2899 Tasting Notes


Sipdown! (26 | 242)

Another swap sample! I used two teabags for one 16-ounce pot.

I’m quite enjoying this as an evening cuppa. It’s crisp and slightly tart apple, with a suggestion of red fruits from the hibiscus. The elderflower pokes its head out at the end of the sip and adds a mellow effervescent finish. I can maybe taste a tiny hint of creaminess from the vanilla? Not much though, and happily I can’t taste licorice root at all.

It’s nice to see an apple-based fruit tisane that doesn’t have any spices in it. I can imagine this being wonderful iced as well.

Flavors: Apple, Creamy, Effervescent, Elderflower, Floral, Green Apple, Hibiscus, Red Fruits, Sweet, Tart

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

You make this sound tasty, even though it’s got two of my kryptonite ingredients: licorice and hibiscus!

Cameron B.

I don’t love either of those two either, but I couldn’t taste the licorice root at all and the hibiscus was very restrained!

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Sipdown! (25 | 241)

So my cupboard has just exploded with a bunch of new teas. Not only did I buy quite a few on vacation, but a couple of tea orders also arrived while I was away, plus I got my last Bird & Blend subscription and a large tea swap. All at the end of the month, of course. Sigh… So anyway, now I’m trying to sip through the smaller swap samples as quickly as I can, just to get them out of my cupboard. This was one of those single-cup samples.

I’ve been wanting to try Happy Turtle, so I was glad to see a few teas from them in the package. This one sounds right up my alley, a black tea with dark forest berries and evergreen flavors. But I think there might not have been enough berry in my small sample, as I’m not really getting more than a hint of blueberry. Mostly it actually tastes like sage to me, which isn’t even an ingredient. I guess it must be the eucalyptus combining with the blackberry leaf? I’m not sure I’ve ever had mistletoe in tea, so I can’t place that flavor.

Anyway, it tastes like a sage-forward black tea with a subtle hint of jammy blueberry in the background. It’s not bad, but not quite what I was hoping for either…

Flavors: Blueberry, Jam, Musty, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Sweet

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

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Sipdown! (24 | 240)

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (September) – “A tea with a strong aroma”

It doesn’t get much more aromatic than an Earl Grey with a smoked base!

Really enjoyed this tea overall, the smokiness is fairly mellow and doesn’t take over the cup, and it’s more of a savory meaty smoke than a charcoal one. The bergamot is more of a supporting flavor, and adds a nice bright, lemony component to lighten it up a bit. Base is smooth and very earthy.

Very pleasant, but I’m not sure I need more than one smoky Earl Grey in my cupboard, and I prefer Lupicia’s Earl Grey Grand Classic to this tea. :)

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earthy, Lemon, Meat, Mineral, Savory, Smoked, Smooth, Woody

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

I don’t like EG without something else in it to balance out the bergamot, but if it were me thinking up the tea blends, I would never have thought, “hey, let’s add smoke!” :)

Cameron B.

I prefer it with additional flavors as well, usually a bit of extra citrus or fruit. I’m not a smoky tea lover myself but I do find it goes well with bergamot!


I enjoyed this one!

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Sipdown! (23 | 239)

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (September) – “A yerba mate”

Okay, so this isn’t technically a yerba maté, but it’s in that same vein of non-tea caffeinated plants, so that’s good enough for me ha ha.

Despite being a dark roast, this still has such a mellow and comforting flavor. I can still taste the earthy-sweet yaupon, and it reminds me of golden raisins. But there are also those lovely toasty notes that add a bit of dark caramel richness and deeper wood and toast flavors. Perhaps a tiny hint of charcoal minerality as well.

Happily not a sipdown for long, as I recently ordered CatSpring’s holiday yaupon blend, and another sampler of the three plain yaupon tisanes along with it. :3

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Charcoal, Earthy, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Musty, Raisins, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Sweet, Toast, Woody

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (22 | 238)

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (September) – “A chai tea”

This one’s been hanging around in my cupboard for a while, so I’m glad to be finishing it off. It’s a bit of an odd one, IMO. It doesn’t taste much like banana bread, and barely even banana at all, and instead is heavy on the ginger and the rooibos base. I do get a hint of banana, along with a touch of warming cinnamon, but mostly it’s a ginger rooibos to me.

Still pleasant enough to drink, but not one I would reorder.

Flavors: Banana, Cinnamon, Ginger, Rooibos, Sweet, Wood

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

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Sipdown! (21 | 237)

I haven’t been doing very well lately with sipping down my oldest teas, mostly because I’ve been prioritizing other things instead. But this one has been my go-to for a straight black tea in the morning lately, so now it’s gone!

It’s a delicious tea, it reminds me of a bai hao combined with a Yunnan black tea. It ends up tasting like honeyed toast, so perfect for breakfast! It is a lighter tea, and completely smooth, so would probably traditionally be more of an afternoon sort of tea, but the toast says morning to me!

Flavors: Apricot, Bread, Dried Fruit, Grain, Honey, Smooth, Sweet, Toast

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

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Sipdown! (20 | 236)

This is the last of my old Simpson & Vail teas, yay! Now I can break into the new ones next month without feeling guilty he he. :)

I agree with Courtney, this does taste a bit like an oatmeal cookie. I’m not sure if it’s because this tea is a couple of years old (not really old enough for flavor degradation in my experience) but I’m not really tasting any chocolate or brownie… It’s actually reminding me a little bit of Lupicia’s Cinnamon Cookie Puer, because the black base has a rich earthy flavor and the cinnamon tastes like a baked good. So definitely not a brownie for me, but still tastes like dessert.

Anyway, was pleasant enough to try, but not one I would reorder. But these days, I mostly avoid chocolate teas anyway.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Earthy, Loam, Mineral, Sweet, Thick, Wet Earth

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

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Sipdown! (19 | 235)

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (September) – “A tropical tea”

I think açaí is tropical…? At least, I would consider it to be. Not sure what a yumberry is though, ha ha.

This was fine, if a bit generic. There is a slight pomegranate note in the aftertaste, but otherwise it’s just red-fruity and slightly tart from the hibiscus. I haven’t had a lot of açaí things, but I think of it as being a darker berry flavor and I get a bit of that too, though it reminds me more of blackcurrant. I appreciate that the hibiscus is subtle and doesn’t take over the blend. The green tea is mellow and grassy.

There are sliced almonds in this one, which is odd to me. I don’t think I taste them? Anyway, a decent tea but not one I would repurchase.

Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Dry Grass, Grass, Hibiscus, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Smooth, Tart

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

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drank Just Beet It by DAVIDsTEA
2899 tasting notes

Sipdown! (18 | 234)

Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (September) – “A tea from a tea swap/traveling tea box”

I picked this one up from a TTB last month, so I figured I would sip it down for this prompt. I’m not usually a huge fan of fruit tisanes (which this basically is, despite containing maté) but I find this one to be well-balanced. The hibiscus is just the right amount and it complements the fruity flavors well, and the wildberry flavor is juicy and refreshing. I don’t really taste much maté, but I’ve just been treating this as a fruit tisane and enjoying it that way.

I’m not sure I would order it, but it was nice to sip through for the summer!

Flavors: Apple, Berry, Fruity, Hibiscus, Musty, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet, Tart

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

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Sipdown! (17 | 233)

This one was too light on flavoring for my tastes. The dry scent was quite chocolaty for some reason, despite this not being a chocolate tea.

I do get a hint of chocolate in the taste as well, sort of a low quality milk chocolate vibe. There is some caramel as well, though I certainly wouldn’t call it toffee. It lacks butteriness, and is more of a sweet caramel, perhaps with a hint of vanilla.

Mostly though, I taste the black base. It’s not a bad black tea, it’s smooth and has some rich earthy notes. But it’s not something I would want to drink plain, so I feel like it needed stronger flavoring to spruce it up.

Happy to be finishing off some of my older Simpson & Vail teas though, as I just got a huge haul from them… ^^’

Flavors: Artificial, Candy, Caramel, Chocolate, Earthy, Musty, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla, 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 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… ;)

- September Sipdowns: 38
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 254

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’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.

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. 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
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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