49 Tasting Notes

drank Earl Grey Bravo by Adagio Teas
49 tasting notes

After spotting some of Harney’s chocolate tea in the local grocery, I developed a craving for something sweet. This tea pretty much fits the bill for me. Not a “fruits and flowers”!kind of tea drinker, so the sweetness of the bergamot and blue corn flowers were just right.

I like this as an Early Grey, but still prefer tea without additives.

Flavors: Bergamot, Molasses, Orange Zest

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Another take on English Breakfast I like a lot! Steeped this one twice with good results. The Kenya tea adds a sweet, rounded edge, making this less brisk than some other versions.

Plenty of flavor and body in this malty cup!

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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Surprised this isn’t ranked higher. Maybe a straight Assam is just too “plain Jane” for some. I like it. A lot! This is an unblended, single-origin Tea, and its simple, malty goodness is exactly what I was hoping for. Just as with art, there’s no accounting for taste, and one opinion is as valid as the next. For me – this was a welcome cup!

Flavors: Malt

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

Been a long time since I’ve had some—but I remember liking it a lot. It’s hard to mess up a straight-up Assam!


Maybe try Grace Rare Tea Irish Breakfast. Might be a real winner for you. If you want it, I can pick it up in Southern Season in a couple of weeks.

Comm Guy

I’ve never been there. I have to go to Chapel Hill again soon. Maybe we should check it out.

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I feel like Veterans Day is too early, but since my wife has started to drench our home entertainment in cheesy Christmas movies, I decided I’d get in the spirit. Or at least play along a little. First I tried making my own “holiday blend” of Gunpowder Green Tea, Hibiscus and Peppermint leaves. Nice, but not enough kick.

So I tried blending a single cup of some Yunnan Black from Silk Road Teas with peppermint. (About 4:1) Very nice indeed. Not wanting to devote the last of one of my favorites, I decided to involve the most plentiful black tea blend in the house – Queen Catherine. Already a blend of Keemun, Panyang and Yunnan, I had little to lose when I added the peppermint leaves to make a full pot. (3:1 Ratio).

Bring out the holly! This is as refreshing and delicious as anything I could hope for! Another cup or two of this, and I’ll be almost ready to help get out the Christmas decorations. Almost.


This is the time of year I start avoiding Facebook so I don’t have to look at pictures of friends’ trees that have already been up for a week. THANKSGIVING, PEOPLE, THANKSGIVING! ;) With this said, this combo sounds tasty—the Queen isn’t currently in residence at my house, but you’ve inspired me to mint up some good heavy Assam to see what happens.

Comm Guy

I think I’ll try the same with some Assam.

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drank Mint Verbena by Harney & Sons
49 tasting notes

I get the idea Harney and Sons is somehow spying on me. I got this as a sample and it is definitely a keeper! A delightful mint herbal perfect for a afternoon, after dinner, or after pretty much anything else.

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drank Green Ginger by Tazo
49 tasting notes

A coworker gave me a box of these tea bags, and I really like it! I was on a self-imposed caffeine reduction thing for a few days, and this was perfect. I had to laugh when my coworker told me it tasted like dirt. I think it taste like pears!

I’ve blended my own lemongrass and ginger before, but this simple offering is far above my blend.

Flavors: Honey, Pear

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drank Organic Assam by Harney & Sons
49 tasting notes

I let this Harney sample sit for weeks because it’s a rare desire for a single cup of tea. Low or no-caff options, sure, but but caffeinated black tea.

Well worth the wait, this Assam was rich and flavorful. Deliciously malty with an edge of honey. I’m quickly becoming a fan of Assam tea, and this well-balanced variant is just right for any time of the day.


I am glad you like it! I haven’t tried this one. The organic English Breakfast is just dreadful to me. It is probably the only Harney Tea I dislike, other than part of the decaf line. I do like the one called just Decaffeinated. I like decaf Midsummers Peach and other flavored ones, but some of the decaf black teas tasted washed out to me.

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drank Big Red Sun by Harney & Sons
49 tasting notes

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

That line is a classic. Probably uttered in 80% of breakup conversations worldwide. But this time, it’s being offered as I reconcile my differences with Big Red Sun from Harney.

It was me; I steeped you too long the last time.
It was me; I failed to notice the toasted malty goodness you had within you.
It was me; I was expecting something other than the mellow sweetness that makes you who you are.

Forgive me. And thank you for another chance.


Aaaaaw! sniff sniff I am so glad you guys were able to work things out!

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
49 tasting notes

While offering to share a pot of Black Dragon Pearl with a friend who’s enjoyed many fine pots of home-roasted coffee with me, I said, “I don’t have any coffee right now”. Her response was, “I feel like I don’t even know you anymore”.

I feel the same way. I’ve sought, found, roasted and brewed some of the finest coffees in the world, and still have more than 2 kilos of sought-after beans waiting to be roasted. But TEA…so many exotic options. With the sheer number of variations of every leaf, harvest, storage and prep method, I just got lost.

But no more! I am roasting a batch of Maui Select, from the Ka’anapali Estate Coffee located on the West Maui Mountains near the historic town of Lahaina. Now. Today. I mean, as soon as I finish this pot of Laoshan Black from Verdant Tea.

From the Autumn 2016 He Family Collection, this tea is enough to stop anyone in their tracks. Its subtle hints of brown sugar and dark chocolate only increase as the cup begins to cool. The delicate looking dry leaves unfurled while steeping to reveal large black leaves 20x their original size. It’s obvious a great deal of care was taken getting this from the tree to my cup.

I wish I’d ordered more. Every sip is a treat, and it’s just one of 50+ reasons in my cabinet it’s easy to forget to roast coffee.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dark Chocolate


I love it when a tea stops me in my tracks! I had that experience this morning with Teavivre’s Keemun Imperial Black.

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Nice morning cup. Not at all bitter. The Keemun offsets the blend of Indian teas nicely. Or is it the other way around? Who cares, right?! Great way to start the day…or the afternoon, for that matter.

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I’ve heard others refer to me as a Renaissance man. I’m more apt to describe myself in a sentence ending with “…and master of none.”

I play music. I design and build things. I love art and quirky stuff. And I have a really cool wife.

In an attempt at a more graceful aging, I entered the wonderful world of tea for its health benefits in 2017. A home roaster and seasoned coffee-ologist, I dove quickly in, gleaning knowledge from every source possible and tasting all I could afford to buy, beg or borrow. Hundreds of cups, pots, bags and blends into it, I still consider myself a neophyte Steepster.

I’ve discovered I am a huge fan of Pu-erh, and quickly warmed up to Oolong and Yunnan Blacks, White teas, and Matcha.

Flavoring? Not really my thing. I can bear a little Jasmine in a Silver Needle, but given the plethora of sensory pleasures in the realm of tea, I’ll budget for a better tea over something with an additive.

I enjoy Tisanes, too. We buy herbs in bulk and blend for both benefits and taste. In that order.

My Somewhat Subjective Rating System:

91-100: An absolute favorite tea. So Far. You could create a reality TV show from my impulses to buy and hoard this one.

81-90: A favorite tea. I can overlook any inconsistencies it may have.

71-80: I like this tea. I’ll share or finish what I have, but it won’t make the reorder list.

61-70: Definitely drinkable, but doesn’t align my stars or anything.

51-60: Something’s not quite right. Could be quality, consistency, blending, or just personal preference, but not my favorite. I’ll still finish the pot.

11-50: Undrinkable for any variety of reasons. You won’t see a lot of these ratings from me, and I probably got this one as a sample; I tend to spend money on teas I know will appeal to me.

1-10: Was this really tea?


North Carolina

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