316 Tasting Notes


2024 Sipdown Challenge | February | A tea that energizes you

Upping my rating on this one because I’ve consistently loved it every time I’ve had it, and I’m verrry sad to see it go! I’m a sucker for toffee and caramel, and I also love chestnut-flavored teas, sooo… yeah.

I had difficulty choosing between this prompt and the “extra cozy” prompt—somehow this tea does both for me!

2024 sipdown count: 10

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2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A winter-inspired blend

Candy canes are wintery, right?! Plus, this came in my 12 Days of Christmas box. So it’s wintery by default. (Southern hemisphere, look away…!)

Anyway, my last cup was light on the candy cane, which is sad. I must’ve exhausted all the peppermint pieces in my first cuppa. I’ll leave my rating the same anyway.

2024 sipdown count: 6


It is absolutely winter-y! I have never seen candy canes for sale in summer! (Peppermint sticks don’t count!)

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drank Elbhangglück by Teerausch
316 tasting notes

2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A blend made in another country

German tea to fulfill this sipdown prompt! I wholeheartedly endorse my original review: It’s a perfectly pleasant peach tea. :) This cup is slightly overleafed because I wanted to use up the entirety of my sample (from Courtney, I believe!) so it’s on the strong side. Perfect for a Monday morning!

2024 sipdown count: 5

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Hmm, I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed this one. The first few times I drank it, I enjoyed it: The rose was mild but present, just a gentle whisper. But I’m drinking it today and it’s not jiving with my tastes — there’s an unctuous, slippery, almost cloying sugary rose note that’s turning me off. It’s probably coming from the artificial flavors… I’ll need to find a rose congou that’s scented with petals but doesn’t have additional flavors. :(

Flavors: Artificial, Rose, Sweet

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drank Blueberry Lemon Fluff by 52teas
316 tasting notes

2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A blend made in your home country

Logging for the sipdown! I love this blend. The blueberry flavor is so fresh and juicy, and the soft, pillowy marshmallow is a wonderful foil to the lemony sharpness. It all just works together so well for a truly enjoyable cuppa.

2024 sipdown count: 3

Flavors: Blueberry, Juicy, Lemon, Marshmallow, Soft

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A belated pull from Arby’s homemade advent! I was craving a straight black tea but didn’t want anything too malty or strong… this really fits the bill! Not sure what year my sample is from, but it’s pleasant: Light and just a little bit tart, with no big flavor notes except something faintly floral. There’s a tiiiny smidge of soapiness toward the end.

Now back to rereading Jane Eyre. :)

Flavors: Floral, Soap, Tart


Love Jane Eyre. She is so matter of fact.


She is! An icon.

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2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A small business blend

I completely fell off Steepster over the holidays… we were at my parents’ house for a week, and it was just SO busy! I finished my advents but didn’t document them here, alas. I came back on to a truly staggering number of missed posts and notifications… yeesh.

Anyway, this is my first sipdown of 2024! I’ll leave the rating the same from when I first drank it. It’s cozy and unctuous yet not at all heavy, and I’m enjoying it on a very cold, crisp winter day as I work on employee reviews for my direct reports. Fun stuff! XD

Happy new year, all!

2024 sipdown count: 1!

Cameron B.

Happy New Year!

Martin Bednář

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year :)


Welcome back & Happy New Year!


Ditto ^!

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Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Day 21

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, as Arby included a note that it can skew sour, especially when brewed hot. I cold-brewed it and am drinking it as I wind down this evening. It’s pretty complex and interesting, with a faint herbal bite that I associate with aromatic bitters. Maybe it’s the orange or lemon peel? There’s also some sweetness, and then lots of bright fruit notes.

Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Herbaceous, Herbal, Orange, Sweet

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drank Banana Eggnog Oolong by 52teas
316 tasting notes

12 Teas of Christmas: Day 8

I remember being surprised that I could tolerate a banana tea from 52Teas a few years ago, because banana is not my thing. This year, though, I found myself actively enjoying it?! Growth!

Yeah, so I mostly get mild banana candy atop a mineral-y oolong. I’m weirdly not picking up any eggnog notes!

Flavors: Banana, Mineral

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drank Dream On (Organic) by DAVIDsTEA
316 tasting notes

Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Day 19

I am on break from school/work/internship, so I started my vacation with a relaxing bath that included tea, chocolate, a candle, and a book. Bliss!

My serving included a LOT of whole chamomile flowers/buds, so this was a very chamomile-forward cup laced with a bit of licorice sweetness. A nice relaxing blend.

Flavors: Chamomile, Licorice, Sweet


Can’t think of anything ore pleasant!

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I was an anxious child who didn’t like change, so when my parents flew across the country for my grandfather’s wedding and left us kids with my aunt and uncle, I was a nervous wreck. Our first night at their house was tough. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and padded into the kitchen, where my aunt was puttering around. She could tell I was distressed and offered to make me a cup of tea. It was just Celestial Seasonings’ peppermint tea, but it was exactly what I needed. The tea itself, the comfort it represented, the ritual of making it… I was enchanted. I’ve loved tea ever since.

I’m partial to strong, intense flavors and prefer loose-leaf to bagged, but I also appreciate the convenience of bags and sachets. I mostly drink my tea straight but once in a blue moon I’ll add a little plant-based milk, generally oat.

I live in Maryland, USA, with my partner, three dogs, and one cat, and I’m an editor at an animal welfare nonprofit. I use she/her pronouns. I’ve actually been a Steepster reader for years and years, but only started posting in late 2021. :)

When I’m not drinking tea (or sometimes WHILE I’m drinking tea!) I’m reading, rewatching comfort shows on Netflix, going for a run, knitting, embroidering, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka. (My account is private, but feel free to send a request!)

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all things dessert-y

Jasmine, lavender, violet, and most floral flavors

Most spices, although I go through phases and sometimes get bored of generic-feeling winter spice blends

Most fruity flavors

Matcha and other vegetal flavors

Not-so-favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Bergamot (I tolerate it, but it just doesn’t do it for me)


Overly artificial flavors (banana, coconut, mango)

Overly herbacious blends, although this varies!

Stevia, monkfruit, and other sugar-alternative sweeteners — blech

Chocolate — it’s hard to get it right in tea, though I love real chocolate!

Animal products, including honey (long-time vegan checking in!)

My ratings

90-100: The best! Will almost definitely repurchase.

75-90: Really good, and potentially worthy of a restock.

60-75: Decent, if not terribly memorable.

50-60: In the “meh” range, but possibly for personal taste reasons.

35-50: I’m not a fan, and this is not very good tea.

20-35: Varying degrees of bad.

1-20: Actively bad. Like really bad. I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing.


Maryland, USA

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