485 Tasting Notes

84

I got this tea from u/RedSpaceMagic on Reddit’s r/TeaExchange. I wonder if they’re here on Steepster…

Anyway, this tea looks like a chai. Lots of chunks of cinnamon bark, pieces of marshmallow root, and a blend of very dark leaves. It smells pleasantly smoky, with just a breath of spice, and brews up to a lovely shade of amber.

The tea’s aroma is smoky and wintery with hints of pine. It smells like a mild, spiced lapsang souchong. As I taste it, I’m definitely getting a taste of cinnamon graham cracker. Nothing about it seems particularly marshmallowy, which is a tad disappointing. No vanilla. The chocolate aspect is also a natural one, like you taste in the finish of Fujian black teas. No actual cocoa. That aspect is perfect. Actual “chocolate flavor” additives tend to ruin teas to me. The taste of the actual “campfire” the s’more was toasted over is featured the most.

It’s hard to come to a verdict of this tea. While I really like it and find it comforting on this chilly, stormy day… I was hoping this would be more of a dessert tea. I think if it had just claimed to be a smoky spiced blend, it would have been a bit less disappointing for a marshmallow fan.

Flavors: Campfire, Cinnamon, Pine, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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74
drank Hazelnut Truffle by Tea Forte
485 tasting notes

Oh no, I forgot I had this in my cupboard. It’s a single pyramid sealed with only thin cardboard. It’s been there since March-ish of last year. I hope it’s not stale.

I love these little pyramid sachets. I know it’s a gimmic, but the little leaf at the end of a stem is pretty to me. It looks like it’s growing out of my tea. As it steeps, the water darkens at a slower pace than what I’m used to. During that time, the leaves really expand, filling the sachet to the top. The scent of it brewing is nutty and buttery. It smells like Nutella, almost, but not as sweet.

The tea has a very warm, dessert-like aroma. However, the actual flavor doesn’t pack as much of a punch. It’s mild and tastes more like hazelnut than chocolate. There is a bit of chocolate in the finish and on the exhale, I guess. It’s not that I really mind, but I’m left wondering if this tea grew weak from being old, not because it wasn’t good in the first place. Hard to say.

EDIT: There’s coconut in this tea?

Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Hazelnut, Malt, Nutty

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

I found a little packet of this tea on top of my microwave this morning and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I had friends over last night for dinner and the new MarioKart DLC (yes, we never grew out of it), and the gin and tonics devolved to whiskey shots. Lemme tell you, this is not a morning for coffee or anything harsh.

I’ve reviewed this tea before, so I’ll keep it simple. It’s soothingly gentle, smooth, and floral. Exactly what I need right now.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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62
drank Rooibos Chai by Harney & Sons
485 tasting notes

I’ve had a single bag of this floating around my tea station for months, rejected over and over for being a rooibos blend and for not having caffeine.

Tonight I wanted something sweet but didn’t have anything dessert-like. We’re supposed to get a freeze here later on, so I thought something spiced would be appropriate.

I gave it a long-ish steep time in hopes of bringing out the spices. It came out dark and cinnamony, but was tainted with the sour honey-like scent of rooibos. I added a splash of 1% milk and a little sweetener. (I’ve been using monk fruit sweetener for a while now, as it’s not as harsh as other zero calorie sweeteners. It also doesn’t add a weight to the mouthfeel of the tea, unlike sugar.)

Even after six minutes, the spice content is a letdown. I can mostly taste rooibos with cinnamon. There might be a hint of clove in there, too. But no cardamom, ginger, allspice, or star anise. I wonder why Harney & Sons does so well with their other flavored teas, but can’t seem to make a good chai…

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 15 sec

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92
drank Viennese Earl Grey by Harney & Sons
485 tasting notes

I’ve gone through 4 tsp of this tea today. Absolutely cannot sit still. Send help for my coworkers.

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88
drank Fujian Baroque by Adagio Teas
485 tasting notes

I had been saving this tea for two reasons. One, because I know from experience that Fujians don’t really make good iced teas, so I was waiting for chilly weather. And two, because Fujian black teas are my absolute favorite, so I had the urge to hoard it.

The scent of the dry leaf makes me smile. It’s rich and chocolatey like cocoa nibs. I’m also smelling baked goods, like wheat bread or a croissant. As it steeps, the tea grows nice and dark, almost opaque. The wet leaves smell even more like bread.

The flavor is smooth and pleases me greatly. Exactly what I’ve come to love in a Fujian. Deeply satisfying and on the hearty side. A tad malty, but mostly wonderfully chocolate-like. It has lots of layers and notes mixed in harmoniously. I’m really not understanding why so many people here weren’t pleased with it! They must have been oversteeping or something.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Hay, Malt, Wheat

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85
drank Lapsang Souchong by Adagio Teas
485 tasting notes

I haven’t reviewed this tea? I could have sworn I did. Oh well, maybe I’m thinking about Teavivre’s version.

Anyway, it was 33°F this morning. A harsh wakeup call, if you ask me. So, I wanted something strong and wintery. No iced Earl Grey for me today!

I’ve had lapsangs before, but this one smells like straight up bacon cooked over a wood stove. Or cooked outdoors, at least. It’s smoky, but not in a cigarette way. In a nice fall way. You know that smell that fills your car for a moment when you pass someone burning leaves in their yard? It’s sort of like that.

However, the flavor is much less intimidating than the aroma. It’s actually a very smooth black tea. Hardly astringent and not bitter at all. It also doesn’t taste charred. More cured than burned. In the forefront are smoky pine notes, followed by leather and meat. I know it’s odd to think of tea as meaty, but I definitely taste something that makes me think of bacon.

While I know most people don’t like lapsangs, I still recommend this tea. It’s an unusual experience that I think people should have at least once. You never know, you might love it!

Flavors: Campfire, Dark Wood, Leather, Meat, Pine, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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92
drank Viennese Earl Grey by Harney & Sons
485 tasting notes

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this tea yet. I’m dipping into my second tin now, thanks to Kaliska.

This is my favorite Earl Grey to ice. Something about the crisp darjeeling is perfect for it. Though the bergamot is still very, very strong, you can taste some of that foresty flavor coming through. It’s not as heavy as the black base Harney & Sons uses for their more famous EGs. It’s a lovely combination of fresh wood, bergamot, and citrus notes. I can’t really say that the muscatel flavor comes through, though. There’s just too much other stuff going on.

Today, I’m having it with a pinch of Harney’s French Super-Blue Lavender. A pinch is really all you need. That stuff is seriously potent, but I find it soothing. Yum.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus Zest, Green Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
boychik

i like this one too. very smooth

mrmopar

Agreed this is a staple around here.

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88
drank Black Dragon Pearls by Adagio Teas
485 tasting notes

Short review because I don’t actually have the tea in front of me. I finished my sample off yesterday.

This is one of those comforting, naturally chocolatey teas. The little balls remind me of Cocoa Puffs. They’re the same size, shape, and almost the same color. For Adagio, it’s surprisingly complex. They smell sweet and hay-like. The tea brews up dark brown and smells wonderful. I get notes of honey, hay, cocoa, wheat, and bread in the flavor. Mmm.

The only reason I’m giving this tea less than a 90 is because I’ve had Teavivre’s version and it was noticeably better. I know they’re from the same region, but there’s just a slight difference in quality.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Hay, Honey, Wheat

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Vanilla Chai by Just Add Honey
485 tasting notes

About two weeks ago, I left my job of 4 years to find something better. During my week and a half of being unemployed, I did some research on Atlanta-based tea. Sure enough, I found Just Add Honey, with their small brick and mortar store at the edge of downtown. While they weren’t hiring, I got to visit and meet the owner, a kind lady by the name of Brandi. There were a couple teas I wanted up on the wall in jars, but being in between jobs, I just got a sample of chai. (And made sure she had a copy of my resume, haha.)

Let me tell you, this tea packs a punch! It does not disappoint on the spice aspect. When I sniffed it in the glass jar, I was surprised at how clovey it was. Most blends of chai I’ve tasted were a little shy with the clove, or even left it out completely, but not this one. It also has a nice, balanced taste of cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Star anise is listed in the ingredients, but I can’t really taste that aspect.

As far as the vanilla goes, it’s interesting. Not a coconutty or French vanilla. It’s a buttercreamy, dessert-like vanilla. Combined with the spices, it comes out to something that tastes like… dare I say it… pumpkin spice. It was definitely a good choice for fall. I might have to go back for more pretty soon. The contrast between the warm spice and the chilly air will be nice!

Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Cream, Creamy, Ginger, Vanilla

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML
Sil

good luck with the job hunt!

Tabby

Thanks! I’m already working again. :) My friend was quitting her second job and I took over for her, haha.

Sil

haha well that’s great news Hopefully it’s better than the last job. :)

Sil

(also this sounds really tasty heh)

Ysaurella

congrats on the new job. That’s so nice too to discover new nice tea shops locally

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Profile

Bio

Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, EBM/synthpop/industrial 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, golden monkey, chai, and keemun. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, coconut, apple, raspberry, bergamot, cucumber, sage, vanilla, 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.

I’m currently growing my own tea. I have a 3-year-old potted Camellia sinensis, and I plan on picking a tiny bit of new growth this spring for my first try at drying my own leaves.

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

Location

Decatur, GA

Website

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