1103 Tasting Notes


For the sipdown prompt, “a tea chosen at random.” I use a spreadsheet to inventory my tea and have a function built into it that will pull 10 random teas from the list. This was the only herbal that was selected on that list, and I only drink herbal teas after 6 p.m., so this was my choice.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had this tea. The aroma wafting off the hot cuppa smells divine… a sort of “too tart to be strawberry” rhubarb aroma that hits the nose first, followed by a softer, creamy vanilla fragrance. It’s so pleasant… rhubarb and cream on a woody rooibos base. I like the sharpness of the fruit note, but am finding the fruitiness makes the rooibos lean a little into the medicinal notes I don’t care for as much (which I encounter often from fruit-flavored red rooibos blends). It isn’t unpleasant, but I may try this with some milk next time to see if that enhances the cream notes while hiding the medicinal notes.

Flavors: Cherry Wood, Cream, Medicinal, Rhubarb, Smooth, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Fruitalicious by T2
1103 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “a cheap tea.” I purchased a tin of this on a very deep discount during one of their after-Christmas sales. Prepared as coldbrew.

I had a sampler of this long ago, but the bulky fruit nature of the tea made me misjudge my water ratio and it turned out extremely weak, too weak to properly review at the time. It’s kind of nice to try it again after all this time. But honestly, I still find it a little on the weak side?! I think because this is a fruit tea lacking hibiscus, so it doesn’t have a lot of body to it. The flavor is a very generic “fruit punch” sort of flavor without a lot of distinction… I mostly get a red berry flavor with a bit of pineapple and papaya. It’s also really sweet, which is another reason why I think some hibi would be a nice counter-balance.

I never expect too much from fruit teas besides being pleasant and thirst-quenching, and it does fit the bill there. Would I get more of this particular one? If it is on sale for the same sort of low price point, sure. Otherwise, nah. There are better options out there.

Flavors: Berries, Fruit Punch, Fruity, Papaya, Pineapple, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML
Cameron B.

I saw some Mulled Wine Magic on sale not long ago and thought of you! :P

Mastress Alita

That was the reason I ordered in the sale to begin with… I think this was to help reach free shipping thresholds, heh.

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For the sipdown prompt, “a marshmallow tea.”

Such a simple yet effective tea. The assam is rich with malt, honey, and golden raisin notes, but is incredibly smooth. The vanilla flavor leans towards more of a bourbon note with a sharp alcohol flavor toward the end of the sip. While I don’t notice any difference in taste, marshmallow root adds a sort of silkier mouthfeel to a tea I find hard to describe, but it is very noticeable to me, like a slick and pillowy coating of the tongue. There is a mild drying sensation after the sip.

Very satisfying morning cuppa. I’ll likely cold brew the rest of the packet because hot summers are hot.

Flavors: Alcohol, Cream, Drying, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smooth, Toasty, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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For the sipdown prompt “a tea the flavor of a trail mix ingredient.”

I haven’t had a warm evening cup of tea in ages due to the sweltering weather, but some rain has pushed in tonight and I really felt in the mood for some houjicha. I’ve already sipped down all my houjicha except for this pumpkin-flavored one, but I felt the flavor profile of this tea matched this sipdown prompt nicely: notes of oats, nuts, and a very savory pumpkin flavor. It’s giving me granola and pumpkin seed vibes, two of my favorite trail mix ingredients.

Flavors: Nutty, Oats, Pumpkin, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Squash, Sweet, Umami, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

Yummy, I really need to try all of these Ocharaka hojicha again, it’s been ages.

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drank Golden Honey Dew by Lupicia
1103 tasting notes

For the sipdown prompt, “a melon tea.” Prepared cold brew.

So delicious! Lupicia’s melon flavor is that Japanese “melon” that, to me, tastes like a lovely amalgamation of honeydew and cantalope, though this is leaning heavier on the honeydew (or maybe it’s just the name affecting my perception). There is a sort of sweet creaminess present in this as well. Though no longer the freshest, the green rooibos still brings this slight vegetal backdrop which, combined with the melon, leans a little into cucumber water territory for me.

An excellent and refreshing cold brew!

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Creamy, Cucumber, Honeydew, Melon, Spring Water, Sweet, Vegetal

Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

Ah, one of my faves. ALMOST had this today, but I figured it would be melon overload. :D



Mastress Alita

Unfortunately this tea was a “California exclusive” flavor from back in the days when Lupicia USA was out of the Bay Area, so it isn’t available anymore. (I do think the melon flavor is the same as their Melon Oolong, which is of course on an oolong base rather than green rooibos).


Ah well, I do have Melon Oolong. I will just have to enjoy that in the afternoons!

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For the sipdown prompt, “an Indian tea.” I received this from Meowster’s cupboard de-stash back in 2018 (thanks, Meowster!), and suspect the tea is a lot older than that, so well past it’s prime.

We are finally getting some respite from the constant heat with a rare rainy day, so I’m taking this small window of opportunity to actually enjoy a hot cup of tea rather than the cold brew I’ve been sucking on for months now. No doubt I’ll be cold brewing the remainder of this when the temperatures jump back up to mid-90s after the weekend…

The aroma off the too-hot-to-drink cup smells grainy, like a hay/wheat/oats aroma, with a subtle florality in the background. I’m a bit unimpressed by the taste, and I’m not sure if that’s just me not vibing with this tea, or if the age is bringing out less than favorable qualities… It has a strong dry hay flavor, with a more subtle oatiness, and a bit of a citrus quality, though it leans very dry and herbaceous (the best I can use to describe it is “stale lemongrass.”) There is a sort of bitter aftertaste that has a sharp pollen taste to it… makes me think I’m chewing on dandelion heads.

Perhaps cold brewing will mellow out some of the sharper edges a bit. If not, I’m sure a little lemon juice and honey will make it easy enough to clear out the bag.

Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Citrus, Dandelion, Floral, Grain, Hay, Herbaceous, Lemongrass, Oats, Pollen, Wheat

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

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For the sipdown prompt, “a tea that reminds you of a family member.” Both my mom and sister are coffee drinkers rather than tea drinkers, and deep, roasty notes in tea remind me of the flavor of coffee.

This is noticably more roasty than the medium roast, which had a sweeter, caramel note. There is still some sweetness here, though it is more of a dark molasses. The woody notes are most strong here, and the darker roast brings out a stronger coffee and burnt toast presence as well. The nuttiness is more earthy; I got honey-roasted nuts from the medium roast, and I’m getting roasted walnuts or chestnuts from this one. Of all three of the Catspring Yaupon, this one tastes the least of grass/hay… I don’t really taste that flavor at all.

I liked all three of the Catspring Yaupon varieties! I found less difference between the plain yaupon and the medium roast, and more of a noticable difference in the dark roast. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite of the three, but probably the dark roast, for that deep and satisfying coffee-like flavor.

Flavors: Burnt, Coffee, Earth, Molasses, Roasted Nuts, Roasty, Toast, Walnut, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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For the sipdown prompt, “a raspberry tea.” Prepared cold brew.

I was surprised to find that this is blue raspberry flavored, but as that is a flavor I enjoy and one I don’t think I’ve encountered in tea before, I’m fine with it. It steeps a deep hibi red but there is so much sweetness here there is only a vague hint of fruity tartness… Mostly I get a strong fruit punch flavor followed by sweet blue raspberry. It’s a very thirst-quenching cold tea, which is how I plan to finish this… I’m not sure how I’d feel about the flavor warm, though.

Flavors: Artificial, Blue Raspberry, Candy, Fruit Punch, Sweet, Tart

Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML
Roswell Strange

This one definitely isn’t intentionally blue raspberry flavoured, but I’m happy you liked it regardless!

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This is the medium roast from Catsprings Yaupon. Now that I’ve had a chance to try the green version, I can see the similarities. I still get the grassy and dried hay notes, as well as the wood, but the nuttiness is a bit stronger and sweeter, reminescent of honey roasted nuts. There is a roasty quality but it is far from being smoky or charcoal-esque, and is more of a darkly toasted bread/weak coffee flavor. There is also a sort of pleasant caramel note coming through.

Honestly, I could easily drink either of these, but if pressed I’d probably choose the roast. Perhaps I’ll like the dark roast even more…

Since I had a full box of teabags of this one, I made several pitchers of this cold brew, which was quite nice as well. Reminded me a bit of cold brew mugicha, albeit a little sweeter.

Flavors: Caramel, Coffee, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Roasty, Toast, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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The last of the US-grown teas for the library presentation I did earlier in the month. The one featured at the program was the medium roast, but they put a single teabag of their green and dark roast yaupon into the package, so I’m happy I get to try all three.

I’m surprised how much I like this unroasted variety, as plain yerba mate has never been a favorite for me do to the somewhat tobacco smoke flavor note I get. But I’m not tasting that smoky note in the yaupon. Even unroasted, this has a slight roasted nuts flavor profile to it that I quite like, mixed with a dry hay/green grass and mellow woody notes. Very smooth… It’s hard to say for sure without a mate handy to compare to, but based on my (admittedly faulty) memory, I think I like the yaupon more.

Flavors: Grass, Hot Hay, Nutty, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

I liked this one too! I still need to try the medium and dark roast I got in their sampler…

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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 genderqueer asexual (she/they) 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
-Hemp/CBD teas
-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://tinyurl.com/xjt9ptx3 . I am open to tea trades (within the United States only!) at this time. Note that I will not trade teas that I currently have in a quantity less than 50g (samplers, 1oz packages, etc.) or any teas that are currently still sealed/unopened in my cupboard.

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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