587 Tasting Notes
I neglected to buy milk again this morning, and so I’m breaking out the Black Dragon Pearls I’ve had sitting in my desk drawer for some time now. On opening the packet, I’m pleased to discover that they smell of cocoa. I’m equally pleased to discover how pretty they are – light brown and almost-black marble-sized pearls – totally unique!
While brewing, this tea remains a delight. It’s kind of relaxing watching the pearls slowly unfurl. It brews slowly, too, perhaps because of how tightly the pearls are formed. I quite like that in a tea I’m going to drink without milk – I feel it gives me more control over how strong/astringent the tea becomes. I left this about three and a half minutes, until it’s a medium golden-brown. It smells, just like it does dry, quite strongly of cocoa. It’s a deep, dark, pleasant smell. Just what I want in my Monday morning tea.
The taste is more delicate than I was expecting, given that it has quite a strong, deep smell. For some reason, I felt a little trepidation about trying this tea, which is probably why it languished in my drawer for so long. It was completely unwarranted, though. I’m enjoying this tea a lot. It’s complex, unusual, and flavoursome. It’s sort of chocolatey and very smooth, with a slight toasted bitterness to the aftertaste. Despite my reservations, it really is very moreish.
I surprised myself by liking this. My last experience with a Yunnan wasn’t a great one, but I’m on my second cup of this now, and I think it’s sizing up to be one of those tea I want to keep on hand. I should forget to buy milk more often, I think – it really challenges my tea drinking habits, to interesting effect.
This was my absolute favourite Earl Grey for a long time. I haven’t had it in an age, though, and so I decided it was time to revist another old friend.
Fortunately, it’s just as I remember. The same perfectly balanced notes of black tea and bergamot, complemented by a delicate floral edge contributred by the orange blossom oil. Even though I still find it perfectly pleasant, I’m struck by the realisation that my tastes have changed. While this is a nice, drinkable Earl Grey, it’s not exciting or complex. It doesn’t make me think, or really appreciate what I’m drinking. That’s fine — sometimes I just want a no-fuss tea that I can quaff unashamedly. It’s just that I know there’s more out there, and in consequence I find myself a tiny bit disappointed.
Still, this is a nice, perfectly palatable, everyday Earl Grey. For that reason alone, it still scores points with me.
The last chocolate and fruit tea I had was Mighty Leaf’s Celebration, which I really enjoyed, so I’m hoping this one will be equally nice. It’s billed as chocolate and raspberry , and I can see small pieces of milk chocolate, raspberry, and raspberry leaves in the mix. Dry, it smells divine. Very strongly of cocoa, but not so much of fruit. There is a slightly sweet raspberry scent underlying, though, so I’m encouraged so far.
I left this three minutes and added a splash of milk. The recommendation is five, but I’m slightly wary of the tea base in Adagio’s flavoured blacks, which I’ve found can get quite bitter. Less is more, at least to begin with.
Brewed, this tea smells even more strongly of cocoa. It’s quite sweet and dark, and pretty mouthwatering. The taste is, as you might expect, a slighty watered-down version of the smell. I can definetly detect milky chocolate, and a darker, more powdery note from the cocoa nibs. I can hardly find the raspberry at all, though. I suspect it might be contributing the slight sweetness I can taste on first sip, but it’s not prominent. On the whole, a pleasant experience. I’ll be experimenting a little to try and develop the raspberry a little more, though. That would make this tea truly pleasing.
This has got to be one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen. It has really, genuinely large wiry leaves, that range in colour from almost black through brown, green and a creamy white. It reminds me both of a bird’s nest, and of white peony. In common with the latter, both twigs, leaves and buds are easily identifiable in the dry mix. It’s so airy and interesting-looking, it’s hard to believe it’s actually tea.
Brewed, this has a mineral, slightly metallic scent that reminds me both of oolongs and darjeelings. Given that this is a darjeeling oolong, I guess that makes sense. The liquor is a medium golden-brown, which is about what I was expecting. So far, so good.
I don’t mind darjeelings, but oolongs have never really been my thing. It’s understanable, then, if a little disappointing, that this tea really isn’t my thing either. I’m not picking up many of the complexities others seem to rave about, which is sort of spoiling my enjoyment. I’m picking up a muscatel note, and a slight base spiciness, but that’s about all. I feel I should be getting more from this tea, and I do genuinely want to like it (particularly as it looks so gorgeous, I suspect). I’m going to experiment a little with brew times, temparatures, and quantity before I give up on this. I would quite like to add some honey, which seems kind of perverse, but I might give it a go anyway. For the minute, though, it’s not entirely what I hoped it would be.
On the second day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Breakfast Smoothie Honeybush!
And, wow, does it smell amazing. At first, I thought “bubblegum”, but that’s not quite right. It’s pineapple, I think, that comes through most strongly, followed by the orange and banana in equal measure. I can see chunks of fruit among the honeybush base, and my mouth is watering already. I think this will make an amazing morning tea, but the fact that it’s evening now isn’t going to stop me giving it a try.
After reading some advice on here, I brewed this for 2.5 minutes in boiling water. It smells just as it does dry — intensely fruity, with a sort of yoghurty undertone. Something’s still making me think “bubblegum”, juicy fruit to be exact, but I don’t mind that at all.
To taste, this is, again, exactly as it smells. I can almost believe I’m drinking a smoothie, except that it’s hot. The honeybush base was an excellent choice — it’s naturally sweet and perfectly complements the flavours.
All told, another amazing tea. I’m being spoilt with these, I know. I probably won’t want to drink another brand again now that I’ve finally experienced these. Honestly, what took me so long?
On the first day of Christmas, 52Teas gave to me…Cotton Candy!
I opened this after a long, hard, totally tea-deficient day at work. It smells amazing — that’s the first thing I have to say. I’ve never tried any 52Teas before, but it’s truly out of this world. Sweet, sugary, maybe slightly alcoholic smelling. I’m at the fair already. The next thing I’m struck by is how pretty it is. The flower petals are blue, pink and yellow among the tea leaves, and it looks so adorable.
Now, to brew. Since it’s my first experience with one of these, I gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. It seems to brew slowly, and takes a while to colour. At first, I wasn’t sure if I’d want milk in it, but I added a splash in the end.
Last — and most important — the taste. I’ve been looking for a flavoured black tea that lives up to the promise of its name for a long time. Finally, I’ve found it. This is the fairground in a cup. It actually tastes exactly like cotton candy, and just as it smells. The black base doesn’t at all overpower the flavour, but just makes it so I know I’m drinking something substantial.
I was becoming a little disillusioned with flavoured blacks, but I might have just found my nirvana, Goodness, how great. This tea is truly something else. If they’re all this good, it really will feel like christmas every day!
On first encounter, this seems to be another fairly solid flavoured tea from Adagio. Immediately upon opening the packet, the overwhelming scent is of coconut. It’s a bit fake-smelling, admittedly, but it’s identifiably coconut. There are even pieces of dessicated coconut visible among the dry leaves. So far, so good.
Brewed, this is much as you might expect. The black tea base is quite strong, but that’s not something I mind. In any case, it doesn’t overpower the coconut flavour, which is almost equally pungent. As with the scent, though, I’m struck by how artificial the coconut flavouring tastes. I can see for myself that there are actually pieces of dried coconut in the mix, but there must be something else also. For this reason, I can’t be as excited about this tea as I hoped I might be. There’s just something in the flavour that’s slightly plastic-tasting and off-putting. It’s not bad, by any means, though. It tastes of coconut, it’s a robust enough black tea, and it’s drinkable enough. It’s not going to change the world, or my tea drinking habits, but a sound flavoured tea for all that.
The first time I tried this tea, I actually didn’t like it. I wasn’t, in fact, sure that I could even finish the cup. Since then, I tried it again this summer, iced, and found it palatable. This morning, struck down by a cold at the beginning of the busiest week of the year for me at work, I found another bag of this in my desk drawer. Since I’d neglected to buy milk this morning, and a hot drink – any hot drink – sounded like a good idea to me, I gave this another try.
Actually, it’s not that bad. It’s very sweet, which is what took me by surprise the first time I tried it. I was expecting the liquorice to taste dark and sort of bitter (in my head, liquorice is black and sticky), but it absolutely doesn’t. Strangely enough, when I tried a tea with a dark, sticky, bitter liquiorce flavour (hello, Twinings Liquorice Allsorts Earl Grey), I didn’t like it at all. Clearly, when it comes to liquorice, I’m really hard to please. Anyway – on second acquaintance, I’m finding that the liquorice in the tea adds a pleasing sweetness which works really well with the peppermint. I still don’t like it steeped for an overly long time, but a couple of minutes provides a drink that’s both refreshing and comforting all at once. It’s cosy, and warm, and summery, and, as such, perfect for a dark, cold day when I’m feeling terrible.
It’s probably best if I don’t comment on the nuances of this while I’m feeling so awful. I have a whole box of this in my stash, so I’m going to save the reflection for future tastings. All I know at the moment is that this made me feel better, and that I was surprised to actually like it after all.
I’ve tried a fair few Assam teas in my time – it used to be one of my favourite varieties. Some were good, some not so good. This one is fabulous — it’s everything I want from an Assam. I don’t actually think I’ve knowingly tried a second flush assam before, though, so this is both a new and a familiar experience for me.
The dry leaves are medium in size, and very tippy. The lighter colour is highly noticeable among the predominantly darker leaves. It smells just like a good Assam ought to smell – robust, malty, quintessentially tea-like.
I’m drinking this at the start of my work day, so I used two small teaspoons and brewed for about three and a half to four minutes. The brewed liquor, again, is classic Assam – a deep red-brown. It smells much like it does dry, which, in my experience, is usually a good sign. The taste is what I like most about this tea, though. It has a wonderful, strong undertone that I can only describe as malty even though I’ve already used that description once in this note. That’s what it is. Malty. On the surface, if I may describe it like that, it’s smoother and sweeter. Together, these two tastes make for a really good, solid, Assam taste. I love this. It’s the perfect wake up drink for me!
This is the first time I’ve tried one of Adagio’s standard flavoured black teas. Initially, they seem fairly impressive. The dry leaves smell very strongly of strawberry, and I can see pieces of fruit among the black tea base. Closer inspection of the ingredients list reveals that the fruit pieces are actually raspberry, but I probably wouldn’t have known. They smell right, and that’s what counts. What they’ll ultimately contribute to the flavour remains to be seen.
I brewed this tea a little bit longer than the recommended time – more like 4 minutes than 3. It still smells wonderfully of strawberries, although there’s an underlying “green” scent I can’t quite identify. This carries through to the flavour, too, but I don’t mind it as it’s quite fresh and complements the creaminess of the strawberry pretty well.
I’m actually pretty pleased with the taste of this tea. Before this, I’d only tried Adagio’s holiday flavoured blacks, and I wasn’t universially impressed. This one is strawberry all right, and it comes through pretty well. The base tea isn’t too strong or astringent. It’s all just fine. I have a couple more of these in my stash, so I’m interested to try those as well now. Overall, a good experience. A pleasant afternoon quaffing tea.