179 Tasting Notes


This is a minty/lemony/fruity mate/rooibos blend. It’s pretty good. But I’m not quite sure it meets the description for it:

“The way of the warrior is strength, skill, fairness, mercy, power, energy and balance. Our chai embodies this spirit.”


Like, seriously. What. The. Hell. Does. That. Mean.

I know I describe things in a super-crazy way on here sometimes (“this reminds me of a giant field of peppermint patties being romped upon by squirrels”), but that crap isn’t ever THE ACTUAL DESCRIPTION THAT POTENTIAL BUYERS ARE EXPECTED TO READ.

Mercy? How does a tea embody “mercy”?

My best friend keeps this one at her house and hates it. She offered it to me, and I was considering taking her up on it, and lo and behold, mtchyg had it in his care package to me. I like this one, but I don’t love it. It’s not “bae,” as the kids are saying these days.

It tastes really minty to me, which might be the cinnamon meeting the lemongrass or something, because mint isn’t listed in the ingredients. I hate mint. Which is vaguely ironic because there’s a HUGE patch of mint in my yard. One of my coworkers loves mojitos, so I bring her mint before her parties. Another friend occasionally swings by my yard instead of the grocery store. (“HERBS ARE EXPENSIVE, LEAH.”) I use the mint occasionally to clean my garbage disposal (throw a bunch down there and run it — totally does the trick). But it never goes into my body.

Sorry for that digression. Turns out I had a lot to say about samurai and mint today.


If you ever sell your place you could advertise that the yard is in mint condition :P
(that is if you don’t rent!)

S.G. Sanders

“It’s not “bae,”” haha! :p

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Hands-down one of the best straight black teas I’ve ever tried! Mad props to mtchyg for sending this along!

It tastes, to me, like a really crusty dark multi-grain bread. The kind you tear apart with your hands and just eat straight. It’s smooth and it’s malty and it’s just bangin’. I’m currently poking around Verdant tea right now, looking at other stuff to try. (I have no impulse control.)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Malt


I’m glad you enjoyed it! Did you find anything else on Verdant that caught your eye?

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You know the scene in Stranger Things where the guy says “mornings are for coffee and contemplation”?

Well, snow days are for tea and library books. In those terms, the day was a success.

This tea has the tiny little balls like Irish/English Breakfast, so it diffuses quickly and makes a really rich, dark cup.

My first thought upon drinking was “BUTCH.” There’s a heaviness here, a smoky, leathery, manly richness.

It’s not the sort of thing I typically go for, but I enjoyed it fairly well.

I’ve also been enjoying watching Inception again. We own this movie, but we’re watching it on TV with commercials. This movie holds up, guys. I know that’s unrelated to the tea, but I thought I’d mention it.


Oh dude you just quoted Chief Hopper from Stranger Things. Win. Also, I need to watch Inception again. Saw it in theaters and loved it. Immediately after, had a bit of an experience that was the perfect capper to the movie. Movie let out around 11pm. Went to a cafe and had dessert and coffee on the outdoor patio and watched a storm roll in off on the horizon. One of the better lightening storms I’ve seen. Made that movie experience all the more memorable.

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Thanks to mtchyg for the sample! I adore you and hope your power out there in Michigan is restored soon.

TO THE TEA. I’m a bit wiped out, so I picked this high-caffeine blend. I’m petsitting an 8-month-old dog who whimpers at night. I don’t know what the dog’s mommies usually do (let him sleep in the bed?), but crating him and leaving him alone is apparently not it.

So ahhhh, a nice chestnut caramel blend. (There’s also allegedly vanilla here. I’m not sure.) I don’t know what a chestnut tastes like, but this is a fairly flat, deep-note caramel/molasses black.

It’s a nice blend, and I’m enjoying it, but I am unlikely to write home about it.

There are other teas for which I would definitely get a nice notecard, an envelope, a stamp, a fancy pen, and craft a letter to my mom. (Please don’t call my bluff on this.)

That said, this caffeine is a blessing this afternoon.

Here’s the puppy, in case you were wondering:


Aww. The feelings are mutual. My power did come back on. The same day that I received your tea box, actually. I’d like to believe you had a hand in it.

Also, just this past Christmas as I was singing my favorite Christmas song (Actually titled “The Christmas Song” but better known as “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”), I had pondered the fact that I have never actually had chestnuts roasted on an open fire DESPITE the fact that I am a very Christmas-y person. The spirit of the season is strong with me. So yeah, I’m with you. Don’t actually know what a chestnut tastes like. I do have a fire place though… hmmm…

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I tried this hot, and was unmoved — but it’s pretty good cold.

It’s got the creamy vanilla flavor that tends to accompany rooibos, plus a little bit of citrus.

Does it taste like a smoothie? Nah. (That might be because I’m the bomb at making smoothies.)

Does it taste like a creamsicle? A little!

This is a very nice after-diner sweet-treat. It’s not life-altering, but it’s tasty.



Yeah, how can this thing compare to your bomb smoothies? No chance.

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Thanks for the sample, mtchyg! And for mixing it.

It’s a deep black tea base with some creamy chocolate and a hint of brown sugar/caramel sweetness. I want to say that it has bread notes and raisin notes as well, but I might me crazy.

I think I’m going to have to buy a bag of this one. It’s a great dessert tea.

And tea is also ZERO SmartPoints, which is a thing I didn’t give a shit about until yesterday, when I told my husband it was GO TIME on a diet (“lifestyle change”) and I was JOINING WEIGHT WATCHERS DAMMIT and he said “okay.” (He is the chillest person alive.) (And I am, as you may have surmised from my tea blog, a flea circus of cray-cray).

So now tea is going to be my fallback substitute for EVERYTHING, all the time. It’s going to be my alcohol substitute. My soda substitute. My dessert substitute.

I already tried to use it as a beer substitute. I brought a bunch of iced tea to a party in a big to-go tumbler to drink instead of beer.

But the party was a beer-snob microbrew kind of crowd, and they kept asking me what the heck I was drinking. I said tea, and they asked why.

Doesn’t it seem gauche to ask people why they aren’t drinking alcohol?

Maybe I’m pregnant.

Maybe alcohol interferes with my medical conditions or medicines.

Maybe I’m watching my calories.

Maybe I don’t like alcohol.

Maybe alcohol doesn’t like me.

Maybe I like alcohol TOO MUCH and I’m in AA.

Almost ANY RESPONSE to “why aren’t you drinking?” is going to be personal. And I’d just met the people who were asking. (People who know me know that I carry tea around with me everywhere.)

I think it’s a young-person thing. People who are older tend to know the downside of alcohol a little better, are past the “party!” phase, and also, I think, just care less about what other people do.

Feel free to weigh in on any or none of this. Just getting it off my chest.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chocolate, Creamy, Malt, Raisins


I get that too! I cannot understand why people ask things like that? I sometimes am tempted to give them a really horrible answer to shut them up. None of your business why I’m not drinking!


I’m glad you enjoyed my blend! Also, as someone who can’t drink due to a medical condition, I absolutely know how you feel. Now, I don’t mind telling people why I can’t drink alcohol but I agree with you on this one. Maybe there is a little of the “please conform with us/you think you’re better than me?” thing going on. Sometimes I’m tempted to give people funny and bullshit excuses.


I find people of all ages ask a lot of things they maybe shouldn’t ask. My sister got married back in September and is asked almost daily by literally anyone (parents, colleagues, clients, etc.) “are you and your husband trying to have a baby?”. I think that is crazy rude and since I like to mess with people who do shit like this, I told her she should look them dead in the eye and say something like “no, but me and our gardener are.” or “not since the accident”. It’s terrible to do but it would be a good lesson for people who think it is okay to ask these personal questions.


I would have just said “because I’m not drinking alcohol tonight”. And uhhh what if you were designated driver??


It blows my mind that people expect everyone else to think and do everything they personally do to a T, and if you don’t, you have to justify yourself, why you a) aren’t drinking alcohol when everyone else is, b) don’t want to be married, c) don’t want children or don’t have any yet, d) why you don’t want to have your picture taken, etc. Like seriously? What does it matter to others?


But yeah, I agree with VariaTEA that age is irrelevant. People are just ignorant.

Super Starling!

People are ALWAYS asking me where the baby is. Sometimes I enjoy telling them the truth: “well, I’m on a bunch of antidepressants for my crippling lifetime of inexplicable sadness! And they’d make my baby derpy! So… I can’t have one!” And other times I just say “you’ll be the first to know if it happens!” because ugh. Why does everyone require a novella if you’re at all different from them?


Lol! Starling, you and I would get along really well I think. I totally agree, and I just love your personality. You do you, girl. :)

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Thanks to my wonderful friend mtchyg for this yummy sample!

Part of my preparation for this tea was yelling “Earl Grey! Black!” like Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek. One of the comforting things about Earl Grey is that it’s such a classic it probably WILL make it to 2364 (the year Next Gen is set, according to Wikipedia).

This particular Grey wields the bergamot like a battering ram. I kind of like that, but if you aren’t into aggressive citrus notes, you probably should back off. Like Captain Picard’s voice, this is a very rich and deep tea. It has a sturdy dark base. The caffeine level on this was four black diamonds (out of… how many?). Watch out, tea-drinker, you’re about to plunge off the deep end. Into… the final frontier.

AND NOW FOR A DIGRESSION. Who was everyone’s favorite Next-Gen character? Mine was Data. I’m not trying to influence you. I’m just saying: he was the obvious best.

Now you go.


Data is my favourite too, but I was pretty fond of many of the Romulans from the series. And Miles too, poor fellow always gets forgotten.


I’m in on Data as well.

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A million thanks to mtchyg for this sample! And the crazy box of samples that will have to be reviewed forthwith.

This tea is green and black and orange and vanilla. All tumbled together. Just like poor, confused Jon Snow, with his ambiguous parentage and torn loyalty.

I guess. I don’t fully understand fandom teas sometimes. I enjoy trying to figure them out.

This tea is messy, unstable, but the collage elements do form a good composition. The spice against the vanilla totally works here.

I think sometimes tea people try to throw random ingredients together to be avant-garde or what-have-you — but this contrast is successful.

Just so you know, I drank this concoction out of a Quaker Steak n Lube mason jar with a handle.

I mention this to maintain my reputation as the Classiest Bitch On Steepster.


I hereby second the nomination/reality of Classiest on Steepster.

Also, I’m pretty certain that a Quaker Steak n Lube mason jar with a handle is our realities equivalent of a Game of Thrones stein.

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I went on a sample-buying binge a while back (stop judging me, I can feel you judging me). This is one I picked up that I liked pretty well hot, and then forgot about.

Today I was struggling with my attempts to quit soda (hellllp meeeeeeeeeee) so I decided to make an iced tea instead. I was sifting through my basket and spotted this.

“Blueberries, raspberries, and coconuts, plus black tea, iced? Sure. That probably won’t suck.”

And lo, it did not suck. The raspberries and blueberries were sassy buddies, and the coconut laid a sweet blanket over the whole thing. As a warning, though: if you don’t like coconut, don’t make this iced. Cold, this tea is super-coconut-y. It tastes a lot like the coconut-milk-infused curry I had with lunch, bringing my meal full circle.

I miss soda, but tea is helping.

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This super-distinctive light tea is a weird delight.

It tastes like a county fair — a little bit of kettle corn; a little bit of salty, over-crisped chips; a little bit of wafted nuts drifting through the air into your nose.

It’s a gravelly voice, whispering.

It’s the setting sun over a carnival. The sideshow carnies are dancing in front of a fire. Spinning yarns about their lives before the circus.

It is outside in late summer.

This is a weird post, but this is a weird tea.

[ Edit: This tea started out as a 77, but the cup actually gets even better as it cools and I reach the bottom. So now it’s an 80. I might bump it up a few more points if I continue to like it in subsequent steeps.]

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I’m a graphic designer, illustrator, crafter, geek, and recent tea convert. I love teas that are sweet, zippy (caffeinated), and hopeful. In concrete terms, that’s usually black or maté tea, with some chocolate/vanilla/berry/nut in there somewhere. If it gives me the dessert experience without the calories, my heart soars.

I’m not a big fan of mint, grass (“yogi farts”), sours, or bitterness.

I’m into the idea of trading to try new things. If there’s something in my cupboard you’d like to try, send me a message!


Pennsylvania, USA



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