2898 Tasting Notes

drank Royal Blend by Fortnum & Mason
2898 tasting notes

Sipdown! (14 | 230)

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

Finished this one off with oat milk. Nothing much to say about it really, a blend of Assam and Ceylon. Not a huge fan of Ceylon, would prefer just a plain Assam. But yay, only two Fortnum advent teas left to go! :)

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


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drank Zansho Houjicha by Tezumi
2898 tasting notes

Sipdown! (13 | 229)

This was a 10g pouch that Tezumi included as a free sample with one of my teaware orders.

It’s nice. This hojicha is made from a spring sencha instead of the usual bancha. It has a bit more bitterness to it than a standard hojicha to me, but also more complexity. Lots of layers of roastiness with deep wood and mineral smoke, crisp autumn leaves, and rich nuts. Sweetness blooms at the end of the sip and the finish is long and mellow. Tasty!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Charcoal, Mineral, Nuts, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Smoke, Sweet, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown! (12 | 228)

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

I wasn’t sure what tea to use for this prompt, since I’m not a fan of hibiscus or fruit tisanes in general, so it’s not something I keep around. Luckily, this was in my Sips by box for September!

I used the whole sample, which was 12 grams, because I find I really need to use about double the volume of leaf for fruit tisanes or it comes out too weak. Now, this tisane looked like it was about 50% hibiscus, so I was nervous about using so much, but I did it anyway.

Happily, the hibiscus part is fine, it’s not overly sour and has a nice amount of tartness that doesn’t overpower the blend. However… This sort of tastes like a tropical-scented candle to me. Weirdly, it doesn’t really taste like peach or apricot, but has more of a generic tropical fruit vibe. I would guess mango, papaya, and maybe pineapple? But not the real fruits, the candle version of them ha ha. It just tastes weirdly artificial and there’s a slight floral note as well that’s not helping things.

How surprising that the hibiscus turned out to be the best part of this tisane… XD A shame, because the packaging for this tea is completely gorgeous.

Flavors: Artificial, Floral, Fruity, Hibiscus, Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Sweet, Tart, Tropical

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

“The candle version” of fruits is a very evocative description! I know exactly what you mean.

Cameron B.

Ha ha, it was all I could think about while sipping this so I’m glad it makes sense to someone! XD

Martin Bednář

At least it seems like a new company for me :)

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Sipdown! (11 | 227)

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

So I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to get actual sipdowns for every challenge this month, because I’ll be on vacation for two weeks. But I’m going to try anyway! :)

Anyway, this tea. I think this is from my very first Dessert by Deb order, the weekly promotion was for a free 75g bag of a chocolate tea and I chose this one. Ironically, it’s not really a chocolate tea to me? Mostly it just tastes like an orange rooibos, I don’t really taste the chocolate or cacao nibs or the black tea. That being said, it is enjoyable. I always like Deb’s orange teas because they’re flavored with actual orange slices, which give a lovely sweet and true orange flavor.

This is not a favorite for me though, I prefer her Orange Creamsicle Mousse and Blood Orange Cider blends.

Flavors: Creamy, Orange, Rooibos, Sweet, Woody

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

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Sipdown! (10 | 226)

I’ve been enjoying this one with oat milk. Not sure why I’m so into adding oat milk to black teas lately, it’s something I rarely do in general. Not that it’s a bad thing, just unusual for me!

Enjoying this last cuppa plain though. This one needs no additions as the base is very smooth and the bergamot is moderate and doesn’t slap you in the face. It’s a nice citrusy bergamot too (which seems silly to say considering bergamot is in fact a citrus…) with no perfumey notes.

Tasty, enjoyed it, but also happy to have another empty Fortnum tin! :)

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earthy, Hay, Lemon, Smooth, Woody

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

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Sipdown! (9 | 225)

So I remembered liking this one a lot more than I actually do…

To be fair, the cinnamon flavor is nice, and it does have a buttery cookie quality to it. But the blackberry leaf ruins it for me, it’s very stevia-esque and there’s too much of it. It coats my tongue and makes the whole sip taste cloying. Oh well, happy that the bag is empty now.

I actually just got a big haul from Simpson & Vail, with several tins of favorites (my first time buying tins!) and also a bunch of new-to-me teas to try. Lots of fall teas! I’m setting them aside for now, because I know I’ll need to work extra hard on sipdowns this month since I’ll be on vacation for two weeks starting next Saturday…

Flavors: Artificial, Butter, Cinnamon, Cookie, Stevia, Sweet

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

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drank Je t'Aime by Nina's Paris
2898 tasting notes

Sipdown! (7 | 223)

This was fine, but definitely didn’t have a ton of flavor left. It smells nicely caramelly, but in the flavor I get mostly a bit of creamy vanilla and a slightly tannic Ceylon base. Something about it is tasting waxy as well, like a vanilla Chapstick.

Anyway, there was a point in time when Nina’s had all of their teas on Amazon in 50g increments, but now it’s just tins of a few teas. They have a “Shop” link on their website, but it just tells you to email them for inquiries. Hopefully someday they actually build out an online shop, as there are a lot of teas from them that I would still like to try…

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

I noticed their old online store is gone. I think they were Sodimex DBA Nina’s. I think they sell through a little French themed tea shop in Florida, though. If I can dig up the info, I will let you know.

Cameron B.

Sounds great, thank you!

Mastress Alita

It looks like this tea shop out of L.A. wholesales at least some of Nina’s Tea: https://www.roseandblanctearoom.com/collections/ninas-paris-tea

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Sipdown! (4 | 220)

I’ve been feeling compelled to go through and finish off some of my Bird & Blend teas lately, because they’re mostly pretty old and even though I love them, I never reach for them. Poor neglected teas!

I actually like this one even more than I remember. That milk oolong base just really adds something, it makes it taste buttery and almost white chocolatey, like peppermint bark. And of course, it adds a rich, silky texture that gives it even more of a decadent feel. This last cuppa is a bit heavy on the herbaceous mint, but I chalk that up to the dust at the bottom of the tin.

Definitely a reorder for me, maybe if B&B has some Strawberry & Nutella Pancakes for their boxing day sale I’ll try to go for the free shipping threshold. We’ll see! I did set aside one serving of this for my DIY advent calendar, because I think it’s perfect for the holiday season! :D

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Creamy, Mint, Peppermint, Smooth, Sweet, White Chocolate

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

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drank Orange Pomander by Lupicia
2898 tasting notes

Sipdown! (3 | 219)

I thought this had lost all of its added flavors, but looking at my other note, it seems it never had any to begin with, lol!

Tastes like a second flush Darjeeling with a bit of added acidity. There’s a whisper of clove as well.

Super underwhelming. Luckily, I only bought a box of 10 sachets of this one and I only had a few left. So hooray sipdown! :P

Flavors: Acidic, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread, Clove, Smooth

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

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I don’t know why I ordered this one.

It was stupid of me, really, because I’ve never liked a single one of Deb’s Earl Grey blends. At first I thought it was the lavender, but they don’t all have lavender in them. So I guess it’s either the bergamot or the base tea, but something tastes super earthy, like I’m licking potting soil. And combined with the candylike blueberry flavoring here, it’s very weird. Adding oat milk doesn’t help either, then it’s creamy blueberry dirt.

Sigh. It’s my own fault for ordering this tea, I guess I was just too intrigued by the bergamot & blueberry combo, since I don’t think I’ve had it before. Oh well, into the swap box it goes…

Flavors: Artificial, Blueberry, Candy, Dirt, Earth, Lavender, Musty, Sweet

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: 37
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 253

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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