2248 Tasting Notes

drank Florence by Harney & Sons
2248 tasting notes

Sipdown! (31 | 104) (I’ve made several shipdowns since my last note!)

Don’t ask me why I ordered a sample of this…

For some reason I feel the need to keep retrying some of the more popular Harney teas, even though I know I don’t love them. This one is the silliest of all, considering I know I don’t like chocolate flavoring in 99% of cases…

Anyway, unsurprisingly, I don’t love it. The hazelnut is nice enough, but the chocolate just tastes artificial to me (as usual).

Oh well, I gave it a fair shot! Lol…

Flavors: Alcohol, Artificial, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Nuts, Sweet

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

I know what you mean! I stopped ordering from Harney because I generally found their teas to be pretty meh, but I still find myself looking at their website and considering from time to time!

Cameron B.

There are a few that I really like from them, but they don’t tend to be the most popular ones for some reason…

Mastress Alita

I never ordered from Harney in the past, but have felt the urge from time to time more recently as I get some cupboard space back… and now it appears they don’t carry the samplers anymore. Soooooooooo… ya, big nope on that front.


How have you been?! Do you still have power and are able to stay warm? The fact that you are able to make tea and tea notes is a good sign.

Cameron B.

@Alita – I’m still seeing the sample sizes available? But they are out of stock often.

@Dustin – We’ve been lucky and haven’t lost power. Right now the only issue is that our water isn’t working…

Mastress Alita

Well, then every single tea on the site with “Sample” listed is Sold Out and hasn’t been restock in many months, as I’ve jumped back and looked over quite a span of time. Finally, I just gave up.


I signed up to be notified when the samples I want come in, but they sell out really fast.


Oh good! Glad to hear it. Hope your water comes back on soon!


Aw, I hope Harney doesn’t stop selling samples completely.
I’m glad you’re doing ok in Texas, Cameron! Poor Texas.

Lexie Aleah

Agreed I hope they keep the samples and maybe can restock them more often or something.

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Sipdown! (23 | 96)

I’ve been neglecting my straight black tea samples. Well no more!

This is very yummy. It has a rich malty, bready flavor and a thick body. There’s a little touch of savory that reminds me of smoked meat or something similar. But also here is a creamy, starchy honeyed sweet potato sprinkled with dark muscovado sugar, and a tart yet deep syrupy dried cherry note.

Such an interesting combination of flavors! It’s a highly satisfying tea that makes me feel as if I’ve just eaten a small meal. And the sweet potato with the dried fruit and deep sugar tastes like autumn in a cup!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Meat, Molasses, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tart, Thick

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

I love this one! I always taste something that reminds me of BBQ meat marinade or sweet n sour sauce from the combined smoke/honey/orange flavors in Chinese blacks!

Cameron B.

I’m glad I’m not the only one with meat connotations, lol!


GUH wild lapsang


I don’t drink black tea often but this one is memorable. Best unsmoked lapsang I’ve ever had.

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Sipdown! (22 | 95)

I didn’t realize I only had one serving left of this, I’ve never tried it but sent it to a couple of people. So that was a nice surprise when I opened the pouch!

Wow, there’s a lot of anise going on here! It ends up tasting a bit like fennel, even though there’s no fennel here. I do taste some creamy cocoa and a nice toasty grain note from the barley.

But really, I feel like the anise is out of balance here. I do like anise, but it’s overpowering the other flavors a bit, and the tisane comes out tasting like black licorice. A shame, because the ingredient combination sounded really good to me…

Flavors: Anise, Cocoa, Grain, Licorice, Roasted Barley, Sweet, Toasted

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

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drank Biarritz by August Uncommon Tea
2248 tasting notes

Nope, this is revolting to me.

It’s all amaretto and medicinal cherry throat lozenges. There’s a bit of anise as well, which is something I generally like, but here it’s just making the artificial and boozy flavors even more cloying.

Into the rehoming box it goes!

Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Anise, Artificial, Candy, Cherry, Marzipan, Medicinal, Powdered Sugar, Sweet

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

Rehoming box sounds beter than “Blergh, I need to send it someone else, box”


I felt the same! None of their rooibos teas were good for me. :( But I also love the idea of a “rehoming box”. :)

Cameron B.

I’m sure someone else who likes strong amaretto teas would probably enjoy this one, so I’ll save it for a swap or TTB.

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Sipdown! (21 | 94)

Like most of Deb’s other mint teas, this one is just okay for me.

I don’t get much matcha going on. There’s a bit too much mint for me, and I think I would prefer a bit of spearmint for a more refreshing flavor. The peppermint tends to get a bit too herbal-tasting, which takes away from the concept of mint meringues.

Anyway, it’s pleasant enough to drink, but it mostly tastes like peppermint leaf with a hint of coconut.

Flavors: Coconut, Herbaceous, Peppermint, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (19 | 92)

I made a lazy hot latte with the rest of this today. And by lazy, I mean pouring oat milk into my milk frother and then adding the matcha in once it starts swirling. I generally make matcha lattes by preparing the matcha by hand with a small amount of warm water and then adding frothed milk separately. But in this case I was using oat milk, so I just put the matcha right in since plant milk is always more watery than dairy milk. I added a drizzle of vanilla syrup as well.

It’s really yummy! I like the flavor of oat milk with matcha, and since this matcha is a bit nutty it really brings out those notes well. I can still taste the yummy vegetal notes as well as some grassiness.

Yum yum. I only have one more package of plain matcha, and once that’s gone I think Ippodo will be the source for my next restock.

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

160 °F / 71 °C 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML
Mastress Alita

I guess I always make my matcha “lazily” then — I put the powder in my milk frother, pour the oat milk in, turn on the “hot” button and let it do its thing.

Cameron B.

It definitely worked well here! I waited for the milk to start swirling and added the matcha gradually as I was afraid it would get stuck at the bottom or something, ha ha.

Mastress Alita

I’ve never tried operating it without the lid on, maybe I’ll try it sometime, heh.

Lexie Aleah

I also tend to make my matcha lazily often by using a Vitamix for matcha lattes hehe

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drank Cabaret by August Uncommon Tea
2248 tasting notes

Sipdown! (18 | 91)

Wow, the leaf for this one is tiny! There were some big dried cherries/cranberries but everything else was in very small pieces. I really like chocolate and cherry together, but I tend to be disappointed by chocolate teas, so we’ll see how this goes…

It’s not bad. The chocolate isn’t terribly artificial, which is saying a lot for me. There’s a definite boozy note to it that I don’t love, and the cherry along with it is making me think of amaretto. But there’s also a deep, syrupy bordeaux cherry flavor.

My only issue with this one is the base. It’s an Assam, and it tastes very generic and tannic to me. The astringency is conflicting with the other rich and smooth flavors, which makes me sad. So this probably won’t be a repurchase because of that…

But it’s quite good for a chocolate tea, and that’s coming from me, a self-proclaimed chocolate tea hater!

Flavors: Alcohol, Astringent, Bitter, Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Marzipan, Sweet, Tannic

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

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Sipdown! (17 | 90)

I requested this as a sample with one of my orders. I never seem to be that impressed with these marshmallow treat genmaicha teas, so I figured I would try a smaller size. I love that Deb lets me pick my own free samples, she’s the best! I saw on Instagram today that she’s planning to ship out the subscription boxes sometime next week, squeee!

Anyway! I actually do enjoy this one. It’s not really a marshmallow square to me, more of a mildly coconutty genmaicha. I suppose the creaminess of the coconut does sort of emulate marshmallow a teeny bit, but it’s not quite there for me.

But I do like it! I’m not sure I’d feel the need to keep it around in addition to a plain genmaicha though… But would definitely recommend it to coconut lovers! I’m honestly shocked at how low the rating is. o.o

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Dry Grass, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Silent Kettle

I think I want to request this as a sample again! The first time that I tried it, it tasted oily to me? Like coconut oil? But I might have used a water temperature that was too high? Glad you liked it however! :)

Cameron B.

There is a lot of coconut in it, so that makes sense. I don’t remember noticing it with my packet though.

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So I recently subscribed to Bokksu, a Japanese snack subscription box. I’ve been doing some casual short little reviews of the snacks on Instagram, and for the last few I’ve been pairing them with teas. This is the tea I chose to have with an absolutely scrumptious white peach castella cake.

Honestly though, this one’s just not great. There’s barely any peach or osmanthus at all. Mostly I taste the generic Chinese sencha base, with its dry grass notes. There’s no bitterness at least, but there’s not much else either…

So, a bit of a rant. I’m having a really hard time with New Moon Tea Co lately. I noticed that this and one of their other new Spring teas – White Strawberry – are very obviously sourced from Shanti Tea. And while I get that a lot of places resell blends from wholesale sources, the packaging states these are “small batch, hand blended, farm to cup teas” and that this is “proudly made in British Columbia, Canada”… Which is clearly a load of crap when it comes to these two teas, and I assume many others.

This is a brand that I’ve been so happy to support in the past, but now I have to wonder how many of the teas are falsely advertised like this. I don’t know whether to (tactfully) bring this up to the owner, or just stop buying from her entirely…

Have any of you have this issue before…?


(ETA: I confirmed with the vendor that this tea is sourced from Shanti Tea. I would delete this note, but I don’t want to lose the comments!)

Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass, Peach, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Such a sad finding. I’m not over it. :,(


I know what you mean! I mostly just want to buy from brands who make their own teas, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Cameron B.

I’m the same way AJ, and especially in a situation like this where I could just buy it from the source if I wanted it…


Also, the very obvious price jump from New Moon is not okay.

Mastress Alita

I recall feeling that way when I remember Plum Deluxe also adverting themselves as small-batch original blends, and then many in the advent were obviously wholesaled teas…

Cameron B.

Yeah Plum Deluxe kind of have me that vibe too, but I’m having a harder time with this since this is a brand I felt good supporting. :|

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drank Boston by Harney & Sons
2248 tasting notes

Sipdown! (16 | 89)

I really need to get cracking on sipdowns this month! I guess I’m still at more than one per day, but I’d like to be at two per day, if I’m honest.

This is one of those ones from Harney where I feel like I’m missing something… A lot of other people seem to really love it, but for me it’s sort of just meh.

It’s supposed to be cranberry almond I think? There’s a tiny hint of cranberry tartness here, though I would like a lot more. Perhaps a bit of marzipan at the end of the sip? Mostly it tastes like a very musty and earthy base tea to me…

Oh well, I’m glad to not love them all, hah! And yet I always feel compelled to order another sample and give it another try… (shrugs)

Flavors: Cranberry, Earth, Marzipan, Musty, Sweet, Tart, Wood

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

I used to adore this one and then my husband said that Harney’s chocolate teas smell like mildew to him. And I can see it. But now I find that aroma in White Christmas and Boston, too, so I am wondering if they have changed to an artificial vanilla that is in all of these blends and that is the smell we don’t like. I gave away the last tin of Boston that I bought.

Cameron B.

Awww that’s a shame. But now that you mention it, this does sort of remind me of artificial chocolate flavoring…


Boston sounds nice to me but I have never tried it. How do you like their Chocolate Mint?

Cameron B.

I haven’t tried that one. I tend to sort of avoid chocolate-flavored teas now as I never seem to like them… Didn’t stop me from getting a sample of Florence in my last order though, lol!


The mint is definitely stronger than the chocolate, and the mint leaves kind of overpowers the black tea so it tastes more like a peppermint herbal tea with chocolate rather than a black tea with mint and chocolate. There is still some black tea flavor, though. But if you don’t like chocolate in teas, it’s probably not a tea for you.
I really want to try Florence but you can’t get it in Europe. Too bad.
I think I would love that tea.

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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… ;)

~ April Sipdowns: 35
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 239

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.

Current Subscriptions:
Bird & Blend
Dessert by Deb
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms

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. 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
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.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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