1528 Tasting Notes

95

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 6

Whew, a bit late in the day with today’s teas. I ended up going out for both brunch and dinner, so I guess that ate up a lot of my time.

I admit, I had fully intended to try B&B’s Banana Bread Chai this evening. But when I saw the packet of my beloved Rhubarb & Custard on the counter, I just couldn’t help myself. Suddenly, it had to be rhubarb!

This one is just so stinkin’ good! The rooibos is mild and woody without any medicinal quality. There’s a wallop of tart-but-sweet stewed rhubarb, and it goes perfectly with the rooibos base. Then there’s a lovely smooth undercurrent of creamy vanilla custard. The custard is shy, he doesn’t overtake the other flavors but mingles in among them, letting the rhubarb be the star but at the same time tempering its tart flavor a bit.

This one will forever be a staple in my cupboard. ❤

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsUUh7nlVbu/

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Jam, Rhubarb, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Kittenna

Ugh, one day I will make a B&B order and get more of this. The sample I had was so good.

Nattie

Ditto.

Cameron B.

At least they have an international free shipping threshold now! ;)

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65
drank Mélange de Galice by THE O DOR
1528 tasting notes

Bonus Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (5)

Bonus round! This sample is the sole survivor from my swap with ashmanra. Poor dear, I guess I’ll just have to put him out of his misery…

This is described as a peach and vanilla black tea on THE O DOR’s website. Sounds delicious to me! I think Nosy Bey from Dammann is a similar profile?

To me, this is more of a fresh peach tea. Not that I’m complaining, I love peaches! But I’m not getting any vanilla or creaminess here. What I am getting is tart peach/nectarine with a slight candy note, and a smooth base tea with very little character. There is a little touch of bitterness and astringency.

So overall, I’m not impressed with it. Oh well, one fewer tea that I need to buy! And a good thing too, that THE O DOR shipping is bananas…

Flavors: Bitter, Candy, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Tannic, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Nattie

That shipping is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

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88

Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (4)

I was inspired by Roswell Strange‘s goal to drink more straight teas at home, so today’s swap sample is an unflavored oolong from Arby!

I find the name of this one quite charming. Apparently it’s called hairy crab because of the little hairs that come off of the leaves and float on the surface during steeping. Cute! The rolled pellets here are small and uneven with a variegated medium-to-dark olive green color.

This is lovely! I don’t always enjoy green oolongs, as often they can be a bit too floral for me. But happily, that is not the case here. There is a smooth grassy and somewhat vegetal flavor reminiscent of green peas or edamame. It has that trademark thick and silky oolong mouthfeel, and a clear sweetness that makes me feel as though I’m drinking from a cool mountain stream.

I do taste some floral notes, possibly peony? I really should familiarize myself more with different flowers. The aftertaste is pure peaches and cream, like a smoothie or milkshake.

Very tasty! Straight oolongs will never be my favorites, but this is certainly a delicious example. Thanks, Arby!

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass, Peach, Peas, Smooth, Soybean, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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92

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 5/365

Yay, I’m finally writing about one of the A&D teas that I ordered a few weeks ago! I was so excited to see them back in stock, so I immediately pounced on a 3-pack of Black Sunshine, Tiger Assam, and this tea. According to the website, this Earl Grey is on an Asian black tea base. Obviously, that’s a bit vague since all three of the most popular black tea regions are in Asia… I don’t often drink “plain” Earl Grey blends, tending to prefer those with added citrus or vanilla, but I figured this one would be worth having as I’m sure the base is high quality.

I steeped this using my usual black tea parameters – 3 minutes at 200°, even though the website recommends a longer and hotter steep. I guess I’m just a creature of habit!

I will say, I’m very much enjoying this one. The base tea is definitely at least partially Chinese – smooth and mellow with nice malty bread and earth notes. There’s a bit of woodiness present as well. I love Chinese black teas – they’re not sharp or astringent, but they’re still so flavorful.

This one makes a lovely base for the bergamot. I was worried about the strength of the bergamot, as I’ve had Earl Grey blends in the past where I found it to be overpowering. But here, the bergamot seems perfectly balanced to me. It has a pleasantly sharp citrusy flavor without being floral or perfumey. There’s also a bit of a pine/eucalyptus note from the bergamot, which really drives home the great outdoors theme of the tea for me.

Delicious! I’m so glad these A&D teas are so tasty, as the tins are so gorgeous that I would likely buy them regardless… ;)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsQyIZNluj8/

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Citrus, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Malt, Pine, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Kittenna

Sounds delicious! I love Chinese blacks as the base for flavoured teas and can only imagine how delicious this would be!

Kittenna

I should have reread my comment and used a synonym instead of delicious twice… awkward. :D

Cameron B.

Doubly delicious! ;)

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75

Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (3)

This sample comes from AJRimmer. I admit, I didn’t even realize that Upton carries flavored teas. I guess I mostly only know them for their wide selection of straight teas – I ordered a variety of Assam and Ceylon samples from them a few years ago.

This is a very visually pleasing tea, with dark green tea leaves combined with chunks of dried fruit and pretty pale yellow flower buds.

I’m surprised that this came out a little bit bitter. I’m not sure the green tea is contributing that much in the way of flavor otherwise. The mango flavor here is lovely and juicy, though, and very authentic. It seems similar to Lupicia’s mango flavor, which is definitely a compliment. There’s a little whisper of floral as well.

Overall, it’s tasty and I enjoyed it. But it can’t compare to my beloved Ripe Mango Oolong… ;)

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Mango, Sweet, Tropical

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
npattee

I wonder how old this sample is, this tea has been discontinued for years.

AJRimmer

Yeah, I didn’t realize that when I sent it off since I had received a large portion of it from someone else. I’m much better at checking tea ages before swapping these days!

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88
drank Banana Matcha by 3 Leaf Tea
1528 tasting notes

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 4/365

Matcha day! ❤

This matcha from 3 Leaf is so lovely, especially after drinking so much Bird & Blend matcha last month. Not to complain too much about B&B’s version, they have some nice and interesting flavors but their matcha base is quite weak.

The matcha here is much more flavorful, with nice sweet grass and vegetal notes with a hint of seaweed. It’s very smooth and sweet with no bitterness, yet is strong enough to be prepared as a latte.

With the added soymilk, it has a wonderful banana pudding flavor!

I’ll definitely be ordering more flavored matcha from 3 Leaf once I finish off one of my two current pouches. :)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsODW5XlQ1c/

Flavors: Banana, Creamy, Grass, Seaweed, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
Iced 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Tea Swap Sample Sipdown of the Day! (2)

This swap sample comes from VariaTEA. The name was too tempting to pass up!

Unfortunately, I’m not getting a whole lot out of this tea. There is a nice bit of tart raspberry/blackberry flavor, but otherwise it tastes a little chalky? And I’m definitely not getting maple or waffles. The base tea is mellow with light musty and woody notes.

Ah well, they can’t all be winners! ;)

Withholding a rating since I’m not sure how old the tea is.

Flavors: Artificial, Blackberry, Musty, Raspberry, Smooth, Tart, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mastress Alita

How can anyone take blackberries, maple, and waffles, put those three things together, and screw it up? Wrong, just wrong!

Cameron B.

Hah, to be fair it’s possible it’s lost a bit of flavor.

VariaTEA

It is on the older side so that is probably the issue. However, I had it not too long ago and it was still flavorful. Perhaps I just know what this tasted like fresh and my brain did the work at imagining it is still there…

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95
drank Momo Vert by Lupicia
1528 tasting notes

Home – 7:30 PM

Last one to try from Lupicia. I know that I’m going to order another packet of this, but I wasn’t sure if I should order more than that, so here we are. This is actually a rather new tea from Lupicia.

The sencha base here is excellent, and of a higher quality than Lupicia normally uses for their flavored green teas. Because of this, it requires a somewhat more deft hand with steeping. This time I’ve gone for a 1.5-minute steep, and it seems fairly balanced. It has a lovely sweet vegetal flavor with just a hint of pleasant bitterness. I have no doubt that it would be a tasty sencha to drink on its own as well.

The fruit flavor here tastes like a peach-mango smoothie to me. There is sweet peach combined with juicy tropical mango and a nice creamy note, perhaps from the sencha itself. I can taste a bit of passion fruit as well. I believe this is supposed to be a white peach green tea, but to me it’s more like a peach went on a tropical vacation and made some new friends. There’s a light floral note in the aftertaste, something like honeysuckle perhaps?

This does somewhat remind me of Lupicia’s Ripe Mango Oolong, but with an entirely different base.

I think I’ll order two packets of this one. Now that I’m going to be stockpiling my favorite Lupicia blends, I’m suddenly very thankful that they use vacuum-sealed packets that should retain their freshness very well until they’re opened. Silver linings I guess…

Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mango, Nectar, Passion Fruits, Peach, Spinach, Sweet, Tropical, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
lizwykys

Another one they don’t have on the French site. Too bad!!

Cameron B.

Aw, too bad! I did check the French site before and they didn’t seem to carry my favorite Melon Oolong either…

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85

Home – 5:30 PM

Lupicia, Lupicia, Lupicia… Maybe if I click my heels together, they won’t close the website. :(

This one is an apple green tea. The leaves are somewhat large and feathery, as opposed to the darker slender sort that Lupicia also sometimes uses. It has a light, smooth, and slightly sweet flavor with notes of dry grass and hay.

The apple flavor here is sharp and refreshing, like a granny smith apple. There’s a little bit of candy-like edge to it, but overall it tastes fairly authentic in my opinion. The crispness of the apple pairs really well with the grassy nature of the base tea. There’s just a tiny hint of dryness that mimics the skin of the apple nicely.

I’m not sure on this one… I may just get one more packet before the online store closes.

In other news, I finished unpacking and putting away my tea and teaware stash in my new house: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsMMemdlZcu/

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Candy, Dry Grass, Drying, Green Apple, Hay, Smooth, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
tea-sipper

Looks amazing. :D

Kawaii433

I have this on the way. I can’t wait to try it since I love Granny smith apples and I loved your picture!

Cameron B.

Thank you, dears!

@Kawaii – if you like sencha and granny smith apples, I think you’ll enjoy this one!

ashmanra

Online store closes? No more Lupicia orders?

lizwykys

Wow, so cool! Tea party at Cameron B.’s place!!! I love your array. :)

ashmanra, unfortunately, this appears to be the case. :( https://steepster.com/discuss/28561-lupicia-dot-com-closing-group-order-for-people-in-the-us-no-happy-bags (you need to scan down a bit on the first page to see where this came up)

Cameron B.

@ashmanra – It seems they are closing all of their stores in the US (including the website) except for the Hawaiian store. They’re also closing their French and Australian stores, and presumably those websites as well.

Cameron B.

@liz – Thank you, I would love that! Can’t get enough of dainty afternoon tea foods. ;)

Tabby

Made a panic-induced order with them yesterday. :(

tea-sipper

Sadly, this will probably be when Lupicia gets the most orders. :/

Cameron B.

@Tabby – I made one $60+ order already and now have another $100 cart that I haven’t submitted quite yet…

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92
drank Sakurambo by Lupicia
1528 tasting notes

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 3/365

Continuing my Lupicia marathon, and double-dipping with my tea of the day for this one!

This is a Japanese cherry-flavored black tea. The base tea has that flaky look about it, similar to the Cassis & Blueberry that I just drank. However, I’m not getting as much earthy flavor from this, so perhaps it’s a slightly different blend. It’s an extremely smooth and mellow black tea base, not contributing a ton in the way of flavor but being enough to make a good base for the added flavoring.

Oh my… I’d forgotten how much I love this one…

The cherry flavor is a tad candylike, but it’s also quite tart and refreshing, reminding me a bit of dried cherries and even verging on cranberry. There’s an interesting pine note as well, I’m not sure if it’s from the rosemary in the blend or if it’s just part of the flavoring. There doesn’t seem to be that much rosemary, so I’m assuming it’s ornamental and this is an added flavor.

This is such a lovely, weird, delicious blend from Lupicia… I think I’ll need to order a couple packets of this, and perhaps a couple of the green version as well. I can imagine the pine flavor going extremely well with a sencha base, similar to their Yuzu green tea.

Bumping the rating just a little… ;)

https://www.instagram.com/p/BsL6WQHF9xj/

Flavors: Candy, Cherry, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Musty, Pine, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
lizwykys

I have that same For Life teapot, in blue!

Cameron B.

I have it in four different colors! It’s such a convenient but cute teapot, especially for the office. :D

hawkband1

This is the one tea of theirs that I really like. Makes a really nice cold brew!

ashmanra

I have it in white!

lizwykys

Okay, because of you, I have this little jewel sitting in my newly compiled giant “Schroedinger’s Tea Order” at lupicia.fr right now. Will I pull the trigger even though I’m supposed to be not spending like a drunken sailor? WHO KNOWS!! (I wish I knew for sure if the French site is going to be closed).

Cameron B.

@ashmanra – What wizardry is this?! :O

@liz – I see this one has rather mixed reviews around here. I hope you enjoy it if you do end up ordering!

lizwykys

It’s a cherry and I only have one cherryish blend right now, so I’d like to add at least one, and this seems unusual and interesting — plus I’d like to be able to compare notes, and many of your faves are not available at the French site, so this will be fun one to try no matter what. :)

lizwykys

Sooo, I got busy and haven’t been around lately, but I did eventually pull the trigger and finally got my Lupicia order from the French site today — and tried this one first. I like it a LOT! However, there is something similar in the flavor of the second one I tried, Rhubarb and Strawberry, and I like that one even better. If you haven’t tried it yet and you are able to get this one, I definitely recommend it. I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. I haven’t seen anything about the French site closing yet, so crossing my fingers on that.

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Profile

Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m 29 years old and currently living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend of 5 years. We’re both software engineers, currently working in the field of Machine Learning. I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-faced dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one.

I am also an avid yarn collector (errr, I mean knitter!) when the hot Austin weather allows for it… Find me on Ravelry under the name LorenWeiss!

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. I have recently started to brew gongfu cha style!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, just let me know via PM!

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms, including black, green, oolong, and white teas, as well as maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I am open to more exploration of puerh, but it’s not generally one of my favorites. I am not often a fan of fruit-based tisanes.

My very favorite straight teas tend to be from China, Japan, or Taiwan. I also enjoy matcha!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially mango and pineapple.

Dessert: Again, all the things! I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I do very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose and lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a main flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea. Smoke can be tasty when it’s not heavy-handed.

Favorite Purveyors:
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Lupicia
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre
Yunnan Sourcing
Yunomi

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

My profile photo is by inkpug!

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/cam...

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