1118 Tasting Notes


Pulled this tea for the January sipdown prompt items “an Earl Grey” and “a tea that reminds you of an alcoholic beverage.”

This is an extra lemon-citrusy Earl Grey with ginger and rum flavoring. I rarely taste alcohol flavor essences in tea (I’m not a drinker of such beverages due to health reasons, which probably makes that even more difficult for me) but I am getting that sort of “dry” alcohol note here… I think the citrus really highlights that certain taste for me, as I sometimes get those vibes from grapefruit teas, and the lemon/bergamot combo does have somewhat of a grapefruit flavor note. I love the tartness of the lemon and bergamot here, it’s a very bright, puckery citrus which I personally love. While I’d expect more of a “lemon ginger” flavor profile, I’m actually finding the ginger a very mild flavor here. The black tea is the malty sort of base one would expect under begamot. It does come off a little drying, but I think that’s more from the citrus/rum than the tea and sort of plays into that “alcohol vibe” for me.

I’m enjoying this one! The citrus may be a little too sour/tart for others, I suspect, but since I’m the Hibiscus Queen and love those profiles, I really dig it.

Flavors: Alcohol, Bergamot, Citrus, Drying, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemon, Malt, Pleasantly Sour, Tart

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

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Pulled this out for the January sipdown prompt “drink a tea paired with a favorite hobby.” I’m a solo-person manga/manwha scanlation team, and decided this would be good to sip on while I work on some cleaning and script progress for two different projects this afternoon. One is a Korean manwha and one is a Japanese manga, and roasted barley tea is a popular drink in both countries (“Boricha” in Korea, “Mugicha” in Japan).

This brand of mugicha I have is pre-packaged into 10g bags to make a liter of iced tea (which I do often, and love). But I am fighting a cold and craving hot beverages, so I broke open the packet and repackaged the roasted barley into two 5g fillable teabags. I put one in my 500ml teapot and am leaving it to steep indefinitely.

The steeping tea has that divine smell of roasted barley, which always smells like a dark roast coffee to me. There is also a bit of a toasty grain smell as well. The brewed tea is such a satisfying and warming bittersweet roasted note.


Flavors: Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Grain, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Toasty

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

Mmm, barley tea :)

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Pulled out this 2018 blend for the January prompt item “a spicy tea”.

The description of this tea says it is a yerba mate/black tea blend, but I honestly don’t see any black tea leaf in the mix? Just lots of roasted mate and spices. So I brewed a heaping teaspoon in 185F 350ml water for about a 4 minute steep (roughly how I handle yerba mate).

The tea has a rich roasted mate body, with some notes of hot hay, wood, and nuts. Mostly what I’m getting from the spices is a very forward cinnamon flavor… not sweet desserty cinnamon, or red hot candy cinnamon, but that very barky/woody/sweet cinnamon. It is really adding to that roasted woodiness of the tea. There is a light, warming-but-not-burny ginger flavor at the end of the sip that leaves a pleasant warmth on the throat afterwards. There is a little bit of pepperiness to the flavor as well.

It’s a pleasantly warm chai… spiced, but not spicy, with a strong cinnamon presense. The roasted mate is very smooth here. It’s a nice tea for the blechiness that is Pacific Northwest winter.

Flavors: Bark, Cinnamon, Ginger, Hot Hay, Nutty, Pepper, Roasted, Spices, Wood

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Amortentia by 52teas
1118 tasting notes

Pulled out this 2018 blend for the January prompt item “a cream tea” as it is a “strawberries and cream chai” according to the description.

The dry leaf has a very sweet, candied strawberry smell that makes me think of strawberry bubblegum, though I’m pulled out of it a bit by the very strong clove aroma that is also present.

The steeped aroma is close to the dry aroma for me, with the same strawberry candy/bubblegum aroma, though the clove smell isn’t so dominant and instead I’m getting more of a peppery spice aroma that is hints of clove, cardamom, and ginger.

On the sip, I get the candy strawberry/sweet vanilla cream first, with spices hitting midsip and lingering a bit on the tongue. It’s a bit of a strange combination, as the spices aren’t the sort I’d expect paired with a desserty flavor like strawberries and cream. Getting a lot of the peppery/citrusy flavor of cardamom, as well as a bit of clove and some soft ginger. Has a very “warming chai” feel, only on a strawberry green tea rather than a robust black.

It’s different. It’s interesting. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t think it’s a favorite, either.

Flavors: Bubblegum, Candy, Cardamom, Citrus, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Pepper, Spices, Strawberry

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

What, no grass and new parchment? XD


How are there no notes on this tea?! Also, I’ve never heard of it before. Interesting.


@Kittenna: this tea came from my HP themed box from several years ago. If memory serves, it was my very first themed box.

@Cameron – I decided to go with some of my favorite scents rather than Hermione’s. :)

Cameron B.

Well your version sounds much more pleasant to drink Anne, ha ha…


Yeah, I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to translate the parchment. I guess with the grass, I just find an extra grassy tasting green? The peppermint part would have been easy enough to accomplish but I’m not sure how I would go about getting the parchment flavor – plus – would it be vegan?

Mastress Alita

If I was going for parchment, I’d probably use one of those “old leather” tasting Chinese blacks… which would of course cover up “grassy” green.

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Happy New Year’s Eve! Today the prompt is to drink your oldest tea!

While this isn’t my oldest tea (those are all pu’erhs that I continually put off drinking for several reasons: a) I feel they “need” gong fu preparation to shine, which I never have the time to do, b) since they age, I don’t feel an incentive to finish them off for “freshness” purposes, and c) frankly, historically that tea type is my least favorite). I’m pretty busy today (work half the day, then I need to cram in errands the second half and hope the blizzard we are having lightens by then) so I don’t think I’ll be able to fit in any gong fu today… so I made this as my take-to-work thermos tea. It is at least one of my oldest 2018 teas, which have been what I’ve primarily been working on sipping down lately.

Tea Chai Te has a couple blends that incorporate tea leaf and spices into Guittard powdered chocolate; the result is something that, at least visually, appears to look more like a hot chocolate mix, just with chunky bits in it. I really enjoy their “Rainforest Chai,” another of their Guittard chocolate blends, so I decided to prepare this tea the same way I make that one: one large perfect spoon scoop of the tea/chocolate powder dumped into the milk frother, a cup of milk, and the frother on “warm”. When it is done warming/frothing the milk, I pour through a strainer to filter out the tea and spices. I find this incorporates the chocolate powder the best, while trying to steep with water in a strainer just turns into a big mess.

Smells, unsurprisingly, like spiced hot chocolate. It’s a rich, sweet, thick chocolate (thanks to the cocoa powder), but I can taste the spices too: notably a warming of clove and ginger at the end of the sip. Mid-sip I get more of a cardamom flavor. The spices aren’t strong enough to cause any unpleasant mouth-burny sensations, but are present enough to be tasted through the chocolate.

I can’t, however, taste anything that would remind me of yerba mate. Flavor-wise, this pretty much tastes just like their “Rainforest Chai,” which is just spices in cocoa powder. I suppose though, even though I can’t taste it, is that the yerba mate has basically turned this into an energizing, caffeinated hot cocoa, while “Rainforest Chai” is a pleasant evening herbal. I’ll have to see how my energy levels feel as I sip on this throughout another cold and snowy morning.

Edit: Having tried this tea a few times now, I have found my preferred preparation is stove top preparation with a 50/50 milk to water ratio and a tablespoon of the tea/chocolate powder. This is the best marriage of rich and creamy hot chocolate notes while still tasting the distint flavor of yerba mate with sweet spices.

Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Clove, Creamy, Ginger, Spices, Sweet

2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

I was most looking forward to today’s prompt!

Lexie Aleah

I didn’t realize some of their blends had Guittard chocolate in them. That sounds delicious I’ll have to pick up a few of them at some point.

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Oh lordy, all this snow we are getting in the Pacific Northwest is killing me. Every day we’ve been getting buried all over again. When I was home over the holidays and could stay in, it was managable, but now that I have to drive to and from work every day… oof. It’s been putting me in a mood.

Pulled this as my nightly herbal, hoping it soothes my nerves and warms my body. Smells like… rose, mint, and cocoa. Yup.

Teabag left in cup treatment. Tastes like… Rose, mint, and cocoa. Mm-hmm. I’m actually surprised I’m picking up the cocoa notes so well… I could do with even stronger chocolately notes, but what is here is lovely, sort of a dark chocolate bitter-sweet note that fades to something sweeter and slightly fudgy in the aftertaste, probably thanks to the sweetness of the floral. The mint is bright and crisp, with a lovely cooling menthol sensation after the sip. The rose is noticable, and pairs nicely with both the cocoa and the mint. It is not overpowering or perfumy, but does leave that distinct rose-floral-taste-with-a-peppery-aftertaste note in the cup.

Lovely evening tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Menthol, Mint, Pepper, Peppermint, Rose

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

Oh, I miss this tea! Glad to see your note for it :)

Mastress Alita

I got it at that co-op you told me about, on a long, long ago Bay Area trip… how many years has it been since I went on a trip? Siiiiiiigh. Depressing. (But not the tea, the tea is good!)

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This is my last day off before returning to work until New Years, and I wanted to get some errands done… but we got another mass of snow last night, putting a hault in those plans. The snow had stopped this afternoon and I’d cleared the walk to my condo, and now it has started again. Oof. Already paranoid about having to drive in all that tomorrow…

Wanted hojicha this afternoon. Did I still have any after a year of much sipping down? Yes, I have a 50g bag of Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms’ “Hojicha Dark Roast,” procurred from Yunomi. It smells nice in the cooling cup… wood, spices (especially nutmeg), roasted walnuts, and old book leather. Tastes pretty spot on for those things, too, with a fresh woodiness and roasted nuts flavor dominating. There is a hint of the umami qualities of the green tea beneath the coffee-like qualities.

Very satisfying. Exactly what I was craving on a day like today.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coffee, Leather, Nutmeg, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Spices, Umami, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Jen vB

Snow! So jealous. Nothing but ice and slush near Boston.

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drank Candy Cane Truffle by 52teas
1118 tasting notes

Happy National Candy Cane Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with peppermint flavor notes!

This is my only tea that has “candy cane” in the title… so when I was pulling all my “52Teas holiday flavors from years past” I purposefully saved this one for today.

The tea has a delightful chocolate mint aroma… And it’s a lovely chocolate mint flavor in the cup, as well. The chocolate is a nice rich flavor… more on the cocoa end than I normally taste, but also a bit of the more common “chocolate liquor” flavor as well. The mint adds a bit of brightness… I know it’s peppermint, but something about the particular feel of the menthol is a bit more like spearmint to my tongue, leading to a flavor somewhere in-between the two for me, which is very pleasant. The cup is smooth and sweet but not overpoweringly so, as I find many candy cane blends tend to be. Reminds me of a mint hot cocoa in flavor, with the thinner body of a tea. I may make my subsequent cup as a latte, to allow the milk to thicken up the texture and really bring out that mint hot cocoa vibe.

Lovely for the wintery weather we are having… over the last two days, we accumulated six inches of snow!

Flavors: Alcohol, Chocolate, Cocoa, Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, Sweet

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

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This is one of the four Target-exclusive Forager Edition herbals from Tazo, the one based on the Northeast US. So far, I have really enjoyed the Midwest “Wild Apple Sarsaparilla” and the Rockies “Juniper Mint Honey.” I figured this one would easily also be a hit for me, since I’m one of the few people I know that loves tart, tangy, hibiscus-heavy fruity teas, which is what I was expecting to get from a tea called “Elderberry Blackberry.” Sadly, it wasn’t.

I do taste a strong dark berry flavor, but it just doesn’t have that juicy/tart element I want and expect from berries like elderberry or blackberry. Instead I get this rather awful pervasive background note that tastes flowery, soapy, and baby powder-y… pretty much how chamomile tastes to me. And then I looked at the pouch and see chamomile is an ingredient. It doesn’t have that particular hay/herbaceous/apple/honey chamomile flavor, but the things about that particular flower that always taste “off” to my tongue are present. I guess it is sweetening up the berry notes, but the result is that “chalky/powdery” fruit flavor that Cameron often describes.

Honestly, I need way more hibiscus and way less chamomile for this blend to work for me. I imagine for everyone else out there, though, the choice to make this more chamomile and less hibiscus is welcome. I wish I had some of my plain hibi stash to add to my cup, but sadly I’m out…

Drunk as a plain hot cup, I just find this rather yuck. But I’m going to continue to try to brew it in other ways and see if I can’t find a way to make this work for me, at least to use up the box. I definitely would not get more of this, while I’d happily restock “Wild Apple Sarsaparilla” or “Juniper Mint Honey.”

Flavors: Berries, Chalk, Floral, Soap, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Martin Bednář

If you want, I will gladly share some pure hibiscus I got. It’s too much for me and honestly I never remember putting it in other tea.

Mastress Alita

That is sweet, but since I’m unable to ship internationally, I typically discourage all the trouble (and high costs) from others to ship internationally to me, too.


Wow, what a letdown. The name of this tea sounds like something tart and amazing.


The lack of edginess may mean it’s something I like ;)

Martin Bednář

Mastress Alita: As you wish, I would nothing in return :)

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Happy Festivus! (I’m probably the only person on here who celebrates Festivus as their winter holiday, so Happy Day to everyone else!)

This is, in fact, the first year I haven’t had to work on Festivus, so I decided to treat myself by going out to lunch. It is a rainy, rainy day today, so I definitely wanted warm and cozy… so I went to my favorite cafe in town (and the only one that actually serves loose leaf brewed pots of tea, offering a small selection of teas from TeaSource) and ordered a BLT on toasted sourdough with a side cup of today’s soup (Squash Bisque, mmm!) and a pot of this tea.

This is a really nice nutty tea! It brews so smooth, and the base almost has a dark chocolate-bittersweetness to it, underneath roasty, toasty nuts. It’s incredibly smooth and wonderful on a dreary day. I’d really recommend giving this a try to folks looking for Chestnut teas, or nutty teas lacking the syrupy-sweet marzipan flavor that seems to be present in most of them.

Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Maple, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Toasty


Happy Festivus!(are socks involved? I love overly colourful socks) :)

Mastress Alita

I’m wearing socks cause my feet get cold inside, but that’s a year-round ordeal for me, hahaha. (I recently learned about the Icelandic Yule Cat, a giant cat that eats children if they have “old, ratty clothes” on Christmas, leading to the tradition of gifting new socks before the holiday so they will have “something new to wear” for protection… that mythos was a new one to me, hahaha).


Yule Cat is new to me, too—glad to know it! A house on my way into town has a beautifully lit Festivus pole in the front window. Makes me grin every time I see it.

Mastress Alita

I have a Festivus Pole in my living room! However I go traditional by keeping it unadorned aluminum. :-)

Martin Bednář

Happy Festivus!


Happy Festivus to you :)

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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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