318 Tasting Notes


Many thanks to Autumn Hearth for her incredibly generous samples of this and so many other teas! I cannot wait to sink my fangs into the box :)

I started my day with this tea. I figured, as it’s not your typical breakfast blend, and it’s a Chinese instead of an Indian black, I’d be okay with it in the morning and drinking it without milk or sugar. I was more or less right. It got a bit heavy towards the end of the mug as it cooled, but I didn’t really have time to focus on steeping it perfectly.

Parameters: ~2tsp/12oz, 180 F, ~3min.

These are the notes I took in class:

Smell: Wheaty, with whiffs of dark chocolate, like the chocolate bread at the bakery I used to go to after ballet class. I never really liked that chocolate bread (I much preferred sticky buns!) but my sister got it fairly often.

Leaves: Long, dark and twisty, with streaks of gold running through the space.

Liquor: golden-brown, kind of a chestnut color.

Taste: There is a definite taste of salt here, something I’ve never really experienced in a tea before. It’s predominant at the beginning of the sip, but I didn’t always get it. It’s wheaty, as expected. Kind of dark and heavy. A little bit of astringency, especially as it cooled, but not a whole lot. There’s some sort of dark berry here too, maybe currant or raisin? It’s not a juicy, fruity tea, but there’s something there.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Tawny Kira

I’ve found that I like a little saltiness in tea (and other not typically salty things, like caramel/chocolate) as it helps bring out the other flavors more. I think I may have to try this one just for that bit of saltiness :)

Autumn Hearth

Hehe fangs!

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Last night I steeped up a cup of this in my fancy Bodum Pavina glass – seriously, I love it. And it’s 8oz, so I feel like I can do a semi-gong-fu sitting with it and have two or three cups)

I had two cups last night, and then began my day with another two. It’s sweet and vegetal and really really good.


YAY for reviews from Red blossom tea company. I’m planning on visiting in a month-ish so starting to try and come up with 1-2 that i might get.


Ooh la la! I’ve only tried this one, it was sent to me in the last Steepster Select, but it’s delicious. This is a really bad review of it, but it’s really, really good.


I live in San Francisco and Red Blossom is pretty fun. :D


Amy – any other recommendations for other places in San Fran besides lupicia…er whatever it is.. I have it written down haha someone else suggested it

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Sipdown. I’ve been doing a lot of stashbusting lately, and it feels good. I’m ready to move on to autumn teas and rotate out some of the old ones.

I still can’t believe I haven’t rated this yet though – definitely thought I had.

The leaves are long and dark and twisty, and they sort of shine a little bit. It’s not just like a piece of dried leaf. They’re very unique.

The smell in the tin is very smoky. Good.

I’m actually a huge fan of cold-brewed Lapsang, so that’s what I did with this.

The smoke is the predominant flavor, as I would expect, but it’s not as strong as when I brew it by traditional hot methods. There’s a really unique charcoal flavor in there too, like I’m not drinking the smell of smoke but rather the taste of the burnt logs. I really like it.

(In the process of writing this review, I get a knock on my door. As I’m going over to open it, the key turns in the lock and our prankster friend RS is there. He goes “Well, this is awkward. E – my roommate – forgot her keys, so I’m playing a prank on her. You were never here. You saw nothing.” Okay, RS, I saw nothing. So now half of our room is a mess. He’s going to get it back, though, because I’m HORRID at keeping a straight face!)

Back to the tea. There’s a lingering sort of mineral sweetness that washes over my tongue at the end of the sip. I think there’s a lot more character and depth to this when cold-brewed than there is hot, although it’s great both ways. A delicious tea that will be missed!

Iced 8 min or more

I like it cold too.

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drank Caramel by Adagio Teas
318 tasting notes


This tea is best in latte form, where the milk gives it a bit of richness and creaminess. Without that, it just tastes a bit bitter (probably my own fault) and artificial. It’s decent, but it needs a lot of milk, which is unfortunate. It is, however, really good mixed with hazelnut.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

I would have mixed it with hazelnut too. Caramel and hazelnut are a favorite combination for me.

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drank Dragonwell by Teavana
318 tasting notes

Oh, hello my sweet. We’re reunited, I see. It’s good to have you. I’ve been lonely.

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Thanks to my friend Aisha for swapping me some of this tea!

Today is one of those days where the thunderstorm’s been building all day long, and now it’s a bit darker than it should be at 4:30 pm, and the air is cool and damp, and it smells like rain. I’m so excited. I love rain and thunder and lightning.

The leaf of this smells like buttered, movie theater popcorn. It’s great. It’s mostly green leaves, and they’re flat and hard-edged and sort of artichoke colored, and then there are some twisty black leaves in there as well.

I steeped according to my general Adagio green parameters – 180, 2 minutes.


The smell is still sort of caramelly, but the flavor is first buttery green tea (green tea + caramel?) and then vanilla. I taste a tiny bit of the pu’erh in the background, but it’s not enough to overwhelm the flavors.

If I had tried this tea before placing my last Adagio order (it should get here on Wednesday, hopefully!) I’d definitely have added some of this. It’s creamy and mellow without tasting too artificial.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to The Tea Merchant for this sample!

Hm. It’s a really pretty peachy orange color. I cold-brewed it overnight. The dry smell is really fruity and great. The tea liquor definitely smells like apricots. But I’m not sure it tastes like them. I mean, I’d definitely go with fruit, but I’m not sure I want to jump straight to apricot – blood orange and nectarine, maybe?

It’s good, though, I’ll grant it that. It’s been crazy hot here in NY, so I’ve been drinking iced almost nonstop!

Iced 8 min or more

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drank Sencha Ashikubo by DAVIDsTEA
318 tasting notes

Ooh, I do love this one. I forgot I still had a sample tin, and I made up a big mug to drink while playing UNO out on the hill. It’s really smooth and sweet, as long as you treat it right. No boiling water here!


I miss UNO! Haven’t played since my kiddos early grade school days (sniff).


The last time I played UNO it was the harry potter edition which was different but fun. I think I have UNO on my psp for when I need something to kill time :D


UNO is great :) We tried playing UNO online on Facebook, and somehow couldn’t figure it out. So we got cards :)

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drank Hibiscus by Adagio Teas
318 tasting notes

I got this as a free sample in the last order I placed with Adagio. When I ordered it I thought at first that it was actual hibiscus, not a flavored black. When I learned it was the latter, I got really afraid. I don’t mind hib… it can just get SO tart. So I’ve waited to try this for a few weeks.

Yesterday I steeped a pot of it hot, but left it on just a bit too long (Adagio’s flavored blacks are sooo sensitive) and it started to get bitter, so I didn’t have more than a sip or two of the pot.

Later that day, it was really awfully hot out. I wanted tea but didn’t want to drink anything hot, so I filled a T-sac of this and some cold water and decided I’d let it cold-steep in the hour or so I had before class.

It’s REALLY GOOD. Which surprises me immensely! I admit, the flavor was a bit light, but even still. The black base was a bright, solid black, and the hibiscus gave it just a little bit of floral fruitiness without being sour. I’m not sure how it’d fare in other circumstances, but I for one really like it in this context. I’m really interested to try it with some rose and rosehip mixed in.

Iced 8 min or more
Tawny Kira

I will have to try cold brewing it because I was definitely not fond of it hot- sour and bitter was really not pleasant! But your description of it iced sounds delightful! :)


Ooh, yes, cold-brew it! I didn’t do it for very long – 3tsp/12oz for about 1.5 hrs (started drinking at about 45 mins, ahha) but it was delicious, and I really want to make a pitcher!

Tawny Kira

Awesome, I’m excited to try it now :)

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After this morning’s Lipton Mint fiasco, I wanted a “real” tea for my reading. I love my classes to pieces, but I’m in three lit classes and a psych, on top of my Education seminars, so there’s a ton of reading.

Right now I’m sitting out in the grass right behind my window with a pot of this and Oedipus the King.

I’m raising the rating a bit because I think I appreciate it a bit more now, maybe in comparison to that Mint tea! I don’t see how you can rate teas objectively, really, since it can be SO subjective.

There’s something deliciously nutty about this. It tastes a little bit roasted, but I’m not sure I’d call it a roasted oolong. It’s naturally sweet, so I didn’t put any sugar or anything in it. Yum!

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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Michelle, 19. College student: upstate NY.

I really enjoy tea, British television and theatre. I read a lot, write a lot, dream a lot.


Geneva, NY, United States



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