2000 Tasting Notes


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.

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drank Night Time by Pukka
2000 tasting notes

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

Boiling 8 min or more

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drank Orange Cookie by Premium Steap
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 24 of 2021 (no. 644 total).

Yeah, my recent note says it all. Nothing to add.

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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.

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drank Orange Cookie by Premium Steap
2000 tasting notes

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.

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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.

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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.


I’m surprised I haven’t seen “planty flavor” before. haha. :D


It is my go to descriptor for a quality I find unpleasant in white peony. :-)

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drank Thé au Chocolat by Lupicia
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 20 of 2021 (no. 640 total).

In comparison to the other teas I have bunched around the 84 rating, this isn’t among the the ones I like best. So I’m bumping it down.

It has the same general chocolate issue that I had with the orange chocolat from Lupicia, which is that the chocolat has rather less depth and natural sweetness than others and I prefer more depth and sweetness. However, this is less noticeable in this tea than in the orange chocolat. Wonder why?

Bumping it down but not as far as the orange chocolat. It is not a bad chocolat tea. I just prefer some others.

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drank Lilac Bouquet by Simpson & Vail
2000 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 19 of 2021 (no. 639 total).

I’m really torn about this one. On the one hand, the idea of lilac tea is very cool. I’m not sure I’ve had any others, or certainly not many.

On the other, this has what I think of as the Simpson Vail black flavored tea problem. Something about the base is quite heavy, and depending on the day it can sit like a rock in my stomach. I am feeling that today.

Also, there’s the general Simpson Vail flavored tea problem, namely that because the teas were shipped in paper bags, they comingled their smells so that they all sort of have the same base aroma.

That said, there’s a distinct aroma and flavor in this one that must be the lilac. My original note found it soapy/lotiony, and I don’t find it that way now — maybe the evaporation of oils over time helps with that. Who knows.

So on the one hand, I like that it is lilac and I don’t have a lot of lilac in my repertoire to judge against. So is this a good lilac? Well, it has its faults, but I don’t really have anything to compare it to.

On a sheer enjoyment scale, apart from whether it is a good representative of its kind, not sure it would be an 84.

I’m going to bump it down a bit, but keep it in the 80s because it’s the only representative lilac I think I currently have and it doesn’t fail on that score.


Oh, wow…I love lilacs. I did not know they were tea-worthy!


I know, right?


If anyone doesn’t know, S&V has changed their packaging to sent proof resealable pouches now.


That is certainly a step in the right direction!

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Sipdown no. 18 of 2021 (no. 638 total). A sample.

This was the last caffeine of the day today. I made it western in the Breville.

Lots of leather. Seriously, like sucking on a saddle. A bit of mushroom. A little bit of coffee-ish-ness. Very consistent with the first few steeps in the original note. Not really any sweetness.

I’m glad I had a chance to experience it a couple of different ways.

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes


Bay Area, California



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