53 Tasting Notes

drank Oriental Spice by Adagio Teas
53 tasting notes

It’s a basic spice tea. Nothing particularly jumped out about it for me, and I don’t feel the need to keep it in the house. I got it as part of a sample pack of other spiced/nut teas, and there’s nothing wrong with it at all, but it doesn’t spark joy.

I’ll finish the sample pack, but I don’t feel any need to get more. Very much a “shrug, OK” tea for me.

Flavors: Clove, Spices

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Hazelnut by Adagio Teas
53 tasting notes

I am currently out of my chestnut tea, which is one of my favorite Adagio teas, so I was pleased to get this one as part of my annual tea-gifting that my friends and I do amongst each other. Hazelnuts are more common than chestnuts in some types of things, but they’re less common in tea, and this one was quite good and scratched the same itch as the chestnut.

It’s a lovely nutty flavor, along with the proper “yes there is black tea in here” and it brewed twice without notable degradation in flavor.

Since this one is so similar in terms of what I would be drinking it for, I’m unlikely to seek it out when I have Chestnut in the house – but if Chestnut is unavailable for some reason, I will swap it in without compunction and be just as happy.

Definitely a success.

Flavors: Hazelnut, Tea

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Almond by Adagio Teas
53 tasting notes

It’s annual-tea-gifting time amongst my friends and I, and I have been given two four-pack samplers from Adagio. Today’s was Almond. That’s it, just almond.

Given that I really like almonds, I was dubious about this tea – most of the ‘almond’ or ‘almond-marzipan’ teas I’ve had have had a fairly modest almond-ness to them. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to be grabbed by the lapels of this tea as it shouted “ALMOND!!!” in my face.

“Yes, yes you are, aren’t you,” I replied, and the tea subsided a bit, appeased.

This is a very almond-y tea. I like it quite a bit for just that reason! It’s probably capable of assuaging my desire to eat an entire box of marzipan all at once (but I don’t keep marzipan in the house anymore – it’s too dangerous for just this reason – so I can’t test this hypothesis) and certainly it fulfills its name.

I shall be very happy to keep this sampler around. We’re a bit tight on tea-cabinet space right now, so I’m not sure I’ll keep a large amount of this one around long-term, but for the moment, I’m quite enjoying it.

Definitely one I plan to drink again.

Flavors: Almond, Marzipan

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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drank Leo by Friday Afternoon
53 tasting notes

LEMON. Wow, that’s a lot of lemon. Possibly I’m not used to it anymore?

Spouse bought this one, and quite likes it, but wanted to know if I would drink it with him. (He’s not sure he can go through it regularly.) So he asked me to try it.

It brewed up relatively weak-looking by my standards (4 tsp. leaves in my 3 cup pot) and when I took a sip, the lemon punched me in the nose. It’s drowning out most (not all) of the other flavors – about the only thing I could taste in addition was the rose. Not the tea, and not the ginger.

This one is definitely not for me. Oh well!

Flavors: Lemon

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I got a tiny packet of this as a sample along with another bulk order of tea from Friday Afternoon, and it sat in my cupboard for a while – until I had a morning where I was doing a bunch of writing. At which point I thought, “OK, this is probably when I should crack that sample.” I wasn’t expecting to like it – I’m not generally a fan of smoky teas, and although this one doesn’t officially list “smoke” as a component on the webpage, the package does.

I was very pleasantly surprised. This is a very good non-distracting tasty tea. I can see why it’s considered writer’s fuel – it’s the sort of tea one drinks all morning and enjoys the mouth feel and taste, while not being distracted from the task at hand. It is definitely a cooler weather tea, however – I don’t imagine this one would work particularly well over ice.

I will probably keep a smallish (2 ounce) tin in the cupboard for marathon writing sessions. It’s not a tea I’ll be going for regularly, but it’s definitely a keeper.

Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Smooth

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Some time ago, I decided I wanted a sample pack from Friday Afternoon. (They do that. It’s lovely. You tell them, “Give me a bunch of teas of type [x]” where X is things like Green, or Black, or whatever, and they send them.

I wasn’t expecting to like this one. I did. :-) Bergamot and I are not on speaking terms (my annoyance with Earl Gray and the fact that it’s often all I can get at conferences is a subject of some hilarity amongst my friends) but in this case, it’s subtle enough that I didn’t automatically go, “Ewwww.”

I’m sure the pomegranate helps. One of my favorite teas that I can no longer get was the Tealuxe Monk’s Blend, which included both pomegranate and bergamot.

This is not a tea that I feel the need to keep large amounts of on hand, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It is neither excessively floral, nor excessively fruity, and I can taste the tea in it without difficulty. Said tea is also unobjectionable – not strongly acidic, nor does it leave my mouth puckered and angry. I can’t tell which black tea they used, but it’s not one that makes me go, “Nope,” and dump my mug down the drain.

The leaves also handled a second brewing just fine, which was a nice surprise. I will possibly get a small tin of this to keep on hand, for days when I want a tea that’s mostly just tea. It won’t be a huge tin – this isn’t going to be one of my go-to teas – but that’s fine. It’s why I bought the sample pack, after all – to broaden my taste buds.

I’m pleased by this particular broadening.

Flavors: Tea

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While traveling, I ended up at the Bainbridge Island Apothecary and Tea Shop, because I was in dire need of a cuppa and about two hours alone with a book. I went out to the back area, where the proprietor has set up a covered area with clear plexiglass overhead (to keep the Seattle rains off) and many comfy couches. There I settled with a pot of this chai and a scone.

It was delicious. The pepper adds a lovely zing to the ginger (I like spicy tea) and the cardamom does not get lost either. I could not particularly discern the vanilla, but that is possibly because I was also indulging in a lemon-blueberry scone at the time, which I expect overwhelmed my tongue.

I bought a small packet of it to bring home with me, and today’s mug is the last of it. I will not be ordering more online (because shipping is just one of those evils that I prefer to avoid if I can) but the next time I’m out to Bainbridge, I will happily pick up another bag. It’s quite good. (And the shop itself is well worth the pilgrimage.)

Flavors: Cardamom, Ginger, Pepper

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drank Starry Night by Tea & Absinthe
53 tasting notes

Last night, I dropped 5 teaspoons of Starry Night into my Hario Filter-in Cold Brew Tea Bottle, and left it to steep on the counter overnight, because it’s too blasted hot where I am right now, and I really wanted to be sure I had tea in the morning. (Jetlag is a horrible thing, and tea is a partial solution.)

In retrospect, I needed to put a bit more in the bottle; 5 tsp is not sufficient for 750ml of water when brewed cold, though it definitely is for a hot brew. Still plenty delicious though. Still a favorite. Not changing my rating at all. :-)

Flavors: Almond

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Oh, the sadness that is discovering the tea you drank is not the tea you thought you drank! Alas, poor Mt. Everest Breakfast, you are suffering for my failure to read the label, because you are a perfectly reasonable English breakfast tea that doesn’t have the glory and shine that is the Majesty’s Chai that I drank, thinking it was you.

This tea is a breakfast blend. I love Yunnan, and I love Assam, and sadly, the two combined in this tea to not be a force multiplier of each other, but to instead cancel out the distinguishing notes that both teas have and leave me with…a breakfast blend.

I will not be buying it again, because I do not need a breakfast blend. If I’m going to pay for Yunnan leaves, I want it to be Yunnan-flavored. If I’m going to go drink Assam, I want it to be Assam. I don’t want a blend of the two that tastes merely tea-flavored.

Cameron B.

I never seem to be very fond of blends either, I’d rather enjoy the teas separately. :P


I can understand the appeal of always having “the same” flavors, if you’re a super taster or something like that. Average can be appealing in certain circumstances.

But I was hoping for a multiplication, not an average. :-p Nope, not this time.

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While I wait for a restock on my favorite Chocolate Tea (Harding Spring, from Trailhead Tea) I grabbed a small bag of this to try, thinking that perhaps a rose chocolate might be a nice switch from an orange chocolate.

It’s a perfectly serviceable black tea with some chocolate flavor to it, but I can’t really discern much rose in there. I will finish this sample bag, and feel no compunctions to buy more. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there is no sit-up-and-demand-I-drink-more to it, which means I don’t need to keep it in my cabinet.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Smooth

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95-100: I will keep this on my shelf at all times if possible.
85-94: This tea is probably in active rotation in my house and getting drunk a lot (or it’s about to be).
75-84: I liked it. I will probably keep a small tin of it around.
65-74: I liked it. I might keep a small tin of it around, but I will not mourn its loss if it disappears from sale.
50-64: Meh.
0-49: No.

I like real tea (camellia sinensis). Black with milk and no sugar, unless it’s a really froofy chai latte. Green with no milk.

I’ve discovered through trial and error that I really don’t like Rooibus, even when it’s mixed with black tea. (Sadly.)

Herbal tisanes are not out of the running, but I have to be in the right mood and they have to be sufficiently strongly powered that I don’t miss the tea leaves.

By preference, I drink loose-leaf, but I will drink bagged tea if it’s good enough.

My icon is a piece of fantastic art by Ursula Vernon called Cattail Tea.

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