124 Tasting Notes
This morning I made Mocha Nut Mate (Adagio) and JavaVana Mate (Teavana) at the same time so I could compare them. They are a lot less similar when having them back-to-back than when drinking one and comparing it to my memory of the other (I kept switching between the two mugs… Yes, I was that intense about it. And I continued switching until I’d finished them both).
Mocha Nut Mate (16oz of boiling water): 2 teaspoons tea + 1 teaspoon rock sugar + a little half-and-half
Mocha Nut Mate is definitely pretty good, but I like JavaVana Mate more. What distinguished between them the most for me is that hazelnut is a strong flavor in Mocha Nut Mate whereas the (dark?) chocolate in JavaVana stands out. The chocolate in the latter gives it a kick that I preferred to the hazelnut creaminess of the former. (Both are good, but JavaVana wins for me.)
This is one of my favorite teas (it’s on my very short “restock as soon as I finish it” list). I love how spicy it is! I usually make it with 2 teaspoons of tea, 1 teaspoon rock sugar, and add a little half-and-half. Today I tried to skimp and used slightly less than 2 teaspoons of tea and steeped a little longer (10 minutes) instead, and it was noticeably weaker. No skimping! This is delicious and it should be enjoyed at its best.
As soon as I smelled this it reminded me of Teavana’s JavaVana Mate, and it tastes very similar as well. The hazelnut flavor is stronger in this tea and I want to say this one is creamier as well. After the first few sips I was certain I preferred Teavana’s, but then halfway through the cup I thought maybe I like Adagio’s more, and then toward the end I was settling on Teavana’s again. (It could just be that I like Teavana’s more because I had it first and I have it often. But I think Teavana’s also had more of a pleasurable “kick” to it, whereas this was smoother.) I might make them side-by-side to compare.
I used 2 teaspoons for 16oz of water, added 1 teaspoon of rock sugar and a little half-and-half, and steeped for about 5 minutes.
I have made this many times both hot and iced. It always tastes good hot (without any sugar, and you can steep forever. In fact, the longer it steeps, the better), but I’ve had trouble making it taste as delicious iced as Teavana makes it when they give out free iced samples in their store. (This was actually the first loose leaf tea I ever bought because I enjoyed the sample so much.)
It seems I finally stumbled upon the right balance of leaves and sugar when making it iced for this to taste the way I want it to. Per 16oz of water I used 4 teaspoons of tea (2 each of Strawberry Lemonade and Blueberry Bliss) and 2 teaspoons of rock sugar. I’m already forgetting how long I steeped it for, but I think it was around 10-14 minutes. I left it in the fridge overnight and it tasted AWESOME.
After the initial steep, I put all of the used leaves (about 12 teaspoons total because I made two pitchers worth of tea) in one pitcher, adding just 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, and poured about ~30oz of boiling water over the leaves. This second steep lasted around 20 minutes. This also tasted EXCELLENT the next day. This tea is great for re-steeping.
So, basically, 4 teaspoons leaves + 2 teaspoons rock sugar + lengthy steeping + chill overnight = Delicious iced tea! Assuming I can replicate this recipe in the future and it continues to taste delicious, this will probably be my only update about this tea. (Although if I try it another way—I’m thinking about cold-brewing it—I’ll update with that.)
This is my second time trying this tea. I first had it iced (steeped with rock sugar), and this time I had it hot with no additions. It’s pretty decent. The hazelnut flavor is strong and the honeybush reminds me of rooibos. When I finish this sample packet I won’t buy more of this tea, but I’ve enjoyed trying it and it tasted fine both hot and iced.
It’s important to note that I received a free sample of this from Teavana. I would never buy this tea on my own. I’ve tried it in the store and the grapefruit flavor is much too strong, and I loathe grapefruit. However, my stepdaughter liked this tea (from sampling it in the store) so we made some iced last night. We used 3.5-4 teaspoons of tea and 1.5 teaspoons of rock sugar per 16oz of boiling water. We accidentally steeped it for over 20 minutes (whoops!) and then put it in the fridge overnight.
My husband and stepdaughter poured themselves a glass first and I had the third glass from the pitcher. I tried a sip of my husband’s before getting my own and it was DELICIOUS. I actually thought it was better than the Blueberry Bliss/Strawberry Lemonade (Teavana) iced blend I’ve made. The sugar mellowed everything out and reduced the bitterness of the grapefruit.
…And then I had my own glass, which was nothing but super strong grapefruit nastiness. I was able to finish the glass, but I didn’t enjoy the experience. Perhaps it would have been distributed more evenly if we’d stirred the whole pitcher beforehand. In any case, I’ve learned that rock sugar helps with the taste so I’ll be doing that in the future with my remaining samples. (Teavana has been giving free samples of this when you order online for a few months now. Is it that hard to get rid of it? :))
This tea is much better hot than iced. I used slightly less tea than instructed and steeped it for about the recommended time before putting it in the fridge overnight. (I also re-steeped another cup.) The clove was very strong and it tasted a bit bitter, so I added half-and-half to dilute it and add creaminess. The iced tea was barely palatable plain, but it was fairly decent with half-and-half. The re-steeped tea wasn’t too different from the original steep.
If I ever buy this tea again (which I might… not sure), I definitely will not be making it iced.
I bought a full 8oz tin of this tea at an end-of-the-year sale (in January 2012). I really enjoyed it! It’s a great, simple green tea. (I like my green tea unadulterated, so no additions for me.) This tea has been discontinued, so when I finished the tin I next bought Huang Shan Mao Feng Reserve (from Teavana) as a replacement, and the two taste very similar.
This is a tea that smelled better than it tasted. The aroma made me think of ring-pops (the plastic ring with a candy jewel that was so popular when I was a kid), and with such a fun smell I had to buy it. I found that temperature and steeping time were really important with this tea (it was very easy to make it too bitter). I bought way too much of it, but I was able to finish everything I bought (so it wasn’t that bad) once I had the temp and time down. I drank it at work and appreciated the caffeine boost right before teaching my morning class. However, I was RELIEVED when I finally finished what I’d purchased and I won’t be buying this again.
I want this tea to die. The first time I made it I over-steeped it and used water that was much hotter than recommended, and it was absolutely nauseatingly bitter. Just disgusting. It tasted like poison. I made it a few more times, being careful about steeping time and temperature, and it still tasted gross to me. It’s likely that my first awful experience was primed every time I drank it, so the tea never had a fair shot. It was more palatable with sugar and half-and-half, but the taste was still too unpleasant for me. Sadly, I bought a bunch of this on sale (a full 8oz tin!). Steve was able to drink some of it but it mostly sat unloved on our shelf for over a year… at which point it started to look and smell funny, so we tossed it (finally!).