321 Tasting Notes


A belated pull from Arby’s homemade advent! I was craving a straight black tea but didn’t want anything too malty or strong… this really fits the bill! Not sure what year my sample is from, but it’s pleasant: Light and just a little bit tart, with no big flavor notes except something faintly floral. There’s a tiiiny smidge of soapiness toward the end.

Now back to rereading Jane Eyre. :)

Flavors: Floral, Soap, Tart


Love Jane Eyre. She is so matter of fact.


She is! An icon.

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2024 Sipdown Challenge | January | A small business blend

I completely fell off Steepster over the holidays… we were at my parents’ house for a week, and it was just SO busy! I finished my advents but didn’t document them here, alas. I came back on to a truly staggering number of missed posts and notifications… yeesh.

Anyway, this is my first sipdown of 2024! I’ll leave the rating the same from when I first drank it. It’s cozy and unctuous yet not at all heavy, and I’m enjoying it on a very cold, crisp winter day as I work on employee reviews for my direct reports. Fun stuff! XD

Happy new year, all!

2024 sipdown count: 1!

Cameron B.

Happy New Year!

Martin Bednář

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year :)


Welcome back & Happy New Year!


Ditto ^!

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Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Day 21

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, as Arby included a note that it can skew sour, especially when brewed hot. I cold-brewed it and am drinking it as I wind down this evening. It’s pretty complex and interesting, with a faint herbal bite that I associate with aromatic bitters. Maybe it’s the orange or lemon peel? There’s also some sweetness, and then lots of bright fruit notes.

Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Herbaceous, Herbal, Orange, Sweet

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drank Banana Eggnog Oolong by 52teas
321 tasting notes

12 Teas of Christmas: Day 8

I remember being surprised that I could tolerate a banana tea from 52Teas a few years ago, because banana is not my thing. This year, though, I found myself actively enjoying it?! Growth!

Yeah, so I mostly get mild banana candy atop a mineral-y oolong. I’m weirdly not picking up any eggnog notes!

Flavors: Banana, Mineral

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drank Dream On (Organic) by DAVIDsTEA
321 tasting notes

Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Day 19

I am on break from school/work/internship, so I started my vacation with a relaxing bath that included tea, chocolate, a candle, and a book. Bliss!

My serving included a LOT of whole chamomile flowers/buds, so this was a very chamomile-forward cup laced with a bit of licorice sweetness. A nice relaxing blend.

Flavors: Chamomile, Licorice, Sweet


Can’t think of anything ore pleasant!

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Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Days 18 & 20

Day 18 – Zelda’s Lullaby (Tea Hippie): A very pleasant, chamomile-forward tisane with mild fruity notes. Tasty!
Day 20 – Rose Oolong (Victoria Tea Company): Hellooooo, rose! I didn’t pay a ton of attention to this one while drinking it, but yes. It was very rosy. :)

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12 Teas of Christmas: Day 7

I steeped this one up not knowing what the flavor profile was intended to be and found myself puzzling over it! To me it’s mostly like a mild black breakfast tea with faint notes of something sweet and a bit grainy—and now I see it’s meant to be buttered toffee/caramel corn! I still think those flavors are verrry light, which I honestly don’t mind. I wanted something a bit more straightforward this morning anyway.

Flavors: Grain, Popcorn

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12 Teas of Christmas: Day 6

So good! I thought I’d reviewed this one when it came in my subscription box initially, but I guess not! I was surprised and delighted to see it turn up in the advent box. The pineapple is just so fresh and juicy, and it pairs so well with the creamy vanilla notes. A banger of a tea that’s delicious hot or cold.

Flavors: Bright, Creamy, Juicy, Pineapple, Vanilla


I was so happy with how many votes this tea won during the poll. It was by far & away the biggest vote getter of all the teas that were on the poll, including black teas & Oolongs. That doesn’t happen – or at least, it’s never happened before. Usually, I get a very close race, but this time, this one HAD to be in the box. It made me smile!

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drank Root Beer Tea by Earth's Herbal
321 tasting notes

Homemade Advent Calendar from Arby: Day 17

Had this one last night while finishing up my final paper for this semester… so close to being done! Then I’m on break from my internship AND taking PTO from work, so I’ll have about a week and a half of freedom while visiting family for the holidays. I can’t wait to lie around in my pajamas reading, drinking tea, and playing Sims 4 for far too many hours, then going for a nice long run and zoning out to a podcast.

Anyway, the tea! I’ve never really cared for root beer proper, but I tend to enjoy root beer-inspired tisanes. This one was a little odd to me, though — I swear I mostly tasted musty chamomile! The sarsaparilla was sadly muted, so it was more of a fennel and chamomile deal. I’m not going to rate it because I suspect I didn’t have the appropriate ratio of ingredients.

Flavors: Chamomile, Fennel, Licorice, Musty, Sarsaparilla

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12 Teas of Christmas: Day 5

Oh, this is fantastic. I’m a total sucker for this kind of juicy, almost bubblegum-like pear flavor, and the slightly tart pomegranate notes are really lovely. I’m sipping it alongside a mid-morning snack of pecan pie bars I baked last night (gotta try ‘em before the holiday party!), and it’s doing a great job of cutting through the sweetness.

Smooth and crisp and bright and just delightful.

Flavors: Bright, Bubblegum, Crisp, Fruit Punch, Juicy, Pear, Pomegranate, Smooth

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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 also appreciate the convenience of bags and sachets. 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 run, knitting, embroidering, hiking, or puttering in the garden. You can find me on Instagram at @kelmishka. (My account is private, but feel free to send a request!)

Favorite ingredients, flavors, etc.

Maple (all-time fave flavor!), vanilla, caramel, and all things dessert-y

Jasmine, lavender, violet, 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)

Overly herbacious blends, although this varies!

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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