drank 1896 by Art of Tea
886 tasting notes

May Flowers! This is one of my oldest samplers (I bought it with a birthday giftcard in March of 2017, I believe?) and it has just barely slipped past the “best by” date, so I’ve marked it as a priority for sipdown. Art of Tea has since discontinued this blend, too. Ouch. So much changes in a mere year…

This is a black tea blended with rooibos, orange peel, and hibiscus, rose, and safflower petals. I couldn’t see any rooibos in my sampler, but could smell a bit of the telltale “medicinal” scent I get when it is mixed with black leaf, but mostly the leaf smelled strongly of the black tea and rose petals.

Steeped up, the tea looks like a medium-bodied black tea and gives off a rosy aroma. The flavor presents as a nice, malty breakfast tea, but it isn’t as bitter or as astringent as most thanks to the lingering rooibos hiding in the blend; I don’t actually taste it (I’ve had some other black/rooibos blends that don’t get that balance right and the flavor can be rather inconsistent, so I consider this a good thing), but I think there is a sweetness added to the cup by its presense that helps mellow the edge off the black tea, and I actually prefer it that way. There is still a bit of astringency left after the sip, but what is left is much more mild. There is a floral sweetness to the tea as well; there is a notable rose note to the sip which is very pleasant, though it is nowhere as strong as, say, the strong rose flavoring to be had in the White Rose tea I featured a few days ago. The rose is much more muted against the strong black base here, but there is a bit of a sweet, lingering rose floral taste on the tongue in the aftertaste. I can make out a very subtle fruitiness deep in the sip which is likely from the hibiscus, but it is very faint; there is not much hibiscus here, and I doubt many would even taste that much against the strong maltiness of the black tea. If you are a hibiscusphobe, I honestly don’t think you have to worry.

Overall the impression I get is a breakfast tea with a floral touch. I find it quite nice, and will probably try it with some milk next time I make it.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Malt, Rose

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 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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