698 Tasting Notes


This was one of the freebies from the 2018 International San Francisco Tea Festival. A single teabag sachet that has sat in a bag of pure Indian teas now since October of 2018… sigh. How much time and effort would it have taken to just drink it, Sara? …How I feel most days…

Cup smells very malty. I’m getting a lot of cinnamon in the aroma, as well as something slightly jammy. Tastes more like a breakfast tea to me than a darj; I’m getting mainly notes of malt and cinnamon bread, though a subtle hint of apple and autumn leaf. A perfectly non-offensive afternoon cuppa.

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Fruity, Jam, Malt, Smooth

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Another night, another smoothie matcha! And the name for this one seemed so seasonly appropriate, heh.

I whisked this one in water instead of milk, and this is the first B&B matcha-matcha that I had texture problems with (now I wish I had used milk… maybe the separation/texture problems wouldn’t have been so bad? Usually I do make them as lattes, but I only have vanilla oat milk at the moment and just didn’t think that would suit a spearmint drink…). No matter how much I whisked, it just kept coming up with that grittiness I find most unpleasant. But the flavor was great! Very spearmint forward, with a vegetal note that edges a little more herbaceous than the “typical” matcha vegetal flavor. It’s very subtle though, because the mint is strong! I sampled the drink at least ten minutes ago and am still feeling that cooling menthol minty aftertaste on the back of my throat.

As per usual, after initial taste-testing the cup o’ matcha went into the blender for caffeinated morning smoothie goodness tomorrow morning. I decided to go with a “mojito” vibe so I added mango and lime juice. Initial sample before going in the fridge? Pleasantly tart citrus and the mint is still holding strong! Nailed it. I’ll definitely be looking forward to that one in the morning!

Flavors: Herbaceous, Menthol, Mint, Spearmint, Vegetal

Iced 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I was really interested in this one since I have recently discovered violet tea (I’m a fan!) and lavender-flavored matcha is one of my favorite things ever. So I was highly curious about a violet matcha… shame B&B has already discontinued this one, but they still had old stock on the VIP page so I grabbed a sample to try during their last big sale.

I whisked this using the last of my coconut milk (I like lavender and coconut as a flavor pairing, not sure how violet will pair but since I needed to finish off the carton, I was willing to take that chance!) I like the floral flavor I’m getting, but… it’s a bit bitter. Not that bitter taste matcha itself can have, so I don’t know if its the sort of bitterness I sometimes get from going too heavy or too long with lavender buds, or if it’s just the cardamom… and I’m tempted to say it’s the cardamom. I like cardamom, but I just don’t think I like it here, paired with this flavor, like it isn’t sitting on my tongue right and leaving a spicy bitterness when I am wanting/expecting a sweet, floral cup. I am curious what this would’ve tasted like if it didn’t have the cardamom included in the powder… I think I probably would’ve preferred it that way.

No texture issues this time, but this one had a matcha base (with the B&B non-matcha powders, I seem to be getting some weird texture issues). Put the rest of my latte into a berry smoothie for tomorrow’s breakfast. Gave it a quick taste-test, and the flavor of the matcha is holding quite strong; and I still really like the floral, and really don’t like the added spice with it.

It came close for me, but didn’t quite get there…

Flavors: Bitter, Cardamon, Floral, Violet

Iced 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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A new tea powder from Bird & Blend I haven’t tried yet! I whisked it in coconut milk as a) that seemed appropriate and b) I really need to finish off this carton before it goes off.

The drink is very sweet, and I’m not sure how much of that is from the tea powder (coconut nectar sugar) and how much is from my coconut milk. Obviously I taste coconut (I mean… the milk) but oddly enough, the main flavor I’m getting from the powder itself is a guava/pear sort of taste. I see it is made with “Baobab fruit pulp” and “lucuma”, two things my uncultured tongue has never had before. A little research tells me baobab can be “citrusy”, “tangy pear”, or “sour mango”… I’m not really tasting citrus (wonder if the sweetness is countering the tang?) but maybe that is the tropical pear note I’m getting? Lucuma is also apparently very sweet! But I was expecting pinapple, because… pina colada! And I’m not tasting pinapple. It does taste tropical, but I’m still a little disappointed. The texture is also a bit chalky/grainy, which I also experienced with B&B’s rooibos-base tea powder, so I’m wondering if this something I’m going to consistently experience with their “not-matcha” powders. I don’t recall having this issue with any of their matcha base powders…

After sampling, I put the latte into a mango smoothie and blended it up. That takes care of the texture issues, at least! Oddly enough, I am finding more citrus notes popping in the smoothie (a tangy lemon?), but I still taste that “tropical pear” flavor, and am not tasting pineapple, which is what I was really hoping for.

Flavors: Citrus, Guava, Lemon, Pear, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical

Iced 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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I met reps from this company (which I had never heard of before!) at the PDX Tea Fest 2019. When I saw this at their booth, I knew I had to pick it up, because the ingredients were very close to one of my favorite teas ever, Bird & Blend’s Lazy Boy, but I had finished off my packet of that quickly (because coconut) and being a UK company, my orders from Bird & Blend are often few and far between. I thought this could be a possible replacement!

Not long ago I was able to restock Lazy Boy during the B&B Christmas in July sale, then I remembered this tea, remembered COCONUT, and figured I’d better pull this packet out to sipdown now that I have more Lazy Boy. Thankfully, after cutting it open it still smells lovely.

This is actually a very close flavor match to Lazy Boy, so I wasn’t wrong in thinking I can stock up on this when I’m unable to make B&B orders! The base is slightly different, as Lazy Boy is straight rooibos and this is a rooibos/honeybush blend, and it is missing the cocoa shells that Lazy Boy has and instead has cinnamon. As far as a nice coconut/lavender flavor on a rooibos base, all the boxes are checked: The coconut is sweet and refreshing, the lavender is floral and just the tiniest hint minty, and the two flavors meld together wonderfully. I like strong lavender teas but this has a nice presence of the flavor without getting floral-bitter. I do taste the cinnamon, which adds a touch of warmth; it is nice and certainly doesn’t hurt the cup in any way, but I think I prefer the creaminess of the cocoa shells from Lazy Boy a bit more.

It’s good! I really liked Lazy Boy as coconut milk lattes, and still need to try this one that way, as well. I have no doubt it’ll hold up in that regard, as well.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Floral, Lavender, Mint, Pepper, Rooibos, Smooth, Sweet

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

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Simmered 9g of this in 3 cups water/1 cup vanilla oat milk on the stove and served it in a big pot this morning for myself and sister before we headed to breakfast and then she had to get back on the road. I think if I made this again, I’d use even more leaf, as even at 3 parts water/1 part milk the flavors were a bit more muted than I like in a chai.

There was a lot left over in the pot so I’ve had it chilling in the fridge all day now as an iced latte! It’s very sweet, with a more forward vanilla flavor (perhaps the fact I use vanilla oat milk enhanced the vanilla notes?) The rose is present but not overwhelming, at least when made as a latte. The spices aren’t very strong here either, the most prominent is cardamom (which I think pairs nicely with the rose flavor) with a more subtle hint of ginger.

I need to experiment with it a bit more (plain, varying amounts of milk) and see what that does to the flavor. This brew felt a little overwhelmed, but I think this could be amazing with some tweeks.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cream, Floral, Ginger, Rose, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 8 min or more 9 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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Sister was sent up for more work, and she got a cinnamon roll cheesecake slice for us to split, so I brewed this sampler I received from 52Teas at one point with an order to go with.

Tea has a strong cinnamon aroma, and I do think I am getting a little bit of a creme cheese aroma, albeit subtly. On the flavor, however, I’m only tasting honeybush and cinnamon; the cinnamon has a bit of a spice-bite to it, slightly peppery? Occassionally I get pepper notes in rooibos or honeybush, so that could be it, as well. Also some honey notes.

Wasn’t wild about this one, but enjoying it with company made it worthwhile.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Honey, Pepper, Spices

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Admittedly, I never made a single cup of tea with this… at least, not that I can recall. After I ran out of ginger from my long-ago co-op run in San Francisco, I needed something to make ginger rice for my abysmal tum-tum days, and this seemed the best option I had available at my local grocery. The rice has been good, but I have to use quite a few teabags to get a good flavor. Will happily replace with straight finely chopped herbal ginger if I get so lucky again. Until then, this cheap tea is getting the job done.

Flavors: Ginger, Spices


What a great idea!

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drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
698 tasting notes

Made this up to drink while rewatching the 1991 Addams Family movie, which I don’t think I’ve seen since the 90s… it seemed appropriate. This was a free sampler I picked up at some point from DAVIDsTEA. It brews a pink color from the beetroot powder. It tastes like cinnamon-sugar roasted nuts (I’m particularly getting almond/cashew notes), and while mostly sweet, there is a slight tartness to the cup as well. A pleasant pot of tea while I’m snacking on popcorn and enjoying a nostalgic movie on a rainy autumn evening!

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutty, Sweet, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

This time last year I was piecing together my Gomez costume.


Good movie :)

Mastress Alita

Ooo, great costume choice!


Pushing Daisies is on my October seasonal watch list; did an episode while folding many, many loads of laundry yesterday. However, the unseasonable temps (high 80’s) kind of ruined the vibe.

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Finished the house cleaning and squeezed in a nap, and now I am very ready for some afternoon tea while I work on some of my manga scanlation projects! This was randomly selected off my list of 2017 purchases, which I’ve been putting extra emphasis on sipping down.

Brewed western, 195F water, 4g in a 500ml teapot — a lovely little Moriage redware Japanese pot (think “Japanese brown Betty”) that I was gifted from my recently passed grandmother’s estate! There were two of the little pots and they looked nearly identical, without the cups (I found some rice bowls that match that can serve as cups on Etsy, they get a bit hot to the touch but I’m not above using a napkin or tea towel while using them). I’ve put one set in storage and am using the other set for this brew today.

Has a rich, roasty, nutty flavor (roasted chestnut, walnut, others?). I’m also getting a baked bread taste with a hint of cinnamon and raisins. A bit of earthy woodiness, and maybe a subtle plum note that is more prevalent in the aftertaste. Deeply satisfying on an autumn afternoon as the temperatures begin to cool off.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Nutty, Plums, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Walnut, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 500 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 asexual 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
-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.

Currently Sipping Down: Dazzle Deer teas, What-cha teas, matcha

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.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 100
Sipdown Count for 2020: 131


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://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, 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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