200 Tasting Notes


Sipdown #7

Back again with the Bluberry Rooibos, I really like this one. It’s slightly tart, but not so much as to be sour. It has a really good flavor. I almost want to try it with a single splenda, to see how that would complement the flavor. It’s slightly woody, although I can tolerate it. Ever so mild vanilla flavor. All in all good stuff.

Flavors: Blueberry, Vanilla, Wood

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Quickie Nighttime Sipdown #6 (I believe)

This time, it’s Adagio’s Spiced Apple Chai. Now, I didn’t write a tasting note the previous time I had this, and according to the steeping instructions you need 2 tsp per servings which means I only got two sessions out of the sample I bought.
Smell in bag is definitely what it says on tin. Getting those spices along with apples. I can actually see the spices as well as the apples, so that is a plus.
Prepped Western Style, 5 min steep with Boiling water. As per chai rules, added almond milk and two splendas afterwards.
Taste is… not too shabby. The Cinnamon, naturally is prominent. However, I can actually taste some cloves in there as well. Plus the apple. The apple is also coming in clearly.
There’s enough spices and complexity that the almond milk doesn’t completely wipe them out. The apple, while clearly there, is unfortunately a background note it seems like. I can taste it in the back of my mouth and throat, but not really on the tongue. If that sounds weird, it kinda is. I mean it’s good, and I do like it, I just sort of feel “eh” about it. Not the worst by far, but not the best. It is better than that Stash Chai Spice I last reviewed, so I suppose I can rate this one a B. I doubt I will order this one again, as there are chais out there I like better. But if you are looking for something with this flavor profile then you might want to give this a chance. Like I said- Good, but not Great.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Cloves

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Doing a new review of this tea because frankly, my taste buds seem to have evolved in the past two months.

This tea is not as good as I previously rated it by far. I recently made a pure cinnamon infusion for medical reasons and this tastes approximately the same. Yes I like cinnamon and it isn’t horrible. But that is basically all there is to this. Just pure cinnamon. If there are other flavors I can’t taste them.

I’ll probably finish the box but I don’t think I will get any more. I’m certain I can find a better caffeine free chai out there if I look.

Flavors: Cinnamon

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Yayayay another Jasmine.

Quick note today, as I really am not in mood for anything legnthy.
The flavor balance on this one is quite nice. Some jasmine, a bit of peach, some vegetal greeness. All around good tea. I’m on my third steep and it’s still really good.

Totally recommend.

Flavors: Floral, Peach, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Huzzah. another black tea. This time, it’s the Fengqing Dragon Pearls from Tevivre.
Starting out by saying I love how the “sample” packs from tevivre are exactly one serving. Yes you get two individually wrapped single serving packs per sample, and yes I ordered two of almost every sample in my order. Still- nice touch.

(NOTE) I should add that for a small, 6oz cup of tea, the amount per sample package is probably closer to two servings. But for my large 12oz cup, it is a single serving.

Ok, western style, 195F Water at 6 min per steeping instructions.
Flavor is… different. It’s not as cocoa-y as my golden blacks, although that flavor is still present. Strong malt flavor and I now know what that flavor tag “Autumn Leaf Pile” means because holy cow is that here. I’m not sure if I like this or not. It kinda tastes… dirty. Not earthy, DIRTY. There’s a bit of bread flavor here too. I’ve let it sit a bit and it really doesn’t taste good once it’s cooled. I think it was much tastier when hot. I mean, if you like a really woodsy black tea, then this would definitely be for you. I personally, however, think I will stick to my regular golden blacks.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 min, 0 sec

With Feng Qing black teas, I think you need to brew them gongfu style to fully appreciate them. They tend to be very earthy and complex. Some people love that about them, but others don’t. You may also be able to get better results brewing these Western style if you start off with a shorter steep time. If it were me, I would start off with a 3 minute brew and then increase the steep time by 2 minutes for each subsequent infusion to see how the aromas and flavors change over time.

Roswell Strange

Agreed that six minutes is definitely a LONG time to brew this one Western to get the best version of its flavour. I’d personally recommend 3 or 4 minutes.


Agree. Kind of sort of on topic but what type of tea is the best grandpa style? Green? Thanks in advance.

Shanie O Maniac

I’m still relatively new at this and even I thought, when looking at the package, “5-8 minutes? Are you sure?” I really should have gone with my instincts rather than the packaging. I’ll try this again later with a much shorter steeping. The thing is, even oversteeping it like I did, I found that the drink was still palatable when really hot. The hotter the better it seemed. When I was typing that note, the tea had cooled significantly and it was just bleh. But when I went back for a resteep and drank it immediately it was actually not too bad.

Roswell Strange

@kawaii433 – personally, I’m a big fan of drinking oolong teas grandpa style – but really I’ll drink any straight tea grandpa except for black teas (I just find they get weird and bitter the most, and have the least longevity). Lately I’ve been doing a long of Grandpa style Shou, with the colder weather. The rest of my lab team Grandpa brews Chinese greens on the daily, though. So kind of just personal preference and experimentation, I suppose?


@Roswell Strange Ahh kk, thanks for the information. :D.

Shanie O Maniac

I’ve never grandpa brewed even once in my life, but I kinda want to try. I almost want to grandpa my Golden Monkey as I have found the Adagio Golden Monkey is extremely forgiving and doesn’t get bitter regardless of how long it steeps. Maybe I will try it sometime.

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(Copied and pasted from other review. I almost had the right tea…)
So time for another chai, this time a grocery store chai I bought just before getting my first Adagio order. It wasn’t even opened and I bought it two months ago so that should be a hint of my excitement level.
Gonna keep things brief, this is an ok chai. Actually, it’s really ok. I’d give it a C+. It’s above average, but not by much. It is however, somewhat better than the Adagio Masala Chai. The flavor is more pronounced, even if it is mostly cinnamon. There’s enough of that in it to make my lip tingle. I’m getting a mild undertone of other spices, but it’s mostly cinnamon. Like I said, slightly above average, but not much.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Spices

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Sipdown Number 6!

Oh am I sad to see this one go. But don’t get me wrong, next month, after payday, there will be more. I’m honestly contemplating the 5oz tin because I just need to drink this every day. Same basic recipe applies, almond milk (unsweetened vanilla) plus two splendas. BOOM! Andes Candy. This is a new favorite thing. I have managed to drink down the entire sample in about a week, and that includes getting at least one resteep per sitting. I think I’m going to have to greatly up the rating on this, even though it needs to be “Latte-ed” to get the full effect. I will make an exception because once made into a sweetened latte, it’s just SO DARN GOOD. Farewell for now, Skele-Gro. We shall meet again soon.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Spearmint

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Well, I wanted a new tea I had never had before. And, as I’m running out of those, here we are.
Bought this as part of a quasi-sampler of green teas from Upton. I’ve had varying results so far so we shall see.
Western style prep, 2tsp for 12oz, 180F water at 3 minutes.
Taste is… holy crap does that taste like sweet peas. No really, it’s exactly what I would imagine sweet pea to taste like. It’s green pea flavored, but sweeter. I guess you could chalk that up to a yummy green tea flavor. I’m also getting a hay aftersip, which is different but not bad. This is one of the greener greens I’ve had. It’s actually really good. I know I’ve said I don’t like grassy flavors, but the natural sweetness in this one overrides the negativity I might feel about the grass flavor. Yummy yummy. I’d call this green tea experiment a rousing success. Absolutely delicious.

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Peas, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Ok, another added tea. This time, it is the “Naturally flavored Vanilla black tea” from Upton. Smell in bag is, well, not good. It smells like the vanilla has gone straight past body spray and into licorice territory. Some people might like that, but I don’t. This tea already has me concerned. But, onward for SCIENCE!
Western prep. 2tsp for 12oz cup, 4min at boiling water.
Taste is… blech that’s bad. Unfortunately that offputting licorice smell makes it into the tea. The vanilla, while supposedly natural, is like drinking vanilla extract. It’s so dominant, I really can’t even taste the black tea base. This is awful. I wonder if sweetener would help, but honestly I think I am just going to call this one a loss. The only remotely decent thing about this tea is it’s crisp mouthfeel. Only any goodness from that is taken to a negative level.
It’s a very sharp, dry tea- if you like that sort of thing. It leaves me personally feeling like I have dry mouth. I’ve never been one for dry wines, I suppose that would explain why I don’t like dry teas. There’s a word people use: Astringency. I think that applies here. I really am not completely sure what astringency is in a cup of tea. All I know is I feel like I just ate a mouthfull of dry coffee creamer. Horrible. Do not recommend at all. Go back, Upton, and try again.

Flavors: Drying, Licorice, Vanilla

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Another green tea. I know I’m testing the limits here drinking this at 5am but oh well.
This one has long curled green and white leaves that, in bag, smell somewhat fruity and sweet. It’s a wonderful smell that compelled me to drink some despite the odd hour.
Prepared western style, 180F water at 3 min. Smell while brewing is very grassy, which has me slightly concerned. The brewing smell is completely different from dry leaf smell.
Taste once brewed is… oddly familiar. It reminds me of the green tea that Adagio uses in its Jasmine scented teas. Actually I’m pretty sure it is the same tea. The flavor is slightly vegetal, while also floral and mildly sweet. I’m getting a dry grass flavor predominately, but not so much as to be offputting. Unfortunately those sweet fruity scents that the dry leaf has do not really translate over except in a aftersip taste. Basically after you drink this, if you wait a few minutes, the lingering flavor turns from one of hay, to mouth full o’berries. Its a bit odd and I really wish that fruity flavor translated into the actual tea itself. In the end, this is 100% drinkable and I do enjoy it. This I would consider a successful green tea experience. Bring on more like it.

Flavors: Berries, Dry Grass, Floral, Hay, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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HELLO! My name is Shanie and I love tea!

While I have always loved various types of tea, for a very long time it came exclusively from a grocery store. It’s only been a year or so now that I’ve gotten into loose leaf. As such, there will likely be tasting notes I do for bagged tea as well as good quality (and not so good quality) loose leaf teas. I’m still learning as I go so have patience please!

Right now, I am on a massive Earl Grey kick. So if a ton of my notes are just various varieties of EG, that’s why!

Some of my favorite flavors include: Cocoa, Malt, Bread, Honey, Earthy, Sweet Citrus, Caramel, Apple, Spices, and Cinnamon.

Some flavors I don’t like: Licorice, Coconut, Bitey Citrus (like Citric Acid), Licorice, Sour, Smoke, Overpowering Fake Vanilla, Stevia, and did I mention Licorice?

NOTE: I am Type 2 Diabetic. As such, I can really not have sugar added to tea without suffering problems. This prohibits me from using either plain sugar or honey. Instead, I use Splenda as I found my system can handle it well and I like the flavor. I try to avoid stevia as I’ve found it often ruins the flavor of tea. However, not all teas require sweetener, and some are better without. Because of this, if I add sweetener to a tea, I will mention it in the tasting note and say what kind and how much. Usually, I sweeten flavored and herbal teas but leave true teas unsweetened. There are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb to go by.

Almost all of the tea I brew is western style. I occasionally do grandpa, but pretty much never Gong-fu. I do own a Gaiwan, but it never gets used. Considering I don’t have a “sip setting” when it comes to beverages, it’s really hard for me to get into any sized amount less than 8oz at a time. I know that probably makes me a tea-heathen, but so be it. I like my mugs.

I have decided to try and make a scale for my ratings. So here goes.

As of January 2020.

100-91: These are my go-to favorites. I will likely go out of my way to always keep these on hand, including going on third party websites to obtain out of season.
90-81: This is a tea I really did enjoy, and I will likely purchase again. However, I wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for it, and it isn’t my all-time favorite.
80-71 This is a tea that, while I may have somewhat enjoyed, something is holding me back from making it a mainstay. Maybe the flavor profile isn’t the best. Maybe there is an offputting aftertaste. It varies. But while I did like it and will continue to drink it, I don’t absolutely need it in my life, and while I will likely finish what I have, I may or may not get more.
70-61: This is a tea which I drank, but I didn’t like it. However, I didn’t hate it either. It wasn’t bad enough to dump, and if it is the only thing available to drink, I would likely drink it instead of plain water. But in the end, this is just not my literal cup of tea and I will likely not get this again.
60-51: This is something that I didn’t like much at all, but for one reason or another, refused to dump. If I squint hard enough and use my imagination, I can almost BS myself into thinking they are decent, and I suppose I can choke it down and not waste it. These are teas that I will not be buying again, and may not even finish what I have.
50-41: Yeah, whatever this is, I there’s a good chance I dumped it. At this level, it’s pretty bad stuff with either weak flavor, nasty flavor, or all the wrong flavors, It has few redeeming qualities, and I likely won’t reach for this one again. On the bright side, it isn’t sewage water, so there’s that.
40-31. On it’s best day this tea has no redeeming qualities. This not only got dumped but the package it came in either got thrown away, traded, or shoved to the back of the cupboard to never be touched again. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but darn sure close.
30-Under: The worst thing I’ve ever tasted. This not only has no redeeming qualities, but it is gag-inducing. “Teas” in this range are so bad I not only will never drink them again, I really don’t feel like offloading them onto anyone else because they are just that bad. Actual sewage water.


Pennsylvania, US

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