91 Tasting Notes


A Stellar Masala Chai!

I really love a good Masala chai and am very picky about it. Roch-cha Chai is positively perfect! It is an authentic Masala chai recipe that comes from the owner of Happy Earth Tea who is a native of India.

This is a high quality Masala chai that is well balanced and delicious. The Assam base is a solid, top quality, organic, whole leaf tea. And the spices exemplify the Goldilocks principle – They’re just right! So many Masala chai blends go nuts with the cinnamon thereby muting the other spices. This Masala chai allows the wonderful ginger, clove and cardamom to shine with each spice complementing the others perfectly.

All ingredients are 100% organic too. This will be my go to Masala chai for sure! I love Happy Earth Tea!

Flavors: Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Superlative Yunnan Tea!
This is, quite literally, one of the very best Yunnan teas that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. It is sweet with notes of chocolate and caramel, as well as an apricot fruitiness. There are pronounced and pleasant rose like floral notes. There is also a mild maltiness with a subtle hint of almond. The overall best description of this superlative Yunnan tea would be Darjeeling-esque – In both aroma and taste – The love child of a tippy Yunnan and a second flush Darjeeling if you will. A single steep with a water temperature of 200-203F for four minutes worked best for me.
This tea will be a permanent item of my tea pantry for sure! Happy Earth Tea has the fastest shipping I have ever encountered, and I can’t wait to try the generous sample of premium Colombian black tea they included with my purchase!

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Caramel, Chocolate, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Rose

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Welcome back!


Thank you, tea-sipper! :)

Martin Bednář

Yum, that sounds like tea for me!


You won’t be disappointed, Martin! This tea is amazing!

Martin Bednář

Do they deliver outside US? I have to find out!


Martin, I just contacted Happy Earth Tea. The owner is going to contact me about international shipping and I will let you know as soon as I find out something.


Martin! Happy Earth Tea has international shipping and can ship to the Czech Republic! The owner is very nice and their service is excellent – Their tea is top notch! The owner said that there could be customs delays but they have not encountered any delivery problems. Here is a link to their website
Hope this helps, my friend. Get ready for some delicious, high quality tea! :)

Martin Bednář

Thanks, I need to get some money and then I will find out the teas :)

Martin Bednář

They deliver to CR, yes, they do. But for 3 oz of tea worth 16 USD I should pay 24 USD per shipping. Uhh…

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Adagio’s Irish Breakfast is a masterful blend of high quality, whole leaf Assam and Ceylon teas from the well regarded Meleng Estate in India and Kenilworth Estate in Sri Lanka respectively. A four minute steep at 212F produced a wonderfully complex breakfast tea with enticingly rich notes of malt, honey, baked bread, sweet fruit and a tiny bit of spice.

Some Irish Breakfast teas are in your face, brash, uncouth street ruffians with bad language, bad breath and B.O. that slap you awake! This is not one of those teas! Adagio’s Irish Breakfast is an urbane and handsome gentleman’s gentleman who graciously draws open the drapes and courteously announces in his soft, sweet, Irish accent that it’s time to awaken.

This smooth tea is quite easy to drink without additions, but is great with milk and honey too! Although a breakfast tea, this Irish blend would certainly work deliciously well at afternoon tea to revive one….gently. Naturally, it stands up to any food – savory or sweet. It was just right with my homemade, organic macaroni and cheese bake.

Adagio’s Irish Breakfast is an exquisite Irish Breakfast with real panache that has become my favorite go to tea. It’s enough to make this Anglo-Saxon Anglophile shout Éirinn go Brách!

Flavors: Bread, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet

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

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drank Anastasia by Kusmi Tea
91 tasting notes

Anastasia was my first tea from Kusmi and my ultimate favorite of their venerable Russian blends. In fact, Anastasia inspired me to explore Russian tea and Russian tea culture more extensively – And what a deliciously beautiful exploration it has been!

This tea makes me want to sing!

“Anastasia, Anastasia
Beautiful stranger
Step down from your star
I only know I love you so
Whoever you are!”

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Lime, Orange Blossom, Sweet

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

I have been meaning to try this one. I think they have stopped carrying it in Chapel Hill where my best tea selection lived, so thank goodness for internet ordering!


Is it the Southern Season in Chapel Hill, ashmanra? I used to buy my Kusmi teas at the Southern Season here in Richmond. I all but cried when they closed. Their tea selection was outstanding!

I buy the Kusmi Russian Blend five pack with the cute little .88oz tins. It is a thrifty way to have my beloved Anastasia, Prince Vladimir, St. Petersburg, Bouquet of Flowers No. 108 and Troika blends at all times. I am considering ordering the 4.4oz tin of Anastasia though – Anastasia is the apotheosis of Russian tea blends!


Yes, that is where I saw it! But they have reduced their tea selection to about one fourth of what they used to carry. It breaks the heart!

Doug F

I recently discovered Kusmi tea in Europe and have enjoyed a couple of their selections.

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A creamy cup of comfort on a chilly autumn afternoon. A bit of mesquite honey and a jot of milk make for cozy vanilla bliss. And it won’t hinder my plans for a nap before dinner. Lovely.


Ooooh. That sounds 100% lovely.


It truly was, Rosehips! :)

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Darjeeling Doppelgänger! Harney’s description of this tea is quite correct – “For those unfamiliar with teas from the Nilgiri region, this falls in between First and Second Flush

This tea, although a Nilgiri, has the best of all possible Darjeeling worlds. There is a lovely sweet orange blossom floral aroma and taste evocative of a fine first flush Darjeeling. There is a strong, and I do mean strong, muscatel grape flavor of a great second flush Darjeeling. There are notes of fruit, nuts (almond) and grain similar to an autumn flush Darjeeling. The tea is quite brisk without a trace of bitterness. Rich with good body.

This is a splendid Indian tea. If you like Darjeeling like I do, then you will love this Nilgiri. And that’s a promise!

Flavors: Almond, Flowers, Fruity, Grain, Grapes, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I haven’t been drinking flavored teas lately and decided to purchase this little treasure at Richmond’s number one tea shop (salon de thé), Carytown Teas, which is the primary supplier for several cafes and hotels in the city. Patricia’s Blend is the creation of the shop’s kind and talented owner, Patricia Guillouard Adams, a native of France.

“Sweet and spicy, like its namesake”, as the shop’s description of the tea states, is right on point. The almond’s nutty sweetness, suggestive of vanilla, blends perfectly with the orange and spice. The flavors meld beautifully in the fruity organic Ceylon black tea base. As with most French blends that I have had, nothing is overdone. It is superb – My favorite flavored blend bar none.

So, Patricia, mon amie, I raise my mug and salute you – À votre santé! Merci!

Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Fruity, Nutty, Orange, Spices, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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It’s a rainy weekend here in the Old Dominion. Rainy weekends call for cozy teas, and man oh man this is one cozy tea! I’m watching an old Jimmy Stewart movie on Turner Classics and sipping this. It’s very smooth with lots of natural sweetness. Lovely notes of caramel, honey and burnt sugar. Nice and malty. No rough edges whatsoever. I love that it’s organic too!

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

We are getting the same around Blacksburg today as well. Good tea drinking weather though. Agree as TCM rocks and so does AMC.


I love AMC too. In fact, I’m watching Forrest Gump on AMC right now. You just can’t beat watching classic movies and drinking comfort teas on a rainy weekend. Here in Richmond, we’re in for heavy rain at times through Sunday night and more rain Monday. I’m loving it!


It’s been cool and wet just west of the Virginia state line today. I wish I could have stayed home watching Jimmy Stewart films, but I’ve been out on a crisis call. Just out of curiosity, which movie was it?


More accurately, it was a Hitchcock film. It was Jimmy Stewart in the Hitchcock classic Rear Window by way of TCM online. Love Hitchcock! Love Jimmy Stewart! A double treat for me today.


Great film! That’s long been a favorite of mine.

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Nothing like a cozy camomile with which to settle in for the evening. Nice, with sweet vanilla and honey flavors. I added a bit of wildflower honey (I so love honey) that brought out a pleasant butterscotch flavor. Yummy!

Flavors: Butterscotch, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Love it when you can find a great, easy-to-find grocery store tea. Will have to chase this down locally.


Oh, I love this one! Its been too long since I had it.


This is one of my top camomile teas. You just can’t go wrong with Twinings! :)

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Darjeeling is the tea that inspired me to begin my beautiful journey through the wide world of tea and will always reign supreme in my tea pantry! My first tea love, so to speak. I positively adore a truly great Darjeeling such as a good muscatel second flush. Autumn flush Darjeeling, I believe, has been greatly under appreciated. Darjeeling autumn flush Gopaldhara Red Thunder Gold that I purchased through What-Cha is the best tea of any kind I have ever had the pleasure of drinking!

I also love fine Chinese tea. Quite often I find myself in the mood for a smoky Keemun with cocoa and plummy notes or a spicy, peppery and sweet Yunnan Dian Hong. I love Keemun almost as much as I love Darjeeling! And that’s really saying something! When I get in the mood for a really great Chinese tea nothing else will do. My favorite Chinese tea so far is the Non-Smoky Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea from Teavivre. It has a natural caramel sweetness that is sensational!

I must also admit to a special appreciation of fine Ceylon teas – Especially top-drawer low grown Ceylons such as New Vithanakande with yummy notes of chocolate and apricot. That being said, I do, on occasion, like a good strong cup of Harney & Sons Uva Highlands Ceylon with its wonderful strong notes of wintergreen. Smith Teamaker’s No. 23 Kandy brings together full and flavory Dimbula with highly aromatic and intense Uva and lightly scented high-grown Nuwara Eliya. Perfect for all day sipping, it is one of my favorite blends, Ceylon or otherwise. Ceylon tea makes the best iced tea, I think.

As far as scented teas go, I am particularly partial to floral teas such as jasmine, rose, orange blossom, lavender and violet. I absolutely LOVE Earl Grey tea! Earl Grey Imperial by Harney & Sons and Lord Bergamot by Smith Teamaker are my go to Earl Greys and my overall favorite EG teas. Black currant, strawberry, cherry, apricot, orange/citrus, lychee, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, maple, almond, honey and spice are favorites as well. Pleine Lune by Mariage Frères, an exquisite blend of Chinese black tea with almond, honey and mild, sweet spices is, without a doubt, my favorite flavored tea after my beloved Earl Grey tea. Buckingham Palace Garden Party Tea from Culinary Teas and The English Tea Store is another favorite. It’s a blend of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey, soft jasmine, malty Assam, Dimbula Ceylon and brisk and golden tea from Kenya. This magnificent, magical tea was served at Queen Elizabeth II’s springtime garden party at Buckingham Palace every May. Prince Vladimir by Kusmi is my favorite Russian blend, with complex flavors of bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit, vanilla and spice.

I brew my tea western style exclusively, and I prefer to drink my tea in the Russian fashion – Sweetening my tea with sugar, raw, unfiltered honey or jam. I seldom add milk to my tea but when I do I only use oat milk. Russian tea culture totally fascinates me. I hope to one day own an antique Russian samovar. *
In addition to Russian tea culture I am also greatly enamored of French tea culture and tend to gravitate towards French style tea blends.

I’m quite fond of various herbal teas such as rooibos, honeybush, camomile and anise. Straight lavender herbal tea is another favorite of mine, as is Linden tea. No. 42, Little Dickens, from Belloc is a scrumptious blend of rooibos, cocoa, spices, vanilla and mint. I DETEST HIBISCUS!

BLACK tea and HERBAL tisanes are my main go to teas. I am not a fan of most green teas. I do, however enjoy a nice floral or fruit scented green tea on occasion. No. 52, Etoile de l’Inde from Belloc is delicious. I find black/green blends quite pleasant too. Also, I do appreciate fine white teas every once in a while, as well as a good oolong – Especially a high quality Formosa or Wuyi oolong. The more I have drunk pu‑erh tea the more I have come to really enjoy it too!

I love robust breakfast teas with Smith Teamaker’s No. 1851 Portland Breakfast, an organic blend of pu-erh, Keemun and a fine second flush Assam, being one of my supreme favorites. This is my main go to tea. It’s absolutely perfect for drinking Russian style using honey or jam for sweeteners and no milk.

My favorite purveyors of tea:
1) What-Cha
2) Mariage Frères
3) Smith Teamaker
4) Kusmi
5) Harney & Sons
6) Bellocq Tea Atelier
7) Simpson & Vail
8) Mark T. Wendell / Grace Tea Company
9) Happy Earth Tea
10) Teavivre
11) The Cultured Cup
12) Culinary Teas
13) Palais des Thés
14) Arbor Teas
15) 52Teas
16) Rishi Tea
17) Adagio Tea
18) Mandala Tea
19) Golden Moon Tea
20) Tin Roof Teas / TeeGschwendner

Organic tea is my preference whenever possible.

*My fascination with and love of Russian tea culture in no way reflect my political beliefs!



Richmond, Virginia, USA

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