517 Tasting Notes

70
drank White Symphony by Adagio Teas
517 tasting notes

The first steep at 180 degrees for two and a half minutes was kind of bad. It wasn’t completely bitter, so I’ll say it was halfway bitter. Not great.

The second steep for five minutes began normal and then went downhill. I think I might be letting the tea cool off too much as I drink it. It doesn’t taste nearly as good lukewarm as it does piping hot.

This is the last of my sample, and I’m not too sad to see it go. Though I am sad that I could never duplicate the same experience as that very first cup of tea. It was complex and beautiful.

Unfortunately, it never was again. Because of this, I’m lowering the rating from 80 to 70.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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68

I’m having a bad day, so maybe I’m taking it out on this tea. But it’s not that great. It’s astringent and a tad bitter and tastes more like a green tea than a white. The jasmine is flaky and meh. I don’t know. I guess I’ll try it again and rate it then. I really wanted to like it. :(

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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82
drank Lady Grey by Twinings
517 tasting notes

The divine Lady Grey is getting a boost from 75 to 82. She’s been very good to me lately, and I find that I’ve been craving her as soon as I arrive at work. :)

Uniquity

She really grows on you, eh? : )

CHAroma

Yep! :)

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80
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
517 tasting notes

So, it’s been a long weekend. I went to a socially awkward party, had to move everything in my kitchen out of it and then back in (roach spraying, yuck), got about 6 Ezpass violations in the mail (apparently there was a problem with our transponder) and fought with my boyfriend. All in all, not one of the better weekends.

But there’s always my loyal friend, Tea, to turn the day around! Tonight, it’s Adagio’s Silver Needle. This is the third Adagio white tea I’ve tried from the sampler pack.

The dry leaves have that familiar hay smell, but the leaves themselves are very different! I’m sure for all you out there that have had white tea countless times, the long and skinny white-haired leaves aren’t that interesting anymore. But I thought they were wicked cool! It was that much more fun to measure out the tea leaves. I can’t believe how pristine and uniform they are. But on to the tasting…

Slightly sweet, slightly vegetal. Definitely getting artichoke. Overall, a very pleasant cup of tea. It’s not amazing and probably not my favorite of the three (white peony takes the cake). But I can feel the stress melting away. I think I’ll need about 11 more cups to be back to my normal self. Time to find out if this tea is up to the challenge!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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99

Mmmm!!! Uber spicy!!!

Starbuck’s Chai Tea Latte doesn’t leave anything to be desired, except more when your cup is empty. It’s delicious, hot, creamy, and ultra-chai spicy!

The cinnamon wasn’t overpowering, so I was still able to taste the other spices underneath. That’s uncommon in chais I’ve had, where usually the predominant (and sometimes only) taste is cinnamon.

This latte was so spicy it actually burned my throat a little on the way down! Not a bad burn. More like piquance. Totally unexpected!

This is a good place to start if you’ve never had chai before. It’s a great experience and woke me up for work. I ordered it with skim milk, and it was still frothy and creamy and delicious. Two thumbs way up! :)

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72
drank Chai Spiced Apple by Twinings
517 tasting notes

Pro: great blend of chai spices. Con: not very strong.

This kind of tastes like watered down hot apple cider. I wish it were stronger. The spices are nice, and I can taste the apple. But it’s just not quite there enough for my liking.

I added a small amount of milk & sweetener, and it did bring out the apple a little more. But I think I’ll make this again with 2 teabags.

Overall: good, not great.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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70
drank White Symphony by Adagio Teas
517 tasting notes

The dry leaves smelled very hay-like, quite similar to the White Peony. But as soon as the leaves were wet, they smelled completely different! More like steamed vegetables. The liquor is very pale and almost colorless.

The taste actually mimics the flavor of the dry leaves. Primarily, I taste hay in the sip and steamed veggies in the aftertaste. I’m actually surprised how long the flavors linger. And the flavor just keeps changing, even though there’s no tea in my mouth! It’s insanity!

It’s sweet and complex and delicious. There’s one element I’m tasting that’s almost like half and half, but very light and subtle. So good! This tea just keeps changing and showing me new dimensions.

Hmm, but the second steep is a little disappointing. It seems to have lost all of its complexity and layered flavors.

I’m a little confused on steeping time though. I’ve seen completely contradictory information on the Internet. One site said to steep the leaves for over 5 minutes, even up to 15 minutes on the first steep. Another site said to steep the leaves for only 1 minute or less. What gives? Can anyone give me some advice?

Here’s what I did: 1st steep at 185 degrees for 2 minutes. 2nd steep at 180 degrees for 4 minutes. 3rd steep at 180 degrees for 9 minutes.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Kava Stress Relief by Yogi Tea
517 tasting notes

WARNING: Read the label before drinking this tea!

Where to start? This is my first Yogi tea. This one in particular was recommended to me by a friend. It’s advertised to “ease tension and promote relaxation.*” The asterisk elaborates that “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” Fairly standard language. I actually work for the FDA, so I’m used to seeing this kind of disclaimer on products. What I wasn’t prepared for were the major warnings listed on the tea packet:

“Ask a health care professional before use if you have or have had liver problems, frequently use alcoholic beverages or are taking any medication. Stop use and see a doctor if you develop symptoms that may signal liver problems (e.g., unexplained fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, vomiting, dark urine, pale stools, yellow eyes or skin). Not for use by persons under 18 years of age or by pregnant or breastfeeding women. Not for use with alcoholic beverages. Excessive use or use with products that cause drowsiness may impair your ability to operate a vehicle or heavy equipment.”

JEEZ!!!!! And these warnings are contradicted by the advertisements on the box:

“We think before we blend. How will our recipes work with body and mind?” And “Health is found in nature. We work with what nature already offers rather than trying to concoct it. We don’t have laboratories. We have kitchens.” And “For a stronger effect, use 2 tea bags. On especially challenging days, drink 3 to 4 cups.”

So, first you warn me not to drink it excessively. Then you tell me to use 2 tea bags and drink 3-4 cups a day. Isn’t that somewhat excessive?

Additionally, you tell me not to drink it if I’m taking ANY medications at all. How can you expect the average consumer not to be taking any medications at all? What specifically are you trying to warn me against combining? Should I not drink this if I take an Advil? Should I not drink this if I’m on birth control? Should I not drink this if I’m on cholesterol or blood pressure medication? Does this tea really interfere with ANY medication that I take? Giving a warning that vaguely lumps all medications together seems fishy.

This is scary! My first impression was that the tea smelled weird. There’s something a little off about it. But I generally get that impression with herbal teas, so I didn’t dwell on it. I took a sip and found that even though it smelled funky, I could only taste hot cinnamon water. I’m really not getting any other flavors at all. Just cinnamon.

But after reading the box, I’m afraid to drink any more of it! Especially because I can’t taste that funky thing I’m smelling. I’m afraid of what this “tea” will do to my body. I don’t drink alcohol very often, but just the possibility that drinking this tea will hurt my liver is a huge concern!

I thought tea was supposed to be healthy. I thought tea was supposed to be good for you. All I’ve ever heard are the positive impacts of drinking tea (with the exception that it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb iron).

What the heck is this in my cup?? I personally have not had any ill effects from the two tiny sips I’ve consumed today. But I warn everyone out there, beware of Yogi teas!

A tea that requires this much warning before consumption isn’t normal. I’m tempted to alert my FDA colleagues to this tea just because a warning label might not be sufficient for keeping an unsafe product on the market.
Consumer beware!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Uniquity

Did they include an ingredients list amongst all other claims, precautions and warning labels?

CHAroma

INGREDIENTS: Carob Pod, Indian Sarsaparilla Root, Organic Cinnamon Bark, Organic Ginger Root, Organic Barley Malt, Kava Root Extract (Kavalactones 30%), Organic Cardamom Seed, Natural Hazelnut Flavor, Stevia Leaf, Natural Licorice Flavor, Natural Cinnamon Oil.

Brittany

The only other problem I can see from Yogi Teas (and it’s not just them, but a lot of herbal blends) is that oftentimes they use licorice root to sweeten and balance out flavors that many people would find too bitter. Licorice root can destroy potassium levels easily, so it’s not the best thing to use so loosely.

Brittany

The warning comes from the Kava Kava root. Personally, I think it’s a bit exaggerated, especially in the amount they’re probably using. Kava Kava root isn’t really extracted well in water anyway (the native people chew the root and their saliva breaks down the kavalactones). There’s no need to make this tea a daily tea- they really should be more specific- but there’s no reason to be alarmed in consuming every now and then.

CHAroma

Kava is ranked among the top 10 herbs sold in the United States and Europe. In a double-blind clinical study testing Kava’s reputed stress relieving properties, Kava was proven not to relieve anxiety more than the placebo (study conducted in 2005 by the University of California: San Francisco). Conclusion: There’s no reason to risk your liver in the hope that you’ll be less stressed out. Drink a different tea!

CHAroma

Kava came under the FDA’s scrutiny after a number of European reports that it might cause damage to the liver – including hepatitis, cirrhosis, and liver failure. German & Swiss health authorities have identified approximately 30 such cases, including four cases requiring transplantation, and one death. As a result, regulatory agencies in Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, & the U.K., have taken actions ranging from warning consumers about the potential risks of kava use, to removing kava-containing products from the marketplace. In the U.S., FDA has received several reports of kava-related liver damage, including a report of a previously healthy young woman who required a liver transplant. Although the incidence appears to be rare, FDA believes consumers should be informed of potential risks.

Charles Thomas Draper

Ok, I don’t drink the tea but I have been taking Kava from Kona Kava for years now. I enjoy this at the end of a long time as some people enjoy alcohol. Like anything else, listen to your body….

Jeanette Lowe Hafke

I started drinking this (my Mom bought it for me) when i thought I was having stress and “stomach” issues. I had several incidents I had supposed were ulcer attacks. These attacks consisted of a cannonball like pain in my stomach, with nausea, vomiting (1x per “attack”) As time went on these “attacks” became more frequent, more painful, longer in duration and shorter span between these attacks. I became more and more fatigued. I was STILL sure it was an ulcer due to current major life stressors.

I JUST spent 95% of my vacation in the hospita, out of state (Sunday —> Tuesday) . This final attack that sent me running to the ER? ALSO had orange urine, started going jaundice, fever, in addition to cannonball like pain in my stomach, nausea, vomiting (5x this “attack”), and horrific pain throughout my back.

Liver levels? 30x normal. Should have been 30, they were 900. I have had tests up the wazoo (MRI, Sono, Vascular Sono, CT scans, Endsoscope)

Note: I had been drinking several Teavana teas prior and while using this tea. Did some Teavana tea actually start an issue it and this made it way worse? Or was it just Teavana all along? I don’t know for sure… I have had more blood and tests than I care to say in the last 5 days. I had to get back home to my doc to follow up. I now have to see a GI to follow up as well. I’m MUCH better, but still very far from alright and still in some level of pain and discomfort.

Be very careful with ANY herbals, even as innocent as they may seem … I didn’t read the label as I didn’t buy this, but boy I wish I had …

CHAroma

Wow, Jeanette. I am so sorry to hear about your experience, and I hope you start feeling better soon. If you think this was in any way related to the tea that you’ve been drinking, please take a moment to report it to the FDA. Information on who to contact is contained at this link: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm

Please keep us updated here too. The Steepster community is always here for you, and if there’s anything we can do, just let us know. I’ll pray for your recovery.

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30
drank Lotus by Tazo
517 tasting notes

It’s a Tazo tea day!

Hmm, this doesn’t taste much like a green tea. The liquor is very dark, golden/amber in color. It reminds me of the color of honey.

It actually tastes a little like honey too. But not the honey from bees, more like agave nectar. With a little sweetener, it’s drinkable. But not delicious.

Strange, this. I’m getting a bitter taste that’s reminiscient of oversteeping a lower quality tea. Really no grassy greenness at all. Not much in the way of floral lotus either (unless lotus smells/tastes like agave nectar).

It’s too bad they market this as a green tea. The average American consumer who has never tried real green tea will be led astray by this imposter.

It’s back to my loose leaf stores at home! No more mass marketed bagged teas for me!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

If it contains Lotus it will have a similar effect to Kava. It’s also called the narcotic of the Nile….

CHAroma

Kava is nothing like Lotus. Blue Lotus has mild psycho-active properties and can act as a mild sedative. Kava interacts with medication and can kill your liver (thus killing you). They are completely different substances.

Charles Thomas Draper

yes of course they are completely different. As far as it killing your liver, I believe that started in Germany where they were using other parts of the plant other than the root.

CHAroma

None of the studies I read applied only to one part of the Kava. It’s probably safest just to not risk it.

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100

This is one of the best drinks I’ve ever had in my entire life! Don’t bother to drink this tea hot without the lemonade. Suffice it to say, it’s not a pleasant experience (see oozing rose hips: http://steepster.com/Charoma/posts/85951).

But this, THIS is my one true love!

Preparation
Iced

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Profile

Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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