510 Tasting Notes


I was quite skeptical of swaps when I first started out on Steepster (over a year ago – wow!). It just didn’t seem safe to give a bunch of strangers my address. And let’s face it, doing so is still not the brightest idea. Yet somehow it has always worked out wonderfully. I’ve swapped with 15+ people and have yet to have a bad experience. Steepster seems to be the one remaining corner of the internet where genuinely nice people gather. Yay for all of you, and a special yay to the creators of this site. Your hard work does not go unnoticed!

This is the third time someone has surprised me with this tea in a swap package. Lucky me! I still really enjoy it. The spicy pumpkin smell of the dry leaf is intoxicating. The brewed tea has a heftier scent. The spice and pumpkin mellow out a bit and an almost bready smell shows up. There’s a slight smokiness in the flavor today. The spice is barely detectable. Instead, there’s almost a pumpkin bread flavor. The aftertaste is nummy nummy pumpkinness. As the brew cools, some sweetness appears at the beginning of the sip. Actually, this is surprisingly good cold! The flavors don’t really change but they stay nicely blended and quite pleasant.

By the way, sipdown!

EDIT: I’m such a goofball! I went on and on about how great my swapping experiences have been and forgot to thank the person who actually sent me the swap. D’oh! Thank you, MissLena, for your thoughtful inclusion of this tea in our swap.


That’s one thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised by myself – the success of the swaps. Of course, because I’m a horrible pessimist, the swaps are so good that I almost don’t want Steepster to become popular along the mainstream, because I’m sure that would just invite all sorts of horror stories of the “razorblade in the Halloween apple” kind.


Steepster is a special place :)

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I have to thank Red Leaf Tea for sending this to me. Thanks!

I made this as a latte with heated rice milk and my milk frother. It’s pretty tasty! Caramel creamy goodness. A bit too sweet. This would be good for dessert in the afternoon… except I can’t have caffeine that late in the day. Dilemmas, dilemmas. This will probably be relegated to weekend afternoons. Ooh, and sharing with my brother. He’s got a serious sweet tooth.

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Thanks for the sample, RogersCK!

The dry leaf actually smells like dark chocolate cocoa. The brewed leaf smells just about the same, with maybe a hint of spiciness at the end (I might be imagining it). The flavor is pretty darn chocolatey. A bit of brown crystal sugar brings out that chocolate flavor even more. The chili comes out in the aftertaste. It’s ok, but I’m not a fan of this kind of spiciness in my tea. I do realize it’s unfair to criticize a tea for tasting exactly like what it’s called! For myself, I would rate this a 75 because of the chili aspect and because black tea rarely sits well with me. For quality of flavor and faithfulness to the name, I’d give it an 85. So I’m going to refrain from giving it a rating at all. Sipdown!

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drank Blueberry Limón by Handmade Tea
510 tasting notes

No. Just no. I really disliked this tea the first time because it’s so smoky. This time around, I took the advice of other reviewers and added honey and lemon. I ended up way overcompensating in my efforts. And whatever I can taste of the base tea is not pleasant. Plus it’s making my stomach hurt, as black teas are wont to do. So the only good thing I have to say about this tea is that I can call this a sipdown.

I got this at the Taste of France swap. My best guess is that it’s from Fuzzy_Peachkin. Thanks!

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I’m trying to make a dent in my Amoda stash. I enjoy getting the box every month, but I have trouble finishing off the teas in time for the next box. It’s not that the teas are bad. I just have too many teas in general and tend towards variety in my tea drinking.

This blend seems even mintier than usual today. Like a fancy candy cane. It really complements the chocolate I’m eating on the side.

Alas, this is a sipdown. Wonderland, you will be missed. This blend is likely to end up back in my cupboard next winter. Ooh, I bet it would take really well to Bailey’s too!

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I had this as my breakfast travel mug tea and it was fantastic. The sugar and caramel flavors are dead on, but the oolong is what really shines here. It’s smooth and… hefty, for lack of a better word. I did the second steep at 185f for 3 ½ minutes and it came out weaker than expected. The sugar and caramel came to the fore. The oolong kind of just dropped out of the show in the second act. The inverse happened after the third steep (boiling water, about 6 minutes). The sugar and caramel faded into the background. The oolong took on a new flavor that I can’t describe. It tastes how I imagine a maple tree would taste. Not maple-y, but dark and woody. Really tasty. Thanks for this one, Christina!


This sounds awesome – I just got my first Golden Moon order, and haven’t tried this yet. Kaylee what were the parameters that you used for your first steep? Would like to try and replicate your experience. :))


1tsp/8oz,180f at 3 minutes, per the company’s suggestion.


Thank you.

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drank Grand Genmaicha by Sloane Tea
510 tasting notes

Sipdown. Thanks so much for sending some of this my way, Christina! I agree that this is a very savory brew. It smells like roasted rice. The flavor is also roasted rice, though the rice flavor is balanced with the savoriness. The aftertaste is all roasted rice. I’m still learning my preferences when it comes to genmaicha, but this one’s decent. It falls somewhere below Butiki’s but miles above Say Tea’s.

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drank Eggnog Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
510 tasting notes

Waah. I really like this one, but not, as it turns out, in almond milk. The flavors just do not mesh. Badly enough that I don’t want to finish the cup. I better pick up some rice milk soon!


Ooh rice milk would be nice with it!


That’s how I’ve always made it until now and it is a delicious combo!

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Passover left me too cranky and tired to write tasting notes. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, though.

This is one of my caffeine-free afternoon office teas. It’s rather meh. There’s a good amount of spice here, but it’s mostly clove. The rooibos base just doesn’t stand up to the spice. Meanwhile the smell sticks to my travel mug long after the tea is gone. Once I brew this up, I can’t make any other kind of tea until I wash the mug out quite thoroughly. And the bags have an unfortunate habit of breaking open if left in the mug too long. Boo.

This might be better iced/cold steeped (if the bag doesn’t disintegrate). Maybe I’ll try a cold steep if I have any of this tea left when the weather gets warmer.

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Sipdown. I tried the last of this iced. The cherry notes really come out. Tart and sweet. I’m not getting much cakiness. Maybe a hint of pineapple, but that might be power of suggestion. Oh so slightly creamy. Mostly this tastes like a cherry iced rooibos. Yummy. Still nothing like the original upside down tea, though.

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