3514 Tasting Notes

drank Tower of London by Harney & Sons
3514 tasting notes

Work – 11:00 AM

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Canadian Steepsters!

Guys, I feel like there’s something wrong with me. I don’t seem to enjoy this tea or Harney & Sons’s Paris… They both have a strange floral, chalky aftertaste for me that reminds me of Tums.


Am I crazy? I don’t see this mentioned in anyone else’s notes, and everyone seems to love these two.

Is it the base tea, is it the bergamot they use…?

Sad panda…

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Stonefruit, Sweet, Violet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Happy Thanksgiving!

I recall the bergamot being weird in H&S teas. I’m really particular about my bergamot flavouring and these guys seem to use one that is chalky and tastes like artificial chemicals (or minerals?).

Cameron B.

I’m glad someone else thinks it’s odd!

Although I did really enjoy their Winter White Earl Grey. I wonder if it’s a different bergamot, or if it’s the other fruit flavors that bring out the weirdness?

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Confetti Cake by Pinky Up
3514 tasting notes

Home – 10:30 PM

Well… This definitely isn’t cake-like. It mostly just tastes of chamomile (which I do like) with sweetener and perhaps a little bit of vanilla and cream. At least the sweetener isn’t overpowering. They also don’t list sweetener in the ingredients, maybe it’s just from the candied pineapple?

No cake, just chamomile. But I like chamomile, so I’ll have no issue drinking it. ❤

They should have added marshmallow leaf like that Birthday Cake tea Butiki used to make.

If nothing else, at least this has inspired me to reorder an apple cinnamon chamomile tea that I previously enjoyed.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
3514 tasting notes

Home – 9:00 PM

It’s a bit late for a black tea, but… the heart wants what it wants. Plus I think I’m getting my caffeine tolerance back (hooray!), so it’s not a huge deal.

This is perhaps the most famous Mariage Frères blend. The description is hilariously vague, the most specific it gets is “fruit & flowery”. Well, okay then.

Hmm… I’m getting sort of a vague red fruits-ish flavor. I guess, if I had to pick, I would call it strawberry? But it’s more of a dried fruit or jam sort of strawberry. Perhaps dome dried fig as well? There’s definitely loads of vanilla and cream, and a strong woody presence from both the base tea and the vanilla. It’s a bit more brisk and bitter than I would expect from a French flavored black tea, which tend to be rather forgiving.

Overall, I’m not incredibly impressed with it. I definitely prefer Kusmi’s St. Petersburg for a red fruits & friends sort of tea.

Next time I’ll try a 3 minute steep, I think.

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Dried Fruit, Fig, Floral, Jam, Strawberry, Vanilla, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

This one was so fussy to me, but good when you get it just right, with ahorter steep and slightly lower temp and never ever losing track of exactly what you are doing with this one…

Cameron B.

I’ll definitely be trying it again since it’s so well-regarded. So thank you for the tip!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.


Home – 6:00 PM

There’s a pot roast currently cooking in my Instant Pot and it smells amazing! ❤

This tea is disappointing to me… It’s weak even though I used extra leaf and steeped it for 4 minutes. And it mostly just tastes of clove, with a bit of a creamy note in there. Definitely no pumpkin.

Womp womp. Someday I will try a pumpkin spice tea that knocks my socks off. But that day is not today!

Flavors: Clove, Cream, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Cache-Cache by Lupicia
3514 tasting notes

Home – 2:00 PM

The description for this tea is so vague, it always makes me laugh. “A tea where various flavors are hidden and found”, what on Earth is that supposed to mean? I will say, I find the tiny sugar drops to be quite charming. Apparently they are called “konpeitō”, and they are Japanese.

Anyway, to me, this is a light, brisk peach black tea. The base is a bit malty, a bit woody, and a tiny bit astringent in its aftertaste. The peach flavor is fairly authentic, I would say, and the astringency makes me think of a peach’s fuzzy skin. There is also a bit of lemon adding tartness, which enhances the peach nicely. Also a touch of woody vanilla contributing warmth and sweetness.

At the end, there’s the tiniest hint of bitterness, which I find very pleasant. I find tea often needs a little bitterness to keep it in balance, and to provide depth.

This tea is better than I remember, I may have to order a new packet when they release it for this year’s holiday season.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Lemon, Malt, Peach, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Let It Snow by DAVIDsTEA
3514 tasting notes

Home – 1:30 PM

WTF, how much stevia is in this tea?

The answer: way too much.

All I can really taste is cinnamon, clove, and stevia.

Nope, nope, nope!

Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon, Clove, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Eww, I’m not going to try this one in the coming winter release then. Maybe it will be unpopular enough they will bring back a different tea instead.

Cameron B.

To be honest, I think Candy Cane Crush was the only one I liked at all last year.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Cookie by Lupicia
3514 tasting notes

Home – 12:30 PM

This tea has a rather good reputation. Unfortunately, I always find that, for me, it doesn’t live up to the hype.

The base tea is brisk and a tad astringent, likely due to the CTC leaves included in it. The flavor is not a light, buttery cookie like one might expect. It’s darker, more caramelized. Perhaps akin to a dark, snappy ginger cookie without the spice. There is caramelized, almost burnt sugar with a hint of almond.

I think perhaps this would be greatly improved by a dash of milk, to counteract the drying quality and bring out the almond notes. Unfortunately, I never add milk or sugar to tea.

I think I’ll put this in the re-homing box, not because I don’t enjoy it, but because it seems rather a waste to not enjoy it completely.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Bitter, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cookie, Malt, Sweet

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Home – 10:00 AM

Happy Sunday, everyone!

So this is the second of three black teas I ordered from Yunnan Sourcing. I was too intrigued by the description to pass it up. Apparently at some point in its processing, this tea is fried in muscovado sugar water. Too interesting to not buy! ;)

The leaves are quite small and slender, and they have a dark cool brown color. They have an unusual amount of sheen that isn’t portrayed in the photograph.

Yummy, this is definitely a very satisfying tea! At the forefront are the lovely malt and sweet potato notes that are quintessentially Yunnan. They have more strength or heft here than in the golden needle variety. I would almost call it a bit of a “chew” – in the most pleasant and satisfying way, like eating warm freshly-made wheat bread.

There is a bit of dark caramel or brown sugar here as well – though not necessarily the sweetness as much as the rich flavor. I’m also finding a bit of a savory note, perhaps reminiscent of lightly smoked meat. That sounds weird, but it’s not, I promise! XD

Overall, it’s a satisfying balance of malty, sweet, and a touch of savory. Definitely a great tea for getting going in the morning, but also complex enough to savor in the afternoon.

P.S. – I would love to hear recommendations for your favorite hong cha from Yunnan Sourcing!

Flavors: Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Honey, Malt, Rye, Smoked, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Wheat

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Orzo Caramel & Honey by Lupicia
3514 tasting notes

Home – 11:00 PM

So I intentionally went light on the amount of “tea” and steep time for this one, because I know it can be very strong. I used 2 teaspoons (I generally use 3) for my 16-ounce teapot and steeped it for 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquid is dark but not quite coffee-colored.

It smells very roasty indeed. The strength of flavor is actually quite nice with these steeping parameters. It’s primarily dark roasted grains and coffee. The caramel flavor is quite dark as well, like burnt sugar. I’m not sure I’m getting any honey, but this tea is quite old so it’s possible the flavoring has diminished somewhat. There’s a surprising clean, sweet aftertaste here that I sometimes find in greens or oolong – it reminds me of clear spring water. I certainly was not expecting to find it here!

Overall, I do enjoy these orzo tisanes. I’m sure they would also be delicious and latte-like with milk added.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Coffee, Grain, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

I’m confused. Orzo… pasta?

Cameron B.

Hah, no. I believe it’s just roasted barley.

Apparently the name comes from the Italian “caffè d’orzo” which is a roasted barley drink used as a coffee substitute.

Cameron B.

Fun fact: “orzo” actually means “barley”. The pasta is named “orzo” because it resembles grains of barley. Thank you, Internet.


Neat, thanks :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Goji Pop by DAVIDsTEA
3514 tasting notes

Home – 9:30 PM

Hmm… This does smell amazing dry. But… I used extra for my usual amount of water and it still tastes a bit weak to me. This is always a problem for me with fruit tisanes, they’re heavy so you end up with less volume for the same weight, plus you always have to overleaf to get good flavor out of them. So it ends up being so few cups for the price.

But it is pretty tasty. I’m not sure I know what a goji berry tastes like, so I couldn’t say whether the name is accurate. But there is a nice combination of cranberry and strawberry with honeydew melon and citrus notes. So perhaps goji berries taste similar to cranberries?

I will say, this is one tea where I think the hibiscus is a good addition. It’s not too strong, and it adds a nice tartness while melding well with the berry and citrus flavors.

I’m not a person who’s likely to ever stock a fruit tisane in my cupboard, but if I were, this would be a contender. I can imagine it would be lovely iced as well.

Flavors: Apple, Cranberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Honeydew, Lemon, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.



Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include piano, knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, planners, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is “collecting” hobby-related things… ;)

- May Sipdowns: 34
- Total 2023 Sipdowns: 189

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I steep Western style, and fluctuate between using big mugs or small teapots depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I’ll also often use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, oolong, and herbal varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, and honeybush. I love matcha and drink it often! Fruit tisanes are not a favorite, but I’m always willing to try them.

I do not sweeten my teas, and pre-sweetened teas are usually too sweet for me. I also do not enjoy stevia.

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, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: 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 very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura, chamomile, and elderflower. Osmanthus is also a favorite of mine. But I’m not crazy about rose or 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 starring 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.

Favorite Companies:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts
The Chai Box

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 or scent contamination.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer