918 Tasting Notes


Happy National Junk Food Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with flavor notes of a favorite junk food.

I actually had a bit of trouble with this one, because most of the things that immediately stood out in my head I’ve already written reviews of quite recently (I don’t like “duping” reviews, unless it has been a substantial amount of time between the notes). For example, Marron Chocolat (because I love Nutella) or something like Candied Yams or my Tangerine-stuff Pu’erh (because Orange Slices are my favorite candy!) Lately I’ve been putting on a lot of cookie pounds, though, and this was the only tea I found in my collection with “cookie” in the name, so I went with this (I have not been very particular about what sort of cookies I’ve been nomming lately… they are all fair game!)

A Raspberry Almond cookie makes me think of those little thumbprint cookies with the raspberry jam in the center. I really like those, and my coworker makes some amazing thumbprint cookies! The aroma from the dry leaf is very sweet raspberry forward, though the honeybush has a quite strong aroma of its own. I can actually smell that “peppery” note I taste in honeybush.

The steeped cup smells like sweet/candied raspberry, honeyed nuts, and pepper. That’s pretty much what I’m getting in the flavor, as well. A very sweet raspberry, with a strong honeybush base with notes of nuts, oats, honey, and pepper. It’s a fine cup, but not one that stands out to me. I’d prefer the raspberry to be a little stronger/tangier in flavor, having more of a jammy quality, and while most of the flavors from the honeybush are very complimentary to a cookie, here that peppery note from the honeybush it taking me out of the cookie feel a bit too much.

I used up the rest of the packet making a latte with vanilla almond milk, and liked it more that way. Had a nice raspberry cream vibe, and the sweet milk hid the peppery taste from the honeybush.

Flavors: Candy, Honey, Nutty, Oats, Pepper, Raspberry, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 4 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yep, ALL the cookies. Not cookie picky.

John Wade, IV

Woo! Alita’s hanging in there. Yes, I literally signed onto this site just to say hi. :p

Mastress Alita

Hi! waves Yup, I’m still out there (and drinking tea). Haven’t been on Twitch in years though (just sort of fell out of it). Glad you are well, thanks for saying hi! :-D

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In this unending heat wave we’ve been having here, I’ve been pretty much just keeping two liters of cold tea in the fridge at all times. I am trying to work through big 50g bags of tea, and since I don’t tend to leaf my cold brews heavily (heavy fruit teas being the exception), it has been taking me a while to work through my sipdowns. While it looks like “less” numerically, by grams my drinking has been pretty consistent, even during these hot months.

This is my newest 50g bag I’ve pulled out to work through with cold brews. An old TeaSource acquisition from 2018, and I hadn’t even cut open the bag yet.

I’m finding this TGY much smoother than the Alloy Goddess from Boon Tea I just worked through, which had a sort of metallic and astringent edge to it. There is no astrigency in this tea. I’m getting a light and fresh vegetal note, with subtle notes of fresh grass, cucumber, garden peas, pineapple, and spring water. The aftertaste is a faintly sweet floral. It’s very refreshing and nicely thrist quenching — I really like green oolongs and green tea cold brewed, and find even my oldest teas of these types taste nice brewed in the cold water.

Flavors: Cucumber, Floral, Garden Peas, Grass, Honeysuckle, Pineapple, Spring Water, Vegetal

Iced 8 min or more 8 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

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Happy National Lottery Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea selected entirely by random. I used a rando number generator for my tea inventory spreadsheet, and this was the tea that was selected! (A Limited Thanksgiving tea in July?! Sure, why not…)

I haven’t reviewed this before, which means I probably have not drunk it before, but the top was opened… must’ve given it out in an exchange. It’s quite old now (still in Bluebird Tea Co. packaging) and typically old + opened package mean flavor degradation for me. Hoping for the best, while expecting much less…

Teabag of leaf left in a 350ml cup of 205F water. As it steeps, I’m smelling mostly spice… a “red hot sweet cinnamon” aroma, and nutmeg. Later in the steep, more orange comes forward on the nose, smelling like a typical orange spice profile.

Hmm… I’m not really getting anything from this that makes me think of Candied Yams… I’m getting an herbal Orange Spice tea. A nicely juicy and pithy orange, with a hit of sweet cinnamon (thankfully it doesn’t go “red hot candy” on the flavor) and nutmeg. The orange has a nice bit of tanginess to it, but beneath the orange the tea is a much sweeter apple.

This is fine, but not Candied Yams. My idea of a candied yam profile would be a very natural yam-forward tasting Chinese black base, sweetened up with honey and marshmallow notes. I think “Orange Glaze” would’ve been a more accurate name for this one.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Citrus, Fruity, Nutmeg, Orange, Orange Zest, Spices, Sweet, Tangy

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

(Yep, I remember you sent some over to me which I’m still thankful for!)

Mastress Alita

Now I’ve become all curmudgeony and if someone requests tea from a package I still have sealed, I say nup… for this very reason, hahaha. One day I hope to be at a place where I am actually opening and drinking tea not long after I receive it. Two years worth of bad ordering habits created a big world of hurt!


Understandable! I def wouldn’t have asked about it if I knew you wouldn’t drink it for so long. :D


I totally understand, Mastress Alita! I only offer people teas I have open/intend to open super soon for this reason!

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I was given a small packet of this tea from Todd when he came to visit at the end of the June… even he doesn’t remember when or where he got it, but he had written “Sara” on it so said it must’ve been for me, heh.

I coldbrewed this TGY because… well, let’s face it, I’m only drinking cold tea while it is consistently over 90F every single day. I’m getting a lilac/orchid florality, a vegetal note of garden peas and wet grass, and a strong minerality toward the end of the sip. A hint of astringency. Not particularly complex, but nicely refreshing.

(Hey, could a mod kindly add “Lilac” to the available flavor notes? Thanks!)

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Lilac, Mineral, Orchid, Peas, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

Iced 8 min or more 7 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Cameron B.

I added it. :)

Mastress Alita

Thanks, that one in particular has been bothering me for a long while.


Yay, glad it was refreshing!

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Here is my lime tea for National Mojito Day! This one is prepared cold brew, with leaf that has been steeping in my cold brew bottle overnight.

I really liked the dry leaf aroma of this tea, which had a nice sweeter blueberry scent juxtaposed with a tart citrusy scent — on the nose, the citrus aroma leaned more toward lemon than lime to me, though. Brewed, the tea has a nice red color from the hibiscus, and I’m getting a stronger lime note in the aroma, quite zesty.

In flavor, that zesty lime peel note is quite strong, with that tart/tangy bite that I personally enjoy. Getting notes of both fresh squeezed lime juice and lime zest, though toward the end of the sip the lemony flavor of the lemongrass is more prominent. While I could smell the blueberry on the dry leaf, I’m having a hard time tasting it against the zestier lime; there is a faint note late in the sip and aftertaste, but it is still too subtle. I’m really enjoying this tea (I don’t have a lot of lime teas and the lime flavor is very bright and juicy here!) though I do wish the blueberry were a bit more dominant, creating a sweeter counter-balance to the tarter citrus. On my next cold brew bottle I may try adding just a touch of sweetener to see if that helps bring out the blueberry note more. But even as “just a lime tea,” I’m really enjoying this!

Flavors: Blueberry, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Hay, Lemon, Lime, Tangy, Tart

Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Yeah, the world needs more lime teas!

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drank Buttermint by Twinings
918 tasting notes

Happy birthday to my bestie Todd! And Happy National Mojito Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with either lime or mint flavor notes. At one point in time I actually had a lime and mint “mojito” inspired tea, but it has been long gone from the cupboard now. I couldn’t find any teas in my current stash that combined both, so I’ll be drinking a mint tea and a lime tea today!

I’ve had this box for a while, after my local grocery sent me a dollar off Twinings coupon and I felt the need to use it, but this is my first time breaking into it. I do like mint tea to soothe my tum on bad GI days, and was curious how I’d feel about this one that mixes a vanilla flavoring with peppermint, as opposed to just plain peppermint whole leaf or a good peppermint/spearmint/lemongrass blend.

A single teabag in 350ml of 205F water, left soaking. I really enjoy the aroma coming off the cup; there is a sweetness to the peppermint that does remind me of a peppermint candy or the namesake, a buttermint.

Mmm… yes, this is quite nice! It isn’t as crisp as drinking a full leaf peppermint herbal (this is peppermint fannings with a lot of the mint taste coming from flavoring), but the mint flavor is pleasing and I do like how it pairs with the vanilla flavoring. Neither flavor is overbearing and they meld together nicely. As my cup cools a bit and I continue to sip, I have a nice cooling sensation building on the back of my tongue and throat, and the sweet vanilla does lend a sort of sweet cream note that really does remind me of a buttermint.

Flavors: Candy, Cream, Mint, Peppermint, Sweet, Vanilla

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

Happy birthday to Todd!


Happy Birthday Todd!


I haven’t seen this one locally, but I wish buttermints were their own food group, so I need to hunt it down!

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Happy National Apple Turnover Day! Today the sipdown prompt is to drink a tea with apple flavor notes!

I have been pretty much exclusively drinking cold brews and tea pop from the fridge, but brewed this as a warm cup with my breakfast this morning. 3.5g to 350ml 205F water, steeped for three minutes. The cup has a pleasing green apple and spices aroma, particularly of the peppery licorice scent of fennel.

Perhaps a bit autumnal in flavor profile for this unending heat wave, but I really enjoy the flavor. I’m getting two different apple flavors; a sweeter red apples baked in cinnamon and a tarter, juicier green apple that is more prominent at the end of the sip. There is a strong fennel flavor in the tea which lingers in the aftertaste, which does add a layer of pepperiness/black licorice to the flavor. I personally really like how the fennel tastes in combination with the apple.

A nice tea to lazily sip on during my “faux Sunday” morning, while munching on a breakfast rice bowl.

Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Fennel, Fruity, Green Apple, Licorice, Pepper, Red Apple, Smooth, Spices

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

I liked this one!

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drank Marron Chocolat by Lupicia
918 tasting notes

Happy National Waffle Iron Day! Today the prompt is to drink a tea with flavor notes of a favorite waffle topping! I love putting Nutella on my waffles, and remembered noting before that the flavor of this tea reminded me of Nutella, so I decided to brew up a cup.

This tea is getting quite old now, but the brewed up still has a nice fudgy/nutty aroma. I still dig this. The nutty note tastes a little brassier than I would peg hazelnut, but the flavoring is actually chestnut, which I’ve never had. Mixed with the chocolately note, my brain still gets a strong reminescence of Nutella. I’m also picking up a sort of a cherry sweetness this time around, as well as some honey and cocoa. The tea is really smooth, and I’m used to Lupicia black bases being a bit more on the astringent side.

Very pleasant tea!

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Cocoa, Hazelnut, Honey, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet

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

I ALMOST had this tea for waffle day. Also, I made some actual waffles today – a day late. :D

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Todd and I had this tea with our dinner yesterday. I got out my fancy hand-painted Japanese teaware that has a pattern of a sunset over trees and a shoreline, with a lazy swan gliding in the water. The cups were gifted to me from a coworker, and I was so happy I found the matching teapot on EBay!

I really like this one! Yesterday I only steeped for 2 minutes and found I got less of the traditional genmaicha flavor, and more of a lightly sweet mango and coconut flavor. I pushed the steep for my cup tonight to 3 minutes, and now I’m tasting the toasty flavor of the roasted rice as the most dominant note, with a sweet grassiness in the background, a subtle mango that comes forward late in the sip against the top and back of my mouth, and just a bit of a creamy/silky element to the mouthfeel from the coconut. Both were enjoyable cups, but I think I like it with the slightly longer steep since I like the strong genmai note.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mango, Oats, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Toasted Rice, Toasty

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

omg, I had mango sticky rice for dessert the other day and finished it for breakfast. It is the best dessert ever! I wouldn’t want to try this tea in anticipation of disappointment but every time I see a note for it, I wonder…


Hi Todd :)


Hi derk! I think you might like this tea…


Holy cow, I would be so excited to find the matching pot! That is awesome.

Lexie Aleah

That sounds like a beautiful teaware set!

Lexie Aleah

Wow! It’s so pretty and the color scheme reminds me of the sunset in Lion King. Also, your cat is so cute!

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My friend Todd has been visiting, so I haven’t had a chance yet to review a few new teas we had over the weekend.

This tea I took down to a small trail/park along Rock Creek with my shiboridashi. I received it in a cupboard destash from Meowster back in the day (thank you!) There was just enough leaf to fill it and we had a lazy afternoon session in the (blistering) heat listening to the birds and the creek. The tea and companionship was nice; the extremely hot weather, not so much!

There was about 4.5g for the 100ml shiboridashi. None of the steeps were timed and poured when it felt sufficient enough. The water thermos I brought got us through seven infusions.

The first steep smelt very malty with a sweeter orange marmalade undertone. The tea tasted malty, fruity (pithy orange), and floral (orange blossom). The second infusion was the only one that stood out to me as a bit bitter/tannic, with less fruity and floral notes and a stronger impression of wheat, rye, and malt. The third and fourth infusions brought forth a stronger florality, this time leaning subtly rosy. The orange reappeared in the flavor, along with that slight rosy flavor, with the malt more of an undertone. The remaining steeps remained more on the malty/bready side, though very smooth now. There were subtle spice notes, notably a touch of cinnamon and, in the very last steep, licorice.

Not a particularly complex darjeeling, but it is also getting on in age at this point. I didn’t get any of the darj muscat from this brew, but still found it faired well enough for an afternoon tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Licorice, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Rose, Rye, Smooth, Spices, Tannic, Wheat

205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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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 asexual 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
-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://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JjlpjQ94UyoryaDRMIeqnPHObgvCtmRp/view?usp=sharing . I am currently strictly limiting tea trading/ordering to get my collection under control! My participation in any tea boxes, tea exchanges, or group orders, and acceptance of any tea gifts is very limited at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited outbound gifting (USA only!)

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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