198 Tasting Notes

77

Welp, apparently I misplaced this tea and just found it. It wasn’t even opened. So I figured I’d brew a cup. For starters, I wanted to say that in my past experiences, vanilla rooibos needs to be brewed for 3 minutes not 5 unless you want to drink vanilla body spray (or something that tastes like I imagine it would). So 3 minute brew. Tasted without sweetener, and it was lacking. I could definitely taste the vanilla, but it tasted more like vanilla extract (super bitter) than actual sweet vanilla. So one splenda later and it’s pretty good. It has a strong vanilla bean flavor to it. Actually, it tastes a bit like this of I would say aged vanilla. Like the stuff they put in really good cream soda. Some Malt flavor as well. Yep, I would say that this fixed this way kinda tastes like the tea equivalent of craft brew cream soda. Yummy and bold, rich and flavorful. Its a pity you have to add sweetener to it to truly bring out the richness of the vanilla but some things can’t be helped.

Flavors: Cream, Malt, Vanilla

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

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77

So, time for an old favorite that I simply haven’t reviewed yet. I am a big fan of Masala Chais in general, so I was excited to see how Adagios held up. First off, I steeped this for eight minutes. Then I added Almond Milk and Sweetener. I tried just adding almond milk but it tasted bland. So after two spendas I sipped again. It’s… fine. It’s not nearly as spicy as some of the instant chais I have had and that is sad. It is however very complex flavored. I taste cinnamon, I taste ginger, I taste cloves, I taste nutmeg (I think), it is definitely spicy. However, the spice isn’t as strong as I would like. I like a good strong spicy chai. Maybe if I steeped more leaf for longer it would make a stronger cuppa. As it stands with 1.5 teaspoons for 12 oz it just isn’t strong enough for my liking. It’s tasty, but not the best. I can see why some people might like it though so I won’t recommend/not recommend. All in all, it’s ok, but not the best. Will try again fiddling with prep later.

Flavors: Biting, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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79

Sipdown #3

Well, this is the end of the Gingerbread, the last loose leaf black tea I have right now. I suppose it’s fitting that I finish it as the Holiday season comes to a close.

First off, I would like to say I tried something different this time. Rather than just use sweetener, I used a small amount of almond milk along with two splendas. I must say… WHY was I not doing this before. I almost want to give this a whole new rating based on the tea’s flavor when both milk and sweetener are added. It’s like eating a cookie. I’m guessing a gingerbread cookie, but since I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a gingerbread cookie, I’m not sure. But with the milk this tea suddenly takes on a richness that it did not have in any previous steeping. It’s so wonderful. Slight malt flavor, along with a definite ginger sweetness. The bitterness is no longer prominent. You know, I think I will bump the rating a smidgen. This is just too good not to. I really wish I had been doing this all along. Oh well, maybe next time I can get some more and use this prep method each cup. Until then… (Muffled Another One Bites The Dust playing in background)

Flavors: Cookie, Ginger, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Mastress Alita

You should try cutting the sweetener and just go for vanilla almond milk sometime, it makes fantastic tea lattes!

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82

Ok, trying this one again. Prep was with boiled stove water for 5 minutes. Flavors I’m getting are definitely orange zest, some peach, a sweet/tart flavor and some amount of floral. The aftersip is somewhat like a lemon candy/citric acid feeling and it kinda tickles my throat. It reminds me tonight of those little fruit candies you get out of the quarter machines. Very tasty.

Flavors: Floral, Orange Zest, Peach

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67

Well, I am giving this a second go. I am at the parents house again, but this time I grabbed a few tea samples to bring with me. I will point out that in this case I am Microwaving water (BLECH) and using an actual coffee mug for tea. First thing I noticed is when the temperature of the water or quality of the water you use for this tea is off, the flavor will be off. It is really hard to get precisely boiling water without a kettle. as a result, the first cup was too cool and had little flavor. The second cup, while hotter, I think may have been too hot?? Because the flavor is too fishy and overpowering. I also fiddled with the brew time. 35 seconds for brew 1 (Post rinse) and 45 seconds for second brew. I feel these may be far too long. 45 seconds is totally too long I have decided, again, I’m getting fishiness when that previously hadn’t transferred over into the cup. I’m not going to dump this cup, but I poured a glass of wine to drink between sips to help things out a bit. I may try a third infusion at 40 seconds at the most, maybe even less. I just know that brewing this here, without my usual accouterments, has resulted in a far inferior cuppa than my first experience. This is supposed to be a very forgiving tea. Just don’t think I agree with that at all.

Flavors: Earth, Fishy, Moss, Peat

Preparation
0 min, 45 sec
Shanie O Maniac

I was absolutely right, for those wondering. 45 seconds was way too long to steep this. I took it back down to 25 seconds for the third infusion, and it is very much like the first time I brewed it on 12/27. Once More, I find that what Adagio says about their teas (Namely this one being forgiving) isn’t true. Really as forgiving as this one is supposed to be, I find it fickle. FICKLE! FICKLE! FICKLE! FICKLE!/newdanielbryan

Mastress Alita

It may feel like the stone ages, but if really desperate for boiling water, you could get out a pan and go stovetop, heh… I’ve gotten to that point where I just can’t microwave my tea anymore. I don’t care how bulky my luggage is these days, the kettle goes on vacation with me now, hahaha!

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79

Sipdown Number 2!
Welp. We will try this again. I drank this yesterday and intended on reviewing it but the page didn’t work. So here we go today. Although this is my first review it is actually the sipdown. This is the end of a sample package I got from Adagio. Smell in pouch is very overpowering. It’s smells like you are nose first in a berry basket. The color when brewed is a deep purple/pink, reflective of the Hibiscus. The first sip, without sweetener, is unfortunately quite tart, to the point of sour. Too much rosehips and hibiscus I believe. So one splenda goes in. Still a bit too tart. Half of a second splenda goes in. Ahhhh, There’s that berry sweetness. Now it is actually quite nice. The sweetener brings out the flavors of the brew other than hibiscus and rose hips. You can actually taste berry this way. I still taste the hibiscus and rosehips but I can also taste cranberries and a touch of currant. It’s like a bright berry party in my mouth this way. The flavor is very strong, but then I did steep for 7 minutes. I’m going to change things up a bit and recommend this one, even though many people may require sweetener for it to taste right. Mainly because it is just SO GOOD when I add the 1.5 splendas. I wonder what this would be like with honey? All in all, I will likely be getting this one again. The need for sweetener added is unfortunate, as I feel a good tea should stand alone. But, the full body, rich flavor of this when added sweetener is so delicious that I will stand by it regardless.

Flavors: Black Currant, Cranberry, Hibiscus, Rosehips

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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79

Ok. So. I’m in a black tea kinda mood today. Black Mood, Black Tea. Anyway, this Gingerbread flavored tea is one of the few black loose leafs I have. I think I already reviewed this once but I’m going to try again. This time, I did try it without sweetener. Blech. Bitter and un yummy. So one splenda later I tried it. It’s actually… decent. The sweetener brings out the gingerbread flavor (I think that is what it is supposed to be anyway). If you let it linger it gets a bit earthy, and slightly bitter even with the sweetener. But it is definitely not as bad as I remember the first cup was. I think I steeped it slightly shorter time as well. It’s drinkable. I will likely finish the sample I got (It was part of the December Better Tea Club Box) but I doubt I will go and order any. I will raise my rating but I am refraining from recommending/not recommending because the need for sweetener to make it drinkable could be a dealbreaker for some, but not others.

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Ginger, Molasses

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95

Sipdown Number ONE!

So this has become one of my favorite teas. By far. I need this all the time. I’m so sad that this is the last of it. It doesn’t help that it’s pretty pricey and I’m gonna have to shell out more than I ever have for tea for a full sized pack. :( Oh well. Thus is life. I really am glad I saved enough for today. I drank like twelve cups of various teas yesterday to drown the pain. Then at around 9pm we got word that my Grandma had passed. So this is at least the start of a new day with a great cup of tea. It’s comforting. I’m raising the rating a bit because I feel like I will do anything for this stuff. It’s so chocolatey! This will likely be my go to morning brew starting next month. Until I find something else I like more. But for now, this is glorious.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Earth, Honey

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Welp. This will be my eighth? Ninth? Cup of the day. In trying times like these it is helpful to remember the old phrase- Keep Calm and Drink Tea. I think that is old anyway. I may have just made it up. Anyway, Right now we have Green Rooibos Bonita. This is a more mild blend with a boiling water, 5 minute brew combo. I can really taste the orange citrus notes coming through, but it isn’t bitey. It is actually a nice addition. There’s a underlying tone of… something. It’s warm and mellow. I don’t know what that flavor is. I hate that I’m so new to this. There is so many terms I still don’t know. The aftersip is sort of woody slightly. Not really earthy just kinda woody. If I leave it in my mouth long enough, I get vegetal and grassy flavors. There’s a very subtle sweetness to it that lingers if you let it. I do believe I like this one. It doesn’t require any additions (which is essential I feel to good tea), and it has a very complex and pleasing flavor that I will probably seek out again soon.

Flavors: Grass, Orange, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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67

Huh. This was the very last holdout of my previous two adagio sample orders. I had been holding back on it because I needed a reason to try it. I didn’t want it to just be an ordinary day tea. I have heard lots of different things about Pu-erh and I wanted to make it memorable.

Well, Fast Forward to today. My grandma is at deaths door. The project it will be a few hours, a day at most. I refuse to go see her in this state as 1. she is completely unresponsive so it’s not like she would know I was there, and 2. I can’t stand to see her like this. I don’t want to be there when the end arrives.
So here I am. Brewing a very special cuppa, in honor of my grandma.

I couldn’t remember the recommended instructions I had read on here for this one. So I winged it a bit. First, a 30 second rinse. Then, a 30 second steep. I gotta say, once I was able to get a proper mouthful of this, it was like a flavor explosion in my mouth. The fishy notes I smelled on the leaf didn’t translate into taste. Instead, I get a bold, rich, earthy flavored tea with faint notes of honey and woodiness. I can definitely taste the tea itself, and it surprisingly isn’t bitter. I really like this. I was so scared I wouldn’t but I actually thoroughly enjoy this tea. I guess to sum it up, this tea is definitely a keeper. It’s literally my first cup of Pu-erh, and if this is any indication, I’m going to enjoy trying others. Can’t wait for that resteep!

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Moss, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
AJRimmer

Every time I try a pu-erh, there’s always a few moments of hesitation as I fear the worst! Usually turns out okay though. Best wishes to you and your family! <3

Shanie O Maniac

Thanks. Appreciate that. I’m still drinking it right now. I’m on steeping number 3. It keeps on going. The more I drink it the more I like it.

mrmopar

Sorry about your grandmother. I saw my grandmother on a machine at 15 and I made my father take me home. Not how I wanted to remember her.

On another note though, glad the puerh was a good experience for you.

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Profile

Bio

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.

Location

Pennsylvania, US

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