17 Tasting Notes

drank Ceylon Sonata by Adagio Teas
17 tasting notes

Loved it – and that took some of us by surprise. Although we like Ceylon teas, I didn’t expect to like this one, this much! It’s light, but certainly makes an impact on the taste buds. Very refreshing, very thirst quenching – but what a wonderful way to quench it. It is a subtle tea, but very persuasive about being so.

We brewed this one a little longer than we usually brew our teas – we tend to go for shorter rather than longer. Our usual, preferred black tea brewing time is usually under 3 minutes. We also tested this at our standard 2 minutes 30 seconds for black tea and found all the flavors there. The 3 minutes plus only served to enhance them.

Dry, the leaves were long, tightly curled and thin. They had the dark, bright color that is expected from fresher teas. This Ceylon is a standard “regional” tea and is one of the basic examples of black tea.

Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

I agree. I always like to taste the base that companies use for flavored teas alone.


Mmmm…this is one of my staples from Adagio.

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This is as basic as a tea gets. Rooibos is technically a tisane or more commonly a herbal tea. It comes from a plant called Aspalathus linearis and simply referred to as red bush. The plant starts out as green and the “red” color emerges as a result of the oxidation that occurs during the processing of the leaves.

Rooibos has no caffeine as well as other chemicals that occur in tea (sourced from Camillia sinensis); these differences result in rooibos being very forgiving in the brewing process. You could easily oversteep leaves from Camillia sinenses and the resulting liquor is bitter, harsh and undrinkable, but oversteeping leaves from Aspalathus linearis does fall into that problem.

As a experiment, this rooibos was steeped for 8 minutes, with water that was boiling at the start. The tea that resulted tasted fine, it was strong on the typical smoky flavor but there was no bitterness.

Under a standard brewing of 2 minutes 30 seconds, it resulted in a refreshing tea that had a hint of smokiness to it and generally a smooth finish. There is a very, very slight nutty flavor to it that complements the mild plant-like taste- however, these two flavors are very mild, which is good for something like this that makes an excellent everyday drinker.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

I love rooibos. I hadn’t tried it until Celestial Seasonings sent me some for review. It’s naturally sweet, so it kills my sweet cravings in the evening with no caffeine and no sugar. I have tended to switch to herbal teas in the evening. As we age, some of us become more caffeine sensitive.
I enjoyed your review. It was quite effective in terms of allowing me to truly understand what you are describing.

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This is a GOOD tea. This is one of those really unique blends that should have been put into the classic tea lexicon a long time ago. Imagine how much more sensual and interesting the world would be if the British were drinking this instead of Earl Grey!

The black tea is standard TeaGschwender fare, the same good quality tea they use is most of their flavored blends. There are a lot of chocolate-flavored teas out there, but the American trend is to do it with chocolate pieces…that is: chocolate chips or flakes of a chocolate bar. While that adds a little creaminess, it also adds sugar and milk to the extraction. TG uses cocoa bean giving the extraction a much more pure chocolate flavor without the extras. Because of this, this tea is for real chocolate people. Its not bitter or harsh (but gets that way quick if you steep it too long).

The best part? The chili. If your liquid is still too hot It doesn’t hit you right away. Of course, if you are scalding your tongue with the liquid, the heat from the chili is reduced. Wait a few minutes before you drink it. The chili snaps out at you fairly quick and lingers through the after taste. Great stuff here! The chocolate and chili compliment each other fantastic way.

This is not a weak or mild flavored tea at all, this one is strong and satisfying. For a tea time that almost qualifies as a meal, drink this tea along with one of the great chili-chocolate bars that have been popular in recent years.

Tea Gschwender has some of the best and most detailed brewing instructions in the industry. Each tea has its own recommendations – this comes as a result of the enormous amount of testing the company does in their labs. This company is a favorite of the Leafbox staff because of this, we’ve found no other company that prepares and tests their products as thoroughly as TG does.

This tea should become a staple for chocolate and chili lovers. Keep this one handy for those mornings when something exotic is needed.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

In my opinion, this tea is going to be a little milder than what I was hoping. It seems that the black tea is masked by the chocolate and chili.


You’ve convinced me. I’m going to have to buy this one. I just made an improvised tea the other day and am letting it sit for a few weeks. I used a fairly cheap Keemun with chocolate chips and a high quality hot chocolate mix; black pepper, red pepper (lots of it), a vanilla bean, and some cloves and cinnamon. I know it’s probably overkill, but I’m interested in seeing what the results are when this brews for a while. In the meantime, I’m going to buy from TeaGschwender.


teatimetuesday, yes this tea does not scream Camellia Sinensis, but it definitely doesn’t say “Mexican Hot Chocolate”.

Doulton, you’ll definitely not regret this purchase, especially if you have fallen in love w/ 52teas’ Mayan Chocolate Chai as I have.


That sounds like it might be a really interesting cuppa you’re making Doulton; I’m curious to see how it turns out. :)

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drank China Oolong by Twinings
17 tasting notes

This tea was smooth and not bitter, but on the weak side. We left this one brewing longer than most teas in the hopes it would toughen up. Over 5 minutes in one case. Two tea bags in a mug helped but it was still a little light.

A big leaf oolong is going to give more flavor since this is really only tea dust, but it works in a pinch but only if you like your teas on the light side. Strong tea fans not recommended. Herbal tea drinkers might like this one.

Boiling 6 min, 30 sec

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This is a great licorice tea. Herbal teas can often be light and soft – this one doesn’t come across that way. The mixture of ingredients makes it taste strong in the mouth with a powerful licorice flavor. The fennel and peppermint don’t stand out, but blend with the licorice root to support it – you really don’t notice them until the back of the tongue when the mint kicks in.

This tea works extremely well either hot or at room temperature. Cold doesn’t serve this tea well and tends to hinder the flavor some. Highly recommended for licorice fans.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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drank Blueberry Rooibos by Unknown
17 tasting notes

This tea is best after it has cooled to room temperature. Drinking it cold doesn’t let all the flavors come out; same with drinking it hot. There is something about having a glass of this once it has cooled that is really refreshing.

Not complicated, but lots of fruit flavors. Definitely a must for blueberry fans. No sweetener needed – it’ll confuse all the natural flavors that are in it.

This tea was purchased from a Wegmans grocery store. At the time of this review it did not appear on Harney’s website.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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This was only a good tea. Wanted to try it simply because of a licorice craving. The licorice flavor was subdued by the black tea and needed longer steeping to bring it out. Of course, by then, the tea was too bitter.

Need to experiment with steeping times. At 2:30 minutes the licorice taste was too week. At 3:30 minutes it was stronger, but often black tea starts to get bitter right around then.

Not the best licorice tea out there – doesn’t really satisfy the craving for it. Otherwise, it is an ordinary tea. It seemed to taste better with a good chocolate bar than it did with a cookie. Licorice is too refined a taste to accompany a cookie.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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You drink tea. Frequently, occasionally, or passionately with abandon. You also do a lot of other things. You listen to music, read big books, or cool magazines, watch movies; all-action or avant-garde, admire pictures; maybe Rembrandt, maybe your girl. You work, you’d rather play, you talk; just nonsense or about saving the world. You might also do a lot of this stuff while drinking tea.

That is what Leafbox Tea is for. We think of it as a café, your local hang-out for fellow tea drinkers to gather and chat not only about tea, but all the other stuff you care and think about.

Sleek tea leaves are hot. No more pudgy coffee beans, tea is in.



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