1118 Tasting Notes


I’ve been working on this tea and Myrtle’s Tea House since last month and am really ready to move on, so I decided to go with some iced and latte preparations (which use more leaf) to speed up the process. So I used the remainder of my packet of this for a latte with Vanilla Almond Milk. Using it as the February sipdown prompt “Drink a tea that starts with a Periodic Table abbreviation” (O for Oxygen!)

I found in the latte it was still quite malty and bready, but I didn’t really taste any floral or muscatel notes. Rather, a sort of lemon citrusy flavor came forward, which was quite pleasant with the very sweet milk.

Not a bad send-off.

Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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Decided to finish off what I had left of this favorite tea as cold brew for the February sipdown prompt “Pair a tea to a favorite fairytale.” I collect mermaids, so obviously “The Little Mermaid” is one (among many) of my favorite fairytales, and the tropical flavor plus the name give me a water/ocean vibe.

Not much to say about the tea itself; it’s a strong hibi-hip fruit tea, the kind that is tart and fruit punchy, but I like my teas on the tart/tarter/tartest side. It has a really nice, refreshing pineapple flavor as well. I like it cold and straight up, with no sweetener.

Flavors: Citrus, Fruit Punch, Hibiscus, Pineapple, Sweet, Tangy

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

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Pulled this old tea I was gifted from Meowster during a cupboard de-stash. Thank you!

Brewed 3.5g in 500ml 190F water for 3 minutes. I managed to get in a few wiffs before it was emptied into the work thermos for the day, and found it surprisingly flowery in aroma for such an old tea. The thermos is now drinkable, and the flavor definitely tastes a little stale/muted from age, but notes of malt, baked bread, raisins, honey, and flowers are still present. It’s also very smooth, with just a bit of a drying quality after the sip — at least with this preparation, I’m not getting the sort of astrigency I come to expect from broken leaf tea.

Flavors: Bread, Drying, Floral, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smooth

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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drank Myrtle's Tea House by 52teas
1118 tasting notes

I have a large bag of this from 2018, and haven’t opened it yet. But I’m in an Earl Grey mood so decided to break it open.

It smells amazing! A strong but not overbearing bergamot and sweet strawberry waft off the cup. The flavor is similar to strawberry lemonade, only a bit bitier and floral-leaning from the bergamot. There is a tiny hint of cinnamon sweetness at the end of the sip. The base is super smooth, too.

Excellent! Tastes like a mix of medium-bodied Earl Grey with Lady Londonderry. I’ll definitely enjoy working through this bag.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Citrus, Lemon, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet

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

Oh my, I had forgotten Lady Londonderry!

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This is one of my oldest teas, as it came from the final “Here’s Hoping Teabox” which was the first teabox I joined as a newbie on Steepster back in… 2016 or 2017, I think? I finished everything I had from that box except a few pu’erh samples, as I always think to myself, “Age can’t hurt this!” and try to drink other things that are getting less and less fresh each day. But I failed my “one gong fu session a month” goal last year, and want to try that goal again this year! So I pulled this out to gong fu this morning.

My package simply says “Yiwu Sheng Pu-erh 2016” on it, and since this is the closest match I can find, I’m putting it here (if it is something else, apologies!)

80ml (mini pot) | 4.43g | 205F | Rinse/10s/13s/16s/19s/22s/25s/28s/31s

The wet leaf has a really pungent aroma… smells like umami cooked meats, bitter fruit rind, hay, and minerals. The rinse had a strong aroma of sour fruits and hay. The first steep, after a bit of cooling, has a gentler aroma, and tastes surprisingly fruity and smooth… I’m getting a cooked stonefruit vibe, particularly plum, with a bit of a dry hay/herbaceous backdrop and a bit of minerality in the finish. The next infusion smells and tastes delightfully plummy, a little sour at first with a honeyed note coming forward afterward. I’m getting a sort of black licorice aftertaste on my tongue (which is fine by me, I’m one of those rare black licorice fans). That aftertaste becomes more of a mild muscatal note in subsequent steeps, with the sip continuing to be very plum forward, with a bit more florality/wildflower honey and graham cracker popping up in the taste. Around the sixth infusion the stonefruit notes disappeared and it became more of a mix of bitter melon, hay, herbaceous, citrus peel, and mineral notes. Steeped for eight infusions.

Flavors: Bitter Melon, Citrus Zest, Floral, Graham Cracker, Herbaceous, Honey, Hot Hay, Licorice, Mineral, Muscatel, Plum, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruit

205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

Pu’er and gongfu in one session? With no complaints of swamp or scalded fingers? Glad it wasn’t a terrible experience :)

Mastress Alita

Well, I did cheat on the scalded fingers by using a tiny, handled teapot. But yes, no dirt, swamp water, or ash smoke!


If tiny teapots are considered cheating, then we’re both chumps! Good notes you got there, btw.


I wish I kept some of this lying around for a while. Silly me, I drank it within the year it was released. I knew so very little about puerh, then.


Oh good, a puerh you liked! I had the “traveled too much to continue in the teabox” ziplock bag of teas in my hand a couple days ago…still working on them!

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drank Prickly Pear Cactus by Tazo
1118 tasting notes

This is one of the four Target-exclusive Forager Edition herbals from Tazo, the one based on the Southwest US. So far, I have really enjoyed the Midwest “Wild Apple Sarsaparilla” and the Rockies “Juniper Mint Honey,” but really disliked the Northeast “Elderberry Blackberry.”

I was a little trepidatious about this one, as the “Elderberry Blackberry” listed chamomile quite high on the ingredients list, and this one does as well, and it’s a flavor I really dislike. I got a very off-putting soapy/baby powdery taste from the “Elderberry Blackberry” tea that I never could shake. And I’m picking up a bit of that same aroma here. But, there is a stronger melon/pear sort of aroma that is helping mask it a lot.

Thankfully, I’m okay with this on the sip. Perhaps it was the flavorings in the “Elderberry Blackberry” that created such an off-putting flavor, because I quite like this “prickly pear” flavor. It isn’t a flavor I could pinpoint very well myself (having tried prickly pear candy all of once in my life) but, I like it. It does have a strong mixed melon/pear sort of flavor, with a touch of florality. Hibi is listed first of the ingredients on the pouch, but honestly I don’t even notice it aside from a subtle pink hue to the yellow liquor of the brew (I’m a big hibi fan, so I wouldn’t have minded more of a presence from it, but for the vast majority of hibi-haters out there, don’t be turned off by its high placement on the ingredient listing). There is maybe a little citrusy-sort of tang, with a long steep? I’m not noticing the chamomile either, which is a bonus for me.

I don’t like this as much as the “Wild Apple Sarsaparilla” and the “Juniper Mint Honey”, but it is certainly enjoyable and I wouldn’t mind getting it again. I think this flavor will shine more prepared as a cold brew, which I’ll have to put on my to-do list.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Melon, Pear, Sweet, Tangy

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

That’s a reminder I need to hit Target soon for some Juniper Honey before it starts disappearing!

Mastress Alita

I really should do the same, as well!

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I’ve hit a point where I’ve already drained my cupboard of caffeine-free options from my oldest teas, while I still have tons of caffeinated tea from 2018 that is becoming harder and harder to get through since I cut off caffeine intake after 6 p.m. So, I’m going to experiment and see if there aren’t any teas that don’t give me enough of a jolt to affect my sleep… houjicha tends to be okay, so tonight I’m going to try a genmaicha. I’m hoping the way the tea is cut with lots of brown rice will make it subtle enough for evening drinking…

Has a lovely nutty aroma. I was smelling sort of an almondy/marizan sort of scent from the dry leaf, but I’m not getting that in the steeped cup… the nutty taste is the satisfying toasty roasted rice, but I’m not tasting almond. I get a little cherry in the background, but it is subtle. The dry leaf smells spot on for a cherry and almond dessert, but this brew is mostly just the grassy/toasty notes of genmaicha with a little cherry aftertaste. I’m guessing age was harsher on this one than some of my other 2018 teas… at least the green tea doesn’t have that dry, stale lawn clipping taste, and is a nice, vegetal grassy taste.

Flavors: Cherry, Grass, Nutty, Toasted Rice, Toasty

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

Hm, that sounds interesting and mellow. I am too hoping that the tea doesn’t interfere with your sleep.


I’m constantly making tea orders where I don’t allow myself to order any caffeinated teas because I blow through my herbal teas so much faster than caffeinated. I know the struggle!

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drank Breakfast in Bed by 52teas
1118 tasting notes

So, while looking for a tea to use for the January sipdown prompt “bean flavor notes,” I have discovered that I already sipped down all my Chinese greens last year (which always have a savory “mixed bean” sort of taste to me). So I’m going outside the box on this one and have grabbed this 2018 tea that has vanilla bean in the ingredients!

I love rose black teas and I think this may be my last one in my stash before I’ve sipped all those down, too. The dry leaf has such a lovely sweet floral rose smell… it reminds me of the “Rose Vanilla Chai” by Tea Chai Te that I sipped down a few months ago, but without the cardamom/clove spiciness.

The scent of the steeped tea cooling in my cup is so fragrant and soothing. There is sort of a warm bready/citrusy background aroma from the base, with a really sweet aroma that somehow reminds me of sugar cookies or bubblegum from the scents of the vanilla and floral rose combined.

Lovely! Such a comforting flavor profile. The black tea is medium-bodied and a little citrusy, with goes very nicely with the rose. Those rose is the dominating aroma and flavor. I don’t find it perfumy, but I’m also a big fan of rose; I imagine those that are more sensitive to it would find this too strong/perfumy. For me, it’s just the right balance of a nice, strong rose flavor before it becomes overwhelming. The vanilla doesn’t come out super strongly, but I can certainly taste it… it sort of adds a sweet cream or “sugared rose dessert” vibe to the tea.

Very happy with this afternoon cuppa.

Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Rose, Sweet, Vanilla

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

There’s that vanilla BEAN tea for the challenge! Looks like we both rate it an 84. haha

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After waffling a bit on which tea to use for the January sipdown prompt “a favorite pie” I decided to go with this. I like a lot of pies (who doesn’t?) but I’d probably put pumpkin (with ample vanilla ice cream), lemon meringue, key lime, and cheesecake (which my brain places in the “pie” category rather than the “cake” category) at the top of the list. So I grabbed this lemon/cream cheese tea since I figured that checked off lemon meringue or cheesecake vibes.

It has a lovely fresh lemony fragrance in the dry leaf, which comes off with a pleasant tanginess in the steeped cup. The flavor is very lemon-toward, and it’s very bright and juicy with some lemon zest pithiness. I love lemon myrtle and it is really shining in this tea; the more herbaceous flavor I get from lemongrass is present, but more muted. While I can smell the peppery note I often taste in honeybush, I’m not picking it up on the tongue this time. The base is coming off more with a mild sweet and slightly nutty flavor. As the tea cools, I get a little bit of a sweet cream note coming out, which sweetens the citrus a bit, but not enough to take the edges off the bright tanginess. I think the sweeter/cream elements probably needed to be a bit buffer here to simulate a “lemon cream cheese danish”, but since I personally prefer my citrus when it is on the tart side, I’m finding this a wholly enjoyable cup.

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Herbaceous, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Nutty, Sweet, Tangy, Tart, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 5 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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Using this tea for the January sipdown prompts “an apricot tea” and “a new tea.” It was the only apricot tea I could find in my spreadsheet, and came from my latest tea order, which was in December of 2021.

I’ve steeped this up and it has an absolutely lovely stonefruit aroma… a juicy apricot/peach note, that has an overtone of sweet florality, like fruit tree blossoms. The fruity aroma is strong, and I only make out a hint of toasty roasted oolong beneath it. The oolong has a warm, roasty and nutty flavor, and I’m getting just a hint of a syrupy cooked orange/cherry flavor there, as well. The sip is full of a strong apricot/peach stonefruit flavor that is very nice… more of a juicy flavor which leaves a sort of effervescent and sweet fruity/floral note at the back of the tongue, rather than the usual “peach candy” flavor I get from most peach teas.

It’s really good! Anne notes “cooked fruit” or “apricot/peach crumble” and I can see both. It’s very satisfying; the base isn’t a strong roast dominating the cup with charcoal/smoke flavors, just warm, toasty, and nutty, and the fruit flavor is very spot on. This would probably make an amazing iced tea too, but I’m not sure yet if I want to use up the remainder of my packet with that preparation… I’ll have to check my mood later.

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Nutty, Orange, Peach, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruit, Toasty

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

Ahh, this sounds delightful!

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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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