1117 Tasting Notes


For the sipdown prompt, “a tea that reminds you of a family member.” Both my mom and sister are coffee drinkers rather than tea drinkers, and deep, roasty notes in tea remind me of the flavor of coffee.

This is noticably more roasty than the medium roast, which had a sweeter, caramel note. There is still some sweetness here, though it is more of a dark molasses. The woody notes are most strong here, and the darker roast brings out a stronger coffee and burnt toast presence as well. The nuttiness is more earthy; I got honey-roasted nuts from the medium roast, and I’m getting roasted walnuts or chestnuts from this one. Of all three of the Catspring Yaupon, this one tastes the least of grass/hay… I don’t really taste that flavor at all.

I liked all three of the Catspring Yaupon varieties! I found less difference between the plain yaupon and the medium roast, and more of a noticable difference in the dark roast. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite of the three, but probably the dark roast, for that deep and satisfying coffee-like flavor.

Flavors: Burnt, Coffee, Earth, Molasses, Roasted Nuts, Roasty, Toast, Walnut, Wood

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

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For the sipdown prompt, “a raspberry tea.” Prepared cold brew.

I was surprised to find that this is blue raspberry flavored, but as that is a flavor I enjoy and one I don’t think I’ve encountered in tea before, I’m fine with it. It steeps a deep hibi red but there is so much sweetness here there is only a vague hint of fruity tartness… Mostly I get a strong fruit punch flavor followed by sweet blue raspberry. It’s a very thirst-quenching cold tea, which is how I plan to finish this… I’m not sure how I’d feel about the flavor warm, though.

Flavors: Artificial, Blue Raspberry, Candy, Fruit Punch, Sweet, Tart

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

This one definitely isn’t intentionally blue raspberry flavoured, but I’m happy you liked it regardless!

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This is the medium roast from Catsprings Yaupon. Now that I’ve had a chance to try the green version, I can see the similarities. I still get the grassy and dried hay notes, as well as the wood, but the nuttiness is a bit stronger and sweeter, reminescent of honey roasted nuts. There is a roasty quality but it is far from being smoky or charcoal-esque, and is more of a darkly toasted bread/weak coffee flavor. There is also a sort of pleasant caramel note coming through.

Honestly, I could easily drink either of these, but if pressed I’d probably choose the roast. Perhaps I’ll like the dark roast even more…

Since I had a full box of teabags of this one, I made several pitchers of this cold brew, which was quite nice as well. Reminded me a bit of cold brew mugicha, albeit a little sweeter.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Roasty, Toast, Wood

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

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The last of the US-grown teas for the library presentation I did earlier in the month. The one featured at the program was the medium roast, but they put a single teabag of their green and dark roast yaupon into the package, so I’m happy I get to try all three.

I’m surprised how much I like this unroasted variety, as plain yerba mate has never been a favorite for me do to the somewhat tobacco smoke flavor note I get. But I’m not tasting that smoky note in the yaupon. Even unroasted, this has a slight roasted nuts flavor profile to it that I quite like, mixed with a dry hay/green grass and mellow woody notes. Very smooth… It’s hard to say for sure without a mate handy to compare to, but based on my (admittedly faulty) memory, I think I like the yaupon more.

Flavors: Grass, Hot Hay, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

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

I liked this one too! I still need to try the medium and dark roast I got in their sampler…

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Here is another US tea that was featured in the library presentation. Prepared hot and plain.

This was my favorite of the sampled teas. It’s a lovely oolong. It has a lovely brewed aroma of honey and floral sweetness and some citrusy depth. Brewed, I get honey roasted nuts, sweet flowers, warm bread, and marmalade. There is also a hint of a vegetal undertone, a bit of a cross of garden peas and lemon juice. Very satisfying! The flavors appear to pop a bit more as the cup cools, and plan to try out at least one cold brew batch of this tea.

Flavors: Bread, Citrus, Floral, Garden Peas, Honey, Jam, Lemon, Nuts, Orange, Vegetal

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

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Here is another US tea that was featured in the library presentation, and it was kindly donated by Derk! (Thank you so much, Derk!)

This tea has a strong hay-like aroma, and that is the main flavor note I get, as well. I also taste a grain note (oats, perhaps?), with a touch of honey sweetness and a dash of woodiness and autumn leaves. This is a light and smooth black tea, which I think is what surprised the attendees at the library presentation the most, who are used to black teas being strong and astringent breakfast fare. The taste somehow makes me think of a cross between a white tea and a darjeeling.

I plan to try this as a cold brew at some point during this unending 90F+ weather. I think it’ll be very sweet, clean, and refreshing!

Thanks again for sharing, Derk!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Hay, Oats, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

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

You are very welcome :)

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For the sipdown prompt, “a tea from a US company.” Prepared cold brew.

This last Tuesday, I held a presentation at the library where I work as part of our adult Summer Reading program line-up on U.S.-grown tea. Hopefully over the next several days I’ll manage to finally get down my thoughts on each of the four teas that I covered and provided as samples to the attendees. This was the green tea from the line-up, and the only one of the four that was offered cold brewed during the presentation.

Both the cold brew I’m currently drinking in my water bottle and the cold brew that was prepared for the presentation on Tuesday used a 3 teabag per liter ratio, though the tea made for the presentation had a very precise 8 hour steep (teabags went in at beginning of shift, out at end of shift) and what I’m drinking now cold brewed a bit longer in the fridge. On Tuesday, I found the tea slightly bracing with more of a gunpowder/hyson sort of flavor profile, that dry grass/hay mixed with smoke note. This longer steeped cold brew is instead very rich in grassy and vegetal green notes. Wet, squishy green grass and mixed asparagus/spinach. Still a little bracing on the aftertaste.

Not my favorite green, but honestly not that bag for teabag green, where I’ve had a lot worse than this. While I don’t typically sweeten my cold brew, this one may be a candidate since I’m not using much leaf and it’s still coming off a little stronger and more biting than I prefer my greens.

Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Grass, Hay, Smoke, Spinach, Spring Water, Vegetal

Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

Sounds like a fun presentation! Did the participants enjoy the teas?

Mastress Alita

I think so. Of course not every person enjoyed every tea (I mean, what would be the point of taste testing otherwise?) and at least one was upset there was no caffeine-free option (I had to drop one of the two herbal infusions due to budget and felt yaupon was more “uniquely US”). If the library ropes me into it again, I may just do herbals next time. :-)


How fun! I’ve never had the opportunity to do an adult tea demo, other than sticking samples under coworkers’ noses.


I’m sure it would be hard to find “uniquely U.S.” herbals. (The only “uniquely Canadian” herbal I can think of is Labrador tea.) If there’s a next time, you could always just say you’ll be making caffeinated teas.

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drank Matcha Miso by DAVIDsTEA
1117 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “A tea from a Canadian company.” Prepared as hot, steamy ramen broth (I know, such a departure from my cold brews of late, but I woke with a sore throat today).

This is one of those teas that I keep seeing at the top of my “oldest teas” list and keep ignoring because I don’t want to use it up as it isn’t available anymore… It’s one of the few good substitutes I have for ramen broth that is MSG-free. I already love miso, but the subtle hint of matcha adds a sweet vegetal/umami note to the already strong umami bean flavor.

This one will be a hard hit once it is gone! It’s unique and there is just nothing else quite like it.

Flavors: Beany, Salty, Seaweed, Soybean, Sweet, Warm Grass, Umami, Vegetal

Boiling 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

That does sound fascinating. Indeed too bad it’s discontinued. A toast to all those glorious teas that will never again grace our cups.

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For the sipdown prompt, “a tea you’ve forgotten about.” Derk gave this to me when we both attended the San Francisco International Tea Festival all the way back in 2018… and it has sat in my cupboards since (I’m a terrible person…) Prepared gong fu.

180ml (mini teapot) | 6.5g | 185F | 20s/30s/40s/50s/60s/70s

The first steep, when the leaves hadn’t really broken up yet, tasted like a faint floral dew (in retrospect I properly should’ve given it a rinse to help break the leaves apart, ah well). The second steep was also pretty mild, but had more of a hay/pollen with a hint of honeysuckle floral. The honeyed notes started to pop more as the cup cooled. Next steep brought out a subtle syrupy note that reminded me of a combination of cherry and dates, and perhaps just a little almondy?

Steeped for 6 infusions, which is about the point where my liter kettle runs out and I feel really full and just don’t feel the mood to continue. However, the leaf was still mostly all intact, so I decided to remove it from my little mini pot and stick it in a cold brew bottle, and see what the leaves have left to offer as ice cold tea later. (Which is really what I’m more in the mood for at the moment anyway)

I definitely prefer aged whites to any sheng or shou I’ve tried, so that may just be where my preferences are when it comes to aged tea.

Thanks for sharing, Derk!

Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Dates, Floral, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Pollen

185 °F / 85 °C 6 g

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For the July sipdown prompt, “a tea flavored like your favorite ice cream.” I think most types of ice cream I’d say is my “favorite ice cream” but lately I’ve really been enjoying a lemon cheesecake one that is at my local grocery. I no longer have any lemon cheesecake teas, so I went for lemon + frozen-dessert-in-title. Prepared cold brew.

This is just a lemon-flavored green tea, so a pretty standard sort of tea. “Sherbet” is not really a word I’d use to describe it, as there is no vanilla/creamy sort of flavors, nor would I even call it “sorbet” as I’d expect a brighter and punchier lemon if that were the case. The lemon is a bit on the mellower side. Sometimes I feel the lemon flavor comes off a little cleaner-like, but other times it is very refreshing, so maybe it’s just a matter of what ends up in the scoop or how long I left it in the fridge before straining. Over all, it is pleasing enough, but not really anything special. It doesn’t hold a candle to, say, Sun and Cloud Mist by 52Teas, which has such a vibrant and pillowy lemon flavor. This is a much lighter and artificial lemon flavor.

Easy to sipdown, but not a tea I’d order again.

Flavors: Artificial, Citrus, Grass, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Spring Water

Iced 8 min or more 5 g 1 OZ / 32 ML

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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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