993 Tasting Notes


I’ve had this sealed bag since 2018, and have finally pulled it as my next “iced tea” sipdown. I quite like flavored whites and greens as cold brews, so that is how I’ve chosen to prepare this. It’s basically one of those “mixed fruit/hibiscus” fruit teas on a jasmine-scented white tea base.

I do get a strong “mixed berry” sort of aroma from the tea, but also the scent of grapes… which could be the jasmine, as I frequently read that note as grape-flavored. I typically vibe well with ye olde generic fruity hibi-hip iced teas, but I’m quite liking this one… I do taste blueberry and red berry and that tart fruit punchy hibiscus, but there is also a florality there which, combined with the fruit notes, tastes strongly of lychee to me. There is also a flavor that tastes like a combination of grape and plum, and there is sort of a citrusy, effervescent quality to the iced tea, which makes me think of the slight bite of either carbonation, or alcohol. There is a pleasant tartness left on the tongue after the sip which most people would probably be averse to, but I love sour/tart notes and am really digging it.

Enjoyable as is, but I’ll probably carbonate my next batch, since there is already a sort of “carbonated” quality to the tea from that sour/effervescent note… just seems like the right fit for a tea soda pop!

Flavors: Alcohol, Berries, Blueberry, Citrus, Floral, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Grapes, Hibiscus, Lychee, Pleasantly Sour, Plum, Tart

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

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I reviewed this in the past, prepared as a latte on the stove, and it wasn’t nearly strong enough. Finally getting back to trying this again.

Though I usually make chai as a latte, I brewed it this time hot and plain, and it’s already a vast improvement from what I remember. The base tea is a lovely sweet vanilla/honeyed cream, and there is a nice amount of spice without the tea being bitey. Mostly it is that peppery/citrusy taste of cardamom, with maybe a little pepper or ginger pop at the end of the sip. The rose is present but not strong or perfumy; it’s a soft, sweet floral that, mixed with the vanilla, really brings out a wildflower honey note. Rose and cardamom is a natural pairing, and this is really quite nice.

I think the sweeter vanilla black base makes this one not quite bitey enough to suit adding milk really well, though perhaps using more leaf than I’m used to for a latte could improve it. But I am really digging this as a hot tea with no additions, which will probably be my preferred method for this one going forward. Raising rating!

Flavors: Cardamom, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Ginger, Honey, Pepper, Rose, Sweet, Vanilla

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

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Another of the teas I received back in 2018 from Meowster’s cupboard destash… thank you, Meowster! I think this tea is from 2016, so it’s quite old at this point, and I’m expecting flavor degradation as a result.

2.5g steeped in 350ml 195F water for 3 minutes. I am getting a very pleasant aroma from the steeped cup; a rosy floral, citrus, and a sort of honey graham biscuity note. On the mouth, I’m tasting a strong wet autumn leaf flavor first, with a hint of cucumber/melon, and subtle rose and lemon note, and a somewhat biscuity aftertaste. The flavors do feel a bit muted, but this is holding up much better than the Malabar Estate Java OP Clonal I sipped down recently. I’m actually surprised this many notes are still presenting in this tea after so much time.

This is quite nice, I can only imagine how great it is fresh!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Citrus, Cucumber, Floral, Graham, Honey, Lemon, Melon, Rose

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Happy National Absurdity Day! Today the prompt is to drink your strangest tea blend.

I think this tea is probably the most off-the-beaten-path tea I have, as it uses a lot of savory herbs that I personally don’t really get in my tea blends, like rosemary and thyme. A blend of black and pu’erh for the base, with juniper berries, black currant, rosemary, and thyme, the aroma of my steeped cup is spot on for a forest of cedar and pine. It’s a little tickly on the nose, but pleasant.

On the sip, I’m getting a very forward pine tree flavor, which I really like. I was a little skeptical because of the herbs used (I have memories of a tea with rosemary and sage getting very savory and hard to sip) but a gentle hand must have been used here, as they are blending with the juniper note very well to add a somewhat brisker pine note, and the lingering rosemary aftertaste makes me think of sap. There is body to the tea, but it is hard to taste any base flavors beneath the strong pine flavor; a touch of musty earth, if you really reach for it. I only started to taste a subtle black current note as the tea started to cool down, which hits the back of the throat at the end of the sip. It goes nicely with the juniper notes, and I wouldn’t mind if it was a bit stronger or popped a bit more.

I didn’t really think I’d like this one much going in, but I’m really digging the strong pine flavor. I really need more juniper-forward teas in my stash.

Flavors: Berry, Earth, Fruity, Herbaceous, Menthol, Pine

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

Oh well, this sounds perfect for winter!

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Pulled this as my next nightly herbal to sip down, as this is so old it is still in Bluebird Tea Co. packaging. The fillable teabag steeping in my cup smells lovely; a sugary-sweet cinnamon note, candied nut, apples, and just a slight wiff of nutmeg.

Tastes really lovely. Sweet spices and a lot of honeyed nut notes, which are probably enhanced by the rooibos base. I get a little vanilla but it needs to be stronger, to really get that sort of cream cheese frosting note. The carrot flakes don’t really add that certain rooty flavor you’d get from actual carrot cake, it does have spot on sweetness and spices. I think the next time I’ll make it as a latte with vanilla almond milk, to push the creaminess/vanilla more.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Honey, Nutmeg, Nutty, Spices, Sweet

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

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Happy Hug a Musican Day! Today the prompt is to do a tea/musician pairing.

I know it’s crazy, but I actually don’t listen to music often. Not that I don’t like it, but when you’ve had constant migraine headaches for around two decades, you kind of adapt to having quiet spaces. I’m coming off a COVID-booster triggered migraine that just lasted me two days, so I’m not particularly in the mood to put on any music right now, either.

But I am a fan of Symphonic Metal, and picked this tea because I felt the robust Yunnan black and the sweet and delicate floral rose sort of represents that juxtaposition of the metal instruments and the classical instruments coming together. Even the rose itself has a sort of duality to its imagery of being beautiful, but also covered in thorns. It just seemed right for a musical genre that is a mashup of older and newer musical styles. (My favorite group? Within Temptation, but I’m a fan of Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, and many, many others!)

This dragon ball was a (now very long-ago) gift from Derk; thank you Derk! I steeped the whole dragon ball in 500ml 205F water, let it steep for 3-4 minutes (using a chopstick to help separate up the ball about halfway through), and then strained into the cute little black cat teapot my mother gave me as a housewarming gift.

The steeped tea smells glorious, of honeyed cream and roses. On the sip, I’m getting warm cinnamon bread slathered in honey, and a strong, sweet floral rose that is lacking both the “peppery” note I often get from rose and also any “perfumy” qualities. The tea is silky smooth, but a touch drying after the sip. Some sips I get just the slightest hint of a citrusy note, which is equally smooth and pleasant with the other flavors, and a non-descript fruitiness left on my tongue after the sip, which I can only describe as “sort of grape, sort of cherry, not really either.”

I haven’t had a rose black tea in a while as I continue to make strides on my “all-sipdowns-no-new-orders” mandate, and am finding that sweet floral/Chinese black combo is something that I’ve missed dearly, and is really hitting the spot!

Thanks again, Derk!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Rose, Smooth, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

You’re very welcome.

Evol Ving Ness

Haha, all sipdowns, no new orders. sad laugh


I also almost never listen to music. If I’m going to listen to something, I have too many podcasts I’m behind on to have time for music.


I wanted to find a tea that I could dedicate to a metal band today but apparently I drank those up last month – nothing good like a “rose mountain dragon ball” tea (that is so perfect) XD


I listen to too much music to have time for podcasts, AJRimmer. :D

Mastress Alita

I tend to put on YouTube videos that are easy to just “listen” to where I don’t have to actively pay attention to the “video” in them, and then color or knit at the same time, heh.

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I still have several super old tea packets from Meowster’s cupboard de-stash that I need to drink through! Thank you, Meowster!

So I steeped up this Indonesian tea to take to work with me this morning. The aroma of the tea is quite fruity… I’m getting the typical black-tea-malt-smell, but also a scent like stewed/warm cherries.

I can tell sipping this that the tea has gone a bit flat/is way past its prime (I received it in 2018 but have no idea how old it may have already been at that point). It’s hard to describe that flatness on the taste, but it’s there. If I look past it, I taste a pretty sharp malty black tea with a bit of astringency after the sip, edging a bit more bitter than I prefer for a black tea. There is an underlying fruitiness that I think would be more apparent with fresher leaves; as is, it is coming out a bit muted, but I do taste sort of a muscatel/raisin note and, more faintly, cherry and a non-descript florality.

Mostly, though, it’s just strong-and-dark black tea now.

I may play around with steeping parameters to see if I can smooth some of the edges out or revive some of the flavors. I think my next thermos will have a dollop of honey to see if that tames the bitterness and makes the fruit and floral pop more.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Muscatel, Raisins

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

Drinking what can easily be a 5-6 year old “regular” tea and trying to make it shine is pure dedication

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Like the Sakura no Kocha from this company, this was also a gift from Todd from his Japan trip in spring of 2018. Thanks Todd! This one also uses salt preserves for its sakura leaf, of which I’m not a fan, but I felt obligated to still try at least one cup straight and hot.

That briny/saline taste from the salt is far stronger/more apparent on the green tea base (though the Assam base of the Sakura no Kocha was very astringent, and that bitterness is probably what hid it so much on that other tea)… I just can’t seem to become a fan of that taste, even though I like the odd floral/cherry taste of the sakura itself. While not its freshest, the green tea is more on the vegetal side than the marine side, which I appreciate, tasting a little grassy, a little spinachy, and a little buttery.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for the saltiness in the flavor, I would enjoy this a lot more. For now I’m using these sakura teas as food flavorings to use up the tea.

Flavors: Butter, Cherry, Floral, Grass, Sakura, Salt, Spinach, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Not sure what prompted me, back in 2018, to order a plain white tea from August Uncommon Teas (a company known for blends), but I suspect that it had to do with the fact that, back at that time, all their flavored teas were in massive 100g size tins but this tea only sold for an ounce.

I first made a batch as cold brew, but it turned out super weak with my typical parameters… it just tasted like water to me, with an inkling of a citrus-hay note in the background. I increased the leaf for the next cold brew pitcher as an experiment to see if that gets some flavor out of it, and will have to see what tomorrow brings on it. I usually love cold brewed greens and whites, but maybe this one just isn’t cut out for it…

So this morning, I decided to drink it gong fu.

7g / 200ml / 185F / 20s|30s|40s|50s|60s|90s

The liquor smells wonderful. There is this effervescent and sort of vinegary-bite to the smell alone that makes me think of wine or champagne. There is an autumn leaf aroma, but somehow more golden and sweeter, like it is mixed with the scent of honeyed fruits. Unlike the cold brew, there is definitely flavor here. The main sip is filled with the flavors of honey, dates, hay, and autumn leaves, with a sort of dandelion blossom floral/pollen note at the end of the sip that lingers on the back of the tongue. There is a hint of melon there as well. The second steep brought out a fruitier flavor, tasting of dates, nectarine, and raisin, still with a strong hay/floral/pollen flavor in the close. On steep four, the flavor was starting to be less intense, but that also brought out a strong peach/nectarine note. The flavor was quite delicate by the fifth infusion, but I did a sixth just to use up the water I already had heated.

A nice aged white… at least prepared warm. Jury is still out on cold-brewing.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Champagne, Dandelion, Dates, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Hot Hay, Melon, Nectarine, Peach, Pollen, Raisins

185 °F / 85 °C 7 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

This sounds nice! I’d love to be able to catch all the nuances in white tea that folks write about, but I think my tastebuds have been dulled for life by too many years of strong black stuff!

Mastress Alita

I have found that I just can’t warm up to puerh no matter how much it is considered the “classy tea drinker’s choice,” but have really been enjoying aged white tea. Though I find it takes gong fu preparation to really get the most out of them, and I nearly never have the time for that. I tend to only have the time to western brew a big thermos to last an entire work day, or to dump tea in cold water and leave in the fridge overnight.


Ditto. Someday when I retire, I shall learn to gong fu properly, but until then, if it won’t work in a steeping basket, it’ll just have to wait :)

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Happy Bonfire Night! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with smoky or roasty flavor notes!

I personally can’t handle wood-smoked teas, as the strong smoke aroma gives me migraines. I tend to not like natural smoky notes in green teas (like Gunpowder) but I am fine with mellow natural smoky notes in black teas, like many Chinese blacks have. I didn’t see anything I thought could fill the bill for that, though, so I pulled one of the few 52Teas blends with lapsang in it. At least in the past, the lapsang has been subtle enough compared to the other teas in the blend to not set off my migraine sensor. Hoping for the same with this one!

I’ve mostly been making chais as lattes lately, but I brewed this one plain so I could get a sample in without any additions. I like the aroma… I do get a bit of a pine smoke smell, but not that strong overwhelming waft that turns my head off of smoked teas, and it is mixed with a strong spice aroma, mostly of cardamom and clove. I get a bit of a maple aroma coming out as the tea cools down a bit.

Mmm, I really like this! I get a strong pine flavor with a bit of smokiness, that is nicely balanced with the spices. The maple isn’t a strong note but lends a sweetness that keeps the spices from being too hot; I get a warming tickle at the back of my tongue and throat rather than a burning sensation, so this is pretty easy for me to drink plain. I may still try a latte with some of my packet though, since I think the creaminess will go well with this flavors regardless.

Flavors: Cardamom, Clove, Ginger, Maple, Nutmeg, Pine, Smoke, Smooth, Spices

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

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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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