I’ve been down with another lengthy migraine, so I haven’t had the energy to do tea journal the last few days… and the nausea has kinda kept me from even drinking much tea, too. But last Thursday night I received a late birthday package from my best friend who was in Japan during my b-day, that had a gorgeous teacup with Jiji from Kiki’s Delivery Service on it from the Ghibli Musuem, and a bunch of Japanese teas (mostly sakura-flavored teas, as I specifically mentioned I like those and they are hard to come by, and they are in season over there right now, as well as a few other things). One of the stranger things included was an instant plum tea packet that was found at the New Otani Hotel (I believe the Osaka location). My friend’s traveling companion said it was thick and soup-like, so he told me I might want to use it for ramen broth (he knows I use tea as a broth substitute since I can’t use the flavor packets since MSG is a migraine trigger for me). I decided to do something a little different, and dissolved it into the water I was using to make my Minute Rice that night.

Since I only had one packet and I was making a double-serving of rice (which uses two cups of water), I was expecting it to be a little “weak”, but was hoping that the rice might take on a slight plum flavor as it soaked up the water. Ehhh… the experiment didn’t quite work out that way. The rice did have a noticeable taste to it, but it was a very salty flavor! Every now and again I thought that perhaps there was a hint of something slightly sweet or fruity to the taste, but it was extremely subtle; over all, it just tasted very salty. It certainly wasn’t anything to complain about, as it was more interesting than plain white rice, as soy sauce (fermented soy) is another migraine trigger (sigh, but I miss it dearly!), so at least the instant tea powder gave my rice some much needed added flavor. But I certainly wish it had taken on some plum notes like I had hoped. Maybe if I’d had more of the instant tea packets it would’ve worked? Who knows!

Flavors: Salty

Boiling 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 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, 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)
-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.

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.


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/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited 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 outbound gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

Feel free to send me a Steepster PM, or alternatively, 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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