1550 Tasting Notes


I was reminded that I had purchased this tea and never tried it when I saw a note from amandastory516. I’ve enjoyed all the teas I’ve had from Andrews & Dunham, so I’m not sure why this one got left out in the cold! Poor little thing.

It looks to be a mix of darker, smaller leaf and larger, golden-tipped Yunnan teas. Dry scent is very earthy. I saw the recommendation to steep in boiling water for 5 minutes and promptly ignored it for my own preferred parameters, because I’m arrogant like that. :P Maybe I’ll try their parameters in the future, just to compare.

I find this tea to be pleasant enough, but unremarkable. And really, in my experience with A&D, they do generally make very reliable, daily-drinking sort of teas. But in this tea’s case, I think it has a slight disadvantage, as I have tried many Yunnan teas in the past.

The dominant note here is a very mineral, earthy flavor, with a hint of smokiness behind it. I get a bit of wood and tobacco as well, which are nice complements to the main flavor. There’s perhaps a hint of dried fruit, like raisin or date, in the aftertaste.

I tend to love bready and sweet potato-y Yunnan teas, and I’m not really getting either of those notes here. For darker Chinese blacks, I prefer Fujian varieties. So this one just misses the mark for me a little as it’s fairly one-note without a ton of depth to it.

Ah well, it’s not bad! Just also not great in my opinion, especially compared to other Yunnan teas I enjoy.

Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Mineral, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood

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

My gosh, I forgot about this company since I’d been mostly absent from Steepster for a while. There was one from these guys that was quite popular a few years ago.

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Time for a caffeine-free selection! Still making my way through this Bird & Blend packet backlog – I’m not sure if this is from the subscription or one of many samples I bought at some point. This smells lovely in the bag, very apple crumble!

I’m actually surprised how much I like this, since I’m quite picky about red rooibos tisanes. I don’t even mind the small amount of hibiscus! The flavor is a little thin, as always with fruit-based tisanes. But it has a nice cooked-yet-tart apple flavor and the perfect amount of cinnamon to complement it. I don’t feel the hibiscus is needed, but at least it doesn’t overstep its bounds, as it is wont to do. There’s not explicitly a pastry flavor, but it does go to a nice apple crumble sort of place.

I’ll have to consider this one for a restock when I get around to ordering from B&B again. It’s always nice to have more caffeine-free options! :)

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Red Apple, Sweet, Tart, Wood

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I assume this much have been from the subscription box, as I am not a huge fan of coconut so I can’t imagine ordering this blend. There are huge flakes of unsweetened coconut in it, so naturally I was nervous about not knowing how old the pouch is. But generally it’s very obvious from the smell when coconut has gone rancid, and fortunately this smells perfectly pleasant.

As a coconut tolerator, and not a coconut lover, I’m pleasantly surprised that the coconut is fairly light here, just a supporting flavor. The milk oolong is fairly basic, without much depth to it, but it’s still a pleasant combination. There are mild grassy, leafy notes and of course a smooth creamy flavor. At the tail end of the sip, a light peachy note emerges, and it remains in the aftertaste.

It’s not complex, but nice enough to sip on in the evening. The light coconut flavor melds nicely with the creamy oolong for a decadent tea.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Grass, Peach, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

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

All I could think is that you would probably not be a fan of Dessert by Deb teas which are almost all loaded with coconut. Haha.

Cameron B.

I don’t dislike it necessarily but I wouldn’t choose it as a main flavor. I have seen some notes on Dessert by Deb teas, but they mostly weren’t glowing so I haven’t looked at the brand yet.

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This surprisingly came out a little bitter despite being steeped for only 2.5 minutes…

This tea is a bit older (as most of my teas are at this point), and at this point it’s mostly just a generic genmaicha. Although looking at my previous note, it seems like I didn’t find much apple flavor when it was new either.

I do like genmaicha, so I don’t mind, but I have much tastier genmaicha in my cupboard. Sorry, B&B, this one just isn’t special to me.

Flavors: Bitter, Dry Grass, Toasted Rice

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

At least it wasn’t just me!

Cameron B.

Such a good idea, but the execution isn’t quite there I guess. :(

Mastress Alita

Needs moar apple!

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drank Four Red Fruits by Kusmi Tea
1550 tasting notes

This is the only Kusmi tea I have in sachet form. I think I bought it during a sale or something? Their sachets are really cool, made of linen with a cloth string and no staples. Fancy.

This tea is a bit… blah. The flavoring is very mild and the base tea unremarkable. It’s a little bit too light for me, and I’m sure its age hasn’t improved it either. As far as the red fruits, mostly I taste the cherry and raspberry here. Having never tried redcurrants, I’m not sure I would recognize their flavor.

Having a Dammann tea similar to this one that I prefer, I’m not sure what to do with the remaining sachets. Maybe I’ll put them in my big ’ol bag of wrapped tea bags that I keep for travelling…

Flavors: Cherry, Dried Fruit, Jam, Malt, Raspberry, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sad sipdown… Yunomi doesn’t seem to carry this flavor anymore, unfortunately.

This isn’t quite as good as it once was, but it still has that yummy cinnamon toast flavor that I love. I’ll have to look into recreating this flavor profile in the future, as I assume I won’t be able to get this tea again. Maybe I could add cinnamon stick to a nice bready Yunnan tea.

I will miss you, tasty cinnamon toast tea… :(

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Hay, Honey

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

I loved the Creha Sakura-flavored black!

Cameron B.

I haven’t tried that one, but it looks like they still offer it. :D

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I had half of a sample packet of this inside an empty Adagio fandom mini tin. I was shocked that there was no entry on Steepster… I feel bad being the only one to write a note for it, since I’m drinking it Western style, and lazily at that. Looking at the website, it looks like I ordered in March of last year, so at least it’s not that terribly old…?

Regardless, this is super delicious. I love the amount of oxidation here, it’s such a good middle ground between too green and floral (for me) and highly oxidized. It retains some of those nice green and fresh mineral notes but has a lovely rich bready and dried fruit flavor too. There are also some strong honeyed fig notes which are to die for! Maybe a hint of cinnamon as well? And of course, the lovely thick and silky mouthfeel that is a hallmark of oolong.

Nom nom nom!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Fig, Floral, Grass, Honey, Mineral, Nectar, Smooth, Sweet, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Another tea from my Dammann advent order. This is one of the few Noël teas that I haven’t tried yet, and the flavor combination sounded lovely, so in the cart it went! It’s listed as an apple, peach, pear, and mirabelle plum black tea with hazelnut and chestnut. I’ve never had a mirabelle plum before, except as preserves, but I love all plums and stonefruit in general, so this seems right up my alley! The smell is very sweet mixed stonefruits, and I would almost guess there was vanilla as well.

This steeped up very light in flavor, which I think is well-suited to the mix of fruits here. The strongest notes are the apple, which is crisp and somewhat tart, and the juicy plum. The peach sort of melds into the plum, being quite similar, and I don’t think I’m tasting pear here at all. I also can’t pick out any nutty notes. The base tea is generic and unassuming, a good foil for the lovely fruit flavors. There’s a tad bit of tannic astringency, which sort of enforces the idea of apple and stonefruit skin on the tongue. And perhaps a hint of floral at the tail end of the sip from the rose petals?

Overall, I’m very happy with it, as the plum flavor is quite pronounced and not overshadowed by the peach. This would be a lovely choice as a light afternoon or early evening tea. I definitely don’t get any Christmas-y association from it, but I’ve also never been to St. Petersburg! ;)

Flavors: Apple, Apple Skins, Astringent, Floral, Green Apple, Jam, Peach, Plums, Rose, Smooth, Sweet, Tannic, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Martin Bednář

It sounds bit overcombinated to me. Mirabelle plums are quite specific, bit more on sweet side and combined with “classic” plums don’t taste good for me. Peach and nuts sounds bit weird as well. But I could enjoy just plum and nuts, that could work in my opinion. The rose… can be interesting.

Note that I never been to St. Petersburg as well, though I could if I was bit more rich 4 years ago. I still I kind of hate myself for not saving more…

Cameron B.

It definitely does sound like a lot, though I didn’t taste any pear or nuts, so really it was mostly an apple & plum tea with some peach. The rose I could do without but I’m not a fan in general. :P

I’m not sure how common mirabelle plums are here in the United States, but I want to try them, they look so cute and cheerful!

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drank Apple Barley Tea by Lupicia
1550 tasting notes

This is my last sachet of this flavor.

I really enjoy these fruit barley teas, the coffee-like deep roasted barley has such an interesting interplay with the sweet fruit flavor. In this case it’s a crisp green apple, and it’s sort of similar to a Jolly Rancher. But for some reason, it works for me. There’s a clear sweetness from the barley, which also helps temper the roast a little bit. Such a nice cozy and satisfying tea for the evening…

I don’t feel the need the restock this one, as I prefer some of the other flavors – namely the watermelon, lychee, and pineapple versions. And I have plenty of those from my Lupicia panic order. XD

Flavors: Candy, Coffee, Green Apple, Roasted, Smoke, Sweet

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
Mastress Alita

Last I saw, they only bring these back during the summer, and I don’t remember Watermelon or Pineapple being on the docket anymore. I finished my Apricot bag not long ago.

Cameron B.

Aw, that’s a shame about the Pineapple and Watermelon flavors… I have two unopened bags of each if you’d like some though! ❤

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All I’m getting from this tea is smoke and maybe a hint of burnt sugar.

I’m not sure if it’s because it has a “best by” date in 2019, or if I’m just not a fan.

Either way, meh.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Smoke

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I didn’t care for this one either! It’s too bad, it sounded like such a tasty idea.

Cameron B.

It needed a lot more apple in my opinion!

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Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-year-old 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, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

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.

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.

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 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:
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Obubu Tea Farms
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.


Austin, Texas



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