2006 Tasting Notes


Sipdown no 4. of 2023 (no. 662 total).

Somehow, the caramel and chocolate which I loved back when I wrote the original note wasn’t doing it so much for me when I had the last few cups of this. It could be age of the tea, it could be tastebud changes, it could be mood, it could be that the flavors settled somehow so they were stronger at the bottom of the tin. But this was bordering on too heavy for me and that’s a rare thing with Mariage Freres, which I usually praise for its subtlety and je ne sais quoi. It was drinkable, just felt heavy in the mouth and stomach. Note to self, if you ever get this one again, drink it sown while it’s fresh.

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Sipdown no. 3 of 2023 (no. 661 total).

I am on the fence. On the one hand, I rated this the same as the Irish breakfast back when it was new, and the last of this was anything but. So I should probably stick with that, but based on the “old” versions, I would give the Irish breakfast an edge for depth of flavor.

This one didn’t hold up its maltiness/sugaryness over time. That’s not really a way to judge a tea, and I’m not judging. I’m just noting, because, after all, this is a note. :-)

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drank Eros by Mariage Frères
2006 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 2 of 2023 (no. 660 total).

I didn’t even think about trying this cold — it didn’t seem like it would do well that way. But it was nicer than I remembered, a delicate floral. While it says there is hibiscus in here, I really didn’t get a hibiscus note — perhaps the black tea base neutralized it somehow.

I have another similarly rated Mariage Freres tea, Wedding Imperial, which I thought I remembered liking a bit better than this, but I rated them the same. I had some of that this morning and it was heavier than I remembered — which made me appreciate the delicate nature of this one that much more.

One of these ages, when I have my cupboard under control, I could see Mariage Freres becoming something I continue to buy — as well as the other French teas. I have been to France a couple of times since I got into tea but both times it was during a hiatus in my active tasting. Still, it was kind of nice to see the teas I’ve tried on the menu of bistros and restaurants, and to run into a Dammann Freres shop by accident — though, being on my way to something else (can’t now remember what) I waved at it and walked on.

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drank Rosy Earl Grey by Teas Etc
2006 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 1 of 2023 (no. 659 total).

I’m not going to make any grand pronouncements about sipdown or other goals for 2023 because that’s the surest way to jinx myself. I’ll just say I’m glad to record a sipdown for January and I am hopeful I might have at least one or two more.

I was on vacation (staycation more like it) last week, clearing out the house and running other errands in preparation for the remodel starting at the end of March. I still have a ton to do, but while I was home I made an effort to start each day with a cup of tea or two while waiting for the coffee to brew and I really enjoyed doing that. So I might continue with it for a while.

The result was that it took me a few days (about 5) but I managed to get to the bottom of what I had left of this, which I enjoy but have to be in the mood for. It’s better than a lot of rose teas I have had. I don’t see that I observed this in my initial note, but I am now thinking that the Earl Grey aspects may be what makes the rose good in this one. The citrus cuts the rose, and the result is it doesn’t have any soapy or lotiony aspects to it.

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Sipdown no. 8 of 2022 (no. 658 total).

I have been drinking too much caffeine — the other night I was up until 4 a.m. and I have to start being more careful about caffeine consumption after noon.

This was the lowest rated green tea in my collection so I decided to mark it for a sipdown. It may be the first A&D tea I have sipped down as I usually hoard and cherish them.

I tried this both hot and cold. Cold was a little too vegetal, sort of like asparagus run off — but hot was pretty much as described in the original note. A very good tea, but not the best green I’ve ever had.

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Sipdown no. 7 of 2022 (no. 657 total).

I’m now to the point where the lowest rated black tea in my cupboard is an 84. Not a bad place to be.

I’m on winter break — the company is shut down for a little more than a week, and I have no plans to go anywhere. I’ve been spending a lot of time going through stuff to throw or give away in anticipation of starting our addition and remodel in March.

I was reminded that I still have a ton more tea than any sane person needs, so I thought I’d start making an effort to make a dent in what is left.

There was just enough of this left for a four cup pot, and I enjoyed it — the rich, malty part in the description is spot on and while I’m not 100% sure what is in it, I think there’s likely some yunnan golden tips in there which gives a nice character without any unpleasant bite.


Congrats, I dream of the day all my teas are 80+, or even 70+!

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2000th note!

Sipdown no. 6 of 2022 (no. 656 total).

I had a mega bag of this and used it all to make cold brew, which no. 2 (the only kid still at home) loved as did I.

The only annoying thing about cold brewing this tisane was that the safflower petals were quite clingy and difficult to get off of the pitcher in which the brew took place. Because my pitcher’s shape doesn’t lend it self to cleaning implements, I had to resort to lengthy soaks and attempts to get a brush at hard to reach areas.

This isn’t my favorite Harney tisane, but it’s good. The base for all of them seems to be the same which gives them all a similar flavor, including hibiscus, but if you throw you mind out of focus a bit, you can taste the flavors that give these blends their names.

I’m working my way through a mega bag of strawberry kiwi now. That one doesn’t have petals, fortunately.


….2000 and still so many more to sample! :)


Wow, congrats on 2000 notes!! That is dedication.


Thank you!

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Sipdown no. 5 of 2022 (no. 655 total).

This made a quite popular cold brew in our household. No. 2 disappeared the first pitcher before I had much of a chance.

I think he liked it a bit more than I did. It was a bit heavy on the tart, heavy on the earth, and not as heavy as I would have liked on the actual orange and passion fruit. It’s possible I needed to significantly over scoop and didn’t. Which I’ll keep in mind because I have a lot of these 80 rated fruit teas which, given that my lowest rated teas in my cupboard are now 80, are going to get a lot more attention.

I also discovered that I had a big bag of the Blood Orange fruit tea from Harney. Which I hadn’t added to my cupboard. So getting to decupboard this is a wash, unfortunately.

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drank Yunnan Silver Needle by Andao
2006 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 4 of 2022 (no. 654 total).

It’s still pretty hot here, so I’m still mostly drinking cold tea.

I haven’t had many cold white teas, but this one was mild and refreshing. Not planty, which was my fear — just a little earthy.

I’m using the last little bit of it to give some heft to my next experiment — cold brewing a fruit tisane….

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Sipdown no. 3 of 2022 (no. 653 total).

I’ve recently had a number of green cold teas at various coffee places — mostly local to places I’ve been traveling, so I thought I’d do one at home and also go for a sipdown.

Alas, my home version didn’t live up to expectations. What hadn’t been a particularly vegetal green tea when hot became one when cold. It was a little like drinking cooked vegetable run off, though more pleasant.

Anyone watch Emily in Paris? It didn’t taste like leek soup, but made me think of it.

The last little bit is getting combined with an Andao white tea for another cold brew experiment — but my tin is empty so I’m calling it a sipdown.

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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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