921 Tasting Notes


Pulled this for my evening sipper, from a very old TeaSource order (a still-sealed January 2018 tea). Dry leaf aroma reminds me of their Evening in Missoula tea (one of my favorites, which I sipped down recently); they do share many of the same “rootbeer” ingredients, like wild cherry bark and sarsaparilla. This one does smell a bit more spice-heavy than Evening in Missoula, which had more of a minty undertone (thanks to the wintergreen).

Brewed tea still has that strong, pleasant rootbeer aroma. I’m definitely not digging the flavor of this one as much as Evening in Missoula, though. I definitely do taste sweet sarsaparilla (the sarsaparilla and lingering licorice root sticky sweetness really do come off very rootbeer-esque), but I’m getting a lot of cinnamon and chicory on the sip as well. I like chicory, but that roasty quality feels out of place here; not so much as to make the tea unpleasant, but considering both this blend and their Evening in Missoula have a very similar flavor profile, the other blend is the clear winner for me and I wouldn’t really feel a need to have both in my cupboard.

Strong rootbeer/licorice/spice notes, with this slight roasted coffee bean flavor on the finish. It’s fine, but the crisp, clean rootbeer flavor of Evening in Missoula with the wintergreen appeals to me more. That said, I won’t have any issues sipping this down; this cup was prepared hot (and was quite nice that way) but I definitely need to try it cold brewed/iced, which I imagine would work quite nicely.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coffee, Licorice, Roasted, Root Beer, Sarsaparilla, Spices, Sweet

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

Whenever I restock Evening in Missoula, I may have to pick up some of this too.


Sandy here on Steepster went to Montana and came back with Evening In Missoula for us to try. I liked it. Ashman was traumatized. It was in his early tea sipping days. He drank two Cokes, brushed his teeth, drank water, and bemoaned being unable to get the taste of a whole bouquet of flowers out of his mouth. I had saved the contents of the basket to dry and put in our room like potpourri and he was horrified so I threw it away! Ha ha! I would love to try it again someday. (When he is at work.)

Ours came from Montana Tea and Spice in Missoula, but I am guessing it is the same blend. It is our benchmark now – like I ask him….was it Evening in Missoula bad to you or just bad?

Again, I really liked it! So did Sandy!

Mastress Alita

I rated Evening in Missoula a 98 (review here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/376087 ), it’s one of my favorite teas. It doesn’t taste floral to me at all (I don’t even taste the chamomile in the blend, and I hate chamomile). It’s a TeaSource blend (though tons of mom and pops wholesale it from them) and it tastes like rootbeer to me (it has wintergreen, sarsaparilla, and cherry bark in it, all very rootbeer-y herbs). This is also a TeaSource blend, and also tastes like rootbeer to me, it just isn’t as good as Evening in Missoula to me.


This reminds me it is high time for me to break out my sassafras concentrate. I need a good tonickin, as Granny Clampett would say.

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One of my oldest teas, brewed as an afternoon teatime cuppa. The dry leaf had a sweet marzipan aroma, with a bit of a tart cherry/cranberry. The tea brews up a pretty pale pink color from the hibi-hip; the brewed aroma isn’t as potent as the dry leaf, smells sweet and fruity, like honeyed nuts and red berry candy.

The flavor is a bit weak, but this is also a bit old, so hard to tell if that’s just the age peaking through. The white tea base is coming through more strongly than I expected from the dry aroma, providing a hay-like flavor. There is a light marzipan flavor, veering a little more like honeyed nuts toward the end of the sip rather than that really syrupy/alcoholy flavoring I’m used to with marzipan flavors in tea. I am not getting “cherry” but there is a sweet red berry note. I’m not tasting any hibiscus or fruity tartness; I, personally, would like a little tarter edge on the fruitiness.

I may have to try brewing this a few different ways to see if I can’t get some more flavor out of it, but this just may be the best I’m going to get from a January 2018 tea.

Flavors: Berries, Herbaceous, Honey, Hot Hay, Nutty, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Tiffany :)

Someday Jan 2018 would be oldest tea (that isn’t an aged traditional tea)… I can certainly dream and keeping sipping! :D

Mastress Alita

I finished off all my 2017 tea at the beginning of the month, so now it’s onto the old 2018 tea!

Tiffany :)

That’s awesome! I have 340283540395435 different teas in not much of an organized manner (been buying for almost 5 years) so like I said, someday I’ll have myself together haha :)

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French Friday! Randomly pulled this one from the French tea bag of happiness from Dustin! Thanks Dustin!

The dry tea smells just like cola! I love cola teas so that is promising. Brewed 2.5g for 3 minutes in 350ml 205F water. The brewed tea smells even stronger of cola; trying to break it down, it’s a generic spice note (perhaps a little sweet cinnamon forward?) and a citrusy note (smells like lemon-lime).

The tea is smooth and sweet; I get a citrusy note that tastes most closely to lime to me, but rather than having a tart or biting quality a very sweet flavor is left after the sip, like honey or vanilla. Midsip and lingering after the sip is a soft, sweet spice note, warming but not spicy. Mostly I get a sweet cinnamon note; the anise is not coming through with a licorice taste, for those worried about that.

This is described as “mulled wine” by THEODOR but I’m not getting that at all! It’s entirely warm, uncarbonated cola to me, which is one of my favorite flavors in tea. Probably my favorite I’ve had so far!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

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

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My migraine yesterday correctly predicted waking to a fresh cover of snow this morning. It left me in a latte sort of mood.

I’ve been trying to use up a box of rice that is a brand that just isn’t a favorite that I bought when my norm was perpetually gone during COVID, and had just enough for one more rice bowl, so thought I’d try a “breakfasty” one for a change. I like to flavor my rice with tea, so I grabbed this one to give it that slight “breakfast” feel. But instead of leaving the teabag in the water the whole time, I fished it out after the rice came to a boil and decided to reuse it to make my latte, as there was a lot of leaf in it — two perfect teaspoons, more than I would ever use making a normal cup of black tea. So with slightly used leaf, I steeped for three minutes in 12 oz. 205F water, then added 4 oz. frothed regular oat milk.

Tastes like a very malty English Breakfast tea, with a honey-glazed baked bread note, and also a bit of nuttiness (which may just be the oat milk, but at least accompanies nicely). A warm maple syrup note is noticeable, and quite pleasant in latte form. I definitely need to try this one sans the milk to see if the tea has any hiding astringency and better judge the sweetness of the maple, but it does make for a good latte choice. I think I’d even enjoy mixing it with a really roasted tea too, like roated mate or houjicha. Hmm…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Maple, Maple Syrup, Nutty

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

You win the prize for healthy and creative breakfasts! My out-the-door protein bar kneels in admiration.


Additionally…maple flavoring makes sense in a Canadian breakfast tea. The only Canadian breakfast I ever remember sampling (far too long ago to remember brand or purveyor) was a straight-up black blend that wasn’t very muscular.

Mastress Alita

I just happen to be off this week, my norm is just grabbing a smoothie (that I made the night before) out of the fridge and gulping it in the car, haha.


I can’t even get the night-before routine down!

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Oof, another oldie. I got this packet of mini tuos from the freebie bag at the San Francisco Tea Festival back in 2018. I thought there was only one in the package but there were two tuos, so it’ll take slightly longer to sipdown than I expected.

Gave it a rinse to help the tuo start breaking up, then steeped for 4 minutes. Smells like dirt with a subtle smoky element, and the brew is such a dark, thick brown it looks like the coffee brewed at my workplace.

I’m not a big pu fan, but this one is pretty tolerable to me. Does have a strong dirt flavor, but it doesn’t have that muddy/marshy taste to it, and it coming off as more of a “fresh potting soil” earthy taste. Also some hot hay undertones, and that subtle Keemun smoky note.

Not my favorite type of tea, but I do like the thick and warm mouthfeel and the caffeine is soothing on a head that is upset by winter storm barometric pressure changes.

Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Hot Hay, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yay, a tolerable puerh for you!

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Happy National Random Acts of Kindness Day! Today for the sipdown thread the prompt is “drink a tea that was kindly gifted to you!” Dustin kindly gave me several extra French tea samples above and beyond the THEODOR ones I purchased, including this one! Brewed as my morning cuppa.

Made my first cup with my typical black tea parameters: 2.5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The packet says to use shorter steeps, but since in general I trend to using a lot less leaf than most folks, I decided to start with my standard, then adjust for the second cup if needed. I find it interesting that the company page says the flavoring is rose and apple, because the aroma I got sniffing the dry leaf was a mix of pear, black currant, and purple grape candy!

The aroma from my cooling cup mostly just smells like pear to me, but knowing that it is supposed to be apple, I can certainly get green apple. I’m definitely smelling rose now; a gentle, sweet floral, finely mixed with the fruity aroma and not overpowering. I’m not getting a strong astringent bite from the tea liquor on the sip, so I think it steeped just fine; the base is a touch malty and a touch smoky, neither characteristics I’d peg for a Ceylon, but that’s what I taste. The fruitiness on the sip still presents as pear to me, with soft rosy undertones. I like the flavor pairing. It’s only long after the sip, once the tea has settled on my tongue, that a mellow sweet red apple flavor emerges.

This is nice! I’m really digging the rose paired with a sweet fruitiness. Thanks for the chance to try it, Dustin!

Flavors: Apple, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Pear, Rose, Smoke

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

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drank Kotobuki by Lupicia
921 tasting notes

I’ve had a strong craving for this tea lately. One of my earliest tea memories was trying a plum oolong as that, conceptually, sounded amazing… and that particular plum oolong was just awful. They used a darker oolong for the base, the flavoring fell flat, and the slightly woody/roasty flavor of the oolong did not match the flavoring at all ( very dated Steepster review here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/376793 ). After that I was sort of on a “quest” for a good plum oolong.

Then I discovered Lupicia, and this tea. Taiwanese Dong Ding oolong base, with French mirabelle plum flavoring. The oolong and the flavoring compliment each other so nicely; the base is soft, floral, sweet, and buttery, with a silky smooth texture. The flavoring, likewise, isn’t an intense wallop but a gentle, sweet, juicy stonefruit flavor. It doesn’t have the tart/sour elements I associate with (at least traditional) plum, tasting closer to honey, wildflowers, and a cross between apricot and plum. It has that sort of perfumy quality that I’ve noticed from my (very limited thus far) introduction to French teas.

It’s been bitter-cold in my area (common for our Februaries!) and rather than turning back to chais I’ve found myself craving spring teas instead — greens, florals, and bright, fresh fruits — teas just like this one. I guess I’m ready for spring already!

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Perfume, Plum, Stonefruit, Sweet

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

I hope you managed to restock after this sold out before we could order it!


Your description of this tea sounds so tasty. I gave up on plum flavored teas a long time ago but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Lupicia.

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Steepster Freeze 2021 #3: 02/14/21

My herbal tea pick for Valentine’s Day! This is supposed to be a mix of roses and cocoa shells, but my (very old!) sampler packet seems to be 90% rose buds. They are pretty, but I can’t imagine I’m going to taste anything other than straight rose tea…

Aaand… yup. Just tastes like I steeped rose petals in water. I mean, I’m fine with the taste of rose, I quite like it in fact, but it just feels like there is no body to the tea, and none of the other ingredients are contributing anything, which makes it disappointing. If the cocoa and lemongrass were coming through, those notes paired with the rose, even if more subtle or background notes, would be a pretty pleasant flavor pairing. I like the idea conceptually. I want to believe somehow my 20g pouch was just badly scooped and I ended up with way too many rosebuds, but if the proportions are accurate, then… ya. Disappointing. Other reviews on Steepster are very positive and seem to indicate there should be chocolate here, so I don’t know why I pretty much just have a pouch of nothing but straight rosebuds.

I’ll probably just finish it off making rose water that I add to other things.

Low rating isn’t because I dislike rose tea, but because this was billed as a chocolate rose tea or “Turkish Delight” and that isn’t what I ended up getting.

Flavors: Floral, Pepper, Rose

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

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Steepster Freeze 2021 #3: 02/14/21

I swear the Dashboard freezes are directly coorelated with the Sipdown Challenge days… of the three outages already this year (seriously, it’s only mid-February!) two of those have fallen on those “fun theme days”, of which there are only five a month… what gives?

So, whenever the site is working again, I guess I’ll post this. It’s Valentine’s Day (a holiday that I, as an aromantic asexual person have never celebrated anyway) but I will gladly drink a chocolately tea. Especially as I’m trying to finish off these little Piper & Leaf samples…

This is a black tea with bits of fig, coffee, and lots of cocoa shells/chips. Steeped 3.25g to 350ml for 3 minutes at 205F. The brew has a strong coffee aroma, but also a dark chocolate scent that, together, are making me think of a mocha only darker and sans the creamy milk. Smells a little like spices as well, sort of a mixed chicory/pepper/cinnamon aroma.

Flavor tastes much like the aroma. May be “luck of the scoop,” but I’m getting coffee first, cocoa second. I’m fine with that, as I like the rich and slightly bitter flavor of black coffee, and with the cocoa, the cocoa is presenting more as an extra dark, bittersweet chocolate, rather than something really fudgy and sweet. It also veers the tea away from having that waxy “thin artificial chocolate” sort of taste like most chocolate teas. Still getting a sort of chicory/peppery flavor though neither are in the blend… not sure where I’m picking up that particular spice note.

It’s a nice cuppa, one I’d consider more of a “coffee” tea than a “chocolate” tea, but I’m digging that not-too-sweet-not-too-bitter balance of the flavors.

Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Spices

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

Valentine’s Day just seems like a weird commercial thing to celebrate anyway. I’ve been with my partner for many years and we’ve never done anything for it. Ideally one does nice things for other people throughout the year and not just on the day it’s mandated!

Mastress Alita

Meh, I think my major disdain is that we will manufacturer and market a holiday for romantic love, but not any other kind of love… and since coming out as an Ace (several decades ago now) it’s made me a bit bitter cause it just feels like one more thing that isolates/hides asexuality from the world. shrugs and doesn’t want to get on that soapbox…


That’s a really interesting perspective, and so true! Ay if there’s a national pizza day, we could definitely make another more inclusive holiday!

White Antlers

I find it stupid that one day of the year is set aside for folx to ‘show their love’ to a spouse/partner. If you are in a good, solid relationship, be it a married one, a live together one, a monogamous but not living together one, a deep, solid, platonic/asexual one, a really good friends with benefits one-or whatever your definition of love relationship is-then you do NOT need one day out of the year to do anything out of the ordinary. The real, nitty gritty stuff that keeps you together or in the same orbit happens all the time and does not demand candy, flowers, cards, expensive food and drink to prove anything. To me, a bouquet of flowers or a bar of good chocolate ‘just because’ on any day of any week in any month means far more than an obligatory tribute on a specific, manufactured day of a month.


Y’all are just a pile of wet blankets. I am in good company.


The freeze pattern I’ve noticed is Saturdays in the western hemisphere. That’s when we used to get bombarded the most by spammers from across the world.


Yep, everyday should be a Valentines day with someone you deeply care about.

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I’ve been craving sakura lately, and found this sampler from a very long ago Yunomi order. These are actual sakura flowers, preserved in salt and ume (plum) vinegar.

I first tried making some rice by adding one flower into my rice water while it simmered with the rice. The finished rice definitely tasted of the preserving agents, having a pleasant salty and tangy plum flavor, with a more subtle hint of cherry in the background.

Then I decided to try making a matcha latte with it. The directions on the tea suggested rinsing the flower to remove the salt, then steeping it again, and adding back in any of the “salt water” to taste. I prepared it pretty much as suggested, with a 2 minute steep for the initial rinse and a 5 minute steep for the second. The rinse steep was, indeed, extremely salty/umami in flavor, but I could taste that distinct soft floral cherry flavor in the brew… possibly a little more tangy fruit than expected, as I think the ume was bringing that out in the cherry. It did make me think of a soup broth, so I can see why that worked well for my rice. The second infusion had more of a sweet, floral aroma, and the cherry blossom looked like a little jellyfish floating around in the water! Lacking the salt and vinegar, the tea had a very soft and mild sweet and floral taste, like extremely watered down wild flower honey.

The matcha latte wasn’t quite the indulgent experience I was hoping for; I have a hard time with matcha tasting too bitter if I use water, and I thought the sakura tea would help with that. It didn’t really. Still tasted like strong seaweed to me. Added milk and some honey and that calmed the matcha flavor down to something tolerable, but it was overpowering any sakura that might be present. It presented more as an aftertaste, after the grassy/spinachy/seaweedy flavors subsided.

There are a few more flowers left in my pouch, so I’ll continue to experiment with different uses!

Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Blossom, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Plum, Salty, Tangy, Umami


Your post makes me curious about making rice with tea as the water! I might have to experiment with that!

Mastress Alita

Oh, I do it frequently! Jasmine is always a solid choice, but those turm/ginger blends are also tasty. Also, sticky rice puerh (obviously) does a nice job! (I can’t use soy sauce because of migraine trigger issues, so I get creative, heh.)


I usually add a can of coconut milk and a touch of salt to my rice. I bet I could do that and jasmine tea and it would turn out pretty good.


I find this one soothing for a sore throat.

@Dustin adding it to rice sounds like a great idea! I’ve cooked Japanese rice with pickled plum (umeboshi) before and this has a similar salty flavor. Thanks for the inspiration.

Mastress Alita

I made another batch of rice with a MUCH stronger sakura infusion than my initial one and it was way better; lots of flavor! The flowers sort of “dissolved” as they simmered with the rice so I just left the petals in and ate their mushy remains, but plucked out the stems.

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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 asexual 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
-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://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited outbound gifting (USA only!)

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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