1994 Tasting Notes


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
1994 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
1994 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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Sipdown no. 17 of 2021 (no. 637 total).

What to do with you, Melange Mysterieux? The more I drank you, the more it became clear that you weren’t a favorite. And yet, I recognize that you are exceptionally well blended so I feel bad bumping your rating down even further.

Your fruit flavors today are distinguishable in the aroma and yet all of a piece. How do they DO that? But there’s also a sort of peppery note that I don’t remember from before and don’t love.

I suppose I will bump you down a little but not too much. I’ll put you in the good category, though it’s unlikely I’d buy you again given there are others I prefer.

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Sipdown no. 16 of 2021 (no. 636 total). A sample.

Backlogging from yesterday when this was my last tea of the day, steeped western in the Breville.

Alas, I did not get the full impact of it because I didn’t have quite enough, so had to add some Harney Da Hong Pao because it was the dark oolong easiest to get a hold of at the time.

I didn’t look back at my first note before having this again and I had a thought that went something like — hmm, that’s interesting. What is that? I know it is distinctive. And then looking back at my first note I realized it was lychee.

Distinctive and comforting with its toastiness.

Daylon R Thomas

Interesting idea to blend it with DHP. As much as I enjoy fruity dancongs, some roast or toastinesss can help even them out so they don’t become too astringent or “ripe”.


Yes, it was enjoyable with the mix, though I would have enjoyed more saying goodbye to it in its pure form. :-)

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Sipdown no. 15 of 2021 (no. 635 total). A sample. Backlogging from last weekend.

Steeped in the Breville this time around. A mild, nutty dark oolong with a silky mouthfeel. I agree with my first note’s assessment that this was less toasty than other dark oolongs, which was a nice change.

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I’m inching up on sipping down the 84-rated black teas in my stash, which I guess is some sort of progress.

Except that I’m finding that either my tastes have changed or something. Like my tastes have changed?

So, for example, while this one definitely has that French thing that I love so much, I don’t like it better than some of the other teas I’ve tasted recently in the 83-84 range. So I’m bumping it down a little.

I am also considering up-rating Champagne Rose by Lupicia, and Scottish Breakfast by Upton. Yeah, I’m gonna do that. They both have something very appealing — in the Scottish Breakfast, it’s undoubtedly the Yunnan, and in the Champagne Rose it is likely the fact that it really suggests the flavor (and effervescence, somehow) of champagne.


I think the bigger your sample pool gets, the more refined you can make the ratings. I definitely have the same experience you do where some teas I thought were good end up being less good the more I try because I find better things.

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drank Orange Chocolat by Lupicia
1994 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 14 of 2021 (no. 634 total).

Yeah, not terrible, but not a favorite. I just wrote a note on this recently so I’m going to spare you the repetition. See earlier notes for specifics.

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drank Dong Ding by American Tea Room
1994 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 13 of 2021 (no. 633 total). A sample.

I didn’t have enough of this to steep in the Breville western style so I had to add a bit of tieguanyin to it to make up the difference.

My ATR samples are definitely dwindling, and one might say it’s about time since ATR went out of business years ago. But I’ve hung on to the higher rated ones because that is how I am. And it makes me sad to see them go. But all things must come to an end.

Mostly what I’m getting in my Western-style au revoir to this is asparagus, with a hint of nuts. I think the rating is about right.

I’m trying to remember if I have others of this variety in my stash. If not, that’s too bad because it’s a nice change of pace from other green oolongs.

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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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