989 Tasting Notes


This tea is my go-to brew for sore throats. It got me through a nasty bought of Viral Pharyngitis, and is my most gifted tea whenever I have a friend or coworker that has the sniffles or a cough. The peppermint/licorice root/clove combination is a winner for throat maladies, and not only that, it tastes great, too! It has a brisk, minty flavor, but there is this refreshing burst of sweetness from the licorice root in the finish that keeps the menthol from getting too overwhelming, a problem I have with a lot of mint teas. I can also pick up just a hint of this clove flavor on the back of my tongue, but it isn’t a spiciness, just a taste added to the overall profile, since the tea is so naturally sweet. I /really/ like that, since normally clove is only present in really spicy teas. It compliments the mint flavor in such a fascinating way! The tea blend is quite simple, with very few ingredients, but each are used in just the right way. Everything feels balanced and meant to be there, when so many blends feel filled with superfluous ingredients that often times can’t be tasted or seem puzzling why they are present. This is not only an excellent tea if you’re stuck with a winter cold, but an excellent tea, period.

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/tea57/

Flavors: Clove, Licorice, Mint, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Oh man. I realize that there are teas that taste bad but are worth drinking for their health benefits but… no. Just no. I don’t care how bad I need “hormonal balance” for migraines or what other women’s health shenanigans this raspberry leaf will probably help me with, this stuff tastes Nasty. Yes, with a capital N.

Now, to be fair, I can actually swallow it, which is more than I can say for another women’s tea blend I had in the past that had alfalfa in it, which was so bad that I gagged on it and had to promptly throw it in the garbage. There is a slight sweetness to this, and even some very subtle berry-like notes, but the dominant flavor is this really unpleasant grassy taste. Not a nice, vegetative, green tea sort of grassiness, but like I’ve actually just steeped a cup of lawn clippings. Blech.

I could certainly finish this cup if I felt inclined, and if I really did want to get the benefits of raspberry leaf for women’s health, there are certainly worse options out there (PTSD flashbacks to that alfalfa tea…) But I have this lovely blend, Raspberry Limeade by Nil Organic Tea, that uses whole loose raspberry leaf where it is mixed with lime extract, raspberry flavor, and hibiscus, among other things, and they’ve masked most of that unpleasant leafy taste and turned it into a refreshing summer punch flavor. Now that is the sort of way I’d rather take my raspberry leaf! Give me the whole “spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” approach.

…Does it count as a sipdown if I toss the box of this I was gifted into the trash? (shifty eyes)

Flavors: Berry, Cut Grass, Hay, Sweet

Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Lexie Aleah

I felt the same about this one. It reminded me too much of Milk Thistle tea bleh. I usually actually like a lot of medicinal teas but this one was undrinkable for me.

Mastress Alita

Oh man, there is a tea out there as bad as this one?! I am definitely putting Milk Thistle on my “avoid at all costs” list then…

I think for me I can handle unsavory-yet-healthful herbals as long as they are blended with other things to make them more palatable. I was one of those kids that would gag on liquid medicine and took pills and capsules at an age that doctors thought was impossible because it was the only way I could get the stuff down, because the taste of syrupy medicines was just too terrible for me. As long as the herbs are mixed together to taste somewhat pleasant I’m okay, but plain like this I think it harkens me back to those days.

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drank Tummy Tea by T2
989 tasting notes

My second sipdown from the T2 herbal sampler. I actually woke up this morning with my stomach feeling a bit woozy, so I either have a headache coming on or ate something weird before bed that I no longer remember. With me, either is likely, heh.

This is a very minty tea, with a lot of sweet licorice root in the finish. To me it tastes just like TeaSource’s Margaret’s Soother tea, although it lacks the pizazz the clove adds to that blend. It is light and soothing and would work equally well on a sore throat with its combination of peppermint and licorice root, but for nausea, I think I’ll still reach for my peppermint/ginger blend. This blend tastes fine, but it doesn’t taste or do anything that I don’t already have covered by another tea blend, so ultimately it is a bit superfluous to me.

Flavors: Licorice, Mint, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Detox by T2
989 tasting notes

T2 had a big clearance sale at the beginning of this month, so I stocked up on all their sampler pack sets from their unneeded holiday stock. This tea was in their herbal set, and the sample holds two cuppa tea, so another sipdown for me! (Progress!)

The dominant flavor in this blend was definitely the spearmint, which I tend to not care for as much as peppermint but it was balanced out well by other flavor notes. The tea had a nice natural sweetness to it from the licorice, and there were some delicate citrus notes, but it didn’t have the sort of strong lemony flavor I come to expect whenever lemongrass is involved; the citrus was far more subtle than I was expecting. What really surprised me is I tasted that same sort of savory “vegetable soup broth” taste that I was picking up on from AmberFreda’s Detox blend, so I’m glad that I tried these two detox tea blends back-to-back: comparing the ingredients, what they appear to have in common is nettle, so now I know where to place that flavor. It seems stinging nettle is commonly described as tasting like spinach, and I’m not exactly getting a “spinach” flavor, but I don’t think that “vegetable broth” is that far off, either. Maybe it’s just how my palate is picking up on it?

I wouldn’t say the tea is the most aromatic, but the taste is pretty good. I think overall I like the other detox tea I tried just a bit better for having such a unique, savory flavor, but appreciate the lack of spicy ginger in this blend, which makes this blend a bit more of a relaxing nighttime sip.

Flavors: Citrus, Spearmint, Sweet, Vegetable Broth

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Detox Tea by AmberFreda
989 tasting notes

Sipdown! This is another sample that was graciously gifted to me from my sister from an Etsy seller that we both enjoy for her fresh quality herbal blends at very good prices. This is her Detox blend, which includes several herbs I haven’t had in tea yet (namely the red clover, nettle, and dandelion) so I admittedly am not exactly sure what to expect from the taste!

The flavor of this tea was quite interesting! It had a very spicy lemon flavor, as I could easy make out the citrus notes of the lemon balm and the spicy heat of the ginger at the back of my tongue, and I could also make out a bit of a minty flavor. But there was something… well… savory about it that I couldn’t quite put my finger on! It reminded me of a nice veggie soup broth, though I couldn’t say exactly what herb or flavor was producing it. It certainly wasn’t unpleasant! Even though that might sound strange, I actually found the tea quite nice, although perhaps with a /bit/ too much ginger (I tend to find Amber’s blends a bit ginger-heavy, especially her Headache Tea which I have to mix with another tea to cut back on some of the overly ginger flavor and heat a bit, since my tongue doesn’t take spiciness that well). Still, I’m kind of digging the sort of savory feel of the overall blend, and since I can’t use the broth packets in ramen (MSG is a migraine trigger for me!) and use tea for ramen broth instead (I have a lemon spice tea that is my favorite for this purpose currently) I’m suddenly envisioning this tea, with its somewhat brothy, savory notes, plus its lemon-ginger notes, as being an even better choice for that! I may have to pick up some of this the next time I restock from this seller.

Flavors: Citrus, Ginger, Lemon, Mint, Umami, Vegetable Broth

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I first sampled this tea on a very snowy day last winter at my favorite lunch haunt in town, Twin Beans, which sources a small selection of TeaSource teas. The very kind owner there recommended this to me as just the sort of thing to warm me up during the blizzard we were having that day, knowing that (especially at the time) I was a fan of flavored blends. It was an impeccable choice; I ended up adding that tea onto my order the next time I made an order from TeaSource!

What I enjoy about this tea is that it is a full-bodied, dark tea with a very roasted, nutty flavor that doesn’t take a sweet, dessert route with a bunch of marzipan flavoring. It isn’t that I don’t like those teas, but they seem to be the norm when it comes to nutty-flavored teas, and it’s much harder to find something with a nutty appeal that is more savory and robust. This tea mixes the China black with roasted yerba mate and houjicha, teas which have a very natural “roasted” or “nutty” flavor to them, which gives the base that sort of a roasted nut flavor. There is a slight natural sweetness to the cup, which to me is a bit like dark chocolate or maple, and blends well with the overall flavor. For being such a dark tea, it is surprisingly smooth and free of astringency, and one of my favorite breakfast teas.

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/tea48/

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Maple, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Toasty

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Velvet Tea by Art of Tea
989 tasting notes

Sipped down another sampler in my collection! This is the first chocolate mint rooibos I’ve tried, and I found it enjoyable enough, but after trying a few others of that flavor profile and going back to this one, it certainly isn’t my favorite of the bunch. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, but I’ve had other choco-mint rooibos with a more creamy feel to them, and for this flavor combo, I just think I prefer that mouthfeel much more. For all the chocolate that is in this tea, I also find the chocolate notes are pretty subtle for how much chocolate is listed in the ingredients of this tea; it’s there, but becomes more of a subnote to the sweet taste of the rooibos/honeybush base and the much stronger minty notes. I’d prefer a bit more balance of the chocolate and mint, personally. It is a perfectly servicable tea, I’ve just had better chocolate mint rooibos blends.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Rooibos, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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This is one of the custom chais I picked up from Tea Chai Te, a tea shop I found on vacation in Portland last March that I absolutely adored (this was actually the first pot my friend and I shared at the shop, and I ended up taking some of this blend home with me!) This is an herbal chai blend that is like a spicy Mexican hot chocolate; the base is delicious Guittard cocoa powder, mixed with chai spices! Despite not having a strong black tea base, this by no means is not a chai without a bite, and I can’t imagine anyone being able to take this chai plain; it steeps a very dark color, like dark chocolate in a cup, has a very bittersweet bite (much like straight baking chocolate), and is very, very spicy! This is a chai meant to be taken with milk and sugar! I like to use just a little chocolate almond milk, since then I don’t have to fuss with finding just the right amount of sweetener, since the milk already has a sweet touch. I tend to take this one with a 3/4s tea to 1/4 milk ratio, just to make it nice and creamy, balance out the spices, and sweeten out the cocoa a bit.

This is a great chai if you like cocoa with a kick! It has a rich chocolately flavor, but there is a bit of spicy heat right at the back of the tongue in the finish. There is a faint peppery note on the tip of the tongue and some cardamom notes, but the dominant flavor for me is a hot gingery flavor, which compliments the chocolate well. The tea is pretty versatile, and more or less milk and sweetener can be added to your tastes depending on how spicy (or not spicy) you enjoy taking your foods. I’m the sort of person that has to take 0-stars on my Thai food, and find this a pretty robust chai, but can handle it fine with the right sweetened milk. If you are particularly sensitive to ginger (or don’t like ginger) then this probably isn’t the chai for you. If you like spicy-choco, I’d recommend giving this a try!

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/tea56/

Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Ginger, Pepper, Spicy

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I picked this one up at the Saturday Market in Portland, Oregon last March during vacation, but tried it for the first time a few weeks ago. I should’ve sampled it sooner, this tea is amazing! The recommended steeping instructions on my packaging said to use two teaspoons of leaf and steep for five minutes in boiling water, but that created a very strong, tart flavor. My palate tends to take tart flavors fairly well, and it reminded me a bit of those “love ’em or hate ’em” specialty ultra dark South American chocolates that have a really rich, strong bite to them, that tend to be a bit on the bitter side, and have some natural fruity flavor notes. I got the impression the tea was meant to be taken as a latte, so I added a bit of warm chocolate almond milk, just to add a little sweetness and creaminess all in one go, and… oh goodness, suddenly this overly-tart tea turned into rich chocolate-covered cherries! It tasted just like cherry cordials! It is just the right amount of sweet, with a fruity bite, and creamy, creamy chocolate! I think I’m in love… It definitely takes a little fiddling to find your sweet spot of tea/milk/sweetener ratio, but once you do, it’s so worth it!

Full Review: https://teatimetuesdayreviews.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/tea56/

Flavors: Berries, Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Sexy Tea by AmberFreda
989 tasting notes

I received a sample of this tea some time ago from my sister (thanks, sis!) I wasn’t exactly all that interested in the proposed “herbal benefits” (I mean, I’m asexual, I don’t have much need for a tea that acts as an aphrodisiac) I just like sampling teas I haven’t tried yet for the taste, and I hadn’t even heard of the majority of the herbs that consisted of this blend!

The tea has an interesting smell… earthy, but with a cinnamon sweetness. I’m reminded a little of ginger candies. The steeped cup had an earthy smell with a sweet cinnamon scent. I was a bit worried about the flavor, because I’m not much of a fan of ginseng (it tastes like musty medicine to me) but this tea didn’t taste like that at all to me. It was very sweet, with notes of cinnamon and maple and something that tasted a bit citrusy, with this mellow earthiness pulling it all together. It was actually a lot more pleasant than I was expecting — herbal wellness teas typically are put together for the properties of the herbs, not their flavor, and I usually just can’t stomach ginseng. I was really enjoy the taste of the cup!

But then I started to notice an ache in my head… now, I do have intractable chronic migraine (I get around 7-15 migraines a month) so it is entirely possible that it is completely coincidence, but I figured maybe I should look into some of those herbs. What I found most interesting is that gingko biloba, found in this blend, has “terpenoids (such as ginkgolides) which improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of platelets.” It has actually been used as a treatment by many migraineurs, but just like caffeine, which is also a dilator of blood vessels, it is helpful for some migraineurs, but actually a migraine trigger for others. And I have a sneaking suspicion I may have just discovered that gingko biloba may be a migraine trigger for me!

In any event, while I found the taste of the tea quite interesting enough to explore again, I’m going to stick with my head-instincts on this one that one cup is enough, and avoid that particular ingredient in the future. If you are suseptible to headaches, this just might be a savior or a curse for you! (And as for the “sexy” properties, well… I’m the wrong person to ask, sorry!)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Ginger, Maple Syrup, Wet Earth

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 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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