632 Tasting Notes
Words cannot begin to describe how terrified I am. I’ve been filled with dread ever since I started researching pu’er/puer/pu-erh. What do they do to this tea?? In case you couldn’t guess, this is my first pu-erh experience. Okay, enough’s enough (as my boyfriend always says). Let’s move on to the tea review.
Man, when they said these are mini tuocha, they meant mini. These are itty, bitty, tiny, bite-sized cakes. I wasn’t expecting that. They’re actually pretty cute. I spent all day reading about pu-erh and how to break it apart. I don’t have a tea needle or an envelope opener, so I was contemplating using a metal chopstick. But as it turns out, all that knowledge is useless with these little things. At least it fits in my tea strainer! Problem one solved.
The dry leaves have a very faint, slightly fishy aroma. Of course, part of me only thinks it smells fishy because I’ve read reviews using that word. Now it’s stuck in my head, and I can’t think of another way to describe this. I really like KS’ review where he said, “The aroma is pure ripe puerh (you know that “Eeww, do I really want to drink this?” smell. To which you happily reply, “Well, yeah.”).”
That’s pretty much exactly what I thought when I smelled the brewed tea, except minus the enthusiasm. I’m still not sure how this is going to turn out. I only did a one minute steep because I was so afraid. Did I rinse it enough? Because I mean, I only poured boiling water over it for like two seconds. Oh, the dread!!! The anxiety!!
It smells…kinda’ gross…like mud-covered gym socks or like a musty, dust-covered wood cabin in the middle of the Adirondack mountains. I wish I could place the aroma because it actually smells somewhat familiar. It’s tickling my memory anyway, but I’m not coming up with anything. I definitely get the idea that this is cooked pu-erh as the word “cooked” readily comes to mind. Hmmm, dare I sip it? Oh come on! Why am I so afraid of this? Red rooibos put the fear of the unknown into me, let me tell you. Who’s afraid of tea? I mean really?
Okay, man up! First sip…I’m not sure what to make of this…It’s not 100% off-putting. Only slightly off-putting. It definitely still has that weird, hard-to-describe taste that’s in the aroma. Woodsy, I guess. It’s not bad, just really weird. I’m getting a little bit of leather, but not nice leather. It’s not like walking into a leather outlet or a horse stable. It’s more like riding in the rain and mud and then having to clean the saddle. Or leather cleaner maybe. It’s not entirely pleasant.
This is definitely what I would describe as an acquired taste. I wouldn’t expect the average tea drinker to enjoy this, especially one like me who has a passion for green, white, and oolong teas. But the flavor isn’t overtly in-your-face. I’m not getting any bitterness (or rose, but I wasn’t expecting to since this is my first pu-erh). It’s actually quite smooth. But I think four sips are enough for this first infusion. I can’t bring myself to finish the cup. Let’s see what happens with a second infusion! This one for two minutes.
Phew! This second cup is even more fragrant than the last one. I suppose if I had liked the first cup, this second cup would be better. But unfortunately, that quality I didn’t really like only got stronger. I gave the cup to my cat to sniff. He sniffed it for a good 10 seconds. He kind of perked up near the end, and I thought he might actually want to try it. Then he thought better of it. I made myself sip it, and it was actually sweeter than I expected. But I don’t think I can drink this tea. It’s just not my style.
To finish off the pu-erh night, I gave it to my boyfriend to try. He often likes things I don’t. He took a tentative sip, wrinkled his brow, and took another sip. Then he said, “It’s dry and it tastes like leaves.” “It’s called pu-erh,” I said. He replied, “More like just poo.” The boyfriend concurs; this is not for us.
But I’m sure my first pu-erh experience could have been a lot worse than this. I’m still convinced that this is high quality tea. If anyone would like to take the remaining three mini tuochas off my hands, send me a message!
This is actually a lot better than I expected it to be! After all, it is an unbranded, stringless tea bag amidst an assortment of candies and crackers from a gift basket.
The black tea base is recognizable as Ceylon and confirmed on the box. It’s only a tiny bit bitter, but not uncomfortably so. It’s the hint of bitterness I almost always get when I drink black tea.
I added a little bit of sweetener, and it really brought out the cranberry and apple flavors. I’m thoroughly enjoying this afternoon cup at work, while trying to plow through some of the duller assignments. I can’t wait for Christmas vacation!!!
This is spicy and nutmeg-y and full of flavor! The clove is very strong and makes me think of my older brother for some weird reason…I think he’s the one who always begged my mom to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, whereas I never particularly liked it.
Anyway, I agree with others that it’s not very cheesecake-y. But I don’t tend to get cheesecake flavor out of 52teas cheesecake blends. I’m not sure what about it makes me miss that flavoring, but I’m missing it here too.
However, I do find this tea delicious! The blend of spices is very similar to what would be in a pumpkin pie. Now I’d really like to try 52teas’ Pumpkin Pie Tea because I feel like I’m drinking it now! Yum!
This is definitely a tea that needs milk. And again with this tea, I find the aftertaste the highlight of the experience. But the more I drink it, the more I like it. It’s actually really great cold too. I’m impressed! Thank you to Ninavampi for sharing this tea with me!! Go Ecuador!
Oh, wow! This smells amazing as it steeps! I received it as a free sample with my last Adagio purchase. It got mixed reviews here, so I had pretty low expectations. But this is great! It smells like chestnuts and cocoa and immediately made me think of Christmas!
Of course, then my officemates started saying, “Something’s burning! It smells like an electrical burn.” I told them I had just made tea, and they claimed it wasn’t coming from that. Then after I insisted they smell it, they started to think maybe it was the tea. Hahaha!
Well, no matter. I think this tea smells great! And not like electrical burning. The taste is very yum! It’s 100% authentic chestnut to me with a really lovely aftertaste. It’s naturally sweet and almost creamy without any additions. I’m also getting a hint of caramel. This is awesome! I highly recommend!
As I keep sipping it, I’m trying to figure out what others didn’t like. I might have pinpointed it. When I raise the cup to take a sip, I am kind of assailed by something off-putting. And I think the lovely chestnut flavor is most enjoyable in the aftertaste. This doesn’t bother me so much, but maybe it does others.
Still, I think this one is worth a shot. Plus, it was free for me, so I’m sure that’s also a contributing factor to my liking it. Who doesn’t love free tea? :)
I found this slightly battered tea bag at the bottom of my tea stash. I’m not really sure where it came from or how long I’ve had it. But it’s tea, so why not brew it?
As I poured the hot water over the bag, the tea bag filled up with an inordinant amount of air. Despite my best efforts, I could not completely submerge the bag. Weird.
The brewed tea doesn’t have much of an aroma. Perhaps it’s because it’s so old. The liquor is a deep, dark, opaque brown. I accidently added some sweetener before I tried it out of habit. So, I can’t comment on what this tastes like sans additions.
But I was actually pleasantly surprised by this tea! It’s very smooth and still quite flavorful. There’s not even a hint of bitterness or astringency. I think I added a tiny bit too much sweetener because it’s a bit tart. And I can’t imagine that’s from the tea leaves themselves.
I also almost always add milk to black tea. I usually find it either tannic or bitter. But this is great even without milk! That’s pretty impressive to me.
This is really quite good. My Twining’s English Breakfast may have a contender. Now I have to go pick up a box of this!
Ugh!! I can’t believe it! I wrote my Thai Chai tasting note and then accidently deleted it! AHHHHH!!!! You can never write the same thing again. It’s never exactly as it was. What a pain! Blurg! This sucks…now how to try and recoup my loss.
I made this tea two ways: a traditional Chai tea latte and a normal cup of tea. I’ve had limited Chai experiences, so there’s not a whole lot of things to compare it to. But this one still ranks pretty highly. It’s not my favorite. Adagio’s Spiced Apple Chai still claims that title.
It’s good though! Just not quite as spicy as I like. The lemongrass and coconut create a much sweeter, softer Chai. It’s a completely different experience. If you love Chai, I definitely recommend you try this one out.
The normally brewed tea tasted remarkably similar to the latte. I couldn’t distinguish much difference. That’s good and bad, in my opinion. Good because you don’t have to expend a lot of effort to make a great cup of tea. Bad because I did expend a lot of effort to make two different cups of tea and that effort was kind of wasted.
But overall, I enjoyed this. You know what? I didn’t like my first review anyway. This one’s better, right? Oh, how would you know. Whatever. Drink more tea!!!
Many thanks to the very generous Mercuryhime who was so kind as to give me not only a sample of this tea, but an entire box full of tea samples! I can’t wait to try them all! This being the first of many, I picked a favorite and what’s sure to be a winner.
I wasn’t sure that a Bai Mu Dan existed that was much different than what I’ve tried in the past. I should have known that Andrews & Dunham would manage it.
This is delicious! It has that lovely hay and sunshine flavor of White Peony that I love, plus something extra. I’m not sure how to describe it. My first instinct says this is a greener version of Bai Mu Dan. But I think that might be understood differently than I intend it.
It’s honey-sweet with a bit of unexpected tart. Subsequent steeps yield floral, toasted pumpkin seed-esque, flavorful cups. It really is lovely. I’ve enjoyed this sample very much. Here’s how I brewed it:
170 degrees for 2.5 minutes
175 degrees for 4 minutes
175 degrees for 7 minutes
175 degrees for 14 minutes
No astringency. No bitterness. Just awesome. It’s too bad there’s not more of it. I could probably drink this every day. Thanks again to Mercuryhime for making this great experience possible!
I’m playing Skyrim today, which means I’ve forgotten to eat or drink anything. I had a light lunch, so now it’s time for some tea!
I’m very excited to try this one! I was digging through my tea stash trying to figure out what I wanted. As I reached for the Teavivre boxes, I could have sworn that I had another plain green tea and here it is! The aroma of the dry leaves is heavenly. I know I’m going to love this one. Just sniffing the leaves is the confirmation that green tea was what I was craving.
The leaves are very interesting. Green curly little things with white tips. As others have mentioned, this tea reminds me of silver needle as well. There’s just a hint of dry hay and sunshine in the aroma that lingers like white tea.
I followed the steeping instructions on the package. The aroma of the brewed tea is…strange. It’s a subtle aroma, but it reminds me of something. Squash maybe? Or perhaps zucchini. Not what I was expecting from the dry leaf smell. EDIT: After 6 months more experience tasting teas, it turns out that subtle aroma is smoke! I usually detest smokey teas, but this one is subtle enough that it doesn’t bother me.
Mmmm, the taste is really good! It does taste remarkably similar to a white tea. In fact, I’m hard pressed to find much of a difference. I’m not detecting any green grassiness. That strange quality in the aroma (i.e. the smoke) has made its way into the taste. But it’s not off-putting, just unexpected. This is a complex cup of tea with layered, subtle flavors.
Long after the sip, there’s a hint of green tea grassiness. But not much, only a hint to remind me that this is a green tea and not a white. How interesting! This tea is just full of surprises. I highly recommend.
Like others, I received this tea as a free sample with my recent Adagio order. This tea is pretty average. I can’t taste much cinnamon, which I’m thankful for. I agree with others that cinnamon is not something found on a candy apple.
So, what do I taste? Mostly black tea and caramel. I’m not getting hardly any apple at all. In fact, I think any apple in this is wishful thinking on my part. There’s no bitterness I could find, but I did add a little skim milk.
It’s not a bad tea, but there’s something off about it. It’s either the black tea base or the heavy, cloyingly sweet, caramel flavor. It was nice to try, but it’s not something I would crave or buy.
My rating of this blend: 93 out of 100.
As recommended by Ninavampi, I mixed 1.5 tsp of Vanilla Black Tea with 1.5 tsp of Peppermint and added boiling water. The result? Pure, luscious, minty, Christmas-y, candy cane tea!!!!!!
Oh, I just can’t wait to try this!!! After a three and a half minute steep, I’m ready to dig in! But I know I’ll regret it if I try to drink it too soon. I’ll burn off all my taste buds with scalding hot tea and then not be able to taste my beautiful new creation (or rather, Ninavampi’s creation).
Hurry up and cool! I went out to Target and picked up some Peppermint Oreos to go along with the tea. But I’m holding off eating those till I try the tea, which brings me back to my waiting dilemma. Why not wait until the tea cools off, try it, and then write this tasting note? Why, that would be too simple. And then you’d miss out on sharing in my impatience, which is part of the experience of this tea. :)
Finally! First sip. Mmmmmm!! Ninavampi was right on! This tastes EXACTLY like candy canes! I also find that adding a little bit of sweetener helps to take it from minty black tea to candy cane-ucopia. I’ve heard mixed reviews on a lot of Adagio’s new holiday blends (candy cane, cranberry, candy apple, etc). I almost bought a holiday sampler anyway because I really wanted some candy cane tea. But the reviews on this site stopped me. And I’m glad I didn’t waste my money! This tea is so spectacular, I don’t think it can be topped!
How come Adagio didn’t just put their vanilla and peppermint teas together, slap a candy cane tea label on it, and call it a day? Well, no matter. It’s 8:30 at night, and I’m drinking black tea anyway because this is just too good. It was calling me all day at work. “Come home and brew me!” Happy to oblige you, Tea. It’s my pleasure.