Sipdown no. 3 of August 2019 (no. 89 of 2019 total, no. 577 grand total). A sample.

I haven’t done a proper tasting in a while. Too hot, too stressed, too busy on the weekends.

I had rinsed this one weeks ago and never got to it — I let the leaves dry out and started over today with a rinse, then a 15 minute wait.

Then: gaiwan, boiling 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60

The description says this sample is a 2007 vintage.

I was a bit disappointed, but I don’t think it is the tea’s fault. I have a feeling my water may have been stale — I just used what had been sitting in the kettle.

The tea had a very dark, clear amber liquor which persisted through 10 steeps. It did not give off the usual strong buttery aroma of white chocolate. Instead, though that was present it was somewhat faint.

Instead I got something spicy. I identified it as cinnamon, but then I wondered whether that was because I’d had some Prince Vladimir before. I felt vindicated when I read that others also got cinnamon. I also identified a sort of mustiness which I attributed to my mistreatment of the tea and the possibility of not great water, like maybe I had boiled some algae, but then I read that others got that as well.

I also found espresso and toffee notes. But I missed the white chocolate, buttery, coco-ness I have found in other shengs.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Espresso, Musty, Toffee, White Chocolate

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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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