1234 Tasting Notes


Using this tea as “a tea that reminds you of yourself.” It’s tart in that puckery sort of way which turns a lot of people off, and it is incredibly unique (at least in small town Idaho, where exotic fruits such as Chinese hawthorn are just not a thing). I feel pretty awkward around others and feel like I come off abrasive even if I don’t mean to, and that I just don’t really “fit in” in the area I live. I’m an acquired taste, I guess…?

I got a sample of this from Teavivre, and it didn’t look like very much dried fruit was in the packet, so I cold brewed the whole sample in 500ml of water instead of a litre like I usually prepare cold brew. I like it! But I don’t think I could recommend it to most, as I find this a strong citrusy flavor with a tart, puckery flavor. It tastes sort of like really watery lemon juice that transitions into a sort of tangerine/orange peel flavor that lingers on the tongue. Maybe a hint of pine in there, as well?

If you are the sort of person that finds hibiscus too tart, then this tea will be too tart. I’d say that fans of pleasantly sour things should give it a try. I wouldn’t mind having more of this!

Flavors: Citrus, Lemon, Orange Zest, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Tangerine, Tart

Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I really like how you connected the tea to the sipdown theme. Definitely unique and says a lot about you as well as the tea. I’d bet you’re not the only one here who feels as though they don’t fit in where they live. Maybe we could make ourselves a town and “not fit in” together!

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Pulled this 2018 tea for the May prompt “a geeky tea.”

The dry leaf was beautiful; the rolled leaves were sooooo long and once brewed, some looked positively autumnal floating in the warm water. Dry, the leaf smelled of nutmeg and a little custardy, but the minute water hit the leaves I got a strong floral/fruity aroma. Steeped, I still get that fruity aroma, as well as a sharp medicinal note. I’m not sure I could peg the particular fruity aroma, but I can certainly get a plum association… I think my nose is smelling an odd combination of plum, fig, and raisin. The more I stick my nose in the cup while waiting for the tea to cool, the more I smell the nutmeg, as well.

I’m getting a warm fruit compote flavor from the cooled tea, not medicinal at all on the tongue. Definitely tastes a bit like a combination of the above three fruity flavors, but with a hint of cherry as well, particularly at the end of the sip. I taste the nutmeg, but it is lightly warming and not a strong presense. I don’t really get any of the custardy notes that I could smell on the dry leaf, but there is a sort of honeyed sweetness to the tea.

Very satisfying on (yet another) dreary rainy day.

Flavors: Cherry, Fig, Fruity, Honey, Nutmeg, Plum, Raisins, Spices

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

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Finishing this off for the May sipdown prompt, “An herbal tea.”

It’s a “sweet cinnamon candy” tea, but I find I really enjoy that flavor on a rooibos base; the mix of honey sweet and mildly woody suits that sweet cinnamon flavor nicely. I have a black tea version of this tea as well, but like this one better; that combo of sweet and warm spiciness just makes for a nice nightcap on these rainy spring evenings.

I’ll have to restock this at some point. Raising my rating from a 75 to 80.

Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange Zest, Rooibos, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Using this for the sipdown prompt “A tea flavored like a favorite baked good.” (Though I think all baked goods, banana bread excluded, would count as a “favorite baked good” for me, hahahaha…)

Prepared this cold brewed, which is my typical prep style for heavy, chunky fruit teas. I’m sipping on it now from a chilled water bottle to re-hydrate after a grocery run, and it is very refreshing. It is sweeter than I expected (ya’ll know me, I’m a tart ’n tangy hibi fan) and because of that sweetness, I am seeing the blueberry muffin comparison. The blueberry does have that jammy/syrupy sweet taste I associate with blueberry baked goods.

While I normally drink my fruit teas cold, due to the sweet nature of this one, I think I’ll have to try a warm cuppa this evening. Still satisfying cold, just lacking the tartness I typically expect and enjoy in a fruit tea cold brew.

Flavors: Blueberry, Fruity, Jam, Pancake Syrup, Pastries, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

Yes, “favorite” baked good is a puzzler for me. haha

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New month, new sipdown prompt list! Using this tea for “a cupboard staple.”

I find it hard to go wrong with any genmaicha, but I particularly like this one from Kyoto Obubu Tea Farm (purchased through Yunomi). I find I prefer the more “traditional” genmaicha used with bancha instead of sencha, and this tea has lovely large, full bancha leaves. The flavor is a fresh, spring-like vegetal grassiness, with that lovely roasty, toasty, nutty flavor from the genmai. The proportions are good too; every scoop gives an ample amount of both tea leaves and genmai for a very even flavor.

This is a tea I find hits my tastes any time of the year. The green tea evokes the fresh, grassy warmer weather, and the satisfying warm roastiness of the rice makes it comforting in cooler weather. On a very rainy spring day like today, it really hits the spot.

Flavors: Nutty, Roasted, Sweet, Warm Grass, Toasted Rice, Toasty, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yep, genmaicha is definitely one of my cupboard staples. It’s one of the teas that made me grateful I started drinking tea. :D

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I pulled out this old tea this morning, which despite being a 2018 purchase, I have yet to try. I enjoy the flavor of Earl Grey mixed with hot chocolate, so I figured this would probably be a win for me. (Plus, I’ve been craving chocolate orange things lately… guess I’ve just been in a chocolate+citrus mood?)

The aroma is lovely… has a strong sweet, fudgy sort of chocolate aroma, as well as a strong bergamot aroma. I’m a bit surprised both aromas are so distinct without one overpowering the other.

The flavor of the bergamot comes off a little strong in the cup though; not aggressively so but just slightly stronger than my personal preferences for bergamot. It has a pretty strong citrusy sour aftertaste, tasting somewhere between lime and grapefruit, and it has more of a floral quality than I typically personally get from EGs. I do like the chocolate, as it isn’t coming across as highly artificial, but its flavor is muted a bit against the strength of the bergamot. I think the base tea, which was highly CTC, is what is really adding to the sour bite of the tea… a bit more astrigency than I typically prefer in a black, too.

I won’t have any issues finishing up this cup, but I think in the future what this needs is to be latte material. The strength of the base tea and bergamot should hold up nicely against added milk, and the milk should smooth out the rougher edges and add a creamy element to the chocolate notes.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Biting, Chocolate, Citrus, Floral, Grapefruit, Lime, Malt, Sour

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Hi there! I was wondering if you’d be open to a tea swap? I see several on your spreadsheet that I would be interested in trying. I am unable to PM you unless you are following me, I believe, so please let me know if this is something you might be interested in :)

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Another 2018 tea, and it seems appropriate for the second winter we are having here.

Perhaps age is to fault, but I don’t really taste much (if any?) difference between this tea and Murchie’s “Maple Chai” which I sipped down a few months ago. It is the same Ceylon/Keemun base as “Maple Chai” which I quite enjoy, as the Keemun lends a natural subtle smoky note that compliments the maple nicely. The maple is strong and tasty. But this tea features dried cranberry and apple piece in lieu of the spices found in “Maple Chai,” and they aren’t really adding anything at all. I don’t taste any fruity notes… just a strong and sturdy maple-flavored black tea. There is perhaps a sweeter “honey” like note adding some sweetness to the maple, but nothing that tastes like apples or cranberries.

Without the fruitiness, this tea isn’t as interesting as their “Maple Chai” which at least added warm, accompanying spices. I love the concept of apple, cranberry, and maple together as a flavor combo, but it just isn’t happening here. However, because I like the base tea of both this tea and “Maple Chai” much more than the CTC base of Murchie’s “Canadian Breakfast,” I’d take either of these over that one for a hearty maple black tea.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Maple, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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I woke this morning to find a layer of snow outside… and it is still gently falling. I am not a fan of snow even when it is seasonally appropriate, so seeing it after Spring Equinox has my eyelid twitching in annoyance. Then the cat left me presents from both ends on the carpet to clean up this morning, so now I’m officially in a mood. Using this tea for the prompt “a tea paired to the weather.”

This is the sort of flavor combo I typically cold brew, but given the weather, I brewed it warm today. The base green tea is fresh and grassy, and a little buttery. There is a strong citrus sharpness to the cup; it starts a little indistinct but about midsip it is undeniably lime, leaving a strong aftertaste on the tongue. As always, the coconut in this 52Teas blend is fresh, noticable, and lovely, and is perhaps playing into the butteriness I’m getting from the green teas.

It’s delicious, and considering how often I make “Lime in the Coconut” smoothies for breakfast, I was expecting this flavor combo to be a winner for me. I would still prefer it cold brewed, so I’ll probably save the rest of the packet for after the weather has stopped being so tempermental.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Coconut, Lime, Smooth, Sweet, Warm Grass, Tangy

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

I need to know more about your “Lime in the Coconut” smoothies! That sounds so good. I’m a boring strawberry/banana sort of person because those are mostly easily on hand and loved by toddler/husband, but I would love to branch out.

Mastress Alita

I always have a smoothie for breakfast; I put a teaspoon of matcha in them and typically don’t taste the matcha, but it helps “get me going” in the morning. I have to get creative with smoothies since every smoothie recipe ever includes banana, which is the one food I cannot tolerate in any capacity. For “Lime in the Coconut” I use a cup of coconut milk, a cup of mango, a teaspoon of matcha, half a cup of yogurt (plain or vanilla), and a tablespoon of lime juice.


Oooh, mango. I wouldn’t have thought of that! This sounds delicious; I’m missing most of the ingredients right now but will have to try it soon!

Mastress Alita

I just use frozen mango out of a bag in the freezer section of the grocery. It comes out pretty creamy!

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Using this tea for “pair a tea with a book.” I’m reading “Dying for Attention: A Graphic Memoir of Nursing Home Care,” a graphic novel by Susan MacLeod. My grandmother has been declining in a nursing home for several years now, but I fondly remember her ordering tea whenever we went out for a Sunday brunch. Specifically, Orange Spice tea.

I haven’t had an Orange Spice tea sitting around for a while, so I grabbed this box on my last grocery shopping trip. I was shocked to find I’d reviewed it before, four years ago, at a low 49 rating. Drinking it now… eh… I kinda get it. The black tea needs to be a little bolder, which I noted before. I think the spicing tastes nice… it’s not an in-your-face flavor, but the orange and spices blend nicely. The orange tastes a little artificial but not in that over-bearing, floor polish kind of way that citrus oil flavoring sometimes gets for me.

Other than wishing the base tea was a little stronger, I honestly find this fine… Definitely better choices for an orange spice flavor profile, but not “below average” as far as scoring, so I’m raising this up to a 60.

Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Orange, Spices

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Rating: 72

Back in summer of 2018, I signed up for Liquid Proust’s “intro to pu’erh” giveaway and received several samples, which have been “aging,” mostly forgotten, in the back of the tea cupboard since then. None of the packages fully listed the name of the pu’erh, the company/source, and in some instances, even the year. This was one of them… the only thing written on the package was “Purple.” A search of “purple pu’erh” brings up so many possible hits from Yunnan Sourcing I have no idea what it could possibly be. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to let me know! In any event, I’m using it for the April prompt “a tea that includes a color in its name.”

Prepared gong fu, but with much less leaf than my “water-to-leaf ratio” cheat site calls for… after the absolute bitter-bomb that was my last gong fu session, I’m going to dial back and see how it goes. The sample was 12g and I’m using half of it (6g) for my mini 180ml teapot.

180ml (mini pot) | 6.07g | 205F | Rinse/10s/15s/20s/30s/45s/60s

The smell of the leaf after the rinse is sort of spicy and musky, reminding me a bit of burning wood chips. The first steep reminds me of that in the flavor as well… there is a smooth mix of wood/smoke/pepper which is quite pleasant and lingers after the sip. During the sip there is a sharp, slightly tangy note a bit like a cross between bitter melon and white grapes. There is almost a taste bordering on sour apple as the tea cools and I get to the bottom of the cup. The flavor stayed consistent throughout the steeps, though the fruity notes popped a bit more later in the session. The smoky wood aftertaste persisted.

Flavors: Apple, Bitter Melon, Pepper, Pleasantly Sour, Smoke, Spices, Tangy, White Grapes, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 6 OZ / 180 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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