3986 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! (6 | 6)

Been enjoying sipping through this one with milk, and now that it’s gone I had to go and order some Hot Cinnamon Spice loose leaf! Sadly they were out of Hot Apple Spice in a reasonable size.

I’m pretty sure this one is just Hot Apple Spice on a green base. Though to be fair, it’s also basically the same as Hot Cinnamon Spice, since there’s very little discernible apple flavor anyway. Just another of Harney’s sweet cinnamon teas! Not sure why they keep making more that are so similar to their classic version…

Anyway, it’s gone and I’m sad about it. :P

Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Spices, Sugar, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 16 OZ / 473 ML

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So, of course, I couldn’t resist picking up the year of the dragon teas from Lupicia. They were only offered in tins, and were a whopping $17 each, but both flavors sounded so good that I had to get them anyway… XP

This one is a black tea base with peach, lychee, and citrus. The black tea itself is very light and fluffy in texture, similar to Momijigari I would say. I do really enjoy this one. It smelled quite citrusy, but the lychee actually stands out the most to me flavor-wise. It has a lovely natural sweetness and that light yet juicy, nectarous floral fruitiness that is characteristic of lychee. The peach is more of a supporting note, but I think it rounds out the flavor well and adds a bit of richness and a hint of tart. Citrus is quite subtle, but it takes a bit like there’s some grapefruit involved.

A nice one! Too bad it’s limited addition, but luckily there are many other teas I love from Lupicia. :P

Flavors: Citrus, Earthy, Floral, Fruity, Grapefruit, Juicy, Lychee, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Smooth, Sweet, Tart

3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Sounds lovely!

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Sipdown! (5 | 5)

Finished this one off with milk as my first tea of the morning. This is essentially the same as their Hot Cinnamon Spice or Hot Apple Spice as far as I can tell, there’s no discernable difference. I think there’s supposed to be orange or something, but mostly it just tastes like sweet candy cinnamon. I hadn’t tried it with milk before, but I really enjoyed the combo and now I’m a bit sad it’s gone! :P

Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Sweet

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

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Sipdown! (4 | 4)

This seems very similar to Pumpkin Pie Tart, just with a hojicha base instead of Chinese sencha. It’s nice enough – softly spiced with a nice toasty base and just a touch of creaminess. I appreciate that there’s no brown sugar in this one. The coconut does make it a tad bit oily, but nothing major.

I do think I like it better than the regular green tea version, as the toasty hojicha goes well with the autumn vibes of pumpkin pie. Still probably not something I would feel the need to order, as it’s not far off from some of the other spiced hojicha, and I think I prefer the cinnamon raisin or apply cranberry versions.

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Creamy, Nutmeg, Oily, Pumpkin Spice, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Toasty

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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From the winter subscription! I find it so interesting how Old Barrel offers mixed teas like this. I wasn’t super excited for this one in particular, because I don’t love hibiscus-heavy fruit tisanes generally, and I also don’t love berry and fruit with rooibos…

However, I think they did a good job on the balance with this one. It has tartness, but it’s not overwhelming like the plain Blueberry probably would be (for me at least). The berry flavor is nice, it doesn’t taste chalky and the tartness helps it taste more fresh and less syrupy. I can also taste the rooibos, it gives a smooth and slightly woody base, and then the vanilla adds sweetness and a touch of creaminess, and synergizes well with the blueberry flavor.

I like it more than I expected, and I don’t get any medicinal vibes from it, which is a relief. I don’t think I would go out and buy it, just because I don’t generally reach for rooibos or fruit tisanes, but I’ll have no issue sipping through my small tin!

Flavors: Acidic, Apple, Berries, Berry, Blueberry, Creamy, Fruity, Hibiscus, Raspberry, Rooibos, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla, Woody

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

This sounds nice! I’ve liked all the Old Barrel teas I’ve sampled. Nothing too heavy-handed on any of their blends.


If I didn’t have so. much. tea. from BF and CM sales I’d jump on this subscription. But keep the tea notes coming so I can justify signing up in March :)

Cameron B.

Ha ha will do! Old Barrel is definitely my favorite new-to-me company from last year. And I like that it’s only quarterly so I’m not inundated with tea every month! :P


So I joined the subscription, thanks for being a tea-enabler :)

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Sipdown! (3 | 3)

This one was quite enjoyable. It actually reminded me of her popular Hojicha Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding blend that’s been around for a while now. I have a tin of that one, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made a cup, so I’m only comparing this to my memory. I’ll have to steep some up one of these days…

Anyway, it’s a smooth, toasty hojicha blend with warming cinnamon and a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar. I think the cinnamon raisin one was sweeter, now that I think about it, so this is an improvement IMO. There’s a touch of fruitiness, mostly apple. I found the hibiscus to be quite inconsistent for whatever reason, some cups had no tartness and then there was one that was almost like a fruit tisane lol. When the balance was right, it did sort of emulate cranberry. This last cup is pretty spot-on actually.

Would consider ordering more, if I were to order from Deb again. Not planning on it at the moment, as I don’t tend to love a lot of her teas, especially the newer flavored ones. Plus it took a long time for my last order to come, and by the time it did, I had lost the sense of excitement and was more annoyed that it was exploding my cupboard at the end of the year LOL! :P

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Toasty, Woody

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank African Chai by JusTea
3986 tasting notes

Sipdown! (2 | 2)

Oops, didn’t realize I hadn’t written a note for this one, other than the first time I tried it. I originally tried this in their black tea trio, and the Earl Grey in that set had contaminated the other two teas and made them taste weird. So my first note is rather unfavorable ha ha…

All that to say, I actually quite like this one. I’ve been drinking it with milk as my first tea of the day, and I quite like the addition of the fennel along with the allspice – it gives a nice sweetness and makes it a bit different from your usual chai.

I’ll probably reorder this at some point, so I’ll be sure to write a note about it plain then! :P

Flavors: Allspice, Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Smooth, Spices, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (1 | 1)

First sipdown of 2024!

Working on getting through these Deb teas, because I don’t know what I was thinking ordering them, most of the time her teas are very meh to me. I blame the hojicha collection ha ha.

This is pleasant enough. I wouldn’t call it pumpkin pie, more of an eggnog vibe if anything. Mellow and slightly creamy with pumpkin spice, of which the nutmeg is really standing out to me. So yeah, sort of like a light eggnog green tea. Not bad, just nothing I’m in love with.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Creamy, Eggnog, Nutmeg, Pumpkin Spice, Smooth, Spices, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Really unsure why I chose this tea to order, as I never like honey flavoring in tea. It always tastes artificial, and reminds me of those honey cough drops. :P

This is a nice enough tea. The orange is sweet and juicy, and the honey isn’t horribly artificial-tasting. It still doesn’t taste like actual honey (it never does), it’s more cloying in a way? Maybe it’s the floral notes that are off to me.

Regardless, this one will go into my rehoming box, because although it’s drinkable, I can’t see making it through 100g of it ha ha. Serves me right for ordering something I know I don’t like. XD

Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Floral, Honey, Juicy, Orange, Smooth, Sweet

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

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Another one from the winter subscription, and my first time trying one of Old Barrel’s mixed blends.

At first I thought they hadn’t mixed this, because all I could see through the clear lid was the ginger root. But just due to the difference in size and density, even if I dump it into another container, all of the honeybush immediately falls to the bottom, leaving the dried ginger pieces up top. Makes it a bit annoying to try to portion out a scoop that has a good ratio of ingredients tbh.

To me, this has too much ginger. In my experience, their Apple Empanada doesn’t have a strong apple flavor in the first place, so here I’m mostly tasting a lot of ginger with an undercurrent of rooibos/honeybush and a bit of cinnamon. I’m not surprised, as just looking at the dry leaf, it looked like a lot of ginger to me (which makes sense, if this is a 50/50 mixture). I think next time I’ll try mixing this with plain Apple Empanada, to reduce the amount of ginger overall. 75/25 sounds like more of a reasonable ratio to me.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earthy, Ginger, Spicy, Woody

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

- January Sipdowns: 6
- Total 2024 Sipdowns: 6

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I steep Western style, and fluctuate between using big mugs or small teapots 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.

I do not sweeten my teas, and pre-sweetened teas are usually too sweet for me. I also do not enjoy stevia.

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, chamomile, and elderflower. 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
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Old Barrel Tea Co
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts

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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