160 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey Bravo by Adagio Teas
160 tasting notes

Just thought I would add this happy little tidbit of info!
A European sweet shop just opened in Ecuador (Quito) about a month ago and I finally had the chance to go and see what it was about over the weekend!

I found Earl Grey Macaroons! I bought some to bring home and enjoyed them with a cup of this Earl Grey Bravo. The combination was heavenly!

I now have the desperate urge to go buy more macaroons to have with my tea! Or even better, learn how to make them myself! : )

Ashley Bain

earl grey macaroons?! Yum!


Yes! Very yum! And in Ecuador!?! : ) Needless to say I was a very happy girl when I found them!

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drank Jazz Mint by SpecialTeas
160 tasting notes

Work has sorta taken over my life lately. Both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because I stay busy and active but also not that great because I spend less time at home and with the ones I love (not to mention no time to sip a great cup of tea).

I found a small sample of this tea that I must have been saving from years ago, considering that Special Teas no longer exists (RIP…). So, I figured that it was worth attempting to brew. The worst that could happen is that it taste old right?? (If I wake up alive and well I’ll let you know if there any side effects from drinking really old tea tomorrow… hahaha…)

Still smelled minty and jasminy. Probably smelled stronger at some point, but the combination of smells was very pleasant. Refreshing and relaxing at the same time if that makes any sense… So I prepared my favorite tea strainer and pretty glass tea cup and in went two teaspoons of tea leaf + 16oz of hot water.

After the two minute wait I ended up with a pleasant smelling liquor. It was a darker golden yellow than I imagined that it would be. So far so good.

I tasted the tea and WOW! Mint and jasmine are a great idea! The first impression to hit your tongue is all jasmine, and the aftertaste is all mint! I sipped and sipped and couldn’t get over the fact I had never preciously thought to try this. It was really good! Sadly, my enjoyment didn’t last long. After the last sip, I had the sad realization that I will never be able to buy this brew again… But it was worth trying! : )

Maybe mixing jasmine tea and mint will yield a similar result? I will definitively be trying that… I’ll update when I get around to it. Hopefully I will end up with a similar taste. If you haven’t tried the two flavors together yet (and you like jasmine and mint) you really should!

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Strawberry by Adagio Teas
160 tasting notes

Strawberries are an interesting flavor. Either you get it really right and it turns out delicious or you get it wrong and it is a disaster. I love the actual fruit, so I am very particular when it comes to flavoring.

I had tried this tea a few years ago, and I had the vague memory that I enjoyed it, so in my Adagio order of the moment, in went Strawberry. The dry tea doesn’t smell like strawberries at all to me. It smelled sweet and hinted of generic berry. It wasn’t a bad smell, but definitely a miss in terms of strawberry flavor!

As I have mentioned before (in my other reviews), Adagio’s black tea base tends to be a bit bitter if brewed for any longer than 3 minutes. I am now very careful to brew 2.5 minutes or 3 minutes at the very most. So, I used 2 teaspoons in 16oz of water and brewed away. The water developed a dark caramel color rather quickly and then transitioned to dark brown/maroon. The smell I was getting from the brew was still not strawberry. I could smell tea, sweetness (sugary smelling), and a bit of generic berry (leaning towards a “berry punch” smell). Not thrilling.

The taste was no better. I tasted only sweet black tea, and after I swallowed there was a bit of something trying to be strawberry lingering on my tongue. I did end up sweetening it with brown sugar, and it was muuuuch better that way. Drinkable, but I wouldn’t call it strawberry per se.

Drinkable, not re-orderable. I still have to try it iced, I will post when I get around to it.

As a side note, I do have memories of liking if a few years ago and I have shared this tea with non tea drinkers previously and they loved it. So if you think you would enjoy it, I will not try to persuade you away from trying it! : )

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Vanilla Oolong by Adagio Teas
160 tasting notes

I learned how to speak English and Spanish at the same time (English at home with my USA born Mom and Spanish everywhere else in Ecuador!), which meant that I spoke my own version of “Spanglish” while I tried to make my kid-size brain make sense out of two separate languages. Somehow, I managed to figure out that vanilla was a word that when mentioned, always ended up in me getting something yummy flavored. It was a great word and great taste! I have grown up (quite a bit…) and now can fluently order any flavor I want, vanilla is still at the top of my list (along with blueberries)!

Adagio has one of the best vanilla flavoring I have tried. Their vanilla black is incredible! When sweetened it tastes creamy enough to almost make you believe that it has milk in it! I had high hopes for this vanilla Oolong!

The smell is very creamy, I couldn’t help think of vanilla ice cream as I measured the tea out for my brew. I could smell a lot of woodiness from the leaves as well, but since it is a rather dark Oolong, it was to be expected.

The resulting liquor was golden brown and delicious smelling. The entire room smelled like vanilla. : ) There was definitely still some woodiness to the smell, but the vanilla creaminess was sufficient to mask it.

The taste, while not as great as the vanilla black or green from Adagio, was still good. I enjoyed the first cup with a bit a brown sugar that helped covered up the woodiness (which I didn’t want) and helped bring out the vanilla. Sadly, the vanilla taste wasn’t nearly as strong as the vanilla smell of the brew. The second steep was much less vanilla and a lot more woody. It tasted almost like Adagio’s Oolong #8 (which got a 69 from me). So, having had this experience with the second brew, I ditched trying for a third.

With vanilla, it is hard to go wrong. This tea will make me smile any day, though it didn’t make spot #1 for my favorite vanilla tea. I bought a 4oz bag of it, so I’ll have some around for a while. I read that it is good iced, I will have to try it!

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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drank Earl Grey Bravo by Adagio Teas
160 tasting notes

Wow… I am overwhelmed by the amount of reviews for Earl Grey Bravo! And the extensive array of opinions! Well… here comes my review and opinion to be added to the pile!

Earl Grey reminds me of being a little girl. Though my Dad drinks mostly herbal tea now, he used to always drink a cup of black tea after lunch. I can vividly remember him dunking his teabag in the hot water over and over again, then removing it and straining it against a spoon so that even the last drop fell into the cup. He would then leave the used tea bag on a little plate while he drank his tea. The smell of this tea bag was delicious to me. I have now learned that the tea bag held Earl Grey and that I, in fact, also really enjoy a good cup of Earl Grey!

Brief background being told… This Earl Grey has always been enjoyable to me. The leaves’ appearance is delightful. The dark tea leaves with the blue cornflower petals and the pieces of orange peal contrast beautifully in this blend. The smell is unmistakably sweet and citrusy. It is one of the stronger smelling Earl Greys, the Bergamot is syrupy and robust. I am happy with the smell, the strength and sweetness was just right for me! (It is worth remembering that I have a rather pronounced sweet-tooth…)

As I brewed the 2 teaspoons of leaves, the water turned dark quickly. As with all of the black teas that I have tried from Adagio, if you steep for any longer than 3 minutes, you end up with bitter and undrinkable liquid… The smell of the leaves is maintained as you brew.

The resulting brew has a super strong bergamot flavor (good if you like it, but then again, I can’t imagine someone drinking Earl Grey if the didn’t…) with the black tea popping up once in a while in the background. Definitely more bergamot flavor than black tea flavor… I have to add 1 teaspoon of sugar to this cup in order for it to be drinkable. Simply cannot stomache it if it isn’t sweetened.

I have found that over time, as I have tried more and more teas, this particular blend has tended to float towards the back of my cabinet. But it is still always there! All in all this is the strongest bergamot flavored Earl Grey I have tried. If you are curious, try it! You might be pleasantly surprised!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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I have a tooth ache… And that is awful. It is terrible that it hurts, but worst of all is knowing that tooth ache= unavoidable visit to the dentist. I am terrified of dentists, for no logical reason… So, to ease the pain and calm my nervousness, I made myself some tea!

I usually have a sweet tooth, sweetener in my tea and always hungry for dessert! But considering my tooth ache, I decided to go for unsweetened… Oolong was the perfect choice! I really love Oolongs, but usually only drink them if I have the time to drink through multiple infusions (I hate throwing away leaves that may not have the best part brewed out of them yet!)

The dry tea leaves were broken into many pieces… Lots of little bits of leaves and stems made me wary of what the result of brewing it may be. The smell was a bit woodier than I am used to my oolongs being. There was a hint of burnt caramel somewhere in the smell, and it was a good thing.

The first brew (3 mins) was just as woody as the tea smelled. It wasn’t an overwhelming taste, which was good. After a few sips I started tasting the caramel a bit and I was happy to find that it had a sweet finish and sweet aftertaste! The cup didn’t last long…

The second brew was a little less woody. It was lighter and the sweet and caramel taste took center stage. It took on a fruitier personality (Teasonality??? ; ) ). I think this brew was my favorite! I took my sips slowly enjoying the flavors that each one provided!

The third and last brew was similar to the second but definitely watered down. The flavors were weaker than I would like them to be. The initial woodiness was still there and the sweet flavor lingered at the end of every sip. Verdict= Second brew still the best…

So, in preparing my tea and writing about it, I have temporarily distracted myself from the throbbing reminder in my mouth that an impeding visit to the dentist was coming up… That makes this tea spectacular! haha…

All in all, it was a good oolong. Not one of the best I have tried, but I did enjoy drinking it. Not sure I will purchase it again. I will have to think that over after I have a cup without a tooth ache! Wish me luck at the dentist!

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Got home too tired for an actual dinner today. I ended up just eating a bowl of cereal. And after cereal, tea! : ) I never seem to be too tired for tea!

I looked for something fruity that I could sip while I finished up some work (yes… still working at 9pm… But at least I’m home!). I decided to steep some Peachberry Jasmine Sutra.

This tea has a history with me. I bought it a while ago. When I read the description online it sounded like something I would love. When I finally had it in my hands, I was sorta iffy about the smell. It smelled great, but not necessarily like something I would want to drink. The first time I brewed it I I had one taste of the tea and… it tasted exactly like Generic Bubble Gum Flavor!!!!! I tried it a few times, bubble gum every time, and gave up on it for a while.

When I brewed it today, I think I was too tired to think about the fact that it was supposed to be a mix of fruity and jasmine (the dry tea is quite a mix! You can see the Jasmine Pearls, Green rooibos, dehydrated strawberries, hibiscus…). When I sipped it (densely sweetened with brown sugar) it was a pleasant surprise! Yum! Liquid Bubble Gum!

So, I have found, that while this is a pretty horrible mix of Jasmine, peach, and berry, it is a pretty decent Bubble Gum flavored tea!!! (Or maybe bubble gum flavor actually is a sum of these flavors??? Doubt it…)

I do not love this tea. Especially since it tastes nothing like it is supposed to! I will finish off what I have left and it will probably be the end of this tea for me!

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Go Go Goji by Teavana
160 tasting notes

I got home late from work today and to make matters worse, I have a dentist appointment in the morning…. So, in order to wind down I decided to go trough my teas and organize them a bit (some of them had been sitting around for over 2 years!!!!!). As I went through my teas I came across Go Go Goji. The last time I shopped at Teavana (which was the last time I was in the US) I got 2 ounces of this tea free because it was being discontinued. Since it wasn’t something I was really looking forward to trying, it got lost in the back somewhere accompanying the 2 year old teas…

When I opened the bag, what got to me first was the fact that there were waaay too many lychee pieces in the tea. They were large and sticky and formed these weird looking balls of fluffy lychee, tea leaves, and what I assume are Goji Berries. I picked them apart enough to be able to scoop it out with a teaspoon (my fingers actually where sticky!). The smell was very floral with hints of lychee. I decided to use about 3 teaspoons instead of the recommended 1.5 teaspoons because I could’t imagine there being near to enough tea leaves in 1.5 teaspoons to even taste it at all….

I let it brew for the 5 recommended minutes. The liquor was a pleasant light yellow color. The smell of the brew was still very floral, but lychee was definitely a major player. I expected it to be overwhelmingly sweet (it seriously made my fingers sticky!) but it was only lightly sweet. Sweet was more of an aftertaste. The taste of this tea grew on me with each sip. I didn’t sweeten it and it did just fine.

Not one of my favorite teas, but still pretty good. Overall, it was an experience! Sadly it is discontinued, but I figured that someone might read over my adventure and identify! : )

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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This blend took me by surprise. I had not had good experiences with the combination of hot and citrus. Because of this, I avoided trying this tea for the longest of times. Since I live in Ecuador, I have to buy my tea in batches when I happen to travel or when someone is nice enough to bring me tea when they come visit. My last order, out of curiosity, I added this blend. I was pleasantly surprised!

It smells very fruity with pineapple and mango notes standing out and a bit of coconut?, with a citrusy smell lingering behind. As I with most Teavana teas I have tried, the ratio of tea to fruit was a bit frustrating. I wish there was a bit more tea to the blend and a little less random pieces of fruit…

After a relatively short brewing time of two minutes (recommended time) the liquor was a light pink color (delightful to watch brew!). The smell of the brew was similar to the smell of the leaves, but a bit weaker. The orange seems to be stronger once brewed, mellowing out the sweet smell that overwhelmed the dry blend. The taste was sip of sweet pineapple and mango (still tasting coconut?) and orange aftertaste. Delicious!

I would recommend this tea to anyone who want a sweet fruity tea. One of the best I have tried so far! Now a must have in my tea cabinet!

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Cinnamon by Adagio Teas
160 tasting notes

I am sorta sad to see that people seem to not share the love that I have for this tea. It is one of my absolute favorites.
The leaves smell like true cinnamon sticks, not like the candy but like the real thing. You can see the pieces of cinnamon stick in the leaves.
I have tried brewing it in different temperatures and steeping times. It does better in hotter water and 3 minute steeping time. Any longer and the black tea becomes a bit overwhelming and bitterness takes over.
The resulting liquor is sweet smelling and tastes just as cinnamony as it smells. It has a thick feel to it, almost syrupy in a good way. I like it best sweetened with brown sugar or splenda.
It is perfect on a rainy day or after a tough night. If you like cinnamon you will like this tea. I have been drinking it for years now and I still love it.

The only negative to this tea is that it does seem to eat at plastics… I think that the cinnamon flavoring is a bit strong for plastics to deal with and if the leaves are in contact with plastic for extended periods of time, it will eventually eat though it… So, best get a metal tin! : )

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I love tea and have since I was a little girl. Once I could buy my own tea, I began to explore and learn about the extensive and delicious world of tea!

Also, love my French Bulldog (named Sencha…) and my tea oblivious boyfriend. I enjoy ice skating (I am a part time coach), reading, writing, baking, running, and lots of sweets!

My favorite teas tend to be on the sweeter side. Both flavored and plain teas are great to me. Currently going through a flavored tea phase. Enjoying it greatly! : )


Quito, Ecuador

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