1178 Tasting Notes

76
drank White Grapefruit by Adagio Teas
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 44 for the year 2014. This concludes all the Adagio white tea samplers, unless I find the Jasmine Silver Needle that has either (1) mysteriously disappeared or, (2) been sipped down over the last couple of years without me remembering.

I made sure to measure by weight this time. I also went for a shorter steep time, but not as short as the Breville thinks white teas should have (2:30) because I’m not convinced from what I’ve read that’s the ideal time. I went for 4:30 because the highest rating this tea got on Steepster indicated a 5 minute steep time.

This turned out to work pretty well. The grapefruit tastes much better to me than the other flavored whites. Part of this is the way the flavoring works together with the tea base instead of seemingly at odds with it as some of the other flavored whites seemed to do. Something about the grapefruit flavoring cuts through the plantiness and reduces it to just a hint so the impression is a sweeter tea over all. The grapefruit is definitely apparent, unlike the tangerine in the white tangerine or the pear in the white pear, but it isn’t overwhelming and cloying like the coconut in the White Tropics.

This is definitely my favorite of all the Adagio white flavored teas I tried, and I actually prefer it to the plain whites, too.

Bumping the rating. It earns a place on the shopping list.

Yvonne

I don’t see grapefruit a lot in teas, interesting!

pyarkaaloo

i LOVE grapefruit and grapefruit juice… can’t imagine how it will translate in tea! does it have a nice tartness to it when steeped? would you say it has a ‘juicy’ quality to it (at this point)?

__Morgana__

It’s a little too subtle for me to consider it juicy. It was very evident though. Tartness… hmmm. Not in a mouth puckering sense, and there’s a bit of sweetness to it but it isn’t overly sweet.

Cavocorax

Bayswater in Vancouver has a nice Grapefruit Earl Grey that works quite nicely, and I just tried a cherry graprefruit green from RiverTea that was good as well!

Yvonne

Grapefruit Earl Grey sounds absolutely divine.

Kirkoneill1988

i don’t like grapefruit :(

__Morgana__

Yeah, it’s an interesting flavor for a tea and I’m always surprised at how well it usually works. I have a few other grapefruit teas as well.

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70
drank Snowbud by Adagio Teas
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 43 for the year 2014.

This is embarrassing.

I’ve concluded that my recent Adagio white tea sampler tastings may have all been fundamentally flawed by significant underleafing. I should know better. But somehow I let the convenience of the Breville take over when my brain should have been making the decisions.

I was reading the thread about volume vs. weight and what Dinosaura said about weight in relation to white tea made me go “oh crap.”

So for this one, I got out the scale. Turns out if I’d used a spoon instead I’d still be one pot away from a sipdown. I had just under two cups worth of tea by weight so I steeped this in 500ml of water.

The good news, such that it is, is that the underleafing in this case may not have made a lot of difference. The flavor of this one is so light that using a lot more tea doesn’t seem to have much impact. (It may still have affected some of the others though. Bah!)

Lesson learned.

Kirkoneill1988

what did it taste like?

__Morgana__

Lots of info about that in my various previous notes on this—too much to summarize here!

Kirkoneill1988

could you give me a link (url)? or would it be better if i searched for it :)

__Morgana__

If you click on the link in the name of the tea of a tasting note you’re reading, you will go to the page where all the notes on that tea are posted and you can read all the other notes someone has posted about that particular tea. I’m not sure it’s possible to link more specifically than that, but perhaps someone else knows.

Kirkoneill1988

oh, ill check it out sometime :)

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88

Sipdown no. 42 for the year 2014. But it’s not forever as this is definitely on my shopping list!

keychange’s note about this earlier today put me in the mood for this. I’m working from home today and the BF wanted some as well, so I think that, in an effort to stretch this to include a cup for him I underleafed a bit.

It was definitely Red Hots I smelled in the packet, even given the age of the sample. Very cinnamony but in a sweet-hot, candy way, not the woody, herby way that cinnamon can sometimes smell.

And that’s what I taste as well. Sweet-hot cinnamon. All the other ingredients—orange, cloves, even the tea—may be there in the flavor somewhere and doing something to make the flavor what it is, but I’m not able to isolate them.

And in this case, that’s a very good thing. Because for me they aren’t the reason to drink this. The reason to drink this is for the warming, sweet-hot cinnamon flavor.

Yum.

keychange

Yup, warming cinnamon sweet flavor indeed! I’m glad my joy for this one was contagious.

__Morgana__

Thanks for being contagious :-)

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78

After trying the triple bergamot version two mornings ago and the double bergamot version yesterday, I decided to try the plain old single version today.

But first, I lined up the sample packets and sniffed the dry mix from triple to single. They weren’t kidding. The triple is extremely strong smelling on the citrus/perfume, the single is very gently scented and the double is in between, just as it should be.

In fact, after steeping, the aroma of the bergamot is quite gentle. The tea base comes through more than in the other two versions, and it is sweet and malty. I wonder whether the base is different for this one or it is just the interaction of the stronger bergamot with the same base, but this one tastes much more like it has some Yunnan in the base. The liquor color is beautiful—a sort of a reddish brandy.

The gentler bergamot and sweeter base combine to make this, not surprisingly, my favorite of the three. The metallic note I detected in the others is only barely present here, and the bite is almost nonexistent making this a smoother flavor to my tastebuds.

It’s a very nice tea, and it’s certainly something I would drink again, but I have to make some hard choices about pantry space and there are others that hit my sweet spot better.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
keychange

I find the names of these teas interesting. doesn’t earl grey blend mean it already has bergamot? Or do they mean earl grey tea with even more bergamot? and then triple strong would really be four times stronger? I wonder if they jus thave an earl grey blend sans bergamot…

__Morgana__

You would think so, but I think they just use “with bergamot” to distinguish it from “with bergamot x 2” and “with bergamot x 3.” I’m pretty sure I bought samples of all the Earl Greys they had at the time.

keychange

Haha you’re probably right.

Kirkoneill1988

i love earl grey from HYLEYS. what is bergamot

__Morgana__

Bergamot is the citrus that provides the distinctive aroma and flavor of Earl Grey.

Kirkoneill1988

oh! ok :D ive never tried the brand u tried of earl grey. only hyleys

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70
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 41 for the year 2014. It is not a favorite, but it had its moments. I’m glad of the experience and look forward to comparing it with others of its ilk.

TheTeaFairy

Well at least it knew this was coming ;-)

__Morgana__

Yes, I believe in being up front about such things. :-)

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85
drank HOUJI-CHA Tea Bags by Maeda-en
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 40 for the year 2014. A sample teabag from the work stash. Again guessing at temperature. Split the baby on time between the suggested 30 seconds to 1 minute and steeped for 45 seconds.

I don’t think I’ve ever had houji-cha before (and now because of the thing… you know, the phobia…) it might be a long time before I have it again unless I have some other samples tucked away somewhere.

Which is a shame because this is delicious. The aroma after steeping is wonderfully roasty, almost like an oolong but not as strong and with clear whiffs of green tea vegetalness. There’s a sweet toastiness to the flavor, too, but without reminding me of popcorn like genmaicha does. I don’t get any bitterness, just a bit of grass in the finish that lets me know this is a Japanese green tea despite what my senses might be telling me.

This toastiness is more like what you get from roast vegetables. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it caramel, I can see where that thought originates. It’s the same sort of roasted sweetness you get from carmelized vegetables, like onions.

Really enjoyable.

Preparation
0 min, 45 sec
pyarkaaloo

i LOVE hojicha and recently acquired it!! granted it’s just in teabags (by Eden) but WOW what an amazing flavor profile. yes, i too get a roasted/toasted sensation from the tea, while still being able to detect that it’s a green tea. it does remind me a little of oolong come to think of it, as both remind me of the kind of tea served up in Japanese restaurants! (at least the kind i frequent..) what i distinctly remember about the tea, despite not knowing what kind they use, is that it definitely has a roasted brown-rice quality…in my particular hojichas i do get a bit of popcorn, but maybe Hojicha varies among brand, and from teabag to loose leaf! i’m excited to try all kinds now. ur ‘caramelized vegetable’ note sounds scrumptious tho!

__Morgana__

This was, I think, my first and I really enjoyed it!

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72
drank Berryblossom White by Tazo
1178 tasting notes

Though we’ve managed a sipdown of this at home between me, my BF, and the kids, I still have about 16 bags of this in my work stash.

That’s okay, though, because this has really grown on me.

During my recent tour of Adagio white teas, I kept wondering in the back of my mind why this tasted so different from those. Why it had what seemed like a richer flavor. It wasn’t just the berry aspect, there was something else going on. Then I looked at the ingredients again.

Darjeeling! That explains a lot.

I have a feeling I’ll be nostalgic about this one at sipdown time. It may even be one of the few Tazos I feel the need to keep on hand. At the moment I’m not prepared to say that because the other two, Refresh and Decaf Lotus Blossom Green, are really special in my view. But it’ll be close in any case.

pyarkaaloo

would like to try this! white tea w berries is always a nice combination, plus i think the addition of Darjeeling is a nice idea. it’s delicate for a black tea, so i can only imagine it giving a fuller body to this white tea.

also a huge fan of Decaf Lotus Blossom!! that green tea is just so lovely..recently bought a box.

__Morgana__

Yes, I think the Darjeeling is key to giving this it’s flavor. I think it might be too bland otherwise.

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75
drank Jasmin Mandarin by Lupicia
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 39 for the year 2014. Another sachet from the work stash.

Forgot the thermometer again! So I winged it on the water temp—let it cool for a couple of minutes before steeping.

I had a bit of a “doh” moment when I picked this tea today. I thought the word mandarin in the name meant it was flavored with both jasmine and mandarin orange, and I kept saying to myself—but I don’t smell orange? I don’t taste orange? So I did an internet search and all signs I could find pointed to this being a straight up jasmine green and that Mandarin presumably refers to the Chinese origin of the tea base.

Once I had a better understanding of what I was tasting, I could appreciate it for what it is. It seems like a really serviceable jasmine green tea. Having tasted the Kusmi Jasmine Green recently, I think these two teas are quite comparable. Both have a nice jasmine flavor, and with both, I don’t get a lot of green tea taste.

This one has a slight downward note in the finish that leans toward grassy and the jasmine doesn’t strike me as as rich and vibrant. Some of that could be simply because of the mode of preparation. But comparing the two I prefer the Kusmi.

This is a solid jasmine green though, and I wouldn’t turn it down. It’s just that, as with everything tea, I find myself having to make these fine distinctions to avoid having tea take over my house. I am going to bump the Kusmi a couple of points.

Preparation
1 min, 30 sec
Ana

That’s disappointing there is no mandarin. I think jasmine and mandarin would work well together in a tea.

__Morgana__

Lupicia does have a jasmine + orange, as it turns out. It’s called Miss Jasmin #

http://steepster.com/teas/lupicia/5079-miss-jasmin-number

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70
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
1178 tasting notes

Dear Silver Needle:

Thank you for keeping me company on my commute this morning.

I very much appreciated that you were not planty or heavy, like your colleague, White Symphony. Thank you for being light, dewy and nectar-y today.

Now could you please do just a little more of what you’re doing? Just a tad more flavor would be nice. Sometimes I felt as though I was drinking water with a few drops of sugar stirred in.

If I used to know more about white tea, I have forgotten most of what I knew. I don’t believe I’ve really tasted many silver needles, so despite my sincere thanks, I do think I will be playing the field a while longer.

When we next meet, I’ll be sipping you down, so you should prepare yourself.

XXXOOOXXXOOO,

Me

TheTeaFairy

Hey, if you don’t ask, you can’t get!
(If I were you, I’d behave SilverNeedle…)

__Morgana__

Hehehehehe.

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82
drank Rose Scented by Harney & Sons
1178 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 38 of 2014. This may be so long for now, but it isn’t goodbye forever. I like this one too much for that to be true.

I barely had enough leaf left for the lowest Breville setting, which makes me wonder whether the last time I tasted this I overleafed some. I know from looking back at my note that I found the rose very strong, and perhaps that’s why.

Because this time, I didn’t find the rose too strong at all. Now, it is true my sample is old (but ziplocked in the sample packet and not subjected to indignities in storage), and it is also true that because there was so little of this left I may have gone a bit in the other direction and underleafed some. Even so, the aroma is a lovely rose with a mild, sweet black tea base, and the flavor is pretty much the same.

But I think that just means this is a versatile tea that can work both on the somewhat strong and somewhat weak side, and, I have to believe, in the perfect in between.

Bumping the rating some because however you slice it, this is a keeper.

boychik

i mix it with Queen Catherine 1:2

__Morgana__

I’ll have to try that!

keychange

Would you like the rest of my rose scented? There’s a lot left, and it could use a good home.

__Morgana__

Awww, that is so kind of you. But I am really, really, in severe lock down and I can’t let any more tea into my house until I’ve made significantly more headway with the sipdown project. (If I don’t keep to it, I fear my BF will move all the tea to the curb when I’m not looking. ;-) If it is still available when I have, then I’ll be all over it.

keychange

It likely will be, as it’s being sipped at extremely slowly. You just give the word and it’s yours!

TheTeaFairy

Haha! ditto with the lock down! Those damn clicking fingers!!!!

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Profile

Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. 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 write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with 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. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

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

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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