623 Tasting Notes


I ordered this tea so long ago that I have had the UNOPENED package sitting in my cupboard all this time, and I pulled it out, and the expiration date was 05/2019. …And THIS is why I refuse to buy/trade/etc. anything that has to do with tea. SIGH. At least it still smells nice when I cut it open, bright citrus with floral undertones, so I suppose I can use it for sachets if nothing else…

Aroma off my steeped cup isn’t very strong, which is a bit worrisome, coming across more like a standard English Breakfast — that malty black tea aroma, with a subtle lemon aroma. However, the sip is far more pungent than the waft was letting on. It isn’t so strong of bergamot (which is okay with me, I don’t mind bergamot these days, but it isn’t a necessity for me either, and this is already scripting itself as an EG blend rather than the Earl himself) so rather it’s a strong citrusy black tea, with notes of orange, lemon, and a more subtle hint bergamot mixed in that citrus flavor. I’d say the bergamot is waxing somewhere a little between a lime and grapefruit. It packs quite a tart hit with three citrus notes paired together, and they are the strongest flavor in the tea, though there is a noticable rose floral flavor that comes out at the end of the sip, towards the back of the tongue, after the bitterness of the citrus starts to subside and the sweetness of the floral is able to fill the mouth. I really like it, but I also am keen on tart/sweet flavor combinations, and I particularly am known to have a palate that can handle tart/sour flavors better than most (I drink hibiscus straight with no sweetener). I think most would probably find the citrus in this one too strong, even with the floral chaser.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Malt, Orange, Pleasantly Sour, Rose, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

My entire cupboard is so old right now that I got excited when I found a tea which was only a couple of months out of date, haha. I’m trying to drink down the majority of my teas before I buy anything new.

Mastress Alita

I am exclusively sipping down right now. Have been for a while, other than the odd box here and there of bog-standard grocery store bag standards. I’m two sipdowns away from finally hitting 400… (At one point it was around 600…)


The sipdown struggle is real! Maybe these long shipping delays will make me drink what I already have (though I’m browsing the spring 2020 oolongs right now, so maybe not).

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I think I have finally entered an acceptance with myself that I will never be a “proper” tea-drinker because I simply can’t find “enjoyment” in pu-erh; I never taste all the “nuances” one should taste in these expensive, fermented tea leaves, other than dirt or swamp water. Every. Single. Time. And I don’t enjoy either flavor note. Sue me. So after a week of not particularly looking forward to my morning cup of swamp water-flavored beverage (as that is the category this particular tea fell in for me; an earthy, yet marshy/vegetal taste, like something distinctly pond-scummy, which I taste very often in pu-erh) I have finally sipped this sample down (which I think came from Ost’s August 2018 cupboard sale, thanks for sharing!), and am quite pleased to have one less pu taking up space in my house.

Flavors: Earth, Marine, Mineral, Smooth, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 350 OZ / 10350 ML

NO! You don’t have to like pu-erh to be a “proper” tea drinker! It’s understandable you don’t like it. And hopefully you aren’t basing this on mostly Adagio’s pu-erh, because I find those are very pondy. Maybe someone can send you small samples of very definitely not swampy pu-erh whenever your cupboard is pared down.

Mastress Alita

I have gone to tea expos, an nice tea shops, and sampled fancy, expensive, aged pu-erh from puportedly schmancy leaves that have rested longer than I’ve been alive, and have STILL thought it tasted like pond scum. Clearly it is my problem at this point. _;;


Yeah, pu-erh just isn’t your thing then. Forget about it. haha But I wouldn’t call it a problem, unless you were bound and determined to be a pu-erh fan. :D


Yeah, pu-erh just isn’t your thing then. Forget about it. haha But I wouldn’t call it a problem, unless you were bound and determined to be a pu-erh fan. :D


You don’t have to like puerh! I don’t love darjeeling…and the only other local tea lover I knew at first drank it nearly exclusively and I got the impression she was horrified that I didn’t love what was clearly best! Ha ha!

It seems you are drinking ripe puerh. Have you tried raw or sheng? It reminds me of green or white tea, depending on the type, but I find it too brisk and astringent, sometimes even sour, unless I make it way less aggressively than called for. But then I enjoy it very much! So maybe sheng is more your style, or no puerh at all, which is also perfectly good! A lot of purists would probably say only sheng counts anyway. Ha ha!

Mastress Alita

Come to think of it, I think I did drink one sheng at a tea festival that I actually liked. And i think my thought at that time was something along the lines of, “I can’t believe I actually don’t hate a pu-erh.” You may be right, perhaps I need to try more shengs. So far, other than a few flavored blends, my track record with shus has been terrible!

Martin Bednář

Honestly I prefer shengs to ripes too! So, I am totally on same boat as you; I like to drink pu-erh now and then, but sometimes they are way too time consuming. Or blend isn’t great. Depends!

If you won’t like it, not a big issue! I felt bit miserable when I came here and r/tea drinking mostly only tea bags, because of my collection. Now I am drinking almost everything.

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I had pulled the sampler package I had received of this from Ost’s cupboard sale all the way back in August of 2018… and I have no idea the age of that sampler packet. I was going to make a warm cup of tea with it (we’ve been bombarded in rainy weather here) but since it was a foil-sealed package and I wanted to use all 5g up at once, I decided to cold brew the whole amount in a Mason jar for iced tea instead. And then it was just too cold for me to be in the mood to drink it. I noticed the pale yellow color of the tea started to look more orangy over the course of the week and thought… I better drink that tea. So now I’m trying to get through it, despite the fact it still feels really cold in my house…

I was expecting heavy jasmine (something I’m not especially a fan of) but mostly I’m just tasting peach. There is a strong peach note hitting the back of my tongue, with a bit of a juicy and pithy flavor. There is a floral note, but nothing I can pinpoint specifically… a bit sweet and honeysuckle like, if anything. Maybe a hint of hay beneath the strong peach flavoring. Very refreshing, but other than the peach, I am not picking out much other flavor (but that could be due to the age of the sample… or even how long I left it in the fridge, to be fair).

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle, Peach, Stonefruits, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Roswell Strange

Hello friend! :)


Oh I almost had this one today. :D

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This is another sampler that came to me a few summers ago from Meowster’s cupboard destash, so thanks Meowster! I honestly don’t have the highest expectations, though. For one, because it is a pu-erh, the one type of tea that despite me trying again and again, it just always taste like dirt or swampwater to me and I can’t quite understand why it’s considered the “fancy coffee” of the tea world and be a “true tea connoisseur” you should be drinking expensive puerh and nothing else… when it tastes like dirt or swampwater. I’ve been okay with a few flavored puerh blends I’ve tried, but that leads to my second point… the only other Adagio pu-erh I’ve tried was their Pu-erh Chorange, which I personally found awful, like a very fake, artificial-tasting orange was dropped in a pile of dirt. So… ya. Maybe the sheer age of this sampler at this point may have improved it?

So, this one falls into the “swampwater” realm. Again, not really a flavor I enjoy, but I suppose it is slightly more preferable than the “dirt” ones. It’s like a strong, vegetal, marine/earthy taste. It isn’t undrinkable and actually very smooth for what it is. There is an earthy taste that lingers in the aftertaste, as well as some minerality. It actually is better than the Pu-erh Chorange, since it doesn’t have that awful artificial orange flavoring smothered over the top of such a conflicting flavor. But it still isn’t really a flavor that is for me. I wonder how many pu-erh samples I’ll try, trying to convince myself to “like” this stuff because proper tea-drinkers are “supposed to like it”…

Flavors: Earth, Marine, Mineral, Smooth, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

Yep, I have similar feelings toward pu erh. I don’t really get it.


I feel the same way about Earl Grey. I feel like I really need to like it to be a well-rounded Steepster, and I try, but it’ll never be my favorite.


Adagio has the WORST puerh I’ve tried… at least years ago anyway. So I doubt it’s the age of the sample.

Mastress Alita

@gmathis : I actually went through a phase when I did not like bergamot at all either. And it lasted for quite a while. Something in my palate changed, and I started to like the flavor over time, but it was still more gradual than a sudden change. I started by having flavored EGs that were a lot lighter on the bergamot, and even now I tend to not like the ones that are really harsh bergamot bombs or ones that pair bergamot with a strong Ceylon base which tends to come off a little too citrusy too me. But I definitely went through a full-blown “don’t like EG” phase before my palate changed and the flavor grew on me (I still don’t like grapefruit, and find bergamot “similar” to it, at least to me, which makes me wonder if one day I’ll start liking the taste of grapefruit, as well…)

@tea-sipper: Well, they say pu-erh “gets better” with age, hense why I wondered if it being old would’ve actually done it some favors in this rare case.


@AJRimmer we may have to change your outlook on that.

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I finished off my Keemun Concerto, and while most of Adagio’s Teas have been very hit-or-miss for me, that one was definitely a hit for me… it will be very missed. This is another of their Chinese blacks that I have a small sampler of back from Meowster’s cupboard destash a few summer’s ago, and I have just enough for a small pot, so I decided to brew it up for breakfast this morning.

The tea has a strong warm, baked bread aroma, and a subtle hint of warm cherries. The tea has a strong malty, bready flavor, with a more subtle note of smoke, and some minerality that comes out toward the end of the sip. I get a very subtle cherry note left on my tongue after the sip, as well, but more of a malt and burnt toast note during the sip.

It is a nice breakfast tea, but I still like the Keemun Concerto better. Thanks for the sample!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Burnt, Cherry, Fruity, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Smoked, Smooth, Toast

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

Yeah, some of the Adagio black teas are phenomenal. :D

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One of my older 52Teas packets (a 2017 reblend, I believe). I’ve been missing my Chocolate, Hazelnut, and Strawberry Honeybush and figured this would probably be similar, and it is, minus the strong nutty flavor. I get the strawberry note, and a cocoa flavor, and even a subtle nuttiness that I’m assuming is coming from the honeybush. I’m not really picking out a vanilla note, but admittedly, that can be a hard flavor for me to peg with stronger notes in a cup. It’s very sweet and pleasant on a very rainy day that has flared my migraine head up terribly. I’m just happy it tastes so much like the tea I was craving so badly and scratched that itch for me.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Nutty, Strawberry, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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This is the last Adagio white tea in my cupboard, and I’m finishing off the sample with another liter of iced tea and one hot cuppa. It’s from a very old order (2017 sometime) but the sampler was still sealed, so at least there was that.

My warm cup is smelling quite floral (but confession, the last thing I brewed was straight lavender to make some scented mists I like to use around Chiya’s kitty boxes) and I also smell mandarin, melon, cucumber, honey, and warm hay. I’m… definitely getting some lavender contamination coming through in the flavor, but honestly? It’s not a bad thing! It’s not a strong oomph of it (I could go deep clean the infuser but probably another use and it’ll be gone, or simply letting it dry overnight… I think it was only using it so soon after steeping my flowers that probably caused the issue) and it’s not at all a bad flavor on this white tea… daresay, maybe I should be adding a pinch of lavender to some of my whites in the future? I do realize that isn’t how it was supposed to be though, and does little for a proper review though. Oops.

Tasting around the lavender, I am getting a hay vegetal flavor, as well as cucumber and melon notes. It seems quite sweet to me, but that may just be the floral contamination. My iced tea, however, has no such issue. It has been in the fridge a little longer than I should’ve kept it, but that aside, I am getting a grassy/hay vegetal flavor, the cucumber note seems a little more pronounced, and there is a subtle watery melon note. It’s very crisp and tastes a lot like a clean green tea iced.

Flavors: Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Melon, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Vegetal

185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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This was one of the teas provided to me for sample by Plum Deluxe, thank you so much Plum Deluxe! I selected two of the three flavors offered and just chose “blender’s choice” for my last flavor, and this was the tea Plum Deluxe selected. I’m home with a migraine today and feeling like some hot tea, so it seemed like a good time to brew it up.

The dry leaf smells very nice; I’m not extremely familiar with elderberries, but the aroma reminds me of plums and apricot, which is is a very pleasant fragrance. Steeped, the smell of those fruits is much stronger, and I’m also getting a peppery note on my nose. The apricot is very forward in the flavor, with that plummy flavor coming out toward the end of the sip, and a touch of a spice note. There is a slight berry tang, but not much, the honeybush mellows the tea out a lot. It’s really nice, and I’m enjoying it a lot on a day where I’m feeling very under the weather.

Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Pepper, Plums, Spices, Stonefruits, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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drank Valentines by Adagio Teas
623 tasting notes

Another Adagio tea from Meowster’s cupboard destash, thanks Meowster! I took this out and stuck it in my sipdown spot last month, but only now am getting to it… ah well. The tea has a nice chocolately-rose aroma, which is one of my favorite flavor combinations, but it also smells a hint musty… I think age has taken it’s toll on this one (I got it in summer of 2018, but I really have no idea how old it already was at that point in time…)

The flavor honestly isn’t too bad considering it may be an older tea, the chocolate is pretty fudgy, if not a touch artificial. The rose is coming through, and I’ve always really liked the rose flavor that Adagio uses (one of the few flavorings, along with their cream flavor, that always hits the mark with me). I do taste a hint of berry, but it is more subtle… the mix of flavors is a good one, the problem I’m really having is the base tea is coming off a bit too astringent for what should be a sweeter, more desserty type of tea. I’ve been drinking the tea straight the last few days but decided to make it a latte this morning (3 parts tea to 1 part vanilla almond milk) as I thought the sweet milk would cut through that astringency and it would work well with that chocolately floral flavor… but my plan failed and even with a sweet milk added, it still had that sort of sour note. It also didn’t taste as chocolately, and I thought the creamy milk would have brought out even more of a chocolately feel, but the latte was just a fail on the whole.

I think this tea could really work for me… it’s hard to tell if age has done it dirty, or if the base tea Adagio uses on this one just sours what would otherwise be a combination of flavors that would work well for me. I’m happy to have had the chance to try it!

Flavors: Artificial, Astringent, Berry, Bitter, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Rose

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 15 OZ / 450 ML

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This is the last of the Adagio white teas I got from Meowster’s cupboard clearout a couple summer’s ago (thanks Meowster!). I made the one warm cuppa and then used the rest on a quart of cold brew, like the others.

The base tea of this tastes exactly like the White Pear tea… a bit vegetal, with heavy autumn leaf and wood notes, just without the pear flavor. But I don’t taste any cucumber. I don’t even taste the melon that I get as a natural note out of white tea often, which I find often accompanies cucumber teas. So basically it just tastes like a typical low-quality unflavored Bai Mu Dan. It isn’t bad, but if you are going to drink Bai Mu Dan without the novelty of the flavoring, you may as well drink a nice one, right?

At least with the White Grapefruit tea, I could taste the grapefruit flavor (it just isn’t a flavor that I particularly enjoy), but since I can’t taste this flavor at all, I actually have to rank it lower than the White Grapefruit. (And I see that Adagio currently has this on their “soon to be discontinued” list… I’m honestly not surprised.)

Thanks for the sample, Meowster! I’ve enjoyed having the chance to try these! I only have one more Adagio white in my stash, and it’s a plain white that I purchased ages ago. I wonder how that has held up after all these years…?

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Vegetal, Wood

Iced 8 min or more 6 g 32 OZ / 946 ML

I recently read that white teas are supposed to get better with age if stored properly, so it’s probably good?

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Hi! I’m Sara, a middle-aged librarian living in southern Idaho, USA. I’m a big ol’ sci-fi/fantasy/anime geek that loves fandom conventions, RuPaul’s Drag Race, coloring books, simulation computer games, Japanese culture, and cats. Proud asexual and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m also a chronic migraineur. As a surprise to no one, I’m a helpless tea addict with a tea collecting and hoarding problem! (It still baffles me how much tea I can cram into my little condo!) I enjoy trying all sorts of teas… for me tea is a neverending journey!

Favorite Flavors:

I love sampling a wide variety of teas! For me the variety is what makes the hobby of tea sampling so fun! While I enjoy trying all different types of teas (pure teas, blends, tisanes), these are some flavors/ingredients I enjoy:
-Sweet/licorice root/stevia
-Bergamot (in moderation)

Disliked Flavors:

There are not many flavors or ingredients that I don’t like. These include:
-Bananas/banana flavoring
-Smoke-scented teas/heavy smoke flavors (migraine trigger)
-Perfumey teas/extremely heavy floral aromas (migraine trigger)
-Gingko biloba (migraine trigger)
-Chamomile (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Grapefruit (used in blends as a background note/paired with stronger flavors is okay)
-Extremely spicy/heated teas
-Medicinal flavors/Ginseng
-Metallic flavors
-Overly strong artificial flavorings

With the exception of bananas and migraine triggers, I’ll pretty much try any tea at least once!

Steeping Parameters:

I drink tea in a variety of ways! For hot brews, I mostly drink my teas brewed in the western style without additions, and for iced tea, I drink teas mostly brewed in the cold brew style without additions. Occassionally I’ll change that up. I use the https://octea.ndim.space/#/ app for water-to-tea ratios and use steep times to my preferences.

Currently Sipping Down: Tealyra teas, Adagio teas

My Rating Scale:

90-100 – Top tier tea! These teas are among my personal favorites, and typically I like to keep them stocked in my cupboards at all times, if possible!

70-89 – These are teas that I personally found very enjoyable, but I may or may not feel inclined to keep them in stock.

50-69 – Teas that fall in this range I enjoyed, but found either average, lacking in some way, or I’ve had a similar tea that “did it better.”

21-49 – Teas in this range I didn’t enjoy, for one reason or another. I may or may not finish them off, depending on their ranking, and feel no inclination to restock them.

20-1 – Blech! My Tea Hall of Shame. These are the teas that most likely saw the bottom of my garbage can, because I’d feel guilty to pass them onto someone else.

Note that I only journal a tea once, not every time I drink a cup of it. If my opinion of a tea drastically changes since my original review, I will journal the tea again with an updated opinion and change my rating. Occassionally I revisit a tea I’ve reviewed before after a year or more has passed.

New Teas Tried for 2020: 32
Sipdown Count for 2020: 50


My Cupboard on Steepster reflects teas that I have sampled and logged for review, and is not used as an inventory for teas I currently own at the present moment. An accurate and up-to-date listing of my current tea inventory can be viewed here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvGT1XwgJUTErt3zhjpHbXf6HNS3k_Ym85zoHJPmhX4/edit?usp=sharing . A downloadable spreadsheet version with more detailed information can be acquired here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D2J0sUMNItRsf0jBRBR6XDFUimm60f0o/view?usp=sharing . I am currently on a tea trading/ordering hiatus to get my collection under control! I cannot participate in any tea boxes, group orders, tea exchanges, or accept any tea gifts at this point in time. If there is something on my spreadsheet that I have in large quantity (50g or higher) that you would like to sample, feel free to contact me about it, as I am open to limited gifting (USA only!)

Contact Info:

The Steepster PM system has been broken for some time. If you need to get ahold of me, check the website URL section below; it goes to a contact form that will reach my personal e-mail.


Idaho, United States



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