254 Tasting Notes


This showed up in my tea caddy last week – I’m not one for herbal teas and, to me, Yogi = Herbal. But I looked at the ingredients list and saw Assam black tea. Hmm, Ok. Bunch of other herbal stuff that I had to Google later. Two items of note – stevia leaf and monk fruit extract are included. If, like me, sugar substitutes put you off, be forewarned. Green Tea extract was also included, which I think are code words for extra caffeine. On the “lesser ingredients” list were the things that made me want to try it – orange flavor, tangerine flavor, orange peel oil, and tangerine oil. I’m a sucker for a good citrus flavored tea.
First impression is, to borrow another reviewer’s words, warm orange juice. Specifically warm, watered-down orange juice. But not warm Tang. There is enough Assam to color the brew, but not enough to speak black tea to me. I’m not giving up on it. I am thinking that combining it with one of my more robust black teas might be good. Its more of an “add citrus to one of my black teas” than the reverse.
What can I say at this point? Its not bad, I didn’t throw it out, and I might have a way to better enjoy it, so it gets further exploration. Note: the “sweeteners” were present, noted/notable, but not overpowering. 70mg caffeine/cup

Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Stevia

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Surprisingly good! The tea is not overly harsh and the vanilla is right there. Does not have an overprocessed or chemical aftertaste. It does pack a punch – the caffeine is real. I checked the recommend box because it is good enough and does the job of giving me a kickstart in the morning; enough that I picked up 2 additional boxes. Can’t say I don’t recommend it if I’m buying more.

Flavors: Vanilla

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

Good to know. I’ve looked at this several times with my hand hovering over the box.

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drank Kitchen Sink Green Tea by 52teas
254 tasting notes

What a blast from the past. This tea has been sitting in a bin in the pantry for over a decade…lost in the dark in the back. Well, Found It!, quite by accident. Since I was intending to brew some tea for iced tea and it found it’s way to the front, I decided what the heck.
Still good – even better, as iced tea, than it ever was as a hot drink. The floral overtones have dissipated, but it still has a green tea bite and a nice clean mouth feel. Not as astringent as a black, and I over brewed it in anticipation of ice watering it down.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Green

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

Wow! A blast from the past to see Atacdad on here! Welcome back!


I think a lot of us have a secret stash of Frank’s old 52teas blends. I found a couple the other day that need to be enjoyed.

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Disclaimer: this Adagio Signature Blend is a customer’s, Cheryl Yi, attempt to recreate the Mad Tea Party Blend of Disney fame.
It’s close…very close, but not the same. I fixed a cup of the original and the Adagio Blend side by side for this comparison. Dry, the original smells STRongly of apricots, the custom one has a definite peach smell. Note that the original is ground fine and in a tea bag, the custom one is loose leaf. I think this is important. I ran a stopwatch on the brews…90 seconds on the original, 105 on the custom. I let the custom go longer because it was not brewing as dark as the original…note that the custom recommends 3 minutes. I cut it off because the original was done and ready at 90 seconds.
While hot, there was no confusing the original from the custom. The nose of the original was very strong apricots and flowers, sweet and fruity. The copy was peaches and a little muted at that. As they cooled, the original seemed to go a little off, a little chemical? The custom blend kept its peachy smell and peaches and creme flavor pretty consistent.
So – jury’s still out. More loose loose leaf to make up for the fine grind? Longer steeping times? Yes to both, probably. In any case, this one gets kept and tried again, until I get to the end: then stop.

Flavors: Cream, Peach, Vanilla

Boiling 1 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Earl Grey by Tazo
254 tasting notes

Tazo is the institutional tea of my office, so we burn through this stuff at an unbelievable rate. The upside is that it’s about a fresh as your going to ever see this brand, and it still has a “tired, musty” taste. Another upside is that it’s better than the plain black tea version!
I won’t go spend MY money on this, but I’ll drink it as a last resort because it’s better than the charcoal w/ lighter fluid espresso that the $7000 automated coffee machine makes.

Flavors: Bergamot, Paper

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Had this tonight, from a tea bag. Wow. Sweet flavor without adding any sugar/honey. Tastes of peaches on a very good black tea base. Now if I just didn’t have to go to a theme park to get it.

Flavors: Apricot, Peach

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

Seems like I saw somewhere (maybe in another Steepster review) that the Disney teas are privately labeled versions from a different supplier. Or I coulda dreamed that.


I found a custom Adagio custom blend, (all hail the Google) http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=60757
,that gets good reviews, albeit from only 5 reviewers. Looking at the ingredient list, I think there are few things in there that are superfluous (marigold and cornflowers), but the fruit flavors “look” right. I’ve ordered some and will report back.


The Adagio order came in. Very close, but not the same….

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If I’m brutally honest…I find this tea to be harsh and coarse. There is nothing subtle about it; no nuances to its flavor other than a slight metallic tang that might signal some Ceylon tea in there, somewhere. Looking at the tea in the teabag, this one is designed to infuse hard and fast…the “leaves” are more a dust than broken leaf bits; and the ingredient list? “black tea, black tea extract”. I think the latter is code for the caffeine in the “50% more caffeine” claim. From a tea lover’s point of view, I can’t recommend this one. However! if you’re looking for a way to get your caffeine fix in the morning and coffee isn’t your choice, this will do the trick.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I am not a big fan of Assam and only so-so for Keemun. I normally find them harsh and a bit bitter. Keeping that in mind, I cut the steeping time to about 2 minutes…the time it takes me to fill my cup with hot water and amble back to my desk at work. The full name of this tea is “Malachi McCormick’s Decent Tea” and it lives up to its name. Brewed to a red/black deep in the mug, this tea is robust, with a woody flavor; as expected, it does not have the tannic, citrus notes of a Ceylon. It still has the body of an Assam, but it is being mellowed, significantly, by the Keemun. I am drinking this as a wake-up, early morning tea and it is serving its purpose well.
1/18 – revisiting this review as it has been nearly 3 months (so says Steepster) and, more importantly, 2/3’rds of my can of this tea is gone. Looking back on my initial impressions, I wouldn’t change anything. In fact, I’m going to bump my rating by a few points. This tea sits on my desk at work and is my default morning “at work” tea. That is not to say that it is every day, I have other choices, just that it is currently the default when nothing else strikes my fancy.

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank Amba Thieves by Harney & Sons
254 tasting notes

“Thieves Tea”…yep, looks like they swept it up off of the trading floor, seriously. There are what look to be broken bits of leaves, stems, and maybe a bit of bark. Looking closer, I see bits of leaves from green to brown to predominately black.
That aside, its a great cup of tea. It’s very generic and I don’t pick up a clear Ceylon or India regional flavor. I brewed my first cup conservatively, as reflected below, but I suspect that this tea can take a lot of abuse, because of its generic flavor.

Flavors: Tea

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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I am sure I’ve reviewed this tea before, but I tried something different this time. Long story short, our Keurig died after a long (5+years) life and my wife rushed out to replace it that evening (coffee addict that she is). I picked up one of the Keurig brand brewing baskets (that thing you use for your own coffee or loose tea) and a Keurig brand, 32oz carafe. I filled the basket with probably 2 tblspoons of HCS tea…about 2/3 full, and made a full pot of tea through the Keurig. OMG! way to much tea! I ended up with the most intense cinnamon tea you’ve ever seen, so cloudy with cinnamon. So sweet that you almost (almost!) couldn’t drink it. Liquid Red-Hots candies. I cut it 50% with plain water and drank the whole pot.
What?! I didn’t say it was bad, just liquid candy :)
Lessons learned: the Kuerig worked well, the carafe kept it hot all morning, HCS is still fantastic, start smaller with the experiments!

Flavors: Cinnamon

180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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I’m not much active on Steepster because I haven’t been trying a lot of different tea lately. I have been buying M.T. Wendell’s Cheericup Ceylon because it is my favorite. That said, gifts of tea drop in every once in awhile and I try to bring my impressions here.
I am unashamedly stealing this rating description from Morgana.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Austin, Texas

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