Holiday Tea-son! This was my Bird & Blend advent calendar tea today, and I’m glad I put this one off, since I had a small amount that I got from a cupboard sale of tea-sipper’s last January, and I planned to finally try it this month (I know, I am the worst of the worst when it comes to tea hoarding!) I can’t remember if I actually got this tea from the cupboard sale or if it was a sampler tea-sipper included because she is awesome, but thank you tea-sipper! So I just cut open my sachet from the advent calendar and put the leaf with what I already had, so I could make a nice pot this morning with my breakfast.

The dry leaf probably has been the most enticing to me yet, with a very nice clove scent, and this underlying fresh aroma of orange citrus and pine. The steeped tea smells even more decadent, as all the little sugar snowflakes have melted and it has a scent and nutty aroma mixed with the spice and citrus. I’m looking forward to this one!

It is no secret I brew my blacks on the more mild side, and this has come out very mild and smooth as far as the base is concerned; the flavor is very citrus-forward, with orange notes and even just a hint of lemon playing on my tongue, and a very mild astringency left after the sip. The pine is a very subtle background note and blends well with the citrus, so it doesn’t come off as tasting like cleaner. There is a lot of spice present in the sip, but it is a gentle, sweet, warming spice; it does leave an aftertaste on the tongue, but it is not a heated, burning, or unpleasant sensation. I can make out both a sweet cinnamon flavor, but the clove is a more dominant flavor note, and pairs nicely with the orange. As much as I could smell a nutty aroma, and I’ve tasted that sweet marzipan-like flavor in many of B&B’s teas this month, I’m actually not getting that in the flavor here; there is a very subtle nuttiness to the taste, which is more roasty/woody than sweet, while the sweetness is more of dash of vanilla that, when paired with the strong orange citrus, comes out as a subtle creamsicle flavor.

This has probably been my favorite black tea featured so far (with Great British Cuppa and Mrs. Claus’ Raspberry Prosecco being my runner’s up).

Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Lemon, Orange, Pine, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

Glad you like it! The marzipan flavoring is mostly only noticeable when this one is super fresh.

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Glad you like it! The marzipan flavoring is mostly only noticeable when this one is super fresh.

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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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