1108 Tasting Notes


A friend of mine gave me two boxes filled with a. variety of tea bags. So sweet of her. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I am a bit of a tea snob—not really as I will try almost any tea—and have mountains of loose tea at home. Mountains.

So I am housesitting, which means that I have peace and quiet, internet access and a reliable fridge to keep milk in.

This tea is ok, but just. Having been blessed with Anne’s stellar chais, this one hardly compares. But I’ll drink it because milk, winter, cold.

And Steepster, oh how I have missed you. My wifi died and then my computer died and then I couldn’t remember my passwords to come back and could not even possibly start a NEW Evol account. And then there’s been the thing of my neighbours keeping me awake for the past 5 years and me having lost the will to live in this permanently exhausted state. And my own health issues even before that started. And then, of course, this covid situation, God help us all.

But while I have wifi for now, I am back!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Martin Bednář

Welcome back!

Martin Bednář

And let’s hope that you passed through all the misery and now better days will come!


Glad to see you back!

Cameron B.

Welcome back! :D


It’s great to see you back on Steepster!

Roswell Strange


Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Everyone! So good to be back. I’ve missed our Steepster gatherings, sharing life, tea, and news, commiserating, and tea slurping.

Alas, tomorrow I go back home to no wifi, no milk, and no sleep. But I am here for now and perhaps this wee rest and renewal will carry me through with enough energy to change things, at least a bit.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Ms. Strange! <3 Right back at ya!

I thought of you a lot during the DT upheaval. Are you still in Montreal?

Evol Ving Ness

And BTW, I can’t remember my FB password. Would you kindly tell our peeps there that I am more or less ok?

Lexie Aleah

It’s so nice to see you on here again! (:


Good to see you again! I hope you run into wifi again soon!


I just got my laptop back today. Been 4 days down. Glad to see you back.

Roswell Strange

@Evol Ving Ness – Yes, still in MTL and still at DT :)

Evol Ving Ness

And good to see y’all too! Thank you.

The first three days without wifi is tough and after that, it’s fine. I even got a bit of an attention span back. I even started reading books.

Evol Ving Ness

Wow, good on ya!

Montreal is such a fabulous city. Though right now it may have lost its sheen a bit.

Just a couple of days after DT announced that I had a free 50gr bag of tea waiting for me, the city went into lockdown and all of their shops closed. That sucked. I had the tea I wanted all picked out and everything.

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Do not hoard green tea. Guilty.

That said, although this tea is not from this Spring, it is still beautiful, green as in new shoot-like, sweet, buttery, and slightly nutty. Miraculously, it has preserved its character if not its depth, finer flavour layering, and longevity. Such a beautiful tea, regardless of my neglect.

This is going directly on my Spring focus pile.

Happy Easter, Everyone! And Happy Passover! And Happy Spring and all the fresh and beautiful things!


Happy all the things. :D


Dragonwell seems to age rather nicely. I just had some 2018 cold-stored dragonwell to ring in spring and it was delightful.


Me too…most of my old green tea is grey and faded! I really should use those up.


I find dragonwell tends to be fine as long as it is sealed, but I can still taste the difference between VERY fresh (as in this months/fresh harvest) and a few months later. I have so many Yunnan Sourcing greens to use up.

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drank Warm Maple Cream by 52teas
1108 tasting notes

My afternoon/evening cuppa. I’ve been thinking maple a lot lately but haven’t been drawn to maple black tea as I had been overdosing on that combination not too long ago.

The woodiness of houjicha soothed by the white is an awesome carrier for the flavour mix.

Still, it seems every single time I pull this tea out, I mull over whether the water for steeping needs to be hotter as per houjicha or lower as per white. Inevitably, I go with lower than boiling, as I do with all my black teas. Likely, with the temperature veering more in the direction of that for steeping green teas. I worry about the white tea becoming bitter with the hotter steep.

Regardless, my results are always delicious. So there’s that. I must be doing something right.


My rule of thumb when I’m brewing a blend of two different tea types – go with the lower temperature.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks, Anne.


Another delicious-sounding tea I missed! I think I missed a bunch around my wedding too. It took me far too long to figure that out, haha.

Evol Ving Ness

hahha, Kittenna, too funny! I understand the trauma of missing out :)


I also always try to keep the temperature below

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drank Warm Maple Cream by 52teas
1108 tasting notes

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drank Pear Chai by 52teas
1108 tasting notes

My tea tastes are so fickle.

Throughout most of the year, I am all over the black teas—the maltier, the better—with the occasional oolong thrown in. Then, come Spring, or what feels like Spring, boom! And I begin with one or two cups of white or green and suddenly, I am on a white and/or green roll. For as long as that lasts.

So here I am with this delight. The chai treatment on green bases doesn’t usually speak to me. Here, however, the flavouring is all nutmeg and allspice, eggnog-like, with the subtle real pear peeking through. A bit of cream. I detect the slightest bit of citrus too. The green base is present, but gentle. Gunpowder works for me, really and truly. Really a lovely thing, this.

edit—Just checked Anne’s note on the tea and ooops, no nutmeg here despite what I thought was here. To me, the nutmeg came up with the eggnog feeling of this tea. Also, the base is gunpowder and Chun Mee. Well, that apparently works for me too. :)

Another rainy day and I am grateful. The rain muffles the neighbours and calms me, a more ideal combination for sleep. Our team won again in hockey. Hurray! Less in city pride, though go Leafs go, than miraculously I did not hear the neighbours shrieking in the street all night. So YAY!

Also, their kids don’t seem to be home, so blessed quiet instead of jumping, wailing, fussing, and crankiness. And I was able to sleep in a bit this morning too. YAY for that! Since these people moved in three years ago, my home has not seemed my own. Someone is there and someone is making noise all. the. time. And if not, then there is the expectation that whatever I begin doing will be interrupted by their noisy intrusion on my life. There, I’ve said it.

And thank goodness for fine tea. Really.

I apologize for my rant. Having said that, ranting, rain, and a fine cup of tea, nothing like it. At the appropriate time, a stellar combination.


I am sorry. That sounds horrible! I am glad you are getting some peace and quiet now, and I hope you will have much more to enjoy in the future!

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, ashmanra. It has gotten better since they first moved in though as a result of patient and tactful communication, on my part. And many many unslept nights, also on my part. And then I snapped and began blasting old school R & B for several hours at a time—I have great speakers. The combination of these approaches has helped, but mostly they are oblivious.

We’ll see how things go.

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Really ancient in coconut years :)

However, coconut delicious with the slightest hint of pineapple. Maybe delicious enough to get me out the door to the laundromat in the pouring rain.


Haha. I am curious how long it takes for coconut to go off. I’m sure it is influenced as well by temperature and humidity, not just time, but I wonder why some old teas I have are ok, and others are horrifically not.

Evol Ving Ness

I think it might have something to do with whether it is fine shreds or fat lashings or other variations too. I have some DTs Butter Rum that I dread to open because the coconut bits of teeny tiny.

Evol Ving Ness

But I think that it can also be luck of the draw.

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Life is really something sometimes, yanno?

It’s been a long hard slog in many respects here and sometimes, I just can’t do it. Yesterday was like that. This morning too. I just wanted to shut the blinds and hide in bed. Regardless, I forced myself up and out today, though I have to admit, it was an extraordinary effort.

This is the tea that I brought with me.

Once I was out in the world, some lovely happenings happened.

Someone gave me two delicious home baked toffee cookies.
Another extremely shy someone gave me his email and suggested I keep in touch after the group that we were both in ended.
Someone else invited me to a religious service that was by chance being set up in the restaurant I was in. (I didn’t stay for it, but it was nice to be asked.)
Someone else told me that I was the most fun ever dancing partner in our cohort.
And the weather was warm and a bit wonky and humid ( but it was definitely not winter).

All of these interactions, and this tea too, were gentle and kind. Most excellent when one is feeling particularly fragile.

And as they say, tomorrow is another day.


Those are such lovely things!


Really great post about good people. Hugs <3


Extraordinary rewards for extraordinary effort. Cheers.

Martin Bednář

This post is what I needed. So wholesome, I felt so similar recently. Shut down blinds and hide. And cry. Or at least being alone. But I can´t usually. I have to wake up and do things. Unfortunately I haven´t met so nice people as you did.

Probably I need to explore the world more. Or at least step out of my routine. Really thank you for this!


Everyone needs a day like this. Helps us all to refocus and see the world for the good points it has.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Everyone. <3

I’ve been taking a meditation course recently and meditating regularly. A remarkable thing is that you truly feel the difficulties, regardless of how much you try to hide from them, AND you really notice and experience the good things too, however small. Highly recommend.

Big hugs to all y’all.

Evol Ving Ness

My comment made perfect sense when I typed it and now on reflection, I am not so sure. Anyway, I will leave it for now. It is certainly not meant to diminish anything I or anyone else has said.


yep, appreciating little things helps the crap sometimes. Everyone take care!


@Evol – Your comment makes perfect sense to me :) This was a beautiful and inspiring note.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Kittenna. <3

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Packets of this were available, in addition to camomile and peppermint tea bags, at my meditation session last night. I went with this and some added milk.

I rarely choose this type of tea at home, but I enjoy it out in the world, especially with added milk or cream.

And then, the whole experience was made even more lovely with a bowl of super sweet individually wrapped milk chocolate bunnies and another bowl of crunchy crust chocolate nut mini Easter eggs.

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Is it really possible that people who honk their horn once to alert the ones that they are picking up at 5 am think that no one else is going to hear this in the still city at dawn?

Thank goodness for tea. Seriously.

I appreciate that the flavouring is just as gentle as the base tea itself. Hence, the two meld into each other seamlessly. Almost like an black currant icing sugar drizzle over the Bai Mu Dan.


My only vehicular transportation is a motorcycle a year older than me. I had to be at work at 6am and several years ago the bike would often have trouble starting unless I bumped started it in second gear while rolling it down the hill I lived on. I’m pretty sure I pissed off one of my neighbors enough that they cut the wire that goes from the spark plug to the engine. I’m sorry for being in that group of dawn noise-makers.

Evol Ving Ness

Well, late understanding is better than no understanding at all. Thank you for your apology. I have to say that I read your comment re cutting the connecting wire with no small amount of glee. Clearly, someone wanted to bring this assault to your attention.

In your case, this morning noise was difficult to avoid. I also did this to previous adjoining neighbours of mine. I had to be at work early while I had a particular schedule so I set my auto alarm on my stereo to start playing music at 6 am because I had difficulty waking up. They let me know that I was disturbing them and fortunately, my schedule changed a few days later so problem was solved.

The thing is that this area is getting denser and I don’t know who it is that is beeping the horn at this hour though it is right in front of my bedroom. I guess I need to go immediately to the window to track this person down.


I’m right by the train tracks, and this reminded me of some horn-happy conductors I hear at 4 am sometimes. They literally lay on the frickin’ horn the entire time passing through neighborhoods. I’m sure they are laughing their butts off. GRRR. Yes, thank goodness for tea!

Roswell Strange

My new apartment in Montreal is across from a construction site where they’re building another apartment complex; they finish construction at about 10PM every night and BEGIN again at 6AM every morning. It’s very loud. They also NEVER turn off the lights on the property, and it’s directly across from my window. I’ve gotten pretty used to the light/noise now, but it contributed A LOT to my insomnia when I first moved.

Mastress Alita

Ugh, with chronic migraine I would not be able to handle all that light/noise.

Evol Ving Ness

Ugh, all y’all. Boo for inconsiderate noisy neighbours.

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Note to self—-you do not actually need any more tea.

My real tea obsession began in February 2015.

Not, sadly, when I had been living and working in China, though I very much enjoyed sampling a variety of teas during my travels there as well. No, no, that would have been far too sensible.

I am a reformed coffee drinker. I still enjoy a long double espresso with a good quantity or milk or cream from time to time, but for now, tea is my thing. All day.

*note—this is way out of date, so if we are doing a swap and you are checking to see what I like and dislike, mostly never mind what you find below. One of these days, I will update this. In the meantime, check what I’ve been drinking and use your own judgement. I like all the teas. Well, I am open to trying all the teas.

I tend to drink black, green, or oolong tea in the morning to early afternoon. Rooibos or
Honeybush or herbal in the evening. And perhaps some sort of sleepy-type tea in the wee hours.

This year, I’ve been discovering flavoured teas, so it may look like that is all I drink although that would provide a false impression.

Not a big fan of chocolate or mint in teas, but I will try them and, from time to time, have been pleasantly surprised. Also, usually I dislike a prominent cinnamon flavour, if untempered with other things, in teas. Again, I say usually, because there are exceptions.

Also, please note that haven’t quite gotten into the habit of updating my tea cupboard on Steepster, and it is unlikely that I will do this on any kind of regular basis.

I drink my tea black and unsweetened. If there comes a rare moment that I add something to it, I will mention it.

Finally, while I thank large and successful tea companies for tantalizing and beckoning me to the world of tea, I prefer to support independent ventures with real people, real enthusiasm and commitment, and real dreams.

Currently, I am researching monthly tea subscriptions. Perhaps it will keep me out of tea shops.

And here is Shae’s rating scale— which I am using with permission, of course— which more or less describes the way I have been rating teas. I am going to make more of an effort to stay very close to these parameters now.

Rating Scale

1-20: By far, one of the worst teas I’ve tasted. I most certainly will not finish my cup and will likely “gift” the rest to my sweet husband who almost always enjoys the teas I dislike (and vice versa).

21-40: This tea is not good but if I mix it with another tea or find another steeping method I might be able to finish it.

41-60: This one is just okay. I might drink it again if someone were to give it to me, but I probably won’t be buying more for myself.

61-75: This is a consistently good tea. It’s reliable but not necessarily special.

76-90: This one is a notch above the rest and I would gladly enjoy a cup of it any day of the week. I’ll likely be keeping this in my cupboard, but it isn’t one of my all-time favorites.

91-95: One small change and this tea would be perfect. I’ll definitely have a stash of this in my kitchen if you come over for tea.

96-100: No words can describe this tea. It’s an experience, an aha moment. Closed eyes, wide smile, encompassing warmth. Absolutely incredible. Perfect.


Mostly, but not always, Toronto, Canada.

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