1403 Tasting Notes

Went to the Art Gallery of Ontario today to see the Femmes Noir exhibit. Had this while visiting with a friend in the cafe. Think thick vanilla clotted cream with the barest hint of bergamot. Delicious. I added half and half to it to take it over the top. Highly recommend. (However, the tins are overpriced.)

Awesome exhibit. Catch it if you can. https://nowtoronto.com/culture/art-and-design/mickalene-thomas-ago-femmes-noires/

Mastress Alita

That sounds tasty!


It does!

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Ayup, GREAT vanilla toning down the lavender. And the lavender is toning down the bergamot. And all the flavours are toning down the rather harsh black base. All good.

Mastress Alita

Mmm, that sounds like a winning combo.

Evol Ving Ness

I like this tea because the vanilla is a winner and it overrides all else/brings it all together.

Evol Ving Ness

I just went to their website and I predict an order in my future.


Oh dear. Yes, this sounds amazing. I love cream EGs; I love lavender.

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Well, now that ATR is, sadly, no longer, I’ve been hoarding the last shreds of this favourite.

The trick is, of course, to drink it while it is still holding its magic.

Initially, I was thinking that the magic had dissipated, but just when I was getting used to the idea that this was just ordinary. BOOM! A liquid sugary sweet raisin almond saffron pastry came through in each sip. All that was missing was that dense chewy fresh sweet breadiness that you bite into, leaving a tooth imprint in every bite.

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To borrow from derk, this is an old ass tea. Perhaps three, moving on to four years old. That said, the packet had been unopened and reasonably well stored.

I steeped it with slightly cooled water to attempt to coax all the things.

Malt, a bit of citrus, and a bit of muscatel. A beautiful cup. The apricot is not showing up for me. Perhaps it has left the building altogether.


Unopened usually spells good things for me, despite age :)

Evol Ving Ness

Me too. And now that it is open, the pressure is on. :)

Evol Ving Ness

From Ms. Roswell Strange—
Basically, the use of “Clonal” means that the tea was grown from hybrid clones instead of seeds – it’s essentially controlling the tea breeding/growing to achieve specific qualities. With teas from India in particular, generally what is being bred for is a higher percentage of golden tips since the higher the percentage the higher the grade they can attribute to the tea. A higher grade generally means that they can sell for a significantly higher profit since there’s a perception that higher grade = higher quality. It’s sort of true that generally a higher grade is higher quality but since tea leaf grading ONLY describes the physical appearance of tea you can absolutely have lower grades that taste better than higher grades (plus taste is ultimately subjective anyway).

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Discovered yet another tea shop/cafe while out in the world. This shop sells pre made cups of chai and various homemade snacks and desserts.

I had a large cup of Masala Chai made with Kenyan tea with cardamom and milk. Absolutely fabulous.


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Stopped into DT’s today to try samples and pick up a bit of retiring tea. While there, the person helping me was kind enough to mention that I had FS points that had turned into a a free tea of the day set to expire within the next couple of days. So I had a cup of this—not a tea I would have chosen if I had had a wider range of choices.

That said, I quite enjoyed this cup. First of all, I was served out of the big vat of pre made tea. Thankfully, either the vat had been freshly steeped or the measurements and steeping times were more accurate than when I have had samples of this previously. A nice cup of gentle green, delicately flavoured with green apple. Refreshing. A far more pleasant experience than I had anticipated. Not a false flavour note in any of the sips that took me through to the bottom of the cup.


I’m interested to try this one once I make it to a store.

Evol Ving Ness

It reminded me of the cold bottled Chinese green teas but with a bit of apple. Nice.

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The other day I stumbled upon a wee tea shop/restaurant here that sells healthy plates of homemade food. The noodles and rice are both made with green tea. It seems each plate includes some sort of tea food. I didn’t have a chance to eat there, but I did have a big mug of Hong-Kong style milk tea made with Orange Pekoe and evaporated milk and a bit of brown sugar. It was seriously strong and glorious. Delighted to have made this find. Lovely ambiance. Lovely human being running the place. Great art. Excellent tea. All around, a big win!


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A monk sips morning tea

A monk sips morning tea,
it’s quiet,
the chrysanthemum’s flowering.

- Basho


Note to self—-you do not actually need any more tea.

My real tea obsession began in February 2015.

Not, sadly, when I had been living and working in China, though I very much enjoyed sampling a variety of teas during my travels there as well. No, no, that would have been far too sensible.

I am a reformed coffee drinker. I still enjoy a long double espresso with a good quantity or milk or cream from time to time, but for now, tea is my thing. All day.

*note—this is way out of date, so if we are doing a swap and you are checking to see what I like and dislike, mostly never mind what you find below. One of these days, I will update this. In the meantime, check what I’ve been drinking and use your own judgement. I like all the teas. Well, I am open to trying all the teas.

I tend to drink black, green, or oolong tea in the morning to early afternoon. Rooibos or
Honeybush or herbal in the evening. And perhaps some sort of sleepy-type tea in the wee hours.

This year, I’ve been discovering flavoured teas, so it may look like that is all I drink although that would provide a false impression.

Not a big fan of chocolate or mint in teas, but I will try them and, from time to time, have been pleasantly surprised. Also, usually I dislike a prominent cinnamon flavour, if untempered with other things, in teas. Again, I say usually, because there are exceptions.

Also, please note that haven’t quite gotten into the habit of updating my tea cupboard on Steepster, and it is unlikely that I will do this on any kind of regular basis.

I drink my tea black and unsweetened. If there comes a rare moment that I add something to it, I will mention it.

Finally, while I thank large and successful tea companies for tantalizing and beckoning me to the world of tea, I prefer to support independent ventures with real people, real enthusiasm and commitment, and real dreams.

Currently, I am researching monthly tea subscriptions. Perhaps it will keep me out of tea shops.

And here is Shae’s rating scale— which I am using with permission, of course— which more or less describes the way I have been rating teas. I am going to make more of an effort to stay very close to these parameters now.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.


Mostly, but not always, Toronto, Canada.

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