40

I opened the bag and was hit with a ridiculously powerful punch of artificial strawberry essence, to the point where it made me a little queasy! The scent reminds me of something from my childhood, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. It might be strawberry-flavored Creme Savers, which I VERY MUCH ENJOYED in the late ’90s/early 2000s. That said, I was a little nervous the tea would taste like 100% artificial, perfume-y strawberry and nothing else.

At first, it doesn’t. Once it’s brewed up, the artificial scent mostly dissipates and I’m getting a much more natural strawberry aroma, although there’s definitely an artificial flavor that hits at the back of a sip. It’s layered on the same soapy black tea base I recognize from Canadian Breakfast; the website tells me it’s a blend of Ceylon and Keemun. (I really need to get better at recognizing black tea varieties!) I’m not really getting vanilla or anything to evoke the “shortcake” part of this tea, and I feel like the base is just not super high quality… so, overall, this is pretty meh. It’s also making my entire WFH office room smell like a cheap strawberry candle someone bought at the dollar store and forgot about in the trunk of their car. Ooh, or maybe it smells like a cheap air freshener?! That could be what I’m getting in the scent. Regardless… not great.

A bit of oat milk adds some body and helps hide the artificial flavor, but I think this one will be, ahem, shared in the TTB when it comes my way. XD

Edit: OK, I couldn’t finish my cup because even the small amount of lingering artificial strawberry scent was bothering me. I can’t get the car freshener comparison out of my head! I have to reduce my rating because to me, this is just vile. I rarely dump tea, but this one went down the sink. :(

Flavors: Artificial, Soap, Strawberry

gmathis

I remember Cream Savers! Life Savers are getting to be hard to find in our part of the world—husband loves Wild Cherry and Butter Rum; those just have to be ordered bulk online.

Kelmishka

I used to love butter rum-flavored candies, ha!

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gmathis

I remember Cream Savers! Life Savers are getting to be hard to find in our part of the world—husband loves Wild Cherry and Butter Rum; those just have to be ordered bulk online.

Kelmishka

I used to love butter rum-flavored candies, ha!

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Bio

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, two 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)

Hibiscus

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.

Location

Maryland, USA

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