263 Tasting Notes

drank New York Breakfast by T2
263 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

After two weeks with the box, trying to cram in tastings during this oh-so-busy season of my life, I’m finally getting ready to send it on! I’m squeezing in a few more samplings before doing so.

This morning I drank this tea while revising the first paper for my clinical practice course. I don’t really understand what’s New York-y about a pancake breakfast, but I don’t mind the tea itself! It’s definitely evocative of pancakes and maple syrup, with a full, unctuous mouthfeel and, oddly, notes of chocolate? Maybe they’re chocolate chip pancakes! :D

Normally I prefer some astringency in my breakfast black teas (don’t ask me why!) but I think it makes sense, thematically, that this one is not terrifically tannic.

I actually like this quite a bit. There are only one or two servings left in the bag, so I’ll probably keep the rest.

Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup, Pancake Syrup

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drank Crepeshow by BrutaliTeas
263 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

There is a particular nut flavoring frequently used in tea that is VERY specific, yet I can’t really describe it. I just know it when I smell/taste it. And this blend has it! It’s not bad or anything, just very… specific.

I didn’t really get crepes (or anything bready/baked) from this one. And I can’t decide whether I liked it overall! But I was glad to have tried it.

Flavors: Musty, Nutty

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drank Strawberry Patch by Java Momma
263 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

A classic blended black tea base with a very light strawberry flavor on top. It actually smells like a very natural strawberry flavor, and what I can taste is pretty natural too. It’s just quite faint. A pleasant, unassuming morning cuppa, but nothing to write home about.

Flavors: Drying, Strawberry, Tannic

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Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

Smells like slightly smoky caramel; tastes like… a mild slightly smoky black tea with hints of chocolate and whiskey. It’s a bit muddled, but nothing is too overpowering, which is good. And the cocoa is nicely done, not artificial or chemical-y. I can dig that.

Flavors: Bourbon, Caramel, Cocoa, Milk Chocolate, Smoke, Whiskey

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Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

This one reads as coconut cream + sour berries, which I guess is two-thirds of the way there? I’m not sussing out any kind of shortcake note, though, and I don’t think the hibiscus is doing the berry component any favors.

Flavors: Berries, Coconut, Sour, Sunscreen

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Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

ExcuUUUuse me, but who give this bagged tea permission to be so delightful?! Goodness.

I recently started my first social work internship and had my final day of orientation/training on Thursday. I brought one of these teabags in my KeepCup, but alas — I could not find a SINGLE WORKING HOT WATER HEATER/KETTLE at the office! There were a few of those dual hot/cold water dispensers, but none seemed to actually heat the water. Cue me holding a cup of lukewarm water with a teabag floating sadly in it.

Reader, I drank it. What else was I to do?! And you know what… it was fine. Surprisingly not bad. I could tell this tea was going to be yummy once I was able to, y’know, brew it properly.

And it was! So yummy and cozy and malty and sweet-but-not-sweet. I’ve gotta get me a box of this.

Flavors: Biscuit, Malty

Cameron B.

This one and the Toast & Jam are surprisingly good for conventional teabags!


Double your pleasure with milk!

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drank Green Daydream by Java Momma
263 tasting notes

Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

I always want to like vanilla-y green teas more than I do! I just find vanilla + black tea to be a more natural and enjoyable pairing. I liked the grassy sencha base on its own just fine, but it didn’t really fit with the vanilla layered on top.

Flavors: Grassy, Vanilla

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Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

Sweet potato, a bit of malt, and a hint of charcoal as it cools, but nothing that really punches you in the face. Which is maybe a good thing! Sometimes you want muted flavors without a ton of oomph behind them. I am sipping this alongside some avocado toast (#millennial) and it’s a very pleasant pairing.

Flavors: Charcoal, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

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Sampled from the Strange VariaTea Traveling Tea Box

Cold-brewed last night and enjoyed this morning.

OK, first of all, WHAT IS THIS SPELLING. I have never seen it before, but The Internet tells me it’s an alternative for “julep.” Wild. “Julip” looks so much more unpleasant, though…

Well, anyway. “Juicy peach” seems a bit hyperbolic. The sage is actually pretty strong in my cold-brewed cuppa, especially compared to the peach! It’s also got a decent amount of grassiness from the sencha.

Not my favorite, but… fine.

Flavors: Floral, Grassy, Peach, Sage

Cameron B.

It just makes me think of “tulip” LOL.


I habe only seen it spelled julep as far as I can recall!

Roswell Strange

My brain also goes to tulip – but I agree that julep is the only spelling I’ve seen (aside from here).

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drank Mango Panna Cotta by 52teas
263 tasting notes

Creamy, silky, mango deliciousness laced with strong vanilla notes. Pleasant and comforting to drink hot, and I bet it’s good cold, too.

Flavors: Creamy, Mango, Silky, Vanilla

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I was an anxious child who didn’t like change, so when my parents flew across the country for my grandfather’s wedding and left us kids with my aunt and uncle, I was a nervous wreck. Our first night at their house was tough. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and padded into the kitchen, where my aunt was puttering around. She could tell I was distressed and offered to make me a cup of tea. It was just Celestial Seasonings’ peppermint tea, but it was exactly what I needed. The tea itself, the comfort it represented, the ritual of making it… I was enchanted. I’ve loved tea ever since.

I’m partial to strong, intense flavors and prefer loose-leaf to bagged, but I’m also no snob. I just know what I enjoy and like trying new blends. I mostly drink my tea straight but once in a blue moon I’ll add a little plant-based milk, generally oat.

I live in Maryland, USA, with my partner, three dogs, and one cat, and I’m an editor at an animal welfare nonprofit. I use she/her pronouns. I’ve actually been a Steepster reader for years and years, but only started posting in late 2021. :)

When I’m not drinking tea (or sometimes WHILE I’m drinking tea!) I’m reading, rewatching comfort shows on Netflix, going for a jog, knitting, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka.

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all that dessert-y warming goodness

Jasmine, lavender, and most floral flavors

Most spices, although I go through phases and sometimes get bored of generic-feeling winter spice blends

Most fruity flavors

Matcha and other vegetal flavors

Not-so-favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Bergamot (I tolerate it, but it just doesn’t do it for me)


Overly artificial flavors (banana, coconut, mango)

Stevia, monkfruit, and other sugar-alternative sweeteners — blech

Chocolate — it’s hard to get it right in tea, though I love real chocolate!

Animal products, including honey (long-time vegan checking in!)

My ratings

90-100: The best! Will almost definitely repurchase.

75-90: Really good, and potentially worthy of a restock.

60-75: Decent, if not terribly memorable.

50-60: In the “meh” range, but possibly for personal taste reasons.

35-50: I’m not a fan, and this is not very good tea.

20-35: Varying degrees of bad.

1-20: Actively bad. Like really bad. I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing.


Maryland, USA

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