1466 Tasting Notes


Yay this is the last tea from my Den’s novice sampler. Gotta try ‘em all! I was pretty excited for this one since I really liked the tea bag version that was also included. The dry tea is a mixture of long, rough-looking, flat leaves with toasted rice and all of it is coated in matcha. The popped rice visually reminds me of Nerds candy and there was one huge piece that I totally considered eating, and I would have if it hadn’t been covered in matcha. The smell is not nearly as strong as I suspected it would be. It’s a light matcha scent and little hint of hay. I brewed it at 175 degrees for one minute.

The aroma of this tea is fantastic! It’s super toasty-smelling. On a short sniff, I don’t get any other smell. If I take a long sniff, I start to get the vegetal scent at the end. Smelling this tea made my mouth water. When I taste it, I get a lot of toasted rice flavor which is amazing. In the middle of the sip, there’s that slightly spinachy green tea taste along with a slightly sweeter hint from the matcha. The aftertaste is all amazing roastiness with a touch of spinach. This tea is very savory, it’s almost like eating instead of drinking. I love it so much!

Based on this, I think I really need to try some bancha! Sooooooon.

Flavors: Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vegetal

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

Glad to see you are having success with the greens :-)

Cameron B.

Yeah! Thanks for your help with the steeping parameters. :D


This one is great. I loved it from the sampler so much that I ordered more :)

Cameron B.

Yeah I’ll definitely be grabbing some of this with my $3 off coupon. I’m wondering how much this differs from their regular genmaicha since I didn’t taste a ton of matcha.


Tastes similar but this one definitely has more of a caffeine kick! ;)

Cameron B.

Good to know! Thanks Stephanie. :)

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This tea is from my swap with Arshness.

The dry leaf is a varied mixture of chamomile blossoms, rooibos, oolong balls, and some dried orange peel. It didn’t have much of a smell – I could catch some chamomile and orange but not a lot else.

I actually had this one twice. The first time I did a heaping teaspoon and I felt the tea didn’t really taste like anything. There was a little bit of chamomile and orange but it mostly tasted like lightly flavored hot water.

So the second time I did two teaspoons for the same time and same amount of water. It’s much better this time. Still kind of lightly flavored, and a little bit bitter (I guess because of the oolong when using so much tea). I added sugar which made it easier to drink. I taste chamomile immediately when drinking, then I get orange and vanilla with a bit of woody rooibos. I don’t get much oolong aside from a strong bitter aftertaste. I’m not sure whether this tea was a little old and that’s why it’s so lightly flavored or if that’s just the way it’s meant to be. Either way, not a huge fan…

Flavors: Floral, Orange, Rooibos, Vanilla, Wood

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Another tea from my Den’s sampler! The dry tea is medium brown leaves and stems with some broken leaves mixed in. It smells like toasted nuts or grains. Yum, I love toasty teas! I steeped this for two minutes.

The brewed tea smells, unsurprisingly, very toasty. There is also a smell that reminds me of piles of dried leaves in the fall, and a hint of grassiness. I was a little bit surprised that the first thing I tasted with my first sip was bean sprouts. However, this quickly changed to the toasted grains and autumn leaves flavors I was expecting. It’s interesting that there is still a manifestation of green here even though this is obviously heavily roasted. For some reason, this tea made my mouth feel grainy or dusty or something. I wouldn’t really call it astringency but I’m not sure what caused it. Overall, a very tasty tea and I could see this being good with milk. I may try steeping this for longer or with more tea for an even stronger toasty flavor.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Toasted Rice

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
1466 tasting notes

This is my second loose sencha from my Den’s novice sampler. The loose leaves are long and slender and a beautiful rich green color. They smell very sweet and vegetal, mostly spinach. I brewed a teaspoon of leaves for one minute.

The brewed tea smells similar to the leaves, like sweet steamed spinach. At first sip, I was very surprised by the strength of the brew, even though I only steeped one minute. The same flavors that were in the other sencha are present in this one, but in different amounts. It has the same steamed spinachy flavor but there is much more sweetness here and a strong sweet grass note. The squash is there but less so, and there is no bitterness, there is a sweet aftertaste instead. Overall, this sencha is much stronger in flavor, with a deeper spinach flavor and more sweetness. I think I actually prefer the cheaper version. Maybe I’ll be a bancha kind of person. :P

Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

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

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This is the last sample I chose from Whispering Pines. I was feeling brave today! What I mean is, the smell of this tea is very intimidating and I was nervous to try it the first time I opened it to take a whiff. It’s like sniffing a campfire. There is such an extreme smoke aroma to the dry tea, along with a hint of pine and herbs. It’s very lovely to look at – a mix of black tea leaves, cloves, a little bit of rooibos, and these lovely straw-colored dried stalks that I can only assume are cedar leaves. I brewed 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes.

The brewed tea also smelled very smoky, although less so than the dry leaf. There was also an aroma of black tea, cedar, and a little bit of clove. I was getting more and more excited to try this unique tea. I was surprised to find that I really enjoy this tea – it is quite smoky but in a lovely way. At the beginning of the sip I get mostly smoke and earth. In the middle it transformed into woody cedar and pine notes, and at the end of the sip I caught hints of clove and a light cooling sensation from the pine. There is definitely a lingering smokiness that stays on the palate long after drinking. It doesn’t sound that pleasant, but it is. Two thumbs up for such a unique and tasty blend! I really can’t wait to try their S’mores tea, I was sad that it wasn’t on the sample list. Soon! :)

Flavors: Cedar, Clove, Earth, Pine, Smoke

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Your review made me less afraid of this tea….I don’t like smoky notes at all, but if it’s subtle and not like a bloody forest fire, perhaps I will be able to try it!

Cameron B.

I don’t know about subtle, but it does blend very well with the other flavors. Definitely worth a try.

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drank Decaf Blueberry by Adagio Teas
1466 tasting notes

This was a tea from my swap with Arshness, aka Miss Adagio. ;) The dry leaf looks like generic black tea with a few crushed leaves (apparently they’re raspberry leaves). Mine didn’t have any dried blueberries like the picture does. Dry, it smelled vaguely blueberryish. I steeped it for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea has a lovely genuine blueberry smell. Tastewise, I am a bit disappointed with this one. The level of blueberry is good, it’s not too strong but very present, however I do not enjoy the tea base at all. I’m not sure if this is because it’s a decaf version, but the black tea is very nondescript with a very one-note generic “black tea” taste. Sad face. Thanks Arshness for the sample. :D

Flavors: Blueberry

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sami Kelsh

I’ve only ever had the decaf base in blends where, well, it’s pretty obscured among other things, so making a mental note of its meh-ness on its own. Boo.


Weird. Maybe I just have bad taste in tea, because to me, this is like a cuppa blueberry pie. :) I sweeten it and add milk or creamer usually and it really brings it out.
The decaf tea itself doesn’t stand out, but the blueberry is the feature here so that’s fine by me.
Sorry you haven’t enjoyed the teas I sent so far. I felt they were all really good ones. >_<

Cameron B.

I’ve been trying to drink my teas without sugar or milk, but I’ll probably drink the rest of this one that way. The blueberry flavor was good though. :P And it’s not your fault if I don’t like something when I chose which ones I wanted to try! Silly.


Haha, I just found your reply because I was reviewing this tea again and yours was the only other comment showing up. :)
Did you ever try it again with sugar and milk?
I still love this tea so much. :)
And I know but I still feel bad if you didn’t get any positive experiences out of it. >_< Sometimes it happens to me too haha but I always enjoy getting a chance to try something even if nothing turns out to be a keeper.

Cameron B.

Hah, honestly I don’t remember! XD

And whether I like it or not, it’s still a positive experience because then I’ve tried it and know for sure. Haven’t seen you around here lately!


I have been so busy lately. Haven’t drank much tea. I’m getting back into it again. I had some rough health issues and was very tired so I was not getting up and making tea as much. But I’m still here. I check it every day. :)

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This is the second sample I ordered from Whispering Pines. After seeing how popular and well-liked it is around these parts, I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. The dry leaf is a mixture of black and golden leaves. I know there’s vanilla bean in here but I think it’s camouflaged among the black leaves. It smells just like hot chocolate mix to me! Very creamy milk chocolate with vanilla sweetness akin to marshmallows. Oh, and I steeped 1.5 tsp for 3 minutes.

The brewed tea smells delicious! Like deep, sultry vanilla mixed with dark cocoa and notes of caramel sweetness. I can see why everyone loves this tea! There is a very present cocoa taste that hits me first when I take a sip. The vanilla is there but more subdued than I expected (I read in a recent note that the presence of chocolate can cause us to not notice vanilla as much, maybe this is the case). I also taste warm freshly baked bread (maybe a sweet, rich bread like brioche or challah). I never really knew what “malty” meant in tea descriptions, but I think I can taste it in this tea, especially in the aftertaste – sort of a rich almost sourness but in a pleasant way, like yeast dough or dark beer. I would describe it as foamy. :P I drank the second half of this cup with a wee bit of sugar and I thought it helped the vanilla immensely (sorry all you purists). I’m not really sure I’m qualified to rate this tea but it was super delicious, so too bad! Aww, it’s all gone…

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Vanilla

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

if you want mustard in your tea and it makes you smile to have it that way, have it that way!! :) Ain’t no wrong or right when it comes to tea…there’s just tradition and non-tradition. I was reading this morning that the Quakers took their tea with butter and salt!!! Maybe it’s good… :)




Memily, it was just an example. :) Although if someone liked it, why not?


Haha I wrote that comment very late at night and was clearly scandalised by the suggestion.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

We love this tea,malty in tea to me can be much like a dark porter beer :)
great review!

Cameron B.

Thanks Tommy. I think I’ll try their North Winds blend next since it’s the same thing without the vanilla bean. I didn’t get a ton of vanilla from this anyway.


I really loved their North Winds. It was a straightforward and absolutely brilliant blend! I just ordered several ounces of it yesterday!

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This is the sample that was included with my recent Della Terra order. First off, mine looks nothing like the picture. There aren’t any flower petals or sugar pearls. It looks like dark tea leaves (puerh looks very similar to black to me) with some little brown dried fruit bits and one giant piece of freeze-dried strawberry. I broke the strawberry apart and mixed it in. There are also a few small cubes of some fruit – could be pineapple. The dry tea smells very fruity. It has a very tart strawberry mixed with some other fruit that could be pineapple or peach. I also get a little bit of vanilla and some mustiness in the back. I’ve never had a puerh before so this could be interesting. I steeped it for 4 minutes.

The brewed tea smells like musty earth and wood with a little vanilla and maybe a tiny hint of strawberry in the back. I drank the first half of the cup unsweetened and I found it very odd, though not unpleasant. There is a distinct taste of ash and musty earth and wood. I don’t really get any vanilla but I do get a little taste of fruitiness in the background. I added a little bit of sugar (half teaspoon maybe) and it definitely brought out the fruit and the vanilla a bit more.

I assume that earthy and woody taste is typical of a puerh just from reading about others’ experiences with them on here. I was just happy that I didn’t get any fishiness in the smell or taste! I realize this is most likely not super-fantastic puerh considering Della Terra is known for their dessert and flavored teas and not their tea base. I would definitely be open to trying puerh again though! :)

Flavors: Ash, Earth, Musty, Strawberry, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

rinse first, always rinse puerh

Cameron B.

Thanks, I’ll try that next time. I have some in the fridge cold-brewing right now also. :)

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This was one of the samples that I ordered from Whispering Pines. It smells totally amazing – like cinnamon and berry and baked apples. Yummy! I did the recommended 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes.

I actually made this twice. My first try was last night, and I thought the tea came out very weak for my tastes. So I put off writing anything about it until I tried it again today. So I made it again in the same way (the sample was just enough for two cups) hoping it would come out differently. However, it still tastes very weak to me. Reading through the other reviews of this tea, I can’t help but feel like I somehow did something wrong. I wanted to love this tea so much, I really love the smell of it. I think I’ll have to buy some in the future and try it again, just to see if this was a fluke…

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

I found my sample of one of their teas to be short of making 2 cups…. I used the whole sample on a 12 oz mug. Since I ordered the 3 pack of samples, on my next cup I’ll probably drop it to a 10 oz mug to get a bit more flavor, as it’s a sample and I’m supposed to decide if I’m going to order based on the one mug. Sorry you had a steep flop. I have them quite often, especially with samples!

Cameron B.

Luckily it’s a very inexpensive tea, so I’ll have no problem ordering some when I buy from Whispering Pines. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm, this is strange! Generally the thing I hear most about Elder Grove is that it’s strong! Hmm….

Donkeytiara, that is also strange…I personally scoop out two servings for each sample. It’s definitely possible that I underscooped or the tea was smashed on the way :( Sorry it didn’t fill your cup twice! Which sample was it, by the way?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

And Cameron, it’s possible that I didn’t shake up the sample tin enough before scooping. The chicory tends to sink to the bottom, and that’s where a lot of the boldness comes from.

Cameron B.

Don’t worry about it! The price is extremely reasonable so I’ll just have to order it one of these days. :D

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Thanks for understanding, and I’m glad you liked Golden Orchid, too! :D

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drank Sencha Fuka-midori by Den's Tea
1466 tasting notes

I got two senchas in my Den’s novice sampler. I decided to try this one first since it’s the… I don’t know whether to say “lower-grade” but it’s the less expensive of the two. I must say, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the volume of these loose samples. There’s enough for at least 3 or 4 cups in here! The dry leaf smells like a mixture of dried and cut grass, but it’s also very sweet and almost creamy-smelling as well. I brewed one teaspoon of leaves for 1 minute.

The aroma of the brewed tea is very distinctly vegetal. I catch mostly scents of steamed spinach and butternut squash with grassy notes blended in. There is still a hint of sweetness. This tea tastes quite vegetal as well – still maintaining that steamed spinach flavor mixed with a nice grassiness. At the end of the sip, there is a pleasant bitterness which mixes very well with a note of butternut squash or pumpkin. I was shocked to find that neither squash nor pumpkin are options when choosing flavors! I did send a suggestion to add these two to the list. Overall, I found this tea quite delicious and I’m glad I have more of it, and I’m excited to try the other variety from Den’s.

Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Vegetal

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

Sounds great :-)

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•2019 Sipdown Challenge!•
•7 full sipdowns and
•42 sample sipdowns

I am currently doing the #365DaysOfTea challenge via Instagram and Steepster! Please find my Instagram profile at the bottom of this bio!

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m 29 years old and currently living in Austin, Texas with my boyfriend of 5 years. We’re both software engineers working in the Semiconductor manufacturing field. I am a staunch lover of pugs and other squishy-faced dogs, although sadly I do not currently have one.

I am also an avid yarn collector (errr, I mean knitter!) when the hot Austin weather allows for it… Find me on Ravelry under the name LorenWeiss!

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.

I love swaps! If you see something in my cupboard that you’d like to try, just let me know via PM!

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms, including black, green, oolong, and white teas, as well as maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I am open to more exploration of puerh, but it’s not generally one of my favorites. I am not often a fan of fruit-based tisanes.

My very favorite straight teas tend to be from China, Japan, or Taiwan. I also enjoy matcha!

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, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially mango and pineapple.

Dessert: Again, all the things! 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 do very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. But I’m not crazy about rose and 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 main 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. Smoke can be tasty when it’s not heavy-handed.

Favorite Purveyors:
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Yunnan Sourcing

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.

My profile photo is by inkpug!


Austin, Texas



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