915 Tasting Notes

88
drank Chestnut by Adagio Teas
915 tasting notes

Drank this again this morning, after a cold journey to work. I brewed it for a little longer than usual since my work cup is bigger than the cup I usually use at home. As soon as I brought it back in to the office, my colleagues commented on the gorgeous smell. Toasty nuts and caramel. There probably couldn’t be a more wonderful start to the day!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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80
drank Gyokuro by Adagio Teas
915 tasting notes

Okay, so this is my first experience with Gyokuro. Encouraged by my recent successes with Sencha, I decided it was time to branch out and move on.

So far, so good. Looking at the dry leaves, I’m actually struck by their similarity the Sencha I drank. They’re a similar very dark green, but maybe slightly smaller and finer. They definetly have the same sweet, hay-like scent. This still surprises me — until recently, sweetness wasn’t something I’d ever associated with green tea.

Brewed, the leaves are very soft, and the smell is of freshly steamed, buttered green vegetables. Quite yummy, and quite unexpected. The liquor is a deep yellow, and, joy of joys, it tastes just like it smells. Very fresh, very green. It’s smooth, ever so slightly sweet with no bitterness or astringency anywhere in sight. To my mind, it has a more intense flavour than Adagio’s Sencha, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s a pleasure to drink this tea, and it definetly cheered up a miserable day!

I have to say, I’m actually really glad I decided to try gourmet loose leaf green tea. I approached them with trepidation initially, as I’ve always believed myself to be a green tea hater. I’m definetly being proved wrong, though, and I’m completely amazed at the difference. I think I’ll always prefer black tea, but a few more experiences like this could make a habitual green tea drinker of me yet.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Candy Apple by Adagio Teas
915 tasting notes

Had this again today — the second last of this flavour I have left in my stash. Given that I haven’t washed up since this morning, I made this in a smaller cup than usual. I wasn’t all that keen on this tea back when I first reviewed it, but I actually think the smaller cup helped matters. I did actually detect some candy apple taste, and it seemed somehow creamier than it is when made in my usual cup, with more of a caramel taste than I detected previously. Maybe that’s the answer with these teas — I shall have to try it with some of the others I wasn’t so keen on, and see if it helps.

Hmm. Food for thought.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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70
drank The Earl Grey by Twinings
915 tasting notes

I haven’t had one of these in a long, long time. They were the first tea bags that really got me interested in trying different varieties of tea, so I owe them something for where I am now. Anyway, I added some of these to my last Twinings order on a whim. I generally stay away from supermarket tea these days (with the exception of Twinings Whole Leaf Silky Pyraminds, because I think they’re pretty good, and some of their whole leaf loose teas), but it’a always nice to re-visit old friends.

So, yes. This is pretty much how I remember it. A nice strong tea base, and just the right amount of bergamot flavouring for me. I don’t like a lot of Earl Grey varieties because they have far too much bergamot, and I find that a bit “ick”. I like to taste the tea in my Earl Grey — that’s a bih part of the experience for me. There isn’t all that much to say about this — it’s just one of those teas you can rely on. Unexciting, butunchanging, good stuff. I might keep a few of these on hand in the future, just for those days when I need something reassuring. I’m not sure why it is, but this tea is always that to me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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50

I genuinely believe that hibiscus is the work of the devil, to the point where I approach any fruit or berry tea containing it with a certain degree of trepidation. Or maybe it’s more like resignation.

Given that hibiscus and rosehip are the top two ingredients in this tea, I should be feeling pretty grumpy right now. Even I have to admit, though, that this tea smells fabulous dry. Like wine gums. I am rather concerned, though, that a tea named “Red Berry Fool” actually contains a decidedly limited range of berries. One, to be exact — elderberry — and right at the bottom of the ingredients list. The other ingredients are the previously mentioned (and inescapable) hibiscus and rosehip, apple, orange, and safflower. It smells, as I said, fruity. Not of red berries. “Fruit Tart” might be a more appropriate name.

And this tea is incredibly tart, and slightly sour, and we know who to blame for that. Despite this, it is pleasant. The fruit is present in pretty generous chunks, and just about manages to stand up to the hibiscus. It would shine more brightly if it was left alone, though, as would the elderberry. This could be a genuinely nice tea — it really almost is. It smells gorgeous, but it’s a shame the flavour is dulled by the hibiscus, which really does know how to ruin a great party. I feel like I’ve said this so many times, but if only it tasted like it smells.

Ultimately, I’m relatively happy with this tea, and I’d drink it again. I just wish manufacturers would end their compulsion to put hibiscus in fruit or berry tea. It’s not fruit, it’s not a berry, and it’s not nice. Simple as that.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
CrowSister

Indeed, hibiscus is a spoiler…my other pet peeve? licorice root (and related). I love licorice candy and liqueur, but it ruins so many teas :)

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20

I’m not liking the smell of this tea. It’s supposedly coconut and pineapple, but I’m getting a smell I can only describe as hoover bag dust. I don’t know what’s causing it, but I don’t like it. And it’s quite pervasive.

To taste, this tea is kind of floral. I suspect it’s white peony again, but, like with the Blueberry White I tried a week or so ago, that’s all I can taste. No pineapples, no coconut, just white peony. This isn’t in itself unpleasant, but it’s not the tropical white I was promised.

So, again, great white tea. Shame about the (non existant) flavouring.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Russian Caravan by Twinings
915 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this quite steadily at work these past few days. The mornings have got pretty cold, and this is just the tea I need to get the day started once I arrive. I know there’s some confusion about the origin of this tea, but my bag says chinese keemun.

First off, I have to say that this isn’t quite what I thought. From what I’ve read about Russian Caravan I was expecting a slightly smoky taste, which I can’t detect at all. I find myself mildly disappointed by this. That being said, I think this is a fabulous breakfast tea — strong and dependable. I’m actually considering replacing my usual English Breakfast with this, because, while not very exciting, it is a fabulous tasting tea.

I think I’ll continue to experiment with Russian Caravan blends from other manufacturers, because I’d really like to find one with the fabled smokiness. For now, though, this is really hitting the spot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
CrowSister

DELETEless than a minute ago
I started drinking russian caravan in high school in the 70s…ahem. I can recommend http://steepster.com/teas/upton-tea-imports/10276-finest-russian-caravan-tb70
The trick is to limit steeping time as it becomes bitter (?)quickly. I simply love this as my afternoon black tea when I indulge.

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12
drank Cranberry by Adagio Teas
915 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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Babble

Sorry this tea didn’t work out :(

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88
drank Chestnut by Adagio Teas
915 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

Great review! Your description is spot on. Glad you liked this one too. :)

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12
drank Pumpkin Spice by Adagio Teas
915 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
CHAroma

This one seems universally disliked. There are some great pumpkin teas out there though! DAVIDsTEA makes one that is to die for! It’s called Pumpkin Chai. Mmmm, I’m drooling just thinking about it.

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Profile

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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