506 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
This is another one I bought on a whim from the salvage grocery store. I figured even if it was bad, I could just make it into chai or something.
Turns out, it’s not great. I mean, I’m not a fan of yerba mate in the first place, so I might be biased. It’s strong, rubbery-tasting and cloudy. Very dark and pungent. With a little sweetner, it’s not bad, but it’s defintely not a great black tea experience. There are notes of green plant matter, earth, and hay.
However, they weren’t kidding about it being energizing. Black tea plus yerba mate = cracked-out Tabby. I’m going to have to remember this on days when I’m dragging my feet at work.
So, basically, I don’t recommend this tea for the taste or quality. But I do recommend it for the buzz!
Flavors: Dirt, Earth, Hay
The only reason I have this is because I found it in a salvage grocery store for $1.45. The box was squished, but it wasn’t expired.
As far as bagged chais go, this isn’t the worst one I’ve tried. It also isn’t the best, of course. Cinnamon is the most dominant spice I can taste, while the other spices just sort of blend together in the background. I can hardly taste the base at all.
If you end up with this tea for whatever reason, you might wanna double-up on the amount of bags you’d normally use. It’s really weak and they were stingy with the spice. Or, you know, you could just skip it altogether.
At 3 am last night, I decided I wanted to make chai. Not because I wanted a cup at that hour, but because I really enjoy the ritual of it. Also, it makes my kitchen smell amazing. I figured I’d put it in the fridge for the next morning, when it would be greatly appreciated.
I’m almost done with this tub of bulk black tea. I don’t like it very much, but it works well enough as a base to blend with. I’m going to try it with a plain Assam next.
This is my current chai recipe, if anyone’s curious:
4 cups water
8 tsp. black tea
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 cardamom pods (mine might be a bit old, so you might need less)
5 cinnamon sticks (same goes for this)
1 2" piece of ginger root, sliced up
1 tbsp honey
This makes chai concentrate, so it’s best served over a lot of ice and with milk.
Mmm, this is unexpectedly the perfect tea for the changing of the seasons. The very first hints of fall are showing here, making me excited for heavy, smoky, and spicy winter teas. But not yet! It’s still in the eighties during the day, and the sun isn’t all the way down until nine.
Anyway! The tea itself is beautiful. Slender, green leaves mixed with bright red peppercorns, white coconut shavings, tan pineapple pieces, yellow lemongrass, brown cloves and cinnamon. The aroma is strong, spicy, and promising. It reminds me a lot of Adagio’s Thai Chai, which is one of my favorites.
This tea brews up to a very light tan, and when the milk is added, it almost goes completely white. Very interesting… I wonder how it would look with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top! Flavorwise, the cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon are in the forefront. There’s really too much going on in this to taste the white tea (at least, in the way that I prepared it). The lemongrass is very present as well, but I can hardly tell there’s any pineapple. Can’t taste that much at all, but it’s there. Same with the coconut. It’s in the very background, but present. Anyway, this is pretty crazy, and I like it a lot. I might have to reorder once it really starts getting cold.
Full disclosure: I didn’t look at the steeping instructions on this. I winged it, for once.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Fruity, Ginger, Lemongrass
I’ve had this in my cupboard twice already without reviewing. I thought I had gotten to it, but no, I had only written a short review for Adagio.com in exchange for some points. (I love that point system… it’s gotten me plenty of free tea when my bank account was low.)
Anyway, my review there said: “Every morning before work, I steep something for the commute. I bought this tea wanting something for summer that I could ice and enjoy while blasting the AC. Turns out, this is perfect. The coconut flavor is strong and realistic. Tropical and delicious. It reminds me a lot of the ‘coconut palm’ bubble tea that I’m obsessed with, only with less calories and a way better price. If you get this, try it with a splash of milk! It’s great!”
I also want to mention the generous amount of dried coconut shavings mixed in. They really add an extra dimension of tropical goodness.
I’ve had this tea in my cupboard for a good while and just hadn’t gotten around to it. I wish I had tried it sooner!
I made it iced, as it’s still blazingly hot here in the ATL. The leaves are very fragrant, smelling sweet and almost marshmallowy. I can tell it’s the same vanilla Adagio uses in their black vanilla tea, as well as their Earl Grey cremes. As far as the actual green tea goes, it’s low-to-mid-grade sencha. Flat and dark green, with almost no whole pieces.It brews up to a pale greenish yellow, as one would expect. The flavor is deliciously soft, creamy vanilla. However, it completely mutes the actual tea aspect. I know a lot of you would see this as a bad thing. I can’t say that I don’t exactly, but I’m really not a fan of green teas in the first place. I just never really developed the pallate. Also, I’m pretty crazy about vanilla, so… yeah. I like it! I’m glad I have it. It’s like a dessert without the calories and I could see myself getting it again.
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla
Hey, Steepster. Sorry it’s been a while. Things have been really crazy on my end. I don’t want to waste time on specifics, but I’ve been too stressed to dedicate much time to sitting down and writing. Also, I noticed I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to write about teas – so much that I was guilting myself into anxiety over drinking teas I haven’t reviewed yet. And that’s not cool. Tea should be enjoyed, not worried over!
As far as this tea goes, it’s pretty much what I expected from Adagio, but with a little extra. Mild black tea base that goes well with any sort of flavoring, check. Cute little pieces of dried cherries, check. But there are also pretty pink flower petals? Ooh, that’s unexpected.
The petals add a sort of rosey, lychee-like quality that goes well with the cherry. It’s definitely a tart cherry taste, not black cherry. Though the tea itself isn’t tart, it has the flavor of fruit that probably would be. I can’t say this tastes exactly like candy, as others have said, but I know for a fact that this one of the teas Adagio has enhanced over the years. A bunch of their flavored teas have had their recipes improved, to my surprise. (Caramel, vanilla, and mango are some I noticed, though I’m not really a fan of what they did to the mango…) Anyway, despite the improvements, I can’t say this is what I was hoping for. But I bet it will blend well with the coconut tea I bought!
Flavors: Berry, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Rose
This tea was intruiging from the moment I opened the foil packet. It seemed there was just as much dried tangerine rind as there was tea leaf inside! Now, this is my second flavored puerh. Before, I had tried a chocolate one by The Tea Spot, but I didn’t care for it much.
The scent is very interesting. The fruit is in the forefront, but it isn’t so much a fresh fruit aroma. It smells more like the tangerine tree itself. Sure, there are notes of citrus in it, but I also smell wood, dried leaves, and something very sweet.
As the tea steeps, it comes to a dark shade of brown, almost like coffee. The tangerine peels float to the top and rest there. The flavor of the tea is “cooked” for lack of a better word. The fruit tastes the way it would in a cobbler, sort of. There’s also a hint of something that reminds me of cereal. While this is very new and interesting, I can’t say I’m a huge fan. Maybe I still need to grow into puerhs.
Flavors: Bark, Citrus Zest, Wood