Sipdown no. 110 of 2018 (no. 466 total). A sample.

The sample packet contained just enough to both try this and sip it down. Made in the gaiwan at 195F.

I accidentally knocked the gaiwan over and a lot of the leaves spilled out right after the rinse. I got discombobulated and started the steeps at 30 sec. instead of my usual 15.

I’m deeply disappointed to note that Red Blossom no longer has this on their web site because this was awesome!

The aroma of the steeped tea is almost equal parts delicate floral and roasted, sweet depth. The flavor is reminiscent of caramelized sugar and raw, dark honey. The tea is light amber in color and clear.

The second steep, a bit longer (45 sec) , highlighted the roastiness. The tea has a soft mouthfeel and leaves a bit of freshness in the mouth as well. Someone else mentioned pine, and I think it is more that than menthol or camphor — the freshness is like what comes out of a broken pine needle.

Steep 3 (1 minute) is similar to steep 2, and at this point I’ve decided to just savor and enjoy through another steep or two rather than interrupt the enjoyment to take notes.

This tea has a lot of character, and a smoothness and lingering sweetness that makes it extremely easy to drink.

I want more, and alas, it appears that isn’t in the cards.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Honey, Roasted

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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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