Steepster Freeze 2021 #1: 01/12/21

Happy National Kiss a Ginger Day!

I grabbed this chai sampler I still had in my stash, which I should be able to sipdown relatively quickly over today and tomorrow as there was just enough tea inside for two double-sized cups (perfect for the work thermos). It includes the typical pumpkin spice ingredients (including the titular ginger for today!) as well as pumpkin and vanilla on a black base.

The dry leaf aroma of this pumpkin spice chai is mostly vanilla, which gives the spices a very “sweet spice” smell. The aroma isn’t as potent on the brewed cup; I’m getting a bit of the vanilla note and sweet cinnamon, but it seems much more subdued on the nose against the breadiness of the black base, and now there is a distinct spice aroma wafting into my nostrils: clove.

Mmm. This is a tasty chai, and reminds me of Tea Chai Te’s “Pumpkin Spice Chai,” though I do think I prefer that one a bit more. If that one suddenly disappeared, I think I’d be happy with this as a sub, though. The black tea mixed with the sweetness of the vanilla and cinnamon tastes like a warm cinnamon bread, and there is a warmth left at the back of my throat of ginger and clove. The clove, in particular, leaves a lasting aftertaste on my tongue. The flavor is smooth enough to drink sans milk, and the spices, while warming, are not burny/uncomfortable on my spice-sensitive tongue.

I am not one of those people that thinks that “pumpkin spice” (a spice blend) should “taste like pumpkin” (though I do love the flavor of pumpkin). I find pumpkin is one of those flavors I rarely, if ever, taste in tea regardless, and adding pumpkin pieces rather than some syrupy sweet “pumpkin pie” flavoring usually doesn’t do it for me. This doesn’t taste like that particular flavoring (and I’ve had run ins of both good and bad regarding that flavoring over the years, so I’m not very particular about it being present).

I find this a solid vanilla-forward chai, much sweeter than a typical masala-type blend. I would not recommend it to those particular about pumpkin spice “tasting like pumpkin” or those that are clove-sensitive.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

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