2403 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! (37 | 358)

Another “just okay” tea from the S&V holiday sampler.

This one is a vanilla and peppermint black tea, though there is some rooibos here as well. It’s quite woody from the rooibos + vanilla combo, and I assume the black base has woody notes as well. The peppermint is fairly restrained, and it’s the more herbal type of peppermint. Luckily, it doesn’t taste musty as peppermint leaf often can.

Mostly just a lightly pepperminty woody black tea. I barely get any vanilla. Meh!

Flavors: Herbaceous, Peppermint, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

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

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Sipdown! (36 | 357)

Another cold brew! I’ve been on a cold brew kick lately because 1) it’s hot, and 2) I haven’t felt much like making and drinking tea, and cold brew is more convenient.

I sort of did a double-take when I tried this one, as it tastes like some kind of ginger ale/cola hybrid. It must be the tulsi that’s giving it a cola feel? Anyway, I’m really enjoying it, and the citrus adds just a bit of acidity as well that’s really refreshing. I don’t really taste green tea per se, but oh well.

Digging it!

Flavors: Citrus, Clove, Cola, Ginger, Lemon, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Tulsi

Iced 8 min or more 15 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Sipdown! (35 | 356)

Not my favorite cold brew.

It’s quite bland, with the beginning of the sip being mostly rooibos with a bit of butterscotch. The coconut creaminess and buttery notes come out more toward the end of the sip. But just like the hot cuppa, it lacks dimension and feels very flat. I don’t really taste the apple at all when it’s cold, which was really the only contrasting note besides sweet butterscotch.

I suppose it makes sense given sweet and caramel are the main notes in a flan as well, but it’s really not the same without the richness of the cream.

Flavors: Butter, Butterscotch, Caramel, Coconut, Creamy, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 20 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Sipdown! (34 | 355)

Finishing this one off with a splash of milk this morning. I don’t often add milk to hot teas, so I always feel a little fancy doing it, ha ha… XD

It holds up to the milk well, still having oodles of malty, raisiny flavor. I can taste a bit of astringency still even with the milk, which is interesting.

Overall, probably not something I need in my cupboard just because I don’t drink Assam often, and this one is rather nondescript. Also, I have a big tin of Assam from Andrews & Dunham that I’m sure will last me forever, heh!

Flavors: Astringent, Brown Sugar, Malt, Raisins, Tobacco

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

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Sipdown! (33 | 354)

Enjoying the last bit of this one cold brewed.

It’s just as tasty as it was hot! I seem to like this much more than the other reviewers… It has such a pleasant sweet and slightly fruity herbaceous flavor to it. There’s a bit of hay and oats, like a white tea, but it also almost tastes like elderflower or chamomile as well.

Sweet, gentle, slightly earthy, a hint of apple… Love this one! I really need to get around to try the roasted versions…

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Chamomile, Earth, Elderflower, Grain, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Oats, Raisins, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Sipdown! (32 | 353)

Cold brewed! I’ve never had chamomile cold before, but the other ingredients were just calling out to be cold brewed…

I like it! It’s mostly chamomile, which I find very refreshing iced. Then there’s the cooling mint, and just a kiss of citrus from the lemongrass and orange peel. The chamomile almost reminds me of elderflower when it’s cold.

I will say, I would decrease the amount of chamomile in relation to the other ingredients, just to allow them to shine a bit more. As-is, it’s mostly a chamomile tisane with some supporting flavors. And I do like chamomile, but I’m also wishing for more citrus!

Flavors: Chamomile, Elderflower, Honey, Lemongrass, Mint, Orange

Iced 8 min or more 10 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

I’m not sure I’ve ever had chamomile cold, but now I’m curious to try it!


A little mint generally guarantees a nice chilled steep!

Cameron B.

Yes, the mint definitely worked in its favor!

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drank Acadia by Simpson & Vail
2403 tasting notes

Sipdown! (31 | 352)

Another one that I really enjoyed from the National Park sampler!

This has such a wonderful deep and syrupy blueberry jam flavor to it. Very subtle grassiness from the green base and I think a touch of oats and hay from the oatstraw.

It’s like blueberry oatmeal but very heavy on the blueberries hah hah. Another one I’ll need to order a tin of later!

Flavors: Blueberry, Grass, Hay, Jam, Oats, Sweet

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

I need to put this on my must-try list. It sounds delicious.

Cameron B.

Definitely recommend it if you like blueberry!

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Sipdown! (30 | 351)

Still loving this one!

The combination of the subtle smoke and subtle bergamot with the longan is so unexpected but lovely. The longan fruit has a lychee-like juiciness that’s mouthwatering, while the slightly savory nature of the lapsang adds a nice contrast.

So, so good. Definitely on the reorder list!

Flavors: Bergamot, Lychee, Savory, Smoked, Smooth, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Zion by Simpson & Vail
2403 tasting notes

Sipdown! (29 | 350)

Honestly, this was one of the ones I was least excited for in the National Park sampler, but I ended up really liking it. The combination of the jammy elderberry with the sage and lavender is just so interesting and unusual, but works really well. The herbs are restrained enough that it doesn’t taste like medicine or perfume.

I’m not sure whether I’ll end up reordering this, but it’s definitely up for consideration. That’s saying a lot for a lavender tea, heh… Highly recommend this National Park tea sampler, almost all of the blends are so unusual but lovely! I think there was only one I wasn’t thrilled with, but even that one was still good.

Flavors: Blueberry, Elderberry, Herbs, Jam, Lavender, Sage, Savory, Sweet

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

Elderberry and sage sound like a good fit. I’m a little surprised the lavender additive (hey—that’s a tongue twister—say it five times fast!) didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.


Thanks for your rec on this sampler! Will probably go in my next order from S&V.

Cameron B.

I was so thrilled with it after finding the holiday one a bit ho-hum for the most part.

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Sipdown! (28 | 349)

This is probably my least favorite of the S&V holiday sampler…

The base tea is very woody, and I don’t taste much else other than a hint of nuts and cinnamon. A bit like biting into a log sprinkled with cinnamon, lol…

Begone, lame tea! :P

Flavors: Cinnamon, Nuts, Wood

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

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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 knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ June Sipdowns: 37
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 358

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. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also 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.

Current Subscriptions:
Bird & Blend
Dessert by Deb
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

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, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

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 and chamomile. 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 Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
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.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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