887 Tasting Notes


Pulled this to replace a recent sipdown and serve as my Ode to Tea K entry! This tea was provided to me way back in 2018 from Meowster during a cupboard clearout, thank you!

Brewed 2.8g in 350ml 195F water with a 3 minute steep. Didn’t have any time to drink before work so I had to throw the tea in a thermos and jet off, and it is hard to smell much that far down the container (I didn’t even have time to brew a full thermos…) The only thing I can say for certain is “bready” until I’m able to make this tea at home, in a cup, with the proper time to drink it…

An hour later of my thermos sitting on my desk with the cap off and this is finally cool enough to drink (these Contigos don’t mess around). I’m getting a bit of malt, a wheat/rye baked bread, spices, a hint of smoke, and an indistant citrus note that leaves the tiniest tang at the end of the sip. Some sips are slightly grapey, others aren’t.

I have no idea how old this tea could possibly be by now (it could’ve already been quite old by the time Meowster de-stashed it, and I’ve added another three years onto that…) but this is perfectly servicable as a first-of-the-morning-hot-caffeine-infusion, despite the age.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Malt, Muscatel, Rye, Smoke, Spices, Wheat

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

I almost had this one a couple days ago, also from Meowster. I’ll keep it in mind for ‘K’.

Mastress Alita

I’m still working on the sipdown and drinking a cup right now (daily drinker until it’s gone!) For an Indian tea, it is reminding me a lot of the subtle smokiness of a Keemun.


Looking forward to (finally, sigh) trying it!

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I didn’t have many options for U in my cupboard for Ode to Tea, but I did have this, and it is a very old tea that needs sipped down anyway! This tea is from Chasandai Tea Factory and was purchased through Yunomi… back in 2018, and is well past its best by date. It was still sealed, but I really should do better, especially with green teas…

While I get a mood now and again for a warm cuppa green tea, I actually prefer it cold brewed, and find that typically works best for me with these neglected, old leaf greens anyway; the instructions said one teabag was for 500ml and my mason jars are 1000ml, so I just dropped two teabags in a jar, left it overnight, and removed them in the morning.

This tea… confuses me. It has this somewhat roasted sort of taste to me, but it is bancha, not a roasted green tea, so I don’t know where it is coming from! Sort of an earthy/minerally, roasted nuts flavor that I often get from oolongs, reminding me a bit of walnuts. I have never had shiso (perilla leaf) so I have no idea if that is what I’m tasting here. Everything I read about perilla says it should taste minty or citrusy, and I’m not tasting either of those flavors… though at least one site says “basil” and “petrichor” and I do see those associations to what I’m tasting. It is kind of reminding me of a softer/mellower tulsi, with a stronger minerality that I can definitely get a petrichor/wet rocks vibe from. There is also a light grassiness underneath, but it does sort of have that “stale” taste to it, more of a dry grass flavor, which is the fault of my neglect, not the tea. I’m not tasting the ume (plum) at all though?! Maybe, if I squint, it kinda peeks out in the aftertaste, but it isn’t as strong as I’d prefer.

For a tea well past its prime, it has that refreshing/thirst-quenching quality I enjoy from cold brewed greens, and I don’t dislike the earthy/mineral/nutty flavor. I wouldn’t say its a favorite either, and am uncertain if that would be different if this were fresher.

Edit: So, after working through two liters worth of cold brew of this, my opinion has changed and I’m dropping the rating. I’m getting this saltiness coming out that is kind of killing the “refreshing/thirst-quenching” quality I go for in cold brewed green teas. None of the ingredients say they are salt preserved, but it is definitely noticable. I think I’ll use the remaining teabags to make rice, which is what I tend to do with “salty” teas since I don’t mind that note in food, but don’t care for it much in a sipped cuppa.

Flavors: Basil, Dry Grass, Earth, Mineral, Nutty, Petrichor, Plums, Roasted Nuts, Salty, Walnut, Wet Rocks

Iced 8 min or more 10 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Cameron B.

Shiso is very basil-like IMO.

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Happy National Peach Cobbler Day! Today is the day to drink a tea with peach flavor notes!

I found this one for my Ode to Tea J entry… and I can’t believe it has sat, untouched, in my cupboard since March of 2018. Sigh…

The aroma wafting off my steeping cup is very compelling! I smell a strong tart/pithy orange citrus aroma, mixed with a peach/nectarine aroma which smell so inviting together!

On the tongue, I get a lead of hibiscus; the tea is a bit tangy but it doesn’t have the typical “hibiscus pucker” to it, it’s much sweeter. I’m mainly just getting the fruity sort of taste of the actual flower, and when I get that taste combined with the pithy tangerine note, it creates the feeling of biting into a very juicy orange or mandarine. As the tangier notes mellow on my tongue, I taste sweet peaches; I can detect the particular sweet note of licorice root, but there isn’t enough here to leave that “sticky” feeling on the tongue after the sip, only a mild flavor. The blend of rooibos and honeybush itself is magic, as I’m not getting any of the off-notes I often find in each (medicinal for rooibos, pepper for honeybush); it’s really smooth and sweet.

This may be one of the nicest rooibos blends I’ve had in a while! There are a lot of polarizing ingredients in it, but they happen to all be polarizing ingredients that I personally love, so this mix just works perfectly for me. This is just juicy citrus, sweet peach, and slightly floral honey-tasting nectar of the gods to me.

Why did this sit in my stash untouched for so long…?

Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Hibiscus, Honey, Licorice, Orange, Peach, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy

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

Oh whoops, for some reason I thought tomorrow was Peach Cobbler Day! I couldn’t find an N tea, so I thought it lined up perfectly since I’d still have something to post. Oh well, tomorrow will be my Peach Cobbler Day :P

Mastress Alita

I’ve been sick with a bad migraine and missed posting any reminders (or even my tea post) until I could extract myself from bed. It’s all for fun anyway, just drink tea and be happy. :-)

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Phew, I have finally worked through sipping down a lot of the teas I’ve been working on over the last few days, so now I’ve moved a new set of alphabet letters over into my focus area. I pulled this one for my Ode to Tea V entry! I reviewed it before, two years ago (here: https://steepster.com/mastressalita/posts/383379 ) but figured it had been long enough to give it a proper revisit.

I absolutely love the smell of this stuff. If you separate the herbaceous quality of the mate base beneath, the scent does remind me of a warm Macademia Nut sugar cookie. Has a very sweet vanilla aroma, with a somewhat nutty quality. On the sip… I can tell age has not done this tea any favors. I remember the flavor being a lot richer than I’m getting now. The mate is coming forth a bit more strongly, with that herbaceous hot hay note, and a hint of smokiness; not nearly as smoky as I have had yerba mate get in the past. The tea is still quite sweet, with some vanilla and nuts. I noted before it tasted like coffee to me, but I’m not really getting that now; perhaps one of those sweet and nutty coffee creamers, but not actual coffee beans.

I’m not going to slide my rating down though, as I remember this tea being an absolute standout in an area that isn’t well represented (flavored yerba mate) and think my neglect hasn’t done the flavorings any favors. All the more reason why it’s good I grabbed this one to sip down! Would do far more good to get rid of this less-than-steller tea and replace it with a fresh, tastier batch.

Flavors: Herbaceous, Hot Hay, Nutty, Smoke, Sweet, Vanilla, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Mermaid by 52teas
887 tasting notes

Happy National Unicorn Day! Oh look, I have another tea with a magical creature in the title (and one I happen to collect, too… I have a whole bathroom done in mermaids!) (Also taking this as my Ode to Tea M entry!)

I prefer my green tea cold brewed, and this one seemed like a good candidate regardless, so that is how I prepared it! The steeped tea smells like coconut, blueberry, and lime, which I think will be an interesting combination.

On the tongue, I’m picking up a lot of pineapple flavor which I couldn’t detect on the nose, and I really like it; the coconut is soft and creamy and it has a nice mellow pina colada backdrop. I do get the blueberry, not as strongly as I was picking it up in the scent, but it hits about midsip and has a sweetness to it (likely from the coconut). I taste the lime right at the end of the sip; the sweet pina colada sort of fades and then my tongue is hit by a hint of blueberry and a slightly tangy lime (lime and coconut is one of my favorite flavor combinations, and I really like how they are working together here, as well). Very thirst-quenching and refreshing!

Flavors: Blueberry, Citrus, Coconut, Lime, Pineapple, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy, Tropical

Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

I love that you have multiple mythical creature teas – such a fun theme day!

Mastress Alita

The prompt was simply to “drink a tea that is pure magic to you”, it didn’t have anything to do with mythical creatures. I took it in a different way since drinking a favorite tea won’t help me along with specific sipdown goals I have this month.

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Happy National Unicorn Day! Today one simply has to drink a tea that is “magical” to them, and this can be interpreted in many creative ways. I’ve opted to drink teas with “magical” creatures in the title! (Also taking this as my Ode to Tea C entry!)

This sampler was kindly gifted to me from Cameron, so thank you! The dry leaf is very strongly rose-scented, so I can see already how this would not be a tea for those that don’t like rose/florals.

Steeped up, I’m still just getting rose on the nose, and none of the spices. Maybe a subtle hint of something cinnamony if I really focus? On the tongue, it’s the same. I’m tasting a strong rose, but spices are just not as evident; they do peek out a bit at the end of the sip, where I’m getting a bit of a warming cinnamon. I really don’t taste the clove at all…

I think there needs to be better balance here. I’m really just tasting a rose tea with a slightest hint of spice, when I feel the novelty of a blend like this should be a dominantly spiced rose tea. Otherwise, I have other (and frankly better) options for a plain rose-flavored tea (like T2’s White Rose, which I’ve had a lot recently due to sipdown efforts, so it’s a flavor I’m well aquainted with at the moment). The rose flavoring used in this just isn’t sitting with me as well as others I’ve had… I daresay I understand now when people describe a floral I enjoy as “soapy.”

I sipped this down cold-steeping the remaining leaf in oat milk, which I then used to make some Strawberry Lemon Rose Matcha Smoothies for breakfast, which turned out fantastic.

Thank you so much for the chance to try it, Cameron!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral, Rose, Soap

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

Ha ha, I’m sorry it was underwhelming. I figured it had a much better chance of being enjoyed with you! :P


Oh wow, the smoothies do sound fantastic.

Evol Ving Ness

By name alone, this tea should be fabulous.

Mastress Alita

I think the concept is a little strange for a name like “Campfires and Vampires?” I wouldn’t associate florals and spice on a green tea with either of those things. A roasted oolong or a dark and broody black base with a hint of lapsang seems more appropriate? Actually, I would be down to try the rose/spice combo on either of those bases… I actually think it may have been the green tea base that they used that felt the most “off” to me since steeped in milk I had a very nice rose and cinnamon flavor which worked great in my smoothies.

Lexie Aleah

Your smoothies always sound so yummy!

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French Friday! Pulled this sampler from Dustin for today, thank you Dustin! (Also taking this as my Ode to Tea N entry!)

Dry leaf has a strong coconut cream aroma. Steeped about 2.6g per 350ml in 175F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea still has that coconut cream aroma, but I’m getting a light caramel note as well. I can taste the genmaicha in the base, there is a sort of dry hay/vegetal quality beneath the flavoring, but the genmai flavor is quite light here, just a hint of some toastiness. The coconut/caramel cream flavor fills out quickly, it’s prominent but not overpowering. Though I know it isn’t in the blend, something about the mix of flavors here is tricking my tongue into tasting a hint of sarsaparilla, which I have no complaints about! The tea is very silky smooth.

Perhaps not as bold as I’m used to for a “first thing in the morning tea” but still a lovely cuppa.

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Cream, Hot Hay, Sarsaparilla, Smooth, Sweet, Toasty

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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An Ode to Tea, O Entry.

This tea comes from the Kurihara Tea Farm, but was acquired via Yunomi. I don’t have much experience with Japanese blacks, which is probably why I dropped a 20g sample of this into a very long-ago order. My tastes pretty much never agree with the steeping instructions provided with Japanese teas (which always have water-to-leaf ratios that just aren’t pleasant to me) so I disregarded them and brewed the way I usually make blacks (2.5g per 350ml) though I did drop the water temperature down from my typical 205F to their suggested 195F.

The steeped cup has a smooth, breakfast tea malty/baked bread aroma, with a strong fruity cherry note, and an underlying florality, like a wildflower honey. It’s nice! I’m surprised how fruity this black is! I definitely taste that warm baked bread and malt flavor, but very quickly a sharp floral/fruity taste dominates the cup, tasting mostly of cherries, orange peel, and more subtly, rose. There is a very aromatic feeling left on the tongue, which reminds me of the feeling I get when I drink scented French teas, and a mild drying after the sip. Remarkably smooth prepared this way. I sort of expected this is to be a pretty harsh black and expected I’d be using up the remainder of the packet making lattes, but this is perfect as-is.

Looking forward to sipping this down over the next few days!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Rose, Smooth

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Martin Bednář

Wow! That sounds like a wonderful Benifuuki black! Considering I had only two; this one sounds best.

Mastress Alita

I remember sampling one at a teashop in Portland, Oregon, and it was really astringent; I just think unless I’m making the tea, everyone else uses way more leaf than my personal preferences like causing the tea to taste really bitter to me.

Cameron B.

Hmm, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a wakoucha that I would describe as harsh. They’re usually rather light and bready with some hay notes, sometimes almost a bit Darjeeling-esque? The fruitiness here sounds lovely!

Mastress Alita

Ya, Darjeeling-esque is a very appropriate way to describe this!


I also often find Japanese oolongs and black to be quite harsh, probably because of the broken leaves. I usually try to do super short steeps and use lower temperature in the first few.

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drank It's Snowing! by 52teas
887 tasting notes

A strange time of year to be drinking this, I know, but it ticked the box for my Ode to Tea I Entry, and I figure it would be more prudent to drink this coconut tea now than wait longer when it is more seasonally appropriate and the coconut has likely gone rancid by then.

At least the coconut still has a lovely aroma in the package when I unsealed it! Brewed up, it smells like a richly coconut chai; coconut hits my nose first, with an undertone of clove. And that is mostly what I’m getting on the mouth as well. The coconut fills out on the sip first and foremost, with a crispy/toasted coconut left lingering on my tongue after the sip. About mid-sip and toward the end of the sip, I taste the spice — I see there is no clove in this blend, but that is definitely what I’m tasting… perplexing! I do pick out a little of a cinnamon note in the aftertaste left on my tongue.

It’s pleasant. Mostly this is a smooth coconut black tea, it has enough boldness to make this a nice morning cuppa, but it is sweet and smooth, with only a hint of drying after the sip. It is not a spicy tea, but it is a warming tea, and at least here, my house still feels quite chilly in the mornings and evenings despite the nice, warm, clear spring weather, which adds to the appeal of something like this for breakfast. I think it would go nicely with milk, since the flavors seem to fit a thick and creamy sort of profile, so I may try a latte next. I’ve been in a latte phase lately!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Toasted

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

“A strange time of year to be drinking this” Nope, it’s not. It is going to snow this night here!

Mastress Alita

I have seen White Aprils here before, though it has (thankfully) been a while.


Wow, I just came in from yard work gasping for a big glass of water. My daughter was lying in the sun and got too hot and came in right behind me. Ashman would rather be where you guys are…


I’ve seen snow on my mid-April birthday in SW Missouri more years than I would like.

Martin Bednář

It does snow, but not promised 4 cm/hour here. Actually, there is no snow in my region, but it’s different in some places.

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drank Hua Ki by Lupicia
887 tasting notes

An Ode to Tea, H entry!

I’ve only made one tea order in 2021 so far, to Lupicia, and was very happy that one of the single-serve sampler sachets was this one, because I’ve been curious to try some of their Hawaiian blends.

Brewed the teabag for 3 minutes in 350ml 205F water. The tea has a lovely tropical aroma, a bit like pineapple, passionfruit, and most notably, mango. The black base, with this preparation, is brisk and malty but smooth and not astringent (I imagine steeping it any longer would have trended it that way), with a bit of a baked bread and a subtle raisin/muscatel note. The fruit flavor is pleasant but not overpowering; it seems to settle in midsip and linger on the tongue long after the sip. I taste papaya first (that sort of topical melon note), followed by mango, and perhaps a very subtle touch of pineapple. The papaya seems to be the strongest flavor for me on the tongue, and the mango the strongest on the nose.

It’s a pleasant afternoon cuppa. I don’t think it’s my favorite mango tea in Lupicia’s lineup, but I certainly wouldn’t ever turn any of this down if it came my way.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Fruity, Malt, Mango, Melon, Muscatel, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Raisins, Tropical

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML
Cameron B.

Ooh, that is nice that they send these as samples! I haven’t tried any of the Hawaii teas that I ordered yet… :|

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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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