French Friday! Pulled my first French tea sampler out of the stash Dustin sent me to try. The dry leaf has a soft, candied strawberry sort of aroma. Steeped 2.6g to 350ml 205F water for 3 minutes. The aroma is even more pronounced from the wet leaf, though rather than smelling of strawberries, it has more of a candied tropical fruits note.

The aroma on my cooling thermos is still sweet/candied, and just a little floral, like a wildflower honey. I smell strawberry, grape, pineapple, mango, and even a subtle melon aroma. But the way the sweetness and fruity aromas are colliding, it makes me feel as if I’m sticking my nose into a bag of multi-fruit flavored candies, like Skittles, and attempting to smell individual fruits, when really they just smell… like Skittles. Sweet and fruity.

Since I don’t like my black teas bitey and tend to use a lot less leaf than pretty much anyone recommends, I have a very smooth cup; my experiences with Marco Polo, even using the same leaf-to-water ratio and steeping parameters, brought out a lot more astrigency/drying in the cup. The black tea itself has a bit of a bready quality, as well as some minerality, but mostly I taste the fruit, which still has that sort of perfumy quality. It doesn’t feel oily or waxy on my tongue like Marco Polo did, though (which makes me wonder if perhaps the age of that sample had done something weird with the flavoring oils). I taste that soft, candy-like strawberry note, and sometimes I taste purple grape (like the kind found in candies/drinks) left on my tongue. Sometimes rather than getting strawberry in a sip, I get a sort of mixed tropical fruit flavor. It’s a very strange experience, since my nose or tongue seem to read different fruit notes on different sips!

I am enjoying this cuppa and will be working on it throughout the day, with a top-off during my lunch break. Thanks Dustin!

Flavors: Bread, Candy, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Mango, Melon, Mineral, Perfume, Pineapple, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Tropical

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 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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