My attempt to archive my tea collection

I’ve mentioned time and time again that I’m a big fan of tea. My current tea collection sits at somewhere around fifty different teas, and that’s not including the teas I have just one bag of, or the teas I’ve received through the NaNo tea swap that didn’t include tea names and companies. My tea drawer and cabinet both overflow with tea, along with the teas that have somehow migrated to the boyperson’s apartment.

And then there are the teas I’ve finished or have drunk only once, like in a coffee or tea shop. I want to remember my reactions to those as well.

Enter Steepster. I’ve known of Steepster for a long time but never joined because I didn’t need yet another social site in my life. That is, until January when my tea collection had finally reached the point of not remembering what I’ve consumed and what I haven’t. This is already happening for books, and I’m not as well-read as some readers out there. I knew the same problem would happen with tea if I didn’t do something.

So I signed up with Steepster. You can view my Steepster profile here. The signup process was simple, and I could immediately start editing my profile and adding teas to the my collection.

How to use Steepster

The easiest way to add a tea is to search for it, keeping in mind you’ll probably get multiple results. This is especially the case if you’re searching for a general tea name like “earl grey” or “jasmine green”. Each tea from a company has a different page on the Steepster site, which means, for example, Twinings Earl Grey and DavidsTea Earl Grey are two different teas on the Steepster site. This is good because you can distinguish between the two when reviewing them. This is not so good when you’ve received teas from tea swaps and don’t know what company the tea’s from, therefore making the archiving process more difficult. Since almost all my teas of unknown origin are from the NaNoWriMo tea swap, I asked my swap partners, but there’s a chance that they won’t remember by the time they get around to checking their messages again.

And if a certain tea isn’t already in Steepster’s site, like many of mine weren’t, you can add it. I must have added at least ten teas to the site in my quest to archive teas.

You can also review teas in what Steepster calls tasting notes: your impressions of the tea, how you prepared it, and a score. You can add a tasting note just once or every time you drink the tea. It’s up to you. I haven’t decided what exactly to do with these tasting notes or scores yet, though I did copy most of my Adagio reviews over to Steepster. Since lots of other folks use Steepster, you can see what other people think of a given tea while deciding what teas to get or whether to buy from a certain company.

The best part of Steepster is the discussion board. Here you can discuss just about anything related to tea. A few of those discussions include specific companies, what teas you received today, tea swaps to participate in, and just about anything on anyone’s mind. Like any community, there are some users more deeply involved with tea than others, but that’s okay. There’s a place for everyone to start talking and reviewing, even if you’re brand new to tea. So join in!

The only problem with Steepster is that it makes me want to buy more tea! Unfortunately this can’t happen right now because of my tea-buying hiatus. This means I have a great excuse to drink more tea and drink that collection down. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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