2884 Tasting Notes

45

DAVIDsTEA Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 2

Not gonna lie, I’m not a fan of this one.

I do love Earl Grey in general, but this tastes very artificial to me. It actually reminds me of those old-fashioned wax bottle candies that you have to bite the top off of to drink. But it just reminds me of biting the wax part, not the actual contents ha ha. Or maybe a bit like eating some kind of vanilla-frosting-flavored Chapstick?

So I guess what I’m saying is, it tastes very waxy to me. Almost chemically, really. And I don’t get a whole lot of bergamot to speak of?

Nope, not for me ha ha. :P

https://www.instagram.com/p/CW_9Q0sA1an/

Flavors: Artificial, Chemical, Creamy, Frosting, Vanilla, Wax

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

I used to like this one but I’m starting to lean this way myself. At least guests don’t mind drinking it up!

Courtney

Ahah I do enjoy giving guests teas that I’m not the biggest fan of if they aren’t too picky. XD

Evol Ving Ness

I used to find this tea very artificial (and it likely is). At some point, I added milk or cream to it and it was suddenly fab.

Kawaii433

lol omgosh I do that too. Guests who come over who aren’t picky at all, I serve them tea that I don’t like. >.<

CrowKettle

This one definitely needs some milk or substitute.

Guest: “I really could use some caffeine. Do you have any Red Rose or Lipton?”

Me: “No, not at the moment. I do have this Earl Grey from DavidsTea though.”

Guest: “Oh, no.. I couldn’t impose! You don’t have to go to all that trouble for me. I just want caffeine and milk – nothing too fancy!”

Me: “It’s no problem, really! Please drink all of this Earl Grey. You can even take it home with you if you like it (please) D:”

Evol Ving Ness

You guys are horrid.

Lexie Aleah

I’m guilty of this as well….

Tiffany :)

I am not an earl gray fan I’m learning but I wonder if this is where it all started because I’m a DT fanatic (got started with tea through David’s) so I remember having this tea and not being a fan.

Tiffany :)

grAy, grEy .. potato, potatoe.. :)

Cameron B.

Ha ha well “gray” is definitely the more common spelling here in the States!

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68

Bird & Blend Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 1

It’s been a few years since I had the B&B advent. And in all honesty, I wasn’t planning on getting it this year either but then they went and offered free international shipping and I gave in. Plus the design is so cute!

There are actually two sachets in each day this year, meant for sharing. My husband doesn’t drink tea, so I’m just using both sachets to steep up a big 16-ounce mug for myself instead!

I will say, this is extremely similar to the last tea I had – Merry Mistletoe from DAVIDsTEA. It’s a cranberry-flavored fruit tisane with hibiscus, stevia, and a hint of spice. Almost identical really, ha ha… Happily the stevia is less obvious here for me, and I get a bit more of a cherry candy note than cranberry. The spicing is extremely similar and equally subtle. Level of hibiscus is also very similar.

I feel like I drank the same tisane twice tonight! Ha ha… Luckily it was a pleasant one! I will say of the two, I prefer this version due to the subtler stevia. :)

Flavors: Apple, Candy, Cherry, Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Hibiscus, Red Fruits, Stevia, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 16 OZ / 473 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Subtler stevia :)

Cameron B.

I would still prefer none, lol! But at least I couldn’t really tell the sweetness was from stevia here…

Evol Ving Ness

With you on that. I didn’t realize that this brand was fond of stevia too. It’s an epidemic.

Cameron B.

Honestly I don’t remember seeing it in any of their other teas? Maybe it’s something new they’re doing?

Evol Ving Ness

Aargh, I hope they are over it already. Haven’t yet ordered from them and certainly will not if stevia becomes a thing.

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62
drank Merry Mistletoe by DAVIDsTEA
2884 tasting notes

DAVIDsTEA Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 1

First day of sipping on DT with Tea with Jann! Jann always does a video for each day of the DT advent, and I loved her videos so much last year that I was inspired to buy this advent! Highly recommend checking her out on YouTube if you haven’t already – she’s such a kind, funny, and genuine person.

Anyway, the tea! This is supposedly a white tea, but really it’s mostly a fruit tisane. I still steeped it as a white tea, just to be safe and avoid bitterness. I used the entire little tinful of leaf, partially because there’s so much fruit in here and partially because I don’t want any leftovers heh heh…

It’s a sort of generic red fruit-like tisane. I definitely don’t taste the white tea at all, and I question the point of it being included at all. It’s not too tart even though there’s hibiscus here, which is nice. I can taste the stevia, but it’s not awful. It does give it a somewhat artificial taste though. Hint of spices but quite subtle – I actually get the spices more in the aroma than the taste.

Anyway, it’s fine. I would like it much better without the stevia though…

Flavors: Apple, Artificial, Cinnamon, Clove, Fruity, Hibiscus, Red Fruits, Stevia, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Dustin

After finding out that you can make a tisane with mistletoe, I’m a little disappointed when a tea with mistletoe in the name doesn’t have it as an ingredient.

Cameron B.

This actually does have mistletoe in it, but it’s far down in the list of many ingredients ha ha.

Dustin

Wow! Can you taste it at all?! That’s awesome!

Cameron B.

I don’t think so? Though frankly, I haven’t the slightest idea what it would taste like.

Dustin

Depends on if it’s pan roasted or green. Pan roasted is almost hojicha like and green is grassy in the way that hits your jaw with a tang and slight sweetness.

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82

Kiani Tea Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 1

Yay, I’m so excited to have a mostly unflavored advent this year! I know Kiani Tea isn’t really known around these parts, but she’s fairly popular with some of my Instagram tea friends as a purveyor of mostly single origin straight teas. And this is her first year offering an advent calendar!

Starting off with a bang on day one with this sparkly breakfast blend. It’s the same as the regular breakfast blend she offers, just with some added pixie dust! This blend is made up of Assam and Darjeeling teas.

I quite like it! I can taste the Assam and yet it’s quite mellow and smooth for a breakfast blend. The raisiny goodness and caramelized brown sugar notes are there, as is a smooth bready quality from what I assume is a second flush Darjeeling. Flavorful yet very smooth and easy to drink. The glitter is pretty for the holiday season, but not something I would want on a regular basis. Very slight astringency at the end of the sip, but not in an unpleasant way. It adds a bit of dimension really.

Flavors: Astringent, Bread, Brown Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Dried Fruit, Grain, Hay, Malt, Raisins, Smooth

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

Oh, pretty! Reminds me of a fancier “Glitter & Gold” (old DT).

Cameron B.

I’m not really a fan of gimmicky things like glittery tea, but it’s nice every so often! Especially for the holiday season!

CrowKettle

Gimmicky things are nice as a one off, but yeah… With the old G&G, it used to be my preferred travel mug tea – where the effect was completely lost. It still smelled nice though?

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72
drank Royal Blend by Fortnum & Mason
2884 tasting notes

Fortnum & Mason Advent Calendar 2021 – Day 1

Happy December, tea people! \o/

So happy that advent season is finally here! And I’m kicking it off with this first tea from Fortnum & Mason as my morning cuppa! This is one of their many breakfast blends, and it’s a blend of Ceylon and Assam. It doesn’t specify in what proportions sadly, though I guess that’s a bit much to expect heh.

I will say I can definitely taste both teas. Perhaps the Assam is slightly stronger? Although it does tend to be a beefier tea in general. I had originally planned to steep this for 2.5 minutes, as the leaves looked quite broken to me. But after seeing how quickly the water darkened after being poured in, I shortened it to just 2 minutes to be safe. And I’m glad I did, this is very flavorful but not bitter, and even with the short steep it has a moderate amount of astringency on the tail end.

I confess, the beginning of the sip tastes a bit like Lipton, perhaps from the Ceylon? But midway through, the dark brown sugar and raisin notes of the Assam come to the forefront. It’s very malty as well. The Ceylon seems to be adding “tea-ish” notes (lol) and a bit of a metallic edge. And then at the end, the tannins come out to play and take over the cup.

I added a glug of oat milk to the second half of the cuppa, which smoothed out the dryness perfectly but also brought out a slightly musty flavor. I’m not generally a breakfast blend sort of person, as I don’t often add milk to my tea, which is almost expected for these types of blends. That being said, I’m excited to explore a few more that I know are hiding somewhere in this calendar! It’s always fun to go outside your tea comfort zone. ❤

ETA: Almost forgot about the Bonne Maman jam!

Today was Rhubarb-Strawberry Spread and it was wonderful slathered on the very last leftover Thanksgiving roll. I adore rhubarb. The end!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CW9ig19NOOT/

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Malt, Metallic, Musty, Raisins, Sweet, Tannic, Tea

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
ashmanra

Is this in your day one slot? Mine was Breakfast Blend so they may not do all of them the same!

Cameron B.

Hmm that’s interesting. I know one other person with this advent on Instagram, and hers was also Royal Blend today.

ashmanra

Royal Blend is on Day 4 for me.

Cameron B.

I guess we’ll see if I have Breakfast Blend on that day ha ha!

whosbradpitt

I actually grabbed the Bonne Maman calendar thanks to your reviews last year and the first one confirmed that this was a fantastic choice!

Cameron B.

Yasssss so excited for you! I wasn’t planning to get it this year, but I couldn’t resist ha ha. Jam addict!

Martin Bednář

Happy Advent Season!

Cameron B.

And to you, Martin! Hope you’re enjoying your advent! :3

Martin Bednář

I do. I come home just in time to enjoy Advent tea :) Shortly, a new note will appear.

tea-sipper

YEAH can’t forget the jam advent. :D

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82

Sipdown! (37 | 489)

Another older sample I had stashed away from TTC. Mine is actually lot 657, but I didn’t want to create a new listing for this one note…

This tea is simple but very tasty. Heavy on those lovely bugbitten honey notes combined with sweet dried fruits and a hint of cinnamon. Some nice fluffy enriched bread notes as well, so it’s a bit like lightly toasted brioche with a touch of fig jam, honey, and cinnamon. There’s a bit of a toasty autumn leaf note at the bottom as well.

I always love bai hao, and this one is no exception. Will definitely need to get some in my cupboard one of these days!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Fig, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Oooh, that sounds just lovely.

Evol Ving Ness

I know that’s not much of an insightful comment, that layering of flavours deserved something more than a deep sigh on this side of the screen.

Devon Bartholomew

Oh, good heavens, that sounds really good! After becoming diabetic, I miss the heck out of bread, haha :)

Cameron B.

I very often get a toasted bread with cinnamon honey sort of flavor profile from Taiwanese black teas and oxidized oolongs. Some of my favorite teas for sure!

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70

Sipdown! (36 | 488)

This is an interesting one.

It does have a sort of ginger ale or maybe even cola flavor to it. The lime pairs nicely as well, giving it a Moscow Mule kind of feel.

But to me, the ginger is a bit too strong, and this last mug is especially spicy. Also I’m not a fan of the cloying licorice root aftertaste. I bet this would be super interesting as an iced tea though…

Flavors: Citrus, Cola, Ginger, Licorice, Lime, Spicy, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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75

Sipdown! (35 | 487)

I quite enjoyed this one. It reminds me of a cereal I used to like when I was younger, called Blueberry Morning. Apparently Post still makes it, I just haven’t seen it at any stores near me in a long time. I’ll have to keep an eye out!

Anyway… I don’t generally like almond flavoring, but I don’t really taste it here. It reads more sweet and jammy blueberry with a little bit of toasted almond. There’s a brown sugar sweetness that’s reminding me of the sweet granola clusters from that cereal. The black base, as usual, is not my favorite and has a slightly tannic character but not much else.

I will say after having several cups, I remain surprised that there’s no blueberry flavoring in this. The blueberry taste has been very present and consistent, which is unusual for something with just dried berries.

My only complaint is it’s a bit too sweet, and because of that it won’t be a reorder for me. I enjoyed my 25g pouch though! :)

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit, Jam, Maple, Sweet, Tannic, Toasted

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

I think I remember that cereal, too!

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Nope, too much lavender for me. XD

It does have a nice creamiscle-y citrus & cream flavor profile, but there’s also a strong lavender presence. Which makes it a little too soapy for me.

Oh well, into the rehoming box!

Flavors: Creamy, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Soap, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Martin Bednář

I will take it :D

gmathis

Lavender is a dangerous ingredient: it’s way too easy to over-lav.

Mastress Alita

I love this tea!

Cameron B.

@gmathis – I’m more sensitive to it than most I think, but I still like to try some lavender teas occasionally just to see. :P

Evol Ving Ness

I love lavender and I seem to like it more and more with time. It’s fascinating to me how different we are in terms of tastes, flavours, preferences, and sensitivities. Gmathis, over-lav—you crack me up.

CrowKettle

Over-lav! Love it :D

Lavender used to nauseate me to such a degree as a child that I gave my poor grandma grief (with “swooning” lord) every time we sat out on her patio during the summer (she had the most prolific plant). Now I can’t get enough of it in everything and everywhere (love, love Moondrop Dreams) – so I’m familiar with both of these reactions, lol.

Evol Ving Ness

With swooning yet. Oh dear.

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60
drank White Pomegranate by Zhi Tea
2884 tasting notes

Sipdown! (34 | 486)

Meh. Not the biggest fan of this one.

The white tea is quite musty and earthy, but then the pomegranate tastes artificial and candy-like to me. I don’t think I would’ve identified it as specifically pomegranate either, more of a generic berry-esque flavor.

So musty hay and mixed berry candy. Not a favorite, ha ha.

Flavors: Artificial, Berry, Candy, Hay, Herbaceous, Musty

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Profile

Bio

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… ;)

~ 2022 SIPDOWN CHALLENGE! ~
- September Sipdowns: 21
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 237

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’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.

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 Companies:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
Kusmi
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Lupicia
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre

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:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/tea...

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