901 Tasting Notes

88
drank Gingerbread by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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70
drank Candy Cane by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Thai Chai by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75

I’ve tried a few mint teas in my time, but I’ve yet to find one I really like. I’ve found them all sort of lacklustre and one-dimensional. This is the biggest exception so far, perhaps because it’s a blend of both Peppermint and Spearmint. Perhaps that’s what I’ve been looking for all along.

Let’s just say for starters that I don’t think this tea quite lives up to its “Mint Humbug” name. It lacks the vanilla for that, and the sweetness that would give. It certainly smells like a Mint Humbug, though, and it’s a stellar mint tea.

In the cup, this tea brews to a medium olive green/brown colour. It smells strongly of mint (as you might expect!), but almost as if you’re smelling mint leaves fresh from the plant, rather than the stale afterthought I’ve often found in mint tea. To taste, you get a strong hit of cooling menthol, and then a lovely sweet finish from the spearmint.

Put simply, this is divine. I may try replicating an actual mint humbug by blending with some vanilla, or maybe adding a pod to the cup as I brew it, but that’s for a later date. For now, I’m just content to enjoy this tea — my favourite mint to date!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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75

I’ve had a lot of interviews recently, and so I’ve been drinking this tea often to help calm my nerves. I’m drinking it today because I start a new job tomorrow, and I’ve already got butterflies!

I think it’s the scent that helps to calm me most of all — sweet and hay-like, with a mead-ish depth from the honey. Summer in the countryside.

This tea brews to a glorious bright yellow — sunshine in a cup! It’s naturally sweet, although the honey flavouring cuts through the apple-like flavour of the chamomile a little, giving it a slightly more generic “sweet” taste. The smell of the dry buds led me to expect a little more honey flavour, but I suppose you can’t have everything. I say this with most herbal teas, but I think next time I might try adding a little real honey in order to achieve the taste I was wanting.

Chamomile was something I was a little bit afraid of before I started experimenting with whole leaf/bud teas. A lot of the supermarket varieties have a bitter aftertaste that I dislike intensely. This tea has made me reconsider, though. It’s naturally sweet, and very relaxing. A perfect bedtime or nerve-settling tea, and the only way I know of actually drinking a summer day!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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50
drank Berry Blues by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

I wonder if this kind of tea will always let me down. Every time I open a bag of fruit tea, I’m overwhelmed by the scent. Berry Blues is no exception — I can smell fresh blueberries, maybe a slight twang of apple. It’s mouthwatering. Put it near water, though, and it all disappears.

It’s not that this tea is bad. It’s naturally sweet, and has a wonderful tartness that’s not too OTT. It just doesn’t taste of Blueberries in the way I was expecting it to. I’m tempted to blame the hibiscus for overpowering the blueberries, but it might just be that I’m expecting too much. Perhaps no blueberry tea is ever going to taste as divine as it smells. I think I might try brewing this with cooler water and a little honey next time, and see what that does for the flavour.

In the cup, this tea takes on a deep berry red/pink colour, and smells generically fruity. The chunks of fruit are generously sized and easily identifiable. It’s pleasant enough to drink, but the scent had built me up to expect something I wasn’t going to get. Blueberries. Badly.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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75

This is a good, robust, everyday tea. It doesn’t have the kind of flavour that’s going to knock your socks off, but it’s always there when you need something normal and reassuring. I usually drink this at work on a morning, when I need to wake up, and it makes an excellent start to the day.

I do prefer this whole leaf variety to the usual bagged fare you get from Twinings. The leaves are large and glossy-looking when brewed, the liquor is a deep reddish-brown, and it has the classic strong black “tea” smell. I think this would make an ideal introduction to whole leaf tea. Solid and dependable — the perfect English Breakfast!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
CHAroma

I’m in love with this tea. :)

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10

I have to say, I’m not over-keen on this tea. I bought it thinking it sounded like a fabulous combination, but in actuality I found it a bit of a let down. Thinking of Liquorice Allsorts put me in mind of a sweet, coconutty taste, with a strong kick of dark, molasses-like liquorice. That’s not what I got from this tea. Instead, it was Earl Grey with a kind of bitter, smoky overtone. Not at all what I imagined.

The Earl Grey base in this tea is the best thing about it. It’s strong, robust, and nicely flavoured with bergamot. It’s a shame the flavouring ruins it — I had imagined the combination could be very complementary.

Still, never mind. My tea journey continues.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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70
drank White Peony by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

This is a tea I love, and never want to be without. My adoration of white tea came as quite a surprise, initially. I didn’t actually realise I liked it until I was introduced to whole leaf tea, having only had a dreadful shredded teabag variety previously.

This is such a light, smooth, creamy tea. You have to admit that, in the packet, it just looks odd. There are leaves, twigs, and the furry white buds, and the dominant colours are white, grey, and black. It looks very much like sweepings from a forest floor. But oh, the taste!

I don’t find this tea strongly floral, whatever its name might suggest. There is a floral element to the smell once brewed — it’s rather like sitting in a garden on a spring day. To taste, it’s very delicate and light, with a slight honey-like sweetness. I imagine it to be rather like drinking nectar.

In the cup, this tea has a much darker colour than I was expecting. There’s absolutely no hint of bitterness or astringency, however. I haven’t yet experimented with multiple infusions, so it will be interesting to see how this affects the taste.

So far, drinking this tea has been a heavenly experience, and one I will definetly repeat.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

This is one of my favorites too! It doesn’t get astringent until the 3rd infusion, so I definitely strongly recommend re-steeping the leaves. Otherwise, you’re really missing out!! (And it lowers the overall cost by re-using the same leaves too). ;)

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60

This is my second acquaintance with this tea, and I’m beginning to rather like it. I bought this as a sample with my last Adagio order, having only previously tried Mighty Leaf’s Organic Darjeeling Estate.

I find this a pleasant, light, refreshing tea. It doesn’t have as strong a muscatel flavour as I’d like, so my search needs to continue in that regard, but I am enjoying it. My steep time so far has been about three minutes, which I think I might extend a little next time. I’m interested to see what that does for the flavour.

In the cup, this tea has an earthy, nutty, slightly metallic aroma. This translates a little into the flavour of the tea, which tastes slightly musty and mossy. It reminds me a lot of a forest after a rain shower! The dry leaves smell slightly bitter, but, thankfully, this does not translate to the tea. In colour, they’re a mixture of green and brown-black, so I can see where some of the flavours in this tea that I associate more with green tea come from. My overall impression is of a smooth, delicate tea — perfect for a summer evening!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norwich, UK

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