1183 Tasting Notes

drank Chocolate Tea by Harney & Sons
1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 26 for the year 2014. I forgot how much I loved this.

In looking back at my first note, I believe I was chintzy with the rating. Particularly after now having tasted many other chocolate teas, some of which were much too subtle with their chocolate flavor for my taste (I’m not naming any names but it starts with a K and ends with an i). This is a really stellar example of a chocolate tea in my book. No other flavors, just chocolate, and a very chocolatey chocolate at that. (Even given the age of the sample, which was open though ziplocked!) Bumping the rating accordingly.


I wish I could find this one!


Looks like it is still available from the Harney web site.


Harney really seems to have nailed the chocolate flavor tea. Personally, I have never tried this but I have had Florence and SoHo and both have great chocolate tastes.


Great work on the sip downs! I need to emulate you! ;-)


VT, yes—I think it’s the same chocolate that’s in Florence but without the hazlenut. Sherapop, thanks! I’m working hard. :-)

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Another morning with the Sterling. I’m now within sipdown range but not quite there.

With a bit more distance from the Earl Grey Shanghai, I can really appreciate this one in its own right. Mild, medium-light bodied, somewhat brisk, with bergamot just how I like it (in other words, present, but not too strong).

It is so hard to choose among the many Earl Greys out there. You’d think they’d all be basically the same, but no, they have to make things complicated. ;-) There are some Earl Greys that I’d be happy to never taste again and others that are go-tos in my book. This is just short of go-to. Very nice indeed.

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I have not had this in a very long time but I find it really enjoyable. It’s apple juice for grown ups—not sugary, not sticky, not thick—but sweet enough without adulteration and an aftertaste like the aftertaste of fresh apples.

I used a lot of the mix, about 2 teaspoons per 250ml of water, which made for a really flavorful drink.

The peanut gallery was persuaded to try it and both gave it a thumbs up, though given the recent track record of “I like it, I don’t like it” I’m not holding my breath on this one.


when it comes to fruit teas, the stronger the better. (for me at least.)


Agreed, Kirk.


I should get it for my hubby. he likes apple juice and can drink a gallon if i dont stop him. much better alternative


boychick, yes, this is a zero calorie drink according to the label, which I find really hard to believe given the taste—but I’ll go with it!

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Sipdown no. 25 for the year 2014. The entire family joined in, as there were exactly four bags left.

Personally, I’m glad to see it go. It was purchased as an experiment more than anything else and it has served its purpose.

The kids REALLY like it, though. I hope I can find something else they’ll like just as much so I won’t feel like I suck as a mother if I don’t restock this. ;-)


go you! 25 sipdowns :)


I’m determined to catch up with you sipdown champs!


it makes things more fun when you can play games :)


does it taste similar to green tea?


Not at all. It tastes like a mouthful of reeds to me.

Terri HarpLady

25 sipdowns, that’s more than one a day! Good for you!


Thanks Terri!


i drink at least 5 cups a day and they are coffee cups

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drank Champagne Rosé by Lupicia
1183 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 24 for the year 2014. I’ve vaulted ahead of the one per day average! OK, that’s an exaggeration. More like I’ve taken a baby step ahead. Lol.

What to do, what to do. Just the other day, I tried Carol, which was also a Lupicia Strawberry, so I thought I’d try this—also a single teabag in my work stash. And now, dammit, I want ALL THE STRAWBERRY TEA. Ugh.

This one smells really good in the bag, the same sweet strawberry smell as the Carol had, minus the vanilla and plus… well, it’s supposed to be plus champagne, but to me it’s not really that so much as a whiff of Orange Fanta, which sounds terrible, but is really quite delightful when mixed with the strawberry. The liquor is a lovely mahogany color.

I think perhaps I like the Carol slightly better, but only slightly. The vanilla in the Carol makes for a very smooth, mellow strawberry. The strawberry in this one has a brighter taste. Although the tea obviously isn’t bubbly like actual champagne, there’s an impression of effervescence that’s hard to describe. How the heck did they do that? I’m not really tasting champagne though, or perhaps I am but I’m confusing it with something else because I tend to drink champagne that’s rather dry?

Still, I want to drink more of this and try to pin the tail on the champagne. If I do, I’ll bump the rating.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

Strawberry vanilla sounds really good to me right now….mmm…

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Sipdown no. 23 for the year 2014.

In this steeping I’m getting a lot more cocoa than my original note indicated. I prepared the tea the same way, so I’m not sure why.

I still get a little bit of throat bite with this one, but it’s not as pronounced as I remember it. There’s a freshness to the mouth feel after drinking that’s quite pleasant. Like a wake up call to my mouth.

I wonder if some of the difference can be attributed to the age of the sample. It was in a ziplock, and it still has a lot of aroma in the packet, but perhaps there’s some mellowing that has occurred.

I can’t buy every black tea, can I? So I think I have to make a tough call on this one. I’d happily drink it if offered again but I am going to make myself live without it on the shopping list, just because there are so many other wonderful Harney & Sons black blends that I love more.

ETA: I thought I’d prepared this the same as the original, but I may have increased the water to leaf ratio some. This could account for the lower “bite” factor. The aftertaste to this one is so pleasant it’s making me want to rethink my decision about the shopping list. But I think I have to stick with the hard choice, at least for now.

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Yesterday morning I had the Earl Grey Shanghai from ATR, so today I thought I’d try this.

In the sample packet there’s the same rich bergamot scent as in the Shanghai, but without the sugary aroma of the Shanghai’s Yunnan base. The leaves are very pretty, that sort of spidery ceylon look, but instead of petals strewn among the leaves, this one has shiny silver needles. Lovely.

The liquor is a light reddish brown, not quite as deep red in color as I’ve come to think of the “ceylon” color. There’s a mild aroma that is slightly spicy, slightly citrus-y, and though I smell the bergamot it’s not overpowering.

The main difference between this and the Earl Grey Shanghai is, to my tastebuds, the tea base. The Yunnan base gives the Shanghai a very substantial body, with a sweet, rich sugar/molasses/cocoa thing going on. The blend of this base, which starts with ceylon, gives the tea a more medium to light body that is still very flavorful, but tastes more like “tea.” It’s hard to think of an analogy that isn’t too hyperbolic. I was thinking the difference between a vanilla shake and cream soda, but that’s too drastic of a contrast. It reminds me of the Lady Grey in body and somewhat in taste, but without the creme.

As with the other ATR Greys, this one doesn’t overwhelm with bergamot. The balance works nicely for me.

I’m a little torn on this one. It’s a fine tea, but I prefer the nommy Yunnan base of the Shanghai. I think if I ordered the Shanghai, the Lavender and the Lady Grey, I would cover the Earl Grey bases with ATR well enough without adding this to the order. However, as always, your mileage may vary—particularly if the Yunnan-based Earl Grey isn’t your thing.

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Earl Grey Shanghai sound very interesting. lately Im into Yunnan blacks and i love EG’s but i dont think i had this combo. on my list to try

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drank Rooibos Peach Bloom by Teavana
1183 tasting notes

Tried this on the kids. No. 1 says he likes it but didn’t really want to drink it, and no. 2 says he loves it. But then he admitted that after sleeping on it, he doesn’t really love the Strawberry Kiwi from last night as much as he thought he did.

So who knows. My witnesses are proving unreliable. ;-)

I have to say I liked this fine tonight for a non-tea, though if I compare the day’s ending to the day’s beginning (the American Tea Room peach flavored black) I far and away prefer the black tea based peach.


This sounds positively lovely.


I gather they don’t make it anymore from some of the other notes. Pity.

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Next in the line of experiments to see what the kids might like. I was rather surprised that neither of them had any love for this, as it is a very smooth, vanilla-y lemon. However, I wasn’t really feeling the love much myself this evening so I suppose I’m not one to talk.

It may be that this hasn’t aged particularly well, so I hesitate to mark down its rating, but I think I’m putting it first in line for sipdown status among the various herbal blends we’re revisiting now.

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drank Green Chai by Adagio Teas
1183 tasting notes

This is surprisingly good. I am baffled by it, though.

Ordinarily I would make chai on the stovetop with milk and sweetener. Somehow that seemed wrong for green chai though I’m honestly not sure why that should be. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t had creamed spinach. So I steeped this as a normal green.

It’s a tasty, spiced green tea-though without the chewiness that milk adds to chai. The tea is mild and the spices are as well, but with a peppery kick.

In the tin, I mostly smell clove. A little ginger and cinnamon, too. I see what look like pieces of cinnamon among the leaves. Steeped as I did, the tea has a light yellow liquor and smells a little like gingerbread.

I think steeping as a regular green is the way to go. This is a delicate approach to chai and I think milk would drown it.

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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