321 Tasting Notes

drank Serenity by Gnat and Bee
321 tasting notes

Last month, toward the end of my first social work internship, one of my fellow interns gifted me a few teas she’d picked up at Leaf and Petal, a tea shop in rural Virginia. She and I connected over our shared love of tea early on, so when she stumbled on the shop, she said she thought of me because I was the only other person she knew who’d nerd out over the find! :)

Leaf and Petal lists the vendor for this blend as Gnat and Bee, so I’m confident I’m reviewing the correct blend. It’s a really beautiful tisane, with pops of color from lavender, rose, and chamomile. I expected the flavor to be muddled — there’s a lot going on! — but it actually works nicely. It’s a very smooth, full-bodied blend, with a hint of sweetness even though it’s not sweetened. Spearmint dominates, followed by chamomile and a bit of lavender and rose. I’m not picking up on the cinnamon chips but perhaps they’ll come through as it cools.

I like but don’t love chamomile, so the fact that it’s playing second fiddle here is very appealing to my palate.

My stomach’s been a bit upset tonight, and this is helping! A really lovely pre-bed cuppa.

Flavors: Chamomile, Floral, Lavender, Rose, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet

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drank Lychee Congou by Simpson & Vail
321 tasting notes

Sipdown! I wish I’d purchased a larger pouch of this one when I ordered from S&V last year, because it’s excellent. Juicy and mildly tart, with lychee flavor just bursting in every sip. Yum.

2024 sipdown count: 18

Flavors: Fruity, Lychee, Tart


My favorite tea lately is a Lychee Congou. I’ll have to add this one to my next S&V order.

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Another sipdown from the past week! My nephew and sister stayed with us for a bit, and I made a big pot of this tea to finish off the packet (which I got from a TTB). My sister loves rooibos but doesn’t like fruity or floral flavors, and my nephew loves chai, so this was the perfect choice for all of us. I still maintain that this is basically liquefied red cinnamon candy hearts rather than chai, but still — it’s a fun one! Very kid-friendly, as long as the kid in question enjoys cinnamon.

Sharing tea with loved ones brings me great joy, so it was delightful to finish off this tea alongside family. :)

2024 sipdown count: 16

Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Sweet

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drank Cherrifier by BrutaliTeas
321 tasting notes

2024 Sipdown Challenge | April | A tea from a swap or a sample

Yikes, I haven’t written a tasting note in two months! I’ve been distracted by some life transitions — all planned, intended, and positive, but still, I’ve been working to rediscover my rhythm and balance. That leaves less time for internet stuff and more time for real-world stuff… which includes drinking tea, but not necessarily logging it!

Aaanyway, I finished this one a few days ago after grabbing it from a TTB last year. The first few cups had a lovely (if understated) cherry cola vibe laced with a bit of peach, but the final two cups were a bit lacking on the cherry flavor. Still yum.

2024 sipdown count: 15

Flavors: Cherry, Cola, Peach


Good to see you back!


Thank you! :)

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2024 Sipdown Challenge | February | A tea that energizes you

Upping my rating on this one because I’ve consistently loved it every time I’ve had it, and I’m verrry sad to see it go! I’m a sucker for toffee and caramel, and I also love chestnut-flavored teas, sooo… yeah.

I had difficulty choosing between this prompt and the “extra cozy” prompt—somehow this tea does both for me!

2024 sipdown count: 10

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2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A winter-inspired blend

Candy canes are wintery, right?! Plus, this came in my 12 Days of Christmas box. So it’s wintery by default. (Southern hemisphere, look away…!)

Anyway, my last cup was light on the candy cane, which is sad. I must’ve exhausted all the peppermint pieces in my first cuppa. I’ll leave my rating the same anyway.

2024 sipdown count: 6


It is absolutely winter-y! I have never seen candy canes for sale in summer! (Peppermint sticks don’t count!)

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drank Elbhangglück by Teerausch
321 tasting notes

2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A blend made in another country

German tea to fulfill this sipdown prompt! I wholeheartedly endorse my original review: It’s a perfectly pleasant peach tea. :) This cup is slightly overleafed because I wanted to use up the entirety of my sample (from Courtney, I believe!) so it’s on the strong side. Perfect for a Monday morning!

2024 sipdown count: 5

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Hmm, I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed this one. The first few times I drank it, I enjoyed it: The rose was mild but present, just a gentle whisper. But I’m drinking it today and it’s not jiving with my tastes — there’s an unctuous, slippery, almost cloying sugary rose note that’s turning me off. It’s probably coming from the artificial flavors… I’ll need to find a rose congou that’s scented with petals but doesn’t have additional flavors. :(

Flavors: Artificial, Rose, Sweet

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drank Blueberry Lemon Fluff by 52teas
321 tasting notes

2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A blend made in your home country

Logging for the sipdown! I love this blend. The blueberry flavor is so fresh and juicy, and the soft, pillowy marshmallow is a wonderful foil to the lemony sharpness. It all just works together so well for a truly enjoyable cuppa.

2024 sipdown count: 3

Flavors: Blueberry, Juicy, Lemon, Marshmallow, Soft

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I was an anxious child who didn’t like change, so when my parents flew across the country for my grandfather’s wedding and left us kids with my aunt and uncle, I was a nervous wreck. Our first night at their house was tough. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and padded into the kitchen, where my aunt was puttering around. She could tell I was distressed and offered to make me a cup of tea. It was just Celestial Seasonings’ peppermint tea, but it was exactly what I needed. The tea itself, the comfort it represented, the ritual of making it… I was enchanted. I’ve loved tea ever since.

I’m partial to strong, intense flavors and prefer loose-leaf to bagged, but I also appreciate the convenience of bags and sachets. I mostly drink my tea straight but once in a blue moon I’ll add a little plant-based milk, generally oat.

I live in Maryland, USA, with my partner, three dogs, and one cat, and I’m an editor at an animal welfare nonprofit. I use she/her pronouns. I’ve actually been a Steepster reader for years and years, but only started posting in late 2021. :)

When I’m not drinking tea (or sometimes WHILE I’m drinking tea!) I’m reading, rewatching comfort shows on Netflix, going for a run, knitting, embroidering, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka. (My account is private, but feel free to send a request!)

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all things dessert-y

Jasmine, lavender, violet, and most floral flavors

Most spices, although I go through phases and sometimes get bored of generic-feeling winter spice blends

Most fruity flavors

Matcha and other vegetal flavors

Not-so-favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Bergamot (I tolerate it, but it just doesn’t do it for me)


Overly artificial flavors (banana, coconut, mango)

Overly herbacious blends, although this varies!

Stevia, monkfruit, and other sugar-alternative sweeteners — blech

Chocolate — it’s hard to get it right in tea, though I love real chocolate!

Animal products, including honey (long-time vegan checking in!)

My ratings

90-100: The best! Will almost definitely repurchase.

75-90: Really good, and potentially worthy of a restock.

60-75: Decent, if not terribly memorable.

50-60: In the “meh” range, but possibly for personal taste reasons.

35-50: I’m not a fan, and this is not very good tea.

20-35: Varying degrees of bad.

1-20: Actively bad. Like really bad. I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing.


Maryland, USA

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