481 Tasting Notes

drank Kiwi by Lupicia
481 tasting notes

Well now that I’ve tried Kiwi’s Big Adventure, I have to try this one to compare! Thanks to mj for providing my with samples of these lovely Lupicia teas. This one has a black base as opposed to the green base in Kiwi’s Big Adventure. I think a green base makes more sense for a kiwi tea, but we shall see! The tea leaves themselves are quite small, and there are little pieces of what looks like crushed dried green leaves? Also a small piece of candied kiwi! The dry scent is fantabulous amazing sweet fruity candy deliciousness! I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

The brewed aroma smells exactly like a fresh kiwi! I’m amazed by how accurate it is. And the taste is the same way! There’s authentic kiwi flavor throughout the entire sip and it’s lovely. It’s a nice balance of sweet and tart just like the actual fruit. The black base is unobtrusive and fairly ho-hum to me, there’s a bit of malt but not much else. I would really like to see this kiwi flavoring used with a lighter base, such as green or white tea. I just feel like it would mesh well with a nice fresh base. But it’s still delicious as-is! :)

Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Sweet, Tart

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

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This is the last black tea for me to try from my Han Xiang Ecological Tea samples (I still have one green that they added as a freebie). Honestly, I wasn’t too excited for this one because I haven’t been impressed with similar teas that I’ve had from other companies in the past. But I still ordered a sample of it because YUNNAN. The leaves are long and thin and quite straight, they remind me of black pine needles or twigs. The dry scent is just kind of vaguely sweet and somewhat malty. I steeped about 2 teaspoons (eyeballed, these are impossible to measure) for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

Strangely, I had a really hard time getting any aroma out of this one. As I was telling the people in Steepster chat, I just kind of hovered over it with my nose in the cup for 5 minutes, looking like a moron. I did get some fruitiness with honey and a bit of malt. Wow, the flavor of this one shocked me! It’s very different from the other versions of this tea that I’ve had. It’s extremely fruity in taste, in a rich dried fruit sense. The main ones I can pick out are dried figs and raisins, yum… There’s also a large dollop of honey flavor that is especially apparent near the end. And lastly, there’s a mild bready note along with some malt.

I really love this one! It’s fruity like an Ai Lao black but without the floral notes! :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Malt, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Next sample up from Design a Tea is Vanilla Nutmeg Black! This one was kind of a safe bet for me, as I love vanilla black teas in general and nutmeg is amazing. Visually, this one looks similar to Butiki’s Nutmeg Cream but with smaller leaf pieces (they’re small but not quite fannings like the last one…). It also smells pretty similar – strong nutmeg with lovely vanilla/cream undertones. I’m steeping this one for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.

Once brewed, the vanilla/cream and nutmeg scents are more equal. It smells like some kind of amazing nutmeg vanilla custard pie! Okay, now I need to make one of those… Happily, this cup did not come out bitter at all. The beginning of the sip is mostly nutmeg, and then the vanilla shows up near the middle and continues to the end, which reminds me of creamy vanilla pudding. I actually dared to add some vanilla almond milk to this, which just pushed it over the top. I think I prefer soy milk, but I bought a carton of almond this time to compare. Overall, I’m pleased with this blend! Rating would be in the low 80s. :)

Flavors: Creamy, Custard, Nutmeg, Vanilla

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

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I ordered 5 samples for $5 from Design a Tea, and I feel like it would be silly to add them all into the database, as they’re custom and I will probably only drink them once. So I’m going to log them all under “Random Steepings” and just list the rating at the bottom of the note instead.

First up is “Maple Cider Oolong”. The oolong itself is an oxidized variety. I must say, I’m pretty disappointed by the leaf quality here, my sample is almost all tiny pieces and fannings. These samples come prepackaged in a tea bag, but I cut mine open and used my infuser instead. Well, I definitely regret it now… For some unknown reason, they decided to add chamomile to this blend, and if I had known that, I would have left it in the bag. Chamomile pollen likes to stick in my infuser, even though it’s super fine, and it’s a giant pain in the ass to clean it out. Not off to a good start here, Design a Tea…

Anyway, dry it smells nice enough, sweet and apple-y with maple undertones. I let mine steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees (the instructions said 3-4 minutes but I didn’t want to go longer with such tiny leaf pieces). Brewed aroma has a lot of chamomile… Now I’m grumpy. I can smell apple and sweet maple too, but the chamomile is strongest.

Even though I only steeped for 3 minutes, it’s a little bit bitter. I do taste some chamomile, but at least it’s not as strong as the smell… The cider flavor is nice, but I don’t really taste maple. I even tried adding a little sugar to see if that would bring it out, but it didn’t seem to help.

Overall, the cider flavor is good in this one, but I don’t taste maple and I’m somewhat upset by the chamomile… Rating would be somewhere in the 65-70 range probably.

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Flowers, Roasted

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

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Slowly but surely making my way through tasting each of these Han Xiang Ecological Tea teas that I ordered a couple weeks ago. I think I only have two more left untried after this one! The Yunnan pure bud style is definitely one of my favorite varieties of black tea, so this one was a no-brainer when choosing my samples. This tea looks somewhat similar to some other companies’ versions of the same tea – it’s all buds, mostly gold in color and super fuzzy! Some of the leaves are slightly curled, while some are straight. Dry scent is malt with lots of honey and apricots. I steeped roughly 2 teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

Once brewed, the tea smells sweet and malty with a little bit of a smoky aroma? Interesting. As for the taste, it has a lovely strong and thick crusty bread flavor that I just adore. There’s also a bit of sweet potato with lots of honey and a little bit of dried fruitiness (but a light dried fruit, like golden raisin). I can taste just a little bit of savory smoked flavor, and I really like it! :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Honey, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This sample came from Roswell Strange. She was sending me a bunch of David’s teas that she purchased for me at a store (thanks again!) and I asked her if this one was any good, so she ended up sending me some! Aw, you shouldn’t have… I admit, a lot of the reason I was drawn to this tea is that the name is super adorable and makes me think of a kiwi (the bird, not the fruit) with a little suitcase going on a worldwide road trip. Lol! Visually, it looks like sencha or bancha leaves to me, and they’re combined with lemongrass and pieces of dehydrated kiwi and apple (I love that I can see the black seeds in the kiwi pieces). The dry scent is heavenly – it’s sweet and tart at the same time and very fruity, with just a bit of grassiness from the tea. I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 175 degrees.

Mm, the brewed aroma is also heavenly! That same sweet-tart juicy fruity aroma combined with grassy tea. At first, I was disappointed by the flavor. The beginning of the sip is mostly grassy green tea taste, but partially through that kiwi pokes its fuzzy little head out and then it dominates the rest of the sip. And then it leaves a lovely juicy kiwi aftertaste that lingers! I admit, the kiwi flavor here is somewhat candylike, but not in an artificial overly sweet way, it just has the most impossible level of juiciness and the sweet-tart combination is wonderful!

On a side note, I added a bit of sugar to see if it would make this even better, and I think it actually made it less enjoyable. So maybe I’m not sugar addicted anymore, lol!

Thanks Roswell, I love this one! :)

Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Grass, Sweet, Tart, Tropical

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Roswell Strange

Hooray! Glad you liked it :)


I’ve been curious about this one. Glad to hear it doesn’t taste artificial.

Cameron B.

Tamarindel, there is something candy-like about it, but not necessarily glaringly artificial.


Candy I can live with :) Some of my favorite foods are candy.


Lupicia’s kiwi is THE BEST

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drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
481 tasting notes

Roswell Strange was kind enough to get 20g of each of the fall teas I wanted to try and mail them to me. Thanks, dear! This one smelled amazing so I had to try it. The tea itself consists of very small black tea leaves with pumpkin-shaped sprinkles and a few pieces of cinnamon bark and dehydrated pumpkin mixed in. It smells delicious, like pumpkin pie filling combined with cinnamon candies and buttery caramels. I actually made this twice…

The first time, I did the suggested 1.25 teaspoons (probably closer to 1.5) for 4 minutes at 200 degrees. Brewed aroma was strong cinnamon candy with pumpkin and caramel undertones. And it basically tasted like weak cinnamon water. Blegh.

Second try, I did 2 teaspoons and steeped it for 5 minutes at the same temperature. And it basically still tastes like weak cinnamon water with a little bit of clove and maybe the teensiest hint of pumpkin if I squint my eyes and really look for it?

Overall, this tea is super disappointing to me… I could steep it longer I guess, but I don’t see that improving the flavor much and it’s already starting to almost get bitter at 5 minutes.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Aaaawww :(

Cameron B.

I’m really shocked, there are people who rated this at 100… I have more, so I’ll definitely try the stovetop method to see if that improves it. :/

Roswell Strange

So when I make this one, I overleaf and usually add milk to it. Sometimes I’ll do honey if I have any on hand – I’ve found it’s a bit better that way. I bought a gratuitous amount of this last year (100g) only to realize I am not a Chai fan; so I’m still working through most of that :P


From what I’ve heard, the whole fall collection has been a bit disappointing.


I honestly don’t the whole pumpkin drink thing. Who would want to d t ink pumpkin? Why is this such a ubiquitous fad???


Missing word: understand


Drink pumpkin. I give up on this Kin f2f level! (Kindle)


I like this one with a splash of milk and some brown sugar, or stovetop method is good. Definitely overleaf. Good luck!


More leaf+cond milk or maple syrup n milk

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Okay, I gave this one a fair chance. I tried a 3 minute steep first, it was okay but had a weird almost dusty mouthfeel that bothered me. Tried a 5 minute steep, same thing. Tried a 5 minute steep with a 5 second rinse first, still the same. Tried a 7 minute resteep of that one, still dusty.

I guess the texture of this one is just not for me, and it’s clearly there to stay! The flavors underneath the dust are good, but not special or anything that warrants the cost of this tea for me. Just mild bread, honey, malt, etc. Oh well, I’m glad I tried a sample!

I’m not going to rate this because other people seemed to really enjoy it… I guess I’m just weird about the texture part of it. :/

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dust, Hay, Honey, Malt

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Mj sent me a sample of this one because, a while back, I was ruminating over making some myself since I had both the teas in the blend. However, I would need to try some first to know what taste I was going for. I had actually totally forgotten about the whole thing, until I saw this little samples in mj’s swap package with the words “for experiments”. Thanks dear! :P The leaves are small to medium in size and very dark. They’re thin and quite twisty. Dry, they smell like delicious cocoa goodness (hah, that Cavalla again) and it’s making me want to eat them… I steeped mine for 3 minutes in 200 degree water.

I can smell both teas in the brewed aroma – the breadiness and malt from the Keemun along with the fruitiness and floral from the Ailaoshan. The same is true in the taste for me. I’m relieved that the bread flavor is very strong here, as I was worried that it might get overpowered by the fruit. There’s also a lot of maltiness, and then the lovely dried fruit and caramelized brown sugar from the Ailaoshan. I also get a little bit of floral near the end. Based on the overall taste here, I’m guessing either a 50/50 split or maybe like a 60/40 with the Keemun being the majority. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the Keemun right now, so I’ll keep the other half of my sample for when I do. :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Floral, Malt

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

Good luck ;)

Glad you like it! :D

Cameron B.

Well, I like both of the teas included, so how could I not like it? :P

Whispering Pines Tea Company

That is a good question! :)

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Another savory tea to try this evening! This one sounds less weird to me, but I’m still worried about having any form of onion in my tea, lol… Oh well, I will try it anyway! Dry, it smells strongly of the added spices (coriander, turmeric, dill) along with the chive and spinach. I steeped mine for 10 minutes in boiling water.

It smells… spicy. Not in a hot way, but in a savory way. I’m honestly surprised that I don’t taste the spinach very much at all. What I do taste strongly is the lime combined with the chive, and it actually makes for a nice savory, slightly tart tea. The spices are nowhere near as strong in this one, and my tongue isn’t screaming out in pain. I do definitely pick up on the flavor of the turmeric and coriander though, and they complement the chive and lime nicely. Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by this one! I actually like it a lot.

Flavors: Coriander, Dill, Lime, Spices, Tart, Vegetables

Boiling 8 min or more 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tea Sipper

ONION TEA?!?! No way.

Roswell Strange

Swap arrived today! I think this is the one I want to start with :)

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Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 24 years old and currently living in Saratoga Springs, New York with my lovely boyfriend (a software architect). I am currently not employed, which leaves plenty of time for cooking and tea-drinking! I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-face dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one. :(

I originally got into tea a couple of years ago. My sister introduced me to Teavana (there was a store in the nearby mall) and I was hooked. I have just started to drink tea again and I am very grateful to have found this community where there are so many with experience and wisdom to share!

Currently trying to move out of the flavored tea phase and into those tasty straight teas!

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, shoot me a private message and we’ll work something out!

My general tea info:

Flavored Black
Yunnan (esp. Pure Bud varieties)
Mild Sencha/Kabusecha
Genmaicha (traditional or otherwise)
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Currently Exploring:
Chinese Black
Oxidized/Roasted Oolong

Not A Fan
Green Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Licorice Root
Rose Hips
Strong Bergamot

Rating Scale:

90-100: Spectacular, a staple
80-89: Delicious, might buy again
70-79: Pretty good, won’t repurchase
60-69: Just “okay”
00-59: Undrinkable!


Saratoga Springs, New York

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