957 Tasting Notes

drank Peppermint by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

Finished up my sample of this last night. If I ever need a plain peppermint, this will be my choice (so far)!

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drank Cinnamon by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

Another from the Flavors sampler. Strong smell of cinnamon and some earthiness in the sample tin, and I can see little pieces of what look like cinnamon stick among the tea leaves.

The cinnamon is pronounced in the tea’s aroma as well, though not as strong as in the dry leaves. It smells delicious.

I don’t have the same reaction to the taste, but I think it’s because I had the Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice relatively recently which had a much richer, sweeter, cinnamon taste. This one isn’t particularly sweet. It’s more herbal in its cinnamon-ness, which is somewhat appealing in its own right. But as it’s a flavor I’m likely to reach for only once in a while, I’d likely pick only one for the tea library and would go with the H&S.

Chocolate is another story.

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I know I’m being lazy by not looking it up myself, but is a chocolate tea included in the sampler?


It appears that it changes from time to time. Chocolate wasn’t part of my sampler but it looks like it is part of the current Flavors one.


Okay, thanks! I just may have to get this flavors sampler!

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drank Blueberry by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

Another from the Flavors sampler. It has 5 teas in it instead of the usual 4. I’ve been pondering that, for no particular (or good) reason.

I’ve had blueberry flavored white tea that I liked quite a bit, but this is my first blueberry black tea. I’m a big eater of the blueberry, I have them on cereal at least a few times a week. So I’m excited to try this tea.

In the sample tin, the smell isn’t identifiably blueberry. It’s sweet and fruity, but it isn’t giving me berries. I’m also not seeing any of those big honking whole blueberries in the picture on this page in my sample, though admittedly I didn’t dig through to the bottom to look for one.

Interestingly, I’m getting a lot more blueberriness in the steeped tea’s aroma. It’s a kind of a high note that hovers over the tea right at the edges of the heat that it gives off in the cup. I wouldn’t say it’s strong, but it’s definitely blueberry. The liquor is a particularly lovely shade of that red infused orange/brown Ceylons often seem to have.

The flavor has blueberries! Pretty amazing, considering it can be something of a subtle flavor even in the fruit, that it can stand up to a black tea base. But there it is. A sweet and very definite blueberry flavor interwoven among the tea base.

It’s not as hard hitting as the apricot was, but I like it for what it is at least as much as I liked the apricot. It’s really hitting the spot today, as I’m under the weather with some nasty summer thing. Fever for the last few days, a cough, aches, weird electrical pains a day or so ago, and fatigue. The 6 year old had something similar about a week and a half ago, except he had a sore throat too, which fortunately I don’t have. The BF is coming down with it apparently. He was describing the electrical shooting pains this morning, so I know I’m not crazy…

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Oh no! I hope you feel better soon! Yay for the flavored sampler though, I’ve considered it before and your tasting notes make it sound really awesome.


Thanks mrawlins2, tea and rest is my motto for today! The flavors sampler is a good one, I was pleasantly surprised. One thing that is cool about it is I’m fairly sure they used the same base for all the teas. It helps (me at least) highlight the flavors if I’m not also trying to taste the tea each time for its own flavors, too.

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drank Passionfruit by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

Another from the Flavors sampler set.

Passion fruit is one of those tropical fruits that I know I’ve had but I can’t conjure the taste of as I sit here. I probably wouldn’t even be able to identify it in a line up, unless maybe by process of elimination if the others in the line up were limited to things like “orange” and “lemon” and “banana.” I like the name, though.

In the tin the tea smells fruity, in an airy, tropical, almost berry sort of way. Maybe the berry is from the Ceylon base.

The aroma of the tea is interesting. Something about it doesn’t smell like fruit to me, it’s more like a vegetable, or even grassy/planty smell. Maybe you could say it’s a very green fruit smell.

The flavor is nice enough, but given my disclaimer above, I can’t really say whether it is true to the passion fruit name. It’s slightly sweet, slightly fruity, and slightly the flavor equivalent of the green in the aroma. Whether or not it is, I like it at least as well as the coconut, which I tried earlier, but not as much as the apricot. At least that one I know is true to its name.

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drank Coconut by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

I’m not sure how I ended up with this. I thought it was part of the Flavors sampler, but when I look at the site now, it isn’t listed among the current Flavors samples. It might be that they’ve changed the sampler since I ordered this a few months ago. I think that’s what happened. As I look at the reviews of the sampler on the Adagio site, it appears some of them had coconut in them.

In the tin, it has a sort of greenish coconut fragrance, rather than the toasted coconut I’ve enjoyed in other blends (typically also with chocolate or another flavor included as well). The tea’s aroma has a sort of suntan lotiony smell, which I love in suntan lotion, but the lotion part isn’t great in tea.

The flavor is similar to the aroma, in that it has a greener coconut taste. I suppose it is attempting to capture fresh coconut flavor rather than toasted. I have no quarrel with that being the goal, I just prefer the toasted coconut flavor. (Fortunately, there is no lotion in the taste.)

Still, this is tasty, and it’s nice for what it is. I wouldn’t rule out buying more of it. I’d probably be more likely to buy one with a toasty coconut flavor, or a coconut combined with chocolate or something else, though.

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Have you tried SerendipiTea’s Burroughs’ Brew? I thought I loved Adagio’s coconut until I had it. It’s got a great toasted coconut flavor that is really delicious (or at least was almost a year ago… unless my tea tastes have changed that dramatically since then).


No, I haven’t, I’ll add it to the list for when I come out of lockdown!


The Borroughs’ Brew sounds good. I like coconut flavored things, just not real coconut. Strange, eh?


I actually don’t like real coconut either! Mostly because the texture is just not pleasant at all. Though I have had toasted coconut strips and that was pretty awesome – the only real coconut I’ve liked.


I’m thinking it would be better mixed with chocolate tea too.

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drank Apricot by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

This is the first I’ve tasted from the Flavors sampler, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

I think this is the first apricot tea I’ve had. I’ve tasted teas that have apricot notes, but not from added flavoring. And apricot is a flavor I like quite a bit.

Not sure what the orange petals are, maybe they’re from apricot flowers? The tea smells strongly and richly fruity, rather like the fruitiness of apricot jam. It made me think of the filling of apricot hamentashen, though that usually doesn’t have an aroma this rich.

The liquor has a pretty Ceylon reddish color, though it’s not the most striking of the Ceylon colors I’ve seen. This tea was probably a good choice as an apricot base, as it contributes some fruity aromatic notes of its own, separate and apart from the apricot.

It has a thick-ish mouthfeel that along with the flavor, does make it seem a reasonable facsimile of an apricot pastry, tea-style.

It isn’t overly complex, but it’s more interesting than some flavored blacks I have tasted that are stuck in a single or at most a dual dimension. This one has more to it than that.

Will be interesting to see how it compares to other apricot blacks, like the ones from Harney & Sons and American Tea Room.

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I don’t know for sure, since I’ve never seen this tea up close and personal, but, I would guess that the orange petals are osmanthus petals which carry a fragrance and slight flavor that is similar to apricots (and peaches).

They may also be calendula petals which add to the appearance but not the flavor of the tea.


I have the Adagio site open and am deciding on my order right now—good timing! I think I will have to add the flavored samples now :)

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drank Green Pekoe by Adagio Teas
957 tasting notes

I’m drowning in tea and must take immediate measures to STOP BUYING MORE.

My new plan has as a requirement that I drink up twice as much tea as I replace. This requirement applies to full sized tins only. In the case of Kusmi or Upton sample tins, I must drink 2 to equal 1 regular sized (so I have to drink at a 4 to 1 ratio). For Adagio sample tins, I have to drink 4 to equal 1 regular sized (an 8 to 1 ratio).

It’s the only way I can get my house in order. I have more tea than I have room for. I’m shortly going to finish up my H&S samples and start on the American Tea Room ones, of which I have rather a ton. H&S is grandfathered in because I started sampling them so long ago, but to place an ATR order, which I no doubt will want to do, I must meet the requirements above. If I’m lucky, this will make my tea collection manageable by the end of 2010.

Green teas seem a good place to start enforcing the rule, particularly Japanese ones (though this isn’t Japanese) since I recently learned that they lose their punch after exposure to air and should be drunk with all due haste after opening. So I’m now on a mission to finish my Adagio green sampler up. I don’t want to open my Maeda-en Sinchas until I’ve finished up my open green samples, or I might not be able to drink them up before they lose their freshness.

I’ve had several cups of this, before, during and after dinner, including one that was at 200F because I couldn’t wait for the Zo to cool down. Believe it or not, that was, I think, the most successful attempt. The hotter water seems to have brought out more flavor without bringing out more bitterness. It still “tastes kinda like a plant” but there’s a little suggestion of butter, and some grassy or hay like note as well.

It’s a little unfortunate that I discovered this on the last serving of leaves, but at least I got to end on a positive note. Bye Adagio tin no. 1!


I found a quick and efficient way to waste use up tea. Iced tea! You use about four times the amount of leaves! Well at least I do. I have two large glass pitchers so I fill them up with loose leaves. The more the merrier!


I should make more iced tea. It has been hot here, but not unbearably and I haven’t been craving cold drinks. Maybe I can figure out how to make it using the Breville.


Well, I bought a pack of those tea filters from Adagio a while back. I scoop enough tea leaves so it’s about 1/3-1/2 full and then I drop it into a pitcher of cold water and I leave it in the fridge. Cold brewed is a better term. I don’t really ice it. Well I add a few ice cubes when I pour it out to drink.


Oh my. I also need to institute a “rule” of some kind about bringing more tea into the house, but haven’t done so yet. I started with a tea tin pyramid, then had to make a second one, and now I am starting on another shelf. I mean to quit buying more, but then one sounds intriguing or I sample one and want a whole tin and…..well, you know what happens next.

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drank Four Red Fruits by Kusmi Tea
957 tasting notes

Ah, this is more like it. After a raft of Kusmi chocolate let downs, they’ve redeemed themselves.

The tea in the tin smells marvelously of fruit. I think I can get all four of them. Definitely getting raspberry and currant on the front end, strawberry in the middle, and yes! There’s the cherry on the back end.

They’re more mushed together and indistinct in the aroma of the tea, but it’s quite nice and fruity all the same. The taste is subtle as others have said, but it works here in a way that none of the chocolate blends did for me, probably because I just can’t abide subtlety in chocolate. Really, I see no point in it. Chocolate should be rich, thick, and sinful. Fruit is what you have when you can’t stomach rich or thick, or are trying to be virtuous, and so it is just fine subtle, as long as it isn’t too subtle as to be totally dissatisfying.

I get all four fruits in the flavor as well, and in the same order as in the fragrance of the dry tea. Another nice thing this tea has going for it is a soft, silky mouthfeel, which somehow goes extremely well with the flavor. It’s sort of parfait-like if you don’t dwell on the tea, which by the way, also works nicely here. It’s as though the tea and fruit flavors are supporting each other here, each giving the other a nice little boost, where in the chocolate blends it was as though they were pulling each other further apart into weakness.

I’m so glad to find another Kusmi I like, as I really adore everything about them from their tins (gaudy though they may be [wink to Auggy) to their name.

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Hehe! They are cute tins – just a bit more attention getting than I expect considering what subtle and gentle teas they contain!

Meghann M

love love love this tea….must find locally…oh wait…I am in lockdown :(

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drank Spicy Chocolate by Kusmi Tea
957 tasting notes

Hmm. Yes, it’s better than the plain Chocolate and probably the Chocolate Mint as well, but I’m not getting a strong chocolate flavor here. It smells divine and very promising in the tin, but the taste isn’t holding up the bargain for me.

The steeped tea does have an undercurrent of chocolate in the aroma. Mostly the spice flavor I get from this one is clove and cinnamon, perhaps a bit stronger on the clove.

The flavor doesn’t deliver much chocolate. It delivers a fair amount of spice, but it’s not a hot spiciness so much as a baked goods spiciness but without the sweetness I’d want from a pastry.

Now that I’m done sipping, there is a little spicy kick at the end.

I’m surprised, but I much prefer the Upton Melange de Chamonix as a representative of this genre.

Thankfully I’ve now tried all the Kusmi chocolate teas, so I can move on to something they (hopefully) do better.

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drank Chocolate Mint by Kusmi Tea
957 tasting notes

Sadly, this is another Kusmi disappointment.

It’s better than the Kusmi Chocolate, but it isn’t as tasty as the Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint or even what I recall of the Herbal Infusions Chocolate Mint.

The mint flavor is primary, but it isn’t as sweet a mint as the Harney’s. The chocolate is very similar to the plain Kusmi Chocolate, which is to say it isn’t a very strong flavor. Which could be ok, if the tea had a strong flavor, but it doesn’t.

The overall impression I get is that this blend is “thin.” Oh well, at least that helps to narrow down my future purchase choices. I’ll be going with the H&S Chocolate Mint instead, unless I find an even better one.

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Which flavour dominates? Mint or chocolate?

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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