969 Tasting Notes


Cat woke me for breakfast much earlier than I was prepared for this particular Saturday morning, and after blearily glazing over my tea spreadsheet after all the things in my sipdown corner didn’t feel “right,” I finally settled on this 2018 tea for my morning tea therapy.

The aroma when I cut open the sealed package was strongly that sort of chocolate liqueur smell I often get with chocolate teas. The brewed tea is that chocolate liqueur taste, too, with perhaps a slight fudgy edge. The toasted rice is also quite promiment, and that nutty, roasted quality pairs nicely with the chocolate.

I seem to be in the minority, as the other reviews on this tea are getting a lot of white chocolate/cream elements and less chocolate, and I’m the opposite… all chocolate, none of the cream. Perhaps it is age, or the luck of what ended up in my 3g brewing portion.

Not a favorite, but not unpleasant, either. Chocolate + toasted rice pair nicely and are comforting on this half-conscious morning.

Flavors: Alcohol, Chocolate, Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Toasted Rice

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

I was woken up early because the business I live beside loves to send out an employee with a leaf blower at like 6 AM. Whyyyyy

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Happy World Mental Health Day! Today the prompt is to drink a favorite spirit-lifting comfort tea!

This is one of mine, and one I tend to hide in the back of the cupboard, telling myself, “It’s too good to drink it too often!” …Which is silly (especially for a coconut tea!) and something I’ve tried to be better about. I have actually pulled this out a few times this last week, as I just love this flavor combination of sweet coconut, rich cocoa shells, and a lovely kissing of floral lavender. I’m a fan of lavender with chocolate and lavender with coconut, so these flavors just work perfectly for me. I also love the nutty/caramelly rooibos base which allows me to enjoy this decadent tea right before bed. It’s definitely a comfort, and right when I need it (my kitty goes in for some oral surgery tomorrow, and I’m an overly worried fur parent).

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Coconut, Floral, Lavender, Sweet

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

Lazy Boy is a good choice for mental health tea for me too. Luckily it’s a blend B&B has in stock all the time (at least for now). How did your kitty buddy do?

Mastress Alita

She didn’t eat for a few days, but once she started eating again and I could give her pain meds through treats, she really started to bounce back. Other than being a little low energy in regards to play time, she’s pretty much back to herself. :-)


That’s good!

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Happy National Chess Day! Today the prompt is to drink a black tea or a white tea!

This is my black tea, provided from a long ago cupboard de-stash by Meowster. Thanks Meowster! I received the tea in 2018 but am sure it is far older than that. Steeped the 4g sample in 500ml 195F water for 3 minutes.

For its age, I’m rather shocked how aromatic this tea is. There is a strong syrupy fruity muscatel/raisin aroma mixed with a florality that is veering on perfumy. I also smell malt, baked bread, and honey… I could be happy just sticking this teacup under my nose all day.

The flavor is a lot more brisk than I was expecting from the sweet aroma. The malt and baked bread characteristics are the strongest notes, with the muscatel/floral notes rather mellow and subdued. There is quite a bitter bite of astrigency after the sip which may be stopping me from tasting the more nuanced characteristics of the aftertaste.

Based on the aroma, I bet this tea was standout while fresh. The flavor now is more bitter than I prefer for blacks and doesn’t hold up to the wonderful aroma, but it is a fine breakfast tea.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Biting, Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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I’m not sure what possessed past me to buy a 2oz bag of puerh tuo chas, when I don’t even really like unblended puerh. But I did, and now I have to drink through that fact…

It’s still raining here, so at least it seems appropriate for the weather. I placed one tuo cha to steep in 350ml of 205F water, and just left it there for about ten minutes before straining.

There is a strong leather aroma from the steeped tea that is quite pleasant — I’ve been working on a project in our local special archives collection, the Idaho and Pacific Northwest History Room, and it reminds me of that old book smell, though smokier, and with a bit of a peppery spice.

Tastes pretty good, too! The earthiness is rich and deep rather than the dirt/potting soil taste I usually get. There is a bit of a wet rock/plant taste, but again, it’s very smooth and not that “swampy/marshy” sort of taste. And the leather/smoke/pepper flavor is so strong that it really gives it some dimension.

Pretty impressive for cheap tuos.

Flavors: Earth, Leather, Pepper, Smoke, Smooth, Spices, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

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

Book smell :) (inhaling imaginary scent)

Mastress Alita

I love book smell! Being a librarian fits me. :-)


Playing in the archives sounds like fun! I am the unlikely custodian (it has absolutely nothing to do with my job description) of a history of our school district originally written longhand by a sweet octogenarian retired history teacher. I helped transcribe his work back in the ‘90s (he researched us clear back to the 1890’s) and have managed to keep the electronic files viable, but with too many more Windows mutations, I’m afraid we’ll lose them, so I’m in the process of actually printing out hard copies and sharing them with some other staff members so that they aren’t lost once I’m no longer there.


Oh good, a puerh you like! See, I feel like puerh is usually an acquired taste for most. I also love to drink puerh on rainy days and old book smell. :D

Mastress Alita

I seem to get most of the really gritty/dirty/marshy tasting ones. Whenever I don’t, I tend to like it just fine. Our rain is persisting (very unusual weather for this area!) so I’ve been drinking a lot of pu’erh and houjicha.

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Last weekend my sister was visiting, and the weather was so nice that we went and had tea in the park. This was the tea I brought along, which we steeped out in my shiboridashi until the hot water from the thermos was out. As my focus was my sister and not the tea, I didn’t take any session notes.

Very different weather today — rain! — but it also puts me in the mood for hojicha, so I steeped up a couple cups for my work thermos. 5g for 500ml 195F water, steeped 3 minutes western-style.

The dry leaf has a strong “freshly cut” cedar wood sort of aroma, with the vaguest hint of cinnamon. The steeped liquor is a lovely deep brown, somewhere between maple syrup and coffee in shade.

Has a lovely fresh woody flavor, trending to a sweet nutty taste at the end of the sip. Also a mild autumn leaf flavor. A nice roasty tea for a dreary day.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cedar, Cinnamon, Nutty, Roasted, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Do you use the same shiboridashi for several types of tea or only for hojicha?

Mastress Alita

All types, since it isn’t made of clay. (For fine, small leaf, like many green teas, I have to pour through a strainer).

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you. I am wondering just how much tea ware I need. An endless supply, apparently.

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I’ve been drinking this cold brew and have just emptied out the pouch.

While I enjoy the “fruity hibiscus” style of tea, I never really expect much from them. Fruit punch with a different dominant fruity flavor plastered over the top. Non-complex, good thirst-quenching water bottle tea. (Plus, I enjoy the tart!)

So I was surprised with how much this one really does taste like Pink Lemonade. At its core, it really is just a “fruity hibiscus” with citrus being the dominant fruit flavor plastered over the top, but the citrus is so juicy and authentic tasting that even I, the Queen of Tart Tea, puckered on the first sip (I was fine after that, though, so it didn’t manage to de-throne me). Bright, juicy, and pithy, with enough of that fruit punch flavor from the hibiscus to sort of bring in that non-descript punchy/berry taste of Pink Lemonade. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Not sure how I’d feel about something like this as a hot cup, but it’s a bangin’ iced tea.

Flavors: Citrus, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Orange, Orange Zest, Pleasantly Sour, Tart

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

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I haven’t reviewed this one either?!

My most local teashop (they closed permanently due to Covid) at one point carried “Pomegranate Cranberry” black tea, from International Tea Importers. I really loved that tea. The next year when I visited them, they had “Pomegranate Black” on the menu which I assumed was the same tea, but instead it was the same tea that comes from TeaSource (whatever that source may be, but it isn’t the ITI blend). I never quite warmed up to it the same way, and it appears that TeaSource isn’t carrying it anymore (though other tea shops are still sourcing it).

The dry tea does have a pretty sharp/fruity aroma that simulates pomegranate fairly well. The steeped cup has a leather/smoky note from the Chinese base, and the sharp fruitiness has turned a bit medicinal in aroma. There is a nice flority to the aroma as well, but nothing like the distinct peony floral note that the “Pomegranate Cranberry” I liked so much had.

The base really comes through on this one, and I’m a fan of Chinese blacks… deep, a hint smoky, a hint rosy. A fruitiness is present, but either the flavoring itself or that flavor combined with a Chinese is somehow making it come off with a slightly metallic tang and it just tastes like watered down Robotussin to me.

Conclusion… I still don’t vibe with this tea. I just want to use up the package so that one day, I can replace it with the ITI blend.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Leather, Medicinal, Metallic, Pomegranate, Rose, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I was sure I’d reviewed this before, but my Steepster.txt file can’t find it, so I guess I haven’t?

This bag is quite old now, so I started working on sipping it down as cold brew, and have the last batch in the fridge. I’m sure I’ve had this tea warm before, but I’ve found it quite enjoyable cold brewed. I really like the peach flavoring Lupicia uses, which is nicely fruity and sweet but doesn’t come off like Peachy-Os. The floral qualities of the oolong are a nice accompaniment, as well. It’s been very refreshing during this hot-day cold-night transition, and has a sort of effervescent quality to the taste.

Lupicia does fruity oolong so well. I dig!

Flavors: Alcohol, Floral, Fruity, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 8 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Cameron B.

They do have very nice peach teas, I think I love Momo Vert the most. And yasss their fruity oolongs are the best!


This is one of my favorites to cold brew as well. Lupicia really does have the best peach flavoring!

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Happy National Pancake Day! Tpdau the prompt is to drink a maple-flavored tea or a tea with maple flavor notes!

Last time I had and reviewed this tea, I’d prepared it as a latte. I’ve been meaning to revisit and make a straight-and-hot cuppa and hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Until now!

Most of the leaf is quite fine… looks like a CTC black mixed with another full leaf black. The aroma from the leaf gives me a strong autumn leaves vibe, underneath a sweet aroma of caramel and maple. Steeped, it produces a very dark, coffee-colored cup. The sweet aroma is very prominant off the warm cup; I smell burnt sugar, maple, and a sort of fruity berry sweetness.

The black tea is quite strong… I definitely taste malt, toasted bread, and autumn leaves, with a bit of astrigency left on the back of my tongue after the sip. I think it would probably come off even harsher if not for the sweet maple which mellows it somewhat. The maple really does give off a burnt sugar/honey sort of vibe.

This is definitely potent enough to have “breakfast” in the name of the tea. It’s fine plain, but I think I enjoy it with milk more. It’s strong enough to take it, the maple tastes really nice with that added creamy element, and the milk takes away the bitter aftertaste.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Malt, Maple

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Last tea from my TeaFest PDX fundraiser bag! I was the most leery of this one, since it is a CBD tea… not that I have a problem with CBD, but I got violently ill once trying a THC product, and now anything with that “skunky” hemp smell just sets off my stomach in the worst of ways. I’ve read about other CBD teas having noticable skunk funk, so I’ve just sort of avoided them…

But, this was a free sample and my lower back is really killing me after work tonight, so I figured why not give it a try? I’m not noticing it from the dry leaf, which oddly has a sort of barky/cinnamon smell through the teabag, when this ia rooibos/floral blend. Once the hot water hit it, though… Gag, skunk.

To give it some credit, I am extremely sensitive to that particular aroma, and it could be much worse, as I also smell quite a bit of rose. A bit of a peppery smell, too (which is probably from the rose).

Take a sip, and… nope, nope, nope. It’s the skunk taste. It’s all I can taste. The taste is stuck at the back of my throat and will not go away no matter how many times I try rinsing with another drink!

I don’t throw away tea lightly, but… tosses immediately


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

Ugh, sorry you had that experience.


Sounds delightful!


Skunk butt, yummy.


Thinking back, the only tea I’ve rated a “1” was that Sakura Vert from Lupicia. I, too, described the “1” tea as BUTT. All ones are nASStea.

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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
-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 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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