654 Tasting Notes


Sipdown. I received a teabag of this with my sample set… wow, a year ago. It’s still wonderful. I had forgotten how much I adore sencha. The dry bag smells grassy and light and sweet, almost like cantaloupe. The tag is notched so you can stick it on the mug. It’s a small detail but I really like it. I really hate when the tag falls into the mug and I have to find a way to fish it out.

The tea brews up a gentle, light green. It smells grassy and sweet. The flavor is grass and a touch of roasted rice. I’ve had better Den’s Teas, but then again this one probably tasted better a year ago when it was fresh.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This was one of the relatively few teas I could drink during Passover. Alas, it contributed to my chometz-deprived crankiness.

The dry leaf has a very chemical strawberry smell. The brew smells the same, perhaps slightly less chemical-ish. It is, unsurprisingly, red. That’s because this tea would be more aptly called “Creamy Hibiscus”. I don’t automatically hate hibiscus, but I don’t like how hibiscus often overwhelms any other flavors in the blend. Thankfully, this can be made more palatable by brewing it along with a bag of Wissotzky Cinnamon Magic. The cinnamon in that tea can actually stand up to the hibiscus in this one and add a little complexity to the cup.

I had to look up what Panna Cotta is. Apparently it is a gelatinous dessert. As a vegetarian, I have never and am unlikely to ever taste it. So I can’t speak to the presence/quality of the panna cotta taste. All I can tell you is that there’s some creamy aspect in here that I imagine is supposed to be the panna cotta.


I had no idea you couldn’t drink tea during Passover. I just looked it up because I was curious why and now I’m completely fascinated. I don’t think I really ever considered what goes into flavoring and decaffeinating teas and coffee.


Haha yeah it can get complicated. I was still able to drink most straight teas, but I was just too tired and cranky from eating poorly to really appreciate the intricacies of a good straight tea. Plus, reviewing a straight tea always feels like more work because I really have to focus on teasing out the flavors.

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drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
654 tasting notes

Pouring rain and wind so strong it broke my sturdiest umbrella this morning. Definitely a day for comfort teas in my travel mug. This very much did the trick. Well, it didn’t keep me dry. But it did make me feel better. This is a must-have tea for cold/rainy/snowy days. It just is. I might not restock over the summer, but if this isn’t available come fall I may very well literally cry. And you don’t want to make me cry, right Stacy?

Butiki Teas

No, we definitely wouldn’t want that. We stock this year round, so no worries. :)

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drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
654 tasting notes

I really wasn’t expecting to like this. My experiences with DavidsTea have been pretty hit-or-miss and this one just didn’t sound very promising.

And yet. This is actually quite pleasant. The smell is nutty and evocative of marzipan. The color is discouragingly red, but the hibiscus isn’t actually as overwhelming as I feared. The taste is primarily almond, with a sweet hibiscus undertone and a tangy aftertaste. This is so close to marzipan! I wouldn’t rush to have this again, but I wouldn’t turn it down either.


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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.

Christina / BooksandTea

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.

ohfancythat (whatshesaid)

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
654 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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