919 Tasting Notes


Happy National Eat Your Vegetables Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with vegetal flavor notes!

This is an old (likely 2017 harvest) sampler pack from Path of Cha, which sources several Chinese teas from TeaVivre (with very reasonable size options, too!) I had a little left in this sampler (I don’t remember when I opened it, but it was opened) and since I love cold brew green tea, I dumped what was left of the sampler into a mason jar and let it brew in the fridge overnight.

It’s very refreshing! The beany flavor I tend to taste first and foremost in Bi Luo Chun isn’t as strong here (not sure if that’s due to the old age of the sample or the cold preparation) but I do still taste it. I think the strongest note I’m tasting is garden peas, followed by green beans and fresh grass, with a very mild florality that pops toward the end of the sip. It isn’t as nuanced as other Bi Luo Chuns I’ve tried, and looking through my past notes, it seems I felt the same of this one previously, logged under Dazzle Deer, who also sources from TeaVivre. The Yunnan Sourcing Bi Luo Chuns I’ve sampled were a bit more complex in flavor.

That said, this is still so smooth and easy to down the whole liter so quickly, as this makes for a very quinching cold brew.

Flavors: Beany, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Peas, Vegetal

Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

I had no idea this was even a day and then saw it referenced in a newsletter I received this morning, and now again with your review! I will have to find one of the teas on my shelf that I know has a vegetal note to it and brew it up this morning. Thanks for the prompt! :)

Mastress Alita

I have a few prompts available in the forums on the “Sipdown 2021 Progress Thread,” to help aid people who are working on clearing tea out of their collections. :-)

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Happy National Red Rose Day! Today the prompt was to drink a rose tea or a tea with floral flavor notes. My first choice was actually a dragon ball containing rose that Derk gifted me ages ago, but I feel like that is better suited to gong fu, and I have to work this Saturday (boo!) so I needed something to brew-and-go. So I opted for this, which I put in my cold brew bottle last night (this time, I remembered to actually put it back in the fridge, too!)

The dry tea looks very pretty, with an abundance of rose buds, but I’m personally not much of a fan of rose buds and prefer just petals because the buds take up so much space and it’s hard to get a good mix in the scoop that isn’t a few rose buds filling the spoon. So I purposefully tried overleafing a bit, and tried to get more raspberry leaf in the final scoop. My tea this morning is a quite pretty champagne color… like a goldenrod and cotton candy pink sunset. The aroma is that of a rose garden freshly in bloom.

Honestly, despite my best efforts to diversify the leaf, all I taste is rose. Not the sweet herbal taste of raspberry leaf or any of the freeze-dried berries. As I often get with rose floral, there is a light peppery note left on the tongue, and I actually do taste a bit of an effervescent note that is alcohol-like, but that flavor is pretty mellow compared to the strength of the floral. While I have no problem with ice cold rose water, it’s something easy enough to make by just buying some rose petals from an herbal store. In a tea blend, I expect more, so even though it isn’t a flavor I dislike, I’m disappointed in it. I’m getting a little of the rosé and a whole lot of just rose… and absolutely no berry.

I’ll probably end up using up the rest of my packet making rose-flavored lemonade or steeping in milk to add rose-flavored milk to my smoothies.

Flavors: Alcohol, Floral, Pepper, Rose

Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Ha, started Rose Day early with a first steep of this one last night. It IS very rosey around these parts – it’s funny all the varieties of roses bloom at once, so the day definitely fits!

Mastress Alita

I still remember visiting the huge Rose Gardens in Portland in July of 2019, which were still in full bloom and gorgeous!


ah, I bet that was such an experience. :D

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French Friday! This sampler came from Dustin, thank you! I figured I wouldn’t have enough time to brew tea before work (as has been the case most Fridays lately) and I’ve gotten so used to just grabbing a water bottle of iced tea out of the fridge in the mornings, that I dumped this into my cold brew bottle and brewed over night. I accidentally left it on the counter instead of putting it into the fridge, though… room temperature brew?

Attempting to shock the tea into ice-cold-without-using-ice this morning, but took a small amount for sampling. Smells very peachy! I feel like I even get an impression of the fuzz from the peach scent of the brew. The… green tea has gone quite bitter on me, so I don’t know if that is on account of me being a derp that didn’t get the cold brew into the fridge, or me being a derp that didn’t measure the leaf and figured I’d use the same amount of water (24 oz.) that I’ve been using for all these samples when made hot. If I wince through it, I can taste a sweet peach and a melon flavor. This would probably have been a wonderful cold brew, if I’d managed to prepare it right. As is, it’s too bitter to drink.

Out of curiosity, grabbed the water bottle I’d filled out of the fridge and it isn’t nearly so bitter/astringent! Perhaps the sample I took from my cold brew bottle, which was at the bottom and could’ve been a stronger concentration of leaf dusties, was the problem. To further combat the astringency I got in this brew I decided to carbonate the tea rather than just drink cold brew… and that helped immensely! Get a nice peach and melon candy flavor, and the edge I was getting from the green tea leaves is gone under the Co2 taste/texture.

Flavors: Astringent, Candy, Fruity, Grass, Melon, Peach

Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I’ve been almost exclusively drinking cold brews right now, as our weather here turned from rainy/mildly pleasant to Satan’s butt-crack hot overnight. But I woke up this morning with that froggy throat from breathing with your mouth open all night, and wanted something warm to moisten it back up.

Still have this single sachet teabag from the goodie bag at the San Francisco International Tea Fest 2018! I steeped my teabag for 3 minutes in 350ml of 205F water. Tea is a pretty goldenrod color and has the aroma I associate with “Chinese restaurant oolong”. Sort of a floral-forward wildflower honey aroma, orange blossom, and roasted nuts. Those flavors carry over very well to the sip. Sweet and smooth honey-roasted nuts and a floral/fruity orange blossom. A slight minerality in the aftertaste.

Really enjoyable!

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Roasted Nuts, Smooth

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

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French Friday! This sample is courtesy of Dustin, thank you!

Woke up with a terrible migraine and just wanted to sleep (I’m sure my job is going to wail on me come next week for being out on a weekend-adjacent day… because I apparently have control over when my chronic migraine happens rolls eyes ) so this morning when I fed the cat, I dumped this in a cold brew bottle, stuck it in the fridge, and headed back into bed. It’s now noon and I’ve woken again, and hoping the tea is sufficently steeped over the last four hours.

The oolong base in this is a slightly roasty sort, which I wouldn’t have guessed from the leaf. The description from the company says it has “exotic fruit flavor” and pineapple, but I don’t really taste either. I taste the roasty base, which, cold brewed, is tasting a little nutty and graham biscuity, but the only flavor I can pick out aside from the base oolong is sort of a mild blood orange. It’s reminding me a bit of a choco-orange dessert in flavor, which I really have no complaints about.

The description sounded in the vein of a “tropical” flavor profile hense thinking it would be a good cold brew candidate. Ultimately that isn’t what I got, but I’m still enjoying this cold, roasty oolong during a snap heat wave.

Thanks for letting me try it!

Flavors: Blood Orange, Cocoa, Graham Cracker, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted Nuts

Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Sakura & Berry by Lupicia
919 tasting notes

Happy World Milk Day! Today the prompt is “add a milk (non-dairy is fine!) to a tea.”

This is my final tea from Lupicia’s sakura line-up all the way back in 2018, when they still had a US base in California. I also like it much more than the other Lupicia sakura offerings, which waned too salty/salinic in flavor for my personal tastes due to the salt-preserves Lupicia uses on the sakura leaf. This tea, which has added strawberry flavoring, comes off sweeter and fruitier and I don’t taste the salt. I get a strawberry and sakura mochi feel, which is very pleasant! It’s probably the one sakura tea from Lupicia I’d happily restock sometime.

The only downside to it is that the base is a CTC that wanes on the strong/brisk/overly tannic side. I use a shorter steep for my black teas in general (3 minutes) and even with that, it is almost too bitey for me. I drank their other sakura teas as lattes just to combat the saltiness with the sweeter milk, but I thought this one would do well as a latte too, just because of the strength of the black base.

I prepared 12 oz. of tea to 4 oz. of vanilla almond milk (my favorite kind of non-milk to use because of its natural sweetness/creaminess and it froths nicely in my milk warmer/frother). I used extra leaf for the tea to accomodate the milk, but kept my steep to three minutes. I can still taste a bready/leafy quality from the base, but the milk does help temper that astringent bite at the end of the sip, and the strawberry and sakura flavors are still present and tasty, and perhaps even a bit more candy-like with the addition of the creamy vanilla-flavored milk.

A very satisfying latte!

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Floral, Malt, Sakura, Strawberry, Sweet, Tannin

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

I love reading your tasting notes Mastress Alita :)

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French Friday! This was the packet I grabbed from the sampler bag today, courtesy of Dustin. Thanks Dustin!

The dry leaf is reminding me of strawberry cream candies, like the hard disc candy with the pink stripes, and a bit floral, leaning rosy. Steeped 2.8g of leaf in 350ml of 175F water for 3 minutes.

Steeped up, I’m getting the same strawberries, cream, and rose aroma, but also something sort of biscuity/graham-like. On the tongue, though, the flavors aren’t popping for me much. I’m getting a dry hay-like flavor from the green base, and while I can clearly smell the strawberry and rose, I don’t really taste either. There is a subtle sweetness at the end of the sip, but it isn’t distinct. It isn’t strong, but I am tasting that slight graham cracker note during the sip.

It smells so inviting, but the taste just isn’t living up to the aroma.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Floral, Graham Cracker, Hot Hay

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

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Happy National Blueberry Cheesecake Day! (I’m having a cheesecake ice cream right now, but it is lemon, not blueberry. Still delicious, though!)

I’m in my “herbal only” hours and honestly… couldn’t find any blueberry tisanes in my stash that weren’t “too new” (I’m trying to keep all “newer” packages air sealed until I clear out my old stash!) This tea is definitely old, but it’s also a white tea… I know people say white tea “isn’t very caffeinated” but there have been occassions I got pumpin’ after a cup, so I’m not so sure how much I believe that. I’m just hoping that this won’t keep me up past my bedtime!

Cold brewed. The cup is very faintly pink from the hibi-hip. The sip is very blueberry! A sweet blueberry that reminds me of the blueberry in a muffin. I love hibi-hip but am not getting any tart/tangy/fruit punchy notes in this. Perhaps the white tea base is a stronger flavor prepared warm, but at least in my cold brew, I’m really just tasting the blueberry. There is a very faint cucumber/melon rind water flavor in the background. I think I’ll have to try this one as a tea soda soon!

Flavors: Blueberry, Cucumber, Fruity, Melon, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more

That cheesecake ice cream sounds tasty! I’ve gotten super caffeinated from gongfuing white teas, though cold brewing a flavoured one might have less of an effect.

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I’m fairly certain I’ve had Tea Chai Te’s Lady Londonderry before, but I don’t seem to have a review of it, only one for English Tea Store. I got a sample of this in an order last year, and it was the last flavored black tea sampler left in my stash, so I figured I should just finish it off.

They recommended a 2 minute steep, but I did my typical 3 minute steep in 350ml 205F water for half the sample (about 2.8g). The other half of the sample was brewed the same for the work thermos. The tea has a nice aroma; a jammy strawberry scent, but something about the smell sort of reminds me of Red Vines or cherry cola. Though I didn’t get it on the nose, taking a sip the lemon citrus note is very forward, and it has a very juicy feel to it; like freshly squeezed lemon juice. There is a touch of tanginess from it, but mostly that is mellowed by the sweeter strawberry note that comes in later in the sip and sort of lingers on the tongue in the aftertaste. The strawberry is definitely a more subtle flavor than the lemon, and I get a vague, sweeter strawberry lemonade sort of vibe from the taste. The black tea is very smooth prepared this way, and I don’t have any astringent aftertaste.

This seems to be pretty spot on to my impressions on the English Tea Store version, re-reading my notes, and I would be tempted to believe maybe they both source from the same place, except I did notice mild astringency from the other version, leading me to think this might be a slightly higher quality base tea. Regardless, this is a lovely cuppa and one I probably wouldn’t mind having in my cupboard again at some point, especially for iced tea season.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Candy, Citrus, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Tangy

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

Wow, I had forgotten Lady Londonderry tea, but I sure don’t know how I did! I bought a pound bag years ago from English Tea Shop.

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Happy National Vanilla Pudding Day!

I reviewed this recently so I’m not going to say much (check that note here if you missed it: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/418976 )

Been drinking this a lot as it’s one of the 50g bags in my sipdown focus area. My favorite way to drink it? Brewing a cold batch (steeped warm, then chilled in the fridge overnight) and then infusing it with Co2 to make a carbonated tea soda/pop. Reminds me of vanilla cola!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cream, Fruity, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

Iced 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 32 OZ / 946 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
-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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