132 Tasting Notes


I’m not much of a fan of fruity teas but I’m always in search of a good chocolate tea, plus I love puerh. So my expectations were guardedly high. What I found was a delightfully strawberry, not-so-much-chocolate, very light puerh. The flavor is mostly one of those small ripe strawberries, the sweet ones, rather than the lush large red ones. Unfortunately I have to search a bit for the puerh, and the chocolate is subtle and phantom-like, appearing and disappearing. Drank it nude (well, the tea was nude), but looking forward to seeing the flavor development with a little almond milk. Will also use a bit more tea next time to see if that will intensify the chocolate or the puerh.

If I had to attach one descriptive word to this tea it would be “fun.”

Thanks for the sample, Crystal, big score on this one!

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drank Russian Morning No. 24 by Kusmi Tea
132 tasting notes

My favorite aspects of this tea are its smoothness and its perfectly mild maltiness. I’m not getting smoke like a lot of y’all are. Also, I’m finding its flavor intensity more middle of the road, but maybe that’s because I enjoy stronger blacks. I agree with Joel’s take on the Assam predominance. Thanks to Crystal, for the sample.

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drank Chocolate by Adagio Teas
132 tasting notes

Kind of chocolatey, a little astringent but still smooth enough. I added an extra 30% to the basket for the 2nd cup but that didn’t do much to improve its wateriness. The flavor is pleasant so I can see that it would be a good tea to blend with others but too weak and a little flat-flavored on its own. Trying it with a little almond milk only watered down the flavor, no enhancement. My quest for a satisfying chocolate tea goes on…

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drank Chocolate Chai by Wegmans
132 tasting notes

As the other reviewers have noted, the flavor is much milder than the fragrance. This might be a good thing, though, if, like me, you’re a little wary of the sharpness encountered with some types of chai. Coming from this viewpoint, the first sips of this were a welcome relief: good complement of flavors without any bite. It’s smooth and it has some depth. Good both with and without almond milk. Cinnamony and just barely chocolatey enough to be satisfying, unlike with other chocolate teas where I’m left thinking ‘yeah, right, where’s the chocolate?’ It’s a good low-calorie treat for a winter day!

5 min, 0 sec

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drank Cocoa Canela (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
132 tasting notes

When you use enough of this, it’s a satisfying chocolately drink, unlike pretty much every other chocolate tea I’ve tried. I’m not getting the anticipated mate flavor, though. The spiciness of the cinammon is pronounced and might be just a hair too much, but not enough to keep me from drinking it. Especially good on this first snowy day of the season in metro DC.


Guessing it arrived safely, then?


Sure did, thanks Valerie — PM’d you 5 days ago, remember the laugh about the postal clerk who I converted to steepster? Just had my first taste of it this AM, pretty nice.


Oops, forgot! I’ve sent out so many swaps I’m having trouble keeping track.

Glad you’re enjoying it more than I did! :D

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This is at the top of the chart for puerh, for me. Drinking it, I feel as if I’m descending into my own private cavern of meditative bliss. I wish I had more of this tea! If anyone would like to trade, please pm me!

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drank Bai Lin Gong Fu by Canton Tea Co
132 tasting notes

This is a different tasting tea, for sure. I can actually see where TeaEqualsBliss is getting ravioli in the flavor. Ha! That’s a great catch. What it most reminded me of, though, is over-ripened fruit, like a banana or a peach that’s so soft and brown that it’s starting to let off an almost fermented sugar, sticky, rich sweet smell. Maybe with an edge of caramel, but more sour than caramel’s malty sweetness. I enjoyed it mostly because it’s exceedingly smooth rather than for the flavor which, while not unpleasant, wouldn’t draw me to seek this out again.

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I enjoyed this but not as much as my fellow steeps, of course because I’m a hard sell with flavorings. That said, I appreciated the smoothness and subtle minty aftertaste that Lori mentioned — a bit of a tingle at the end, interesting for a tea without mint. The vanilla and honey blend well. Although it’s soft and not perfumey, the vanilla overtakes the flavor of the tea, itself. I think it’d be a better iced tea, though, as everyone mentions, and I’ll look forward to that. But I’m rating here for hot, not iced…


I think this is the tea I’m most sad about not being able to find anymore after some of the 52teas blends.

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As always, I need to preface this by acknowledging that perfumey teas aren’t my thing. But I love vanilla and caramel, both of which are abundantly present in this tea. Just too abundant for my preference. And I’m not picking up the underlying tea flavor.

Second steep the vanilla arrives at a nicer, subtler level, so as it steamed off the pour I was looking forward to the cup, thinking my strategy next time I pull out this tea will be to give it a quick pre-steep rinse. Unfortunately, along with the perfume, the tea seems to have lost its depth and complexity. It’s got a nice fragrance but it all goes flat and ends with astringency. Tried adding almond milk as an afterthought, but that didn’t help.

I can see how folks who lean toward flavored teas would love this, because the first steep is a nice strong vanilla-caramel, and very true caramel, at that. As for me, I’ll try it again with a quick rinse.

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drank Zealong Pure by Chicago Tea Garden
132 tasting notes

Drinking this is a pleasure. Nice spring floral melody with mildly roasty undertones. Just astringent enough to make you want to drink more, but the astringency is tempered by the natural sweetness. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to add sweetener to this — it’s that sweet. The first feature that hits you is the great soft yet bright honeysuckle flavor, followed immediately by the surprising butteriness. Together, this rated a spontaneous ‘wow’ and a smile. Not a bad tea day! Only one caveat: if, like me, you steer away from perfumey teas, even if naturally perfumey, this might be too much for you since it was almost at my limit. It would be great to serve to guests you’re hoping to expose to great teas.

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Strong preference for exploring teas au naturel, and unflavored (except for unprocessed ingredients, e.g., cocoa shells/nibs, vanilla beans, flowers, fruits…). Favorites lean in the direction of rich caramelly, malty blacks, any puerh, fresh floral oolongs and whites that have some dimension.

I am always up for swaps.

Beyond the experience of tea, I’m interested in exploring its medicinal aspects. Other interests … yoga, creative veggie cooking, environmental issues, animal welfare, music/guitar, lefty politics, preventive health/nutrition, biking, swimming, foosball, photography.

Here’s how I rate ’em:

95+: euphoria-inducing, le petite mort
91-94: extraordinary, exhilarating
85-90: delicious
81-84: definitely enjoyable
75-80: good, solid stuff
65-74: I’ll drink it, but without enthusiasm
45-64: something redeeming about it, but not much
31-44: just barely drinkable


Metro DC

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