95 Tasting Notes

I’ve made this hot a couple times and haven’t been able to coax much flavor out of it, even though the dry leaf smells nice and fruity. I just get a bit of grassiness and a perfume-y fruitiness, but no distinct mango or even banana flavor.

I’ll cold brew it before giving it a rating!

Flavors: Fruity, Grassy, Perfume

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drank Banana Pancakes by 52teas
95 tasting notes

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge
September 2022: A breakfast tea

Goodbye, banana pancakes! Leaving my rating the same and logging for the sipdown. I overleafed this final cup because I had an awkward amount of leaf left in the baggie. I should’ve just gotten a larger mug, but… I didn’t. Oh well. Still good.

Flavors: banana, Butter, Drying, Maple, Pancake Syrup

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My partner doesn’t drink a ton of tea and tends to be pretty ambivalent about most blends, but he did really enjoy August Uncommon’s Psychocandy when we tried it last autumn. That was all the encouragement I needed to order another packet this year! And then AU sent out a 20% coupon, so I added a few more teas to my cart. Then I was sooo close to the free shipping threshold that I had to add one more. Which is how I ended up with a sample of Arabesque. :D

After a swampy, humid summer, the weather is beginning to cool off and the humidity has diminished ( for now). Today is absolutely beautiful, and I’m enjoying an afternoon cuppa without feeling like I’m going to overheat. Yay! I used to love heat and humidity, but the meds I’m on post-cancer put me into medical menopause, and my poor body cannot handle the heat very well anymore. (TMI?)

So! Arabesque called to me and I brewed it up for the first time. It smells really wonderful, just like a creamsicle. And it tastes… like a creamsicle! Wow, I really love this one. The first steep was a perfect blend of orange essence and marshmallowy vanilla; the second has more of a woody note, presumably from the jatoba. The sencha base is pretty unobtrusive, which might or might not be a good thing depending on your tastes. (It’s probably why AU’s teas are popular with non-tea-drinkers.) I’m OK with it here, though I wouldn’t say no to a stronger green tea base. I also would love a bit of a sharper, zestier orange.

I do find the second cup a bit drying, but not terribly so.

Flavors: Creamy, Drying, Marshmallow, Orange, Vanilla, Woody

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Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge
September 2022: A chocolate tea

Logging this one again for the sipdown. I’m sad to finish this one; it’s such a cozy, full-bodied dessert blend. It would’ve been nice to have for the cooler months!

Flavors: Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa

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I guess this is technically a sipdown, and I could technically count it under the “chocolate tea” prompt for the monthly challenge, but I only had a single bag from a TTB, so it seems disingenuous to count it!

Anyway, I’m a sucker for any chocolate-mint combo, and this bag smells divine! Brewed, it’s definitely more mint than chocolate, but it does have a hint of cocoa to boost the mint and give it some body. I added a bit of Not Milk (that’s the brand; my current fave alt milk!) and now it’s super creamy and delicious. There is no discernible oolong to my palate, but the overall effect of the base tea is perfectly fine.

I’ve had a sore throat for a few days and this is helping. For a bagged tea, it’s more than serviceable.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Peppermint

Cameron B.

A sipdown’s a sipdown, no matter how small! :P

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drank Banana Pancakes by 52teas
95 tasting notes

Mmm, mmm, mmm. I have written previously about my dislike for banana-flavored things and bananas more generally (THE TEXTURE!), but tea seems to be one place where I can handle mild banana flavor. And the flavor here is indeed mild! I get much more maple than banana, but like that kind of fenugreek-y, maple flavoring rather than real maple (which is totally fine here). I do get a hit of banana on the back of a sip, and it works really nicely with the buttery, pancake-y vibes. I think I could handle even more banana flavor, which is wild to say!

I dig this one quite a lot. And I’ve neverrr liked real banana pancakes — the way those little coins of banana get melty and mushy and SLIMY?! Ugh, god, no. I will stick to banana pancakes in tea form from here on out!

Flavors: banana, Bread, Butter, Maple, Maple Syrup, Pancake Syrup


Hear, hear!


Ha there aren’t any foods I dislike due to texture, but I know that’s a common complaint. It’s amusing for me to hear this perspective!

Mastress Alita

My problem with foods is typically always texture rather than taste (like, I can eat a super crisp apple, or dried apples, but loathe apple sauce). In the case of bananas, though, I have full-on aversion. Can’t stand anything with bananas (regardless of texture) or even artificial banana flavorings.

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Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge
September 2022: A tea with a strong aroma

Well, lots of my teas fit the “strong aroma” category, but this one is the only one ready for a sipdown! :D I’d been saving the dregs of my 20g bag and finally made a small cup this afternoon.

I’d originally rated it very highly, but I’m bumping it down just a smidge. My taste has evolved in the past yearish, to the point where I think I’ve raised my standards a bit. Which isn’t to say I don’t really like this tea! It’s so evocative of a raspberry cake, with pleasant vanilla notes. I’d like a more assertive base, though, and maybe a little more creaminess.

If I ever order from B&B again, I’ll definitely restock this one. For now, though, it’s goodbye.

Flavors: Cake, Cream, Raspberry, Vanilla

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Cold-brewed this one last night and am sipping on it now. Dang, it’s tasty! When it’s super cold right out of the fridge, I get major watermelon notes. Now that it’s warmed up just a smidge, I’m getting a hit of raspberry and some nice floral notes from the green tea base.

This is so refreshing. I could see myself using it as a post-run rehydration drink, because plain water never really appeals to me but I don’t like sugary sports drinks.

Flavors: Floral, Melon, Raspberry, Watermelon


I absolutely love this one iced. I know I’ve said this at least once before, but I’m not sure if I’ve said it here on steepster, I almost didn’t process this one for sale – I was going to just package it up for me – not because I was being selfish – but because of the stickiness of the watermelon. I’ve made watermelon teas before, but never quite this sticky. I’m not sure why this particular batch ended up so sticky – but it did. So, I was thinking, “I can’t sell this!” So I almost didn’t – but after I tasted it – I thought that people would still love this, even though it’s sticky because it tastes so good. (Especially cold brewed!)


I saw that note! I’m glad you ended up offering it… it’s so good! The stickiness is just a fun little quirk.

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Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge
September 2022: A tea from a tea swap/traveling tea box

Pulled this one from the TTB a few months back and took advantage of a cool (well, relatively cool…) morning to steep it up.

I’m relatively new to oolongs but have liked what I’ve tasted so far! I think I got four steeps out of this one. I enjoyed watching the color change the longer I steeped it, from a pale yellow to a much deeper, earthier shade. As for flavors, I probably should have paid a little more attention, but I was reading outdoors and just enjoying the moment. I didn’t notice any particularly strong floral notes like other oolongs I’ve tasted; it had more of a mellow, toasty, roasty herbal earthiness. All in all, a pleasant — if not terribly memorable — sipper for a morning of reading outdoors.

(It strikes me as almost funny that I’m not using this for the “A tea with a strong aroma” prompt, given the name, but I’ve got plenty more sipdown contenders for that one!)

Flavors: Earthy, Roasty, Toasty, Vegetal

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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’m also no snob. I just know what I enjoy and like trying new blends. 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, two 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 jog, knitting, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka.

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all that dessert-y warming goodness

Jasmine, lavender, 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)

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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