966 Tasting Notes

drank Toffee Dream by Cornelia Bean
966 tasting notes

This sample came from Roswell Strange. I once tried a tea from Zen Tea Life that had the same name and looked identical to this one, so I’m going to assume they’re the same tea and it’s from some kind of wholesaler. The white tea leaves are fairly broken up and there are tiny blue flower petals mixed in. Dry scent is mild and sweet caramel.

The steeped tea smells quite caramel and toffee-like with a touch of cream. Hmm, this tea is just okay for me. The caramel and/or toffee flavor is much milder than I expected, and it sort of tastes coconut-y for some reason. There’s also a vegetal flavor from the white tea that reminds me of cucumber, and it doesn’t mesh all that well with the sweet flavoring. It’s also a touch musty. Meh!

Flavors: Caramel, Coconut, Cucumber, Hay, Musty, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Yi Mei Ren by Yunnan Sourcing
966 tasting notes

Good morning! Another lovely Yunnan Sourcing tea for me today, I actually got two samples of this one! One was from cookies and one was from my anonymous tea friend. This tea has beautiful leaves. They’re rather large and twisty, almost Taiwanese-looking, and the color is jet black. The dry leaves smell very sweet with fruity and honey notes.

The steeped cup has a sweet smell, but I also detect a sort of caraway/dill aroma along with some roastiness. Yum! This tea definitely has a unique flavor, with a mild rye bread sort of flavor along with caraway and dill seeds. However, there’s also a sweet note present, possibly honey? And there’s a distinct floral note here, though thankfully it doesn’t overpower the other flavors. I wish I were better at identifying floral notes, I’ll just say it’s not overly heady, and it’s somewhat sweet, but not quite as sweet as jasmine. Slightly perfumey but not in an entirely unpleasant way.

Overall, this is definitely a unique tea! Starts out slightly roasty with rye bread and nutty notes, but ends up quite floral with some honey accents. Very yummy! :)

Edit: As it cools, there’s more honey! Om nom nom…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dill, Floral, Honey, Nuts, Roasted, Rye, Sweet

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

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Miss Roswell Strange was nice enough to send me a sample of this and the Green Tortoise version. She works at a grocery store and they carry David Rio chai mixes. I’ve tried the Maple Moose flavor before and liked it a lot, though I will admit that these mixes are very sweet. However, I have a huge sweet tooth so I like sugary drinks sometimes. So I’m happy I get to try a couple more flavors! This powder is a pale reddish-brown color and it smells sweet and vanilla-y with some spice. I used the whole sample (somewhere around 2 tablespoons I think?) in 8 ounces of hot vanilla soy milk. Double vanilla!

Mm, so thick and creamy and decadent! Sometimes it’s nice to have a sweet and super rich beverage, although I suppose that’s why so many people go to Starbucks. I’m not one of those people, so this is a nice treat for me! It’s very vanilla due to the soy milk, and I love vanilla. The spicing is present but still mild enough that it doesn’t overpower the vanilla flavor. I would say there’s definitely cinnamon and clove, possibly anise? Overall, yums! :) I would totally keep some of this around for a treat every once in a while. And I bet mixing this half-and-half with the maple would be amazing!

Flavors: Anise, Cinnamon, Clove, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

6 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Mmm… vanilla soy milk with this sounds yum!

Cameron B.

That’s generally all I ever have for “milk”. :P


I generally have 2% or 1% moo-milk but when I want it in tea I usually want that creamy texture so I have cream or half-and-half. Soy milk sounds like a less fat filled option. :)

Cameron B.

I’m not a fan of actual cow’s milk so I generally only use it in baking and such.

Roswell Strange

I like having these two around as well because I can get Tre to drink them; to him it’s like drinking fancy hot chocolate. Plus, part of the sale price goes to animals! :)

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Last Camellia Sinensis sample! Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sending these my way. This one… I’m hesitant to try. It has a lot of coconut shreds in it, and I can already smell the soapiness even through the bag. Oh well, I will try it anyway! This tea is a mixture of small black tea leaves, coconut shreds, and some kind of dehydrated fruit chunks that I’m going to assume are pineapple. Dry scent is pretty much just coconut and soap.

The steeped tea also has a coconut/soap aroma. Honestly, the taste isn’t terrible, but there is a noticeable soap flavor that makes this hard for me to drink. Other than that, it’s a nice, creamy, mildly flavored coconut black tea with some pineapple in it. I’d imagine this one is quite tasty without the older coconut in it. Withholding rating.

Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Soap

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

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Another Camellia Sinensis flavored tea from Roswell Strange! I think I have one more left after this. Now, I’m not a rose lover, but I figured I’d give this one the benefit of the doubt and try it anyway. It appears to be discontinued, as I couldn’t find it anywhere on Camellia Sinensis’s website. The black tea leaves are small, and there are white rose petals mixed in among them. Dry scent is tartly fruity and strong on the rose.

Yeah… So this is pretty much a rose tea. :P The flavor also has that powdery quality to it that I associate with rose. I don’t taste much fruit flavor, maybe a tiny hint? Mostly, it just tastes like some kind of powdery rose candy. Noop! :P

Flavors: Candy, Powdered sugar, Rose

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

Did you taste the cherry at all? I find that the cherry/rose is most prominent – and then guava and chocolate to a much lesser extent.

Cameron B.

Not really… :(

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drank Grand Earl Grey by Octavia Tea
966 tasting notes

This sample was in my package from Roswell Strange. I was curious as to what the “Grand” part of the title was referring to, as the ingredients list only black tea and bergamot oil. Turns out, they think their Yunnan base tea is “exceptional”. Hmm, not sure I would agree there, the leaves are small and dark. So basically it’s a plain Earl Grey, got it. The bergamot smells pretty strong in the dry leaf, which isn’t a good sign for me as I like my Earl Grey teas milder.

The steeped tea smells like bergamot, but it’s not terribly strong. Ugh, yeah this one is not for me. For some reason it came out a little bit bitter, even though I only steeped for 3 minutes. And the bergamot is very perfumey and floral, and it’s quite strong. I find that I generally don’t enjoy plain Earl Grey teas, it needs something like vanilla, cream, or other citrus/fruit flavors. So I won’t rate this since it’s not my jam. :)

Flavors: Bergamot, Bitter, Floral, Perfume

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

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Another sample from a Steepster friend! Funnily enough, this tea was actually just recommended to me by miss Stephanie a couple of days ago. What a fortuitous turn of events that I should receive a sample of the same tea a day or two later! Gotta love how things just work out sometimes. Anyway! It looks similar to other Jin Jun Mei teas I’ve had in the past – small, very curly and soft leaves that are mostly golden in color. Dry scent is a nice savory/sweet combination of apricot and smoked meat with sweet potato.

The steeped tea smells much more savory to me, with a strong smoked presence. Yum, what a delicious savory tea! It’s thick and smooth, but not overly intense. The main notes I can taste are a mildly savory sweet potato/bread base with some lovely smoked overtones. There’s also a touch of cedar or some other fragrant wood and a nice amount of malt as well as a touch of earthiness. There’s a small touch of sweetness – perhaps honey or something similar? Overall, this is a very meaty and satisfying savory tea!

Flavors: Apricot, Cedar, Earth, Honey, Malt, Smoked, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Thick, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Happy Sunday, tea fiends! A lovely Steepster friend (who would rather remain anonymous) sent me a box with ten different Yunnan Sourcing samples. I was very excited to see that a lot of them are the more uncommon varieties (a lot of people have their pure bud teas). This was actually one of the YS teas I was most excited to try! The leaves are huge and twisty, and I would say they’re about half gold and half muted grey/brown. Dry scent is malty and surprisingly tart with stonefruit aroma.

The steeped tea also smells very fruity, specifically stonefruit-y. This tea definitely has the strongest natural stonefruit flavor I’ve ever found in a tea, and it’s somewhat tart because of that. I think I may have overleafed a bit (it’s always hard to tell with very large leaves) so it has a rather intense malty/sweet potato taste. It’s not bitter, though. There’s a little hint of earthiness as well which helps to sort of “anchor” everything and cut through the tart fruitiness a bit. Unlike any other Yunnan black tea I’ve had! :)

Flavors: Apricot, Earth, Malt, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes, Tart

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

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Another Camellia Sinensis tea sample from Roswell Strange! This is another of their flavored teas that I’ve been curious about for a while now. I’m also happy to get to try some higher quality flavored white teas, as crappy white teas can be some of the worst offenders. The dry leaf is sort of odd-looking, the white tea looks much browner than I’m used to, almost as if it’s been roasted. There are also some flower petals and pieces of dried fruit mixed in. Dry scent is tart and fruity.

I can smell pineapple the most in the steeped tea, with a bit of strawberry jam in the background. Huh, this is odd. For some reason, I’m finding that this has a distinct dill-like flavor. The white tea base also has a bit of mustiness to it which isn’t entirely pleasant. The fruit flavors come out more strongly at the end of the sip, especially the pineapple and the strawberry. Overall, it’s okay but a bit odd…

Flavors: Dill, Fruity, Hay, Musty, Pineapple, Strawberry, Tart

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

The white tea base could be white peony…that tea sometimes has an odd mustiness.

Tea Sipper

I’m sipping this one right now! I love it and I’d love to buy it, but trying to get to CS’s site always tells me it’s a security/virus risk. :/

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This lovely sample came from Ubacat. I wasn’t planning on trying this one tonight, but miss Roswell Strange wanted me to try it so that we could compare our experiences. I generally enjoy silver needle teas, and Yunnan Sourcing’s are so cheap compared to most white teas in general. Plus, I’ve never had a tea from them that I didn’t enjoy, so it’s a win-win. The needle are a little over an inch long, and covered in pale silver, almost white fuzz. Dry scent is soft, sweet hay and oats with a bit of apricot.

I can still smell that touch of apricot in the aroma, but now it’s joined by a slighty savory smoky scent. And when I say ‘smoky’, I mean like smoked meat or fish, not like Lapsang. Wow, this is definitely a unique white tea. It has a mild ‘smoked meats’ type of flavor that I sometimes find in Chinese black teas. I can definitely see the similarity to a pure bud Yunnan black tea. Other than that, I can also taste a bit of apricot, though I would call it more of a dried apricot flavor. There’s also the sweet hay and oat notes that I find to be present in most white teas. In the middle and especially at the end of the sip, a strong and clear sweetness emerges, like honeysuckle nectar or spring water. Also, a touch of mineral. The aftertaste is long and sweet, and possibly my favorite part of this tea. Yum!

Flavors: Apricot, Hay, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Oats, Smoked, Sweet

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

Such different experiences :(


Wow! Sounds so complex for a white tea!


Yowza! I haven’t even tried this one yet. I’ll have to have it soon! Great review!

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Hello, my name is Cameron. I’m 25 years old and currently living in New York state 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!

I am a shameless Western steeper!

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:

Taiwanese Blacks
Yunnans (esp. Pure Bud)
Lightly Roasted Oolongs
Japanese Greens
Most “Dessert” Flavors (caramel, toffee, butterscotch, cake, cookie, etc.)

Favorite Companies:
Capital Tea Limited
Yunnan Sourcing

Not A Fan
High Mountain Oolong
Overly Floral (esp. Rose)
Strong Licorice Root
Rose Hip
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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