This is a (long overdue) sample from Kawaii433. I miss her! I heard she’s locked out of her account, I hope that gets resolved soon! She sent me a single piece of this and the rose version in our last swap. I love the cute star-printed plastic wrappers! :3

I figured I would steep this grandpa-style as the dragon ball would like take a bit to unfurl and I don’t generally do a lot of resteeps with my usual Western style. Using one piece for a 12-ounce glass tumbler so I can look upon the loveliness as this unfurls! Starting with 175-degree water for now.

I was surprised that the chrysanthemum blossoms softened and lifted off almost immediately! They floated to the top and settled there, being lovely and fluffy and pretty. Unfortunately I don’t think I taste them at all due to the enormous amount of tea here and the fact that it’s a rather robust Dian Hong variety.

The tea itself is rather intense (due to the concentration vs. amount of water) with strong, dark earth and leather notes. There’s a powerful maltiness here as well, and some softer wet wood flavors in the background. I get perhaps a hint of a very dark wheat bread. The wood increases a bit in prominence at the end of the sip, and lingers on the palate. I think I taste a very slight menthol note among all the deeper flavors.

Overall, it’s not my favorite. The tea itself isn’t terribly complex, and I tend to prefer the slightly lighter, more sweet potato-y Dian Hong teas. Unfortunately I didn’t taste the chrysanthemum at all, which honestly doesn’t surprise me given there are four small blossoms for such a large amount of black tea.

Still, perfectly pleasant to sip on at my desk while I work. :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Hay, Leather, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Smooth, Wood

175 °F / 79 °C 12 OZ / 354 ML

Yeah, I hope Kawaii is doing okay.

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Yeah, I hope Kawaii is doing okay.

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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: 2
~ Total 2021 Sipdowns: 400

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 also 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, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

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. 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 Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Taiwan Tea Crafts
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.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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