1528 Tasting Notes


Swap Sample Sipdown! (68)

Another one from VariaTEA!

This one sounded good, but to be honest I’m not really digging it.

I think it’s meant to be cheesecake, but to me it tastes more like coconut. And it’s the suntan lotion sort of coconut flavor. There’s also a weird savory note that reminds me of fennel. Maybe it’s the cinnamon…?

I do also have a fresh sample of this one that I ordered recently, so I’ll have to try that and see how it compares.

Flavors: Artificial, Autumn Leaf Pile, Coconut, Creamy, Fennel, Floral, Sweet

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I definitely never got fennel or coconut. Weird. Hopefully the fresher batch works better for you.

Cameron B.

Yeah, not sure what’s wrong with me after reading the other notes. LOL!

Evol Ving Ness

This one always struck me as intensely artificial, at least the first few steeps. Maybe it was the batch, I dunno.


^^ Same, I found it really artificial, but IIRC sometimes later infusions were tasty.

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (67)

From VariaTEA!

I thought I was going crazy because of how floral this tastes – but it turns out there is honeysuckle in it.

I’ve never actually had mead, so I can’t really comment on how faithful this is to that flavor… Obviously I would expect it to taste like honey.

For me, it’s too floral. It sort of tastes like floral candy, probably because of the honey. And that’s an odd combination with the toasted rice…

Flavors: Candy, Floral, Honey, Perfume, Sweet, Toasted Rice

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (66)

I had bags of this from both Kawaii433 and tea-sipper.

I admit, I didn’t realize until going to write this note that this is a rooibos-based blend. It’s in paper teabags, so you can’t really see the contents, and it brews up quite dark so I had assumed a black base. It also doesn’t taste overly rooibos-y.

But now that I know, I can taste the rooibos and therefore feel like a moron, ha ha!

Other than that, it has a mixture of banana Runts and more natural banana flavors. It’s a little bit creamy, but I don’t get much in the way of chocolate from it.

Not bad though, especially for a caffeine-free blend.

Flavors: Artificial, Banana, Candy, Creamy, Sweet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

hehe We had you covered for this one.

Cameron B.

Tea friends always got your back! ;)


I think we both just figured you like banana chocolate. :D

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365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 31

Sample Sipdown! (65)

Yay, I made it through the first month of my challenge! ❤

Trying out my new easy/travel gaiwan that I bought on a whim from Amazon. I really like it except for the fact that the little silicone band around its midsection does not stay cool enough when brewing at this temperature, especially as the steeps grow longer. So I may have to reserve this little guy for lower temperature teas.

This is a lovely little Taiwanese tea. I fully admit to having a soft spot for oxidized Taiwanese teas, both oolong and black varieties. This one is a sort of a hybrid between the two, which is intriguing.

The flavor throughout the session was a lovely and comforting blend of baked bread and raw grain/oat notes, along with a big dollop of cinnamon honey. There was also a light floral flavor and a slight earthy grassiness present in some steeps. I loved the lasting sweet cinnamon honey aftertaste that lingered after each sip!

I did smell some tart stonefruit and dried fruit aromas in the wet leaf and the tea itself, but I didn’t really get a lot of fruitiness in the taste. Perhaps a touch of dried fruit? I was surprised by how tart and plummy the wet leaf smelled compared to the flavor of the tea.

Overall, it was just what I’d hoped for from a Taiwanese black. I really do love that freshly baked bread with cinnamon honey butter flavor!

6g – 130ml – 200°F – 5/15/25/35/50/80/180s


Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Earth, Floral, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Malt, Musty, Oats, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (65)

Another one from Kawaii433!

Yum, these are really good! I’m practically gulping down my mug-full…

Overall flavor is sweet and smooth with a lovely fresh jasmine flavor. There’s also a nice mellow apricot note from the green tea, but otherwise the jasmine is the star. This tea has a nice refreshing quality to it that tells me it would be great as a cold brew.

Unbelievably sweet! And there’s an almost creamy quality here as well. It’s not often I go back for a second steep when I brew Western-style, but I definitely will for this one.

Yum yum yum. Fresh, fruity, jasmine, delicious! ❤

Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Jasmine, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Yay you liked this one! :D


these are great….not as awesome as the original pearls, but still delicious

Cameron B.

Definitely delicious! I have several jasmine green tea (pearl and otherwise) samples from TeaVivre to try. Hopefully some of them are this tasty, too!

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (64)

From Kawaii433, of course!

I’ll be honest, I really didn’t enjoy this one…

The rinse was extremely tasty, with sweet notes of honey and dried apricots, comforting roasted grains, and a light floral overtone. I was excited for the steeps to come!

Unfortunately, all of the remaining steeps had a really strong floral note that was just too much for me. It was almost perfume-like. I don’t know if that’s a normal aspect of da hong pao, or if I just did a terrible job with my steeping parameters…

I stuck with it for seven steeps total, just to see if there was any change in the flavors. I was actually surprised that the taste didn’t seem to change much at all after the first steep. There was still plenty of flavor left in the leaves when I called it quits.

Kawaii did send me another da hong pao sample as well, so I’ll have to try that one out and see how it compares. Maybe da hong pao just isn’t for me!

5g – 110ml – 200°F – 5/15/20/20/30/40/60s

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Grain, Honey, Mineral, Musty, Perfume, Roasted, Sweet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

hehe I was just going to write that this one (the Medium one) is way better than their dark roasted one. The best one to me though is the YS one because you can taste the nuts. I hope that was the other one I sent you.

Cameron B.

Did you find this one very floral? I feel weird that I had such a different experience.


Nope. I usually can’t stand floral teas… I was re-reading your notes and was wondering could I have mislabelled it. Did it look green or roasted? hehe

Cameron B.

It was definitely roasted, looked similar to the other dark oolongs you sent. :(


Better yet, did it look like the picture? I know I sent you one that I found too floral, called the immortal prayer but that one is in its own foil package.


Ok, then that would be it. So strange. I wonder if you did it boiling and longer time period. I did it at 25s with boiling. I sure hope you get to try another DHP though.

Cameron B.

You did also send the dark roast version, along with Golden Peony and Shui Jin from Mandala. So I’ll see how those compare!


Here is a short conversation on Da Hong Pao:

“More often than not, what is being sold as da hong pao are blends that consists mostly of Huang guan yin, an incredibly floral cultivar.”

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (63)

This sample is from VariaTEA!

This one is not terribly impressive to me. I do enjoy the fresh lemony flavor, but there’s way too much herbal presence here for me. It completely overpowers the green tea.

So really it tastes like a big pile of lemon verbena with some added lemon flavoring.

It’s not bad, but very meh!

Flavors: Herbaceous, Lemon, Tart

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (62)

So I haven’t been keeping up with my sipdowns lately, as I’ve become increasingly engrossed in gongfu teaware… XD So as much as I want to do a session now, I’m forcing myself to drink a couple of sipdowns first!

This sample comes from Kawaii433!

I admit, this sounds like an odd combination, but I do enjoy both kumquats and cucumbers, so I’m game!

The base here is lovely and well-balanced, with delicious and satisfying bready notes. The cucumber here reminds me of silver needle – I guess that’s just the association I make with tea and cucumber together. I’m not sure I get much kumquat, perhaps just a little hint of something citrusy?

I’m glad the chili is very mild. It does give a nice, subtle warming sensation that is very interesting.

I would definitely like to see this base in some future blends! It’s balanced and yummy.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Cucumber, Hay, Malt, Oats, Pepper, Smooth

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

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drank Framboise Chocolat by Lupicia
1528 tasting notes

365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 30

Tea & chocolate day! I recently ordered a box of chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat, so I figured I’d brew up a chocolate tea to pair with them. Enter Lupicia!

This is probably my favorite of Lupicia’s chocolate teas. Not to say that it’s super fantastic or anything like that, but more that their other ones are somewhat lacking. This has a nice zingy raspberry flavor, not quite as tart as a fresh raspberry, but closer to a sharp raspberry jam. The chocolate is quite light, as in all of Lupicia’s similar teas. I do taste it though, and it’s definitely a dark chocolate or unsweetened cocoa sort of note.

I’m sure if I were in the habit of adding sugar and/or milk to my teas, I would be more impressed with chocolate teas in general. I can understand how it’s tough to get a really good chocolate flavor without at least some sense of creaminess.

Either way, both this and the raspberry-ganache-filled dark chocolate that I had with it were delicious! Pure indulgence! ;)


Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Jam, Raspberry, Sweet, Tart

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

I’m glad you also noticed the jam like aspect of this.. it’s why I loved it.

Cameron B.

Yeah, I think fresh raspberry would be a bit too tart to go well with the chocolate, so the jammy flavor is perfect!


Tart is why I love raspberries with chocolate. :D

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365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 29

Gongfu cha time!

Okay, this tea probably wasn’t the best choice for the gongfu treatment as the flavor didn’t change all that much between steeps, but I still really enjoyed the ritual of it all, and it was fucking freezing today so I was craving some cozy green tea goodness!

This was also my first time using my new mini tea tray and double-walled glass cha hai. I very much enjoyed them both, aesthetically and functionally!

The dry leaves were beautiful and had a sweet, soft aroma of alfalfa hay, freshly cut grass, and bean sprouts. I started with a 5s rinse, which I tasted (of course). It was so delicious and full of flavor that I adjusted my planned steep times to start shorter and increase more slowly.

As I said, the flavor here didn’t change a whole lot during the session. The first couple of steeps were very smooth with a strong vegetal spinach note and a lovely creamy, roasty nuttiness reminiscent of cashews. There was also a soft grain note that melded seamlessly with the nuts.

I followed TeaVivre’s directions and started at 185°, but once I started to find some bitterness in the second and third steeps, I reduced the temperature to my usual 175° and had better results. There were some light apricot and floral notes that showed up in the middle steeps and stayed until the end. Otherwise, the flavor remained somewhat vegetal with a nice combination of sweet and savory notes and a strong nutty presence.

As the flavor began to fade, I found the vegetal notes lightened first, which left me with a delicious sweet and nutty infusion that I practically gulped down.

I really do love long jing. I’m sure in the future, it would make more sense to steep it Western-style, but I have no regrets! :)

4g – 120ml – 175/185°F – 5/10/20/20/30/40/60s


Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Floral, Grain, Nuts, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 4 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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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
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

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!


Austin, Texas



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