824 Tasting Notes


Happy National Strawberry Day! Pulled this last P&L sampler from my stash to drink today, prepared cold brewed.

The green tea itself has a deeply vegetal, spinach-like aroma. I get a bit of a berry fruitiness on the nose. The taste, however, is coming off strongly of the beets in the blend, and I’m wondering if that was a “luck of the scoop” from my little sample bag… I do taste some strawberry, but with the highly vegetal note of the green tea coupled with the strong beet note, it doesn’t really taste very fruity. Grassy, vegetal, a little metallic/earthy, bulldozing the subtle strawberry sweetness in the background. I’m not getting any sassyfras, which is disappointing…

I think I may have just overleafed this, adding to some of the strong green tea notes, and if I’d split the sample into two batches it might have been a little less intense, a little more fruity, and been more subtle on the beet. Ah well, I wanted to use up the full sample packet in one go. Not a particularly good cup, but I can see the potential in it and am chalking this one up to my preparation. That said, I’m still keeping my rating lower than I’d give otherwise since it is called “Sassyfras Strawberry” and I’m not getting one of those ingredients at all.

Flavors: Astringent, Drying, Earth, Grass, Mineral, Spinach, Strawberry, Tangy, Vegetal

Iced 8 min or more 7 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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French Friday! This is the sampler packet I pulled out of the sampler bag for today. Thank you for sharing, Dustin!

The dry leaf smells like the Petite Ourse tea by THEODOR that I tried recently; a strong tangerine citrus aroma. Steeped 3.1g of leaf in 350ml 175F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea doesn’t smell so strongly of citrus, though; it’s a very tropical aroma, mostly mango, with a bit of a citrusy undertone. On the sip, the tea takes on more of a lemon citrus flavor than the tangerine I was getting on the nose; it has a slight tanginess at the end of the sip, but is a pleasant fresh lemon flavor, with no abrasive “floor cleaner”-esque qualities. I can taste a mango note too, but it is more subtle and gentle compared to the bright citrusy lemon. There is a hint of a sort of floral-quality sweetness as well, though I couldn’t place any particular floral to it.

The tea has a very bright and refreshing feel to it; I like lemon teas, and this one is top-notch!

Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest, Floral, Grass, Lemon, Mango, Tangy, Tropical

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

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One of my old B&B teas from the Bluebird days; it’s a sealed 50g package, but apparently I purchased this from tea-sipper in a cupboard sale way back when, so thanks tea-sipper!

The dry leaf looked far more like a “fruit herbal” than a “green tea” to me, so I leafed it pretty heavily to do a liter cold brew overnight in the fridge. Rather than getting a sweet fruity taste, or even a tart/tangy berry (which I would be fine with, as hibi’s BFF on this site), it has come out tasting very medicinal to me, like cough syrup; normally I only get this particular flavor when fruity flavors are combined with rooibos, and I had to double check the package that there was no rooibos involved in this blend. I’m not sure what, exactly, is making it have that particular distinct flavor to me. Perhaps age is the culprit…

Cold brew is typically my preferred way to drink fruity hibi-hip teas, but I decided to try a warm cup, just to see if I got the same result. And, I actually didn’t get the weird cough syrup taste, but it also just tasted very flat… like a slightly strawberry flavored cup of hot water.

Both results just felt off somehow, so I’m guessing age didn’t do this one well. Usually fruit teas with a strong hibi-hip presense are right in my domain, so I feel some ingredient must be in a bad place for me to have issues. Withholding rating as a result. I have one last experiment up my sleeve, which is steeping the remainder of the packet in lemonade. I’m hoping that might balance some of the strange off-notes and bring out more of the fruitiness.

Thanks for sharing, tea-sipper!

Flavors: Berries, Cranberry, Fruity, Medicinal, Strawberry, Tart

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

Ah too bad. I often get taken up by the name and Strawberry split sounds so good.

Mastress Alita

Steeping it in lemonade worked well! Tastes somewhere between strawberry lemonade and fruit punch. More importantly, the weird medicinal notes I got steeping in water are gone.


Yeah, this one didn’t age well. It was never really STRAWBERRY SPLIT to me but the flavors are quite faded now… I don’t notice it tasting like cough syrup though!

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Pulled this for my evening sipper, from a very old TeaSource order (a still-sealed January 2018 tea). Dry leaf aroma reminds me of their Evening in Missoula tea (one of my favorites, which I sipped down recently); they do share many of the same “rootbeer” ingredients, like wild cherry bark and sarsaparilla. This one does smell a bit more spice-heavy than Evening in Missoula, which had more of a minty undertone (thanks to the wintergreen).

Brewed tea still has that strong, pleasant rootbeer aroma. I’m definitely not digging the flavor of this one as much as Evening in Missoula, though. I definitely do taste sweet sarsaparilla (the sarsaparilla and lingering licorice root sticky sweetness really do come off very rootbeer-esque), but I’m getting a lot of cinnamon and chicory on the sip as well. I like chicory, but that roasty quality feels out of place here; not so much as to make the tea unpleasant, but considering both this blend and their Evening in Missoula have a very similar flavor profile, the other blend is the clear winner for me and I wouldn’t really feel a need to have both in my cupboard.

Strong rootbeer/licorice/spice notes, with this slight roasted coffee bean flavor on the finish. It’s fine, but the crisp, clean rootbeer flavor of Evening in Missoula with the wintergreen appeals to me more. That said, I won’t have any issues sipping this down; this cup was prepared hot (and was quite nice that way) but I definitely need to try it cold brewed/iced, which I imagine would work quite nicely.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coffee, Licorice, Roasted, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Spices, Sweet

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

Whenever I restock Evening in Missoula, I may have to pick up some of this too.


Sandy here on Steepster went to Montana and came back with Evening In Missoula for us to try. I liked it. Ashman was traumatized. It was in his early tea sipping days. He drank two Cokes, brushed his teeth, drank water, and bemoaned being unable to get the taste of a whole bouquet of flowers out of his mouth. I had saved the contents of the basket to dry and put in our room like potpourri and he was horrified so I threw it away! Ha ha! I would love to try it again someday. (When he is at work.)

Ours came from Montana Tea and Spice in Missoula, but I am guessing it is the same blend. It is our benchmark now – like I ask him….was it Evening in Missoula bad to you or just bad?

Again, I really liked it! So did Sandy!

Mastress Alita

I rated Evening in Missoula a 98 (review here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/376087 ), it’s one of my favorite teas. It doesn’t taste floral to me at all (I don’t even taste the chamomile in the blend, and I hate chamomile). It’s a TeaSource blend (though tons of mom and pops wholesale it from them) and it tastes like rootbeer to me (it has wintergreen, sarsaparilla, and cherry bark in it, all very rootbeer-y herbs). This is also a TeaSource blend, and also tastes like rootbeer to me, it just isn’t as good as Evening in Missoula to me.


This reminds me it is high time for me to break out my sassafras concentrate. I need a good tonickin, as Granny Clampett would say.

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One of my oldest teas, brewed as an afternoon teatime cuppa. The dry leaf had a sweet marzipan aroma, with a bit of a tart cherry/cranberry. The tea brews up a pretty pale pink color from the hibi-hip; the brewed aroma isn’t as potent as the dry leaf, smells sweet and fruity, like honeyed nuts and red berry candy.

The flavor is a bit weak, but this is also a bit old, so hard to tell if that’s just the age peaking through. The white tea base is coming through more strongly than I expected from the dry aroma, providing a hay-like flavor. There is a light marzipan flavor, veering a little more like honeyed nuts toward the end of the sip rather than that really syrupy/alcoholy flavoring I’m used to with marzipan flavors in tea. I am not getting “cherry” but there is a sweet red berry note. I’m not tasting any hibiscus or fruity tartness; I, personally, would like a little tarter edge on the fruitiness.

I may have to try brewing this a few different ways to see if I can’t get some more flavor out of it, but this just may be the best I’m going to get from a January 2018 tea.

Flavors: Berries, Herbaceous, Honey, Hot Hay, Nutty, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Tiffany :)

Someday Jan 2018 would be oldest tea (that isn’t an aged traditional tea)… I can certainly dream and keeping sipping! :D

Mastress Alita

I finished off all my 2017 tea at the beginning of the month, so now it’s onto the old 2018 tea!

Tiffany :)

That’s awesome! I have 340283540395435 different teas in not much of an organized manner (been buying for almost 5 years) so like I said, someday I’ll have myself together haha :)

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French Friday! Randomly pulled this one from the French tea bag of happiness from Dustin! Thanks Dustin!

The dry tea smells just like cola! I love cola teas so that is promising. Brewed 2.5g for 3 minutes in 350ml 205F water. The brewed tea smells even stronger of cola; trying to break it down, it’s a generic spice note (perhaps a little sweet cinnamon forward?) and a citrusy note (smells like lemon-lime).

The tea is smooth and sweet; I get a citrusy note that tastes most closely to lime to me, but rather than having a tart or biting quality a very sweet flavor is left after the sip, like honey or vanilla. Midsip and lingering after the sip is a soft, sweet spice note, warming but not spicy. Mostly I get a sweet cinnamon note; the anise is not coming through with a licorice taste, for those worried about that.

This is described as “mulled wine” by THEODOR but I’m not getting that at all! It’s entirely warm, uncarbonated cola to me, which is one of my favorite flavors in tea. Probably my favorite I’ve had so far!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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My migraine yesterday correctly predicted waking to a fresh cover of snow this morning. It left me in a latte sort of mood.

I’ve been trying to use up a box of rice that is a brand that just isn’t a favorite that I bought when my norm was perpetually gone during COVID, and had just enough for one more rice bowl, so thought I’d try a “breakfasty” one for a change. I like to flavor my rice with tea, so I grabbed this one to give it that slight “breakfast” feel. But instead of leaving the teabag in the water the whole time, I fished it out after the rice came to a boil and decided to reuse it to make my latte, as there was a lot of leaf in it — two perfect teaspoons, more than I would ever use making a normal cup of black tea. So with slightly used leaf, I steeped for three minutes in 12 oz. 205F water, then added 4 oz. frothed regular oat milk.

Tastes like a very malty English Breakfast tea, with a honey-glazed baked bread note, and also a bit of nuttiness (which may just be the oat milk, but at least accompanies nicely). A warm maple syrup note is noticeable, and quite pleasant in latte form. I definitely need to try this one sans the milk to see if the tea has any hiding astringency and better judge the sweetness of the maple, but it does make for a good latte choice. I think I’d even enjoy mixing it with a really roasted tea too, like roated mate or houjicha. Hmm…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Nutty

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

You win the prize for healthy and creative breakfasts! My out-the-door protein bar kneels in admiration.


Additionally…maple flavoring makes sense in a Canadian breakfast tea. The only Canadian breakfast I ever remember sampling (far too long ago to remember brand or purveyor) was a straight-up black blend that wasn’t very muscular.

Mastress Alita

I just happen to be off this week, my norm is just grabbing a smoothie (that I made the night before) out of the fridge and gulping it in the car, haha.


I can’t even get the night-before routine down!

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Oof, another oldie. I got this packet of mini tuos from the freebie bag at the San Francisco Tea Festival back in 2018. I thought there was only one in the package but there were two tuos, so it’ll take slightly longer to sipdown than I expected.

Gave it a rinse to help the tuo start breaking up, then steeped for 4 minutes. Smells like dirt with a subtle smoky element, and the brew is such a dark, thick brown it looks like the coffee brewed at my workplace.

I’m not a big pu fan, but this one is pretty tolerable to me. Does have a strong dirt flavor, but it doesn’t have that muddy/marshy taste to it, and it coming off as more of a “fresh potting soil” earthy taste. Also some hot hay undertones, and that subtle Keemun smoky note.

Not my favorite type of tea, but I do like the thick and warm mouthfeel and the caffeine is soothing on a head that is upset by winter storm barometric pressure changes.

Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Hot Hay, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yay, a tolerable puerh for you!

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Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day! Today for the sipdown thread the prompt is “drink a tea that was kindly gifted to you!” Dustin kindly gave me several extra French tea samples above and beyond the THEODOR ones I purchased, including this one! Brewed as my morning cuppa.

Made my first cup with my typical black tea parameters: 2.5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The packet says to use shorter steeps, but since in general I trend to using a lot less leaf than most folks, I decided to start with my standard, then adjust for the second cup if needed. I find it interesting that the company page says the flavoring is rose and apple, because the aroma I got sniffing the dry leaf was a mix of pear, black currant, and purple grape candy!

The aroma from my cooling cup mostly just smells like pear to me, but knowing that it is supposed to be apple, I can certainly get green apple. I’m definitely smelling rose now; a gentle, sweet floral, finely mixed with the fruity aroma and not overpowering. I’m not getting a strong astringent bite from the tea liquor on the sip, so I think it steeped just fine; the base is a touch malty and a touch smoky, neither characteristics I’d peg for a Ceylon, but that’s what I taste. The fruitiness on the sip still presents as pear to me, with soft rosy undertones. I like the flavor pairing. It’s only long after the sip, once the tea has settled on my tongue, that a mellow sweet red apple flavor emerges.

This is nice! I’m really digging the rose paired with a sweet fruitiness. Thanks for the chance to try it, Dustin!

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Pear, Rose, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Kotobuki by Lupicia
824 tasting notes

I’ve had a strong craving for this tea lately. One of my earliest tea memories was trying a plum oolong as that, conceptually, sounded amazing… and that particular plum oolong was just awful. They used a darker oolong for the base, the flavoring fell flat, and the slightly woody/roasty flavor of the oolong did not match the flavoring at all ( very dated Steepster review here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/376793 ). After that I was sort of on a “quest” for a good plum oolong.

Then I discovered Lupicia, and this tea. Taiwanese Dong Ding oolong base, with French mirabelle plum flavoring. The oolong and the flavoring compliment each other so nicely; the base is soft, floral, sweet, and buttery, with a silky smooth texture. The flavoring, likewise, isn’t an intense wallop but a gentle, sweet, juicy stonefruit flavor. It doesn’t have the tart/sour elements I associate with (at least traditional) plum, tasting closer to honey, wildflowers, and a cross between apricot and plum. It has that sort of perfumy quality that I’ve noticed from my (very limited thus far) introduction to French teas.

It’s been bitter-cold in my area (common for our Februaries!) and rather than turning back to chais I’ve found myself craving spring teas instead — greens, florals, and bright, fresh fruits — teas just like this one. I guess I’m ready for spring already!

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Perfume, Plums, Stonefruit, Sweet

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

I hope you managed to restock after this sold out before we could order it!


Your description of this tea sounds so tasty. I gave up on plum flavored teas a long time ago but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Lupicia.

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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 asexual 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
-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://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited outbound gifting (USA only!)

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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