530 Tasting Notes

drank Matcha Cinnamon Apple by Adagio
530 tasting notes

This tea has me wondering if I simply don’t like matcha, or if I’m just terrible at making it.

I bought the whisk from Adagio and everything. Though I might be using it too gently. I need a mentor, apparently. Anyway, I’ve been using water that hovers around 170-175F and about a teaspoon’s worth of powder for a small cup, around 8 oz. I followed the directions about letting a few drops fall in, making a paste with the whisk, then adding the rest.

On my first attempt, I tried to drink it straight. It had come out a very deep and heavy shade of green, and there was almost zero froth. It was very, very bitter. Like someone had blended Apple Jacks and seaweed. I hardly made it through the cup.

On my second attempt, I made it latte-style but with 1% milk because that’s all I had. I can see how this would be good as an actual latte. Sure, it still has nutty and seaweedy notes that are a tad odd with cinnamon-apple, it’s a huge improvement from the first time. And with the milk, it’s a very beautiful shade of green. Still, it’s just not really something I’d crave.

Flavors: Apple Candy, Cinnamon, Seaweed, Umami

175 °F / 79 °C

I can’t imagine Adagio having a very good quality matcha. I would give it a break and maybe try some nicer ceremonial grade matcha when you get a chance and keep it up until it becomes an acquired taste. I really look forward to my matcha now! I love KaiMatcha Premium but it seems to stay sold out, and Tanabata from Red Leaf is good. DoMatcha that I buy at Whole Foods is good, and there is one they sell at Vitamin Shoppe that is kept behind the counter that should also be a good one. You have to request it at our store. No froth sounds like maybe not good quality. Oh, and I would use half that amount of matcha at first. Just my two cents, and maybe it will help or maybe you just will be a fan of something other than matcha! :)

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drank Earl Grey Bella Luna by Adagio
530 tasting notes

This tea can only be purchased from Adagio on a full moon! How interesting. I just happened to be placing an order during the last full moon, and thought “Wait, I’ve never seen this EG, it must be new!” A lucky coincidence!

Now, Adagio already offers something very similar to this, Earl Grey Moonlight. EG Moonlight is just a standard EG with a powerful vanilla flavor added. This seems like an expansion on the same idea. It’s a standard EG with vanilla, but also coconut and cream. I was expecting the bergamot to overpower the coconut, but oddly, it doesn’t. The coconut and cream flavors are in the foreground, followed by the lemony bergamot. I’m not sure what Adagio uses to make its tea “creamy”, but it certainly pulls it off.

This would make a fantastic dessert tea with milk, I think. But it’s also going to be nice to start the day with that kick of caffeine and the mild bite of black tea.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cake, Coconut, Creamy, Lemon, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Reminds me of a blend I like called Earl Grey Cream Rooibos (I cannot drink black tea) from International House of Tea. The creamy vanilla-bergamot mix adds such a nice dimension to the blend-yum! Coconut sounds lovely too :)


Sounds like a fantastic combination of flavours.

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drank Ginger & Liquorice by Harney & Sons
530 tasting notes

Steepster ate my post. I’m not rewriting it.

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I’ve been drinking this tea all day, having it iced while I clean house, paint my nails gray, set up the crock pot, prune the plants, etc.

The dry leaf of this is fragrant and inviting — flat green sencha speckled with chunks of white dried papaya and pink strawberry. It smells a lot like strawberry candy, very fruity and summery. Well, maybe not candy. Perhaps strawberry jelly.

The liquor is a springy greenish yellow, as expected. The sencha is good quality, slightly buttery, but falls into the background as the fruit takes center stage. The strawberry is dominant, pairing with the papaya well. Sometimes papaya can be kind of pungent in a way, almost musky, but not in this case. It’s all bright, happy fruit.

I tried it hot on Thursday and liked it that way, too. Versatile.

Flavors: Berries, Berry, Fruity, Green, Strawberry

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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drank Coffin Nightcap by Vampyre Tea Co
530 tasting notes

Coming back to this after giving it a go with more leaf. I used about twice as much as my last cup, which made a darker and more fragrant brew. This is one of those teas that you pretty much have to do that with because of the sheer amount of fruit and non-tea ingredients.

Since I ended up with more fruit just because I used more scoops, it got a lot more tart. This isn’t a problem, though, as I could easily balance it back out with more sweetner. I still can’t really taste the toffee, though…

The sleepy aspect of this tea is wonderful. It’s a lot like valerian in the way that it makes you more comfortable wherever you are. It kind of makes me feel heavy, like the bed is pulling me down into it. Very relaxing. I’m definitely going to have to explore more passionflower teas.

Flavors: Apple, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Now this is interesting. Most tea companies are not brave enough to blend lapsang souchong as a base for a flavored tea. The stuff is not for everyone. But of course, I’m all over it. I love smoky tea in winter! (Not that you could really call it winter yet…)

The name has Bauhaus’s guitars and Peter Murphy drawling “The count!” in my head. Its dry aroma is heavily smoky and yet tartly fruity from the little bits of hibiscus and berries mixed in. I think they’re cranberries? I can’t tell and the site’s description doesn’t list them.

Flavor-wise, the lapsang is definitely dominant over the spices and other ingredients. It reminds me of a campfire, smoky and leathery. How very goth. I understand that there is cinnamon and coconut mixed in. I can see them, but I can’t taste them. Coconut is a fickle flavor, so I know how that goes. However, the hibiscus and fruit shine through and add an interesting layer of tartness. The cinnamon is sort of there on the exhale. I’m wondering if next time I should drop in a cinnamon stick. Yay, an experiment!

“Undead, undead, undead!”

Flavors: Fruity, Hibiscus, Leather, Smoke, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Love everything about this description! My first foray into Lapsang was Teakoe’s Fireside Chai and I was an immediate fan. As a former/recovering goth, the aesthetic and story of this one appeals as well – I must check them out!

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drank Coffin Nightcap by Vampyre Tea Co
530 tasting notes

YOU GUYS! The Vampyre Tea Company moved into the unit next to my office! Can you believe my good luck?! It was originally going to be a vegan cheesemaker, which I was excited about too, because cheese, but this takes the cake. So thrilled!

So, I recently met Stavros, the owner of the company. A cool name and a cool guy. I was instantly charmed. He came back to talk to my boss today and ended up giving me a bunch of really generous samples of his teas. It was like it was my birthday or Christmas or something! I will be reviewing them all, of course. This company needs more love here on Steepster.

My only reservations are that I’ve never tried passionflower tea for sleep before. It’s not listed as an ingredient on the website’s description, but it is on the tin for some reason. I know it’s a common ingredient, but I’m kind of hesitant. Or at least I was until I smelled the dry leaf! It smells like a sweet, fruity dessert! The fruitness reminds me a lot of osmanthus flowers, strawberry, and apricot. I suppose that’s the rose hips and apple pieces. I also want to mention that the bits of passionflower vine look cool mixed in with the dark decaf Ceylon, candy, and fruit. They’re pale, tight little corkscrews.

The tea steeps up to a cloudy tan with a trace amount of oil on top, probably from the toffee. Mmm, toffee, such a guilty pleasure of mine. As far as flavor goes, it’s a little on the mild side. I’m afraid I didn’t use enough leaf. I went with 2.5 tsp in a 10 oz mug. The flavor I am getting is very pleasant, though. The rosehips and apple are what stand out to me the most. There is a hint of cinnamon in the exhale, followed by a little tartness that I’m liking a lot. I can’t really taste the toffee, but again, I think I didn’t use big enough scoops. The website said to fill your infuser ball, so next time, I’ll try that. (I generally use a cup-shaped metal infuser.)

Will report back with the sleepiness factor later!

Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Man, how dangerous working next to a tea store.


that’s awesome!


I read somewhere recently that passionflower is the only one of the “sleepy” ingredients proven to work. Let him know I’d love to blog about him!

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drank Pumpkin Spice Chai by Tazo
530 tasting notes

I found this on clearance at Kroger for less than $2 because the box was smushed. I’ll try any chai at that price, especially by a well-known brand, so in the basket it went.

The dry bag smells better than the tea tastes. Lightly pumpkiny with the standard chai spices and licorice. However, once it steeps, it acquires a weird, sharp flavor that I can’t put my finger on. It’s like someone let the cloves get dirty or go bad or something. I’m definitely not a fan. Even with milk and sweetener. The saddest part is that the pumpkin flavor in it is actually well done. Most companies screw that up, but not this time. But the spices are just weird.

While it’s not good, it’s not terrible enough to throw out. In order to use it up, I’ve been blending it half and half with Harney & Sons’ Chai, which saves it. The H & S version is spiced and strong enough to make it actually pretty tasty. Like pumpkin pie made by someone more interested in the spices than the actual pumpkin itself.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Licorice, Pumpkin

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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I broke down and bought a sample of Republic of Tea’s Hi-Caf Cinnamon Toast tea and this came with it as a free sample. Along with a sample of their Pumpkin Spice, I should add.

As I’ve said probably a dozen times before, I do not like rooibos. But! I was won over by Tazo’s caramel apple rooibos, so I knew I had to give this a try.

The rooibos aftertaste that I hate so much is completely muted by the flavors of apple and caramel. Apple is the strongest taste, sort of realistic also sort of not. Kind of like those green apple lolipops with the caramel marbled into them. The caramel aspect follows, and it’s a very creamy caramel. Not a toasty caramel. I definitely taste some vanilla, too. This is definitely a dessert-like treat, but because I am biased toward things with caffeine, I probably wouldn’t buy this.

…Though it would be nice to have on chilly winter nights.

Flavors: Apple, Apple Candy, Caramel, Fruity, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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Hey, Steepster! Been a while. I’ve been super burned out from work and life in general, but of course, I’m still drinking tea every day. Just not logging it.

I don’t know what it is, but this fall, the flavor I’ve been obsessed with is toasted marshmallow. It was caramel last fall, and I think lavender before that. Anyway, this is a well-reviewed tea and I’ve been curious about it for a long time. I got a sample a long time ago, but it was stale, so this is my “first” official review.

I know the creator of this tea only used 10% lapsang, but that stuff is so potent. The aroma is basically straight-up pine campfire with a hint of sweet vanilla at the end. Since getting it, I’ve tried it both iced and hot. Hot seems to make more sense with the smokiness, but either way, the flavor is just like the scent. Strong smoke with a soft, natural vanilla hidden underneath. You really have to taste for it, which is sort of disappointing to me.

I’m very tempted to go back to Adagio and get some plain vanilla to mix into this. Hmmm…

Flavors: Campfire, Pine, Smoke, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

Hey, hope you’ll be able to find some time to relax from your job more often!

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Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, electronic music geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, chai, and pretty much any black tea from Fujian, China. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, sage, apple, coconut, raspberry, lychee, bergamot, osmanthus, cucumber, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

You can assume that I’m preparing my tea using the Western method. I use zero-calorie sweeteners and in the hot months, I drink my tea almost exclusively iced.


Decatur, GA



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