Frontier Natural Products Co-op

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Recent Tasting Notes


Wow I went gong fu this time and it really does improve this tea. Lots more woody body and strength (which is needed.)

1 min, 0 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Steeped long (30+ minutes) on a second infusion and then chilled in the fridge overnight.

Smooth, woody, maybe just a tinge of iron or minerality? Really a treat with a light body and sweetness that presents itself through the whole drinking experience.

Loved having this growing up, chilled is the way to go. Of course, I just ordered some Kuki Hojicha so we will have to compare and contrast together once that arrives.

Flavors: Sweet, Woody

Boiling 1 tsp

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I am a bit biased, as I grew up on this tea as a staple in my mom’s fridge.
She would steep it by boiling the twigs for a long period of time to extract all the flavor and nutrients from the tea.

Never did like it as much steeped hot, but after chilling it the tea is very mild and woody. There is a slight, stimulating astringency that lets you know it is indeed, tea.
It’s a great option to get some nutrients with a lighter, more watery consistency than a traditional black tea. Plus, very low caffeine! So, it can be enjoyed with meals at all times of day without worrying about stimulation. I was even allowed to drink kukicha as a child.

It’s quite unique, if you have never dabbled with twig tea before. This doesn’t really have any nutty notes. The Frontier offering is straight wood, almost like biting a woodwind instrument reed.

Not much more than that, but it sure is refreshing in the heat of summer while chilled.
As other reviewers have stated it may not be the best available kukicha since it is about $25 us a POUND! I’m interested in trying other kukicha teas due to this staple gateway blend.

Flavors: Bamboo, Mineral, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Purchased “High Grown Ceylon Black Tea” in September 2022.
It’s mild, bland, and inoffensive.
Not sure how exciting a Ceylon can be. I maybe had high expectations after reading Amazon reviews.
For my first attempted brewing, I treated it the way I would make myself a high-quality black tea: Very generous amount of leaves, 30 second first brewing with 190º water, and then a second longer hotter brewing. The first brew was bland. For the second steeping I added even more leaves and used boiling water, but still couldn’t coax out much flavor.

I put that in the fridge for future ice-tea and tried again, this time measuring out two overflowing tablespoons of leaves into a tea pot, and adding only 10oz of boiling water, then letting it steep for a full 6 minutes. (This was maybe overkill, I might try 5min next time, or water just off a boil). At least I could get a sense of the flavor, and some of the briskness and tannin I expect from a Ceylon (EG: Lipton) tea.

A second brewing was only okay.

I’ll try brewing this one more time, as iced sun-tea, but likely will use the rest for Kombucha making, mixing with oolong or green teas to supplement the flavor.

I appreciate that they’re fair trade certified, organic certified, and kosher certified.
I especially love that they’re a member-owned co-op.
Still, I probably would not buy another pound.

Flavors: Brisk, Malt, Roasted, Tannin, Watery

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 8 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This review is really a continuation from my last review on this same tea…so if you want the full story then read my previous review.

After brewing this tea with plain water, I found the the spices, though good, to be quite overwhelming. It reminded me a little bit of drinking hot apple cider, which gave me an idea: I wonder what this tea would taste like if it were brewed in hot apple juice instead of water!

This review is the result of that experiment. For this tasting, I cut the tea to liquid ratio in half (1tsp of tea for 2 cups of liquid) from what I did last time, and instead of water I boiled apple juice to brew it in. I must say the result was QUITE tasty! It was very much like hot apple cider, and thanks to the reduced potency and slightly reduced steep time (4 min instead of 5), the spices were not nearly as overpowering as in my previous cup.

I call this a win and will definitely add it to my regular tea drinking list.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Cameron B.

Sounds lovely, like a mulled cider! Strong masala chai is also tasty brewed on the stovetop with milk, as is traditional.

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I’m still really new to tea drinking. A fellow tea friend gave me some of this tea when I told him I was getting into the hobby. I tried it the other day by mixing 1tsp with 8oz water. Boiled the water then steeped for 5 minutes. It was quite strong and spicy, but I liked it. It reminded me a little bit of hot apple cider…which gives me an idea…(check out my next log review on this tea).

My only complaint about this Chai has to do with the name itself. Did a little research and found out that there is actually no such thing as “Chai Tea”. The word “Chai” is basically the Hindi word for “tea” and is not a specific flavor or type of tea. Calling it “Chai Tea” is not really saying anything except “tea tea”.

That being said, my research further revealed that Chai is quite popular in India and comes in very many types, flavors, and methods of preparation (ie…Chai Latte, etc). Similar, I would imagine, to the American coffee craze. So even though the word “Chai” itself doesn’t really denote any specific combination of spices, the name does seem to carry with it a certain gravity of ethnic flavor that does set it apart from other iterations of “tea”.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

You’re right that what is usually called “chai” is actually “masala chai” (spice tea). But it’s such a common misnomer (at least, here in the States) that it’s fairly unavoidable. Tea tea! XD

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I picked this up at a local herb shop. First brewed it at 212f and got a bit of an unplesant tin taste. I lowered the temp to 190f and steeped for 4 minutes. The resulting soup was wonderfully nutty with notes of peach. I look forwared to disecting these flavors in my gaiwan.

Flavors: Floral, Nutty, Peach

3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I got special mail! A beautiful “Morticia Adamsesque” card and tea from Gmathis!

I have almost no knowledge at all of Japanese teas. I have tried a few Senchas, I have had genmaicha and probably houjicha. I do like matcha, and I have had an unusual Japanese black tea from Postcard Teas. But compared to Chinese and Indian black tea, my experience is almost nil.

We had a chilly morning with heavy fog which is heading into a very warm day with a warm week ahead. Youngest is an incredible artist and sent me some photos she took this morning in the fog. Maybe I can upload and share them!

This is my little tea break in the big leather chair in front of the fireplace with the candle lanterns lit before I make lunch for me and Sam the King of Dogs. We will be splitting a bag of broccoli. We are simple folk. But not too simple. Mine will have hollandaise. His will not.

The recommendation was ten minutes of simmering, but I got preoccupied in the garden and let it boil briefly before turning it down. It doesn’t seem to have hurt it.

This reminds me a little of a roasted barley tea with a bare hint of…chicory? It is VERY woody but in a sawmill sort of way rather than a puerh, petrichor, and damp wood way. The depth of woody flavor makes me want to say smokey but it isn’t actually smokey when you get down to it. There is a hint of bitterness that is not at all astringent to me, but the aftertaste lingers and even tingles a little. That might be the Juicy Fruit gmathis mentioned. And if you swish air around in your mouth after you swallow, there is a hint of vanilla.

I like it! I am not a coffee drinker but I would almost call this “ coffee lite.” It lacks the bitterness of coffee but has such a solid feel. It feels like something I would drink when I am preparing to roll up my sleeves and get down to a task.

Thank you, gmathis for the tea and card, and by the way, the card goes beautifully with my anniversary card which is beside it on the mantel!

Cameron B.

Aw that’s such a sweet Halloween tea friend gift! ❤ I was so confused at first about the boiling part, but then I looked it up and realized this is a roasted stem tea and not regular kukicha. That makes more sense, haha.

Your lunch notes made me laugh! Poor Sam (the King) doesn’t get any hollandaise?! ;)

White Antlers

Oh, what memories this brought back! My dearest friend in high school went on the become macrobiotic back in the era when no one was doing that. She and her husband went to Boston and lived in Michio Kushi’s home for a month to study the macrobiotic lifestyle with him. She introduced me to this tea along with other interesting things (for that time period), like burdock root and tea made from LOTS of freshly grated ginger to ward off illness. The seaweed used so much in macrobiotics never appealed but I still drink twig tea on occasion and have fond thoughts of my friend. Enjoy your brassica lunch! : )


Cameron B. – Sam MIGHT get the occasional bite with hollandaise but I try to keep him on a good, clean diet. He is very healthy and walks about two miles a day and plays with his girlfriend four or five days a week, although they must whine at the door because they know they get a treat when they come back in and they are very food motivated!

It was a lovely card and a fun new tea to try!

White Antlers: i am glad the tea brought memories of a good friend! Those are precious!

Cameron B.

I am in full support of Sam’s healthy lifestyle! “Food motivated” is the understatement of the century for my two pugs, LOL.


Well, if I couldn’t be there to drink it with you, the review comes close.
(And if I say so myself, I loved that card. Wouldn’t let it go to just anybody ;)

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There…if this isn’t woody tea, I don’t know what is! Every time I make a cup, I’m surprised at how naturally sweet it is—just like the twigs had been dipped in brown sugar. Lovely.

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I really like kukicha. I’m bemused at the fact something that looks like what you rake up from under your elm tree can yield something so sweet and nutty. This particular blend hasn’t gotten much love in existing reviews, but I’ll defend it. Tasty, with maybe even a little touch of Juicy Fruit Gum—oolong in the aftertaste.


I can’t recall ever having kukicha! Maybe I have?


I’ll try to remember to send a bit next time there’s an envelope heading your way.


Ooooh, thank you! And no worry, no hurry! I have little experience with Japanese greens and this sounds interesting!

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This is from my swap with AliceG! Fruity green teas aren’t usually my thing, but I was happy to give it a try. The green tea is the main flavor. On the spectrum of green teas, I’d say this one is more…musty? I was pleased that I could taste a little mango. It was subtle, but the flavor was closer to a fresh slice of mango than I usually experience in a tea. So I wouldn’t want this one often, but it was a nice cup, especially the realistic mango flavor. And it was nice to see a decaf green tea. Those seen to be rarer than decaf black teas.


You lost me at Decaffeinated. :P


Sounds good as far as realistic mango flavor though. I tried some of Lupicia’s mango and its good but borderlines a papaya instead of mango.


Yeah, I don’t like the way caffeine affects me, so I only have it a few times a week at most. Luckily there are tons of caffeine-free/low caffeine options these days! And yeah, mango is one of the tastiest fruits, but it’s sadly rare to find an accurately flavored mango thing.

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Aye, this tea is killer when I’m in the mood for it.

I used to work outdoors doing habitat restoration. In the winter, we’d have really intense days in the mudflats and salt marshes of the San Francisco Bay. If we were lucky, it wasn’t raining. After debarking the airboat, we’d mule sled upon sled of plants through the ankle-breaking terrain, crawling across ladders or jumping over channels and frequently misjudging the distance, plunging into the clay stank and 50 degree water… only to perform wrist, elbow and backbreaking labor once we got to our destination. Those days were absolute hell but I loved them because the mudflats offered a sense of solitude, nothing but you and the flocks of migratory birds maneuvering in unison as the airboat pierced through the winter air, stinging your cheeks. It’s a lot like a desert, though teeming with hidden life. Only the crazies end up in such places inhospitable to human occupation. Here, you can be overtaken by the tides and stranded. I thought about that a lot when I’d squat in a channel to pee at low tide as my boots sank into mud (I’ve been stuck before and lost many a muck boot to its namesake).

Anyway… I’d bring one of those old green thermoses in the field with me on those days and sip on this tea as it stewed in its juices for hours. It was the perfect warming, tart and spicy cup to keep my joints moving, keep my spirits up and give me a kick in the pants.

I brewed some in a 500 mL pot tonight after realizing I haven’t had this tea in several years. It’s better this way with a shorter steep, a heaping tablespoon for probably 4 minutes. Cheerful lemony, cranberry and caliente aroma. It’s definitely a very tart tea from the hibiscus, cranberry and citric acid but it’s not acrid at all when I mind the time. Plenty of heat from the red chili and cayenne, not burning but enough to warm the chest and body. Not recommended for hibiscus haters and spice wussies.

I kind of miss it all.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Chili, Citrusy, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Lemon, Sour, Spicy

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Love the story!


Such a vivid picture you paint.


I love how flavors can take you back to places you’ve been!


It sounds like it was an awesome job, but also extremely difficult!

Mastress Alita

I love warming hibi teas, but definitely am too much of a spice wussy for cayenne.

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Malty with subtle spice notes. Not much to say about this one.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cloves, Malt

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Still on the preemptive immunity kick, but to jazz things up a little, have been varying what goes in the cup besides the berries each night. Last night, it was one of Martin’s bilberry teas for a little sharpness; tonight, I tossed in a bag of Celestial Seasonings Cinnamon Apple Spice. The elderberries, straight up, have such a raisiny/date personality, that anything with a kick improves them. Further suggestions?

Martin Bednář

I can send you some of linden flowers. I have an unopened bag here and definitely could help with immunity.


My go tos are ginger, lemongrass, or mint to make any tea a bit better.

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Since we had a very, very people-y weekend, and since I have some very people-y events ahead, I’m taking some precautionary measures and this is a pleasant one. These little purple babies took a bath for a long eight minute steep, and since I think they have a very dark fruity flavor like raisins or tangy dates, I attempted to brighten the cup by tossing in a dried orange slice. Very pleasant. Kind of fruit-cakey.


Good luck with all the people-y things! I’m in the thick of a very people-y week, and so I appreciate the moments of stillness with my tea.


Sounds yummy.

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Officially, this is not a tea. It’s just dried elderberries, but said elderberries saved my bacon this week when I was feeling just cruddy enough to whimper and whine, but not cruddy enough to officially call it a cold. Here’s the mojo I used:

Couple tablespoons dried berries
Around a cup of water
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t turmeric

Boiled good and strong 15 minutes, added a dollop of honey to taste. (Tastes mostly like raisins.) Seriously, I felt better overnight. Some heavy duty travel ahead in coming weeks; I intend to steadily dose myself with this beforehand.

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I don’t have much to add to my previous notes except that this is sweeter and fruitier brewed gongfu style.

Flavors: Apricot, Black Pepper, Cocoa, Earth, Lemon, Mushrooms, Smoke

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I’ve been avoiding this one because its mushroomy earthiness hasn’t sounded appealing lately, but today I thought I’d see what else I could get from it. Compared to my first tasting note, increasing the amount of tea and brewing with boiling water resulted in a very citrusy tea with the earthiness pushed to the background. Not too bad, but the citrus is a bit too much.

For the next cup, I lowered the temperature. This brought out some sweet chocolate in exchange for some of the excess lemon, spice, and earthiness. It’s much more balanced now; however, that sheng-like weirdness that I mentioned in the first tasting note isn’t there at all when brewed this way. It’s just a nice, mellow black tea, more casually enjoyable yet somewhat less interesting. I’ll have to try gongfu again. My first attempt was nothing but mushrooms…

Flavors: Chocolate, Citrus, Earth, Mineral, Mushrooms, Pepper

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The dry leaves have a strong scent of cocoa, but pouring water on them turns it into a smokey, mushroomy aroma that reminds me of some sheng puerh. The leaves are chopped up, but they’re quite large. This being a large leaf Chinese black tea, I brewed it quite long to get more of the cocoa flavor I smelled in the dry leaves knowing that it probably wouldn’t get bitter or astringent.

The flavor was mostly what I expected: the mushrooms and light smokiness were definitely there, as well as some typical Yunnan notes of malt and black pepper. It was thick and smooth with a silky texture, finishing with the sweet chocolate note that I hoped for. Despite the long first steep, I got a good second cup out of it with a similar flavor to the first, but a lighter body.

I enjoyed this and think I’ll get a larger amount to have a basic Dianhong (I’m pretty sure that’s what this is) around. It’s not complex, but it’s good and very cheap.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Cocoa, Malt, Mushrooms, Smoke

195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This tastes like mildly spicy green peppers and roasted seaweed, and not in a good way. I’ll reroast the rest and see what happens.

Flavors: Green Pepper, Seaweed, Wood

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Frontier stuff generally takes mistreatment well—actually does better with sloppy overmeasuring and overtiming, and this is a decent daily drinker Ceylon; just a little edge to it. But I was a little too generous with both this morning and let this steep to the strength of turpentine. It did get the eyes open, however, and that was the point. Little ice will gentle it down in a bit.

The sharpness, however, is a good foil for the rest of my breakfast—COTTON CANDY GRAPES. Yes, in all capitals because we could actually find them locally. There is about a three-day window when they are available in town and then they disappear. The reason they disappear? They really do taste like cotton candy.

Mostly I wanted to brag on my grapes, not my tea. Good morning to y’all anyway.

Lexie Aleah

They are amazing! Glad you found them!


Oh, I haven’t noticed them for sale here yet! Must run to store tomorrow!


This is the content I come to Steepster for. Agreed, this tea benefits from over-measuring and over-steeping. (And Cotton Candy Grapes are an insta-buy when we see them)


We’ve recently found a red variety called “Candy Store” grapes that are just a notch less sweet than the green ones, but extremely tasty.

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June Wedding! Something old… Goodness, I’m not even sure when I got this tea, since I picked it up from the loose bulk spice bins at my local Fred Meyer, along with some lavender buds. If I had to guess, I’d say likely last fall or winter? I remember I had been looking online for a long time for a black lavender tea, but I could only find lavender earl greys, and I just wanted black tea with lavender without the bergamot added. When I was doing my grocery shopping one night and passed by the loose spices and saw the lavender, I got the bright of idea of just adding lavender to a black tea. Then I saw they also had some teas in the bins. The only options were an Assam, a Ceylon, or a Darjeeling, and since I’m not a huge fan of Assams or Ceylons (I usually find they tend to get a bit strong, bitter, or astringent for my particular tastes), I decided to try the Darjeeling. I’d never tried a Darjeeling before, and wasn’t expecting anything amazing for something out of a bin in Fred Meyer that I’d be blending with lavender anyway, and was really just hoping I’d get the less astringent of the three options.

Plain, the tea has a slightly honeyed aroma, and brews up into a light black tea that is slightly malty with a very subtle apricot note, and a slight autumn leaf flavor in the aftertaste. It’s a bit on the mild side and probably not the sort of black most folks would prefer for breakfast, but it is definitely lacking any of the bitterness I get from darker black teas, and its astringency is very mellow, so for my purposes, this tea was a good choice.

It took me a while to work out my preferred black tea latte with this… mostly because lavender is finicky. Too much and it gets very bitter and sour (and I’ve had this problem even with commercial tea blends using lavender!). But too little and you don’t get a good lavender flavor, so it takes quite a bit of experimenting and several bad cups of tea until finding the golden ratio. For me, I like to use 1.5 tsp of the darjeeling, a level 0.5 tsp of the lavender buds, infuse that in a cup and a half of 200 F water for 3 minutes, and add it to half a cup of warmed vanilla almond milk. It’s such a tasty breakfast tea; lightly malty with no bitterness, very sweet and creamy, with a strong lavender flavored finish that doesn’t step over that edge into sour floral. For two relatively cheap bulk ingredients (the darjeeling and the lavender buds) that I can grab at a grocery just down the street, it’s a really satisfying tea latte.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Malt, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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