224 Tasting Notes


My most recent order from Adagio I got the ‘The Town We Do No Speak Of’ sampler set. Since I had the day off today and all to myself I decided to get through as many of the tins as possible. This was tea #1.
Brewed this has a green smell with something vaguely smoky and coffee-esque (but not like bitter/burnt coffee). It’s earthy and definitely coffee like when I tasted it, though I’m not sure how much of that is the maté since I’ve never had maté before. It’s not unpleasant, just kinda odd. Overall this blend was just kinda strange, not in a bad way, just strange. I also couldn’t really taste any of the clover or cardamom, though it could be because I was concentrating so much on the overall oddness that they just blended in with the rest.
Unfortunately I think I might’ve brewed it too hot? I figured on something close-ish to black tea since the gunpowder can stand up pretty well to hotter water, but when I went to the Adagio website, they recommend 185* for brewing. Whoops. Lol. I’ll have to try that temp next time.
I can say that when I got to the bottom and went to dump the dregs out of my cup (my strainer isn’t the best), it was gritty black and pretty alarming. I’ve never seen that happen, so again, it might be the maté. I hope it was because sheesh, I just drank it. Lol!
Overall not bad. I’m not sure about the supposed kick the maté is supposed to have since I don’t react as expected to caffeine (can drink it right before bed and still sleep), but this did make me feel vaguely shaky/jittery. Could’ve been because I hadn’t had much to eat, but it’s something to keep in mind for next time I drink it.

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Hmmm… that’s disappointing that it didn’t work out the first time! Do those tins come with a decent amount of tea in them?

And I guess the Sheriff’s Secret Police is supposed to be a little unsettling!



the samples sets usually have between.8oz and 1oz in them..so they’re really nicely priced if you think about it (ignoring shipping)

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
224 tasting notes

So originally I got this from the 5 for $5 sampler that Verdant did, uhhh, last year? XD; And when I first got it I was super excited because all the reviews are pretty stellar. But when I actually brewed it, I thought it was just a so-so sort of tea. That might be why I never wrote a tasting note for it? I’m not sure.
But I decided to make it again because why not? Lol. It’s just been sitting (in a sealed jar because the original package wasn’t resealable) with all my other Verdant samples. Samples that I’ve been too paranoid to drink because I’m worried that my palate is just too crappy to detect all those little nuances that everyone points out. I really need to get over that because the samples certainly aren’t doing me any sort of benefit sitting there.

Anyway, unfortunately I still say that I do not understand all the hype and excitement about this tea. It still just tastes so-so to me. And not a so-so sort of taste I like.
The brew smells kinda like burnt coffee. Thankfully it doesn’t taste heavily like that, though I do get a strong roasted sort of taste. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t burn the leaves since I used what Verdant recommends for a western brew. I can honestly say that I had forgotten that they said one tablespoon per cup and only used a tsp for mine. But it didn’t taste watery/weak and I can’t imagine that using more tea would make it taste any less burnt-ish? Who knows. I’m not sure I even want to try to resteep it because of what the first brew came out to be. But then again, I don’t have anything to lose except another cup of water. Lol.

I still have enough for one more serving with Verdant’s parameters, so I’l give it one more shot. Or maybe I’ll try some gongfu style brewing for the last bit. It certainly can’t hurt. Lol.
I’ll put a rating for it after I finish it off, just to give it one more shot.

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Gasp! :P I didn’t get the fuss about this one at first either, and now I can’t live without out.

Terri HarpLady

I love this, steeped 1T + 8oz X 3min/resteep 5min.
Tony hates it, LOL.


Of course, the more tea you drink, the better your palate will be, but I understand what you mean with these Verdant teas!


I think it can take a long time for the palate to develop…for some of us it may never. It’s been almost 2 years for me (Since I started consistantly drinking tea.)and I don’t think it’s changed much other then craving fruity white teas.

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Almost finished with the bag with just one serving more left. I’ve got mixed feelings about this, mainly because I was so excited about this after reading all the great reviews. But after trying it, it was just so so for me. Maybe I set my hopes too high. Who knows. XD This was made regular ‘western’ style, but with my last serving I might give making this in a gaiwan a shot. Anyone have any pointers on how best to do that? I’m a total gaiwan noob. But onto the review.

I was surprised at how honey-like the brew smelled this time around. Maybe I was underleafing the last few times I’ve made it? Or else I just don’t recall the smell the other times. It’s not really a sugar-sweet sort of honey smell but something a bit darker (though not like burnt type dark), with a nice woodsy sort of undercurrent. As usual my words aren’t working very well. XD
The taste is woodsy, malty, slightly sweet. I can kinda understand the bready description that other people were mentioning, though it doesn’t really stand out like that to me. And I don’t get much of any sort of apricot/plum/fruit notes, or else their buried beneath the woodsy maltyness. XD

Even after a pretty unique cup of tea, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t reorder this since it’s just not a tea I’d crave to drink all that often. I have other teas that I’d reach for first for regular drinking, and ones that already take up my ‘special occasions brewing’ preferences. But I’ll definitely enjoy the last cup of this before it goes.

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Butiki Teas

Pointers on the gaiwan. I usually start this tea off with filling the leaves half way in the gaiwan and a 20-30 second brew. This tea really does shine in the gaiwan.

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So I’m not sure if my sense of taste is fading or something, but I found this tea to be kinda blah. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf (1 1/2tsp/12oz), or I didn’t steep it long enough? Though I’d think if I did it would get bitter.

I get cloves/cinnamon from the chai, though no sense of chocolate at all. And I get something vaguely smoky, but it’s kinda just there on the back of the sip. I don’t really get the hazelnut like I was hoping, which is disappointing.
No huge astringency, it’s just sorta there hanging out.

Overall this is a nicely mild chai to have that doesn’t seem like it wants to knock your senses about, but I don’t get much of any of the other teas that are supposed to be in here. I imagine this would be nice with milk, though I’m not sure it would really add/subtract much of anything in the overall picture.
I’ll probly drink this, but it’ll still be going into the swap/sell bin since it’s not really anything I’ll likely ever crave/reorder. /sigh/ I hope it’s not my sense of taste going. >>

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Oh no! Was this one of the ones you just picked up?

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I got this from Shelley_Lorraine’s stash sale. Boy does this smell good in the package. Very fruity with a nice vanilla support.
I was kinda surprised at the recommended measure to use. 1 tbs seems like a lot, but I always try a new tea at the recommended ‘dosage’ so onward I went.
The fruity smell came through in the brew which was nice, though the taste unsweetened was kinda meh for me. After adding some truvia the flavor turned pretty amazing. I’ve never actually had anything rhubarb so I can’t be like ‘This is Rhubarb!’, but I can’t imagine it isn’t accurate since Butiki has never led me astray with flavoring. The vanilla is nice and subtle, though I can’t exactly tell the hops in this one like I can with the Peach HoppiTea, but it certainly doesn’t add anything unpleasant to the taste, wherever it may be.
And I managed to get a pretty decent resteep from the leaves. I just added 2 minutes to the original time. It turned out tasty (with truvia), albet slightly weaker which I was expecting. But the rhubarb vanilla flavor was still very present. I’m not sure if I could coax another steeping out of the leaves though.
All in all I was pretty impressed with this tea and I’d consider reordering it.

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Got this for Christmas since apparently I’m always eyeing my Mom’s container of it. (Which I totally don’t remember actually doing, but hey, free tea. Lol!) Mine came in one of the company’s metal containers, though I’m unimpressed with it and may just switch the container with something else since the top is clear plastic and the lid comes off super easily not to mention I smell the tea clear through it. It certainly isn’t worth the extra $2.50 the company charges for it (their ‘refill bag’ is only $9). I would have much rather have gotten a DavidsTea Tin for that, but hey, Xmas gift and I’m not about to tell my Mom that. It was super thoughtful of her to get this for me. But I digress. XD

Very fruity smelling in the container. Primarily black tea with a smattering of green leaves mixed in. Lots of little chunks of papaya, rose hips (?) and larger chunks of apple.
Brewed this still smells fruity though the taste unsweetened is definitely not on the same par as the smell. Adding some Truvia and it definitely becomes much fruitier. Reminds me of Bouddha Blue from Mariage Frères….Or maybe it was ESP emporium’s Fruit Bowl…..No, Bouddha Blue. I’ll have to make those two for comparison.
But this one is definitely tasty. I might try it cold brewed when summer rolls around, but for me this one isn’t bad hot.

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drank Black Dragon Pearls by Tazo
224 tasting notes

I finally decided to open the bag of Black Dragon Pearls I got from Tazo. They were 50% off and since I really liked the pearls from Adagio, I got 4oz instead of the 2oz i was planning.

It says 2 pearls for every 8 oz, so I used 3 for the 12oz I was making. Brews up dark reddish with a tang to the scent.
That tang follows into the taste also. It has an almost…citrus sort of taste? I’ve never really gotten that from a tea, so I’m not sure if I’m figuring it correctly. I want to say it’s almost peppery, but again I’ve never encountered that particular taste in a tea that I figured out immediately, so I’m only going from a guess.
And it’s kinda….sour? But that might be the citrus taste from before.

The second steep was pretty similar to the first except a bit weaker than I was expecting. The leaves are kinda still twisted together, so they could probly do a third steep, but the taste just isn’t there for me to do so. Not to mention it’s just about midnight and I really should hold off on more tea. Lol.

It’s definitely not the rich malty tea I was expecting, that’s for sure. I might try this again with double the pearls with the same water, but I can’t see me getting the taste I want from these pearls.

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drank Organic Peach Cobbler by Tazo
224 tasting notes

I finally dove into my Tazo order that I bought before they turned into Starbucks. Granted that was, uhh, almost 6 months ago ish, but I figured it was all sealed so I’d drink the stuff I had in my cupboard that wasn’t. These all have best by dates good until the end of this year, so I’m not worried about them going stale or something. Lol.
Anyway, this one smelled pretty good in the bag. Peachy, but also kinda strange. Might be the pu-erh in the blend. I’m not exactly sure.
Unfortunately this was a complete disaster to make. I made it twice and both times it’s essentially undrinkable to me because it turned out so bitter. The first time I didn’t exactly follow the package time for steeping. The package said 5 min, which for a black tea made me give it a dubious look, so I did 4 min @ 208*. I should’ve gone with my first instinct and did less because UGH! Horribly bitter, so much so that I didn’t take more than a small sip before pouring it out.
But I wasn’t about to give up so easily, especially not since I still had so much of it. Lol. So I heated some more water up, this time to 200* and only let it steep for 2 min. While it was still bitter, at least it was vaguely drinkable. I don’t really get much peach or apple taste out of it. Just mediocre black tea that’s bitter. It’s rather frustrating actually.

I’m not really sure what to do with this now. I’m tempted to try it one more time with much cooler water and maybe a minute steeping time, but then again, I’m not sure I should bother since it seems so finicky to me. I guess this tea just isn’t working for me.

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Mmmm at peach cobbler :-) boo for the tea :-(

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I figure I should probly put a tasting note up for one of the teas I’m drinking. I don’t remember what I thought of this one, so I picked this over the Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black.
Brews up a very dark reddish. Clean bready, woody smell. I say clean because because it’s, well, strangely clean smelling.
Taste wise I definitely get a oaky/woodchip sort of note. Kinda peppery/sharp. Not much in the way of fruityness, but maybe a second steep?

Delayed Edit – The second steep on this turned out to be rather ‘Meh’. Woody and vaguely something like fruityness, but nothing really much of anything.

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drank Phoenix Pearl by Zen Tea
224 tasting notes

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I wanted to cut soda out of my life, so I started drinking more tea. Now I’m quickly becoming addicted. But that doesn’t seem like so bad of a thing considering all there is out there to try.

I started with blacks, but oolongs are quickly becoming my new favorite. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to find a green or white tea that I really enjoy. Eventually maybe.

Always open for swaps. If you see something in my cupboard that you’re interested in, feel free to send me a message about it. I do have alot of sample sizes in my cupboard, so there might be a few that I won’t be able to swap. But it never hurts to ask. ^^

Likes – Fruity teas (Peach, Apricot & Pineapple to be specific, but I’d likely be open to others). I’m always on the lookout for a good caramel tea too…and a vanilla one. Or any sweet, dessert teas.
Oolongs and Blacks over any others.

Indifferent/Undecided – White teas are a bit delicate for me but I’m not opposed to trying something new. I haven’t yet found a green tea I like since I dislike vegetal flavors, but there has to be something out there. Coconut can be too strong, or alright depending on the tea.

Dislikes – Spicy/chai stuff not so much since I can’t seem to get past the spice taste to anything underneath. Anything overly astringent, though I can’t imagine anyone /liking/ astringency (but I’m probly wrong. Lol). Earl Greys, heavy florals, tart/sour teas, rooibos heavy, mint of any sort, vegetal, musky/leathery, citrus, hibiscus, coffee-esque flavors, lemon.

Allergies – Mangos, some nuts especially walnuts, cherries. Rose petals/heavy rose teas make me ill though it’s not an allergy so to speak. Heavy artificial flavors also make me ill.

Brief ‘How I rate things’ scale:
(Subject to change at any time. Lol)
100-80: I’d definitely reorder this/Keeping this in my cupboard.
79-50: Possibly reorder these. Either if there’s a sale or I’d consider swapping for it’s on a list and I don’t see anything else.
49-40: It’s alright. Glad I tried it but I won’t be ordering/reordering this.
39-20: Glad I tried before buying ‘cause I’d be ticked if I bought this. Ick.
20-lower: UGH! Get it away!


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