1211 Tasting Notes


For the last few weeks I’ve really been craving fruit/chocolate combos, and have been making a lot of choco-berry smoothies. Looking through my tea, I only had this and Lupicia’s Strawberry and Chocolate pu’erh that fit the bill, so I decided to try this.

I always forget that Lupicia often uses a CTC base on their blacks, so I’ve been a bit mindful to not overleaf or oversteep. It is still quite a rich black tea, but not so much as to hide the flavor. The chocolate is a little softer than I was imagining, but is more cocoa sweet/bittersweet than that strong chocolate liquor flavor usually found in teas, and the raspberry is simply lovely… a little jammy, a little candy sweet. I’ve had many nice hot ’n plain cups of this in my work thermos the last few weeks.

This morning I decided to make a latte, since I figured the strong CTC base would be up to it. 3 parts tea (double the leaf), 1 part warm frothed vanilla almond milk, and it is very nice! It’s very creamy and full of sweet raspberry, but still has a nice classic black tea body in the undertones.

Flavors: Candy, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Jam, Malt, Raspberry, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I spent four hours cleaning house yesterday and every part of my body hurts… so today is dedicated to tea, books, YouTube videos, and naps. I’ve been on a big “pirate” kick with my media lately, so while this tea isn’t the most seasonally appropriate choice, it did seem to fit nicely thematically.

It smells divine. I’m a big fan of 52Tea’s pineapple flavoring. The oolong is really silky and floral, and accompanies the pineapple flavor so nicely. It’s not as tangy as I’d like from pineapple, but there is something very satisfying about the soft sweetness of this flavor as well. Oddly enough, I’m not really getting any ginger… a soft aftertaste of it at most. But this is really nice. I imagine it would be great iced, as well.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Pineapple, Silky, Spices, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I wonder if this one will ever return. I’d be happy to try it.

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Whenever a 52Teas packet recommends 4g when there are 15g total in a package, I tend to leaf-up a gram so the leaf will split evenly and I won’t have a weird amount left over. I’m not sure that was the best thing to do in this situation as the yerba mate was very strong… or maybe it’s just that I haven’t had any in such a long time, I’ve forgotten what a strong green flavor it has. It is very vegetal, in a fresh grass sort of way, and a little smoky ala Gunpowder Green. It’s not my favorite flavor, but it’s drinkable. The raspberry cream flavor is spot-on, as usual, though. Very creamy and sweet, like a raspberry dessert. The mate is just overwhelming it a bit much for my liking, and because it is so strongly vegetal, I’m getting more of a “fresh raspberries right of the vine, stems and leaves intact” sort of vibe instead. It’s fine, but I definitely prefer this particular flavor on other bases… the energy boost sure is nice, though!

Flavors: Cream, Fruity, Grass, Raspberry, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I had stored this packet sealed, but I fear that age may have still taken its toll, because I’m not getting much flavor from it. It smells quite nice in the bag, but even overleafed and steeped for a very long time, I am not getting apple or caramel. I do pick up a fruity note that is probably the apple, but somehow I’m tasting it as pear instead. The spices are nice and quite present, particularly the cinnamon and allspice. I’m not getting caramel at all. The tea is pretty rooibos-heavy in flavor, which is fine for me (I like red rooibos) but would probably be a bit much for others. It was tasty, but I definitely got “spiced pear” instead of “caramel apple cider.”

Flavors: Allspice, Cinnamon, Fruity, Pear, Rooibos, Spices, Sweet, Woody

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Well Rested by Trader Joe's
1211 tasting notes

My boss got some teabags of this inside a Christmas gift and prompty gave them to me since I’m the “tea person” in the office. The teabags didn’t come in any packaging with ingredients, so I had to look it up when I got home, and was hesitant because chamomile was the first listed ingredient and I’m just not a fan of it. However, peppermint hides a world of hurt for me, and there is enough mint here to take the edge off the chamomile, so I actually found this pretty pleasant. There is a bit of a floral background note from the chamomile but mostly it tastes minty and a little grassy. The mint is the pulverized teabag sort so a bit dusty/dirty tasting, which isn’t my favorite when better mint is out there, but it’s drinkable. Didn’t take me very long to use up the teabags, either. But I’m not particularly sad that there are no Trader Joe’s near me and thus I can’t restock it. There are plenty of other evening choices I like better.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Mint, Peppermint

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Peppermint can hide plenty of unpleasantness :)

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drank Holiday Pudding by 52teas
1211 tasting notes

Lately I’ve been working through a large package of a white chai, but this morning I was really more in the mood for a black tea and pulled this one out. The smell in the package is lovely… it really does give a strong “holiday spice” vibe and the fig adds a sweet fruitiness to the aroma.

The steeped aroma is similar, though there is something a little citrusy about it, despite no citrus in the blend. The flavor is very warm and cozy… the spices are gentle, and I think the citrusy note I’m getting is from the clove, which has a nice aftertaste. The flavor overall reminds me a lot of the “Tea and Scones” blend, just less grapey, and I think that’s because dates, figs, and raisins all sort of hit the same “sweet and fruity” notes to me. Perhaps just a hint of something reminescent of vanilla or cream. It’s a nicely balanced chai between warming spices and gentle sweetness.

Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Cream, Fruity, Spices, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I’ve really been enjoying this tea. The aroma of stonefruit and lavender is so complimentary. The flavor is too! The apricot is a little more subdued to the lavender, which is pretty strong in this tea. I like lavender and am fine with it, but I think it might be a bit much for those more sensitive to florals. I think a little more balance between the apricot and the lavender would elevate this a lot, especially if the apricot had more of a “juiciness” to its flavor. Still a very relaxing evening tea and a shame it was recently retired on Plum Deluxe’s website.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Honey, Lavender, Stonefruit, Woody

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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After learning my lesson about free tea left in the breakroom at work from the stinky feet Cinnamon Horchata tea (which I finally managed to finish), I only grabbed one bag of this instead of the whole box. So glad I did. The ginger is waaaaaaaaaay too spicy for me, making it one of the few cups that was simply undrinkable for me. And the flavor just tasted like one of those medicinal honey cough drops. Bleh.

Flavors: Ginger, Medicinal, Spicy

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I received a sample of this tea from Derk, thank you!

It is so good. It smells like a pine forest in a cup, and it is so relaxing. I love pine notes in tea, and this is just pure, wonderful pine. I will have to get some of this sometime!

Flavors: Pine

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

It’s ridiculously expensive, unfortunately. Freaking $17 at Whole Foods (it’s the only store I know of that sells it). Juniper Ridge’s website lists $15 but $50 free shipping threshold. You can probably find dried fir tips on Etsy for much cheaper.

Martin Bednář

But I agree it’s delicious and, eh, amazing cup of tea.


Ooh, I’ve gotta try mine

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Rating: 76

This is a tea I was gifted from Todd from his China trip. It says “Meng Ding Shan Cha” on it, but I don’t know the brand or shop it came from. There is a panda on the front of the package and “Fangxiang” possibly is the brand? Inside are a bunch of individual plastic wrapped packets of loose leaf Chinese green tea. Each packet is about 4.5g of tea.

I tried one packets in a liter for cold brew and it came out a bit weak, so on my next try I used two packets for a liter which came out just right for me. It’s crisp and vegetal, I get notes of leafy greens and cucumber, as well as a sort of wet metallic note that makes me think of spring water and mossy rocks. It’s a quite refreshing cold brew.

Flavors: Vegetal, Green, Cucumber, Metallic, Spring Water, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

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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 genderqueer asexual (she/they) 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
-Hemp/CBD teas
-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://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

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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