an eventual Adagio order. I’m thankful to the original blender TeaEqualsBliss passing me some. :D
2022 sipdowns: 8


I’ve run into several teas lately with brutal Steepster ratings, all of which I thought were just fine! It’s funny to see such a wide range of opinions on some of these!


Makes me wonder if the older or newer “harvests” are better? The flavoring is probably different on this by now…

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I received a sad e-mail from S&V today – Jim Harron, Sr. passed away a couple days ago. I didn’t know him, but appreciate what the Harrons have done with Simpson & Vail – one of my favorite tea shops and a small business too! So I wanted to sip a cup of tea today in his memory and appreciate that S&V exists in the world.
Some have recently wondered about Black Currant teas – I have never actually tasted real black currants but I know I have had some dismal black currant teas before with awful flavoring. This is not one of them – almost a floral flavor with the fruit. Now if that fruit is black currant, I can’t say. But knowing that S&V usually has accurate flavors, this probably tastes like black currant.


I saw that email too, I like that they shared his passing with their customers so we could all appreciate what he has done and sip a cup in his honor.

Martin Bednář

I wish I could send you some fresh harvested currants to try while they are ripe in July. But I guess the trip would be too long for them :D


haha, a great thought though, Martin.

Martin Bednář

I will keep this thought and I will ship them to you from my workplace, packed with dry ice. That could work I guess :D

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drank Yule Log by Pudtea
3602 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #4: A tea flavored like your favorite pie

Stay with me a minute – I know “yule log” is not a pie!  But I was thinking CHOCOLATE because my favorite pie is very specific.  I love most types of pie – it’s my favorite dessert!  BUT my favorite is chocolate cream pie from a local shop.  It can’t just be any chocolate cream pie but THIS chocolate cream pie with the right consistency of chocolate pudding and thick, solid whip cream, the right crust, the perfect ratios of all three.  I could have it every day and never get sick of it, despite it being so incredibly rich and decadent.  I wouldn’t even consider other chocolate cream pie to remotely reach the top of that list.  So this is a chocolate tea that fits the theme and it’s done now.
2022 sipdowns: 7

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drank Peach Brulée by Tea Forte
3602 tasting notes

Another from TreeGal a while ago!  Thank you!  A single sample that looked so fancy – the package makes it seem so classy and dessert like, so the actual tea was confusing.   I expected a long leaf black, with creamy peach sugar flavor.  Really, it’s like a tart peach, not even a candy peach.  The black tea is finely chopped – very small.  I only see an occasional marigold flower, but upon steeping, I definitely taste some coconut and yep, there it is in the description too.  No idea how old this is now, but I know I have had this sample for at least a year or two.  The description mentions mango flavor?  Not even peach flavor?  I guess it could taste like mango, but then why not call it mango brulee?  It isn’t brulee either.  Just confusing all around.  I didn’t hate it, didn’t love it.  I probably would have been better blindtasting it, than relying on the name to guide me.  Glad to sample, glad it’s gone.  Next morning cold tea tasted like stone fruits on rich black tea — I love next morning cold tea. :D
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep
2022 sipdowns: 6

Flavors: Cherry, Coconut, Mango, Peach, Stonefruit

Evol Ving Ness

I love next morning cold tea, not even kidding.

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Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #3: New tea

additional notes:  Since sipping down a NEW tea would be near impossible for me, I decided that “new” could mean a tea from the first three pages of my Steepster cupboard if ordered by ‘recent’, so here we go.  This one counts as “new” to me? Yes? Sure.  It was a lovely sendoff- somehow I was tasting mostly almond, actual almond.  I’m glad I could finish this great green before it was years old.
2022 sipdowns: 5


I think dragonwell is my favorite green tea variety—it sounds like you choose a good one!

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drank Cranberry Creme by Market Spice
3602 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s January sipdown challenge Tea #2: Cream tea

additional notes: Finished one package of this. It’s one I really enjoy and would be happy to stock up again (this is from a teabox). Great balance of tart cranberry and sweet cream all on an unassuming black base.
2022 sipdowns: 4


For about a year, we had a local gourmet shop that had a nice little selection of Market Spice teas, packaged and bulk both. I miss them!


I wish there was something like that here… I really want to stock up on a couple Market Spice teas.

Mastress Alita

They have always been on my “packages too large, won’t buy” list. I too could benefit from a Market Spice reseller offering smaller sizes.

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drank Duchess' First Love by Tay Tea
3602 tasting notes

A tea I haven’t written a note for yet in StarFevre’s generous box from a while ago. Thanks so much! I like that the description mentions a “chilly day” first, since that is why I’m drinking this today – I figured it would be cozy. A mix of black tea, rooibos, hazelnuts and bergamot with caramel. Sounds cozy to me! I would have preferred not to have the rooibos here, but it isn’t a terrible rooibos. I was wondering what it reminded me of, and then I realized it’s David’s Cream Earl Grey which I’m really not a fan of, with it’s odd taste that swings a bit towards licorice to my tastebuds, and then that became all I could think of. The Davids has really been the only Earl that has tasted like that to me anyway, well now it’s two. Luckily this sample is small! Even though there were actual hazelnut pieces(!) there were only hints in the flavor, and not really any in the second steep.
Steep #1 // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 min

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Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite tea shops (still operating):
Dammann Freres
Yunnan Sourcing

Favorite tea shops (RIP):

My icon photo is Richard Mayhew from the graphic novel ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry.

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! Many of my teas have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

I’m always in search of: Hattialli, Qu Hao black, Jin Jun Mei, teas using marshmallow root.

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), turmeric, bee pollen, charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites – cupboard essential
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
50-65 – Okay
1-50 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. (Or as evidenced by the great computer hiatus of 2019, something happened to my computer… I have a dumb phone so can’t access internet on that. As of 12/20/21 my wifi might start getting unreliable.)

Happy sipping!



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