509 Tasting Notes

90
drank Caramel by Adagio Teas
509 tasting notes

Over the years, I’ve grabbed a sample of this flavor several times. (Between 2005 and now.) Each time I’ve bought it, it seemed better than the last. As if they tweak it for the better with every new batch.

This time is no exception. The caramel taste is so strong it’s almost too much! I made a pot to share with my husband tonight and it made the whole apartment smell like I was baking a caramel cake! The flavor keeps the aroma’s promise, too. Sweet, smooth, sinful.

On the next chilly morning we have, I’m going to make this with one part Caramel, one part Lapsang Souchong. Smoky caramel experiment!

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I have a tin set out in the “to drink tomorrow morning” queue!

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86
drank Violet by Kusmi Tea
509 tasting notes

Two firsts in one go! My first tea by Kusmi, which I’ve been meaning to get into for years, and my first violet tea. Now, where I live, we have wild Viola sororia which has no scent. They look nice, but because of them, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I wanted it.

I bought a box of the sachets because I wasn’t sure if I would like it, and the sachets were the smallest amount I could get. I’m pretty impressed by them, though! They aren’t dusty little paper things. They’re soft, white cotton mesh with whole leaf tea inside.

The scent and flavor, as I expected, are very floral. It reminds me of rose tea somewhat, but without the peppery finish. It also tastes… “purple”. Not quite like grape flavoring, but “purple” comes to mind. Sort of like candy. Or the way kudzu flowers smell. The black tea aspect adds a little astringency and strength to the flowers, but doesn’t overwhelm them. The violet is definitely in the forefront.

Anyway, this is really interesting. Not something I’d want to drink every day, but it will get finished for sure. I look forward to exploring more Kusmi teas!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Anna

…and this goes right on the shopping list.

Fjellrev

Violet is a wonderful thing.

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62

So, at 3 am last night, I decided to put the herbal content of this tea to the test. I needed to get some sleep but had been restless all night.

I took 3 bags of this stuff and steeped it in about five ounces of water for 10 minutes. When it was done, I threw in some sweetener and ice and drank it all at once. Even with the ice, the brew was dark. Strangely, it wasn’t too strong. I guess it tastes a little bit more like caramel once you triple the leaf.

The resulting sleepiness I got from the tea reminds me a lot of melotonin or Neuro Sleep. A strange heaviness and sort of comfortable feeling. I fell asleep hard and had some detailed, if somewhat stressful dreams until my alarm went off. I was still feeling the effects throughout my first shift of the day. It was very slow to wear off, leaving me really sleepy at work. So, the medicinal content works, no doubt.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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94
drank Mango by Harney & Sons
509 tasting notes

Finally getting around to tasting this one. I had opened it up to sniff, fully intending on making some, then I promptly forgot about it. Also, I’ve been concentrating on using up other teas that I have a lot of. I am so tired of Whittard’s Earl Grey, guys. You don’t even know.

Anyway! The dry leaf’s aroma is fantastic. Bright, sweet citrus, almost exactly like starfruit! Sure, it smells like mango, too, but a little sharper and more tart. As it brews, it smells so much like Adagio’s Guanabana. (Which makes me happy, because I love that tea.) It also reminds me of Adagio’s old Mango flavor, the one they used to sell in the mid-2000’s. They’ve changed it since then and I don’t like it as much.

Despite how dark the brew gets, the black tea aspect is actually pretty mellow. No bitterness and hardly any astringency. It has a sort of perfumey quality, mostly in the nose, but also a bit in the aftertaste. The mango flavor is not tart at all like I was expecting. It’s like the inside of soft, ripe mango. This is definitely going to get reordered. Most realistic mango tea I’ve ever had. I love it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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62

Ok. Lost my post 2 times now. Starting to go crazy. Here’s the gist:

I wandered into the grocery store looking for Tazo’s Rest, but couldn’t find it, so I settled for this despite previous negative experiences with Yogi teas. When selecting bedtime teas, I usually go with blends that contain valerian root, which this doesn’t have. Plus, I don’t even like rooibos, but here I am, tempted by the promise of caramel.

I gave it the full 10 minutes, as the packaging says to steep for 5-10. The tea brewed up to a dark ambery brown, like black tea, and reeked of chamomile. To be short, it doesn’t taste like vanilla or caramel. The main flavors I detect are chamomile, rooibos, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This is followed by that general “Yogi” herbal taste that I’ve noticed in everything I’ve tried by this particular brand.

As far as herbal effects go, I do feel a bit of a sleepy, comfortable feeling. I can’t tell if it’s the placebo effect or not, but I do feel more relaxed and ready to fall asleep. It’s not as strong as Yogi’s Bedtime (which contains valerian), but it still has an effect. Maybe I’ll steep two bags at once next time and see what happens.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
gmathis

No licorice-y taste? (That’s what pretty much turned me off with Yogi blends altogether.)

Auggy

Have you tried Stash’s Mellow Moments? It doesn’t have valerian but for some reason it just knocks me out and it has a nice minty flavor which seems unusual in the help-you-sleep herbals I’ve seen. I haven’t tried Tazo’s Rest, but I’m with gmathis on the Yogi stuff – they like licorice too much!

Tabby

No licorice in this one, but it still tastes pretty unpleasant. And no, Auggy, I haven’t tried that one yet. I like mint, so maybe I’ll give it a try! My grocery store carries a lot of Stash’s teas, so maybe they’ll have it.

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88
drank Rooibos Vanilla Chai by Adagio Teas
509 tasting notes

My love for vanilla and chai spices overrides the fact that this is a rooibos tea. Also, it’s two in the morning and my friends wanted tea. I figured this would be a good choice since there’s no caffeine.

While it steeped, my brother commented that it smelled like Christmas. It certainly does, especially with the orange peel, clove, soft vanilla, and cinnamon. I served it sweetened with a splash of 1% milk, which added a very nice creaminess that blended with the vanilla. Still, the spices provide a bit of a bite at the end. They also cover up any sort of rooibos aftertaste. I honestly wouldn’t know this had rooibos in it if it wasn’t in the name and description. It’s more like if vanilla masala chai and Constant Comment had a baby.

I’d say this is another rooibos that passes in my book.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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84
drank Earl Grey by Whittard of Chelsea
509 tasting notes

I found this in the clearance section of my grocery store and just couldn’t leave it there, even though my tea cabinet is delightfully stocked. I’m always curious about an Earl Grey I’ve never tried, and this one was 50% off!

This is my first tea from Whittard of Chelsea, and from the taste of it, it is a good first impression. The black tea base tastes more like Chinese black tea, though it’s a blend of Indian tea as well. It’s robust but not too bitter, and a tad astringent. A good morning tea.

The bergamot is nicely balanced. Not blaringly lemony, and not too strong to be the only flavor noticeable. It’s actually pretty smooth, and despite the strength of the tea, it’s soothing in a way. I should mention that I made this iced, but I’ve also had it hot and the experience was also very pleasant. Though I prefer the Greys I’ve had from Harney & Son’s, this will probably be my go-to if I just can’t wait for shipping!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
fermataleaf

You don’t happen to live close to a Barnes and Noble do you? It’s my understanding that they do carry some Harney and Sons tea. Maybe they have Earl Grey Supreme there?

Tabby

I don’t live near one, unfortunately. :/

fermataleaf

Oh :(
Well it’s nice to know that this is a decent substitute :)

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82
drank Chocolate Chai by Adagio Teas
509 tasting notes

I got this in a sampler set from Kaliskaa for my birthday! I’ve been curious about it for years, since Adagio first released their line of chai. However, their Thai Chai and Spiced Apple Chai drew me away until now.

In my sample, I made this both as hot and iced, since I’m still on a bit of an iced chai kick. As an iced chai, it was nice first thing in the morning. It’s like the chai equivalent of a mocha, except spicier.

The cinnamon and ginger come forward strongly against the chocolate. The actual chocolate flavor is much more present in the dry leaf’s scent than the actual tea. In the tea, it’s not entirely recognizable since there’s so much else going on. It tastes more like a gingerbread man that was left in the oven too long. Still, I really enjoy it. It’s not my favorite chai, but it’s still nice.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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88

Wow, this is a dark-leaved oolong. I literally went “Ooh” when I opened the packet. The leaves are long and almost black. They’re flat, and smell very sweet. I haven’t had an oolong in a good while, so that distinct and familiar scent is very welcome.

I went with the pack’s instructions, using boiling water and a short time in the water. As it steeped, the scent became stronger and more pungent. I’m reminded of fruit, but at the same time, the forest. Something makes me think of honey and of trees. It’s hard to describe, and intriguing. It brews up to a light shade of brown.

When I taste it, something instantly reminds me of tree bark, sap, and grapefruit. It’s toasty, smooth, and calming… Yet strangely, I feel like I’m tasting… hops? It reminds me of a mild IPA! Is that weird? To think of beer when I’m tasting tea? Anyway, I’m really liking this. I think I’m going to put the rest of my sample on and spend my evening enjoying this unique oolong.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec

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97

I am thrilled to get to try this tea because all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had from Teavivre have been fantastic. Just having this sample reminds me of all the black teas I need to reorder.

The leaves are indeed very fine. Practically none of them are broken, and they are all very narrow and pointed at the end. Each of them seem to be a different shade of chocolate brown and gold. It reminds me of a little bird’s nest as it sits in my infuser while I wait for the water to heat.

As they steep, the tea smells deliciously toasted and warm. It’s a very comforting scent. I’m somewhat reminded of cocoa and whole wheat bread. The flavor is even better. I’m getting notes of sweet potato, cocoa, caramel, and malt. I’m catching myself trying my best to drink it even though it’s too hot — it’s like I can’t stop myself.

This is the most perfect tea I could have on a wet, cool day here. It’s definitely going to be in my next Teavivre order.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, EBM/synthpop 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.

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.

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.

Location

Decatur, GA

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