629 Tasting Notes


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
629 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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This is another of the Adagio white teas I got from Meowster’s cupboard clearout a couple summer’s ago (thanks Meowster!). So far this has been my favorite of all that I have tried; it was the most pleasant of the different flavored whites I’ve tried as a warm cuppa, and right now I’m drinking it as a cold brew, which I prefer even more.

The berry taste isn’t syrupy or candy-like, which can be the case in a lot of strawberry teas; but it isn’t really a strong, in-your-face sort of distinct strawberry flavor, either. I get a more gentle sort of berry sweetness, and a subtle tanginess as well, that I think compliments the refreshing white tea. This white tea isn’t coming off quite as leafy either, which probably helps (or maybe the flavorings are just covering it up more this time around). It tastes more like damn earth rather than autumn leaves, slightly vegetal, and a bit of melon rind, which comes in more at the front of the sip, but the close is a sweet-tart sort of berry taste; not distinctly strawberry, but an indistinct yet pleasant red berry sort of note. It’s a refreshing iced tea, and actually brewed a nice warm cup, too, while the other flavored whites I tried I really preferred as iced beverages to their warm cuppa counterparts.

Thanks for the sample, Meowster! Just one more flavored white from the cupboard clearout to go!

Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Melon, Sweet, Tangy, Vegetal, Wet Earth

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

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drank White Pear by Adagio Teas
629 tasting notes

This is another of the Adagio white teas I got from Meowster’s cupboard clearout a couple summer’s ago (thanks Meowster!). I had enough leaf for one warm cuppa that I made a few nights ago to sip on while I read graphic novels, and then I used the majority to make a quart of cold brewed iced tea, my preferred way to drink flavored white tea.

I definitely prefer this one iced to the warm cuppa (not that the warm cup was bad), but I just find the fruity pear on the white base comes out very refreshing as an iced brew. The base on this white is strongly autumn leaf in flavor, and that strong earthy/vegetal flavor may be why it presents a little nicer to me iced, perhaps. The pear flavor is actually pretty nice — it’s no 52Teas pear flavor, but it’s decent enough. It tastes like pear and isn’t coming off oddly artificial, it just doesn’t taste as particularly juicy as other pear flavorings I have tasted on other teas. I sort of wish the base white tasted more like the hay/melon notes I got from the White Tangerine tea as I think that would go better with the pear flavor than the autumn leaf/wood notes I’m getting from this base… and the more strange thing is I wouldn’t be surprised if Adagio is using the same base and only changing the flavorings/additives.

Thanks for the sample, Meowster!

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fruity, Pear, Wood

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

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Ever had a morning where all your tea plans fall apart? First, I couldn’t find this tea anywhere. I have my teas “catalogued” and organized in a very specific way, and it just wasn’t where it should be. As a librarian, this was very frustrating. As a librarian, I also know it is entirely possible for an item to get miscatalogued and be “on the shelf” in the wrong place, so I basically had to go through my entire tea shelf digging through each section until I could find it (finally found it in the “white teas” section… ugh!) I moved house last year and am not entirely surprised that when unpacking over 500 teas a few mishaps happened along that way, but that put me short on time racing against the clock to get a cup of tea brewed before work… and then when I dumped the hot water into my gravity well infuser, it didn’t hold the water like it always has, and I had boiling water all over my counter! That was fun to clean up.

So, then I had to get my spare infuser out and start a fresh cup (I thankfully had just enough in my sample from teasipper’s cupboard sale to make another cup — thanks, teasipper!) and steeping another cup made me late for work. I don’t know if the other infuser is dead or if a really thorough cleaning will bring life back into it, but I cleaned it just a few months ago, so it may just be time to lay it out to pasture… I do make an awful lot of tea with it…

Anyway, the tea is quite a fudgy flavor. I do recall it brewed pink originally in my infuser, but I’m drinking it in a closed thermos here at work, so I can’t really enjoy that “novelty” of it now, and don’t really taste any difference from the beetroot to the flavor. It does taste a little fruity, though; it reminds me of the subtle fruity notes from a good dark chocolate, like a hint of berry that I can’t quite place (I’m leaning raspberry, but not quite).

It’s a nice chocolately tea, I just wish it hadn’t been such an utter mishap to make it! Thanks for the sample, tea-sipper!

Flavors: Berry, Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Sweet

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

You’re welcome but sorry about all the tea problems today.


It happens to us all. I just see it a a small setback.

Mastress Alita

Yes, one of those mornings.

The fortunate news is that after a long soak in the Mandala Smart Soak and then reassembling the infuser, it seems to be holding water again, so I’m wondering if some minute particles got lodged somewhere that were keeping the release plate “lodged” in a way to allow the water to flow through. So maybe there is still life in the ol’ girl yet.

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drank Highgarden by 52teas
629 tasting notes

It’s been hard to coordinate teatime over two different timezones virtually with Todd so I just went ahead on my own this Sunday and tried another from my mystery box set; this green tea sounded nice to go with my eggrolls and white rice I was having with dinner. I was very curious about it; gunpowder green tea usually isn’t my favorite (because of the smokiness of it) and jasmine can be hit or miss for me depending on how strong the flavor/aroma of it is, but I absolultely love lemon myrtle (easily my favorite of all the lemony herbals) and rose so I was curious how the flavors would end up playing out.

The lemon comes out as the main flavor note, and it’s that nice strong, slightly tart, rich lemon that I just love, smooth and fresh and clean, the lemon myrtle really shining. There is a nice floral flavor to the tea as well, though I mainly taste the rose. Rose with lemon has always been one of my favorite flavor combinations so it is very nice. There is a strong vegetal taste from the gunpowder tea (almost a slight spinachy taste toward the back of my tongue) but I’m not getting that smoky hint that I usually taste from gunpowder, probably from the strong citrus and floral notes dominating.

It’s a nice, relaxing, floral lemon tea. I’m enjoying my warm pot of this, but would like to also try an iced brew of this at some point, too.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Herbaceous, Lemon, Rose, Spinach, Tart, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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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: 38
Sipdown Count for 2020: 57


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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