3708 Tasting Notes


MUST TRY ALL THE YUNNANS! Lol… Another one from Nicole! This one looks less tippy than the other Upton variety I tried yesterday, or whenever it was. The leaves are small and thin, not remarkably twisty, and almost all black with just a few golden spots. They smell of hay and dried leaves.

Whew, I could tell by the aroma that this is one of those Yunnans. Meaning, the manly kind, lol. The aroma and taste are basically exactly the same. It’s very earthy with a mineral edge. There’s a woody taste along with a definite smoke note (Nicole, you’re not paranoid on this one). A bit of malt in there too, but it mostly tastes like what I would call “forest floor” – earth and rocks and twigs. There’s a bit of a musty taste to it as well.

Finding myself to not be a fan of these darker Yunnan teas. I’ve been far too spoiled by their lighter counterparts! :P

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Mineral, Musty, Smoke, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML


Cameron B.



“forest floor” is a good description for a lot of these. :) Good phrase.

Cameron B.

I dunno, I think “forest floor” sounds more pleasant than I intend it to. :P

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This lovely tea came from Nicole. I’m almost all the way through her first package but I have since gotten a second. Lol… The dry leaves look quite “wild” to me, meaning they’re very spindly and rough. Almost like tiny tree roots! The color is mostly dark with a few golden buds mixed in. I’m not really getting a smell from the dry leaves, there’s a little bit of sweetness maybe?

The first thing I notice from the aroma is that there are very strong raisin notes. Yum! I also get other dark flavors, like malt, tobacco, and molasses. The flavor is definitely very deep and developed. I wouldn’t call it a super strong tea, but the flavors in here are all quite “dark” and intense. There’s dark, toasted bread with some honey over the top, but then there’s also a definite syrupy dried fruit note. I’m thinking raisins and dried cherries, maybe some fig in there too. Yum!

I continue to be impressed by Yunnan Sourcing, even their “lower-grade” Yunnan teas are delicious! Must order soon! :)

Flavors: Bread, Brown Toast, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Tropical Nut Paradise by Teavana
3708 tasting notes

Hapatite sent me this tea as a freebie with my stash sale purchase. I haven’t had a tea from Teavana in a long time. I like the sound of this blend, I love nutty flavors and there are big chunks of candied fruit in there. It smells delicious, very nutty and sweet! I steeped about two teaspoons (I always overleaf rooibos blends) for 5 minutes.

I was surprised by the amount of cinnamon in the brewed aroma, considering I didn’t get any from the dry leaf! It smells very creamy and nutty with cinnamon on top. The taste reminds me of apple cinnamon oatmeal! I guess the oat tastes comes from the nuts? I added a little sugar, but I don’t think it’s necessary considering all the fruit is candied. I was very pleasantly surprised by this tea! I feel dirty for liking a Teavana tea… :(

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Fruity, Nuts, Oats, Rooibos

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

….it’s like selling your tea soul to the tea devil, isn’t it? :)

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Another tea from Nicole! Jeez, I think half of my stash is from her… ;) The black tea leaves almost look like they’re rolled, which is interesting. It smells very honey-sweet, with some vanilla and caramel in there too. Yummy! I steeped for 3 minutes. When I saw the wet leaves, I immediately thought that I was wrong about the base tea. They look very similar to oolong leaves to me. So I double-checked the description and it says Indian black tea. Hrm…

It’s odd, I feel like I taste oolong, too! There’s that slight autumn leaf thing going on, which is something I would attribute to roasted or oxidized oolong (or houjicha). Strange! I guess I just don’t know what Indian black teas taste like! That being said, I like this tea very much! It has a very strong honey flavor (yum) along with some vanilla and caramel goodness playing around. I get a definite fruitiness, especially in the aftertaste – it reminds me of tart apricots and plums. Delicious! And overall, it’s very creamy, and the base tea itself is quite light in flavor.

Nicole, I may have to buy the rest of this from you! We shall see…

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Cream, Honey, Malt, Plum, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Your tea is having an identity crisis. :p

Sure sounds good, though!!!

Cameron B.

Hah. I just don’t know jack about Indian teas. :P I wonder what kind it is!


I’m so glad you liked this one!

Cameron B.

Me too, Nicole! I still think it’s lying about being black tea! :P

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This sample came from the lovely and generous Nicole. There’s quite a bit of gold in these leaves, more so than the others I’ve tried recently. The leaves themselves are quite thin and twisty. I can’t really say much about the dry scent, because it smells like milk oolong. HAH! Clearly some cross-contamination there. :P

The brewed aroma is light malt with honey and that lovely stonefruit note I’ve been missing. Confession, I kind of forgot about this tea while I was browsing stuff online… Oops! Luckily for me, it didn’t get bitter or astringent or anything. Definitely a mark in its favor! It has that lovely light malty toast flavor that I’ve come to expect from lighter Yunnans, drizzled with honey. There’s a little hint of raisin in the background, but it’s more of a golden raisin. I also get a bit of stonefruit, yum! I suspect I’m getting more fruit because the tea has cooled so much, so I would assume it’ll be less prominent when hot. Still delicious though! I would have a hard time differentiating this from other similar teas. It’s not unique, but it has all the things I love about Yunnan!

Flavors: Bread, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Stonefruit

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Florence by Harney & Sons
3708 tasting notes

This sample is from Nicole. It was one of the teas that she doesn’t like or doesn’t reach for enough, so I asked her to send me some. I haven’t been a huge fan of chocolate teas in the past, but this one seems to have a good reputation around here and I do love nutty teas. Dry, it smells quite lovely – sweet and very hazelnutty. I steeped it for 5 minutes because I’ve had bad experiences with Harney & Sons flavored teas if I try to steep them for less time.

Overall, I found this to be a perfectly nice tea. The chocolate is definitely the dark variety, more like cocoa powder than actual chocolate. It’s very nutty, which I love. I’m not sure my palate is quite good enough to pinpoint the exact types of nuts, but hazelnut sounds close enough. The nuts give it a nice creamy flavor.

I expected this tea to be like liquid Nutella, but the chocolate flavor is definitely more of a bitter cocoa than a milk chocolate. I added sugar to mine and it was quite tasty, especially with the creaminess. I tried adding some half-and-half at the end to see if I could bring out a milkier chocolate, but it totally ruined it. Stupid half-and-half, why do you always do that? :P

Flavors: Cocoa, Cream, Hazelnut, Roasted Nuts

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Yunnan Buds by Palais des Thés
3708 tasting notes

This tea’s first review! No pressure or anything. :P

Another Yunnan specimen from Nicole! Looks similar to the Steven Smith version I just tried – mostly dark grey/brown leaves with a few golden buds mixed in. Dry scent is mildly malty, somewhat musty, and quite sweet, although I’m not sure I’d describe it as honey.

Whoa, powerful aroma! Very malty with an earthiness that’s mineral and almost smoky. I can catch a little hint of raisin in there somewhere. The taste is way less intense than I expected from the aroma! Primarily malt and dark bread. There are some earth and wood flavors, but they’re not overpowering. I also taste slight leather and tobacco notes. There’s a little bit of sweetness, but in a rich way, similar to molasses or dark caramel. I was very surprised to find an aftertaste of sweet honeyed toast!

I was very pleasantly surprised by this tea! I had expected it to be very intense and “manly” based solely off of the aroma, but it tastes much milder. I feel like this tea represents a good happy medium between the darker, rougher Yunnans and the light honeyed versions. A nice everyday tea! :)

Flavors: Bread, Caramel, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Toast, Tobacco, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I’m glad you reviewed this one. I still need to try another couple methods and take some time with it before I was going to put down my thoughts. Thus far, it doesn’t bear up to the price for me. There are less expensive that I like more at this point.

Cameron B.

Holy crap, that is so expensive! Yeah, there’s no way it’s worth that price. The description also says it’s all buds, which isn’t true? Weird.


Yeah, not sure what they are defining as “buds.”

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I’m kind of a grumpface today… Our new roommate (and my boyfriend’s friend and coworker) has only been here a week, and he already bought tickets for some girl to come visit him. For a week. And they’re not even dating, and she’s 19 to boot (no offense meant to the younger people on here, but I generally do not like or get along with teenagers)… Seriously? And since he and my boyfriend generally work from about 8 to 5 during the week, I will most likely have the pleasure of entertaining this person all day long. Seriously? I am at a loss as to why this is going down… But you know, clearly my opinion doesn’t matter as long as he asks my boyfriend about it, who is never going to say no. So yes, grumpface.

So, on to the tea then. The leaves are what I would call “medium-sized” and twisty. They’re mostly dark with little spots of gold. They smell mildly malty with honey sweetness, yum. I did a 3 minute brew just out of habit.

The aroma is quite dark. Very malty, with a syrupy deep raisin note and something somewhere between honey and molasses. Wow, the flavor here is deep. I definitely agree with Terri about this being a manly tea. That dark raisin aroma carries over into taste, but it’s not sweet at all. Needless to say, this is quite malty. There’s tobacco and soft leather, maybe a touch of earthiness. There’s also an interesting almost bitterness that I feel is inherent to the tea (meaning not a result of incorrect brewing). It melds nicely with the leather and tobacco notes.

Nicole mentioned maybe a bit of smoke in here, and although I wouldn’t call it smoke, I can see what she’s talking about. It’s definitely dark and intense, and the earthy quality could definitely be described as almost smoky.

I quite enjoyed this tea. It’s amazing to see (or rather taste) the wide range of flavors and experiences that can come out of one region (Yunnan). The golden, fuzzy Yunnan teas are light with pastry and honey-sweetness, while the darker varieties can be very assertive and rich, with deep and developed savory flavors. Amazing! I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to try all of the different kinds, especially since most of them were from swaps! Thanks everyone, and Nicole in particular, who provided this sample, along with many others! :)

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Tobacco

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

You know the saying, fish and guests stink after three days.

Cameron B.

HAH! I have never heard that, but you made me laugh with it. :P


Totally justified in your grumpface, in my opinion! I had a friend who was in a very similar boyfriend + roommate living situation and it is tricky to say the least!

Sami Kelsh

One of my flatmates currently has her parents visiting, and while I super don’t mind at all (as I’m barely home myself on weekdays) I have to be super noise-conscious as it means my flatmate’s sleeping on the living room couch. And her folks decided to stay on an extra week, poor dear!


ugh, maybe you should go somewhere while she’s here. :)


That would make me a grumpface also. That’s just rude.

Cameron B.

Honestly, I’m sure it’ll be fine, hopefully the time will go by fast. And after talking to my boyfriend about it, I think they might work from home while she’s here so I don’t have to babysit all day. I’m just a bit peeved over the whole thing. :P


I would recommend spending the week visiting all of your local tea houses! Carpe Diem! ;-)


Oy. Yeah, teenagers suck. Good luck you ya!


teenagers are horrible

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I purchased this tea from Hapatite in her stash sale! Any time I see anything Fauchon, I have to jump on it. This was definitely the one I was most excited about, as I love almond. However, I did not realize that it’s an oolong base… For some reason I guess I assumed it was black like the others. I don’t know enough about oolongs to tell you what kind this is… It’s loosely rolled and still somewhat green, but seems partially oxidized, so I guess maybe tieguanyin? I don’t know! There are also flower petals, orange peel, and almonds, along with some stems. The dry scent is very sweet almond, which got me excited! There’s definitely some orange there too. I didn’t really know how to steep it, so I just went with my general French flavored/scented tea method – 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

I didn’t write any notes while I was having this tea, so I don’t really remember much about the aroma besides that it was citrusy and I could smell the greenness of the oolong underneath. I was pleasantly surprised by this tea! . The orange in it is quite nice. I’m not sure that I would call it completely authentic, but I find it does taste similar to real orange with a little extra tartness and a touch of candy flavor. The best of all worlds! :) Unfortunately for me, I didn’t find much of the almond in here, which is a shame. But I find that it doesn’t necessarily need it (although it would be nice). The base is very mild, I don’t really get any vegetal or overly floral taste like I do with green oolongs. It just kind of adds a nice mild autumn leafy, slightly toasty sort of flavor. There is a bit of floral here, but it’s very light and serves only to accent the orange.

This is a very lovely tea, and another win from Fauchon. I did drink it with a bit of sugar added, as I almost always do with flavored teas. I will definitely be keeping this tea in mind as an afternoon or early evening option (I’m unsure how much caffeine this type of oolong contains…). Thanks again, Hapatite, for giving me the opportunity to try this delightful tea! :)

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Orange

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

This is a traditional tieguanyin base, which means that it is lightly roasted. I’ve really come to enjoy this type of oolong, glad you enjoyed it too!


I will confess that I have new tin of this along with the Pear one as I found them at TJMaxx. I’m sort of afraid to try them as I don’t usually like flavored tea that isn’t some sort of natural (for example real actually vanilla beans) flavor, but we’ll see…


OK, I just made this. I have to say – not heinous. I would drink this from time to time maybe, but not a whole tin and especially not a whole tin before it goes stale. But I will for sure finish this cup – which is saying something for me and a flavored tea. I like oolong base.

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Hello everyone, I hope you’re all having good weekends! I decided to do gong fu with this tea today because I felt like I wasn’t getting the full potential when I tasted it western-style. I mostly used TeaVivre’s parameters, but adjusted the amount of water to 4 ounces and then used 4 grams of tea, which turned out to be 4 pearls. I also used 200 degree water instead of boiling.

The method: 4g tea per 4oz water, 200 degrees, 10s rinse/30/50/70/90/120s

Rinse (10s): very light, woody, golden raisins (the pearls puffed up but held their shape)

Steep 1 (30s): strong bitter cocoa with some woodiness, burnt sugar (the pearls fell apart completely!)

Steep 2 (50s): very earthy in a mineral sense (licking a rock comes to mind), bitter cocoa

Steep 3 (70s): mellower earthiness, autumn leaves, dark but not bitter cocoa

Steep 4 (90s): very similar to steep 2, earthy and highly mineral

Steep 5 (120s): similar to steep 3, mellow earth with autumn leaves, buttered toast!

So, I was not a big fan of those highly earthy and mineral steeps… In fact, I didn’t finish either of them. Just blegh. My favorites were the first and last steeps, which suggests to me that maybe I should try this again with shorter steeps? Or maybe I’ll just stick to western-style with this one.

Any suggestions for a gong fu method that won’t bring out so much earthy/mineral flavor would be greatly appreciated! I only have enough of this left for one more cup or session… So I want to get it right! :P

I also noticed that there’s a tad bit of water left in the bottom after I drain the leaves. I’m assuming this is okay, since I don’t see how I would get all of it without dumping into a strainer. Would love to be corrected if I’m wrong!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Cocoa, Earth, Mineral, Toast, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

This is a great tea! Hope you are having a good weekend too! I’m at work actually, boo.

Cameron B.

Thanks Stephanie! What’s your favorite way to brew this one? And I’m sorry you have to be at work! :(


I like it semi-western! Long and super rich steeps for me :)

I usually only get 2 or 3 steeps that way though. Sorry it’s not tasting like you’d hoped!

Cameron B.

How long do you usually let it go for? The website recommends 5-10 minutes, sheesh. :P


4-5 mins usually


It DOES take a while for those pearls to unfurl!


I am dying to try this!!!!


Oh Sars – I have a shitload and I don’t love it so I can send you plenty

Cameron B.

MzPriss, I don’t love it either so far. Going to try the Stephanie method last and hopefully that makes it for me!


I can try the Stephanie way – people seem to love it, but I havent so far


Cam sent me some, MzP. I’ll try it and report back. :o)


It sounded like just the kind of thing I would love so I got one of those Teavivre tins of it. I can’t get it to the point where it tastes the way others describe it tasting.

Cameron B.

Luckily mine was one of the free samples I chose, so I didn’t pay for it. It’s not bad, but it seems fairly nondescript to me, and I don’t seem to get chocolate like others do. :(


I used 4 pearls in 6 oz. for 5 min. Seemed to work pretty well. I thought it was good! I definitely found a little cocoa.


Interesting that everyone’s experience is so different!


Stephanie it always surprises me how differently people experience tastes and smells in tea

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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… ;)

- September Sipdowns: 38
- Total 2023 Sipdowns: 353

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
Old Barrel Tea Co
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts

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



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