623 Tasting Notes


I got hit with such a bad vestibular migraine at work today I had to call it at my lunch break and take the rest of the day off (waiting an extra 30 minutes in the break room until the dizziness even calmed down enough that I felt I could safely get my car home, it was so strong). I rarely get that type of migraine, my M.O. is classic migraine, but not fun nonetheless. I zonked hard with my companion animal and when I felt her licking my face I decided to finally surface from bed and drink something for the nausea. I think I heard of this tea once from a tasting note of derk’s and found it just recently in my local grocery, so I grabbed it. It has both peppermint and ginger in it, the two things I like when my stomach is crap, so I made a mental note that if it ever showed up in a local store I’d grab it… and then it did. So today is the day to christen that box.

The cup actually smells quite nice… it smells of mint and ginger and also licorice root, though that is probably mostly the fennel that is advertised in large letters on the front of the package. It also has a quite citrusy aroma. Flavor is minty and a little spicy, I can feel some warmth on the back of my throat but it isn’t lingering or unpleasant. The clove also leaves a bit of an aftertaste as well. It is subtly earthy, has a bit of a citrus touch, and a strong licorice flavor and sweetness. It is a nice tea, I wish the menthol notes were coming out just a touch stronger but otherwise this is a pretty solid sick blend.

Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Earth, Ginger, Licorice, Mint, Spicy, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Wow, strong licorice? Mine was definitely ginger forward. May what ails ye pass quickly <3

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drank Afternoon Tea by Lupicia
623 tasting notes

Decided to make this single-serving teabag I got as a sampler from Lupicia with some long-ago order before the California flagship closed down for my Doctor Who-watching afternoon teatime (at least the name fits). It is a typical malty black tea blend, and a rather nice one, at that. I get notes of malt, baked bread, grapes, raisins, and autumn leaf. It’s a pleasant breakfast blend black tea, the sort that appeals to me by being smooth and with mild astringency and pleasant to take plain.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Grapes, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins, Smooth

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Decided to do a gong fu session this morning while I have the time for it. This is one of the remaining teas from the last Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thanks to tea-sipper for organizing and those that contributed for sharing! I brewed the 3.77g sample I had of the tea in my 100ml shiboridashi using 185F water (I brewed it and put it in a hot/cold thermos rather than have to make trips back and forth from my kitchen to my dining table to the kettle).

3.77g / 100ml (shiboridashi) / 185F / 20s|30s|40s|50s|60s|70s

Dry, the leaf reminded me of the aroma of a summer field, smelling of dry hay, dandelions, and pollen. Wet it still had the hay smell and had a very herbaceous aroma. The brewed liquid was nearly clear, almost looking like water, though there was a very pale yellow upon closer inspection. The aroma had a faint citrus aroma, like lemongrass. The flavor of the first aroma was initially like hay and herbs, but then a strong fresh pine flavor came forward at the end of the sip. All subsequent infusions had a strong camphor and citrus aroma with both pine and citrus notes being very forward in the flavor, with a very subtle sesame seed note in the aftertaste.

There wasn’t really any variety from steep to steep and I wasn’t able to pull many flavor notes from the tea, but I was really digging the strong pine/citrus flavor I was getting from the tea, since I’m a sucker for pine notes and rarely find them in teas. Thanks for the share!

Flavors: Camphor, Citrus, Dandelion, Hay, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemongrass, Pine

185 °F / 85 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I had to rush out the door only grabbing iced tea out of the fridge this morning, but I was really crazing a warm cuppa on this rainy morning, and had to wait until my lunch break to finally get to brew a thermos of hot tea. This is one of my oldest teas so I grabbed this one to start working on sipping down; it smelled fantastic steeping on my desk, reminding me a lot of the Blackberry Dumpling tea I had not long ago, which I really enjoyed.

I’m getting some baked bread and subtle honey notes from the base black tea, with a stronger sweet rose florality; it isn’t as strong as I was imagining (I’m a big fan of rose so there is pretty much no such thing as “too strong” with me and rose!), but I can pick it up toward the back of my tongue. The fruitiness of the blackberry is a much stronger flavor note and dominates over the florality, so it tastes more of a nice blackberry black tea, with a very soft and subtle floral touch to the base black; I think even someone that typically hates floral notes in teas would have no issues with this tea. Since I love rose teas, I actually could’ve done with those notes presenting a little stronger, but I still love the blackberry flavor used by 52Teas — it just tastes so full and juicy, like biting into actual fruit. It’s a good tea and I’m so happy to get a hot black cuppa on this drizzly day, but I would’ve liked to have seen a little more balance between the fruit and florals, personally

Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Rose, Smooth, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I have a half-gallon of coconut milk that was unopened in the fridge but getting close enough to the date that if I don’t start working through it now, most of it is going to be wasted, so I started looking through my teas for something that might go good with it. Found this matcha sampler I hadn’t opened yet, and thought that would be a solid flavor combo. I used a teaspoon in 350ml of coconut milk in my milk frother on the heated setting. I may have used a little more matcha than necessary but wanted to make sure the flavor would come through the strongly flavored milk, and it was pretty good! Oddly enough, it reminded me of pina colada, despite there being no pineapple flavor… something about the creaminess, and the sweetness of the coconut paired with the lemon flavor made the citrus read more as a pineapple flavor in my mind, I suppose? There was a touch of grassiness but mostly I tasted smooth and creamy pina colada latte. My only real issue was some issues with separation and having to open up my thermos and restir occassionally, which was annoying enough to keep me from rating this higher for how much I enjoyed the flavor.

Flavors: Creamy, Lemon Zest, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass

1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I’ve been trying to sip down most of my “Bird & Blend Tea Co. from when their name was still Bluebird Tea Co.” because… how long ago was it now that they changed their company name? Ya… it feels so long ago now, so I really should be sipping those teas down (my logic, anyway…) I recently finished off the packet of Choc It Rock It I got from one of tea-sipper’s cupboard sales a few years ago and now I’m working on this one. Thanks, tea-sipper! I had reviewed the former, but haven’t done so for this one yet.

The aroma of the dry leaf reminds me a lot of the Bondon herbal tea I sipped down recently by Steven Smith Teamaker… I get strong impressions of cinnamon and sarsaparilla, both things I like a lot. And then I take my first sip and… holy teabags, Batman, how much chili did they put in this?! A spice-wuss like me is not prepared for that at any time, least of all first thing in the morning. Phew. Damn. How can anyone focus when their mouth is on fire?! Unless the idea is to focus upon ones burning mouth. I can’t say if the yerba mate is waking me up, but that chili sure as hell did the job… can’t say it was exactly pleasant, though. It’s just… scratchy and burny at the back of my throat, and while I can taste the cinnamon in the blend, it is just overwhelmed by the spice so it isn’t adding a balancing sweetness. While I could smell sarsaparilla, I certainly can’t taste it against such a powerful flavor. Honestly, I’m having a hard time even picking up the taste of the mate base itself.

I would’ve been curious to see how the flavors in this would’ve worked if the chili had just not been present at all. Even old as this tea is, it is just still too strong for my spice-sensitivities and I can’t taste much against it. It’s just burning-heat-with-a-side-of-cinnamon.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Spices, Spicy

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

That’s odd… I didn’t notice any cinnamon or chili at all when I tried this! hmm. Sorry about that. Also, you said “years” for choc it rock it and I panicked and had to do a quick google search when I ordered it and December 2017 popped up. whew. So it’s really only around two years old. Not as old as it sounded like? haha. I haven’t even written a tasting note for Choc It rock it yet.

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Recently I was sent some teas to sample from Plum Deluxe, so thank you very much, Plum Deluxe! This tea was a free sampler in the package, and as soon as I’d finished sipping down the bag of tea I’d been working on as my daily drinker I wanted to brew this up, since I have a terrible habit of stashing coconut teas, forgetting about them, and then having the coconut go rancid and never getting to try them. What a treat it will be to drink a freshly blended coconut tea for a change!

The dry leaf had a lovely aroma of spices and coconut, but after steeping, the leaf reminded me of lemon ginger tea, with a bit of cinnamon also hitting my nose. The tea itself has a really pleasing aroma of coconut, lemon (a bit more like lemon zest or lemon cream, actually), and spices (I can pick out ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon in the aroma). With just a single-serving sampler I decided to try this chai straight rather than adding any additions (if I’m going to make a chai latte-style, I often go for a stronger brew that will withstand the addition of the milk) which often makes me worry that it will come off a bit strong — many I’ve tried are either quite astringent in the black tea or too spicy unless milk is added — but this was surprisingly very smooth taken straight. I am a person that likes tart/sour flavor profiles and the lemon/citrus is a pretty dominant flavor in the cup which I immediately found quite to my liking; it hits with the spices at the beginning of the sip, and then a very sweet coconut flavor comes toward the end of the sip and lingers on the tongue. It’s a very nice balance. The ginger spice really pops in the blend and compliments the citrus nicely, but it isn’t strong, burn-your-mouth-off ginger that leaves that unpleasant tingling on the throat for spice-wuss types like myself; it’s just a nice, pleasant warming effect. I can pick up a bit of clove and cardamom as well, and a touch of cinnamon sweetness. The base tea is just a bit malty and holds the flavors well.

I’m really enjoying this; it has a nice sour-and-sweet balance and as a chai, holds up well as a naked cup, which I certainly can’t say for all chais I’ve tried. No doubt it would likely also taste great steeped strong and mixed with some coconut milk as well. I’m really enjoying the lemon zing and sweet coconut on this cold and rainy winter Idaho morning.

Thanks again, Plum Deluxe!

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Coconut, Cream, Ginger, Lemon Zest, Malt, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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This was reblended (in a sense) recently, and reminded me I had some of this original blend from Ost’s cupboard sale (thanks Ost!) Which means this is quite old, and I’m trying to weed the oldest teas of my cupboard, so I pulled this for my Sunday afternoon tea.

I was surprised that for it’s age, I was still getting a lot of maple aroma out of the packet. The steeped cup smells of maple, though not quite as strong as the leaf, with some floral, honey, and nut notes. The flavor definitely still has a lot of warm maple notes coming through; I also taste roasted nuts, walnut, wood, caramel, honey, and a subtle vegetal note. Mostly I taste sweet caramel maple flavor on a slightly earthy/woody roastedy nutty base, which is actually quite pleasant.

I didn’t have high expectations based on the age but this is actually a very nice blend; if I can clear my cupboard enough that I can mentally warrent new tea coming in, I wouldn’t mind trying the newer version.

Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Honey, Maple, Nutty, Roasted nuts, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I received a bag of this from a cupboard sale from Ost several summers ago, so thank you Ost! Now I see that bag has a “packed on” date from 2016, so this has been a major priority for sipdown. I had a Silver Needle tea not long ago gong fu style, but I just ain’t got no time for that when I need to sip down nearly 2 ounces of this stuff, so this has been my morning (and lunchtime second cuppa) take-to-work-thermos tea for a while now. I brew just slightly over 2g in 185F water for 3 minutes, western style.

The tea has a grassy, warm hay flavor. It’s a little sweet toward the end of the sip, a bit like melon water and slightly floral, like honeysuckle. Mostly it’s quite vegetal, slightly herbaceous, and very subtly floral. I’ve been getting a light pea-like note, as well. Probably not the sort of tea most people would choose as their first morning cuppa, but I’ve been enjoying it enough as I sip it down.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Melon, Peas, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

I’m sipping an Ost tea today too. :D

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Decided to finally brew this one up tonight; I had a freebie teabag of it in my Boxing Day Sale order (I had to get that Jasmine Poached Pears while I had a chance!), but I’ve actually had one of the 20g sampler pouches from B&B for ages and still haven’t opened it up yet… so typical of me!

I love floral teas, but this does have chamomile in it, so depending on how strong the chamomile presents compared to the rose and lavender (two flavors I really love), this really could go either way for me. I am able to smell it pretty strongly in the aroma of the cup… but I’m also smelling the rose and lavender, and the tea is a pretty pink color rather than chamomile yellow, so maybe the small addition of the hibi (another thing I love… I know, controversial!) will go a long way in mellowing out that soapy chamomile taste for me.

The flavor… huh. Interesting, the main note I’m getting is lemon. There is lemon verbena in the blend, but I wasn’t even picking up any citrus in the aroma. I do taste a bit of the chamomile, but with the lemon presenting as the strongest flavor note, and it coming out a nice, pleasantly tart sort of lemon, it is rounding it out so nicely that my typical chamomile-blechniness isn’t bothering me. I get a hit of sweet florals toward the end of the sip; I’m not really picking out a distinct lavender flavor, sadly (I quite like the taste of it, and it pairs nicely with lemon citrus, too) but I definitely taste the rose.

This is far more enjoyable than I thought I was going to fare with it. It’s a gentle lemon tea with strong floral notes, and a good evening herbal. I’m not sure if I’d restock it, but I won’t have any issues going through the other sampler pouch I have stashed away nor any other freebie teabags that make their way to me.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Pleasantly Sour, Rose, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Bergamot (in moderation)

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

Currently Sipping Down: Tealyra teas, Adagio teas

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 32
Sipdown Count for 2020: 50


My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.


Idaho, United States



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