Bird & Blend Advent Calendar 2021: Day 16!

I waaay over-steeped this tea bag because I got distracted by (1) the mail carrier’s arrival and my subsequent need to keep my pups from noticing his approach by plying them with treats, and (2) reading reviews of today’s 52Teas holiday blend here on Steepster. :D I’m very excited to try that one later today—it smells incredible!—but for now I’m sticking to the B&B advent blend because my stomach is slightly unhappy, and the gingerbread chai spices seem more appealing at the moment.

Anyway! My partner sniffed the dry tea bag and made a face. After looking at the ingredient list, he realized he’s probably not a fan of rooibos. An interesting discovery! Something to keep in mind for any future joint tea-drinking experiences. I personally like rooibos, so I’m fine with it as the base for this one.

Brewed, I’m not getting a super strong scent of spices. It’s just sort of rooibos-y with some muted ginger and clove (??) and a bit of vanilla. Taste-wise… wow, the ginger is strong! Which is not the worst thing for my unhappy tum, but maybe not the best thing if you want a more balanced blend of spices. As it cools, I’m getting a little more vanilla and noticing more of the rooibos base, along with a tiny bit of creaminess from the mallow flowers. The ginger is still really strong; I’m not noticing much of the cinnamon or cardamom but I am getting a hint of allspice, even though that’s not listed in the ingredients.

I think this would be better described as a ginger chai, as I’m not getting the fuller mouthfeel I’d expect from gingerBREAD. It’s decent, although I can’t see myself craving it in the future.

Flavors: Allspice, Clove, Ginger, Rooibos, Spices, 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 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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