4208 Tasting Notes


Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – May 2024 Tea #2 – Your tea closest to sipdown

This one was closest to a sipdown… because I just sipped it down. :D What looks like a small amount of leaves sure unravels A LOT.  This was an okay tea, but I expected more aromatic, if it’s in the name.  And the flavor really wasn’t very strong for the infuser basket being half full of leaves.  I have liked other snails more than this one.  But this certainly has the characteristics and flavor of keemun…. but very very light keemun. 
2024 sipdowns: 38

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drank Raspberry Black by Maya Tea
4208 tasting notes

Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – May 2024 Tea #1 – Your tea farthest from sipdown

With eight ounces that I bought last year, I’m pretty sure this is the tea I have the most of. It better retain its flavor!  It will take me a minute to drink it all!  I don’t think I even have two ounces of 96% of the teas I have in stock — they are mostly hesitant sipdowns at this point.  It is certainly one of my favorite raspberry teas.  However, the black tea brewed a little light for my liking today… Needless to say, this is definitely not an actual sipdown….  Hope all the mothers out there had a fantastic day on their day!

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I’m not sure if I have ever had huckleberry anything, but this tea is actually quite fruitful and flavorful.  It’s a Ceylon but I think it pairs well with this fruit flavoring.  It most reminds me of black currant?  I liked it using two teabags for a full mug, which is telling me is 4 grams total.  But it’s a perfect cup this way, with a quick steep time the first steep, so as not to let the Ceylon take over the mug and showcase the fruit. But then I overbrewed the second steep, but I was fine with the strength. This tea is better than I expected.  Great with blueberry pancakes.
I haven’t written a tasting note in a while, but this is the perfect tea to restart with.  It’s in Grandma’s tea drawer, as it was gifted to her from my aunt after her travels in Montana last summer, road trippin.  And coincidentally, my aunt is back visiting Montana now! (But only for a week this time.) It’s been a tough couple of weeks.  I came up to Grandma’s again intending to help her for a couple months, and a few days after arriving, she decided it was time to pass on.  Possibly she was waiting for a few in her family to be with her.  It was great to be here to share two last meals with her, in hindsight.   She hadn’t been eating much, but her last meal was her very favorites: tomato soup, ice cream, and coffee.  She had been doing spectacular for her age, but these last couple of years have not been great for her. I partially blame the Covid she had a couple years ago.  She was a strong lady.  Thanks for everything, Grandma!


I’m so sorry for your loss, but glad to hear you got a bit of quality time. <3


I’m glad you had a little time together, but the goodbye part is so hard. Love to you and your family.


Oh, tea-sipper, I am so sorry for your loss! What a wonderful thing that she had her favorite foods and some favorite people around for those last days. Hugs from afar, and prayers for you and your family.


Thanks so much Courtney, gmathis and ashmanra.

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drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
4208 tasting notes

Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – April 2024 Tea #6 – April 22 – Earth Day 

Had this yesterday!  I only forgot about an Earth day tea until after I steeped up some tea for the day.  However, I’d like to count this anyway, as I think green teas make me feel most connected to the earth.  Both in how fresh they taste, and in their appearance.  This one especially — it looks like the finest of mowed grass clippings.   Yum.


It sounds like a great Earth Day tea to me!

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drank Creme Earl Grey by Element Tea
4208 tasting notes

Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – April 2024 Tea #5 – A tea with a special meaning to you 

I tend to only drink this one if I feel the need to alleviate extra, more than usual anxiety.  So I guess it’s a specially helpful tea?  Still one of my very favorites.  Still surprised it is so good, every time I have it, as one of my oldest teas.  Luckily, not a sipdown yet.  I am still searching for an Earl that can match it… don’t believe it’s possible.   


Sounds like a soothing cup!

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Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – April 2024 Tea #4 – A pantry staple  

This must be the coconut tea with the most longevity!  Amazing flavor and I THINK this is seven years old?  So this is definitely a coconut staple for me. As such a simple blend, the coconut really needs to be the star.  Take note of this blend, green rooibos or coconut fans.  Luckily a few more cups left and I think they will taste just fine.  Will be restocking!

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Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge – April 2024 Tea #3 – A tea that reminds you of a garden  

WOW, no dashboard stall for this weekend?  It has been a while since a weekend has been free of that!  This was buried in the ‘soon’ pile of teas, for around Easter, then thought it was perfect for this prompt.  Too on the nose?  Why not.  What ISN’T “a rabbit’s garden”? They eat everything, bark too. The flowers don’t have a chance. These poor old peas and corn kernels here.  Still mostly a flavor of peach.   And old green tea….  next time, a sipdown.


Perfect tea for the prompt!

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A note on the overall mini-tuocha variety pack experience!  At this point, all of these tuochas in this Mandala sampler are probably ten years old now and they are aging WELL!   I think I have tried them all.  Most of them are VERY delicious.  The lowest rated is 83 and another is the rice flavored — I don’t think that type ages well.  Most of the others are in the 93-95 range.   I think I fully trust in Mandala’s options of mini tuochas and that whomever is curating them shares the same taste in shou that I do.  We are on the same shou wavelength!  The fun thing is, if I ordered the Mandala sampler today, it would be mostly different tuochas!  But I know they would be great.
What I found in the sampler:
Temple Stairs 2014 mini tuocha – 95
Drawing of Sunflower wrapper – 94
Drawing of Brown circle with clouds wrapper – 93
2005 Langhe ripe – 93
Gold ingot mini ripe puerh – 87
Lao cang ripe mini – 83
Sticky rice – 74
So I will set the rating for this entire sampler at 93! Very thrilled I was able to try this. VERY happy with most of these tuochas!

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So this might be the last tuocha from the OLD Mandala sampler that I need to write a note for!  The ones I can identify anyway.  I doubled up on this tuocha, two for one mug, as the last time I had one in a mug it was too light for me and a little one note, bland flavored.  Two is PERFECT.  A really great level of richness, like coffee.  No negative qualities. The first steep WAS a little bland and light, but probably because the tuochas were crammed in the infuser side by side on that first steep.  But the second, third, and fourth steep were amazing!  So delicious.  It seems I lost a note of “berries” though in only having one tuocha, reading my original note for this.  SO maybe I should keep using one tuocha to notice the berry note.   But I will miss that depth of flavor! The rating for two tuochas would be higher than the 83 I originally gave this, but I think it is only fair to give a rating for one tuocha.  I have really been enjoying shou all winter, now into Spring.  
Steep #1  // 2 tuochas for full mug // rinse // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 //  10 minutes after boiling // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 12 min

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This is from Cameron B!  Thanks very much!  I wasn’t expecting much with this tea, as I knew this was probably full of rosehips and strawberry teas are usually a let down.  The hardest flavor to get right, I think, is authentic strawberry.  Surprisingly, both steeps at least had a bit of strawberry candy flavor.  Surprising because it looked like half the blend was rose hips!  So really it tasted like strawberry flavored rosehips, as I couldn’t really taste any white tea.  So this was better than I expected?  But the bar was very very low here. 
Steep #1   // 2 teaspoons for a full mug // 20 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 //  20 minutes after boiling // 3 min

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Hi! I love tea and trying new ones – it adds a bit of variety to my day! Books, music, TV & movies are my thing… and tea, of course.

Some of my favorite tea shops (still operating):
Dammann Freres

Favorite tea shops (RIP):

My icon photo is Richard Mayhew from the graphic novel ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman, Mike Carey & Glenn Fabry.

Most of the teas listed in my cupboard are actually sample sizes. I don’t really have 2,000 ounces of tea around here! Many of my teas have only one teaspoon left… maybe two. But I like keeping them in my cupboard list for reference to what I could be sipping. Usually, I write tasting notes once for each tea. I’m still drinking them, just not writing tasting notes each time!

I’m always in search of: Hattialli, Qu Hao black, Jin Jun Mei, teas using marshmallow root.

My dislikes: hibiscus, ginger (unless in chai), turmeric, bee pollen, charcoal type flavors

My ratings:
95-100 – Super awesome deliciousness favorites – cupboard essential
80-95 – Also pretty delicious
65-80 – Pretty good
50-65 – Okay
1-50 – Probably won’t want to sip it again

I’m planning on being a Steepsterer as long as there IS a Steepster, so if you’re not hearing from me, that means something happened to my health… if you know what I mean. (Or as evidenced by the great computer hiatus of 2019, something happened to my computer… I have a dumb phone so can’t access internet on that. As of 12/20/21 my wifi might start getting unreliable.)

Happy sipping!



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