Summer Vacation! I had a pretty bad experience with darjeeling yesterday, but one cuppa isn’t enough to turn me away from a tea! So tonight I grabbed the other two darjeelings (the only other two in my collection, I believe) to sample to try to get a better general idea of the taste, because I’m hoping I can get these to brew up less bitter. Both of these teas were graciously made available to me from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox, so thanks so much to tea-sipper for organizing and all those that contributed teas to the box! Otherwise I wouldn’t even have the opportunity to get to try some more darjeeling teas, so I really appreciate it!

Both of these teas are from the Arya Estate, and one is a first flush and one is a second flush (and me knowing nothing about these kind of teas, I honestly don’t even know much about the difference, so it’ll be interesting to sample both). Since I mistakening grabbed the second flush, first, first up is the second flush Arya darjeeling. The dry leaf has a maltier black tea scent to me than the darjeeling I drank from T2 last night, and also smells just a little peppery.

I had a single serving sample, and this time I weighed the leaf to ratio out the water accordingly (I still don’t know why I blindly trusted T2s directions on the outside of their sampler packet instead of doing that last night, honestly). The brewed cup has a lovely honeyed-orange color, and the aroma is a very malty aroma with a honeyed sweetness to it. The first sip and I’m already so pleased to not taste any bitterness; it’s very smooth! The first flavor note that really strikes me is a very pleasant orange rind/marmalade flavor, with some additional notes of malt, honey, and some subtle autumn leaf vegetal notes near the finish.

This is a very different experience from the cup I had yesterday. Very pleasant, with lots of fruity and sweet notes, and lacking the harshness and astringency. I really enjoy this!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Malt, Orange, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 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 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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