578 Tasting Notes
This is the last tea I’ve yet to try from my Adagio Holiday Cheer sampler. In theory, I love the idea of this tea. It’s so simple, and yet so brilliant. A classic idea for a christmas tea sampler. In practice, I already suspect it’s going to be a let down. I can’t really smell cranberry — only the faintest whiff — but I can smell that dark bitterness I detected when trying Pumpkin Spice the other day. Already, I’m thinking this isn’t going to end well. Still, onwards. Into the water it goes, with the hope that I might be wrong.
4 minutes and a splash of milk later, I’m not wrong. I can still only smell the very faintest hint of cranberry. I can also smell something very bitter lurking fairly near the surface, and even to smell I don’t like it. I’ve heard it said, but I can’t believe that the base tea is Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata. I like Ceylon Sonata. I even have a big bag of it sitting in my stash, and it doesn’t taste or smell anything like this creature. I’m not saying it’s not in there, but if it is it must be cut with something else. This THING, whatever it is, is probably what I don’t like. I imagine it makes it cheaper to blend, but it also ruins what could be a perfectly good tea. There needs to be more flavouring, though. There’s just nowhere near enough cranberry in this for it to really deserve the name. If only all of these teas could be like Chestnut — the shining star of this sampler — I’d be a very, very happy woman. Alas, it’s apparently not to be.
So, finally, after all my ramblings, it’s just cool enough to taste. It’s tolerable enough, but it’s really no more than an everyday blended black, and not a fabulous one at that. There’s a tantalizing hint of flavour, but it only serves to signal what was not to be. Still, never mind. I can always dream of chestnuts.
Another first for me, because I’ve never tried a Chestnut tea before. Unlike with Pumpkin Spice, this time I feel like I’m off to a more promising start. The smell of the dry leaves is A-MA-ZING. It’s sweet, nutty, with a burnt caramel note towards the end. It smells like it’s going to be pure flavour, and for once I can’t even detect the base tea, which usually seems to come through pretty strongly in these (Adagio’s Holiday Cheer sampler). All this is making me feel pretty hopeful. I always want to like flavoured tea, but they’re so often disappointing. Could this be the exception? At last?
I wasn’t disappointed. Brewed, this tea smells like a roasted chestnut stand, and tastes precisely like the real thing. Very nutty, slightly sweet, with a toasted, almost burnt, note to finish. I was absolutely amazed. This is the first flavoured tea where I really haven’t been able to taste the base tea more than the flavouring. It’s there in the background, giving body, but that’s where it stays. The real strength of this tea is in its flavouring.
Drinking this, I feel cosy and sort of sentimental about winter and christmas. Definetly my favourite flavoured black to date, and one I’m sure will remain on my list of favoured teas for a long time to come. Perfect!
I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from this tea. I have limited experience with pumpkin generally, and I’ve never before tried pumpkin tea. Still, with it having just been Halloween, I thought I’d give it a topical whirl.
The smell of the dry leaves is a little strange. It’s quite spicy — cinnamon, cloves, ginger — and it has a slight undertone that’s making me think of an old-fashioned apothecary. It’s such a deep, dark, almost musty smell — I’ve really nothing to compare it to.
Having established this, it was probably silly to judge by the pumpkin soup I had for lunch the other day, but that’s my only recent frame of reference. Based on this, I was expecting something sweeter. Slightly savoury, perhaps, but sweet nonetheless. I don’t know quite what it is about this, but it has a relatively bitter aftertaste. Maybe there are too many spices, or perhaps it’s the sunflower petals. Possibly it’s just the base tea. I’m not sure. All I know is that I can’t taste pumpkin in quite the way I was expecting.
That said, on first sip this tea does have a sweetness to it that I rather like. It’s a shame the aftertaste takes over and spoils it a little, but it’s a pleasing tea otherwise. If the sweetness had been more pronounced, and the aftertaste less bitter, I would have absolutely adored this tea. As it stands, I find it pleasant up to a point, but it’s never going to be my favourite. Not bad for a first acquaintance, but I can see I’m going to have to look elsewhere if I want to find a truly appealing pumpkin tea.
I’ve said this before, but green tea isn’t usually my favourite. I’ve been inspired by recent sucesses on this front, however, and today I decided to try this tea — Twinings Jasmine Pearls.
As with many of these teas I’ve come across before, the green tea leaves are rolled into balls, and then infused with the fragrance from fresh jasmine flowers. As I expected, the somewhat dusty scent of jasmine is the first thing I can smell on opening the packet.
Brewed, the smell is less pervasive, and the flavour is more delicate than I expected. Strangely enough, it’s still something I can smell rather than taste, even as I’m drinking. The jasmine seems to settle at the back of my throat/nose, which is both interesting and somewhat difficult to describe.
The taste is a lot sweeter than I was expecting, though. It’s very smooth, almost honeyed, in texture. There’s no dry bitterness or astringency, and it’s not cloying either. It really is very delicate, and surprisingly refreshing.
The liquor is a clear medium yellow-green, which, again, surprised me. I expected a much paler liquid, given that I only steeped for 2 minutes. A lot of teas are catching me unawares at the moment, it seems.
I have to say that I actually rather like this tea, despite my initial reservations. Green teas, and teas with strong floral notes, have never been high on my list, but I’m having to revise that opinion just lately. Who’d have thought it — two green teas I like, twice in one week!
Finally, I’ve found a green tea I like! For years I’ve not been the biggest green tea fan, or any kind of fan at all. Bitter and dusty would be the two words I’d have attributed to green tea before today. So, understandably, this tea came as a bit of a revelation.
The dry leaves are very long and thin, and look like they’ve been rolled. They’re mostly dark green, but there are some lighter ones in there. The smell is very pleasant — sweet and hay-like, like fresh cut grass.
Brewed, the smell is equally pleasant, like freshly steamed green veg. The liquor is very light yellow-green in colour, which took me completely by surprise as the leaves are so dark.
The taste is very light and delicate, slightly grassy. I think I was so shocked that I actually liked it to really absorb everything about the flavour. Sweet, grassy, maybe slightly vegetal — I think I might brew it a little longer next time. I feel the flavour could be a little more significant, but I’m sure it’ll be trial and error. Either way, I’m not complaining. I like it like this anyway!
I have to say, I’m really disappointed with this tea at the moment. I first tried it as part of Adagio’s Sweet Medley sampler, and the tea I remember had a strong, juicy blueberry taste and smell. This tea — maybe it’s just a dodgy batch — smells right, but doesn’t taste of blueberry at all.
When I first started this box yesterday, I assumed I’d let the water cool too much before adding the bag. Today I left it slightly hotter, but this didn’t improve matters. It’s a shame, because I loved the tea I remember. It was like drinking blueberries, and the white base didn’t overpower that at all.
All I can say this time is that this is a very nice cup of white tea (it looks like White Peony to me), but I’m not tasting any blueberries. Perhaps some memories are best left as memories. A shame.
I don’t quite get candy apple when I smell this tea dry. Somehow, it’s not quite sweet or candy-like, and it has an almost bitter, spicy undertone. I’d like to think it’s the cinnamon, but I’m not sure. There are identifiable apple pieces, however, which is encouraging.
So far, though, this tea doesn’t quite match up to Tea Palace’s Jewelled Apple, which is by far my favourite candy apple flavoured tea. Even dry, the smell of that is an absolute knockout. Still, on to the tasting.
Brewed, some of the sweetness I was expecting does start to develop. Unfortunately, though, the black tea base completely overwhelms it. I can detect a slight apple-spice flavour, but it’s neither strong nor prominent. As with most of Adagio’s holiday teas, I feel the base is wrong for the flavour. It’s just too much, and has a slightly bitter aftertaste I don’t care for in this context.
I still feel that this is a pleasant enough tea. The candy apple flavour isn’t strong enough for my liking, though, and so in this respect it loses some of its appeal. Great idea in theory, uninspiring in practice.
There are no words for the way this tea smells dry. As soon as you open the tin — fresh gingerbread. Spicy-sweet and gorgeous. The ginger, cinnamon, and a hint of orange are clear to smell. Oh, heaven!
As you might expect it doesn’t taste quite like it smells, but it’s pretty close. It’s probably the closest you can get to drinking cake, at any rate. The orange is all but lost but the cinnamon and ginger shine through, complemented by the smell of baking. Drinking this tea is a truly divine experience.
As with most black teas, I drank this with a splash of milk. I think this adds a certain something here — a softness, or a creaminess. I’ll try it without next time, for the sake of experience, but I’m pretty sure milk is the way with this tea.
Maybe because it’s getting cold, but Adagio’s holiday teas are really hitting the spot for me right now.
I have the potential to be a big fan of flavoured black teas. Sometimes they’re a real let down, but there are a few gems like this one that are actually pretty good.
You open the tin to a strong scent of candy cane, almost as if you’d just unwrapped the real thing. Dry, you can clearly see peppermint leaves, pieces of candy cane (both large and tiny fragments), and a generous amount of black tea base. All good so far, and I’m reassured that the smell isn’t just artificial flavouring.
To taste, this tea is probably one of the most unusual I’ve tried so far. I can only describe it as vanilla-mint. The vanilla contributes a creamy sweetness, which is tempered by the slight coolness contributed by the mint. It’s almost like you made a cup of black tea, and then swirled a candy cane in it, but there’s a little more depth to the flavour than that. The scent isn’t quite as prominent as when dry, but it’s still noticable and identifiable. I drank this with a dash of milk, because that’s just my way, but I have a feeling it would be just as palatable, maybe more so, without. Maybe next time.
My only complaint would be that I’m not sure the black tea base is the best suited to this flavour. It’s ever so slightly bitter, and doesn’t quite sit as well as I hoped it would. Perhaps I’m looking for something slightly sweeter and less overpowering, to let the candy cane flavour sing, but that’s just my personal taste.
Ultimately, this is a pretty good flavoured black, and one I’ll definetly be drinking more of come the winter proper.
I was looking for a comfort tea earlier, and my best idea of that is a chai latte. I’ve had this one in my stash for a little while, but it’s always been overlooked because it’s a bit of an oddball. When I think of chai, I tend not to think of either thailand or coconut, but there you go.
This was actually a very pleasant surprise. I’d never have believed it could work, but I found the coconut actually added a gorgeous creamy sweetness, which suited the milkiness of a chai latte perfectly. I was perhaps more surprised to find that the coconut actually stood out among the other ingredients. I’d thought it would get lost among the stronger flavours (perhaps particularly the cinnamon and ginger) but it was actually the primary taste.
Looking at the dry leaves, I could easily pick out most of the constituents — there’s pieces of cinnamon bark and ginger root, lemongrass, and dried coconut. I couldn’t see any cardamon pods, but that might just be luck of the draw with the spoonfuls I took out. Like most chai, this one has a black tea base, which, according to the ingredients, is coconut flavoured. I’m assuming that this is Adagio’s coconut flavoured black, which I actually have separately in my stash. That would make it a ceylon base, which I suppose accords with what I could taste. I have to say, though, that I’m more used to my chai being assam-based, and so to my mind this lacked a little depth. Perhaps that’s what allowed the coconut flavour to shine through so well, however.
Brewed, this smells wonderfully coconutty and creamy, with a hint of spicyness in the background. Same to taste. I was impressed with this tea — more so than I expected to be. When my sample runs out, this might well take its place among the teas I have on hand. It’s a little bit different, and so, so delicious. Definetly worth the risk!