552 Tasting Notes

94
drank Breakfast Blend by Samovar
552 tasting notes

Wow, this is malty! I need more English muffin with strawberry jam just to wash down the rest of my tea! This is what Twining’s Irish Breakfast was trying to be. If anyone wants to pinpoint what a “malty” flavor is, start and end your journey right here. This is fantastic! The leaves actually hold up to a second infusion pretty well too.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
wombatpete

It’s not THAT malty. After this build-up, it was very disappointing. I fell for the ecstatic first comment.

CHAroma

I’m sorry that you were disappointed with this tea. Although I haven’t had it in over a year, I remember it being very malty and others have described it as such too. Perhaps increasing the amount of leaf will yield a cup more to your liking.

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90

I’m so excited to try my first Life in Teacup tea!!! I bought a bunch of samples for a friend and one for myself. I was going to choose a puerh because I’ve never had that before. But after reading a review on here where someone described puerh as “fecal tasting,” I opted for this oolong instead.

The dry leaves smell scrumptious! I’ve been having a lot of weird oolong experiences lately with Formosa oolongs from Adagio. They’re missing that classic “oolong” vegetal taste, so I’ve started to question if that “classic oolong taste” is something else. Do I even know what oolong tastes like?

Well, this tea confirms that my instinct was correct. This has that classic oolong flavor and so much more! It’s silky smooth and buttery. The aftertaste is where the floral notes come out to play. It has a very interesting taste that I can’t quite describe. If someone made an edible wax candle out of vegetables, I think it would taste kind of like this tea. That probably sounds really gross, but it’s a good taste. Extremely unique.

The liquor is so pale that I can’t label it with a color. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I always drink my tea out of a lime green mug, haha. I actually really like that comparison someone made to a baby’s milky breath. That’s a very accurate description of this tea. I’m also getting grass, but not the same kind of grassiness of a sencha. It’s a completely different type of grass, like an autumn dry grass.

And did I mention what a cute little bag my sample came in? It’s a shiny gold & silver, vacuum-sealed bag with Chinese script all over it. Oh, how I wish I could read Chinese! I used the entire 5-7g sample to make this cup. I’m not sure I needed quite that much. The leaves may start out tiny, but they unfurled to fill my entire tea infuser! And it’s not a very small infuser either.

Wow, just so good. Buttery popcorn! That’s what that unique flavor is I couldn’t describe earlier. It just hit me on the second infusion. Buttery popcorn, mmmmm! One of my favorite foods. Just for that, I’m upping the rating.

1st infusion: 185 degrees for 2 minutes
2nd infusion: 185 degrees for 2.5 minutes
3rd infusion: 185 degrees for 3 minutes

Each infusion was exactly as tasty as the previous one. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tea before that holds up to infusions this well. It’s simply amazing. It’s late now though, so I’ll continue testing the infusions tomorrow morning.

BTW: I’m enjoying this tea while watching my boyfriend play Dark Souls. Has anyone played that game? It’s insane! My boyfriend is an elite gamer, so he’s doing a fantastic job. But still, this is the hardest game I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He got cursed by some weird, giant-googly-eyed, curse-spitting, anorexic frog thing. And apparently there are only three ways to be healed. Two require speaking to NPCs in the game that he’s already killed. The final way is to find an item and give it to another NPC. But he can’t find the item anywhere! I tried searching online for about an hour and could never find the location. Now he has to try to beat the game with half his hit points, which is what the curse does to you. Oh, and it can stack too. Ridiculous! But entertaining to watch. :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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68

I just drank Adagio’s plain Silver Needle so that I could compare it to this flavored version. The leaves are thinner, curlier, and darker than the Silver Needle. There’s also more twigs. I’m kind of surprised. I wouldn’t expect the addition of the jasmine to warp the leaves so much.

But moving on to the taste. This is a much better experience than my first one with this tea a couple days ago. The jasmine is much lighter than I remember. This tea is floral and sweet. I definitely can’t say it’s the best jasmine tea I’ve ever had. That would be Lupicia’s Jasmin Mandarin, a Chinese green tea. I’ve also had better jasmine tea than this at a local Thai restaurant.

Still, it’s not bad by any means. I’m not getting much in the way of the Silver Needle though. That doesn’t come through until the second infusion. The jasmine overpowers it too much in the first cup. The astringency also makes itself apparent on the first cup, instead of the third in the plain Silver Needle. That’s probably the most disappointing aspect of this tea. Though there’s not a trace of bitterness.

Overall, good, not great. I probably won’t place an order once the sample runs out. In fact, this really just makes me want to buy Lupicia’s Jasmin Mandarin!

First steep at 180 degrees for 5 minutes. Second at 175 degrees for 7 ½ minutes. Middle of the road rating from me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
552 tasting notes

Very light and sweet. Vegetal taste is more apparent in the aftertaste. A fantastic white tea for people new to whites. Not very complex, but it’s beautiful in its simplicity.

First steep at 180 degrees for 5 minutes, second for 7 ½ minutes, and third for 10 minutes. Flavor started to fade by the third infusion and got pretty astringent.

But the first two cups were so fantastic that I’m upping the rating from 73 to 80.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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72
drank Chai Spiced Apple by Twinings
552 tasting notes

I drank this tea without milk today, and it still wasn’t what I wanted it to be. It’s too dull. No ginger. No piquance. Just diluted warm apple cider.

It would be so much better if it wasn’t so watery. I want to brew it with two tea bags next time, but it turns out very dark with just one. Plus, I can’t imagine how much caffeine would be in it then. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

I’m sad Twinings can’t make a better chai. I’m not going to go so far as to throw away the rest of the bags, but I have a feeling it’s going to take a while to finish them all. I also might try pawning some off on other people.

It’s not that it’s a bad tea. It’s just not what I want in a chai.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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70
drank White Symphony by Adagio Teas
552 tasting notes

The first steep at 180 degrees for two and a half minutes was kind of bad. It wasn’t completely bitter, so I’ll say it was halfway bitter. Not great.

The second steep for five minutes began normal and then went downhill. I think I might be letting the tea cool off too much as I drink it. It doesn’t taste nearly as good lukewarm as it does piping hot.

This is the last of my sample, and I’m not too sad to see it go. Though I am sad that I could never duplicate the same experience as that very first cup of tea. It was complex and beautiful.

Unfortunately, it never was again. Because of this, I’m lowering the rating from 80 to 70.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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68

I’m having a bad day, so maybe I’m taking it out on this tea. But it’s not that great. It’s astringent and a tad bitter and tastes more like a green tea than a white. The jasmine is flaky and meh. I don’t know. I guess I’ll try it again and rate it then. I really wanted to like it. :(

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 15 sec

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82
drank Lady Grey by Twinings
552 tasting notes

The divine Lady Grey is getting a boost from 75 to 82. She’s been very good to me lately, and I find that I’ve been craving her as soon as I arrive at work. :)

Uniquity

She really grows on you, eh? : )

CHAroma

Yep! :)

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80
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
552 tasting notes

So, it’s been a long weekend. I went to a socially awkward party, had to move everything in my kitchen out of it and then back in (roach spraying, yuck), got about 6 Ezpass violations in the mail (apparently there was a problem with our transponder) and fought with my boyfriend. All in all, not one of the better weekends.

But there’s always my loyal friend, Tea, to turn the day around! Tonight, it’s Adagio’s Silver Needle. This is the third Adagio white tea I’ve tried from the sampler pack.

The dry leaves have that familiar hay smell, but the leaves themselves are very different! I’m sure for all you out there that have had white tea countless times, the long and skinny white-haired leaves aren’t that interesting anymore. But I thought they were wicked cool! It was that much more fun to measure out the tea leaves. I can’t believe how pristine and uniform they are. But on to the tasting…

Slightly sweet, slightly vegetal. Definitely getting artichoke. Overall, a very pleasant cup of tea. It’s not amazing and probably not my favorite of the three (white peony takes the cake). But I can feel the stress melting away. I think I’ll need about 11 more cups to be back to my normal self. Time to find out if this tea is up to the challenge!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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99

Mmmm!!! Uber spicy!!!

Starbuck’s Chai Tea Latte doesn’t leave anything to be desired, except more when your cup is empty. It’s delicious, hot, creamy, and ultra-chai spicy!

The cinnamon wasn’t overpowering, so I was still able to taste the other spices underneath. That’s uncommon in chais I’ve had, where usually the predominant (and sometimes only) taste is cinnamon.

This latte was so spicy it actually burned my throat a little on the way down! Not a bad burn. More like piquance. Totally unexpected!

This is a good place to start if you’ve never had chai before. It’s a great experience and woke me up for work. I ordered it with skim milk, and it was still frothy and creamy and delicious. Two thumbs way up! :)

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Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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