1403 Tasting Notes


I seem to be barreling through this at quite a pace.

Drinking it plain, no additions. Now that I have moved through the packet somewhat, I am able to give the leaf a good shake before dipping my spoon in. This improves the quality of my cups, of course.

The chocolate moves more towards creamy milk chocolate. The nuttiness comes through faintly at the tail end of the sip. The true star is the rich malty Keemun base that carries it all along. Beautiful.

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Stonefruit. Malt. Smoke.

Very much enjoying this with a streaming piano concert through the Royal Conservatory. Music is such a balm. Tea too, of course.

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The city is in near lockdown again with hospitals filling at amazing rates.

I live very close to a major street that cuts through the city and there is silence. The three construction sites are quiet. Even some of the usually troublesome neighbours are silent because they are away.

Grateful for the quiet, but it is so odd. Eerie even.

Approached my advent calendar for something new today. A bit late, but I celebrate by the Julian calendar anyway, so technically, I am still in my Christmas season.

More info here if you are bewildered about that: https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/whats-the-story-orthodox-christmas

About this tea now.

Mild, black, slightly sweet. The maple doesn’t come across as maple to me, just slightly sweetens the cup. Grainy, bready. Malty. Delicious and comforting.

I probably chose this because I had buckwheat stuffed cabbage rolls for lunch and there was an echo of buckwheat in my brain.

I need more of this in my life. Both this tea and the cabbage rolls.

And it’s a sipdown!

Sipdown 3 of 2022.


Agreed, it’s eerie when the traffic slows down. I seem to hear more ambulances than usual, whether or not that’s really the case.

Evol Ving Ness

Also, the schools have been closed, so the activity of the parents, kids,schoolbuses, and bustle of the comings and the goings has been muted.

Evol Ving Ness

I hear sirens of police, ambulances, firefighters piercing the quiet from time to time. Otherwise, it has been still. I have a fan on as white noise for the neighbours, but beyond that it feels like a permanent Sunday. I could get used to this.

Evol Ving Ness

Spoke too soon. The construction, the neighbours, the wakings, all of it is back.


Mmm, cabbage rolls (and borscht).

Happy belated Orthodox Christmas!

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks! (Orthodox in communion with Rome, ie. Catholic Byzantine rite)

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drank Eggnog Chai by 52teas
1403 tasting notes

Ok, this is old, but I drank it anyway and it was plenty delicious.

Mostly, the remaining bits at the bottom of the packet were spices, so I added a spoon of my favourite Keemun mixer, Capital Tea Ltd’s Keemun Classic. Added a glug of milk and Bob’s your uncle.

And it’s a sipdown!

Sipdown 2 of 2022.


OH I had this a few days ago too… I was wondering if it had marshmallow root in it (that is the only thing a possible tasting note would have contained, if I had written a tasting note…)


I do not believe that this one has marshmallow root. Unfortunately, my recipe for this one was lost when my computer died a few years ago. :(


alright, thanks. Have to remove it from my list of marshmallow root teas…

Evol Ving Ness

No, this one did not have marshmallow root in it. What it did have was a sort of marvellous vanilla eggnoggy concoction that Anne had used in a couple of green blends as well that were stellar.

Anne, I hope either the recipe or the inspiration resurfaces.

Another one I’ve been thinking about that is missing in the Christmas lineup is Peppermints marshmallows melting in hot chocolate. Ahem.

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By chance came across this and was quite delighted, especially after having been recently reminded of coconut oolong in Kittena’s post.

Sadly, my packet had become victim to age. The coconut had begun to turn by scent alone, so I wasn’t going to risk steeping it. I remember having enjoyed this. Too bad. Happens, right?

A reminder to drink your coconut teas.

Sipdown of sorts because I tossed it.

And it’s a sipdown!


Thanks for the reminder!

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Having this with milk. I used two spoons of leaf.

Richly layered chocolate nuttiness. The base comes through beautifully.

I much prefer this to H & S’s Florence that I drank the other day, though to be fair, I used only one and a half spoons there, so it is not a fair comparison.

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One fine cup of tea.

Robust but not overly so, malty, hints of fruit, caramel.

Added milk today because I have some at hand.

Reliable and delicious way to start the day.

Whenever I have an audience with the Queen, I always think of ashmanra and those that the Queen has sustained and comforted in challenging times and I am grateful that the fates, for the most part, have been kind.

I hope everyone is well today. <3


hmmm, your note inspires me to steep this up today..

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I think I’ve decided that I prefer this without additions. Milk seems to perk up the star anise.

The flavours of the blend cohere better and more smoothly when the tea is drunk black.

I hope I remember this next time.


I also decided it was best without milk. Still, it’s an ever-changing tea with all those ingredients!

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, there’s that! I noticed that without milk, the chestnut is prominent while milk seems to override it completely.

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Having this with milk today because I have milk handy.

So many flavours melded together here. The orange dominates the barest whisper of maple.

The star anise is by turns distracting, subtle, and appropriate in a spice cookie kind of way.

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drank Florence by Harney & Sons
1403 tasting notes

I had some whole milk handy, so I steeped some of this up.

Good, but not great. It feels thin, somehow, like a lacklustre hot chocolate, even though I used a spoon and a half of leaf. Maybe two spoons next time.

One of these days, it would be good do a side by side taste test to compare this tea and DF’s Mon Petit Praline.

In other news, I booked my booster shot. Hope it and its aftermath go easily enough.


The booster had me down for 24 hours. I’m hoping it’ll not be as severe for you! Best wishes! :)


I love Florence, but the hazelnut flavor is a little nondescript. I can taste the nuttiness but I wouldn’t necessarily call it hazelnut. If you served it to a person who didn’t know what it was, I don’t think they would taste any hazelnut. Still a great tea in my opinion, though.

I got my third vaccine shot a few days ago and it has started to hurt inside my left armpit (the injection was in my left arm). I didn’t experience this with the two first shots but it’s apparently completely normal.


Andreastt – my daughter and I both swelled in the armpit with the booster! It didn’t happen with the first two shots.


Evol: Hope it goes really well for you! Eat well before you get it and drink a lot of water after so you stay hydrated in case it makes you feel bad!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you!

wow, I hadn’t heard of the armpit swelling before. I appreciate knowing about it now so that I don’t panic.

We’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted.

Totally agree about the nondescript nature of the hazelnut here. I can sometimes catch a vague nuttiness on a good day.


I didn’t have any armpit swelling, but the booster was the worst of the three for me. Mine was mostly body aches and fatigue. Hopefully yours won’t be too bad!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Shae. I had a lot of that with my first one. Hopefully, it didn’t last long.


Lymph node swelling in armpit totally normal. I haven’t known anybody to feel down for more than a day after the booster.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, derk. That’s reassuring.

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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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