471 Tasting Notes

drank Not So Vanilla by Tippy's Tea
471 tasting notes

This came as a bonus sample with the sampler pack I ordered. This tea isn’t on their site yet, and the note said they were still working on it, so I’m not sure if I have the final version or not.

This is supposed to have chopped vanilla beans in it, but I couldn’t see anything but tea leaf in the dry blend. The dry leaf has a faintly vanilla-ish note, but not as much as I was expecting.

I steeped one teaspoon for three and a half minutes in 93C water. The liquor is a dark brown.

Again with things not being as expected – if I blind taste tested this, I would never have guessed it’s a vanilla black. There’s some of that vanilla creaminess in the background, which contributes to the thick, smooth mouthfeel, but the dominant notes on my palate are dark chocolate and mint! The mint is fairly subtle, but impossible to ignore, and the dark chocolate is right in your face. I’ve had teas with pieces of chocolate and mint leaves that were less chocolate-mint than this. The sip starts with mint, followed by sweet maltiness and then the dark chocolate makes a really rich appearance toward the end, with the mint reappearing in the finish.

So if I was looking for a straight up vanilla black, I might be disappointed, but setting aside expectations of what this could have tasted like, I’m really impressed with the flavour. I feel like this would make a killer latte.

I think this also might be one of the first teas I’ve had with chocolate notes, where I’m not guessing that maybe it’s chocolate. There is no question about the chocolate flavour in this.

Flavors: Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Mint, Sweet, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Have you tried any of the Whispering Pines tess that have vanilla in them – like Golden Orchid? I was going to look in your cupboard but with the sort not working….. If you haven’t nudge me when we talk about Lupicia. :))


I have not, though I’m dying to try some Whispering Pines stuff (I have one old sample of a discontinued rooibos, but that’s all.) I definitely will.


Awesome. Don’t be afraid to snoop through my cupboard. 90% of it is available for swap/trade/negotiation. :))


That’s a dangerous offer ;)


LOL and a year from now you will probably be doing the same. Looking at your cupboard explosion reminds me of me a year ago. :))

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drank Dark Horse by Cornelia Bean
471 tasting notes

Oh my, this is delicious. If you like really bold and very malty, this is it.

This tea doesn’t appear anywhere in Cornelia Bean’s site or even the samples that are out for smelling, but I expressed interest in Yunnan Golden Rain and malty blacks in general, and this was suggested. It’s a house blend that’s the daily cup for the family that owns Cornelia Bean.

This is a blend of Assam CTC and whole leaf Dian Hong. I was a bit afraid that the CTC would steep up much faster than the Dian Hong, but they assured me that they is a nice cup, and they were right.

I did a three minute steep, which I think is the upper limit of what you’d want to do, unless you plan to add lots of milk and sugar. Three minutes yielded a thick, bold cup with lots of flavour and just a bit of bitterness and astringency.

The liquor is dark brown and smells of baked bread, sweet potato and malt. So much malt. The sip is malty and slightly bitter, and then towards the end, there’s a burst of creamy sweetness that is very mouthfilling. Sweet potato lingers on the finish.

This is a perfect breakfast tea. Lots of flavour, lots of caffeine (I’m assuming – it feels like there is), thick and mouth filling. I’m enjoying this straight, but I also will try it with milk and sugar at some point.

I’m also very tempted to make up a cup of Irish Breakfast to compare, since that’s my usual go to tea if I need something really bold.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Malt, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

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

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drank The People's Tea by Tippy's Tea
471 tasting notes

I had some other tea yesterday, but I am circling back around to these leaves again. Now on their fourth steep.

Some astringentness creeps out, and the smoke is more muted but with a bit of a harsher edge to it. The floral notes of the oolong have also mellowed into a more tangy vegetal note.

I think this is my last steep of these leaves, but I’m tempted to make a fresh cup. Which is weird, because I almost never want to resteep leaves even once, but I feel like I could just keep drinking this all day.

Bumping up my rating a bit, because I think I need this one in my cupboard – I can’t stop drinking it.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Smoke, Tangy, Vegetal

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drank Coconut Chai by Cornelia Bean
471 tasting notes

This is another Cornelia Bean tisane that I’m not sure why they called it “chai”. It definitely has some chai spices in it, but it’s really quite light and doesn’t say chai to me. It is, however, delicious.

The dominant smell of the dry leaf is ginger, lots of really sweet ginger, with some cinnamon, cardamom, and I want to say raisin (pretty sure there’s no raisin in this.)

Taste wise, it’s quite light. Up front is ginger and lemongrass, and then the coconut, cinnamon, cardamom and clove pop up. This is quite naturally sweet. It has a slightly cookie-ish quality to it – more in the smell than the taste.

Super easy to drink and a really enjoyable combination of flavours.

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Cookie, Ginger, Lemongrass, Raisins, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank The People's Tea by Tippy's Tea
471 tasting notes

My Tippy’s Tea sampler pack came today. I slept in, had an odd morning and I’m prepping for a big event that I’m organizing and speaking at tonight, so I needed something a bit bold.

The dry leaf is a mix of rolled oolong and twists of black tea. It smells primarily of smoke.

Steeped, the liquor is brown and smells really intensely smokey, grassy and floral. Amazing! The flavours are very similar, with a bit of creaminess and malt as well. Full bodied but very smooth.

This is a really well balanced blend. I can taste each of the ingredients, but they complement each other really wonderfully. One of the best takes on Russian Caravan I’ve had.

Edit: Second cup is even more orchid floral with the smoke slightly muted. Mmmm!

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Grass, Malt, Orchid, Smoke

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

Jealous! This is what I get for living in the US. :P


Nice, never heard of this brand before. Their Underground Pumpkin sounds awesome!


Thanks for the review! So happy you enjoyed it :D


They ship to the US too Cameron! Their $12 sampler pack promo is over, but they still do small quantities, and maybe there’ll be future samplers available.

Fjellrev, they’re a brand new company. :) Didn’t have a single tea logged here before I added the ones I got.

Cameron B.

I did order the sampler, it’ll just take way longer to get here because I’m in the US. :P


It depends, if it doesn’t get held up in customs it should get to you, Cameron, pretty quickly. The tea actually had to travel further to get to Anlina. We’re in London, Ontario. We shipped Anlina’s tea out last week, whereas we didn’t ship your tea out until Tuesday. We shipped an order to Virginia earlier in the month and it got there in 2 or 3 business days.

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drank Pumpkin Chai by Cornelia Bean
471 tasting notes

Sampled in store.

I think we all had the opportunity to sample about a thousand different but similar pumpkin teas this fall, and I kind of had my fill. I rolled my eyes a bit at seeing another pumpkin tea in the holiday line up, but it both looked and smelled different from any of the others I’ve had, and it is.

I’m not sure why this is called a chai, because it’s almost all fruit and is pretty light on spices. The dry tisane smelled slightly fruity and sweet, but mellow, and a bit squash-like.

Steeped this was a gorgeous bright pink – thankfully from beet, not hibiscus! Flavour-wise, this is light and fruity and unlike any other pumpkin tea I’ve had. A bit sweet, a hint tart, and with a really lovely earthy note from the pumpkin and beets.

I didn’t pick any up because I’m just not allowed, but if I wasn’t on tea buying hiatus I would definitely pick some up.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Fruity, Pumpkin, Sweet, Tart

5 min, 0 sec

I find it interesting that this is a tisane. Don’t normally see pumpkin teas without some sort of base. Hmmmmm but I too am NOT ALLOWED. :)

Roswell Strange

Ooh, that does seem really interesting…

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drank Maple Taffy by Cornelia Bean
471 tasting notes

Sampled this in store today and it was alright but not enough maple flavour to make it really stand out.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Maple


Oh man, I’ve tried something similar… Bayswater! Same thing, I think, even down to the popcorn. It’s not bad as a latte, but yeah. Not mapley enough.


I have yet to find a maple tea that really grabs me, and maple is one of my favourite flavours.

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drank Sencha of the Earth by Obubu Tea
471 tasting notes

Wow, I don’t know if my tastebuds have changed or if there’s just something magic about all these senchas I’ve been trying, but this one also tastes and smells strongly of honey. No complaints, I’m absolutely loving it, I’ve just rarely encountered strong honey notes in teas, and this is three senchas in a row.

In addition to the honey, this also has some strong umami and grass notes, with a noticeable but pleasant bit of bitterness.

The second steep is more bitter and earthy, with less sweetness.

Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Honey, Umami

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I had this while out and about this morning, and it was not what I was expecting.

I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Yunnan blacks lately so I figured I’d give this a try, but the flavour reminded me more of a shou pu-erh than a Yunnan black. Thick, with almost a licorice note to it.

It’s quite decent but not what I was craving or anticipating from the name.

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drank Apple from Persia by Gurmano Tea
471 tasting notes

This tisane is what originally motivated me to place my giant Gurmano Tea order a while back. I used to go for afternoon tea on a regular basis at International House of Tea, and for a while they had this amazing Turkish Apple tea, which was just apple pieces, but had a beautiful lemony note when steeped. It got discontinued and so in my hunt for a pure apple tisane that would replace it, I ordered this.

There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but I had a very specific flavour profile in mind when I bought it, and this doesn’t match. There’s tartness, but it’s not a lemony kind of tartness – more of an apple skin tart, and the flavour just isn’t as full bodied and balanced as I was hoping. It leaves me wishing for a different kind of tart and more appley sweetness.

A bit of palm sugar and a drop of lemon juice helps it along, though I can’t help but wish it was something else.

If anyone can recommend a really bright, lemony apple tisane, that would make me super happy.

Edit: Omg, I think they brought it back! I don’t remember it having extra flavourings, but I could easily have been mistaken. Dear god, I need to resist the impulse to order more. ToT http://www.internationalhouseoftea.com/products/turkish-apple-fruit-tisane-elma-cay

Flavors: Apple, Tart

Boiling 6 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

http://www.questturkey.com/lifestyle/fooddrink/1082-turkish-traditional-apple-tea-recipe.html. You could try variations of this recipe. This company has a Turkish apple lemon tea. I have never tried it and unfortunately they only sell in large amounts but perhaps you could see if they will send you a sample for review? http://www.victorianessence.ca


Thank you so much for the links!

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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