952 Tasting Notes

57
drank Vanilla Apricot White by Tazo
952 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking more of this lately, as part of the protracted project to finish up my original bagged training teas.

The more I drink it, the more I have realized that vanilla is really the primary flavor here. The apricot is more of an afterthought and the tea is most noticeable when it’s a day old, which is to say, it starts to sour pretty much immediately (yeah, I admit it, same way I finish up the rest of day old Diet Cokes I do that with tea too).

Though it is heads and tails over the White Cucumber with its rather nasty pickle overtones, this is at most a passable bagged white flavored tea. I won’t have to hold my nose to finish my stash or anything, but it’s something I’ll wave goodbye to without much of a second thought when I get to the end.

Dropping the rating some.

Cofftea

I wish Starbucks would have the entire Tazo product line yet. I’d definitely be willing to try this.

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61

I have about enough of this left for another cup or two (big cups… when I drink tisanes at night I go for the 16 oz size as all that heat is bound to make me sleepy), and it has grown on me some over the course of drinking way more of this than I probably should have ordered (S&V doesn’t have samples, so you sort of have to buy the smallest size they have and for this one that size was 4 oz.). I was pretty optimistic about this one from the description so I happily bought 4 oz of it.

I gave up on the experimentation described in my previous note and just focused on getting the proportion of mixture to water right, and it turned out that more was a lot better in this case. I’m putting in about double the amount I’d ordinarily expect per cup, and that gives it a good bit of flavor. It’s still missing a sweetness that I’d like to see in a lemon tisane and it still has an edge of bitterness that I could do without, but in between is a decent amount of lemon flavor.

Though it has grown on me, I don’t feel like it has grown enough to justify bumping up the rating. I likely won’t buy more when I decupboard, which I expect to be sometime this weekend.

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84

Having tasted the black savant, flavors, green savant and most of the herbal sampler (just lemongrass to go and I’m not in the mood for that just now), I’m moving along to the next set of Adagio samples. This is the first of the flavored oolongs.

I really love oolongs, but I don’t drink them as much these days as other things, mostly because they’re something of a production to drink with the multiple steeps, and I just haven’t felt relaxed enough lately to sit with a tea through four or more steeps.

This one has very twiggy coarse dark leaves with flecks of grapefruit peel among them. It smells like a tree scented with grapefruit.

The liquor is a light amber/yellow and it has a strong, toasty/fruity aroma though the fruity part isn’t necessarily grapefruit.

But in the flavor, there’s grapefruit and it’s… really nice? Surprising, in a way. I haven’t had a lot of success with most flavored oolongs I’ve tried. The oolong here is mostly the toasty/roasty background for a grapefruit flavor that sparkles along the top of the sip.

I’ll update and rate this after I’ve given it it’s due. I have to run off to dinner now. Trying a new Mexican place in the neighborhood.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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84

And now for something completely different.

When I placed my The O Dor order a while back this one seemed too strange to pass up. And it is indeed very, very strange.

First off, the smell out of the tin is the smell of latex house paint. Seriously, I kid you not. Given the list of ingredients, I was expecting to see bits of vegetables in here. I’m not seeing that upon opening the tin, but there are some really large flower petals, much bigger than I’ve seen in other blends. One is so long that initially, I mistook it for a red pepper.

This steeps to a dark reddish brown color. It still has a bit of paint to the smell after steeping, but its now has something else which is sort of like lentils. I wonder if those are in here, maybe they’re the legumes. There’s a peppery note, too.

The flavor, thankfully, is not at all paint like. But it is very hard to describe. It has a savory spice note, a hint of rosemary maybe. It reminds me of the spice mixtures in Italian restaurants that give the olive oil you dip your bread in its flavor. That same type of mixture sometimes tops specialty breads. I’m not able to identify the currant, but I am able to get a mixed vegetable note that is sort of like a hint of ratatouille. There is a sweetness in the aftertaste that’s kind of surprising given the savory quality of the tea.

This is a really unique tea, and something I need to sit with for a while. I give it points for its ingenuity in bringing together flavors not usually used in black tea mixes. I’ve had similar flavors in teas before (the savory spices) but they were always in herbal blends. I’m not really sure how to rate it. On the one hand I’m kind of charmed by the whole idea of it. On the other, it’s not something I see myself drinking frequently, and I’m not sure how likely it is to be a reorder now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

A fruit and veggie chai??? Weird. Must have! :)

__Morgana__

I wouldn’t call it a chai. It doesn’t have any chai spices except maybe pepper.

Cofftea

Ok. It’s listed as a chai here.

__Morgana__

I saw that. But having tasted it, I’m not sure why unless the The O Dor site describes it that way.

Cofftea

Nope they describe it the same as it is here. Tea equipage! I love it!:) Gotta try that African Breakfast…

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84
drank Troika by Kusmi Tea
952 tasting notes

After yesterday’s October Revelation mixture of seven citrus fruits, this seems a modest little tea. Only three citrus fruits here, and I’m expecting to taste orange and maybe a little lemon. Seems like this should really be called Troika times two, as there are two troikas here, the citrus fruits and the black teas. But that wouldn’t sound very Russian.

Bergamot is the main scent of the dry leaves. It opens up after steeping into an orange-laced, somewhat fruity, somewhat biscuity aroma. The tea has a medium amber color. I’m not getting pepper here, which I wondered about since I definitely get that in the Kusmi Earl Grey.

The taste is quite nice. I think I prefer it to the busier flavor of October Revelation. It’s sort of a citrus equivalent to the Kusmi 4 Red Fruits, except that the individual notes are harder to detect, but that may be because they’re all sort of similar flavors to begin with. Though the bergamot was strong in the fragrance of the dry leaf it is not strong here. The tea is smooth and easy on the stomach. The tea underneath the citrus is perky without being darjeelingy if that makes sense. It has a cleanness and a bit of briskness to it.

This is one for the cupboard, I think.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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85

At last, I have reached what I hope will be the pinnacle of my coconut journey. I’m really excited to try this one given all the love it has here on Steepster.

Also excited because I can’t remember whether I’ve had Nilgiri before. It might have shown up in a blend somewhere along the line but I don’t recall ever having tasted it straight before.

The coconut in here, being toasted, looks different than the coconut in other blends I’ve tried recently. It’s in long thin strips that look a little like flower petals in tea. The Nilgiri leaves are big, dark and sort of coarse looking. The fragrance of the dry mix is intense. Very volatile, almost alcohol-smelling.

After steeping I can really smell the tea more than coconut, though there’s a coconut note there, for sure. The tea’s aroma has a really pretty floral note to it that I wasn’t expecting. The liquor is medium-light amber.

I should say that I steeped this according to Premium Steap’s directions and put it at boiling rather than at a lower temperature, which I’ve been doing with other flavored blacks, mostly because it seems sometimes to bring more flavor out. Other times it doesn’t or doesn’t make a difference. But I wanted to go according to the book the first time with this one.

And yes, there’s a difference in flavor between toasted and nontoasted versions of coconut black tea, though not as much as I had expected, and though I’m not sure how much the Nilgiri contributes to the mix since I’m rather a Nilgiri neophyte. I have to say the American Tea Room version was pretty impressive notwithstanding its nontoastedness. That said, I’m really enjoying the macaroon flashes I’m getting from this, especially as the tea cools and especially in the minutes after sipping.

To me, the most impressive part about this is the blend. It’s not a black tea with coconut sitting on top so much as it is a tea that seems to be imbued with coconut flavor. Like they can’t really be separated from each other. I’m always pretty impressed by teas that manage to do this as it seems much more difficult to accomplish than just flavoring tea (though I have no idea whether this is true, it just seems that way because it’s rarer than an obvious flavoring).

The true test of this one will be tasting it in isolation without earlier coconuts still in my tastebuds’ memories, but so far it’s in front, with the ATR close behind. I could see this and the ATR coexisting in my cupboard much in the same way I can see The du Loup and Florence coexisting as though they’re similar, they’re different enough to be… well… different.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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81

Finishing up the last of this sample, and I tried an experiment in the Breville at the same time. It isn’t really set up to make fewer than two cups, but I only had a cup’s worth of tea left, so I filled it halfway to the first line.

It came out fine, though I am a little worried about trying this on a regular basis. Makes me wary of burning out the element or some such disaster. Also, because the measurement was imprecise, I’m not getting as strong of a cocoa note from it this time around.

I must say that the coconut in this one, though not toasted, is delicious. It’s… juicy. The flavor in the finish and afterwards is sweet and fresh tasting. Makes me wonder whether this is a characteristic of this blend or whether the Adagio sample was just a bit older when I got around to trying it. The tea base here does seem richer and to have more character than that of the Adagio, even without as much of a cocoa note as I tasted yesterday.

Peggie Bennett

I’ll have to try this! I absolutely love fresh coconut, especially young coconut; can sometimes tolerate toasted coconut.

__Morgana__

You should definitely give it a try. I love that American Tea Room has little sample packets of just about everything for sale, so it’s a small investment to give it a try.

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76
drank Coconut by Adagio Teas
952 tasting notes

Finishing up this sample today as part of a larger plan for coconut tastings. I’m also planning to finish up the last of the ATR and then on to the Premium Steap, which seems to have a good many fans here. I am really eager to try that one as it has toasted coconut rather than untoasted, and that could make a lot of difference in how I receive it as macaroons would be one of the ten foods I’d take with me if I were stranded on a desert island.

I continue to find this one enjoyable, but having now had the ATR I think that if I were going to buy a “fresh” coconut blend I’d pick the ATR instead. There’s something about the base of the ATR that just has more depth. Thanks to the experience of the ATR, though, I’m now looking for, and finding, a bit of a chocolate note to this one.

I wonder whether it’s more than coincidence that it’s called a coconut. I googled why is a coconut called a coconut and got a reference to coco meaning monkey face. But there’s an interesting similarity between chocolate and coconut, which is probably what makes them so appealing together. They mesh somewhere on a flavor continuum which is not dissimilar from the cocoa/vanilla continuum.

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65

Finishing up this sample. Second time around with this, it was tarter than the first and the raspberry remained discernible but not particularly strong.

A little sweeter and with stronger raspberry and this would be something I’d have to reorder. The BF’s favorite food (not just fruit, food) is raspberry. He tried some of this and remarked “I like the raspberry, but not the tart.”

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81

I drank some more of the Adagio Coconut sample earlier and had intended to try this back to back but got hung up on a phone call and wasn’t able to do it. So I’m comparing by memory rather than by direct back to back tastings.

The coconut pieces in this sample are huge compared to those in the Adagio. The samples smell different too. It’s funny, today I’m getting a sort of chocolatey note from both of them, and the Adagio is sort of the milk chocolate version of Mounds while the ATR is more a dark chocolate version. The coconut in the ATR is a little more green smelling than in the Adagio and since I thought the Adagio was a bit on the green side when I prefer that toasty macaroon coconut flavor, I’m wondering whether this will hold true after steeping.

The aroma has a dark character with respect to the tea and a green character with respect to the coconut. The liquor is almost a mahogany color. I’m guessing this is at least in part a Ceylon base.

Even though the flavor isn’t exactly toasty, there’s something about it I’m quite enjoying. I think it’s the fact that even though this isn’t a chocolate flavored tea, there’s a definite cocoa note, which makes this taste more like chocolate/coconut than plain coconut. There’s a slight sweetness, especially in the finish, and a pleasant aftertaste.

I prefer this to the Adagio, though I’m still not sure how I feel about coconut on it’s own as a flavoring agent. I tend to like my coconut with something else, be it chocolate, pineapple, coffee flavor, etc. I’d probably buy a chocolate/coconut blend over this, but if that wasn’t available, this would be a rather good substitute.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
cody

I agree. I’ve never really been much for coconut on its own… but, I guess tea is the second flavor?

__Morgana__

Yeah, although it’s really more of a single flavor with the coconut sort of melding with the tea in this one. I should have been more precise, what I meant to say was that the tea/coconut mix on its own isn’t as appealing to me as a tea/coconut/something else mixture if the something else is something I like mixed with coconut. ;-)

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Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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