1994 Tasting Notes


This is the last of the sample tins of the darjeeling sampler. Its leaves are small, almost fine, and a big contrast to the makaibari of yesterday which had huge balled leaves that looked almost like an oolong and expanded to even more huge after steeping. They smell a little nutty, and a little like sweet grapes.

The liquor is very light in color. I’d call it golden, with a peach tinge. It’s clear and also has a sweet, fruity (apples? grapes) smell. There is only the tiniest hint of sharpness.

And while there’s no sharpness in the taste, there’s a bitterness that doesn’t send me. Its mostly in the end of the sip, and leaves its mark in the aftertaste. Not very pleasant in my view. It makes me want to have this with food.

That said, it doesn’t make me feel bloated or waterlogged the way other first flush darjeelings do, which is a plus.

It’s my least favorite of the samples in the sampler, though. Rating accordingly.

Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Grapes, Nuts, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Lapsang Souchong by Lupicia
1994 tasting notes

Next in line for project “lapsang sipdown.”

The dry leaves have a smoky, salted meat smell. I’m hoping for mellowness here.

Alas, I won’t know for sure about this one until next time because I over steeped. A friend signal boosted a story of mine on Twitter, which inspired me to send some work out for the first time in a long time. I put this in to steep and then promptly forgot about it while struggling to find a market for the last story on my list to send out.

Even with the over steeping, the aroma of the steeped tea isn’t nearly as scary as the dry leaf aroma. Much less salted meat, much more appealingly aromatic campfire. The tea is a dark amber and clear.

And fortunately, even with the over steeping, this isn’t too intense. It isn’t resiny, though it does have a flavor reminiscent of pine wood. And it isn’t meaty, thank goodness.

Still, it doesn’t have the sweetness in the finish that I liked in the Kusmi and the Leafspa, and it’s a bit more ashy than mellow.

I’ll reconsider when I taste it again tomorrow but for now, I’m rating it a bit lower than the Tavalon.

Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Meat, Pine, Salt, Smoke, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Apricot by Mariage Frères
1994 tasting notes

Surprised that I seem to be the only one who has written about this? I searched under the French spelling too, and nothing came up.

In the packet there’s a juicy apricot smell that’s got a dark, sultry quality to it. The steeped version is less juicy but still apricotty, and also smells like baked bread with a touch of chocolate. The tea is a rather unique russet and clear.

The flavor is much better than the aroma — deeper and with more of the sultry quality of the dry mix. And yes I know that taste is mostly smell, which is why this is surprising to me.

The apricot is a bit sneaky. Though it is obvious from the beginning of the sip, it really blossoms in the mouth from mid-sip to aftertaste, becoming sweeter and juicier as it goes.

With the demise of ATR, I’ve been looking for a good black apricot tea, and this will certainly do.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Chocolate

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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It seems I have a sample tin of this, though in addition to the TD41 designation there is also a SD43 designation at the top of the sample tin. I’m adding a tin of this to my cupboard under this entry anyway.

Does anyone know what Upton’s codes mean?

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drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
1994 tasting notes

I got all excited when I opened the packet because the smell reminded me of ATR Brioche!
A chewy, sweet, buttery, almond pastry like smell.

A lot of those qualities are still there, albeit in dilute form, in the aroma and flavor. It makes me wonder whether I ought to add more mix and steep a bit longer.

Because I’d sure like to find a substitute for Brioche, even if it is a de-caf substitute. But this wasn’t quite Brioche…

It was prettier though. That’s what beetroot will do for you, I guess. Fire engine red!

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Butter, Cinnamon, Pastries

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I don’t know, to me this one is far more apple-y and tart than Brioche, in which I have not detected an apple flavour. That said, I have never tried Brioche-free, or whatever the ATR herbal was called. I will very much miss ATR. A sad closing.


You’re right, there’s no apple flavor in Brioche that I could taste.

But it’s funny, the only reason I put apple as a flavor for this one was because I read some other people’s notes and they all said apple. So when I tasted after reading, I tasted apple. But it’s not the main flavor I taste in this.

I never tried the herbal Brioche either, but what strikes me about this one is that it manages to capture a pastry quality in a way I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in an herbal mix before. Even rooibos blends that say they’re replicating the flavor of some sort of pastry don’t really manage to do it 99 percent of the time.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, I’m going to have to have this one again to see what I make of it. All I remember is apple. This time I will purposefully seek out pastry, but honestly, that comes as a surprise to me despite having had it several times.

Lexie Aleah

with sugar is when I notice the pastry element.

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drank Magic Dragon by DAVIDsTEA
1994 tasting notes

I love the name — it makes me think of Puff the Magic Dragon, which was a childhood favorite song.

I know I’ve had dragonfruit, but I think I only had it once and it was a while ago. So I can’t say whether this is a good dragonfruit blend, but I can say I like it.

The dry blend has a strong, berry heavy smell, which, after steeping has an interesting depth and freshness that is watermelon-like. I expect this is the dragonfruit. The liquor is a bright, vibrant red that is quite attractive.

The flavor has a touch of bitterness at the beginning, and a touch of sourness right after, but is neutral to sweet through most of the sip. It has a leafiness to it that I’m thinking must be the blackberry leaves, but mostly I get a melon-like flavor that makes me think of my current favorite Perrier — Watermelon — but more intense.

And now I’m off to binge watch my latest discovery, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel!

Flavors: Berry, Melon, Plants

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Evol Ving Ness

I love that show! Just fab.


I’m done with the first season now, and I can’t wait for the next! Meanwhile, I’m binge watching Better Call Saul.

Evol Ving Ness

Unfamiliar with that one. I will look for it. I’m due for a binge watch of something.

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Sipdown no. 50 of 2018 (no. 406 total).

The last of this is currently cold brewing in the fridge. If there’s anything of note to report once I’ve tasted it cold, I’ll record it. If not, this is just goodbye.

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drank Jasmine Tea by Golden Moon Tea
1994 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 49 of 2018 (no. 405 total).

I’ve been drinking this at work for the past few weeks, hoping that I would be able to bump the rating up. I’m a huge fan of jasmine green tea, and I generally expect to adore pretty much any that I have.

Alas, I think the rating on this one is just where it ought to be. It’s a good tea, but it didn’t blow me away.

I remember when I first got my Golden Moon sample basket and how much fun I had trying all the teas. They do have some excellent ones, this one just doesn’t quite make it to excellent.

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The last time I made this, I was using a sample and didn’t give it the whole chai stove top treatment. I decided to do that today, once I realized that I’d made it through the entire winter without making chai once. Poor planning, that. I figured I should get in at least one before it gets too hot.

But honestly, I think I can make the rest of this into a cold brew and not feel like I’m missing much. It’s pleasant, but the chai spices are pretty subtle once steeped in milk. I honestly don’t taste cardamom at all. Mostly I taste ginger, which is, as I say, pleasant, but not all I want in a chai. Apparently I tasted black pepper last time around, but this time it’s just a slight kick on the tongue in the aftertaste.

The vanilla piece is elusive. I’m not even sure I taste it at all unless I squint and hold my head sideways (figuratively, y’all).

Bumping it down just a tad ratings-wise.

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Sipdown no. 48 of 2018 (no. 404 total). A sample.

Goodbye, oh strange one! Nothing to add to my note of yesterday.

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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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