2024 Tasting Notes

drank Acte II by THEODOR
2024 tasting notes

Sipdown no.22 of 2023 (no. 680 total).

This was my latest take it to work tea, and while it lost some of its luster due to age, it was a pleasant flavored green. Perhaps be cause of age, the floral and fruit notes didn’t seem separable to me — the flavors were all of a piece, more fruit than floral and not further separable into distinct fruit flavors as it apparently was when I first tried it. But that didn’t bother me.

I just love the way the French blend teas and it takes a lot to ruin a French tea for me.


So sad Theodor is gone!

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drank Jasmine Dream by Tavalon Tea
2024 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 21 of 2023 (no. 679 total).

I recall that I enjoyed this one a lot when I first tasted it, and my earlier note confirms the reason — the jasmine is not a flavor so much as a floral essence that tastes natural rather than artificial.

I had saved this one for a long time because I didn’t want it to go away, and I am sad to see it go.

But on a positive note, I see that Tavalon is still around. I had figured it would go the way of Teavana, but nope — it’s still on the internet. And they have a jasmine green. It’s pearls, not what this one was, but it is still comforting that a blender that does a good jasmine is still around and has one available.

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drank Yunnan Tippy Mao Feng by Andao
2024 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 20 of 2023 (no. 678 total).

I was truly sorry to see this one go. I’m making a point of not revisiting ratings as I sip down unless something is wildly off, and this isn’t as wildly off as it needs to be to change the rating. But there was something brown sugary and rich in this one that makes it among the top, if not the top, of the thousands of teas that congregated around the 85 rating mark.

I’ll miss this one more than the other 85s ;-).

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Sipdown no. 19 of 2023 (no. 677 total).

I should have reread my earlier notes before making this my take it to work tea because for the last little bit of this, I reverted to my old ways and steeped as I would any other green tea. Because I had totally forgotten this one needed to be treated differently to bring out its best.

My prior notes say that even with the special treatment it is a subtle tea, but I could have treated it better.

Oh well.

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Sipdown no. 18 of 2023 (no. 676 total).

The assamy-ness of this, referenced in the original note, is still there, with perhaps the edge taken off from the age of the tea. It tends a bit toward bitterness even at a steeping time of 3.5 minutes, but after that there’s a hint of sweetness and a quintessential “tea” flavor reminiscent of Lipton but much smoother and deeper.

It wasn’t my favorite of the Simple Leaf teas I bought way back when and it still isn’t, but it was sufficient to fulfill the role of a take it to work tea over the past week.

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Sipdown no. 17 of 2023 (no. 675 total).

I just had one of those little Fancy Feast sized cans that Upton sent out samplers in when I bought this, so it took really no time at all to sip down the last little bit.

In looking back at my original note, I expected smokiness but found none back when this was young. The same was true after it had aged. I don’t have a lot to add to the original note. It was a pleasant breakfast tea.


I have never heard of a Russian Caravan tea with no smoke at all!


Me either! It was weird to expect it and not find it.

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drank Confucius by Mariage Frères
2024 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 16 of 2023 (no. 674 total).

Too smoky for a take it to work tea, so I just did it as a weekend tea.

I think if I were to start tasting now with my evolved preferences, I’d eschew smoky teas for the most part. Not only do I worry about stomach cancer, I just can’t take them anymore except in small doses.

This one isn’t overly smoky. It doesn’t have that tarry thing, and it has a mellow sweetness under it. If I was going to have a smoky tea in the mix, it would be something like this. Just not sure I really need one where my head is at these days.

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Sipdown no. 15 of 2023 (no. 673 total).

Perhaps this mellowed with age, as its stint as this past week’s take it to work tea didn’t leave me with even a hint of Assam throat grab. I had forgotten how tiny the leaves were which was something of a shocker when I opened up the tin after a long time.

An enjoyable breakfast tea that has a fair amount of boldness and depth, even after being significantly past its sell by date.

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Sipdown no. 14 of 2023 (no. 672 total).

For the last few days, this was my take it to work tea, and I noticed something about it I didn’t think I’d noticed before until I read my original note. The freshness — mintiness without the mint. Menthol? Camphor? Who knows.

It made things interesting. I didn’t notice the same thing with the plain coconut one from Premium Steap so it must be something to do with the chocolate.

In any case, I think I did in fact like the plain coconut better, but not by much.

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Sipdown no. 13 of 2023 (no. 671 total).

This is the last of my huge bags of Harney fruit blends, which I have been enjoying for a while now as cold brews. Fruit juice without the calories!

I’d originally rated this one 80 which I think is about right. The Harney fruit blends all seem to use the same base, which makes them all taste a little similar and heavy on the hibiscus, which I have come to learn to appreciate and even enjoy over the years. So you have to really think about teasing out the individual flavors.

The cold version of this isn’t heavily orange. In fact I’m not sure I would have pegged it as orange in a blind taste test. But it was still good, and I’ll say it again — fruit juice without the calories!

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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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