1993 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 29 of 2021 (no. 649 total).
This one strikes me as a true “84.” It’s a good, solid first flush darjeeling. Nice and grapey without the bloaty quality I sometimes get with first flush darjeelings. On the smooth side, not a lot of wood and stonefruit, but some.
And with that, I am down to only 15 cupboard pages in my Steepster cupboard. Huzzah!
Sipdown no. 28 of 2021 (no. 648 total).
Another “84” that I’ve decided to demote. I just think I overinflated my rating the first time.
As smoky teas go, it’s about the right degree of smoke for me. Like Puer, I think I tried too hard to really love smoky teas and while I can appreciate them once in a while, too much smoke and ash reminds me of why I gave up smoking more than 20 years ago.
A small amount of smoke is fine, but I think that maybe a nice keemun without the lapsang would be plenty for me to have that hint without being hit over the head by it.
I do have one lapsang I quite like, though I could never drink it every day. I’m not sure I would need this in addition, but I’m not saying I’d never buy it again. I’m really, truly, on the fence.
Sipdown no. 27 of 2021 (no. 647 total).
Big news: we got a puppy!
I haven’t been drinking as much tea as usual because two weekends ago, we did a whirlwind road trip down to Southern California to pick up Reggie, our baby Basenji. Down on Saturday (one cup of tea in the morning) and back on Sunday (no cups of tea). Baby is very fun, and very smart — he’s already learned “sit” and is learning “down” — and potty training is going pretty well. After he goes potty outside, he comes over like “bruh, where’s my treat?” which is exactly the point.
Last weekend I had an early haircut appointment on Saturday — following strict covid protocols — so also didn’t get any real tea drinking in because I wasn’t back until the afternoon.
I did drink a bit of tea on Sunday, which enabled me to get into sipdown range with this for today.
I have to say, I’m conflicted about this. I mostly stand by my original note, it’s just that my current thinking would put something described in my original note as lower than an 84. So I’m bumping it down.
As I mentioned, it suggests cookie, but it’s not very sweet, which makes it not quite as cookie-ish as I’d expect. Yes, some cookies are sweeter than others, but most of them are pretty sweet or they wouldn’t be cookies. AmIright?
What kind of cookie? Slightly almondy, slightly shortbready, I guess. Not bad for the right mood. I guess I’ve just become more of a hardass on my grading scale.
Sipdown no. 26 of 2021 (no. 646 total).
Of all the teas I have clustered around the 83/84 mark, this is the most deserving. I’m bumping it.
It’s a great example of a very drinkable every day Earl Grey. Smooth, not too much bergamot (but now I’m convinced, the right amount), aromatic and well-weighted base that gives it a medium body.
While I will always favor Earl Greys with a Yunnan base because of the depth Yunnan delivers, this is one I could see having in my cupboard long term for those days when I want an Earl Grey, but something a bit lighter. I think I either didn’t notice or had spaced that his blend also has white tea in it, which may be one of the reasons it has a smoother flavor than some others.
Sipdown no. 25 of 2021 (no. 645 total).
Someone at work gave me a box of these teabags because I was talking about my difficulties sleeping. I see that I didn’t add them to my cupboard, but nevertheless this is a sipdown.
As night time teas go, this rather pleasant. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but that’s part of why it’s pleasant. Who wants to be thinking about flavors, good or bad, if you’re trying to go to sleep?
I notice the licorice, but it isn’t strong, which is fortunate because I don’t love strongly licorice tisanes. None of the flavors I would have though would make me dislike this — valerian, tulsi, even chamomile if not well done — are individually discernible, or even discernible at all, really, which is also good. I have no idea what oat flower tastes or smells like, but I am guessing the milder grainy flavor comes from that, and I don’t notice the lavender continually, but it comes through some of the time.
Did it help me sleep? Probably didn’t make much of a dent as my sleep problems are pretty well established by now, but I can’t discount it having a small effect. I have also been trying to cut down caffeine, exercise regularly, not eat too late, meditate, etc. so with all of those causes, who can say what is causing any effects — I am finding it easier to fall asleep, but I still wake up multiple times during the night.
I probably wouldn’t drink this just for fun. It’s better than a purely medicinal drink, but something about the psychology of the name would make me view it as a sleep aid.
At some point, I might get more. Really depends on the state of the cupboard and the fact that I have so many other non-caffeinated options at the moment that I need to pare back.
Flavors: Grain, Lavender, Licorice
Sipdown no. 23 of 2021 (no. 643 total). A sample.
First time trying to make a little nest in the Breville. Unclear how successful an effort it was — the tea seems a little thin, but then again not all that different from how I described it in the initial note. So maybe it was an OK effort?
I have an awful lot of pu er to sip down, including a couple of never-before-tasted-single-serving-samples I really should steep in the gaiwan to do them justice. But since multiple steeps isn’t really something I consider fun, I’m sort of dreading these.
On the bright side, I think there are only a couple that fit into that category, as well as a brick that I had bad luck with on an initial tasting and need to retry.
After having this last weekend and this weekend, I’ve concluded it’s another one of the 84 pack that I was overly generous in rating.
It’s certainly not a bad tea, but it’s tasting more like a generic spice tea than orange cookie to me now. Yes, there’s a kind of pastry note like I said in my original note, so to that extent it’s got the cookie covered. But the orange should be more prominent if it’s going to call itself orange cookie, in my opinion.
Mostly I taste pepper, cloves, and some coriander now — with that pastry note — but the orange isn’t really standing up to the other flavors.
Perhaps it’s age, but given how many teas I had sitting at an 84 rating, I think it was more likely that I was an easier grader back in the day. Bumping it down.
Sipdown no. 22 of 2021 (no. 642 total). A sample. Backlogging from yesterday.
This was a painful sipdown, as this tea was a delight. Such a smooth, drinkable tea. While it doesn’t have the depth of some Yunnans, for it really hit the spot with me yesterday. You don’t always need depth. Some days you need a gentle, smooth, flavorful entre into the morning.
Sorry to see it go. Can’t improve on the detail in the initial note.
Sipdown no. 21 of 2021 (no. 641 total). A sample.
Backlogging from Saturday.
I completely understand why I loved this on a first tasting. It is really well done. No soap, lotion, or glommed on aspect, and yet not so subtle that you have to hunt for the rose.
I used the Breville settings for white tea, so steeped it a bit less long than the first time — with less time, or perhaps the luck of the mix, there was a bit more planty flavor from the white peony base. But not enough to make me rethink my rating.
Sorry it is gone.