2773 Tasting Notes

drank Milk Oolong by Simple Loose Leaf
2773 tasting notes

Yay my first ever milk oolong! I’ve been pretty excited to try one ever since I found out it was a thing. This one is from Simple Loose Leaf – I chose it as my sample this month and it will be in the August menu. The leaves are a dark, muted yellowish green. They’re rolled up like other green oolongs I’ve seen and the size varies a lot among the pellets. It smells very much like sweet cream flavor. Hmm… I steeped for 3 minutes (the high end of the recommended time).

Yum, it smells delicious. It has kind of a peaches and cream thing going on with a bit of mild floral scent. The taste is not quite as exciting to me as the smell. There’s a definite vegetal note that reminds me of butternut squash, some light sweetness, and a floral touch. The peach shows up as an aftertaste, and it’s so convincing that I wish I could taste it the whole time. I don’t really taste milk in this, although I do get a light creaminess from the squash.

Steeped a second time (also 3 minutes) and I think I like it better this time around. The vegetal side is pretty much gone, and it’s much more fruity and floral now. However, I still don’t get a ton of cream flavor. I added some sugar and it seemed to help, but I feel like something called milk oolong should be creamy without additions.

Overall, it’s pretty good for a green oolong but I don’t know that I would classify it as a milk variety just from the taste. Perhaps it has to be with my brewing it western-style…

Flavors: Apricot, Butternut Squash, Cream, Floral, Peach

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Happy 4th of July everyone! I’m sure a lot of you are going to be celebrating with family and friends, having amazing barbecues and such. I will be having a lazy day on the couch, drinking tea, and watching World Cup games with my love. Huzzah! Although barbecued meat does sound amazing…

Anyway, another tea from the July Simple Loose Leaf box! I’ve never had a Ceylon before. Well, not knowingly. The leaves are small and skinny and black, and they smell like musty hay with some malt and a little honey and stonefruit.

The aroma of this one is a bit ho-hum to me. It just smells kind of bready and malty with some light sweetness. At first, tasting this, I didn’t get much out of it. It mostly tasted like malt and bread with some earthiness in there. Disappoint. I added a tiny amount of sugar which helped a bit. Then as it cooled down, I started to get more flavor out of it. It’s quite light-tasting considering its flavor profile, and there are some biscuit or cookie notes with a light apricot and citrus aftertaste. It got more astringent as it cooled too, but I wasn’t horribly bothered because I was so happy to find other flavors!

Added vanilla soymilk at the very end when I had about a quarter cup left and this made it amazingggggg… Tastes very cookie-ish now! :D Take the rating with a grain of salt, I know nothing of Ceylon teas.

I hope everyone’s 4th of July celebrations are amazing! :)

Flavors: Apricot, Bread, Citrus, Cookie, Earth, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Happy 4th of July! :P Hope you have an amazing one too!

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This is from my swap with TeaBrat. Della Terra’s teas are kind of hit-and-miss in my opinion, a lot of times the flavor is quite weak for my tastes. Dry, this looks like a mixture of red rooibos and honeybush with some dried lemongrass and a few pieces of citrus peel. It smells good, although a little heavy on the cream flavoring. It promises to be sweet and lemony! Steeped 5 minutes.

The aroma is quite yummy! It smells lemony and sweet, with an almost marshmallowy edge. The taste, however, is not great. There’s a weak lemon flavor and some sweetness, and then rooibos. Maybe a slight tang from the lime. I don’t really get cream or pastry at all from this. I added some sugar and it improved it a bit, but when I added milk it smothered the flavors instead of making the cream taste come out. Oh well!

Flavors: Lemon, Lemongrass, Lime, Rooibos, Sweet

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Cameron I am the same way with Della Terra. I have determined that the blacks are too weak for me, and always taste like burnt sugar. The honeyboush blends, Lemon Chiffon and Winter Nog are pretty good though.

Cameron B.

Apparently I like my flavors stronger than others… I found Lemon Chiffon to be weak, similar to this one. :(

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drank Genmaicha by Harney & Sons
2773 tasting notes

I’ve been neglecting my H&S samples a little bit because I keep getting more and more teas in the mail. :P But I was in the mood for a genmaicha so I thought I’d give this one a try! Dry leaf is a mixture of broken-up leaves and a decent amount of toasted rice. There aren’t any popped kernels in my sample. Smells like grass with a little bit of sweetness.

Mmm I love the smell of genmaicha – it promises so much toasty rice flavor! However, this one didn’t deliver well on that. The tea is quite grassy and tastes like dried leaves. I would describe it as rough-tasting. The toasted rice is more of a background note and an aftertaste, which makes me sad because that’s my favorite part! Okay, but not something I would purchase.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Toasted Rice

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I was wondering about that one. So glad H&S sells those little samples.

Cameron B.

Definitely. I bought a bunch of samples when they had their free shipping promotion. :)

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drank Solo by Adagio Custom Blends
2773 tasting notes

Yay, another Star Wars inspired blend! Oh Han, you rascal… :) This seems to be a very chai-like blend. The tea leaves are jet black and there are a ton of cloves mixed in, along with a few pieces of dehydrated ginger. It smells very strongly of clove and ginger, so much so that I can’t really pick up on anything else. Followed the directions and did a 5 minute steep.

Mm, the aroma is very comforting. Clove with a sweet edge, warming cinnamon, and a little hit of ginger. Chai always reminds me of the holidays. :) Clove is definitely the most prominent flavor in this tea, but it’s not overpowering as I expected it to be from the scent. The ginger adds a little bit of sharpness and there’s a lovely warm note from the cinnamon. I don’t know what cardamom tastes like so I can’t comment on that. :P

Next time I think I would use more tea as it tasted a bit thin to me. Would be excellent with milk and sugar!

Is this tea Han? I would say it’s a pretty good representation. A strong man represented by black tea, his mischievous personality in the spicy clove and ginger, and his warm heart in the comforting cinnamon. I wish I would’ve tasted caramel in this to reinforce that aspect. Not bad, Elizabeth O.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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From Simple Loose Leaf’s July box. I expected this to be covered in powder, like other ginseng oolongs I’ve seen online, but there’s no trace of powder at all. It looks like a dark yellow-green rolled oolong. It smells quite grassy and sweet, and for some reason like peanuts in the shell? Lol. The package suggested 3-5 minutes, so I did 4.

I’m always amazed by how big oolong leaves get when steeped. It’s like magic! :D I’ve only tried one green oolong, but this smells similar to how I remember it. It’s rather sweet-smelling, with fruity (peach?) and floral notes. There’s also a vegetal scent similar to sencha. This is an extremely light-tasting tea. All of the flavors are subtle and I found them a little hard to pick out individually. But here goes! I could definitely taste a light vegetal note, but it was so mild that I can’t really be specific. The tea is lightly sweet in an almost fruity way, and I taste a mild and fresh floral note, especially in the aftertaste. And it’s really quite buttery which is nice. :)

I’m not going to rate this because I’m not sure I’m getting all the nuances here. I may try this again with more leaf or a longer steep but for now, I wouldn’t purchase it.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Peach, Sweet, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Hey, no fair! My box didn’t arrive yet! LOL. I love oolongs, so I am really looking forward to this one. :)

Cameron B.

It was a bit mild for me, but I think trying more tea or a longer steep would help. :)


Duly noted. I like stronger teas, so I’ll use more and let it go a little longer when it arrives!

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I got this sample from TeaBrat in our recent swap. I don’t have a lot of experience with green rooibos, so we shall see! There are also a few white and red flower petals in this blend. It smells very strongly of peppermint with a slight sweetness. Candy cane indeed! I brewed for 5 minutes.

The brewed tea has a lovely aroma. The peppermint has grown milder and I pick up on a sweet vanilla note. However, when I taste this plain, I pretty much just get a mild peppermint tea. In a lot of other notes, people mentioned sweetness from stevia but I didn’t get that at all. I’m not sure what green rooibos tastes like but clearly it’s very neutral because I don’t really pick up on any other taste besides peppermint. When I add sugar, it helps to bring out that vanilla sweetness. This is quite tasty with milk and sugar, but kind of unremarkable on its own.

Flavors: Peppermint, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I really like green rooibos, mostly because it doesn’t taste like much.

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drank Yunnan Noir by Adagio Teas
2773 tasting notes

Hooray, another Yunnan to try! :D I picked this up in my recent Adagio order because I had a $5 coupon and the sample was $5, so I figured that makes it free! ;) Do not question it! The leaves are very cute. They’re all curled up into little loose balls, bi luo chun style. Mostly dark with some golden tips in there too. The dry scent is strong malt with honey and a hay accent – pretty much what I expect at this point. I brewed this twice, first at 4 minutes and then at 3 (not a resteep, with separate leaves each time).

I did 4 minutes first, because it’s the average time for this tea on Steepster. The leaves get pretty big when they unfurl! :D Smells mostly malty with some bread and honey notes mixed in. The taste seemed kind of one-note to me. It was a ton of malt with a little earthy smokiness in there. Meh. Trying again.

Then I did 3 minutes in hopes I would get some other flavors. The aroma was similar, with more honey and some hay as well. I still taste mostly malt, but now there is some honey in there and none of the earth and smoke taste. Still not a super complex flavor profile. I added a bit of sugar and I felt it helped to round out the taste for me. I found this tea pretty good but not great. Somewhere between H&S Tippy Yunnan and Yunnan Golden Tips.

On another note, I saw several reviews for this on Adagio in which people said it didn’t have the normal Yunnan taste. This confuses me a bit because in all the Yunnans I’ve tried so far, the predominant flavors have been strong malt, bread, and honey notes. And this tea definitely has some of those. So I guess I don’t get what the “typical” Yunnan taste is supposed to be. :P

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Malt, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I make Yunnan blacks only gongfu. With short multiple steeps you can notice diff flavors. Just my 2c ;)

Cameron B.

I will definitely keep that in mind, although I don’t have any kind of gong fu equipment yet. Soon maybe.


On the gong fu front… a smallish dish/bowl about 4oz with something to strain. I used a glass cooking dish I had for a while with a ziplock plastic lid. Worked just as well, wasn’t pretty, but no body was looking.


I used to make in Pyrex cup with saucer on top and strainer;)
This easy gaiwan is the best, I use it daily


That set is cute and damn cheap for what it is.

I remember being warned tho about buying painted dishes from China. Something about lead in paint. I wonder how to be sure they are safe.

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drank R2D2 by Adagio Custom Blends
2773 tasting notes

Aw, one of the best characters ever… Beep boop beep! This tea is a mixture of broken-up green and white tea leaves, lots of dried apple pieces, some rose hips, and a few blueberries. I see some small pieces of hibiscus, so hopefully they won’t factor into the taste (I hate hibiscus, and rose hips for that matter). It smells very apple-y, with some tartness and a sugary scent. Brewed for 3 minutes at 190 degrees.

It smells pretty good – a mild blend of blueberry, vanilla, and the hay scent of white tea. The taste is quite weird though. It feels like the flavors are fighting one another and not melding very well. I can taste a generic green tea taste with a little bit of bitterness and some musty hay from the white tea. I also taste quite a bit of apple and little to no blueberry. Sigh… I hate it when companies include apples as filler. There’s a really weird tart aftertaste from the rosehips that linger unpleasantly at the back of my throat. Overall, pretty meh. Next time I’ll try a lower temperature, since the recommended 190 seems high to me for a blend with green tea in it. I could see trying this cold-brewed too.

Is this R2D2? I don’t think so. I have a sneaking suspicion that the creator chose this combination because it involves a lot of the colors white and blue. I am always so disappointed when fandom blends are created this way… R2D2 is such a go-getter! He definitely needs a caffeine punch in his tea!

Flavors: Apple, Blueberry, Hay, Rosehips, Vegetal

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

My friend and I used to fight over who got to be R2D2 when we played Star Wars. He was one of the best!

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drank Sakura Sencha by Den's Tea
2773 tasting notes

Another tea from KiwiDelight’s Japanese green sample extravaganza package. It’s a sencha tea with the teensiest cherry blossom buds in it. Cute! The smell is a bit odd… I don’t really smell the sencha, just a strange vinegar scent?

After the tea is brewed, it smells more like a sencha, albeit a mild one. It’s grassy and spinachy in a very light way. There’s a light floral note, and that weird vinegar odor is still there in the background. It tastes similar to the smell – mild grassy sencha with just a wisp of floral taste. I taste vinegar in the back of my mouth at the beginning of the sip – strange but not wholly unpleasant. I asked my boyfriend what he thought, and he said it reminded him of apple cider (what?! weirdo). It seems to me that the floral note is mostly in the aroma.

This was definitely a very delicate tea. I don’t think it lent itself very well to western style – either that or I should have used more leaf. Interesting, but I’m not in love. :P

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

The sakura is basically a salted cherry blossom…that could be the vinegar element you are describing. Did you steep at a low temperature? Just curious :)

Cameron B.

I did it at 180. Kiwi sent me a note with steeping recommendations. :)


I thought it would be best to send you Den’s instructions. Personally, I don’t like them because the sencha and sakura come out too bitter. Totally recommend a cold-brew of this.


I LOVE THIS COLD BREWED! And lightly sweetened ;)

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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… ;)

- August Sipdowns: 25
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 122

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.

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. 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 Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
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 or scent contamination.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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