920 Tasting Notes

80

Todd and I had this tea with our dinner yesterday. I got out my fancy hand-painted Japanese teaware that has a pattern of a sunset over trees and a shoreline, with a lazy swan gliding in the water. The cups were gifted to me from a coworker, and I was so happy I found the matching teapot on EBay!

I really like this one! Yesterday I only steeped for 2 minutes and found I got less of the traditional genmaicha flavor, and more of a lightly sweet mango and coconut flavor. I pushed the steep for my cup tonight to 3 minutes, and now I’m tasting the toasty flavor of the roasted rice as the most dominant note, with a sweet grassiness in the background, a subtle mango that comes forward late in the sip against the top and back of my mouth, and just a bit of a creamy/silky element to the mouthfeel from the coconut. Both were enjoyable cups, but I think I like it with the slightly longer steep since I like the strong genmai note.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mango, Oats, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Toasted Rice, Toasty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
derk

omg, I had mango sticky rice for dessert the other day and finished it for breakfast. It is the best dessert ever! I wouldn’t want to try this tea in anticipation of disappointment but every time I see a note for it, I wonder…

derk

Hi Todd :)

Todd

Hi derk! I think you might like this tea…

ashmanra

Holy cow, I would be so excited to find the matching pot! That is awesome.

Lexie Aleah

That sounds like a beautiful teaware set!

Lexie Aleah

Wow! It’s so pretty and the color scheme reminds me of the sunset in Lion King. Also, your cat is so cute!

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70

My friend Todd has been visiting, so I haven’t had a chance yet to review a few new teas we had over the weekend.

This tea I took down to a small trail/park along Rock Creek with my shiboridashi. I received it in a cupboard destash from Meowster back in the day (thank you!) There was just enough leaf to fill it and we had a lazy afternoon session in the (blistering) heat listening to the birds and the creek. The tea and companionship was nice; the extremely hot weather, not so much!

There was about 4.5g for the 100ml shiboridashi. None of the steeps were timed and poured when it felt sufficient enough. The water thermos I brought got us through seven infusions.

The first steep smelt very malty with a sweeter orange marmalade undertone. The tea tasted malty, fruity (pithy orange), and floral (orange blossom). The second infusion was the only one that stood out to me as a bit bitter/tannic, with less fruity and floral notes and a stronger impression of wheat, rye, and malt. The third and fourth infusions brought forth a stronger florality, this time leaning subtly rosy. The orange reappeared in the flavor, along with that slight rosy flavor, with the malt more of an undertone. The remaining steeps remained more on the malty/bready side, though very smooth now. There were subtle spice notes, notably a touch of cinnamon and, in the very last steep, licorice.

Not a particularly complex darjeeling, but it is also getting on in age at this point. I didn’t get any of the darj muscat from this brew, but still found it faired well enough for an afternoon tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Licorice, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Rose, Rye, Smooth, Spices, Tannic, Wheat

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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92

Another of the “has coconut” teas I put over in my Sipdown Corner. Brewed a cheeky warm cup to sip on before I grab iced tea to take to work.

I am not well versed in mate, but one of the few I really like is a Vanilla Macademia Nut one from Tea Chai Te in Portland. The dry leaf had a strong nutty aroma (reminded me of pistachio) and the brewed tea smells spot on for the Tea Chai Te Vanilla Macademia Nut Mate. A strong pistachio sort of nuttiness and a roasted aroma akin to the roastiness of coffee.

It’s very tasty! The actual taste of green mate is much stronger in the Tea Chai Te blend, and those notes are more subdued here with more of the roasted mate coming through, so I like this one a bit better. There’s a strong nuttiness to the cup, with a roasted coffee vibe, and a slight creamer flavor from the sweetness/creaminess of the coconut. I’m picking up a bit of the smoky note of the mate but it blends well here, and am not tasting the typical dry grass/hay flavor.

A very nice morning cuppa!

Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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75

Happy Father’s Day! Today the prompt is to “drink a tea that reminds you of your father.” Just like during the Mother’s Day prompt, I’m the only tea-drinker in my family so I don’t simply have a tea they favor to drink, and have to think a little outside the box.

My Dad’s morning drink of choice is Tang… yes, that extremely fake tangerine-flavored powder you dissolve in water. I think he’s been drinking it since he was 16, and he still attests that “if it’s good enough for astronauts, it’s good enough for me!” I used to have some strongly tangerine-flavored teas (I remember a green one in the past) but since I’ve been going gangbusters on sipping down and strict about not reordering anything, I couldn’t find any in my current stash. But I did find this pu’erh stuffed in a tangerine, which I thought would be a good choice, both for the “Tang” inspiration tangerine flavor as well as the earthy notes of the pu’erh, since my Dad is a very “down to earth” sort of guy.

I actually got this tea for free from a barista working at Snake River Tea one year during my yearly trip there during a local anime convention; my friend and I ordered tea there every day of the convention, and on the last day I made a $100+ loose leaf order, and he just tossed this shrinkwrapped puerh-stuffed tangerine into my bag. It was easy for me to find the same one on Yunnan Sourcing, so if I like it, at least I know where to get it… because Snake River Tea closed down during COVID, for good. I was pretty upset about that…

I know I’ve tried a “tangerine stuffed pu’erh” before and I had a WICKED time breaking it out of the shell… the inconvience sort of offset the enjoyment I had from the tea. This one was SUPER easy though; the top was scored off, and after pouring out the tea, the rest of the shell was easily crushable to get little eggshell pieces of it distributed throughout the tea. I brewed this cup western with about 3.5g of the leaf and the tangerine “lid,” for 5 minutes in 205F water.

The brewed tea is thick and dark, with a sort of medicinal/peppery citrus scent. The cup is quite nice! The base pu’erh is strongly earthy but doesn’t taste like dirt in a cup, which is my typical experience with pu’erh. There is a hint of smoke, and a noticable peppery taste. The tangerine itself is not overpowering, but leaves a slight citrusy note in the cup which definitely makes the flavor more pleasing for someone like me, who typically avoids pu’erh. I also loved how easy it was to open and break down compared to the “Xinhui Green Mandarin Orange Ripened Pu-erh” by TeaVivre that I’ve tried in the past.

A satisfying cup… which I’m going to sip on while I call my dad.

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Medicinal, Pepper, Smoke, Smooth, Tangerine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
tea-sipper

ha, love the Tang inspired choice here.

derk

Sorry to hear your Idaho tea shop went out of business but happy you enjoyed another puer!

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80

French… Sunday! Not my choice for the Father’s Day prompt (I’ll get to that later) but my last French tea sampler from Dustin (thank you!) I know it was slow-going drinking them only once a week (took six months!) but at least they didn’t just sit in my collection for years like many a swap sample/tea gift has done. So I’m pretty happy about that!

Used about 2.75g of leaf in 350ml of 205F water. Steeped for 3(ish?) minutes. I am really tired this morning and such a zombie ambling around the kitchen I didn’t pay as close attention to usual while weighing and steeping. Both the dry leaf and brewed cup have a strong peach aroma that is reminding me of the aroma of Bird & Blend’s “Peach Cobbler” tea.

This tastes like B&B’s “Peach Cobbler” to me, too, but looking back over that note, I did have a few astrigency issues on some of the cups, and this is proving to be very smooth. But it has that same deeply bready and slight honeyed sweetness from the base, with a very juicy/fresh peach flavor rather than that candied flavor I taste in a lot of teas. Simple but very satisfying!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Peach, Spices, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
tea-sipper

I almost brewed up Peach Cobbler today. And yay for timely sample sipdowns.

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79
drank Coconut Isle by 52teas
920 tasting notes

Another coconut tea I’m working on. I cold brewed this one and have grabbed an icy cold water bottle of this tea from the fridge.

I’m not a big fan of gunpowder green tea, but tend to tolerate it okay in blends since the flavorings tame some of the inherent smokiness that I don’t like. I’m not tasting the smokiness here; I’m getting a very fresh grassy and slightly earthy base, with a strong coconut flavor at the top of the sip that is followed by a sort of combined mango/melon note. Highly refreshing and thirst-quenching!

Flavors: Coconut, Fruity, Grass, Mango, Melon, Tropical, Wet Earth

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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85

This is another of the coconut teas that has made its way over to my Sipdown Station™ so I will drink it while the coconut is still good. I made this cup late last night, after the sun had gone down and the house finally started cooling off, but was too tired to log it, so hopefully my (poor) memory doesn’t fail me.

I used 5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped “teabag left to soak in the cup” style. This had such a rich and sweet coconut flavor! Aaah, why does coconut go bad so fast? I tend to avoid it as an ingredient now because of that, but when it is still good, I just really dig coconut-flavored teas, and this one was no exception. There was a sweet creaminess to the tea as well. At first I was getting that “peppery” flavor note from the honeybush base, but as the tea kept sitting and steeping in my cup, by the time I was about halfway in that note had mellowed out and instead it was tasting more like a slightly nutty honey and oats flavor. It wasn’t quite a graham flavor, but I could still see how that flavor note was a bit like a pie crust.

Really liked this one and looking forward to the next few cups!

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Honey, Nutty, Oats, Pastries, Pepper, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
tea-sipper

Yep, coconut so so good but then so so bad.

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82

French… Saturday?! I only have two of these samplers from Dustin left (thank you!) so I’m trying to finish them off.

I’ve brewed a warm cuppa to sip on this morning while I’m working on house chores (my best friend Todd is coming to visit next weekend, the first time I’ll have seen him in person since 2019!). Soon enough I’ll be right back to my bottles of coldbrew, but I find first thing in the morning or late in the evening after the sun has gone down I feel more amenable towards warm tea.

The dry leaf of this smells pleasantly of vanilla, but something about it is a bit fudgy in aroma, as well. 2.4g to 350ml of 205F water, steeped 3 minutes. My steeped cup is a little oily on top (not something that really bothers me, but I know it gets to others), but it smells richly of vanilla. I finished off a 50g bag of a vanilla tea recently (Moon Over Madagascar from TeaSource) and this aroma is coming off more strongly than that tea. Not sure if that is a matter of the vanilla flavoring used, or the age of the tea, though.

Mmm. Nice. The base is slightly bready with a smidge of raisin, with a rich vanilla flavoring that leaves a very silky mouthfeel. Something about the sweet vanilla mixed with this base is creating a sort of carmelly flavor note that I’m really digging.

A perfectly pleasant vanilla black!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Cream, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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74
drank SAÏGON by THE O DOR
920 tasting notes

French Friday! Trying to finish off these samples this month since I’m so close to the end… I prepped this one last night as a cold brew, and strained and filled up my water bottle during my lunch break.

The tea had a sort of odd grapey scent in the dry leaf, and I’ve noticed a lot of these THEODOR samples that have “lotus flavoring” either smell or taste like grapes to me. In the flavor of this one, I do get a bit of that sweet grape flavor coming out, but mostly I taste a sort of floral-forward pineapple flavor. I’m not tasting the lemon or bergamot oils at all.

It’s nicely refreshing, it isn’t a bright and juicy sort of pineapple but a sweetly floral pineapple, and since I like pineapple and florals, I find it quite pleasant. It’s a tropical flavor with a sort of a rose and grape candy sweetness undertone. A pleasant enough cold brew.

Flavors: Candy, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Pineapple, Rose, Sweet, Tropical

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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88
drank SANS COMPLEXE by THE O DOR
920 tasting notes

French Friday! This sampler courtesy of Dustin, thank you! (Only three more to go!)

I haven’t been drinking much hot tea lately on account of the weather here being solidly in the 90s for weeks now, but I also have felt more more tired lately, I believe due to not having my typical warm cuppa of black or green tea in the morning and only drinking cold brews (which extract much less caffeine, or happen to be herbals). So this morning I prepared this warm to sip before work, but may throw any leftovers in the fridge to turn to a chilled brew to drink later.

The dry leaf aroma really reminded me of a buttery lemon cookie! Brewed 2.5g to 350ml 205F water for three minutes. I’m still getting that aroma from the steeped cup, though a lemon cream smell is most dominant.

Mmm, the steeped tea definitely has a biscuity taste to it, with a sweet lemon that fills out over the tongue mid to late sip. The lemon tastes creamy, but also has a hint of tang that gives it just enough sharpness to not taste artificial. I’m really digging this lemon cookie vibe! Probably one of my favs thus far.

Thanks Dustin!

Flavors: Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Graham Cracker, Lemon, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
ashmanra

Wishlisted!

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Profile

Bio

Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Dessert/chocolate/vanilla/caramel/cream/toffee/maple
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Vegetal/grassy
-Floral/lavender/rose
-Spices/chais
-Fruity
-Tropical/pineapple/coconut
-Bergamot (in moderation)
-Roasted/nutty
-Tart/tangy/hibiscus/rosehip

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

Inventory:

My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited outbound gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.

Location

Idaho, United States

Website

https://teatimetuesdayreviews...

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