1183 Tasting Notes
I’m surprised that I don’t seem to have written a note on this. I remember trying it and liking it far better than most other flavored whites I’ve had. Which figures, since it has been discontinued (that’s always how it is with me and Teavana; I like the things they discontinue and don’t like most of the rest).
Thinking I could just hop on the bandwagon of a previous note, I didn’t do a serious tasting of this today. I just relaxed and enjoyed it. There’s a sweet, fruity flavor that isn’t overpowering and the underlying tea is inoffensive (and not the dreaded dead plant flavor). I have a fair bit of this left so I’ll be able to do a proper note later.
I’m off early tomorrow morning for no. 2’s fourth grade overnight. Have fun in my absence and see you in a few days!
Sipdown no. 177. The end of a sample.
This is the second to last of the Adagio oolong flavored samples. I am not even sure why I saved it as I didn’t rate it very highly. I think I may have thought I owed it to the sample to treat it like an oolong I cared about and steep it multiple times and with care. But that’s silly, isn’t it?
Instead I decided to dump the rest in the Breville and steep up enough for me and the BF to enjoy post lunch. He likes peach flavors.
It was better than the other flavored oolongs in the sampler except for the grapefruit, which was the best. But not something I’d buy again.
I may get in a couple more cups of tea before leaving town tomorrow to assist my no. 2 son’s class with an overnight trip. If not, I’ll see you Thursday when I get back.
Flavors: Apricot, Peach, Vanilla
Having some of this to counteract whatever I did to my stomach last night that resulted in the feeling of a rock sitting in it for a good 12 hours so far.
It might have been the latkes. Or maybe the brisket I had for dinner at the local place that’s the closest thing we have to a deli. It was a bit on the fatty side but I was hungry, so…
In any case, this is making things feel a little less weighty.
Spidown no. 176. A sample.
I’m still a huge Samovar fan, and I’m delighted to see that they appear to have weathered the transformation they were going through a while back where they basically didn’t have any tea available for purchase. Now I see there are some old favorites gracing their web pages again. I do wish some more of my favorites were there, particularly on the herbal side of things as I’m soon to be in the market for something like Berry Rooibos, which I really adored, or maybe Orange Ginger. Alas, those aren’t part of what’s around but there’s still the wonderful chai, breakfast blend, earl grey, four seasons, and others. Yay!
And nor is this one among the green teas in the current Samovar online store, but since my experience of yesterday with the Den’s Houjicha, I’m thinking it’s way past time to do this sample. This one does have going for it that it’s never been opened, so perhaps that will make a difference.
I didn’t want to wait for the water in my boiler to cool from oolong temp of 195F, but the Breville doesn’t like to be filled to less than 500 ml. I’m taking a chance and only filled it to about 250, then set the temp to 175 and steeped for 1.5 minutes (much longer than Den’s recommends, but half the time Samovar instructs on its sample packet).
The leaves didn’t have much smell when I opened the packet, but the tea smells roasty ricey and is a clear tan color. Alas, the lesson learned yesterday appears to have been reinforced today. I suspect this would have had much more flavor when fresh. Though the packet was closed, it wasn’t vacuum sealed. What I’m tasting is a very faint roasted rice flavor, a bit like pine nuts. Knowing Samovar, I expect this isn’t what I should have experienced.
I’m not going to rate this because it doesn’t seem fair. I saved a lot of Samovar samples on the “best for last” theory, and I’m sorry I did. Lesson learned.
Flavors: Rice, Roasted
Sipdown no. 175. A sample.
I am really enjoying the oolong samples from Life in Teacup. I’ve been wanting to try them, but I wanted to be sure I had the time to really do them justice and I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend some time with them recently.
The dry leaves are dark green and tightly rolled. They have a scent that reminded me of asparagus, fluctuating with a grassy, hay-like aroma.
Indeed, “fluctuates” is a word that describes this tea pretty accurately. I steeped this in the gaiwan at 195F for six steeps, starting at 15 seconds and increasing in 5 second increments, and I found that it moved back and forth in both aroma and flavor between floral and buttery, though with respect to the flavor the butter didn’t come out until the later steeps.
In the earlier steeps, 1, 2, and 3, the flavor was brighter and more “green,” vegetal and strongly floral, even though the aroma had a sort of buttery, milky aspect to it. The buttery flavor didn’t really come out until the last couple of steeps. Even then it wasn’t as strong and creamy as some tieguanyins, but it was still very tasty.
I liked it a little better than the green jade I had yesterday, but a lot of this has to do with mood. If I was looking for something with a brighter, more green tea like flavor, I’d choose the jade. Something more green oolongy, I’d choose this.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Floral, Milk
I’m OD-ing on tea a little here, but it’s because the kids are out of the house and I have nothing on the agenda until they get back. So I have a rare opportunity to play in my tea and write some notes uninterrupted.
I had the idea that this would be a good palate cleanser to transition out of some of the heavier stuff I’ve been drinking this morning, culminating in full blown chai. And also a nice transition from darker teas to lighter ones for this afternoon.
I had to remind myself that FTGFOP means Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe, or it’s joke interpretation — Far Too Good For Ordinary People. LOL
This is a never opened sample that I bought a while back. The leaves are indeed quite tippy, some of them rather silvery looking. They have an earthy smell before steeping.
Steeped, they produce a medium-light brown, clear liquor. But the smell — oh the smell! This has to be what they mean by muscatel, though I’ve never tasted muscatel to my knowledge or muscatel grapes for that matter. The aroma is so grapey, but has that pungent note that takes it up a note to winey. Pretty serious stuff.
The tea is fairly astringent, drying in the sip but smooth in the finish that leaves a fresh, leafy-ness in mouth. It grabs a little at the back of the throat, which is the only downside for me. I don’t really enjoy that sensation.
It’s medium-bodied to light-bodied, and I wonder whether it might benefit from slightly lower temperature, which I intend to try before the sample is done.
The flavor is fairly mild and has some white wine notes that give it a little tartness.
Except for the throat grab, very enjoyable.
Flavors: Grapes, Muscatel, White Wine
Sipdown no. 174. The rest of the sample.
For the finale, I gave this the stove top treatment. In addition to the chai mixture, I added Teas Etc.’s Assam Reserve and the Upton Turkish Apple. Two tbsp chai, two tbsp assam, 3tbsp apple.
Definitely an improvement on all fronts, so much so that I’m gonna bump this up a couple of points on the theory that prepared as nature intended chai to be prepared it did better.
It’s actually better than this number reflects, but I’m not bumping it more because a big part of the improvement is, I think, because I added the apple. The blend needed more apple from the get go, and if it had had that, I’d have given it higher marks.
And with this, I will have at least tasted all of the sample chais in the set from Adagio. Some were sipped down long ago. Only three of the original six or seven have any small bits left.
I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this one because the flavors that make this Thai are also the flavors that make me a reluctant Thai food eater. My relationship with Thai food goes like this: ooooh, cool! Thai food! Yum! Want! and then when I’m leaving the restaurant, I’m inevitably disappointed in whatever it was I ate, unless what I ate was the old standby for people who don’t really eat Thai food, Pad Thai. It just sounds so much better to me in theory than it actually tastes to my palate.
One of the main ingredients that makes for that result is coconut. Which I like by itself, and with other forms of fruit. Or with chocolate. But with things like shrimp and chicken and fish it can be too sweet for me. I tend to prefer savory flavors in my meats; I’m not a big fan of sweet and sour, either.
Fortunately, there is no shrimp, chicken, or fish in this tea. I decided to try this for a first go according to the Adagio steeping directions for the most part. I steeped it a bit longer than recommended because that seemed to improve the Spiced Apple.
Straight up, its pretty meh. Kind of like the Spiced Apple was meh straight up, only there is more coconut in this than there was apple in that. Sweetened and with milk, it’s better. But it’s not the coconut that is making this weird for me, it’s the lemongrass. It sort of takes the sweetness I was expecting from the coconut and undercuts it so that it’s not really that sweet any more.
I’ll try it on the stovetop another time, maybe with some coconut tea as the extra black and see what that does. But at this point it’s my least favorite among all the Adagio chai samples.
Flavors: Coconut, Lemongrass, Spices
I was looking around for something else to cold brew and decided to try this. Even though it’s December, it’s nice to have something cold available to drink. And this way I don’t have to rely on Diet Coke for something with flavor. It’s also cost effective in a stupid way. It’s a sunk cost because I already bought it and have had it sitting around doing nothing, whereas Diet Coke is an incremental cost because I haven’t already bought it. I have to think about such things while looking for a job. ;-)
I haven’t actually tried this hot yet — in fact, I cracked open the tin, which I’ve had for a while, yesterday for the first time. It’s been in the fridge for about 24 hours and I just strained out the leaves.
I’m sure when I bought this way back when I was thinking to myself, Sri Lankan oolong? That sounds pretty interesting. Let’s try that.
I suspect now I’m too much of a purist to go there except perhaps in the small sample size rather than the metric ton size.
As a cold brew, this is pretty tasty. It’s got a flavor that is not nearly as toasty as the Se Chung was, but isn’t really a green oolong flavor either. There’s no milkiness or butteryness, and it’s not obviously floral. It’s very fresh tasting, almost green tea or darjeeling-ish flavor, but not as strong and not nearly as wine-like as darjeeling.
The leaves unfurled to a huge size. So big that when I strained this, I lost about a fifth of the volume to water displacement from the leaves.
I’ll try it hot eventually, of course, but it’s doing a very nice job as a cold tea.
Today is turning out to be a day for experimentation.
Yesterday I mentioned that I’d like to try adding some of this http://steepster.com/teas/upton-tea-imports/6598-turkish-apple and steeping per Adagio’s instructions to see whether that brought out the apple more, but didn’t think I had enough of the Spiced Apple Chai left to try both that and a stovetop session.
Oh joy, I was wrong — after doing some preemptive measuring, I discovered I have enough to try both!
I did a 1:1 ratio of chai to apple, and there is definitely more apple flavor. I think I could have gone even farther and done 2:1. Adding milk and sweetener brings the apple flavor out even more.
I’m not changing the rating because I had to do things to this to get it to where I thought it was really good — but I’m pleased with how this turned out.
Later this afternoon or tomorrow, I’ll try the last bit of the sample on the stovetop and see how that goes. I think I’ll give it an extra tbsp of the apple when I try that.