258 Tasting Notes


Finishing this sample up about a year after I first tried it. This is really very smooth. That chocolate taste with a slight hint of cherry cordial is still there, albeit only slightly and maybe it’s just my own taste buds interpretation.

After one rinse, I didn’t detect any fermentation. It is a very smooth and tasty experience. Perfect for this snow covered day in Michigan. Speaking of that, I woke up to 50 degree F thunderstorms and worms crawling around on the ground yesterday morning only to wake up with below freezing temps and a dusting of snow this morning. So confusing to the senses.

Anyway, this gets a slight rating bump because it is delicious. Even more so than I remember.

Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Oh man this is a good black tea. The scent alone is enough to get me. The wet leaf, upon my first few sniffs, reminded me of a raisin oatmeal with some molasses drizzled on top. If you are a hater of oatmeal, raisins, or raisin oatmeal (I know you are out there), please don’t write this tea off. Maybe to you it smells like a toasted graham cracker with a note of malt. Who knows?

What I do know is that this tea smells and tastes delicious. It is a bit lighter in terms of black tea flavor so for those of you who don’t care for the heavier black teas, you may enjoy this. Sweet, smooth, very drinkable with a nuanced flavor/scent profile that makes you pay attention.

Flavors: Graham Cracker, Malt, Molasses, Oats, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Florence by Harney & Sons
258 tasting notes

Gifted to me by the ever lovely SuperStarling!, this tea’s first scent reminds me of chocolate covered orange candies. Which I happen to love. I didn’t realize that they aren’t actually everyone’s favorite.

My mom introduced them to me when I was a kid because she loved them. I also took to them. I just kind of assumed that they were a decadent thing that most everyone enjoyed. Then I met my wife and was so excited when during the first few months of dating, we passed by a specialty chocolate store and they had those chocolate covered orange candies. I proudly passed one to her, took my own bite while momentarily closing my eyes to indulge. I slowly turned to her while opening my eyes, expecting to share that common look of “OMG this is amazing.” Instead, she was recoiling in disgust. To this day, it is one of her only flaws. Haha.

But back to the tea! So the dry leaf reminds me of that smell. I assumed that is what this was supposed to emulate. Chocolate orange. Imagine my surprise upon reading the description that says, “No, no orange.” No one else has even tagged it with that? Hmm. I brew the tea up and yup, still getting that familiar scent. Now that I see it is supposed to be chocolate and hazelnut, I can kind of get the hazelnut with it and perhaps that is what I am confusing with the chocolate orange scent.

Flavor wise, the hazelnut DOES reveal itself more than orange. I still get some orange because of the scent in my nose but I don’t think I would confuse the flavor with it.

Overall though, this tea is REALLY indulgent and delicious. A nice dessert tea. This may be something I consider ordering.

Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Orange

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Finished off my sample of this yesterday. I’m now elevating the rating into the coveted 90-100 spot because this is something that I absolutely want to have stocked at all times. The roasty malted flavors are there, strong, and they go the distance. I steeped this one at least 7 or 8 times and it kept giving me the flavor I was looking for.

Really well done.

Super Starling!

All I can think of is “he’s going the distance. He’s going for SPEED. He’s all ALONE, ALL ALONE IN A TIME OF NEED.”


Haha that is funny because, for me, all I could think about was William Hung and his rendition of, “She Bangs,” except it turns into “Da Bang, Da Bang, oh baby when she moves, she moves.”

Super Starling!

Why is William Hung STILL A THING? Will we be super-old and whispering about him on our death beds?

Super Starling!

He was like a meme, a pre-internet meme.


It’s true. A pop culture sensation. He’s still making music, you know. Or so I’ve been informed. Anyway, this thread has managed to keep that clip playing over and over again in my head. Yay tea.

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I’m giving this a slight bump in rating. This morning it seems extremely chocolatey with almost coffee like notes. That is something I can absolutely get behind. Really really delicious this morning.

Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee

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Recently I have been drinking teas that take me a couple of sessions to fully appreciate. The first session, I’ll leave not impressed and ready to give away the whole bag. Then I give it another shot and it will reveal something to me or make me try a third time. Usually I end up seeing the merits and then I end up liking it for the most part. This is one of those teas.

Is this normal for some people? Or maybe it is just my own taste buds. Either way, this tea first revealed itself as a bit bland. Almost cardboard. But then after a few more sessions, I am more identifying it as subtle graham cracker with a low malt taste. I know I’m not the best at using descriptive words to get across the flavor profiles but that is what I come up with while drinking this. Oh, and smooth.

Overall, I think this is a good black tea for the price. Something to zone out with. And it seems all the better to me considering I had originally wanted to write it off.

Flavors: Graham Cracker, Malt, Smooth

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

That’s happened to me with a few teas, for sure. I wonder if our tastebuds adjust and we start to pick up on the more subtle nuances after trying something a couple times, or if we just become accustomed to it and develop a taste for it.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
258 tasting notes

I drank this tea last night and really enjoyed the malty goodness. It is interesting. While this tea does have a very heavy malt flavor to it, it is also kind of unassuming if you aren’t paying attention to it. It is smooth and drinkable but nothing so bold as to make you sit up.

But it IS good and I found myself drinking it at an impressive rate while reading. And I think that is a pretty good compliment.

Flavors: Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec 7 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Chai Town by Adagio Teas
258 tasting notes

Served this Chicago based tea at my book club for a Chicago based tea (Devil in the White City). The peppery spice scent knocked me back in the best of ways when I opened it. The scent translated to the flavor pretty nicely as well.

Pepper, clove, and ginger dominate. The black tea base was just the slightest bit astringent but not at all distracting. In fact, I bet if I dropped the temp down about 5 degrees (F), it wouldn’t be a problem.

Flavors: Astringent, Clove, Ginger, Peppercorn

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this


Lansing, Michigan

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