3713 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! (41 | 356)

Wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a tea with chaga in it. But mostly I taste the roasty chicory along with cocoa and cinnamon, so either it has a very mild flavor or there’s not enough for me to notice it. There is a certain earthy quality in the background, but that’s probably the chicory as well.

It’s a nice chocolaty herbal with a touch of cinnamon. The first time I tried it, I steeped it for 5 minute and I noticed quite a bit of bitterness, I assume from the chicory. But as long as I keep the steep shorter, around 3 minutes, there’s barely a hint of a bitter note.

I like it, but not sure if I love it enough to warrant ordering a larger pouch. We’ll see if I find myself wanting a chocolaty cuppa in the evenings this fall and winter.

Flavors: Chicory, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Earthy, Honey, Roasted, Sweet, Toasty

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

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Sipdown! (40 | 355)

This one was decent. Definitely very lychee-forward, which doesn’t surprise me since there’s lychee flavoring but the raspberry is from fruit pieces. Naturally the flavoring is going to dominate, and so is the case here. Very floral and sweet lychee accented by a touch of tart, fresh raspberry. Getting the smallest hint of chalkiness from something.

Not a fan of the base though, mostly it tastes like Chinese sencha. Very dry and grassy and there’s actually a touch of bitterness even though I only steeped it for two minutes. So not one I would reorder because of that, plus the lychee is a bit floral for me. Also, where’s the macaron?

Flavors: Bitter, Chalk, Dry Grass, Floral, Fruity, Grassy, Lychee, Raspberry, Sweet, Tart

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

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Last one from the pumpkin spice collection. Unfortunately, this tea has monkfruit in it, sigh… And because of that, it’s just too sweet for me, and it’s a bit of a mouth-coating cloying sweetness.

Otherwise, it’s just okay. Very mildly spiced, mostly I taste the cinnamon. I do actually get a slight pumpkin vibe though, not sure if that’s from the apple or something in the flavoring. Something is a tad bit squashy. Not really tasting caramel specifically, more of a generic sweetness that seems closer to maple. And as for the oolong, not getting much of that either.

Needless to say, not a favorite. Overall these pumpkin spice teas were pretty disappointing to me, and the marzipan white was the only one I really liked. Not sure I would pay the premium price for it though, especially since you get less than half as much by weight compared to the other blends…

Flavors: Apple, Artificial, Cinnamon, Creamy, Fruity, Maple, Nutmeg, Pumpkin, Spices, Sweet

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

Aww, bummer! I saw the tantalizing name and got excited for a second there! Sucks that the blend didn’t live up to its name.

Cameron B.

Maybe you would like it more than I did!

Daylon R Thomas

YAY! I’m not the first one to put these notes up! I thought the same thing about this one too. I hoped I’d actually taste the currants and caramel, but the cinnamon overpowered it. It was like an overspiced apple cider to me, and very muddled. Cinnamon overpowered the herbals too, and I thought the Marzipan and the Pu-Erh cake ones really stood out more to me. I agree about the pricing. The Wanderlust and Astrology blends are the few that may justify some premium.

Cameron B.

I agree, the two rooibos blends mostly tasted like cinnamon and spice flavoring to me. Marzipan was my favorite, but also the most expensive by weight ha ha…

I did pick up a couple of their other teas (Sagittarius, Sapphire, Bohemian Breakfast, and Queen of the Rainforest) and I still need to try those. Hopefully I like them better than the pumpkin spice collection!

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve been curious about Sapphire. I look forward to see what you think about that one. Sag and Bohemian Breakfast are my personal go tos.

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Yum, this is quite tasty. I love grapefruit things, and for some reason grapefruit teas in particular are often disappointing. This has a strong, zesty, and slightly bitter grapefruit flavor that almost tastes like the real thing. There’s just a little bit of a Pixy Stix sort of tart candy vibe going on as well, but mostly it’s fresh grapefruit. I honestly don’t detect much elderflower, perhaps a hint in the finish. But I’m not complaining, because I’d rather the grapefruit be the star!

Would consider ordering a bag of this one…

Flavors: Acidic, Candy, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Fruity, Grapefruit, Lemon, Sweet, Tart

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (39 | 354)

This was a pleasant enough blend. Somehow not as cocoa-y as I expected it to be, given the abundance of cocoa powder making for a seriously murky cuppa. It’s mostly hojicha with subtle touches of cocoa and toasted rice. And there’s not really anything “salted” about it, I guess maybe the rice was meant to fill that role? Not sure why there isn’t just a little bit of sea salt or something to that effect.

Anyway, it’s nice but not a reorder for me. Might have to try my own concoction with cacao shells though, those seem to give the best cocoa flavor in my experience…

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Charcoal, Cocoa, Mineral, Roasted, Savory, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted, Toasted Rice, Woody

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (38 | 353)

Yay, my last S&V pouch to finish from my order last year! I still have several tins, but those are all long term cupboard teas that I’m not looking to sip down.

This one is a really nice cake tea – the flavoring is cakey and buttery with a buttercream sweetness, just like a frosted vanilla cake. It’s also nice that it’s on a green rooibos base, so the flavors can really shine (plus no caffeine for a nighttime treat).

I don’t think I would order a tin of it, just because I don’t tend to reach for desserty teas. But would recommend it for cake lovers! Definitely one of the better birthday cake blends I’ve had.

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Frosting, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

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

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Sipdown! (37 | 352)

I think this tea wins for having the most ingredients, ha ha…

It has a pleasant herbal flavor to it – sweet and mellow, with hints of evergreen from the cedar, spruce, and fir tips, and a subtle touch of fruit from the elderberry, hawthorn, and sumac berries. Not sure if that’s the nettle leaf that’s making up the majority of the flavor? It’s enjoyable and soothing to drink, yet also feels very nourishing at the same time.

I’m not sure if I love it enough to order a larger pouch, I would like perhaps just a tad more from those pine and berry notes. I do have another, somewhat similar blend to try still, so we’ll see how that one compares.

Flavors: Berries, Cedar, Earthy, Evergreen, Hay, Herbaceous, Herbs, Plants, Smooth, Soft, Sweet, Thick

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Picked up a sample of this when I ordered a mug and the Cookie Box. They have a few in-house teas that they offer as samples, and this is one. I don’t get why they don’t offer more teas in this format, considering it’s the same one they use for boxes. But I digress…

This is a nice, extra-citrusy Earl Grey with a dash of creamy vanilla. I don’t get yuzu specifically, rather I would guess lemon. Yuzu has a very distinct pine-like flavor to it to me, and I don’t taste any of that here. It’s still a well-balanced cuppa though, with the bergamot and lemon taking center stage, and the cream sort of rounding the edges and giving a touch of sweetness. There’s a tartness to it that makes it taste almost like there was real lemon juice added.

I don’t think I would order a big bag of it, but I’ve enjoyed the sample. Good thing too, as I have another one on the way as part of the Brunch Box. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been very interested in Sips by’s teas lately…

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Lemon, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla

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

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Sipdown! (36 | 351)

Another in a long line of caramel teas from Deb. This tastes very similar to Salted Caramel Pancakes, and I remember there being several others that I thought were close as well, though I can’t recall the names at the moment. Sweet, somewhat buttery caramel sweetened with brown sugar, paired with toasted rice for a savory grainy note. Rooibos is here again, but luckily here it doesn’t overwhelm the black tea and just adds a subtle woodiness.

It’s fine, but nothing special IMO. I’m a bit confused as to why she didn’t include hojicha here since it’s meant to be a roasted milk tea. I guess she added the toasted rice instead, but to me that’s a bit different of a flavor. Also, a bit strange to throw Hokkaido in there when this doesn’t really taste creamy at all. Anyway, not one that I would reorder.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Grain, Malty, Rooibos, Savory, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Woody

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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So this is the first of the pumpkin spice teas that I’ve actually liked and felt like lived up to its name. I’m not generally a big fan of marzipan/almond extract sort of notes in tea, but I found the idea of it combined with pumpkin spice intriguing.

It’s a nice combination, the spices are mellow and sweet, and there’s a slightly creaminess that makes it almost pumpkin pie-esque. Then the marzipan is there as a supporting note, adding a bit of richness and a syrupy sweet note. The white tea is somewhat subtle, which doesn’t surprise me since there were quite a few dried apple pieces taking up a decent amount of tea volume, but I can taste its soft haylike flavor.

Overall, quite good. I’m not sure I would pay the somewhat exorbitant price for it though. We’ll see what I think after finishing this and trying some of the other teas. :)

Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Clove, Creamy, Hay, Marzipan, Nutmeg, Pumpkin Spice, Spices, Sweet

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

The marzipan sounds like a very nice touch.

Cameron B.

I don’t think I’ve ever had spiced marzipan so I thought it was a nice combo.

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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, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is “collecting” hobby-related things… ;)

- September Sipdowns: 41
- Total 2023 Sipdowns: 356

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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