Sampler Sipdown September! This was a sampler I got ages ago (like, a year ago now?) from California Tea & Herbal as an order freebie (I’ll admit, I ordered from them only because I wanted 2 oz. of Rishi’s West Cape Chai, and Rishi only sells it themselves in a ridiculous 1 lb. size… like I have the space for that in my tiny apartment! CalTeas happened to source that tea from Rishi in the size I wanted, soooooo…)

California Tea & Herbal lists this tea as “Citrus Mint Rooibos,” and it took me a long time to Nancy Drew out the source of the blend, which as it turns out is wholesale company East Indies Coffee & Tea’s “Lemon Souffle”.

Steeped this sampler up in my small Japanese teapot, which holds 16 oz. (I am really enjoying making a small herbal pot of tea before bed in this teapot!) The steeped tea has a creamy aroma reminescent of vanilla, which I really was not expecting from the “Citrus Mint” name on the sampler package. The tea has a very sweet base, with some caramel/toffee notes, and I’m really impressed with the particular blend of red rooibos, green rooibos, and honeybush that has achieved this flavor; it doesn’t come off as woody or medicinal at all. The main flavor note I’m getting in the tea is lemon, and it’s a creamy sort of lemon zest flavor, like would be in a dessert; the exact opposite of the strong, overbearing, furniture polish sort of lemon flavor I was getting from the last cup of tea I tried. This is sweet, succulent, tasty lemon. Toward the end of the sip is a note of mint, and again, it isn’t a strong or overbearing minty taste, as mint can be, but a bit more subtle, leaving a slight cool and refreshing sensation on the tongue. It comes off a bit more like sweet sarsaparilla than menthol. I don’t know what I was expecting with this, but I certainly wasn’t expecting something that is so desserty! This tastes like sweet melted toffee with subtle citrus and mint that compliments it perfectly, and makes me wish I had a plate of buttery scones topped with lemon curd. Why don’t I have any scones with lemon curd?!

This is really good. I would not balk at getting more of this, though admittedly probably would not place a special order for it; likely I’ll pick it up next time I need to restock my West Cape Chai again.

Flavors: Caramel, Lemon Zest, Mint, Sarsaparilla, Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 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
-Hemp/CBD teas
-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://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . 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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