302 Tasting Notes
Woke up to a gray, yucky-looking morning on my day off. Almost made myself a cup of Black Dragon Pearl, but decided to let it stretch a little longer and revisit my English Breakfast. This is one of those teas that I’ve been going back and forth on. I got it as a part of Adagio’s Silk Road Sampler of Chinese black teas. At first I was underwhelmed, then I kinda liked it, then I was kinda underwhelmed, then…
The leaves are dark colored with a deep, sweet smell, and the liquor is the gorgeous reddish hue of any good black tea. As one of the other Steepsterites pointed out, Adagio’s teas tend to brew a little light, but I’ve found that if you give them a little help (or time, if it’s a tea that won’t oversteep), the color becomes what it should. Sliiiiiiiightly earthy/mushroomy twinge in the same sweet aroma that I got from the dry leaves.
This is one of the “earthy” teas. I saw the words “damp,” “woodsy,” “earthy,” and “mossy” come up in a lot of the reviews I read of this tea, and I find myself agreeing. The image that comes to mind is (I’m so original!) the mossy floorbed of a deep, dark forest. Slight astringency, if that’s the right word. If it tasted like it smelled, it would probably be one of my favorites; as it is, it’s a decent tea but I don’t think I would buy it again.
EDIT: I’m currently on cup three of the same brew, same first infusion. But now I’m getting a little more malty? Perhaps it’s because I’m not eating a Nutri Grain bar at the same time. :P This is more of the flavor I like.
So I think I discovered the secret to this tea: make it, then let it sit for a few hours. I’m not sure why (perhaps it’s just the cooler temperature bringing out more flavor complexity), but it seems like every time I make myself a pot of this and have one cup right away and one cup in the late afternoon, the second cup is the one I end up craving.
With this tea, the instructions are to let it steep for five minutes, but even after four the tea is always kind of a pale yellow liquor. I usually find myself swishing around the strainer, or pouring and repouring the water over the leaves to speed up the infusion process. Maybe I should just learn to be a little more patient. Still delicious either way.
…Oh, and on a side note, I think I’ve discovered why my past several teas keep tasting like metal. It’s the damn strainer I keep using in place of my teapot! Maybe because I haven’t truly washed the strainer with soap yet (I always rinse it off after I use it to make tea), but the past several times I have tried to use it to make tea, the tea tastes metallic, and the past several times I have used the pot, the tea tastes delicious. Nrrrrrgh….
Had this tea this morning as my wake-me-up comfort tea. This is my favorite black tea, and possibly my favorite tea…
I’d been curious about it, but I didn’t know what I was missing until my boss let me have a sample of some of hers. You know, so often the item descriptions on Adagio don’t match my own experience with the tea, so when I read “subtle notes of cocoa” I thought, “Riiiiight.” And then I made myself a couple of cups, and lo and behold, what was that subtle little aroma? Honest to god, it really does smell a bit like cocoa. Easy-to-handle large pearls (do 2-3 per cup), pretty reddish brew, smooth and malty flavor. Not astringent at all. It’s the tea I crave when I’m not having tea. Will definitely be buying the bigger bag of this stuff.
This is what Teavana always sends out as their free sample when you do an online order, so I have about 6 oz of this stuff sitting around, completely by accident. It had two things going against it for me: 1) it’s an herbal tea (OK, a white and herbal tea), and 2) it has orange, and I dislike orange.
So it was quite a surprise when I discovered that I liked this tea! The orange is very light, not a smack-you-in-the-face citrus, and it’s a little sweet. I imagine it would make a great iced tea (hmmm… summer’s coming up. Maybe that’s how I’ll sipdown those 6 oz. sitting around…)
I’d gotten this as a free sample with another tea I’d ordered, because it was one of the only teas Adagio offered as a sample that wasn’t a flavored or herbal tea. The first time I tried it, I was unimpressed. However, this afternoon I was helping my dad fix dinner and I wanted to fix some tea, so I decided to give this another go.
During round 1, I was puzzled by all the reviews on Adagio.com that raved about its “nutty” flavor; I just tasted burnt grass. I would have feared I’d oversteeped it had the dry leaves not smelled exactly the same. I erred on the side of caution anyway. Adagio recommends steeping it at 180 for 2-3 minutes. This time, I veered closer to Teavana instructions with 175-180 for ~45 seconds.
I still taste burnt grass. Or toasty lawnmower clippings. But it doesn’t bug me quite as much as my first try. I can see it being an acquired taste. Or working well when blended with something else. Don’t know what. Maybe this time, I just knew what to expect.
Had to be up at 5 AM to take my mom to the airport, so made a couple of cups from this with second-infusion leaves. This time (and I normally don’t do this but I know this tea doesn’t really oversteep) it steeped for an hour and a half. Then I took a three and a half hour nap, then reheated the tea (whoops!) So I wound up having this tea about five and a half hours after I originally made it. This time around, I get a little bit of malty and a lot bit of peppery, and normally it’s the reverse with this one. Still a good wake-up tea, though.
I’d already had four cups of tea today (which is a lot for me), two of which were another jasmine tea, but I figured my pre-bedtime tea tonight would be this one. I’d worked myself up and gotten upset over something (as I tend to do when I’m tired), so I figured my best bet would be to go with my stand-by “Calm the F*** Down” tea. Nice, robust jasmine flavor that I love, wrapped into pretty little pearls that are easy to handle and easy to clean out when unfurled. This tea also doesn’t seem to oversteep quite as easily as the other green teas I’ve attempted… which, since I am a time klutz, is a very good thing! Hit the spot.
I’ve had this tea a few times and liked it, so I decided I would make a few cups for my after-work tea. I heated the water, put the leaves in, and steeped it for three-ish minutes, maybe a tad too long. Went to smell it… and there was the faint, familiar, turkey-like aroma of Yet Another Oversteeped Dud. Damn. Let it cool for several minutes, then went for a sip… it’s just on the inside edge of being oversteeped!
It’s a good jasmine fix, if you like jasmine (which I do!) The only other thing I have to compare it to is the Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls from Teavana, which is my hands-down “Calm the F*** Down” tea. It’s a lighter flavor of jasmine without being too light for my tastes. Floral, soft, jasmine, yadda yadda. Bit cheaper alternative to my beloved Pearls. Will probably become a standard.