199 Tasting Notes


Ok. I want to start this by saying I have never really been the fondest of straight green tea. However, I have been told by many these days that my experience is skewed because I am used to grocery store green tea. So I bought a bunch of green tea samples to try from across the board to see if what I am being told is right or not. This is one of my first (non-jasmine) attempts. Here goes.

Ok, right off the bat this isn’t starting out well. This tea tastes slightly smoked, which is definitely NOT my favorite flavor. The weird thing is I didn’t notice the smokey flavor till the bottom of cup one. Resteep is smokey right away though. Definitely getting those green tea flavor notes, but it isn’t overpowering. If I had to describe it I would say smoked spinach. There’s almost a meaty flavor to it as well, kinda like jerky. I don’t know if I didn’t prepare this right or what but I’m getting a different flavor profile than everyone else on here. It kinda tastes like… dinner. Like beef and potatoes and veggies dinner all mixed up in one. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but certainly not good either. I think I will have to pass on this one and try a different one next time. Oh well.

Flavors: Meat, Smoke, Spinach, Vegetables

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Mastress Alita

I’ve tried many different Pi Lo Chun from several different vendors and don’t think I’ve ever had a smoke note from any of them yet (I don’t like smoky green teas, either). I’ve never had Uptons, though. Meat and veggies are typical flavor notes I’ve picked up on, though! I’ve had a bacon-like taste and scallops/shrimp sort of meaty flavors, and grean beans very frequently. I really like it… but I’ve also never had a smoky one. If I ever had a smoky one, I’d certainly pass on it. I also only steep my greens 1-2 minutes, as I don’t like them getting astringent. Not sure if that would make a difference or not?

Shanie O Maniac

Well, judging from the fact that when I poured the water in the cup there was tons of visible steam coming from it, along with the dark color of the liquid, makes me think I burned the leaves. I tried to use lower temp water but maybe it wasn’t low enough? That may account for some of the smokey flavor. I could try again with lower temp water and only a 1-2 minute steep and see if it helps. I didn’t mind the meat and veggies taste nearly as much as the ash flavor. I suppose I can give this another shot. I will take your advice into account and try again sometime later this week.

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My second YS tea from my order. and wow am I impressed. The mellow flavor of this with the floral notes of the Jasmine blend perfectly. Unlike previous jasmines which were either too floral or too bitter, this one is just perfect. There is a background sweetness to this one as well. Wonderful tea. Totally recommend.

UPDATE: Just a friendly note on this one. There was no listing on this tea for Caffeine content, and there are far too many sites out there that still subscribe to the “all white tea is low caffeine” myth. This stuff is totally high caffeine. I drank two cups of this last night and was up all night. My brain would not stop pinging. Just a word of warning. It’s delish, but maybe save it for earlier in the day.

Flavors: Floral, Sweet

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Mastress Alita

Thanks for the warning. I was thinking of trying some white tea in place of my nightly herbals just for a bit more diversity but I may hold off now.

Shanie O Maniac

Well from my further research I have found that white tea cannot as a whole be grouped into a caffeine catagory. Some white teas actually do have lower caffeine levels. Others, like this one however, are sky high. Basically if you want to know how much caffeine is in a tea I would do some independent research. Don’t just trust what the big name sites say. According to my findings, Teavana lied about caffeine levels pretty much the entire time they were open. Adagio is basically the same it seems.

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So I paid attention to how long I brewed this one this time. Only three minutes this time around. I am finding the flavor is still rather bitter. Definitely floral, but still rather bitter. I think I am going to drop the rating on this one as it isn’t just my oversteeping that made it bitter, it really just is that bitter. From what I understand, Dancongs come in many varieties. I have at least one more coming my way via teamail, if not more. Hopefully some of those will be better than this one. I’m afraid this one gets a pass from me.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Well, I have generally determined that Golden Blacks are one of my favorite types of tea. So, time to step my game up a notch!
Western Style. 3 min with 212F Water. Wet leaf smells like honey and muted cocoa with some maybe baked bread is it? Hard to say, I’m still learning this stuff.
Taste is… OH WOW. This is so much better than my Adagio Golden Monkey. I can see the similarities for sure, but all of the yumminess in this cup is turned up to 11. I’m getting strong cocoa and honey notes, and yes I’m calling it- it tastes like fresh baked bread. There’s something else there, I want to say ever so slight sweet potato, but really only the best parts of sweet potato because I really hate sweet potato and I’m definitely loving on this. Aftersip mouth taste is sweet and pleasing. Almost like a honeyed dinner roll. This is probably the best tea I’ve ever tasted in my life. Actually, “probably” may be misleading. I’m pretty much certain this is the best tea I’ve ever had. If there is better tasting tea out there, I don’t recall. I need this all the time. Bottom line: If you are a fan of the golden blacks, you owe it to yourself to try this. Go for it. This tea is wonderful.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Honey, Sweet Potatoes

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

I love Chinese black teas and Golden Monkeys, this one sounds like a keeper! Those are all favorites among my flavor notes. <3

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Well, my late night brew time has arrived. This is the Honeybush variety of Adagio’s vanilla tea. In bag, it smells almost too sweet. But there is an additional scent there, something akin to bourbon. It’s almost syrupy sweet smell, so we shall see how well that translates.
Steeping is western style. I will point out that I steeped this about 3 minutes longer than I usually do. I forgot to not listen to Adagio’s instructions and only steep 3 minutes. Water was boiling.
Flavor is… well it’s better plain than the vanilla rooibos, if that makes any sense. I can smell more sweetness then I taste. The sweetness with no added sweetener is very mild. The vanilla is there but isn’t necessarily bitter or sweet. It’s sort of a neutral vanilla note. I’m not getting any real flavor of that bourbon I smelled. I mean it may be there if you hold it in your mouth and search for it, but in regular sippage it’s missing. The tea overall is slightly bitter, but I don’t want to add splenda because I am afraid it will go too far the opposite direction. I suppose this is an acceptable tea. If you like vanilla, then this may be ok. But more than likely it’s probably too bitter and muted for most peoples tastes. Technically, when taken straight, it’s better than the Rooibos Vanilla from same company. But it’s really not the best. I will likely finish the sample but that’s about it.

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Ok here goes another Chai. I didn’t previously like the combo of Lemongrass and Coconut, so we shall see how this turns out.
Brewed into a latte, it’s very subtle and restrained. The spice is strong enough that I like it and it isn’t completely obliterated by the milk. However it isn’t overpowering either. I’m getting cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and all of the good warming spices. The Coconut and Lemongrass are not nearly as pronounced in this so it isn’t as jarring. I actually like this. It’s really good. There’s a little bit of mouth tingle from the spices. All in all, much better than the thai chai I believe.

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Spices

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Skinny Tea by Adagio Teas
199 tasting notes

This tea was included in a sampler that I got for free from Adagio for ordering over 49 dollars. That being said, anything that says “Skinny” in the title has my interest (I’m attempting to lose weight), so here goes.
The smell in the bag smells very strongly of custard. I’m guessing that’s the “Natural Creme Brulee Flavor” that it contains. That sugary custard aroma smells lovely so lets see how it translates into the brew.
Western style as usual, 3Min, Boiling Water (Which is what it calls for despite there supposedly being both green and oolong in it.)
Smell while brewing is a mild buttered popcorn scent. It almost makes me wonder if the oolong they used is a milk oolong, but I doubt it. It smells nothing like the dry leaf, unless you make the connection that there is dairy in both custard and butter.

Taste is… actually really good. I’m getting the ginger and honey notes, along with a buttery flavor and some cinnamon. This is really hard to judge at my level of tasting experience. There’s just so many competing flavors I can’t pick them all out. It’s very tasty, don’t get me wrong, and I almost want to make a latte out of it to really bring out the natural sweetness. But that complexity is almost too much. Think “Jack of all trades, Master of none”. All those different ingredients lead to a cup with 101 flavors, but almost none really stick out. It’s the “Mutt” of tea. Still decently tasty though.

Note: It says to not overdo it on this tea or (to un-euphemism them) you may get the runs. I’m guessing that some of the herbs may cause that as this is technically a wellness tea. So I doubt I will resteep this. No clue how it is supposed to help you lose weight, but if it works, great. If not, it’s decently enough flavored that I will finish the sample but probably not buy more.

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Ginger, Herbs, Honey

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Mastress Alita

It’s the senna leaf in the blend that can cause that.


Oh boy, lol. The dry weight of senna in this blend is probably less than, say, Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move which is a purpoosful unclogger. Shanie will probably be ok. But yeah, senna will take shed some poo and water weight alright.

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This is my first experience with Silver Needle, and once more it is Adagio. I do have some Jasmine Silver Needle on its way from YS but that hasn’t arrived yet.
Anyway, Western style, 3 mins 180F. Smell in cup is of warm buttery croissants and faint floral aroma. Taste is… rather nice. The buttery notes I smell only subtly translate over into taste. I’m getting a more grass/floral flavor to it in its place. I swear I taste melon, is that weird? The aftersip is more of that dry grass flavor with the floral and melon. As it cools I’m getting a very mild wood flavor. Overall I would say this is a win for me. The complex flavors, while noticeable, are not overpowering. It’s a nice soothing calming flavor. Good for the end of the day when you want to unwind.

Flavors: Butter, Dry Grass, Floral, Melon, Wood

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Roswell Strange

I like Silver Needle teas in the mornings too, particularly on the weekends. They’re a nice, subtle and gentle way to ease into the day.

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So this is my second of Adagio’s Jasmine Greens. I already reviewed and finished the other so we shall see how this one pans out.
Western Style. I got distracted and steeped it a bit too long (about 3:30-3:45) but the water was 195F.
I can definitely taste the oversteeping. The Jasmine isn’t nearly as overpowering as the other one I tried, so that is a plus. However, with the oversteep, it is ever so slightly bitter. I can taste the green tea more in this one, so those vegetal flavors are totally there. The bottom of the cup where some of the flavor settled was super bitter, but again, oversteep so that is probably why. I will try this one again fresh later and pay more attention so I can get an accurate bead on it. But for now, what I am getting from this one is I think it is better than the Yin Hao (I think that was what it was called). Not as super-jasmine, and a better blend of flavors.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Jasmine, Vegetal

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Shanie O Maniac

Ok. Second steep of 2:30 precisely is so much better. Minimal bitterness but a good Jasmine flavor that isn’t in your face perfumey. I think next batch I make I will try the first steep at 2 minutes. Still, I like this somewhat better than the Yin Hao, but not sure if this will be my go-to Jasmine or not.

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drank 40 Winks by Adagio Teas
199 tasting notes

Well what do you know? My first added tea!
40 Winks wasn’t anywhere on the site so I had to add it. Believe me I looked. Nowhere to be found. Anyway this is one of Adagio’s wellness blends. It’s supposed to promote sleep. We shall see…
Upon cracking the package, I get a strong pungent aroma. I’m guessing that’s the valerian root. It’s listed as the first ingredient so it must be prevalent. I’m also getting an aroma of chamomile and mint, which are also both ingredients. So onto steeping.
Western Style, 212F, 5Min.
Upon drinking the first thing I notice is that the pungent valerian aroma doesn’t fully translate over. It’s definitely there, but the tea is still palatable. There’s a slight tingling sensation in the mouth that I suppose would be the mint? I can totally taste the chamomile as well. Grassy notes are apparent as well. They become more and more noticeable as tea cools. Surprisingly no sweetener is needed in this one, although some people may wish to put a bit of honey in it for medicinal value. I can’t really have honey anymore so I am grateful it does not need any sweetener to drink. I don’t know if this will put me to sleep or not (I have weird sleep patterns) but it is certainly soothing. I would totally recommend this for a last-cup-of-the-night kind of tea. It’s flavor is nothing to write home about, but it’s not horrible and who knows maybe it will help you sleep.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Licorice, Mint

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Shanie O Maniac

Update: The first cup of this did nothing to help me sleep. However I no sooner finished the resteep second cup than I felt like I was hit by a truck. The sedation effect was that sudden. My friend has nicknamed this tea “80 Winks” as not only does it take two cups to work on me, but after it did put me under, I slept for almost 14 hours! Going to try again tonight. Will keep informed.

Mastress Alita

Valerian Root always does the trick for me. I have a tea with valerian root in it (one that isn’t chamomile heavy since I don’t like the taste of chamomile), and I also just keep a bottle of valerian root in capsules to help with difficult nights.

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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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