drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1994 tasting notes

The last of my hoarded Simple Leaf blacks. This one I’d opened and tasted a while back because it got such tremendous love here on Steepster that I couldn’t wait. I probably should have, as it’s the mildest of the lot (it even says “mild” on the packet whereas the others say “bold,” like Starbucks coffee grades).

By comparison, the tea is in fact mild, but that isn’t a bad thing. It’s very smooth, and despite its label, deceptively rich-tasting. The big,twisty leaves are gorgeous.

All the things folks said about the cocoa notes are true, in abundance. I’m also getting a sort of brown sugar sweetness, and a leafy quality I associate with Ceylons sometimes. There’s also a mocha-coffee note, which is very cool for a non-flavored black tea.

You wouldn’t know any of this from the smell of the dry leaf, which is basically that of earth. After steeping that dissipates, and is replaced with the leafiness as well as all of the smells associated with the flavors that open up amazingly. The tea is a reddish brown color and clear.

There’s no denying that this is a very special tea. It’s from Arunachal Pradesh, which I looked up on the map — that’s the northeast corner of India, bordering China. It’s pretty far from what I think of as most of India (i.e., the peninsula part). No doubt location has a lot to do with the flavor.

Anyone tried any other teas from this area? Are they as good as this one?

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cocoa, Coffee, Earth, Mocha

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

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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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