336 Tasting Notes


Bit of a backlog. I’m so glad I decided to make this before work today, because it wound up being the highlight of my day. I didn’t like shengs for a while; I don’t know what switch flipped today, but I SO enjoyed it. Secretly, I’ve decided that it would be fun to assign teas to fictional characters, and I was testing this one for a character from my favorite anime.

I played kinda fast and loose with the steep times, but I shot for 30 s, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. The first steep was bright, metallic, and astringent, with whispers of pine and woods. The second and third steeps, which tasted pretty similar to me, were less astringent and more woodsy. The fourth steep, however, was astringent to the point of being bitter, which I hadn’t expected to happen. Maybe I overdid it?

Nonetheless, having this tea was very enjoyable and a treat. I look forward to trying it again with the last of my sample.

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Oh my goodness. For Christmas, I was surprised by a gorgeous H&S box with my initials monogrammed onto it – which I didn’t even know they made! Inside was a bunch of bagged tea of several different flavors, one of which was this.

I’d had the sachet version of this before, but I actually enjoyed this one more because it is a lot less spicy. More of the warm, sweet cinnamon flavor. Good enough to be mistaken for a loose-leaf.

Mmmm comfort tea.


I didn’t know they made the monogrammed stuff like that either – sounds like a very nice Christmas present.

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drank Paris by Harney & Sons
336 tasting notes

I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve been craving foody-sweet teas lately, like chocolatey teas or flavored teas. I’ve been doing Earl Grey de la Creme a lot, and My Morning Mate happened for breakfast this morning, but I’m really running out of options. I need to get some more of my favorites, but I can’t seem to stop myself from spending money and/or finding things I want to spend money on, and I still have a credit card bill to pay. But for now, this fit the bill.

I’m on the verge of having had this tea too much. I still love it, but I’m getting used to it, like a song I’ve heard too many times (I feel like I compare tea tastings to listening to songs a lot? Like, the first time you hear it, it’s magical because it’s so unexpected, but once you get used to it, it gets almost cloying?)


Oh yeah, that is a great analogy! There are so many teas which I loved in the beginning but over time, got waaaaaay too sweet.


Yeah, I remember Paris as being pretty awesome, have needed more for awhile. Need to get a tin this time instead of sampler size though!

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drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
336 tasting notes

The good news: Just submitted my final project for class!
The bad news: ….it was due at noon.

If this were me during my undergrad years, I would probably be pacing around, hyperventilating, crying, trying not to throw up right now. But me now? I just… I can’t help but keep it in perspective. Yeah, I shouldn’t have done it, but I’ve gotten all A’s in this class so far, and losing some points on this project… not going to end my life.

So I’m both celebrating/lamenting with some ice cream and Royal Wedding. I don’t know whether or not I actually published the review where I talked about getting placebo-effect caffeine from this tea before I found out it was a white tea, but I’m hoping I don’t have that tonight. It’s still so soft and sweet (although a little odd with ice cream.) Hot tea is especially comforting right now, what with it being cold and my body being like eggh. Yay royal weddings!

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
336 tasting notes

Backlog from Friday night.

I was so excited to make this in the gaiwan and to test out my newly-acquired gaiwan pouring skills.

I don’t think I ever noticed how cute the leaves were. They’re downy, and the contrast of the black and gold is very pretty.

Steep 1: 1 min. Everything you hear about this tea is about deep, sweet flavors like sweet potato and yam, but the predominant flavor I get is mulchy, wood-like, with a sweet undernote.

Steep 2: 2 min. Eh, still getting the mul – YEP there it is! The sweetness comes later in the sip. It’s the sweet potato/yam thing, but there’s also some fruit.

Steep 3: PBBT
Knocked over the gaiwan in the middle of the third steep and spilled tea and water everywhere. Computer was just barely rescued. Siiiiiigh. And I still have hot water left…

So I put in some new leaves and started over, steeping until there was no hot water left.

Not quite the tea tasting I’d hoped for, but still quite enjoyable before and after the spilly spilly.

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drank Pu Erh Poe by Adagio Teas
336 tasting notes

Errgh. Didn’t sleep well last night, and one of those mornings I woke up stressed. Need something thick.

Made an extra big cup this morning. I know this isn’t the highest-quality pu erh by any means, but the musty-earthy taste has grown on me. And it’s SUPER musty.

In other news, I did Drink Militia’s autumn interview! http://www.drinkmilitia.com/autumn-2014-interview-holly-faye-steep-inclined/ Pretty sure I have nowhere near as much expertise as some of the people who’ve already done this. But I had fun!

2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank My Morning Mate by Teavana
336 tasting notes

I had completely forgotten about this tea. I really need to start drinking it on work mornings instead of coffee. I still really enjoy the thick, chocolately-banana mix. It’s not subtle by any means, but it’s just fun and it smells so good.


This used to be the tea I drank every single morning when I was getting up at 5:30. I loved the taste and it was a good caffeine boost when having to deal with children so early.


Right? I don’t like the taste of normal mate, but I could very easily see myself drinking this every day!

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First things first: it’s me, formerly known as TeaKlutz! I’ve changed my name and image in the hopes of being able to better connect this to my blog, Steep Inclined! http://steepinclined.wordpress.com/
(Gotta say, I do kinda miss my old profile pic… ah well.)


So I poured the last of my leaves into the infuser, expecting there to be, oh, about a teaspoon. Out come like two and a half teaspoons of tea. Oh well, I think. Just steep it for three minutes and maybe it’ll be alright.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh lord did I screw this up. Bitter. Maybe if it cools – egh. Nope. Bitter bitter bitter.

Sad sipdown. I really liked this tea, I wish I had given it a more carefully prepared sendoff. :C

Oh well. More room for new teas!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Your blog looks good! :)


Thank you! It’s my first real blog, so I’m learning a lot. And thank you for checking it out!


I like your blog too! It’s organized nicely and you’ve already got a lot of great articles.


Thank you!

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drank Royal Wedding by Harney & Sons
336 tasting notes

…Wait a minute, this is a white tea?

So I totally thought this was a black tea this whole time. Welp, the caffeine from last night’s cup must have been a placebo effect!

Somehow I wound up with like 50 sachets of this. This tea smells sooooo sweet. In a good way. It’s fruit-y and light vanilla-y. When I drink it, I get more of a light floral flavor, but the sweetness lingers as an undertone once the tea cools a bit. Of course, now that I know it’s a WHITE tea, I want to try it at a lower water temperature next time.

I like it!

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This is my second cup of this today. (I’ve been writing a blog post about Earl Greys.)

Oddly enough, I think I like this tea best when I’ve had it for a few months and it’s mellowed a bit. The first time I had it, it was a sample sent by someone else and I LOVED it. When I ordered my own batch, I was kinda “meh” when I made the first cup. But now I love it again! I like when the cream flavor is able to shine through and offset the bergamot, without either flavor being IN YOUR FACE.

Happy place. :)


I have read that newly made flavored tea needs time for the oils to absorb and for the flavor to meld. Maybe that is why it needed to sit awhile!


I’ve never heard that before! Perhaps that explains it. I’ll keep that in mind! (And now this makes me want to go back and try my other EGC that I always find WAY too strong…)

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The name’s Holly. 27. Work for a small IT company. About to finish a Master’s degree this winter. ISFJ for what it’s worth. I play various instruments (mostly bass guitar right now), attempt to write songs that I’m too scared to play for anyone, and I’m currently taking voice lessons. I also enjoy starting various hobbies, wearing monochromes, writing, cooking, taking walks, and various and sundry other things…

I’ve been a tea drinker since spring of 2013. Tea is a source of happiness, positivity, curiosity, and relaxation (…and caffeine) for me.

I’ve been on and off this site over the years, and I even had a separate tea blog at one point. For now, I’m just working on getting back in the habit of enjoying tea regularly and to its fullest.

Love: Malty Chinese black teas, shu/ripe pu erhs, soft flowery teas (esp. jasmine teas)

Like: Japanese green teas, sheng/ripe pu erhs, white teas

Still trying to get into: Most oolongs, chai teas

Not crazy about: Roasty teas, fruity teas, rooibos, many (not all) herbal teas

90-100: YEAH!
80-89: Nice! This is good stuff.
70-79: Respectable tea.
60-69: Not bad.
50-59: Middling. Not really worth it.
25-49: Eeeeeugh. Not good.
0-24: Did you know you can use tea leaves as odor absorbent?



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