Sampler Sunday! I only had one teabag of this, and after being impressed with my Steven Smith Teamaker tea yesterday, decided I’d have this for my herbal tonight. But I do have to be in a certain mood for warm hibiscus — I perfer it iced — so this afternoon I dropped the teabag in a cup of water to let it cold brew. It is now a vibrant red and has probably had ample time to cold brew given I usually brew four cups of iced tea at a time and this was just a single cup.

It smells lovely. I can smell the sarsparilla, which is one of my favorite notes in a tea, though I don’t think I’ve ever had it paired with hibiscus, so I’m curious about the flavor. It also has a somewhat floral aroma. The flavor has that nice tangy flavor I enjoy (you know me, I’m a huge hibi fan!) but there is definitely a softening sweetness to this tea, as it isn’t as tart as many of the more fruity hibi teas I’ve tried. It doesn’t have that really strong “fruit punch” taste to it either… there is the typical hibiscus fruitiness, but the sarsparilla brings in more of a… soda sweetness/creamy feeling? They are two flavors that one wouldn’t think would fit together but they oddly do. Almost like cherry soda, except not that sweet or extreme, but a bit of that vibe. I’m not really picking out any particular floral notes from the tea, but I do get a floral sweetness from the tea.

I don’t think stalwart hibiscus-haters would be converted by this, but this is a hibiscus tea that has a lot of natural sweetening elements without using the other most-hated ingredient on Steepster, stevia; it is quite surprising how much balance the sarsparilla brings and I do think it brings out a somewhat “natural” cherry soda element to the tea when cold brewed. With sweetener added that may be even more prevalent, but I like it fine as is. I’d happily stock more of this to cold brew by the quart over the summer, and probably will when I visit Steven Smith Teamaker on my Portland vacation this coming summer.

Flavors: Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Hibiscus, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Sweet, Tangy

Iced 8 min or more 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, 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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