1119 Tasting Notes

drank White Pear by Adagio Teas
1119 tasting notes

Next in the Adagio flavored white sampler. Steeped according to package directions for initial foray.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think the tea base is exactly the same as the one used for all the other Adagio flavored whites, which appears to be white peony with maybe a silver needle or three thrown in.

To say this tea seems to have elicited strong reactions from some Steepsterites is something of an understatement. ;-)

The more I try the other flavored whites, the deeper into the negative point abyss White Tropics slips. The White Pear doesn’t have a cloyingly sweet smell, artificial or otherwise, to the dry leaf. The only hint I get of pear at all in the dry leaf is an undercurrent of freshness, like a fresh water smell. It’s very faint, though. Mostly I smell white tea.

The liquor is the same clear golden yellow as the other flavored white samples. There’s a very faint smell of something other than tea to the steep. I have to really stretch my olfactory sense to get to pear, though.

The flavor suffers from the same issue as the white tangerine. There’s not enough beyond the tea to really merit the name flavored white. It’s not bad, just not what I’d hope for out of pear.

There’s more of a sweetish pear-like flavor as the tea cools. But I have to wonder how much of this is power of suggestion. I doubt if this was presented to me without my knowing it was supposed to be pear, I’d identify it as pear. It’s probably mostly placebo effect.

It makes me want to run a double blind study: take a plain black tea and call it, oh say, pomegranate and see how many people taste pomegranate. ;-)

A really good pear tea would be awesome, though.

180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec

lol The elusive pear!


Seems to have been quite a few pear tasting notes the last couple of days. I have some of this, disappointed to hear that you aren’t really enjoying it.


Dexter, I hope it will be more pear-y for you!


LOL time will tell – I have SO many teas to try. I find it interesting that you steeped this for 7 minutes, that seems long for a fruity white – I would be temped to steep for less time see if that helps. :))


Dexter, yeah, I tend to go with the package directions the first time and then futz with the timing, etc. on subsequent tries. I’m already planning that for this one.


LOL ummm my package says 3-5 min – that’s why I was confused. :))


Oh, I see. Mine said 7 minutes at 180 degrees.


Seems like Adagio is confused….


They may have changed the instructions. My sample is on the older side.


Ah, dexter, I have noticed the same about the sudden burst of pear tea notes, haha!
And I thought pear was underrated!


All I’m seeing today is pear everywhere… lol and there is no pear tea to be found anywhere in my house… Now all I want is to find good pear tea… lol


I know, right? I didn’t realize there was a bandwagon to jump on until I’d jumped on it. I was just up to the next Adagio sample and it happened to be pear. LOL.


Omg.. Morgana, do you know how many times I thought the same thing? Is it a power of suggestion or do I really taste what I think I’m tasting… lol


LOL Kamyria.


OMG, pear everywhere!!!

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drank Vanilla Apricot White by Tazo
1119 tasting notes

Look what else I found in my work stash! I thought it was gone because it hasn’t been part of my home stash for a while. Turns out I have a few bags left.

I concluded a while back that while they were neck and neck for a while, I prefer the Berryblossom White to this. I find the flavoring of that one a bit more subtle, and the vanilla in this one somewhat more pronounced and the apricot somewhat less pronounced than they should be. Still, it’s pleasant enough for an afternoon at the office.

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I found this teabag in my stash at work. (I’m back in the office for the first time today but I’m not sure I’m going to last the whole day. Still coughing and sore throat-y.)

Steeping at work is always imperfect because the water is kind of take it or leave it, and it comes out of the spigot quite hot. So I try to limit myself to teas that can take really hot water.

I should mention that I’m not a huge sweet potato fan. I really like the fries they do at The Counter, and I will eat a baked sweet potato during the appropriate season, but I’ve never been much for the mashed potato with pineapple thing my BF likes to make for Thanksgiving. I can’t now recall whether I’ve had sweet potato pie. I must have, but I probably thought it was pumpkin.

The little mesh bag had little white dots in it that I assume are the marshmallows, and fine grains of tea managed to escape onto my fingers as I held it to my nose. Wow, what a strange smell to the dry leaf. Definitely potato, but it seemed to me to waffle between sweet potato and white potato. There was also some weird strong scent that I see Auggy has identified as whisky. Yeah, that could be it.

The tea was a really lovely clear reddish brown but the aroma of the steeped tea was bakey bakey bakey and not in a way that appealed to me. The flavor, though, was surprisingly quite good. On the front of the sip, there’s a mild tea flavor, but there’s something sweet and lightly spiced that’s pie-like evident toward the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. The little marshmallows also add sparks of sweetness that pop every now and then in the mouth.

I think this is quite well done. It’s not something I would buy, but mainly because sweet potato flavor is not in my top ten or probably even 20 list. I could see how it would appeal to fans, though.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Still not my fave, but seemed like a good one to try on the kids. They like it better than I do, which is somewhat surprising given that it is less sweet than what they’ve tried so far (honeybush). Glad to have found appreciators in the household so I can finish out the last few bags.

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drank White Tangerine by Adagio Teas
1119 tasting notes

Next in the Adagio flavored white sampler. Steeped according to package directions for the initial foray.

The tea base looks very similar to the one for White Tropics, like a mix of white peony with some silver needle perhaps as well. The smell in the tin is very different. No sweetness, making the White Tropics smell cloying by comparison. It smells a little like dirt, frankly. There’s a note of what must be the tangerine flavoring that gives it a hint of generic fruitiness.

In the cup, it’s a pretty yellow, leaning toward an apricot color. I can’t smell the tangerine in the cup, just the subtlety of white tea.

Now to the taste. The BF, who tasted White Tropics with me this morning, says this doesn’t have much taste compared to that. I agree, but I think we mean different things. By comparison to the White Tropics, this is a much more pleasant cup to my mind. Just as the leaves in the tin, the taste here makes me look back on White Tropics as cloying to the point of stomach unsettling by comparison.

On the other hand, I’m getting only the tiniest hint of citrusy high note here, and I wouldn’t say it would be identifiable as tangerine if I didn’t know that was what it was. It’s most apparent in the aftertaste. Much more enjoyable than White Tropics, but kind of a miss on the tangerine front.

ETA: After it cools some, the tangerine flavor comes to the fore. It’s still very subtle but discernibly tangerine-y. Also, though I didn’t notice anything distinctive about the mouth feel while the tea was hot, when it becomes cooler, a soft mouth feel becomes noticeable.

180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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drank Ali Shan by Adagio Teas
1119 tasting notes

I was going to march right ahead into the next white tea sample, but this afternoon I really really wanted an oolong.

Oolongs were one of my first loose leaf experiences and I have a soft spot for a really nice oolong. I like them light and floral and buttery, I like them dark and stone-fruity and round.

This hit the spot. The leaves in the sample tin are dark green, tightly curled, and have that Formosa fragrance, almost winy like a darjeeling but just a tad short. I made this in my gaiwan and I am, alas, not very skilled, but OMG the leaves ballooned from a third of the cup to almost overflowing after several steeps. They’re beautiful when unwound, to the point where I almost ate one just because it looked so appealing!

I did remember to “awaken” the leaves. I went with short steeps and I’m on my fourth now. The one thing I dislike about the gaiwan method is that mine is so small, I barely get a few swallows out of each steep. Next time I will try this in a pot.

I tried to pay enough attention to write a decent note about the taste, but honestly I was just so happy to be drinking this I let myself off the hook. Next time.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank White Tropics by Adagio Teas
1119 tasting notes

Moving on in sample land from honeybush to some of the whites.

It was hard not to notice the unfavorable reviews when I searched for this tea in the database. I am trying to keep an open mind.

There’s a strong coconut aroma to the sample tin, and I smell pineapple as well. I’m not smelling suntan lotion (thankfully) except to the extent that coconut is always a little reminiscent of suntan lotion.

I’m not sure what tea is used in the base. I can’t find any info on the Adagio site other than white tea. I whipped out the unflavored white samples for a comparison and I think it’s a mix. I see a few leaves that look like silver needle, and some that look like the White Symphony sample which are white peony. A lot of them are broken. There are bits of color among the leaves like in the picture, though I’m not sure what they are and my guess is they add atmosphere rather than flavor.

The infused tea has a golden, brown tinged liquor and a very light nose. I agree with the note that identified a sweet, bread-like fragrance which I think is how the coconut and pineapple aromas smooth out. I didn’t find them to be differentiated or pronounced after steeping.

And frankly, I don’t taste them much in the tea. There’s more coconut than pineapple, but really it’s more like a generic sweet flavor than anything else to my tastebuds (which are, admittedly, suffering from some flu-like virus at the moment). I didn’t have the aversion to it that so many others have had, but it’s kind of meh. I think one could achieve the same result by adding a drop of sweetness to a plain white tea, if so inclined. I’d rather drink plain white, though.

ETA: The taste becomes sweeter as the tea cools, so that it is more like a boatload of sweetness than a drop. I must remember to drink while hot. The coconut shows up in the aftertaste, and it’s not overly sweet. I sort of wish I could skip the drinking part and get right to the aftertaste.

180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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drank Lotus by Tazo
1119 tasting notes

I’m giving this a little ratings bump because I remember it rather fondly, and having some tonight I like it better than I thought.

Here’s the thing. I think toward the end of the time I was really active on Steepster for a long time, I became unnecessarily snobbish. Certain company names elicited a sort of knee jerk response. Tazo. Teavana. Anything one can find in a grocery store. I looked down my nose on them all for no really good reason.

I spent a lot of time trying to find a lemon infusion I liked better than Bigelow’s I Love Lemon. I spent a lot of time trying to replicate Tazo’s Refresh by mixing my own mints and tarragon. But why? Why not just admit to liking what I like and call it a day? Sheesh.

I like this. It’s quiet, fresh-tasting, gentle. It doesn’t taste washed out though it’s a decaf. I haven’t tasted anything else that reminds me of it, but I don’t feel compelled to find something that does and that isn’t Tazo.

How liberating. :-)

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Really surprised that I haven’t written a note on this before. Finishing it up tonight with the fam, and with it the entire Adagio honeybush sampler. Yay for the sipdown.

As the flavored honeybushes went, this one was pretty good. The apricot flavor masked any woodiness, and worked really well with the natural honey to add some sweetness to the taste. The apricot is subtle, but present, which is nice. If it wasn’t subtle it would risk heading toward artificial. But what I like best about it is the mouthfeel. It’s very soft to the mouth, balmy almost, and really soothing to the sore place I’ve developed as a result of this virus.

I’m having a lot of fun introducing my sons, 7 and 9, to the decaffeinated infusions, and the older one professes to love this one. The younger one fell asleep before he could give it a try. ;-)

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

I love soothing teas when under the weather…hope it makes you feel better. I think involving kids with infusions is awesome! I started doing it with my 3 year old nephew and he’s fascinated with watching me prepare fruity blends, and he thinks blowing on it to make it cool down is hilarious :-)


Wow, 3 years old! Awesome! My kids had rather unrefined palates at 3 (see previous mac and cheese discussion). The older one was a functional vegetarian and really ate only cheese, mac and cheese, eggs and avocados for the longest time, which is odd because when pregnant with him I craved steak and hamburgers. But they’re both now to the point where they’re curious about tea which has made it quite fun. I’ll have to bring out some fruit blends and get them going on those.


Yes he’s so curious, and he always wants to drink whatever I’m having. He loves everything fruity so I brewed some Youthberry / Wild Orange Blossom Blend from Teavana (the only Teavana tea I keep now just for him) and he loved it! I always add maple syrup or honey in his cup though., so much healthier than KoolAid!
Lol at your kid’s functional vegetarianism :-)

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drank Sencha by Harney & Sons
1119 tasting notes

I’m not sure who coined the term “sip down” but it’s kinda cute. ;-) Go missing from Steepster for a while and a whole new language gets invented. Wow.

I’m on a bit of a sip down quest myself, having found a number of rather old open samples, boxes, tins, bags, etc. and this is among those. I steeped this in the Breville for 1 minute at 180, which is what was recommended on the sample packet.

For a hoary sample, this has retained a really nice, light, slightly vegetal taste, though looking at my notes from the original tasting it’s clear that this is one best drunk fresh. I can’t discern the complexity that was present when the sample was young.

On another note, I wanted to ask those of you who like Japanese greens whether you have any concerns following the nuclear meltdown. I’m one of those people who hasn’t eaten sushi (much) ever since, and I’ve been taking comfort in the fact that though my Japanese greens are well past their best by dates, they were all harvested pre melt down.



ooh, hadn’t thought of that, honestly. i had a brief look through wikipedia at your question and found this: ’ As of July 2011, the Japanese government was unable to control the spread of radioactive material into the nation’s food supply. Radioactive material was detected in food produced in 2011, including spinach, tea leaves, milk, fish and beef, up to 200 miles from the plant. 2012 crops did not show signs of radioactivity contamination. Cabbage, rice119 and beef showed insignificant raditaion levels. A Fukushima-produced rice market in Tokyo was accepted by consumers as safe.119’ however, it’s hard to know whether tea that was contaminated was/would have been released for sale. i would guess not. ….. i would hope not.


Thanks James! I’ll go read the article. I don’t mean to be alarmist, but I didn’t think it was strange how news coverage of the reactor accident sort of dropped off, as far as I know without any sort of resolution to the problem.


Er, did think it was strange.


i know the radioactivity is increasing as opposed to decreasing in detectibility, at least on the west coast. i think the government figures if they stop the flow of info that we will ‘keep calm and carry on’. (they forgot about the interweb)

this is the link to the article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

i know japanese customs was pretty strict. the country starved for the better part of…. 18 months? because they either were not allowed to export items, or their items were not accepted.


Thanks for the link!

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. 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 write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with 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. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

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

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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