1978 Tasting Notes

86

Sipdown no. 15 of 2021 (no. 635 total). A sample. Backlogging from last weekend.

Steeped in the Breville this time around. A mild, nutty dark oolong with a silky mouthfeel. I agree with my first note’s assessment that this was less toasty than other dark oolongs, which was a nice change.

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81

I’m inching up on sipping down the 84-rated black teas in my stash, which I guess is some sort of progress.

Except that I’m finding that either my tastes have changed or something. Like my tastes have changed?

So, for example, while this one definitely has that French thing that I love so much, I don’t like it better than some of the other teas I’ve tasted recently in the 83-84 range. So I’m bumping it down a little.

I am also considering up-rating Champagne Rose by Lupicia, and Scottish Breakfast by Upton. Yeah, I’m gonna do that. They both have something very appealing — in the Scottish Breakfast, it’s undoubtedly the Yunnan, and in the Champagne Rose it is likely the fact that it really suggests the flavor (and effervescence, somehow) of champagne.

VariaTEA

I think the bigger your sample pool gets, the more refined you can make the ratings. I definitely have the same experience you do where some teas I thought were good end up being less good the more I try because I find better things.

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73
drank Orange Chocolat by Lupicia
1978 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 14 of 2021 (no. 634 total).

Yeah, not terrible, but not a favorite. I just wrote a note on this recently so I’m going to spare you the repetition. See earlier notes for specifics.

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84
drank Dong Ding by American Tea Room
1978 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 13 of 2021 (no. 633 total). A sample.

I didn’t have enough of this to steep in the Breville western style so I had to add a bit of tieguanyin to it to make up the difference.

My ATR samples are definitely dwindling, and one might say it’s about time since ATR went out of business years ago. But I’ve hung on to the higher rated ones because that is how I am. And it makes me sad to see them go. But all things must come to an end.

Mostly what I’m getting in my Western-style au revoir to this is asparagus, with a hint of nuts. I think the rating is about right.

I’m trying to remember if I have others of this variety in my stash. If not, that’s too bad because it’s a nice change of pace from other green oolongs.

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73
drank Orange Chocolat by Lupicia
1978 tasting notes

Yes, I like the ginger tea better.

Not enough orange in this for the first word in its name to be orange, and while the chocolat is predominant, more sweetness would be good, and more depth. It reminds me of how the bits of flour taste in a flowered cake pan where a chocolate cake has been baked.

Cameron B.

Most of their Chocolat line was fairly disappointing to me. I do enjoy the Framboise version though.

__Morgana__

Good to know.

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86
drank Ginger Tea by Lupicia
1978 tasting notes

This is not a sipdown, but I missed ginger day so decided to start with some this morning.

What intrigues me most is in my first note I said I liked this better than Orange Chocolat, but I rated this lower? Obviously a mistake. I am going to have some Orange Chocolat now to validate.

I do like the soft gingery flavor of this and am bumping its rating a tad.

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89
drank Apricot by Mariage Frères
1978 tasting notes

This is not a sipdown, but I missed apricot day yesterday, unfortunately. I hadn’t read about it on the discussion board until yesterday, when I was done drinking caffeine for the day. Better late than never?

It’s a nice note to end my flavored black teas on for the day and I’m glad it won’t be a sipdown candidate for a while. I want to savor it.

I remain a staunch fan of French flavored black teas. Having just sipped down a German one, I have in my head a very clear picture of the difference between the French ones and all others (including those from the US). I am sure I’ve said this before, but the difference (to me, anyway) is that there is really no delineation between the base and the flavor in French blends. The flavor and the base are blended and inseparable.

Non-French blends, more often than not, have a discernible separation to my palate. The base is the base, the flavor is on top of the base.

It’s, as with everything, a personal preference, but I much prefer not being able to tell where the base ends and the flavor starts.

derk

Between a month of Dammann Frères advent teas, and a few flavored blends from Marriage Frères and Theodor, I agree with your assessment. The French teas create a whole picture, one that celebrates both the tea and the flavor without separating the two. That, and at least with Dammann Frères, mouthfeel is taken highly into consideration.

__Morgana__

I wonder what they do differently to achieve this effect?

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83
drank Anna's by TeaGschwendner
1978 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 12 of 2021 (no. 632 total).

I haven’t had too many teas that billed themselves as just raspberry as opposed to mixed berries or red fruits or whatever, but raspberries are pretty up there for me as far as fruit flavors go. So I remember being really happy to find this.

And I do think it grew on me, though not enough to bump the rating. I probably wouldn’t have sipped it down if not for the fact that it was an easy sipdown as it had just two spoons left.

While I think it is still true that I prefer some of the French berry blends, as I mentioned in my original note on this, I enjoyed it more in the last few cups. That papery thing I mentioned is, I think, the personification of the astringency of the tea base.

I don’t know if I’d get this again, despite a relatively high rating. It’s high rating is mostly because it is in a class by itself and it doesn’t fail to represent raspberry black teas. If I could find another raspberry only tea that I preferred, I wouldn’t get this again and I’d likely bump down the rating. The only reason I’d get more would be to have a single note raspberry tea in my stash.

ashmanra

I thought this was discontinued! If it isn’t then I am very excited!

__Morgana__

It could be. Mine was quite old.

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90
drank Golden Monkey by The Tea Table
1978 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 11 of 2021 (no. 631 total).

Why did I rate this an 83? I’m enjoying it far more than I’d expect of an 83. Bumping the rating.

But it was sitting at 83 so I sipped it down. :-(

Bready, grainy, smooth, a little grapey/pruney, and yeah, chocolatey. Medium-light bodied. Quite lovely. Next to Yunnans, I think Golden Monkeys are at the top of my personal black tea pantheon.

Not sure why I rated it so low originally. I just looked back at my original note and my impression then wasn’t much different than now. Maybe I had just had so many teas I liked better around the time of the original note. Who knows.

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87

Sipdown no. 10 of 2021 (no. 630 total). Sample tin. Backlogging from yesterday.

Continuing with the sipping down of samples project, this had just enough left for a western steep in the Breville.

Mostly what I got this time, which I didn’t in my multi-steep extravaganza recorded in the initial note, was nuttiness. Almondy/chestnuty nuttiness. Which is interesting because in my original note I had it pegged as pecan. I suppose there was a bit of that, too, as I think about it.

I enjoy tasting teas I’ve written about a while back and then comparing what I thought with what I wrote. Nuttiness ftw with this one.

It was a nice afternoon drink. I’m not going to second guess myself but I’m not sure I would have rated it quite so high this time. Then again, I didn’t take it through multiple steeps and part of my oolong ratings are based on how many steeps they’ll support and how interestingly they change from steep to steep.

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Bio

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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