1528 Tasting Notes


365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 22

Earl Grey time! :D

This one is simple but lovely. The base has at least some Chinese black tea in it, as it has a nice smooth and mellow earthy flavor. I would guess that there’s Ceylon here as well, as it has a subtly astringent coppery note. It’s acidic enough that it’s a bit rough on my empty stomach.

The bergamot is restrained, and it’s in perfect balance with the black tea. The two complement each other well without either overpowering the other. It’s a lovely citrusy bergamot, and the added finger lime flavor really brings out the citrus notes, while also adding a nice brightness to the blend.

It’s really a good one, and a slightly more demure Earl Grey blend that would be perfect for the afternoon (or a lazy weekend morning!). Plus that gold tin is stunning! ❤


Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Citrus, Earth, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Smooth

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

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (44)

Another one from Kawaii433!

I’m not sure how I feel about honeybush, mostly because it’s been a long time since I’ve had any. It’s not a very common base for flavored tisanes, especially compared to the more popular rooibos.

The honeybush here has an interesting woody flavor, one that’s quite different from the woodiness of red rooibos. It’s almost peppery? I’m not sure how else to describe it.

The cinnamon flavor is surprisingly mild. I can taste a little bit of buttery or pastry-like flavor here as well. Overall, I’m just quite surprised by how subdued the flavoring is in relation to the honeybush base.

There’s also something here that’s adding some natural sweetness, perhaps it’s the cinnamon chips? It almost tastes like there’s a sprinkling of stevia, which I know there is not. It is a pleasant sweetness though, and doesn’t overwhelm the cup.

Overall, it’s perfectly pleasant to sip on. But for me, it’s not very memorable – it’s mostly a mild cinnamon honeybush.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Butter, Cinnamon, Frosting, Sweet, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Not sure if you used boiling water, but whenever it’s a 52 teas honey bush I tend to use a much lower temperature…like 175? And they decreases the honeybush taste I find.

Cameron B.

Thanks for the tip, I’ll try that for my Raspberry Almond Cookie Honeybush!

Evol Ving Ness

In fact, 53Teas black blends benefit from lower temperature treatment too.


I don’t use boiling water for any of my blends now. I recommend just under boiling for the black teas, and 185 – 195°F for honeybush and/or rooibos. You’ll get less astringency this way, and you’ll get less of the weird flavors that come with rooibos and honeybush this way too.

Cameron B.

I generally use 200° water for black teas. But I’ll definitely keep that in mind for rooibos and honeybush!

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (43)

One of the many 52teas selections sent to me by Kawaii433! I do enjoy root beer, so I’m happy she chose this one to share.

Hmm, I’m not sure about this one. It does have a fairly accurate root beer flavor, which is very tasty. However, it’s also quite woody. I’m not sure if that’s from the base tea or the added sarsaparilla root, but I’m finding it very distracting.

I definitely taste root beer, but I’m not sure I’m really getting the creamy “float” element here, and that may just be because of the strong woody overtones.

It’s still an enjoyable tea, and it does have a lovely root beer flavor. It just misses the mark for me a little bit with the ice cream element of the root beer float.

Flavors: Root Beer, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

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

I tried this one too but didn’t log it yet. I have 5 more grams to try it again but I tasted a really good rootbeer but no milk nor creme either.


Same here. Yummy root beer, but not so much float.

Cameron B.

I’m glad it’s not just me! It’s still nice as a root beer tea. :D

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This is the third and final fruity white tea from Lov Organic. Coconut is not one of my favorite flavors, but I do love blueberry! And I do enjoy coconut teas every once in a while.

Hmm… This is mostly coconut, and it’s the artificial suntan lotion sort of coconut. I can maybe taste a little hint of blueberry at the beginning and end of the sip, but if I didn’t know it was supposed to be here, I wouldn’t pick it out. I think it’s because both the blueberry and coconut are quite sweet, and the strong, creamy coconut flavor overpowers the blueberry a bit.

It’s tasty, and I think white tea goes very well with creamy coconut. But the coconut here is a bit too artificial for me, and I was looking for more blueberry flavor and perhaps a little tartness.

Flavors: Artificial, Blueberry, Coconut, Creamy, Hay, Oats

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

What an unexpected combination. It’s like marrying a penguin and a hyena.

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Sipdown! (7)

Well now that I know these white teas from Lov Organic are going away, I have to try the three that I have and decide whether I should order some in sachets…

This is tasty, but for me it’s too close to the Blackcurrant-Peach version. The mango here is quite peachy in flavor in my opinion. It does have an extra little tropical hit to it because of the passion fruit. The white tea is mellow and pleasant, with notes of hay and oats.

It’s yummy! But I don’t need both this one and the Blackcurrant-Peach white tea, and I prefer the latter.

Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Mango, Oats, Passion Fruits, Peach, Smooth, Sweet, Tropical

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

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Swap Sample Sipdown! (42)

From VariaTEA! I think this is a fandom blend from Adagio that the designer has since started selling on their own website? Which seems a bit disingenuous to me since the website doesn’t actually specify whether or not they blend their teas in-house. At least the price is somewhat reasonable, at $11 for 50g compared to Adagio’s price of $12 for 85g.

I will say, to me an elven-inspired blend should be a green, oolong, or herbal base. But that’s okay!

Mostly this just tastes vaguely peachy with a hint of cinnamon and perhaps some caramel or vanilla. The base is extremely generic and doesn’t taste like much. It has a slight mustiness.

So anyway, it’s okay but I wouldn’t call it “good”. But that’s what I generally expect from Adagio teas (though this once isn’t specified as being an Adagio blend).

Flavors: Caramel, Musty, Peach, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vanilla

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

When I’m at fandom conventions I’ve seen people in the dealer’s room selling their Adagio fandom blends too, where the only “original” thing about them is (sometimes) the artwork they put into having displayed on the bags. I at least expect the stuff in Artist Alley to be the original work of the people in there running the booths…

Cameron B.

I mean, technically I guess they design the blends, but the actual blending is done by Adagio. I’m just not a fan of Adagio so it’s not my jam. :P

Mastress Alita

There is nothing truly original about it, they didn’t have to put any effort into it, and Artist’s Alley is supposed to be for “homemade” goods… It just doesn’t seem right to me, somehow. If someone is actually blending their own teas and packaging them, making their own knitted/crocheted items, crafts, artwork, etc… I mean, that is precisely what I go to Artist Alley to see. I dunno, when I saw someone selling Adagio fandom blends in a convention Artist Alley it just kinda left a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t mind the novelty of them as cute gift items on Adagio’s website but once people start selling them in their own “shops” I sort of take issue with it, I guess?

But then, I find brick and mortar tea shops that wholesale Adagio teas and then upsale the price per ounce by several dollars, which is hardly any better, so…

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365 Days of Tea Challenge – Day 21

Sipdown! (6)

Somehow, I always forget how much I enjoy these fruity white teas from Lov Organic. Although, I’m a bit worried they’re being discontinued as we speak, because all three flavors are 40% off and a lot of the package options (including the tins) are out of stock… :( I’ve asked about it on Instagram, but who knows whether I’ll get a response.

Mine is in sachet form, as it’s from a white tea sachet sampler pack.

It’s really good… The white tea base is fairly generic, with a soft, mellow hat & oats sort of flavor. But the fruits! The peach is juicy and sweet, and creamy when combined with the white tea. As for the blackcurrant, I’m not sure I would pick it out specifically if I didn’t know it was there. I might guess it was blackberry. But either way, it does add a lovely depth and slight jammy richness to the blend, and accents the peach perfectly.

Now I’m annoyed because I want a tin of this, and I’m very worried it won’t be available anymore. At least there are still some sachets in stock, maybe I should order a bunch…



Flavors: Berry, Black Currant, Blackberry, Hay, Jam, Oats, Peach, Smooth, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

They just got back to me on Instagram. They are discontinuing their white teas as they want to focus more on herbals. QQ!

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Sample Sipdown! (41)

Ugh… I don’t know why, but I feel so tired this morning. It’s 10:30, and I still want to go back to sleep! XD Hopefully more tea will start to perk me up a bit.

This tea actually reminds me of a Taiwanese black. It has noticeable waffle-like cinnamon and honey notes, along with a nicely fruity flavor. It does also have the thick and satisfying malty sweet potato and bread notes that I would expect from a Yunnan black. There’s a touch of savory flavor, along with a smooth and mellow earthy undertone. And perhaps a wisp of a floral note at the end of the sip?

I guess I don’t know enough about Keemun to recognize which notes are characteristic of this type of tea… Luckily, I went crazy when TeaVivre had their samples sale, so I now have several of their Keemun varieties to try!

Anyway, this is a thick and satisfying Chinese black that makes me think of soft toasted bread drizzled with honey and perhaps a touch of apricot or plum preserves, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

A definite nom.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Honey, Jam, Malt, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

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

i did the same thing even though i’ve tried a lot of their blacks already…gave me an excuse to just have small quantities of a lot of straight blacks in my cupboard :)

Cameron B.

I think that makes perfect sense when you can get a 14g sample for $1-2! Variety is the spice of life.

I’ve actually tried most of them already too, but at this point it feels like it was in another life! XD


I LOVE to have smaller quantities of many teas, so this was the ideal sale for me. If it wasn’t just on the black teas I would have been in REAL trouble. Of course, Teavivre probably just wanted everyone to get addicted to their teas through their samples all over again. :D

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Sample Sipdown! (40)

Getting back to these AQ2T samples! I love kukicha and all things melon, so this was a no-brainer to add to my order. Hopefully the sage isn’t too powerful, as it’s not one of my favorite herbs.

This is a tasty one! It’s a smooth and sweet kukicha base with a mellow grassy flavor. The melon here is definitely cantaloupe, which is a nice change from the more common honeydew flavoring. Overall, it has a nice creamy melon flavor.

The sage is fairly mild, thank goodness! And I think it does add a bit of interest, and it’s nice to have a different and more unusual flavor.

I’m not sure whether I’ll reorder this or not. It is very tasty, but I’m not sure I need multiple melon teas in my cupboard.

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Creamy, Grass, Herbaceous, Melon, Sage, Smooth, Sweet

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

This one sounds really interesting.

Cameron B.

I would say go for it if you like melon and green tea! The sage is an interesting accent flavor.

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drank Colored Species by Mandala Tea
1528 tasting notes

Swap Sample Sipdown! (39)

From Kawaii433!

I admit, I feel a bit silly drinking these oolongs Western style, but gongfu isn’t really my thing… I did order an inexpensive gaiwan off of Amazon today though, so I’ll try to set a goal to do a couple of sessions per week or something. It’s good to get out of my comfort zone! It seems to me that oolong is one of the tea types that lends itself best to gongfu preparation, so I’m happy that I have all of these great samples from Kawaii!

But for now, Western style!

This is certainly an interesting one. It has a strong mineral note that I wasn’t expecting! I do enjoy mineral flavors in tea though, and happily in this case it reminds me of a clear mountain stream rather than the odious “licking a rock” sensation I’ve also gotten previously.

So because of that, this tea feels very refreshing to me. It does have some floral presence as well, and it’s a tad bit more than I would prefer (not being a flower lover). But it certainly doesn’t go anywhere near perfume – it more makes me picture a lovely trickling spring carrying large pink blossoms floating past. I’m not sure I can place the flower specifically, but my best guess would be gardenia. There’s also a light and sweet peach note that goes swimmingly with the floral flavor.

I have a hard time describing the greener flavor in oolongs… It’s not particularly vegetal, perhaps grassy in the sweet and fresh sense? I suppose it’s because I am more used to green teas, which are often grassy, and this is not the same as that.

So much sweetness here! There’s a very light honey note that lingers on the tongue, as well as a clear honeysuckle nectar-like flavor that almost verges on melon-like.

I very much enjoyed this one, even if it was a bit more floral than I’m accustomed to. And even if it’s not my very favorite flavor profile, I can still appreciate that this is delicious tea.

Flavors: Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Gardenias, Honey, Honeysuckle, Melon, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Smooth, Sweet

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

I hear you on the “floral” bit. I sent you the immortal prayer brick and to me, that was a bit too much for me. I wish I could taste all those notes, Cameron. I only think yum or eww. :D


I can only imagine tasting notes that are only ‘yum’ or ‘eww’….but that might get real old real fast. haha


tea-sipper: Tell me about it lol. I’m trying to expand my palate and really working to figure out the notes like all of you. That’s why I enjoy all of your reviews. ^^


No you are doing great starting out! I meant if you only POSTED ‘yum’ or ‘eww’ and that was your entire tasting note every time. One or the other. I wasn’t clear enough. :D

Cameron B.

Don’t sell yourself short, Kawaii! I really enjoy your notes, and especially the ones about unflavored oolong and puerh! For some reason, I have a hard time describing oolong and I feel like a lot of them taste the same to me.


:D to the both of you.

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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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