It’s a rainy, gloomy day here today (I saw snow, though it didn’t stick thankfully!) and I feel so bleh with the ladytime pains I don’t feel up to housework, so I thought I’d do a little gong fu session with one of my old teabox teas (I really need to work on finishing those samples off!) This is the last black sample I had from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and to all those involved in that box for sharing their teas! I had a 2.3g sample and prepared it in my baby sized gaiwan.

2.32g / 40ml (gaiwan) / 205F / 30s|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s|60s|60s

The session lasted ten steeps, and I’ll admit I was surprised at the longevity of a black tea that had to be incredibly old at this point, as I rarely get such longevity even from fresh blacks and oolongs. My first steep ended up much longer than I planned, since I forgot how incredibly hot the little ceramic baby gaiwan is (I’m used to “cheating” with gong fu by always using my shiboridashi which is much easier to handle when it comes to heat retention and not pouring boiling tea all over my fingers). It had an aroma of orange peels, mandarins, and raisin bread, with a strong baked bread aroma present on the top of the cup, and the flavor of the tea was a strong pithy orange peel citrus note, with a less prominent lemony citrus note that produced slight puckering toward the end of the sip, as well as notes of malt and raisin bread, with a rather prominent astrigent/drying sensation on the top of the mouth. The second steep was less pithy with a more fruity and balanced orange flavor and a little stronger in the lemon note, with the malty notes also rounding out a bit and some florality becoming more present, but the tea was still quite astringent. On the third steep I overfilled my gaiwan to its limits of 60ml which made it extremely difficult to pour but noticed the extra water mellowed the tea out, with the malt/citrus/floral notes rounding out and the tea not having the bitter astringent bite on the finish, so the fourth steep I removed a few leaves out of the cup so I could fill it comfortably again at around the 40ml mark and got a flavor on par with the third steep, and the tea even seemed to have some rose florality pushing forward. It seemed some of the astringency was due to having too much leaf-to-water and now, while a bit drying after the sip, it was no longer unpleasant in any way. Most of the rest of the session continued with the tea reminding me of marmalade toast, with a bit of rose florality cropping up from time to time.

Considering the age of the tea sample, I was impressed with how much I got out of it, and had a nice, warming session on an otherwise dreary afternoon.

Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Toast

205 °F / 96 °C 2 g 1 OZ / 40 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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