Third sipdown of the day! You can see that I set myself a little challenge there, but it paid off. Another one I won’t be buying again, for the same reasons as Rooibos Vanilla. It’s not unpleasant, just not really my thing. Another to chalk up to experience.
167 Tasting Notes
Second sipdown of the day. I don’t mind this terribly, but it’s not something I’d buy again. The vanilla is a bit too fake-tasting for my liking, and adagio’s rooibos appears not to be my thing. Glad to have tried it, though!
Sipdown! Finished this off today. Good, strong, everyday black (as ever), see previous notes for more detail. This’ll be taking a break from my cupboard now while I work on some of my other straight blacks. It’ll be back, though. No doubt about that!
Another of my samples from Butiki, and another first for me as I’ve never tried a guayusa before. I guess this is a funny kind of day to be trying one for the first time, too, but I figure I need waking up. I’ve been feeling so dreary today, maybe this will do the trick.
The dry leaf smells like…cider, as it happens. I usually visit a cider press in the summer with my family, and sniffing this tea takes me right back there. It’s the same beautifully fresh, fermented apple scent. Although the ingredients list specifies other ingredients, at this point apple is all I’m getting, and that’s all right with me.
Brewed, the apple/cider scent comes through even more strongly, and there’s also a definite hint of spice (I think cinnamon and clove, mainly) that I didn’t detect in the dry mix. To taste, the natural sweetness of the apple is just glorious. It almost tastes sticky, if that’s even possible. There’s a slightly dank aftertaste that I’m assuming is the guayusa, but it’s by no means unpleasant. On the scale of my experiences with apple tea, this one is doing pretty well. It’s certaintly the most natural tasting of those I’ve tried so far, and also one of the clearest and strongest in terms of how well the apple translates. It might just be love at first sip. Definetly one I’m glad to have tried, and another I’ll be watching for future orders!
I have terrible backache today, so I’m mostly drinking this. It’s just one of those teas I find comforting when I feel off colour. I’m actually getting close to a sipdown on this, with only a few more day’s worth to go. Probably because I’ve been digging into it so heavily today. Still, tea is for enjoying, and this is just the thing at the moment.
This was one of the samples I got with me first Butiki order. It’s actually one of the ones I was most curious about, being a person that likes blueberry and being intrigued by the “purple” base. It’s an interesting tea to look at. The leaves are dark — almost black in colour — and quite fine. There are pieces of dried blueberry and what I’m assuming are cornflowers scattered throughout. The scent is quite delicate. It’s definetly blueberry, but there’s also an earthy sweetness to it that I really like. It almost reminds me of compost, in the best possible way!
To taste, this is actually really nice. I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, but it shares in taste the same candy-like sweetness and faint touch of blueberry that it possessed in scent when dry. It’s very subtle and delicate, but it’s definetly moreish. There’s a very, very slight astringency, but it’s so slight it’s barely there. As it cools, the blueberry taste comes out more clearly, along with a slight creaminess I didn’t notice at first. Rewardingly, there is a tinge of purple about the liquor.
I had no idea what my reaction was going to be to this tea, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I’m glad I decided to try it as a sample, but it’s definetly one I’ll come back to in future orders!
Like Yumchaa’s Caramel Sweetheart, this one definetly benefits from a good stir. That I have discovered. I have, somewhat distrubingly, started using two bags of this in a big cup. Possibly I should eat some real chocolate, rather than trying to recreate it in a drink. At least it’s Easter Sunday…there’s a chocolate rabbit with my name on it that I think would go rather well with another cup of this :)
This was actually my first tea of the day this morning. I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, and a craving for Chilli Chai. The warmth was wonderfully soothing. Great stuff. Now all I wish is that it would stop being so cold and/or snowing. It’s supposed to be spring, yo!
It always starts out well for me with these teas, and by “these” I mean adagio’s fruit tisanes, because I unfailingly adore the scent of the dry mix. This one is no exception. It smells strongly of blueberries, to the extent that I had to double check I’d picked this sachet up and not Berry Blues. I can pick out the cranberries, also, as a kind of red-fruit tinged with sourness. I’m not sure what “natural forest berries flavour” might constitute, but, looking at the dry mix, I’m sure there are at least a couple of things in there that haven’t been explicitly identified. Blackcurrants, for one, I think. In any case, the pieces are relatively large and generous, and the mouthwateringly strong scent is making me really look forward to this. On to the tasting…
While brewing, the scent develops to quite an incredible strength, I can see why it’s called Berry Blast! It’s a lovely, deep, dark, bittersweet forest berry scent. The taste is similar. I can definetly detect the hibiscus, which is what usually ends up ruining fruit tea for me, but it’s not overpoweringly strong. The blueberries don’t really come out in the flavour, but it has a definite blackcurrant-y, wine-like flavour, with the sour tang of cranberry to finish. It’s bittersweet, for sure. The initial sip has quite a lot of natural fruity sweetness to it, but the aftertaste is slightly drying and quite sour. It’s not a bad thing, though, and I’m actually quite enjoying the contrast.
This is another tea I’d like to try iced in the summer. It definetly has the strength to stand up to being watered down a little. I should probably start making a list, because I’ll undoubtedly forget otherwise. Anyway, this is one of the more pleasing fruit tisanes I’ve tried recently. I’m a fan of deep, dark forest berry-like flavours, although the hibiscus does spoil the overall effect. If it wasn’t for that, this tea would be right up my street. As it stands, I’m still on the lookout for a hibi-less tisane. Not bad by any means, though.
This smells so deliciously of fresh strawberries, I had to give it a go. I’m in a funny mood today, and I can’t seem to settle down to anything. It’s really odd, because I’ve longed to have some time off work, and now I’ve got it I feel at a loose end. Anyway, hopefully this will help to sort me out!
The dry leaves, as I said, smell strongly of strawberries. This is to the extent that I’d probably think I was smelling a tisane if I didn’t know this was a black tea. There are little pieces of strawberry and raspberry in the mix, and whole blackcurrants. It smells absoultely gorgeous, and is really making me long for summer.
I brewed this for about 4 minutes. The black tea is discernable now, of course, but the fruity berry scent is still there. I’ve added milk this time, but I’d like to try this with cream one day. And maybe a scone. In the summer. Time to stop dreaming, though. It’s about 5 degrees outside.
The berry taste doesn’t come out in the brewed tea as much as I’d like. I think that’s always going to be my bugbear with teas like this. It’s by no means bad, though. The initial sip just tastes of black tea, but as I swallow the berry taste does come out. It’s quite subtle, but it’s definetly there. I actually quite like this effect. As you sit there feeling a bit cheated, the sweet, glorious berry flavour suddenly develops. It helps that you can smell it as you lift the cup, I think. That definetly adds another dimension.
Ultimately, a pretty good tea. I definetly want to try this iced in the summer, but as a hot drink to remind me that summer is coming, it’s not too shabby at all. I could really get into this.
Had a cup of this today, just to get it a bit closer to sipdown. Really not a favourite, though.
There’s rooibos and rooibos, as I’m starting to find out. This is completely different in appearance from other rooibos blends I’ve tried. The leaves, if I can call them that, are very thin, long, and pointy looking. They’re also more of an orange-red than a red-brown. And I rather like them. I’ve finally put my finger on what it is I don’t usually like about rooibos. To me, it tastes like blood. Almost metallic, or iron-like. I say usually, though, because there isn’t so much of that here. I can detect a faint trace of it in the background, but, actually, I wouldn’t know I was drinking rooibos straightaway. It’s there in the background, but it somehow seems more mellow and less dominant than it has in most of the other rooibos-based teas I’ve tried recently. Good news.
So. Another thing I like about this tea is that it actually does smell like a sherbet lemom. There’s a nice lemon-citrus kick to the dry leaves, sizeable chunks of lemon peel, and a slight stickiness that reminds me immediately of a boiled sweet. Thankfully, this carries through pretty well to the brewed tea. It’s not quite as strong as the scent, but it’s pretty good. More so when it’s hot. It’s very lemony then, both in smell and taste. The thing I feared most was that this would taste like lemsip, but it doesn’t. It’s more of a lemon sweet (a lemon sherbet!) kind of taste, and neither creamy nor medicinal. As it cools, I can taste the rooibos a bit more, but the earthiness is kind of pleasant with the openly zesty flavouring. Imagine how cool this would be with some popping candy added! Anyway, I enjoyed this hot, but I think it will really come alive as a cold-brew in the summer. Maybe with some added soda water or lemonade, because all this needs is to be a bit fizzy, and I’d have the whole lemon sherbet effect. Great stuff.
Okay, so I thought I was going to try another Yumchaa this morning, but as I was picking through my stash, my gaze fell on this, and I knew that my plans had changed. It might be March, but it’s still snowing here, so while I’d like to be thinking about nice teas for spring and summer, I’m still well into my chai lattes.
I like an adventurous chai, and this is one of my favourites. Assam base, cardamom pods, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, and flakes of chilli. They’re all in evidence in each bag. The cardamom pods are particularly huge, and I can definetly pick out the red chilli flakes and some seeds. If something is going to be spicy, I don’t want it to be spicy by halves, so this pleases me immensely.
The scent of chai is one of the things I love most about it, and this one is no exception. The ginger is immediately obvious, as is the creamy sweetness of the vanilla, and the more dessert-like spiciness of the cinnamon. There’s also something very slightly floral about it, and something that’s reminding me a little of curry. Certainly intriguing.
I’m drinking this as a latte this time, so I’ve added a lot of warmed, frothy milk after brewing for about 7 minutes. Notwithstanding, the flavours come out beautifully. I find the vanilla most obvious in the initial sip, I think because the milk highlights the sweet creaminess of it and brings it to the forefront. Next come the cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and the finally the tounge-tingling chilli in the aftertaste. I like how changeable this tea can be. I know, for example, that this flavour-profile is unique to its creation as a latte. If I were drinking it black, or just as tea with milk, different ingredients would dominate and the whole taste experience would be completely different.
I find this a versatile, adaptable, exciting tea which can ebe brewed to match many (or any!) of my moods. The first time I tried it was with trepidation, but we’ve become firm friends in the intervening years. Chilli Chai, I love you!
First tea of the day today. I do honestly think Teapigs have changed some of their teas a bit since I last tried them. This one has smaller leaves than I remember, not like bagged supermarket tea, but not entirely whole leaf either. That’s fine with me, as I like the strength that chopped leaves can help to contribute on a morning, and I used to find this one a little on the thin side. In any case, though, I’m not sure all of their changes are for the better.
Still, on to the tasting. This is a breakfast blend, composed of ceylon, assam, and a rwandan. It smells more or less like any plain black tea, but with maltiness and a slightly citrussy note that actually complement each other pretty well. I brewed this for four minutes, and easily got the strength I was looking for, which pleased me more than it should have, probably.
I found this unexpectedly light to taste, given that there is assam in the base. The dominant tea, I felt, was the ceylon. There’s a definite zestiness about this, almost like orange or grapefruit peel. Second among the flavours are the assam and rwandan, which I do think help to give this blend some depth and sweetness. There’s a definite malty, almost molasses-like undertone, which develops into an almost chocolate-like intensity in the aftertaste. The first time I tried this tea, I wasn’t all that impressed, but this definetly has a lot more complexity than I remember it having. Perhaps my tastes have changed a little, but I think this is definetly one of those teapigs teas which were altered for the better.
I could happily drink this as my staple breakfast blend for a good long time. As it stands, I have enough for about two weeks. It’s everything I want on a morning, and then some. Really good stuff.
Tried this again. More leaf (nearly two teaspoons), longer brew time (closer to 5 minutes), and I made sure to stir it well both while brewing and after. I also added a piece of crystal sugar. I was rewarded with a much clearer caramel taste, rich and creamy. Definetly worth the effort!
I’ve just sent some of this out in a swap, so I figured now was as good a time as any to get my act together and write a tasting note. Scent wise, this is fairly subtle in the bag. I can smell the black tea base and a sweet, caramel note, but that’s all. It’s a pretty tea, with relatively large, wiry black-brown leaves, scattered throughout with white chocolate hearts and caramel cubes.
Brewed, the caramel scent comes out much more clearly. It smells almost like fudge. The black base is pretty light — I don’t recognise it explicitly as a keemun, but it isn’t identified outright as such on my bag. I added a little milk, because that’s how I roll.
This is nice, but I think the nicest thing about it is the scent. It doesn’t quite carry through to the taste. It’s hardly unpleasant, I just wish it was a bit stronger. There’s a sweet, creamy taste, which I think is at least partly the melted white chocolate, but it’s just not quite caramel. Almost, but not quite. Maybe a beefier base would have helped? I’m not sure. I might try this black next time, use a bit more leaf, or leave it to steep for a little longer to see if any of those help.
I don’t dislike this, but it doesn’t quite live up to its scent or my expectations at the moment. There’s a little more experimentation to be done before I cast my final decision, though, so I’m not going to rate it for now. I’ll happily drink the rest of the bag, but I so wish it tasted more like it smells. I guess I’ll have to see what can be done about that!
Felt a bit under the weather last night, so I went all out with this one. Large cup, two bags of chocolate flake tea, and a decent chunk of crystal sugar. Add a book and a packet of chocolate digestives, and you can’t get better than this. Heaven!
Chocolate Flake. I’ve had this a number of times previously, but have somehow always managed to avoid logging it. Anyway, it’s an assam base, with cocoa beans and chocolate pieces. It smells deeply, darkly chocolatey, with an equally deep background of strong, malty tea. Assam has always been one of my favourite black tea varieties, so I generally always enjoy this one. I’ve found the key to developing the chocolate flavour (and avoiding the watery hot chocolate taste) is to use a smaller cup than usual, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings. I find this a pretty subtle tea, certainly not as chocolatey as 52Teas Double Chocolate Decadence, for example. I don’t mind that, though, as it’s quite versatile in return. It smells and tastes very chocolatey black, but mellows with milk into a flavour more reminiscent of chocolate digestives. The assam is a pretty dominant flavour, too — it’s certainly not beaten down by the chocolate. Instead, I can initially taste the strong, malty base, and then the dry, almost powdery cocoa flavour.
This is definetly a pleasant tea. Perfect for times when I want something more indulgent than a plain black, but not too rich, overly flavoured, or fussy. As much as I enjoy this, it’s been a staple in my cupboard for a while now, so it’s probably time I took a little break from it so that I can come back refreshed. I can’t see it being a long break, though. It’s too easy to drink for that!
Following on from last night’s success, I decided to try another of my first flush darjeelings. This one is from the Chamong estate, and is a first invoice.
It’s another fabulous first acquaintance. The scent of the dry leaves is amazing. It’s slightly more subtle than yesterday’s Badamtam, but it smells similarly of peach and apricot, with a touch of lemoniness about it. It’s less perfume-like. The leaves are, once again, quite long and wiry. There’s a slightly higher incidence of downy white buds, although they’re otherwise very similar in appearance. I brewed it similarly to the Badamtam, 3 minutes in just boiling water.
The liquor is much lighter in colour, more of a champagne yellow-gold than the deeper amber I’m used to. The peachiness comes out wonderfully now, and is mouthwateringly juicy. To taste, this is very, very subtle. There’s a sweetness to the initial sip, which quickly develops into a lightly grassy taste. It’s not at all drying or astringent, just delicately sweet, slightly fruity, and very refreshing. I don’t think there could be a more fitting drink for a spring evening. It’s still a bit cold out yet, but I can see this being a wonderful late afternoon drink a couple of months down the line. Definetly worth a try, and it’s more than convinced me to continue experimenting with first flush darjeelings — I may have found my tea nirvana!
I wanted to choose something fitting for my 100th tasting note, so I decided to give this a try. I’ve kind of been treasuring it, since I only have a sample sized bag and I adore my first flush darjeelings. In any case…
Man, this smells good. It’s very sweet, with a definite peach scent, and a slight perfume-like undertone. The leaves are mostly green, although a few are brown and quite wiry in appearance. Some are creamy-white and slightly downy.
I’m following the instructions on this one to start with, as I have so little I want to try and get the best from it. One heaped teaspoon, in just boiling water, for three minutes. What do we get?
Heaven in a cup, approximately. The liquor is pale amber, and the peachy scent carries through beautifully into the flavour. There’s a delicate muscatel note, and a very, very slight astringency. I love this. There are no other words for it. This is a fine, delectable tea that I’m really going to savour before it’s gone.
I thought I’d done a proper tasting note for this, but it turns out I haven’t. This was actually one of the first teas I bought from Adagio early last summer, when I really started buying whole leaf tea in earnest. It came in the same order as White Peony, which I have logged, and Assam Melody, which I notice I also haven’t. Very strange, given that I’d also just joined Steepster. Anyway…
This is still one of my favourite blacks to drink as an everyday tea. It’s not flashy, but it is reliable, and it’s one of the only Adagio teas I own a big bag of. Dry, the leaves are a uniform chocolatey brown-black, and slightly twisted. It smells like a conventional black; slightly toasted and lightly malty. Brewed, it’s a different story. The citrus notes I like so much in Ceylon start to come out. It still smells like a black tea, but slightly citrussy and vaguely like orange peel. I like that it’s versatile enough to drink with or without milk, depending which end of the recommended 3-5 minute steep time you remove the leaves. I felt like a strong black today, so I went with milk.
It’s in the taste that the citrus flavours really come out. There’s a very slight maltiness at the start of the sip, and then a decidedly grapefruity flavour takes over. It’s very pleasant and refreshing — perfect in the afternoons when I’ve had a difficult morning at work. Somehow, it just seems to revive me, which is one of the reasons I’ve been keeping it around.
It’s not flashy, as I said, but I think it’s pretty spectacular in its own quiet way. Who doesn’t need a tea like that?
Sipdown! Thankfully, as this one isn’t a favourite. Jasmine just doesn’t really do it for me, I’m afraid. I can see this being pleasant occasionally, in the right kind of weather, but it’s never going to be a staple in my cupboard. Still, I had to try it to know!
Sipdown! Drank the last of this with honey today. Another success — it seems to smooth the whole thing out and highlight the pineapple flavour, which I can actually taste this time. Not bad at all!
Back to this today. Still a favourite, which is a good thing as there’s plenty more to go. Sipdown might be a while off yet!