119 Tasting Notes

83

SIPDOWN!

So apparently I never reviewed this before, and now I’m sipping it down, so I better do so now! In fact, if I had known I never wrote a review of this previously, I would have tasted it before I latted it. But I didn’t so this review is of a latte.

Ok, so I will say right off the bat that I’m getting a large note of peppercorn from this. I don’t mind it, actually, it’s refreshing. Not enough chais have a strong pepper flavor, and I’m a huge fan of pepper, sooo…

There is also a very clear white chocolate flavor to this. The milk only amplifies it, and it’s heavenly. Now I’m getting sad that this is a sipdown, because I feel like I’ve been sleeping on this. It’s delicious. I’m saying now that the rest of the chai flavors besides the peppercorn are muted, but that could be the latte doing that. You can tell it’s a chai, but it isn’t a particularly spicy one. That’s fine though, I can deal with a mild chai. However, that delicious white chocolate is so good that I could drink this all day. (You know, come to think of it, the mildness could be due to the slight underleaf. As this was a sipdown, I only had what was left in the bag, and it wasn’t quite enough for my 12oz mug, so that could be why it is so weak on the spice. I also probably could have steeped it longer. Just a thought.)

I’m saying this now if this ever gets reblended, I’m getting more. It’s good stuff. Love it. Great job as usual!

Flavors: Peppercorn, Spices, White Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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84

Ok! So I immediately latted this one up. I pretty much always latte anything gingerbread, so this was no exception. I am a bit concerned by the smell from the bag. It smells… odd. I can’t place that olfactory note for the life of me, but it doesn’t smell like gingerbread.

Latte is made with Fairlife milk and 2 Splendas. I know fairlife isn’t as nice to latte with as almond milk, but my sugar has been acting up, so I had to switch. Also, I realize now that I underleafed this a bit. I can’t find my measuring spoon, so I tried to weigh it out, but then forgot to account for the larger cup size.

Latte is… mmm that’s good. I’m really getting the gingerbread flavor here, along with the pancake, although the pancake is more as an aftersip. The gingerbread hits you right away but the pancake lingers. It’s odd, there’s also a decent amount of spice here besides the gingerbread. Am I tasting clove in there? I swear I am. Well, a quick look at the package confirms the addition of cloves, so I’m not wrong. Good to know. There is a lovely tongue tingle involved with this one. I’m loving it.

Good stuff. It’s not perfect; I would have liked to have seen a more “in your face” pancake flavor, but that could just be me. It isn’t that the pancake is missing, it’s just not as prominent on the initial taste as I would like. (As I said, it’s a lingering flavor.) I would recommend this tea to anyone who wants a good gingerbread tea. I know we’re a bit out of gingerbread season now, but I didn’t get the box, so this is my first time trying this. Just all around yum. I only bought one pack of this, which I now regret; I see this going quickly.

Flavors: Clove, Ginger, Pancake Syrup

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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84

Another day, another brew!

So, I didn’t actually order this one (I don’t think), but the kind “Mad Tea Artist” was nice enough to send it to me as part of my order. Isn’t she wonderful??

Scent in the bag is very sweet. Super sweet actually. I wonder if it will translate over?

Brewed with Keurig water for 3 mins, 2tsp/16 oz

Taste is…wow, that’s surprisingly good, especially for no sweetener! I’m not going to say it is sweet, so to speak (at least not by my sugar-loving standards) but it is very tasty. I really do get the maple flavor from it.

OK Edit: I don’t know if the metalic taste I’m getting is a water problem or my mouth problem, because, while I’m not using bottled water, I still taste it even when not drinking the water. I had some dental work done recently, so that may be part of the problem, I don’t know. I will try to review it objectively outside of this.

So, with sweetener, this is a strong maple flavored tea. I haven’t eaten a plum in ages, so I can’t compare it to that, but the maple flavor alone is delightful. There’s also the ever so slightest smoke flavor. I realize now this has Lapsang in it, which would have been a dealbreaker if I hadn’t tried it first. Now I’m starting to think that I could actually enjoy LS if it is GOOD LS. This is just a very pleasing tea. I’m enjoying it.

Good stuff.

Flavors: Maple, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
52Teas

There was a time when I was absolutely, positively opposed to Lapsang Souchong. I hated it so much that I refused to have it in my house because I could not stand it. However, when I became a “professional” tea reviewer, I kinda had to get to a point where I would at least try lapsang souchong if it was sent to me to review, you know? So, after doing a “rinse” of the tea, I find that no longer hate it on it’s own, although I do prefer less smoky teas. And I actually quite enjoy a smoked tea as part of a blend – which is the case here. :)

Shanie O Maniac

Yeah, my only exposure to straight Lapsang Souchong is Adagio. It was pretty much the worst thing I ever tasted. I have since learned that even people who swear by LS hate the Adagio one, so I really think I need to try other options. This was really good, and I enjoyed the smokey note. Thanks for sending it!

52Teas

you’re welcome! :) I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

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89

Okay! So, another of the new teas!

Just a short writeup on this one. Unadulterated, you can get the pineapple flavor, but none of the “cheesecake”. It just tastes like a mildly juicy, unsweet pineapple. With just one Splenda, however, the sweetness of the pineapple not only appears but is amplified into a lovely juicy sweet/tart flavor. It’s the same pineapple goodness I remembered from the Grilled Pineapple tea I loved so much from 52teas.

That brings me to the second part. I’m a huge cheesecake fan. If you put cheesecake in front of me, I eat it. Screw the diabetes, cheesecake wins every time. That’s just the rules.

This… doesn’t taste like cheesecake. You know what it does taste like though? Cream.

That’s right. If there was some magically possible way to blend pineapple with cream, this is what I can imagine it would taste like. It’s lovely. I’m not even mad about it not tasting specifically like cheesecake. I just love the juxtaposition of cream/pineapple. I didn’t even know I would like creamy pineapple, but dangit if this doesn’t make it work!

Great stuff. I’m so grateful I bought a bunch of this. Wonderful tea.

EDIT: Fun fact. This is a pineapple tea. I currently am going HARD for a certain Broadway Musical involving a pineapple dwelling sponge. So there’s that bit of synergy going on.

Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Pineapple, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
derk

There’s a Spongebob musical??

Shanie O Maniac

There absolutely is, and it rocks. It’s like a 2-hour long serotonin generator and I love every minute of it.

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81

Huzzah for new tea!

So, this is one of the new acquisitions for the month. It’s only the third one I’ve tried, but it smells heavenly in the bag. You can really smell the maple and pancakes!

So time to dive in!

Flavor without additions – Hmm… it’s ok. I can taste a bit of pancake, maybe if I squint? The maple is also there, but it isn’t as nice a maple as I like. If you gave this to me without any sugar and asked me to name the flavor, I wouldn’t be able to. So, time for Splenda.

Ok, so I used two splendas, and I think that’s too much. Now all I taste is sweet. There’s very little balance. The only flavor of pancake I get is on the after sip. It does smell like pancakes and syrup though. Hang on, let me try again.

Ok, full cup with one Splenda is much better. I’m getting the pancake flavor better now (although it’s really hot and burned my mouth- oops). I can really taste the maple goodness, which is lovely. With only one Splenda, it still isn’t overpoweringly-sweet, which is something I always associate with actual pancake syrup, but that could just be because I have been using Sugar-Free syrup for so long, and that stuff is a billion times sweeter than real maple syrup.

Other flavors I notice… hmm, Ok, so I don’t know how to describe this. I used to be a smoker, and Camels were my brand of choice. When I was quitting, I used “Turkish Tobacco” flavored vapes to stop… that flavor profile of the Camel vape? There is a strong note of that here. I can’t describe it any other way. It’s like a caramel-like, and mild bitterness, with a malt aftertaste? I’m pretty sure I’m describing this wrong. My palate isn’t very refined these days, and I have a hard time putting what I taste into words. It’s not bad, mind you. Honestly, despite being quit for a year and a half, I welcome the flavor back. I’ve missed that flavor.

All in all, please don’t let my review scare you. This is a wonderful tea, it really is. I’m trying to do a better job of describing the flavors, and it’s all coming out word salad. So forgive me guys. I love this. I just can’t fully describe the goodness of it for the life of me.

Flavors: Bitter, Malt, Maple, Sweet, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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72

So guess what. I decided to give this another try.

This time, I did it just as instructed. Correct leaf, correct time, and then let it cool.

And no dang sweetener

Hey, whaddya know? It’s much better!

Without the sweetener, the licorice flavor somehow is more subtle and palatable than with sweetener. It’s present, but it’s not disgusting. I actually even like (??) it. The spice is also noticeable, but it’s just the right amount.

But here’s the thing. I know this is supposed to taste like wine. And I get that. But it isn’t in the actual sip.

It’s at the roof of my mouth as an aftertaste.

No joke. After I sip it, and after I wait a few moments, I get a sharp but pleasing flavor sticking to the roof of my mouth that tastes remarkably like, well, alcohol!

So yeah, I’m glad I gave this another shot. It’s much better than I had originally thought, and it is a far superior flavor without my go-to sweetener.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

Well, my huge order for the month showed up today and, Surprise Surprise, this is the first tea I reached for! We’ve established that I am keen on trying all the earl grey I can, so when I saw this one, I had to get a few pouches!

Ok, so smell in the pouch… well, it’s very sweet. You can smell the sweetness just in the pouch! However, there’s something very strange about it. The combination of flavors – the bergamot, the sprinkles, the vanilla – it all combines to what I swear smells like licorice! I have no idea why, but all those elements combined, that’s what it smells of.

Upon tasting it without sweetener, I’m happy to say it doesn’t translate into the flavor. Instead, you get a subtle sweetness, combined with the usual floral flavor of the earl grey. It isn’t bitter at all, which is a plus. However, you all know I love my sweets, so here we go Splenda!

So, here’s the thing. When you add sweetener, on the first cup, you do get that licorice combination. But, despite the fact that I hate licorice, it is perfectly pleasing. It’s like… the essence of licorice, without the full pungent flavor. It’s really really pleasant! It does taste like a cupcake, and I love it!

However, with subsequent steepings (I’m on my third now), the licorice/cupcake disappears and it just turns into a simple earl grey. The floral sticks around, as does the vanilla, leaving a nice earl grey cream flavor that I love so much! It’s soft and smooth, and thankfully, the bergamot doesn’t overpower the vanilla and vice versa. Just a lovely cuppa!

So I can heartily recommend this. Don’t be turned off by my “licorice” commentary. I am pretty sure there is no actual licorice in it, and the flavor, as I said, lacks any sign of the pungant-ness that I hate about licorice. Instead, it’s just pure cupcake sweetness all around, which turns into a gentle cup of earl grey cream as you steep it out.

Good stuff. Can recommend.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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83
drank Birthday by Adagio Teas
119 tasting notes

SIPDOWN!

Ok, so, here’s the thing. This tea grew on me since my initial review. It grew on me hard. So much that I found myself craving it for weeks before I would finally give in and have a session.

Then it came down to this. Just enough for one last session. Knowing full well that I can’t just order more of this at will, I saved it for a special occasion. I didn’t know what special occasion it was, but I have been longing for this for two months now but never allowed myself to indulge.

Well, guess what. It is January 15th, 2020 – My personal hero and namesake’s 50th birthday. (That’s right, Shane McMahon turns 50 today). So guess what. It’s getting drunk!

It’s everything I remembered it being, and more. I know that when I first wrote the review, I commented on a strong raisin flavor. Well, I’m happy to say, that by now, the odd raisin flavor has been replaced by the flavor of Vanilla, Cream, and a touch of Caramel. It really tastes like birthday cake. The sprinkles, sadly, seem to have long disappeared from the mix, but it doesn’t matter – they only affect the first steeping anyway. I am drinking this in honor of Shane, celebrating his birthday, but still sad that I know this will be the last of this until June.

Perhaps some of you can suggest a good replacement Birthday Cake tea for me? It’s an odd tea flavor, I know, but the harder and harder my blood sugar gets to manage (yes, I’ve been having problems lately) the harder I go for the dessert teas for my sweets fix. So hit me up in the comments and let me know where I can find something similar. I’d appreciate it greatly. THANKS IN ADVANCE!

Flavors: Cream, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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43

I just wanted to try something quick, dirty, and new. Well, I have no idea how long this stuff has been in my cupboard, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually had any.

So, I put the water through the keurig (the box claims you make it with boiling water, so IDEK) and brew bag for 3 minutes.

Taste is… OOUCH that hibi! I noticed on the box that this had hibiscus in it, but one sip and I would have known anyway. That’s TART! Between the hibi and the berry, it’s up there on the tart factor. Time to add sweetener.

Ok, so somehow, sweetener makes it almost worse? How to explain. The Splenda cuts the tart, for sure. But once the overpowering tart is gone, there are… other flavors that emerge. Like something bitter. I’m not sure what it is, but there is a noticible bitterness to it once splenda is added. Ew. And the overall flavor isn’t very good. It’s, how should I say this, MUDDY. It’s almost like someone was blending flavors and scents together to get potpouri, but somehow ended up with compost? I’m not sure how to describe it. For some reason the word “Dishwater” is coming to mind, but I don’t know why. That’s just what my mind thinks when I sip on it. “MMMmmmm, Dishwater.”

However, all that said, I have had worse teas. By far this isn’t the worst think I’ve ever tasted. But it is not remotely good. It’s pretty bad actually. I don’t know how much of it is that the tea is outdated, and how much of it is “This tea is just awful” but I know I am absolutely throwing this back into the back of my cupboard, never to be drunk again.

Bad stuff guys. Just BAD.

Flavors: Bitter, Blueberry, Hibiscus

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

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80

Well, I ran out of the Earl Grey Creme, and the store I went to yesterday didn’t have the Teavana stuff, so here we are. It isn’t exactly what I wanted, but it will have to do for the time being.

I brewed up a cup of this yesterday but didn’t review it so I decided to do so today. Flavor without sweetener is a nice black tea base with a strong bergamot flavor. The citrus is powerful here and the flavor is bitter – but not “black tea” bitter. I’m pretty sure it’s the bergamot that is making it bitter.

Two splendas later and MMM much better. The sweetener gets rid of the bitterness while allowing the sweet citrus to shine through. It’s still far FAR harsher than my usual Earl Grey Creme (there’s no creamy vanilla to temper it), but I like it. It’s something new.

All in all, this is a decent tea. I love strong citrus tea, and this doesn’t let me down. I will likely keep exploring the various types of Earl Grey as I go along. I hope to try some Lady Grey, as well as possibly a Double Bergamot one. But, for now, this will do. There are better out there, but for grocery store tea? It’s pretty darn good. Recommended.

Flavors: Bergamot, Biting, Bitter, Citrus

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
derk

My dad made this as my first cup ever of loose leaf nearly 20 years ago The memory of that moment is indelible, both for the flavor awakening and the small gesture of love. It is a solid Earl Grey I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Shanie O Maniac

Isn’t it funny how certain things hold memories forever? Like that one song that represents a moment in time, or a certain smell that you associate with a person. Memories are funny things, and I’m glad this tea represents one for you!

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Bio

HELLO! My name is Shanie and I love tea!

While I have always loved various types of tea, for a very long time it came exclusively from a grocery store. It’s only been a year or so now that I’ve gotten into loose leaf. As such, there will likely be tasting notes I do for bagged tea as well as good quality (and not so good quality) loose leaf teas. I’m still learning as I go so have patience please!

Some of my favorite flavors include: Cocoa, Malt, Bread, Honey, Earthy, Sweet Citrus, Caramel, Apple, Spices, and Cinnamon.

Some flavors I don’t like: Licorice, Coconut, Bitey Citrus (like Citric Acid), Sour, Smoke, Overpowering Fake Vanilla, and Stevia.

NOTE: I am Type 2 Diabetic. As such, I can really not have sugar added to tea without suffering problems. This prohibits me from using either plain sugar or honey. Instead, I use Splenda as I found my system can handle it well and I like the flavor. I try to avoid stevia as I’ve found it often ruins the flavor of tea. However, good quality teas require no sweetener. Because of this, if I add sweetener to a tea, I will mention it in the tasting note and say what kind and how much. Usually I sweeten flavored and herbal teas, but leave true teas unsweetened. There are exceptions, but this is a general rule of thumb to go by.

Almost all of the tea I brew is western style. I occasionally do grandpa, but pretty much never Gong-fu. I do own a Gaiwan, but it never gets used. Considering I don’t have a “sip setting” when it comes to beverages, it’s really hard for me to get into any sized amount less than 8oz at a time. I know that probably makes me a tea-heathen, but so be it. I like my mugs.

I have decided to try and make a scale for my ratings. So here goes.

As of March 2019.

100-91: These are my go to favorites. I will likely go out of my way to always keep these on hand, including going on third party websites to obtain out of season.
90-81: This is a tea I really did enjoy, and I will likely purchase again. However, I wouldn’t go to the ends of the earth for it, and it isn’t my all time favorite.
80-71 This is a tea that, while I may have somewhat enjoyed, something is holding me back from making it a mainstay. Maybe because it requires sweetener. Maybe there is an offputting aftertaste. It varies. But something about this doesn’t suit me and while I will likely finish what I have, I may or may not not get more.
70-61: This is a tea which I drank, but I really did not enjoy it. It wasn’t bad enough to dump, and if it is the only thing available to drink, I would likely choke it down. But in the end, this is just not my literal cup of tea and I will likely not get this again.
60-51: This is something that I hated, but for one reason or another, refused to dump. It just is awful, but I suppose I can choke it down and not waste it. These are teas which I will not be buying again, and may not even finish what I have.
50-41: Yeah, whatever this is, I probably dumped it. At this level, it is barely recognizable as tea or any tea like substance, and has few redeeming qualities. On the bright side, it isn’t sewage water, so there’s that.
40-31. On it’s best day this tea has no redeeming qualities. This not only got dumped but the package it came in either got thrown away, traded, or shoved to the back of the cupboard to never be touched again. Not the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, but darn sure close.
30-Under: The worst thing I’ve ever tasted. This not only has no redeeming qualities, but it is gag inducing. “Teas” in this range are so bad I not only will never drink them again, I really don’t feel like offloading them onto anyone else because they are just that bad. Actual sewage water.

Location

Pennsylvania, US

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