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31 Tasting Notes

93
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
31 tasting notes

I got this as my free pouch for being the 10 respondent with the right answer to the email quiz (thanks Frank!), and was very excited about it as I have fairly recently discovered that despite not liking actual solid coconut (it’s the texture I think), I LOVE coconut milk and coconut flavored things (thanks to Adagio’s pina colada tea). So getting this was quite a treat, and to celebrate I was determined to make a fantastic cuppa.

Since I happened to have some coconut milk left over from a curry recipe I figured what better cream-substitute for coconut cream pie tea then actual coconut cream (the nice thick part that separates on top of the coconut milk – Mmm mmm good!).

I made a cup of this according to the package directions, going with the longer suggested steep time to get maximum coconuty-goodness. The result neat was a smooth black tea with no bitterness and a delightful rich-sweet coconut-cream note. Now I’ve never actually had coconut cream pie, but I imagine this would be what it tasted like. I didn’t seen as much of a coconut oil sheen on the top of the tea as I have with other coconut blends, but the flavour definitely didn’t disappoint.

As good as it was plain, I just had to try it coconut-ed to the max, and added about a teaspoon of coconut cream. The result was fantastic. The coconut cream just punched the coconut flavour up and added more richness that complimented the sweetness of the tea very well. It was like a topical desert in a cup, and even my friend who stated he “wasn’t really into coconut” loved it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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11

UGH.

I got this from my local coffee shop when I went with a friend and didn’t feel like a rich latte after a big meal. It sounded like it would be refreshing, cleansing maybe, just what I needed.

Not sure of water temp and I just left the bag in the cup. The smell was exactly like that NeoCitran lemon drink you make when you have a cold, which for me is a good thing as I always thought that hot-lemonade taste was great.

With high hopes I take my first sip and initially it’s fine. I get a nice tart lime flavour that gives my taste buds a tingle. And then I swallow and I get…chemical? Like serious, metallic, tastes-and-feels-like-its-got-to-be-poisonous chemical flavour on the back and sides of my tongue. It sort of makes me think of when you’ve touched coins and then put your fingers in your mouth, that sort of tongue-puckering metallic taste. In a hot cup of tea. Yeah…not so good.

Because I didn’t make this myself I can’t say whether something went wrong in the preparation but I certainly hope so. Otherwise this tea is supposed to taste like this.

UGH. UGH. UGH.

I’m going to go brush my teeth now.

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drank Strawberry Matcha by 52teas
31 tasting notes

Disclaimer: This was my first matcha experience. Because of this and other factors I am not rating this tea because well, it would be entirely unfair to grade this poor tea based on what I did to it.

I got this matcha a little while ago but held off making it because well, I was intimidated. The whole process sounded so complicated, and I don’t own a single proper matcha-making utensil. So I was planning on doing a little research, figuring out the exact specifications of water, tea and temperature, and maybe running down to the Asian grocery in search of one of those little whisk thingies. In essence trying to make it “properly”. Instead I made this at midnight, in a *#$f&! mood after hours of studying, and based on some vague memory of seeing “1 tsp matcha to 8 oz. of water” somewhere. So much for research.

I went with a flat 1/2 teaspoon of matcha to 3/4 cup of hot-ish water. As I also don’t own a thermometer I poured the water when it was steaming but before I saw any bubbles in hopes that might be somewhere around the proper temperature. I just dumped in the powder, no sifting, and attacked it with my electric frother. It didn’t froth much, just producing a little pile of loose bubbles that disappeared quite quickly but it did suspend the powder decently.

As for taste…I was disappointed. But then I don’t know what I expected, for it to taste like green tea ice cream? It was a little bit bitter, but I imagine that’s because the water was too hot, and a little weak tasting, either because my unrealistic expectations or because I should make it thicker next time. It tasted like a sort of fuller green tea, or maybe a green tea with creamy notes?

At first I didn’t taste the strawberry at all, though as it cooled I caught hints of strawberry randomly, though when I really tried to pin them down they vanished. I found I enjoyed it more as it cooled (more indication that I started waaay too hot), and I think I’d actually like it better if it was thicker, as towards the bottom of the cup I was picking up more creaminess (I think how I perceive the “matcha taste”), and strawberry notes.

So…good? I think? At least I’m definitely inspired to do it properly next time. Oh, and I apologize to 52teas and matcha lovers everywhere for butchering this ancient and honored elixir.

Cofftea

From my own research and personal experience, getting your own prefered matcha/water ratio is quite a science/art form, but the one thing that you don’t have to be concerned w/ is water temp. If you want it hot, my main rule of thumb is only heat the water to a temp that you’re comfortable drinking… remember that matcha requires no steeping (i.e. water cooling) time. As soon as you give it a quick whisk it’s ready to drink. Having to wait til the water cools causes the matcha to have time to separate and will require rewhisking. Don’t get me wrong, I love slowly sipping my bowla and savoring it even if it means a quick rewhisk- I just don’t want to do it cuz it’s too hot to drink.

Feisty

I read this a one of those little cartoon light bulbs popped into existence over my head and my brain said “DUH!” I definitely had to wait a bit for this to cool to non-tongue-scalding temperatures, and I re-frothed two times actually before I was able to drink it comfortably. Cooler water makes so much more sense (thank you Cofftea!).

Would using cooler water help with the bitterness, or is that more a function of the amount of powder to water?

Cofftea

I’m not sure about the water temp factor so I can’t say either way… I don’t have a problem w/ bitterness either, normally when I have too much matcha for the amount of water it’s more that the texure is like eating wet chalk paste or sand. Matcha is supposed to be bitter at least to a small degree to prevent it from being overly sweet. Also, every person’s bitterness tolerance is different… sorry I’m of no help… :(

Feisty

No need to apologize, I guess I’ll just have to figure it out the “hard” way…by drinking more matcha! Somehow this seems like a task I’m up for :).

Cofftea

I’ve only had 2 tea fails (using too much matcha)… if you end up using too much just add more hot water.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

I also think there’s definitely an art to getting matcha the way you like it. Keep experimenting, enjoy the experiments, and post them here for us read.

Cofftea

Chrine I agree- matcha can’t really get wasted while you’re ratio experimenting. Too little? Add more. Too much? Add more water. It’s when you do flavoring/cooking experiments where you risk possibly wasting it.

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93
drank Pina Colada by Adagio Teas
31 tasting notes

Singing*: “If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain…!”

Ahem. Excuse the little musical interlude. But seriously, that song runs through my head every time I drink this. It’s a good thing. Sort of.

We’ve had a few deliciously warm days (shockingly early for us Northeners) and this tea is perfect for this kind of weather. It makes me think of summer, which is funny because I don’t think I’ve ever drank an actual Pina Colada (during the summer or otherwise), so I guess it’s just the fruity-creamy flavour with the of coconut-suntan oil scent that make me think summer.

Since I don’t know what actual Pina Coladas taste like I’m not qualified to compare, but this tea tastes like fruity coconut. I assume the fruity notes come from the pineapple, apples, rose hip and maybe hibiscus flowers? The coconut flavour is easier to explain and I like the description of it as “savory”. It’s sweet. It’s rich. It’s creamy. It gives you that decadent almost brothy mouthfeel that makes this feel much thicker then your average tea. It’s OILY. And it’s delicious! Which is funny because I don’t like solid coconut (icky texture!), but mmmm the taste in this tea is wonderful!

I found the rich-sweet-oily taste balanced very well with the more tart fruit flavours (apple is the one that came through most clearly for me, not surprising because there were tons of chunks of dried apple in this tea). I’m very tempted to try Adagio’s coconut-only flavoured tea since it’s the coconut in this one that I found really unique and great, but I do wonder if it would taste as good (or maybe become cloying) without the fruit complement.

I’ve made this by following the tin’s instructions (I think seven minutes and slightly below boiling but I don’t have the tin here to be sure), and also by massively oversteeping it with boiling water (who me? lazy?). Both turned out great. In fact I didn’t really notice any difference at all, which makes me love this tea even more for being so forgiving.

So if you like coconut, or pinapple, or apple or especially if you like all three…try this tea!

Wanders off singing*: “Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape…!”

*The term “singing” is used very loosely. VERY.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Vanilla by Adagio Teas
31 tasting notes

From my flavoured black Adagio sampler comes…vanilla tea! Now I’m a huge vanilla fan, and this is my first “straight vanilla” tea, so this was one that I was most excited to try.

I’ve made this several times now (very behind on logging my tasting notes), and I followed the steeping parameters on the tin each time to very tasty results. Thankfully it seems quite forgiving of over-steeping and only once did it turn out icky-bitter (which was overcome with some milk and sugar).

The dry leaves have a pleasant tea-vanilla scent that is quite natural (more vanilla bean then super-sweet vanilla dessert). The liquor continued with the vanilla scent just milder then the dry leaves. I tried it first straight and found it drinkable with very little bitterness, but also not much vanilla flavour. I find vanilla is one of those full flavours, it should have some heft and substance you know? Straight this tea had a pleasant black tea flavour and a hint of vanilla-bean taste/scent but without the sweet-richness I think vanilla should have.

I added some milk (really want to try it with cream!), and about half a spoon of of sugar and found this really brought out and filled out the vanilla flavour nicely. This would make a nice dessert tea with some cream or flavoured creamer and I definitely want to try it combined with some of my fruit teas! Vanilla-strawberry…drool

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Pina Colada by Adagio Teas
31 tasting notes

I don’t have time for a proper tasting note for this one right now (damn you research critique!) but I just had to say after a cup and a pot of this today: YUM!

Also, this tea is oily.

But wait! This oiliness is a good thing!!

Oh mouthfeel! I’ve read about you, searched for you, longed for you…and found you at last!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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40
drank Rooibos Jasmine by Adagio Teas
31 tasting notes

This was one of the stranger offerings in my Adagio herbal sampler. Maybe it’s just me, but rooibos and jasmine just don’t seem to go together; I associated rooibos with sweet (chocolate, vanilla) or spicy (chai) but not florals like jasmine. Ah well, it’ll be an adventure right?

Uhm, not really.

I brewed this approximately to the package instruction although I was a little iffy on the water temperature (the tin said 180 degrees which surprised me as I thought tisane = boiling?). I don’t have a thermometer and I was feeling lazy (damn you paper writing!) so I just let the boiled water sit for a minute or so to cool down a little. Steeped 7 minutes with approximately 1 teaspoon of leaves for a cup of water.

Both the dry leaves and the liquor had a strong jasmine smell with maybe a bit of “woodiness” underneath that I assume was the rooibos. The taste? Pretty much zilch.

When I sipped while breathing in I got the strong jasmine floral scent, but it felt like my taste buds didn’t have anything to work with at all, no matter how much I slurped or swished. When I held my breath there was nothing indicating I wasn’t drinking hot water. Even when I exhaled after a sip the “after taste” was more the scent coming at my nose via my mouth then any true flavour.

I know jasmine teas in general are more about the scent then the taste but other examples that I’ve tried at least had some flavour. My taste buds feel left out.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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drank Ryokucha by Samovar
31 tasting notes

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drank Irish Breakfast by Twinings
31 tasting notes

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71
drank Wild Sweet Orange by Tazo
31 tasting notes

I see this tea elicits very…strong…reactions, which I guess is unsurprising as it is such a strong-tasting tea. I have to agree with other reviewers that calling this a “tea” may be slightly misleading. I’ve almost made it through a whole box of this and I can’t say I’ve ever found it tasted like tea, the sheer strength of the orange flavours vastly overwhelm any tea-notes that may be present.

I personally really like this tea, but then I bludgeon my palate regularly with super-spicy, super-salty, super-everything food and so I often find the subtler notes of many teas are simply not perceptible to my taste buds. I can definitely taste the orange here, it’s a kick-to-the-tongue sort of flavour that almost makes me think more of a commercial ice tea or weak juice then a tea. I find it quite natural tasting, though maybe a bit more of a tart-sour mouth-puckering orange-peel flavour then a sweet orange-flesh one. I just looked at the ingredients and realized there’s a lot more then orange in here, and this is a surprise, because according to my tongue there’s just…a lot of orange. Sorry licorice, I’m just not finding you.

I find this is a good morning tea when I need something bracingly citrus-y and don’t want to worry about the effects of caffeine. I also like that it’s impossible to mess up (assuming you don’t think the actual taste of the tea is a mistake!). I stick a bag in my travel mug, dump boiling water over it, and can leave the bag in the entire time I drink it without worrying about bitterness. A hit of honey tends to smooth and round out the taste nicely.

All in all one of the most distinctive teas I’ve tried, and a tasty one. If you’re big into orange, give this tea a try at a Starbucks or sample pack, the orange-demon-tea just might be your thing!
Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Cofftea

This is an herbal tisane. There is no reason it would taste like tea because it contains no tea.

Feisty

Oops. Uhm…yeah…
facepalm

Cofftea

Haha! There- instantly less disappointed:)

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Bio

In hopes of standardizing my ratings a bit more I’ve devised my own scale:

1 – 19: (F-) Ugh. Given to Mr. Sink Drain to enjoy after a couple sips. Never again. Would only give away with a strong warning (or to someone I didn’t like).

20 – 29: (F) Ick. Managed to finish the cup out of stubbornness, but tasted bad the whole time. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

30 – 49: (F+) Meh. I didn’t warrant an “ugh” or “ick” it but I can’t say I enjoyed it. Will throw out/give away any I have left.

40 – 59: (D) Okay. Not a truly bad tea but just personally not my thing. Will (try) to finish but won’t reorder.

60 – 69: © Decent. Drinkable and getting towards good but just falls a little short. Will finish but won’t reorder.

70 – 79: (B) Good. Enjoyed this tea. Will likely reorder at some point but probably won’t be a tea shelf regular.

80 – 89: (B+) Very good. Would definitely put on my “reorder” list when I run out.

90 – 99: (A) YUM! A favourite. Would go on my “pre-order before I run out list” to keep it on hand.

100! (A+) OMG! Mind blowingly-good. The tried-and-true favourites that I MUST ALWAYS HAVE.

I am an acknowledged book addict, intrepid snowboarder, amateur teaite, crafter-creator, eager debater, ICU nurse, reluctant runner, animal lover, tree hugger + future world traveler.

With a palate ruined by years of hot-sauce-on-everything, espresso-based lattes and university student cooking I prefer bold teas and often miss nuances unless they are the gustatory equivalent of a two-by four. I don’t enjoy bitterness and love chais.

Location

O’ Canada! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQf13B8epw

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