drank Ginseng Oolong by Teas Etc
1996 tasting notes

When I first opened this, I was terrified! I thought something had gone wildly wrong between the time I bought this and the time I opened it, years later.

What a relief to see the picture on this page and read other notes that talk about the pellets!

I am doing the compulsory short steeps in the gaiwan starting at 15 seconds.

I know of ginseng only as an herbal supplement that is supposed to do various things for you and I certainly couldn’t tell you what it tastes like. But this tea has the following attributes:

Dry smell: wood
Steeped smell: wood and rocks
Flavor: wood and rocks

I taste no licorice, by the way. Though the fresh aftertaste is reminiscent of the effect in the mouth after chewing anise seeds.

The color is a light amber.

I’m glad I tried it. It’s tasty enough — a little toasty in with the wood and rocks. I might even keep some around just for the entertainment value of spooking myself every now and then with the pellets. (Why are they pellets, anyway?)

But the flavor doesn’t bowl me over.

Flavors: Toasty, Wet Rocks, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C

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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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