321 Tasting Notes


I think I’ve mentioned here that I’m in grad school for social work as a major career pivot. Well, today I had my first therapy client during my internship! Suddenly it’s all real. :) And now I’m drinking this tea because it feels indulgent and celebratory. It’s very silky and just a bit creamy, although it’s weirdly making my mouth tingle a bit? The brown butter notes are understated toward the end of the sip. It’s interesting because I feel like this could easily go toward a “buttery popcorn” flavor profile, but it manages not to do so.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Silky, Smooth, Toasted Rice


I hope your first client session went well!


It went very well; thank you!

Cameron B.

Oooh so exciting (and probably scary!) to do a total career change!


Awesome! I’m so happy for this amazing boost in your career path! Congratulations!


This is so exciting, congratulations and good luck for what’s to come! :)


that’s great, congrats!


Thank you all! :)


I wish you all the best in your new career!

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Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | October 2023 | A tea that makes you feel posh

OK, maybe I’m blurring the line between “British” and “posh,” because I’m not sure a Victoria sponge is a particularly posh cake — more of a British classic. Still, close enough!

As always, I’m sad to see this one go. It’s such a satisfying cuppa, so rich and creamy. I brewed it extra strong today and very much enjoyed it.

2023 sipdown count: 52


No, it’s a perfect choice! The Spice Girls…. Posh Spice’s real name is Victoria.


AHA! Yesss!


Perfect choice!

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drank New York Breakfast by T2
321 tasting notes

Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | October 2023 | A tea that gets you going

Easy come, easy go! I pulled this one from the most recent TTB and really enjoyed it. I wish there had been more in the package! It’s a flavorful breakfast tea, even if I continue to be perplexed by the name/inspiration.

2023 sipdown count: 51


When I hear “NY breakfast,” the conclusion I jump to is coffee and a bagel.


Right?! Not chocolate pancakes with maple syrup…

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Earthy and smooth, with lots of light mineral notes. Maaaybe a hint of molasses sweetness as it cools? Fairly satisfying but unremarkable. It’s been nice on this chilly, breezy Sunday morning.

Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Molasses, Mushrooms

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Very light and just a tiny bit creamy. I’m not really getting the “fruit leather and sweet black raisins” promised in the description, though. It’s more wet earth and maybe a smidge of breadiness?

This is my first GABA tea. So far I notice no special calming effects. :)

Flavors: Bread, Creamy, Wet Earth

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Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | October 2023 | A tea that relaxes you

I found this tea to be very relaxing when I first had it… it reminded me of jasmine, which is such a comforting scent/flavor to me. Unfortunately the final cuppa was absolutely full of dried orange bits, making the whole thing a bit too zesty and pithy. :( My fault for not shaking the package enough in the past, I guess!

2023 sipdown count: 50

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drank Apple Spice Honeybush by 52teas
321 tasting notes

Ashmanra’s Sipdown Challenge | October 2023 | National Cinnamon Roll Day: Drink a tea with cinnamon in it or have tea with a cinnamon roll!

I am very tired and somewhat grumpy and not in an appropriate headspace to actually review this tea, but! It is all cloves and cinnamon and tart apple and feels very appropriate for the prompt. I made a big ol’ mug to finish up the package and it’s quite cozy. A perfectly autumnal tea.

2023 sipdown count: 49

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Clove, Tart


I hope you feel better quickly!


Thank you! Today’s a better day. :)



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Logging this tasty little number for the sipdown. I stand by my effusive praise and high rating from the first time I tried it — it’s so good, and I am sad to see it go!

In fact, I’m going to bump the rating up… I’m really digging it.

2023 sipdown count: 48


So thrilled you enjoyed this one! :)


Thank you again for sharing!

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drank New York Breakfast by T2
321 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

After two weeks with the box, trying to cram in tastings during this oh-so-busy season of my life, I’m finally getting ready to send it on! I’m squeezing in a few more samplings before doing so.

This morning I drank this tea while revising the first paper for my clinical practice course. I don’t really understand what’s New York-y about a pancake breakfast, but I don’t mind the tea itself! It’s definitely evocative of pancakes and maple syrup, with a full, unctuous mouthfeel and, oddly, notes of chocolate? Maybe they’re chocolate chip pancakes! :D

Normally I prefer some astringency in my breakfast black teas (don’t ask me why!) but I think it makes sense, thematically, that this one is not terrifically tannic.

I actually like this quite a bit. There are only one or two servings left in the bag, so I’ll probably keep the rest.

Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup, Pancake Syrup

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drank Crepeshow by BrutaliTeas
321 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

There is a particular nut flavoring frequently used in tea that is VERY specific, yet I can’t really describe it. I just know it when I smell/taste it. And this blend has it! It’s not bad or anything, just very… specific.

I didn’t really get crepes (or anything bready/baked) from this one. And I can’t decide whether I liked it overall! But I was glad to have tried it.

Flavors: Musty, Nutty

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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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