131 Tasting Notes


There are many cheap Darjeeling teas out there, but I doubt you will find one this good at this price. I picked up 10 ounces for less that $5 at my local Indian Grocery, and was pleasantly surprised. Good flavor and just the right hint of muscatel in the very pleasant aroma. The tea leaves are not the highest quality, but what a value for the price of a loose leaf Darjeeling.

A good tea to pair with an Indian meal. I should mention that you should never steep this tea for more than 3 minutes. The tin says steep for 5 to 7 minutes, but this will be a bitter brew that looses any of the delicate nuances. Maybe it is this way for their Russian clientele who use this more in a samovar — and thin the tea as needed.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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Yesterday I received my first shipment of tea from Verdant Tea, and I feel like the proverbial kid in a candy store! I quickly took a good look and smell of all the contents, and tried a pu’erh that I will review later. I saved this Laoshan Northern Green to start my day, and have to tell you that I absolutely love it. Beautiful aroma, rich and comforting.

If you like Chinese green teas like Huang Shan Mao Fen, LongJing, or Tai Ping Hou Kui — then you will probably enjoy this solid northern green as much as I do. This morning I tried it in three steepings, loading up my Korean infuser cup (from Rishi). Soft, rich, earthy, vegetal and a bit of mossy character coming out on the last steep. And if you seek out what true ‘cha qi’ is, you might just find it in this cup. :)

Thank you David for importing such a wonderful tea!

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Talk about a nice oolong. I enjoy the sweet grass note from this autumn tea, where the faint floral fragrance is mostly like orchids. From the first steeping you can tell these are premium leaves, prepared with care. Through multiple infusions, you take a journey of tremendous gratitude. I was truly lucky to receive 50 grams of this tea as a gift, but now that it is gone… I guess it is time to check out Yunnan Sourcing’s website. :)

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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I love a good mug of Ceylon black tea, and waited to try this out on a rainy day… but the “Sonata” was not what I had hoped for. Perhaps the tea-meister was having a bad day when he blended this batch. Brisk? Oh-yeah, and how! But perhaps the sample bag was old, or ?? Tried two infusions, then made the rest into a pretty good iced tea. If you are looking for Lipton in a loose tea format, then this might be the one for you.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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As a regular drinker of Maeda-en’s Genmai-cha, I was happily surprised by Adagio Tea’s version. The first thing you notice out of the bag is that it has a much sweeter aroma, and the sencha green is of a much deeper hue (higher grade sencha?). The first steep has an almost overwhelming aroma of roasted rice and popcorn, which subsides quickly so that you catch a bit more of the vegetal green. Nice!

Now the true test for me is the second steep, which I enjoy even more. True to form, the sencha flavor comes forward, and there is a freshness which I never find in the Maeda-en teas. There is a nice balance here, and I am beginning to think this will become the new staple in my cupboard… The Adagio Genmai Cha is about double the price of Maeda-en, but I think life is much more about quality than quantity, especially in tea!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Maeda-en Gold Genmai-cha has been a staple in my cupboard for most of my adult life, and is an all time favorite. I like it in the evening, when I am just winding down, and is one of my favorites to drink when eating light Asian foods. Veggie Sushi, brown rice and veggies or a simple mushroom soup go well with this tea. In fact, pouring this over a bowl of rice and veggies makes for one satisfying meal. Real comfort food.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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Having just opened my Black Tea Sampler from Rishi Teas, this was the first tasting out of the group. I am a big fan of Yunnan teas and brewed this with trepidation, a bit of taster’s skepticism – and a big dollop of hope. I was very pleased! Nice robust flavor, with that distinct malty aroma. No acidity and a wonderful caramel finish. This is a tea of exceptional quality and is organic and fair trade certified as well.

This tea is also gorgeous to look at and to smell coming fresh from the bag. Totally different scent when dry, reminding me of walking into a tobacco store (in a good way). I wonder if I can make up some kind of device to hang around my neck so I can sniff at this tea all day! :)

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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It is so sad that specialTeas.com was taken over by Teavana… now this blend (called Almond Biscotti Black) is more than double the price.

Winter Salo

It’s so sad when tea goes up without a good reason – I understand when certain tea is harder to get or make because of particular ingredients but when it’s that a company comes in or the same company just raises the price it can make an otherwise wonderful tea suddenly taste just a little less nice.

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I don’t often crave Chai, but when I do this Golden Moon mixture is very satisfying. You have to be very careful to not over-steep this one as it gets bitter as time goes by. Fantastic aroma is almost better than the taste. :)

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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I love lemongrass, and this is by far my favorite everyday morning tea. A cup after morning meditation and I am ready to take on the world. It is wonderful hot, iced or at room temperature and goes extremely well with Thai cuisine (especially Tofu Panang Curry). I don’t recommend more than two steeps, as the brightness falls off, but it is a wonderful tea to keep on hand to share with friends.

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I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.


Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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