Backlogged review from Friday. I’ve been so busy this weekend I just now had time to finish writing it up from my notes (herein lies the reason why I don’t do gong fu much!)

It’s the first day of a mini 5-day staycation I’m having, and my friend Todd from the Bay Area is flying in today to see my condo and my rescue kitty! His flight doesn’t come in until later and I have to get the house ready, but this morning I decided to start the day with a gong fu session, since I didn’t have to just throw something in a travel mug and head out the door to work. This is a sample I got from the Discovery Traveling Teabox, so thank you to Skysamurai for organizing and to all those involved in that box for sharing their teas! I had a 1.5g sample and prepared it in my baby sized gaiwan.

1.47g / 40ml (gaiwan) / 205F / 15s|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s

On the initial steep the tea was a pale amber color and had an aroma of autumn leaves, rose petals, sap, and honey. The leaf in the cup was dark, twisty, and smelled of malt, wet leaf pile, molasses, and a bit like a burnt piece of toast smothered in floral honey. The flavor of the initial infusion was quite weak, with some slight notes of autumn leaf and floral dew; the color was much darker on the second infusion, with a citrus flavor of mandarin and pithy orange peel and a strong rose florality coming forward. The tea became a bit bitter on the tongue, with a bite on the back of the tongue and some astringency left after the sip. The bitterness thankfully smoothed out during the third and fourth infusions and was gone in later infusions; a strong rose aroma and taste remained throughout most of the session. Citrus notes were also quite strong, though the third infusion the citrus presented more as a lemony note and less as pithy orange. Malt notes started coming out in the third and fourth infusions with a light toast flavor, with the fifth infusion presenting the maltiest flavor of the session. The tea had lost most of its flavor and gone quite weak by the eighth infusion, which is when I decided to wrap things up.

Since I really enjoy rose/floral notes, I enjoyed this one a lot, as I found that a very forward flavor note. It held up rather well for being a (assumingly) older tea from a teabox and I appreciate the chance to try it!

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt, Citrus, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Rose, Sap, Toast

205 °F / 96 °C 1 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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