86 Tasting Notes

60

For some reason the leaf in my sample has some sort of yellowish tint instead of being jade in color… kinda sad looking. I usually brew this type of oolongs at 200F and this one is sensitive to high temperature, turning into grassy brew. Only after reducing the temp to 190 I was able to get it right.

The flavor is surprisingly mild. It has creamy, almost milky notes and is very sweet, with slightly woody, toasty background. The aroma is fleeting, I had to keep my nose close to the cup to actually smell something, which was floral and sweet.

I can’t say I’ve enjoyed this tea but definitely can imagine someone who would because all in all it is interesting, unusually tasting oolong.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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35

Although not particularly pleased, at least I was kind of entertained with this tea. Its long, thin and wiry leaves smelled surprisingly of milk chocolate and it was a pretty strong aroma like the one coming from a freshly unwrapped milk chocolate bar. Not exactly what I would expect from a Darjeeling, even a green one, but it smelled tasty nevertheless so intrigued, I brewed some right away.

The brew is disappointing, the chocolaty goodness is mostly gone and what is left is lightly sweet aroma without any distinguishing characteristics. The taste again has nothing in common with Darjeelings and is mellow and vegetal instead, with sweet buttery notes. Overall it reminds me more of Chinese greens, without smokiness.

Photo-report: http://tiny.cc/vgd8j

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

If I was asked to describe this tea in one word – I would say “mind-blowing”. It feels like a mix of different teas and cultures in a cup.

To start with, the leaf looks like bald Silver Needle, it has some hairs on it but they are extremely short and close to the surface, not fluffy at all. The aroma is incredible. When smelling the tea out of the bag it is hard to believe that it was not artificially scented. I mean the scent is natural and very berry-like but too strong to belong to unscented tea, if it makes any sense, because nothing about this tea make sense to me. The flavor is indescribable – there is everything in there one can wish for – fruits, flowers, honey and all of that is blended with easily identifiable black tea taste. To top this off – the brew has the familiar color of Silver Needle and provides four tasty infusions.

Seems like a dream? There is also a catch – the price matches the quality and is quite high… but the experience is totally worth it. It is tea created for indulgent moments, not everyday consumption.

P.S. Upton is almost sold out of this, only 3 bags were left after I snatched one today. I can only hope it will be restocked in the future.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Ti Kuan Yin by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

I must confess – my sample is old, I don’t even remember how old it is, even approximately… but there is a reason why it became neglected and spent so much time in the back of my tea cabinet. To start off, I’m very upset with the leaf quality, the sample almost entirely consists of small broken leaves rolled into very loose pellets. For this price I find it unacceptable.

Now to the taste. This is a lightly roasted TKY that tastes slightly woody, nutty and dry. I am not getting much of floral notes, more of irony aftertaste in the background. Oversteeping and/or subsequent infusions bring a lot of vegetal flavor which I don’t like. Can’t say much about aroma probably due to the age of my sample but it reminds me of hay and has some toasty edge to it.

Overall, I found this oolong unremarkable and overpriced.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

That’s a shame. Mine is so good!

Pamela Dean

Oolonga, how about playing teamaster and roasting what you have left? I use my toaster oven at 375 or 400F, closely watched. You don’t want it to get brown, but close to it; when the tiny flakes turn brown, it’s done. You won’t regain the same qualities of the original tea, but make a different tea entirely. Maybe take one serving and experiment on it first? What do you have to lose? ;-)

Cofftea

@Dax Pamela Dean- you should start a thread about toasting your own tea and other crazy things. That’s AWESOME! And it would be even more awesome if I actually liked toasty teas lol.

Pamela Dean

Dear Cofftea, thanks for the appreciation. I’ve been able to lightly roast an oolong or two without actually toasting it. The object is to drive out the moisture, which affects the remaining drop of plant juice in the tea. This is what tea vendors do to preserve their oolongs. Every 14 months they roast them slightly to dry them out and prevent mold. Then they sell them as “aged oolong” or “roasted Ti Kuan Yin” — and sometimes charge more than for a new-made ti kuan yin. I know — obviously i spend way too much time surfing the net. Another idea — throw it in some water in a jar and put in the fridge overnight. What the hey? (yeah, i hate to throw anything out)

Oolonga

Cofftea
My sample might as well be the previous year harvest, who knows? I just received some White Peony from Adagio and doesn’t taste as the one I had a few months back…

Dax Pamela Dean
Thanks for the advise but I don’t like heavily roasted teas.

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60
drank Dongshan Dolce by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

I’m finishing off my sample right now and I’m still iffy about this tea… On one hand there is something about its taste that makes me think about repurchasing it. The tea is slightly sweet, buttery, refreshing and totally devoid of any vegetal notes that I don’t appreciate in green teas. On the other hand the brew feels way too light, I can’t get the impression of drinking tea-flavored or sweet-bun-flavored water out of my head as I sip. Aroma is virtually non-existent as well. I tried to vary the amount of leaf and steeping time but it hardly affected the brew quality.

The second infusion is even lighter, grassier and less flavorful. Seems like a poor value to me.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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65
drank White Peach by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

Unfortunately I haven’t found a peach flavored tea that would not taste/smell artificial yet… maybe such thing doesn’t exist at all because a peach flavor is impossible to replicate… who knows.

The best thing about this tea is that while it still tastes and smells artificially like others I tried before it, it isn’t overwhelmingly artificial. It has sort of light peachy flavoring that doesn’t attack your nostrils or taste buds. It feels juicy when it’s hot. After it cools down more woody taste comes through taking the edge of the fruitiness somewhat.

It’s perfectly drinkable but not something I would keep on hand all the time.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Ricky

I agree on the artificial taste, but I feel that’s the thing with all Adagio flavored tea.

Oolonga

Agree and White Blueberry seems to be the most naturally tasting of them all. I haven’t tried flavored black teas though.

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80
drank Kai Hua Crescendo by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

Meet the stronger, bolder and more sophisticated cousin of Adagio’s Green Needle.

Both teas seem pretty similar with pleasant bitterness and refreshing taste, Green Needle being cheaper though. Kai Hua Crescendo tastes more refined, has more pronounced flowery notes mixed with stronger bitterness. I don’t have any Green Needle left to compare them side-by-side but I do remember it being woodier and spicier than this one.

Overall I like Kai Hua Crescendo a little better but would definitely repurchase both of them in the future.

Photo-report: http://tiny.cc/CHqng

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70

I’m kinda torn on this tea.

Both the dry leaf and the brew seriously lack in the aroma department. I can catch very light Darjeeling notes but they are hardly prominent. Also the leaf is very fluffy and I have to use a lot of it to extract the flavor.

On the other hand the tea tastes great. It is very pleasant and easy to drink, it would make a perfect everyday tea. The flavor is very mellow and light, fruity with Darjeeling background. I’m not sure if it’s close to the first flush or the second, if i had to make a call I’d say it’s something in-between.

Second infusion – 5 mins @ 190F. Less enjoyable. The initial sweetness is gone and the flavor is definitely drier and more astringent now.

Photo-report: http://tiny.cc/Sn2i0

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec
takgoti

Lovely picture!

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75
drank Spring Darjeeling by Adagio Teas
86 tasting notes

Adagio doesn’t specify what grade this tea is but from what I can see it is full-leaf Darjeeling. It has some broken leaves and stems mixed in but for the most part the leaves are intact.

My sample is at least a few months old so it obviously lost some of the freshness but the tea is still great. It fresh, floral, slightly astringent and a little sweet. I usually don’t care for sweetness in Darjeelings but here it doesn’t bother me at all.

The flavor and taste are not particularly memorable but every note is well-rounded and very pleasant. It would work great as an everyday Darjeeling, I can see myself drinking it even in the evening because it is so smooth and relaxing.

Photo-report: http://tiny.cc/CdncR

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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30

I am not familiar with green teas that India produces, I remember trying some of them in the past but don’t have any memories regarding taste or smell or even something beyond the fact that they were green. Since I love Darjeelings a lot I decided to branch out and ordered a bunch of samples from Upton.

This Korakundah fellow is the first I’m testing and it is kinda scary because the dry leaf smells awfully strong of fish. It isn’t a fresh fish smell, more of smoked fish but it doesn’t exactly improve on the aroma. I know some people think that green teas have fishy qualities and now I can understand why they would say that but it’s the first time I encountered it myself.

Fortunately the brew doesn’t stink as badly as the leaf does. That’s where the smoked fish comes in. I’m getting a lot woody smoke, about the same amount as average Gunpowder has. The fish is finally subdued and the tea actually tastes very vegetal and slightly bitter, with the astringency that lingers in the mouth after each swallow.

Overall I’m not impressed (if only by the fish) and not even slightly pleased so I decided against resteeping it.

Photo-report: http://tiny.cc/DKQdd

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Heyes

Love the photo report! I will be stealing said style jut ever so slightly after Christmas.

Oolonga

Great! More photo reports – the better. I’ll be looking forward to yours.

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Bio

I’ve been drinking loose leaf tea all my life. I always take tea plain without adding any sweetener or milk to it. Would love to swap for tea, feel free to contact me about it.

Teas Ratings:

1-9 Undrinkable
10-19 Hardly drinkable
20-29 Strong dislike
30-39 Dislike
40-49 Unpleasant but still has some merits
50-59 Average tea, no strong feelings either way
60-69 Good solid tea, isn’t worth repurchasing for some reasons
70-79 Quality tea, might repurchase once in a while
80-89 Great tea, will keep in my regular rotation
90-100 Outstanding tea, staple of my collection

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El Dorado Hills, CA

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