44 Tasting Notes

85

Thank you Kashyap for sending me such generous samples!

I really loved how the tea smelled when I opened the pouch. It reminded me of chocolate covered dried fruits. When brewed, the tea had an amber color and a faint citrus scent to it with some of that chocolatey goodness still. It tastes very similar to how it smells: crisp, smooth, chocolatey, and slightly fruity. Very well balanced and a joy to wake up with.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Kashyap

so glad you liked it!

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74

I’m almost done with this sample, but it’s another sample I won’t be getting more of again. It’s hard to talk about honeybush without bringing up rooibos, especially in this case. Having had Adagio’s vanilla rooibos, I can easily say I prefer the rooibos over honeybush. I’m more of a rooibos fan as it is, but it’s not to say I don’t enjoy honeybush- I just think each herb has its own advantages and preferred flavor combination.

For me, the vanilla and honeybush are good friends, but not a perfect match. The sweetness of the honeybush competes with the vanilla. Each one is trying to outdo the other one. The rooibos’ earthiness, not its sweet cousin the honeybush, pairs far better with vanilla.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Blood Orange by Adagio Teas
44 tasting notes

I finished my sample from Adagio today and I can’t say I’ll be getting more. It’s not bad- just rather unremarkable. I prefer other fruit tisanes to this one. I can’t review how it tastes warm because I only did iced, but I purposely avoided it hot. It definitely has this orange kool-aid, high c orange, or other sugary artificial orange drink aspect going on. Warm orange kool-aid just doesn’t appeal to me, so I opted for all iced.

It works rather well iced- very refreshing and citrus-y with a little bit of tartness from hibiscus (you know, the thing that just has to show up everywhere!). I blended this one a couple of times with honeybush vanilla from Adagio and it worked quite well to create a liquid creamsicle like flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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92
drank Sencha Shin-ryoku by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

Mmm… this stuff is addictive! It’s very tempting for me to brew a lot of this at a time, but I’ve been holding back and just doing 3 oz. cups because they turn out so well and force to me to cherish each sip.

This tea reminds me so vividly of the sea and salty waters. It’s the first thing I noticed. Surprisingly enough, the saltiness of it is a rather interesting aspect to the tea and not weird at all like you would imagine (no yucky salt water here). Like other reviewers have noted, it definitely does have a bitter aftertaste to it, but a little bitterness isn’t something that bothers me. I can get two very good infusions and somewhat weak third infusion out of it.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Cole

Love the depth of flavors in this unassuming tea — I have a packet in the freezer for when I run low on asamushi senchas. Brews two darn fine cups!

Kashyap

I’ve gotten this tea from the Tao of Tea and its amazingly wonderful…also is wonderful on salmon as a ‘spice’

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78

I have so many herbs in my cupboard and drink them all the time, so I might as well write about them. People consume herbs like peppermint and chamomile for taste purely all the time, so why not something like nettle? So here begins my review into my collection of herbal treasures.

Nettle is the epitome of an earthy taste to me. There is nothing that smells, tastes, and resembles the fragrant dirt that lines the earth more than nettle. With every sip you literally imbibing the potent fibers of the ground. For some that may be off putting, but perhaps if you’re into pu-erh, this could be just the herb for you.

Imagine that after a rainstorm the rain has penetrated the ground and fallen leaves. Now imagine making an infusion out of said leaf- there’s the taste of nettle- the taste of earth itself.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Kashyap

the language you use in this description is lovely

Ashley Bain

love this. I was into herbs before tea, too. I’ve been working on an organic bodycare line for a couple of years. nature amazes me, and I wonder why more people don’t appreciate and utilize all of it’s beneficial wonders.

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87
drank Huo Shan Huang Ya by TeaSpring
44 tasting notes

I feel slightly bad about stealing a lot of this tea from my boyfriend! Normally we don’t drink the same tea (he’s into Chinese greens), but I’ll try at least a cup for curiosity. Well, this one caught me by surprise.

This is the second yellow tea I’ve tried, so I can’t accurately make associations with other teas. It’s very nutty- a quality which I really, really love. It also has a corn-like taste to it. It almost reminds me of eating corn slathered with some butter (which I never add to corn interestingly enough). Otherwise, it’s pretty light and delicate, which I would expect from a Chinese tea, but it’s unique enough to hold my attention and warrant further exploration into Chinese territory. So far this tea beats all the Chinese greens I’ve had, though!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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97
drank Gyokuro Kin by Den's Tea
44 tasting notes

Excuse me Gyokuro, where have you been hiding all my tea-drinking life? My first Gyokuro and, needless to say, I am happily in love.

This is my second time drinking it and tinkering around with the steeping time and temperature. The first time I killed it on the second steep by following Den’s instructions (180* at 30 sec). I should have known better from reading about Gyokuro and its low temperature preference, but sometimes I like finding out these things myself (and wasting expensive tea in the meantime).

This cup I brewed is deliciously buttery and sweet. Even onto the third infusion it’s holding onto flavor. I didn’t think I enjoyed sweetness in tea, especially green, but this is a different kind of sweetness- a mellow, buttery and grassy one. The first infusion was vegetal and grassy. The second infusion was probably my favorite, highlighting the buttery taste I can’t get enough of. The third was like the second, but less potent.

Steeping notes: 3oz. with 2 g
1. 145* at 90 sec.
2. 160* at 60 sec.
3. 170* at 90 sec.

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Cole

One of my favorites! Whenever I’m craving some udon or Japanese food, I always turn to this. Can’t beat the umami and sweetness for the price!

Brittany

Agreed. Oh, and I used your notes as a guideline because I had I never brewed this tea before!

Cole

Hahaha, that’s great — I thought those numbers looked familiar :) This was the first Gyokuro I ever tasted, and it looks like it blew me away just as much the first time as it did you. I could ice and chug cups of Sencha all day, but there’s something special about a nice, thick cup of Gyokuro.

Brittany

Haha, I’m currently drinking sencha. I was sitting here thinking I should have just made a ton of sencha right now instead of a little cup. Gyokuro, on the other hand, is a type of tea that forces you to brew smaller quantities and just sip slowly. It’s going to be one of those teas I look forward to brewing in the afternoon and just unwinding with.

Kashyap

love gyokuro….even better to steep it into butter and baste salmon with it …yum

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72

I was excited to find a hazelnut flavored tea. Back in the days when I used to consume coffee, I would always go for anything hazelnut – be it flavored coffee itself or the flavored creamer. And so, I just had to grab a sample of this one seeing as love both hazelnut and honeybush.

It’s not a bad one by any means, but it’s definitely lacking. Unlike in the coffee I used to drink, the flavor of the hazelnut doesn’t carry over into the tea. As to be expected, I really like the smell of it, but that’s where it ends. I’m fooled in to thinking I’ll be enjoying hazelnut only to discover I’m just drinking honeybush. The flavor would probably be brought out more by adding sweetener, but I think the sweetness would just be overwhelming for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
mpierce87

Have you tried Florence by Harney and Sons? I am also a former coffee drinker and I find Florence to be rich in both chocolate and hazelnut flavors.

Brittany

I haven’t tried that one, but I’ve read good things about it, so if I ever order from H&S it would be something to keep in mind. Thanks.

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95
drank Rooibos Vanilla by Adagio Teas
44 tasting notes

Mmmm… a new favorite of mine! I love rooibos and I love vanilla, so I figured that mixing the two together would just have to create a fantastic, tasty union. This tea is perfect for any time of the day, but I especially like it for the nighttime hours to help me unwind. It’s also really good with almonds (just discovered it by accident when I happened to be eating them at the same time!). I like how both flavors don’t overwhelm the other. So often I get a rooibos flavored blend only to discover I taste merely the flavor and not the rooibos. Not this time- vanilla and rooibos work happily in harmony together. A creamy, mellow vanilla and a earthy, sweet rooibos… why did I buy only a sample? Oh, so I can have an excuse to go on a tea shopping adventure yet again.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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87

I didn’t know just how much I would enjoy Chinese black teas, especially Keemuns. I’ll be sad to see this sample go, but excited to try out different Keemuns!

As the description implies, the word “rustic” is fitting. As ambiguous as the term may seem at first in regards to describing a tea, I think it’s perfect. When I think of the word, I think of some pastoral, laborious scene in the midst of a summer heat. That’s exactly what drinking this tea reminds me of. It’s as if I am imbibing some long bygone days of another century.

Slightly chocolaty, not the least bit smokey like some Keemuns, this would make a perfect dessert tea or even, like my favorite application, the perfect breakfast tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I’m currently attending college. I’m just about done with my undergraduate study in art history. In my free time I love playing piano (Chopin!) and composing music. I also enjoy writing poetry. Really, I just love the Romantic period in art (with the exception of the visual arts- go figure) and continually draw my inspiration from that era.

I’m very interested in nutrition and using herbs to heal. Herbs also taste great, so that’s just another bonus! Before I got into tea, I got into herbs first. I think I’m pretty weird in this regard. I can’t imagine many people would find drinking a decoction made from tree bark to be very tasty… and yet I do. Purely for taste, I love peppermint and ginger more than any other herb. I could, and do, drink those almost daily. I also love rooibos and honeybush.

I have a penchant for Indian & Chinese black teas and Japanese greens, but I’ll try anything once. I’m trying to get into other types of tea as well. I prefer to drink my teas plain, but I’ll very seldom add honey to some herbs (ginger).

Location

United States, Ohio

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