1031 Tasting Notes

95

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!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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95

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Ceylon Sonata by Adagio Teas
1031 tasting notes

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?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Jasmine Pearls by Teapigs
1031 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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75
drank Pina Colada by Adagio Teas
1031 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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95

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!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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75
drank Pina Colada by Adagio Teas
1031 tasting notes

I’ve heard terrible things about this tea, so it was with trepidation that I opened the packet. I think we’re okay, though. I can smell warm, ripe pineapple, coconut, and a sort of slightly sour red berry scent. I’m guessing it’s the hibiscus or the rose hip, although I don’t think it’s decidedly either. The dry mix taken together does have a bit of an odd scent, but, to be honest, I find that with most Adagio teas.

So, on to the tasting. Brewed, this smells mostly of pineapple, with a bit of an undertone from the hibiscus. I don’t think there’s anything I can’t smell hibiscus in, when it’s there. I was hoping the pineapple scent would come through into the taste, but it doesn’t really. Dasappointingly, as it smells almost like the real thing — and amazingly juicy to boot. Instead, this tea tastes primarily of coconut. There’s an odd berry-like taste in the background which is throwing me a little, but it’s not unpleasant.

After everything I’ve heard and read, I’m glad this tea turned out to be drinkable. Pineapple is one of my favourite flavours, so I’ve been looking forward to this for a while. It’s a shame the pineapple doesn’t really come out too much in the taste, but the smell is completely mouthwatering. The only thing I really can’t detect is the apple, but I guess I can live without that. I might take this to work tomorrow and try it with some honey, but I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out. One of Adagio’s better fruit blends, I think.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Kittenna

I’m pretty sure there were batch issues with this one. I was one of the people who brewed up a horribly nasty cup of this, so much so that Adagio is probably blacklisted from me forever…

Scheherazade

Even now, it has a slightly funky taste (and smell) about it. I think it’s just the way the pineapple/coconut are interacting with the hibiscus and rosehip (really not a happy combination…), but I could be wrong. I’m sure you’re right about the batch issues, though. My cup was nowhere near as bad as yours sounds. I was worried about it right before I tried it, because it sounds so nice and I wanted to like it. I’m glad I do (or more or less, anyway!). I’m not a big Adagio fan, but if this had been terrible it probably would have been the last straw for me, too. It’s a shame when bad things happen to good tea!

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75
drank Winter Infusion by Twinings
1031 tasting notes

Took this to work today and tried it with milk and honey. All I can say is — yum!!. Like this, I can really taste the orange and it comes over all sweet and creamy. The spice aspect seems to be a little dulled as a result, but when something tastes this good…

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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55

Added some honey to this today, just to see what would happen. It becomes far too sweet, is the answer. Not a great success. I think I’m going to go back to drinking the rest of this sample just as it is. It’s not a favourite, but at least it’s drinkable that way!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70

Sipdown! Drank my last cup of this without sugar, just to see what the taste difference was. Turns out it didn’t actually alter the flavour that much after all. The last cup I had didn’t have any whole cloves in it, and I did notice that the lack of these impacted on the flavour for the better. I could taste the spices and orange better, which was what I was wanting from the first cup I logged.

A successful chai that I’m glad to have tried, but probably not one I’ll be restocking for a little while.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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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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