Sampler Sipdown September! This was a sampler I got ages ago (like, a year ago now?) from California Tea & Herbal as an order freebie (I’ll admit, I ordered from them only because I wanted 2 oz. of Rishi’s West Cape Chai, and Rishi only sells it themselves in a ridiculous 1 lb. size… like I have the space for that in my tiny apartment! CalTeas happened to source that tea from Rishi in the size I wanted, soooooo…)

California Tea & Herbal lists this tea as “Citrus Mint Rooibos,” and it took me a long time to Nancy Drew out the source of the blend, which as it turns out is wholesale company East Indies Coffee & Tea’s “Lemon Souffle”.

Steeped this sampler up in my small Japanese teapot, which holds 16 oz. (I am really enjoying making a small herbal pot of tea before bed in this teapot!) The steeped tea has a creamy aroma reminescent of vanilla, which I really was not expecting from the “Citrus Mint” name on the sampler package. The tea has a very sweet base, with some caramel/toffee notes, and I’m really impressed with the particular blend of red rooibos, green rooibos, and honeybush that has achieved this flavor; it doesn’t come off as woody or medicinal at all. The main flavor note I’m getting in the tea is lemon, and it’s a creamy sort of lemon zest flavor, like would be in a dessert; the exact opposite of the strong, overbearing, furniture polish sort of lemon flavor I was getting from the last cup of tea I tried. This is sweet, succulent, tasty lemon. Toward the end of the sip is a note of mint, and again, it isn’t a strong or overbearing minty taste, as mint can be, but a bit more subtle, leaving a slight cool and refreshing sensation on the tongue. It comes off a bit more like sweet sarsaparilla than menthol. I don’t know what I was expecting with this, but I certainly wasn’t expecting something that is so desserty! This tastes like sweet melted toffee with subtle citrus and mint that compliments it perfectly, and makes me wish I had a plate of buttery scones topped with lemon curd. Why don’t I have any scones with lemon curd?!

This is really good. I would not balk at getting more of this, though admittedly probably would not place a special order for it; likely I’ll pick it up next time I need to restock my West Cape Chai again.

Flavors: Caramel, Lemon Zest, Mint, Sarsaparilla, Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 g 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 genderqueer asexual (she/they) 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 open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

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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