34 Tasting Notes
So I lost this elaborate post I just wrote…so I’m going to just gloss over it because I’m lazy and want to hurry and get to my newly arrived Samovar order! Basically I’m going to say that I was scared, but drank it anyway. It wasn’t bad, and I’m glad I tried it.
I think it’s just too far from the flavors I’m going for lately. It’s very forceful and savory, while I’m tending to like sweet and complex. I know that quality could have something to do with it, but I think it’s something I would have liked more when I was more into black tea anyway.
Honestly, and I know that it’s not necessarily the case with all Lapsangs, all I could get from the smell was “bologna”…Being a vegetarian I haven’t had bologna in about 10 years, so I suppose I could be wrong, maybe a hot dog, but it was pretty distinct. The taste was black tea with hints of bologna…>__
I’ve been hunting around for a caffeine-free masala chai for a while now. I always seem to want those sorts of flavors right around bedtime. So when I noticed adagio’s rooibos vanilla chai it was as if the sample button clicked itself.
I just made this using the now semi-famous, popularized by takgoti, stovetop preparation method. This is the first tea i’ve done “chai style”, so I don’t really know if i’m reviewing the method or the tea. Oh well. I used rice milk.
Note- I just realized how rambly this whole thing is.Lots of tangents going on. I’m quite tired, but I wanted to log this right away.
Rooibos doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor for me. I think of it as being sweet and earthy with a flavor that, although it’s one I find pleasant, isn’t all that strong. I think the sweetness gets overpowering before the distinctive flavor, but I might just be doing it wrong. I have a history of forgetting about rooibos (and other herbals as well) while they steep, leading to times of well over 10 minutes. When it gets too strong, it has this extreme sweetnessand syrupy quality that makes me think there’s added sugar [please note that I’m generally not a fan of sugar in tea, so the thickness is unsettling]. Anyway, the point is that the rooibos really doesn’t come through as a flavor, but instead as added sweetness and body.
The spices seem more balanced than what I’ve had before. The cinnamon is definitely strong, but so is the ginger. My sister and I took a few minutes to decide that cinnamon is dominant, but only by a little. The spices are unified, but not homogeneous. It’s just sweet, spicy goodness.
I was just thinking that the vanilla just lent itself to sweetness and creaminess, smoothing the spices. Now that I’m at the bottom of the cup, though, the vanilla is definitely present. It’s a bit too sweet for me, but my sister found it delicious. I might have tasted rooibos right here, also, but I can’t tell. I’m not disappointed in the least, since I’m interested in the spices.
The only thing I’d do differently next time is to add less sugar. I guess 1tbsp is too much for me, since I’m not a fan of soda or juice. My victims found it to be perfect, so I’m wondering if I can add half of the sugar to the pot, then tell people to add more if they want to.
I want to try everything chai-style now!
ETA- I should note that I used 2tbsp of sugar for what turned out to be about 3 servings. It wasn’t 1tbsp per cup, exactly.
I’m back after a really really long time! yaay! Prepare for an assault on you’re dashboard pages! Then again, it was only 2 or 3 weeks, which kind of proves that I’m a ridiculous junkie for not only tea, but steepster as well.
So I found myself on adagio’s website…you know, ordering presents and whatnot. I wasn’t going to get anything for myself, but I thought that I’d might as well, since I just happened to be there. I limited myself to 1 sample, but then I saw a couple more I wanted, which left me at 4. I actually had to chase myself off when I realized that I was eying full sized tins.
Anyway, based on the description Adagio gives, this should have been UH-MAY-ZING. Telling me that it’s sweet, luscious, and indulgent seemed to cater to exactly the flavors I was craving. I didn’t stand a chance. Even if I had read the reviews here, I doubt it would have made a difference. It was like I had fallen deeply in love with someone I’d just met on the internet. I was ready to pack up and move to Iowa. Turns out that jerk used a photo from 10 years ago, before the first two marriages.
Actually, it isn’t bad, I just really wanted to use that analogy. I just feel like it’s nothing special. The first two steeps, I found, were simple and nutty, with a sweet aftertaste. The third was my favorite. The nuttiness was less prominent, allowing it to blend more with the sweetness. There’s a hint of buttery, also. There may have been a bit of toast somewhere, but nothing as exciting as advertised. I’m just finishing up the 5th steep, which is still very drinkable. I really should up the score a bit for re-steeping power. It’s quite sweet (for how weak it is in general, anyway) and the nuttiness has become an aftertaste. It’s not complex by any means, but it’s about as exciting as it’s always been.
Steeping: Water was heated to the point where I could juuuuust make out steam rising
1-2 minutes (it smelled really vegetal at about 1 minute, so I stopped it early out of fear)
2-3 minutes (package directions)
4-4 minutes 45 seconds
It’s entirely possible that I’m just not so much a green tea person. I tend more towards whites, blacks, and oolongs, so I just might not be refined enough for this. I kinda doubt it, though. Dongshan Dolce is pleasant enough, I’ll definitely finish my sample, but will not buy it again. I suppose it would be good for people who want green tea without grassy flavors. The entire time I’ve been drinking it, I keep thinking that it’s a less plant-y version of Andao’s Spring Snail Shell.
This smelled alarmingly meaty as it was steeping this evening. I’m a vegetarian partly because I dislike meat…so I’m not sure that would be pleasant.
Fortunately that didn’t carry over to the flavor. It’s as buttery and herb-y as ever. Now that I think about it, saying “buttery and herb-y” makes it sound like I’m talking about mashed potatoes or something. I don’t even like butter in real life, but somehow in a tea it’s just fine. I would say “grassy”, but to me that’s a different, sharper flavor.
I think this tea benefits from reeeeally low temperature and shorter steep time. I couldn’t tell if the water was heated or not and wondered if I was about to pour lukewarm water over the leaves. Either way, one minute and cooler water really seems to bring out a good deal of sweetness. Maybe this just shows that I have quite the sweet tooth when it comes to tea (although I rarely add any sort of sweetener). Maybe this is my ideal preparation or maybe it’s growing on me, but I’m really enjoying this.
You know, I really wonder if I’m crazy. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing a swap, but I don’t want the other person to think I’m nuts (or that I’m lying to try and sound smart) or feel obligated to agree with me if they taste something completely different from the same tea. Maybe I’m over-thinking it.