1183 Tasting Notes
Sipdown no. 47 for the year 2014. 50 is in sight! I should definitely make it over the weekend, maybe even by the end of the day.
Under the light of my desk lamp, where I ordinarily sit when on the computer, the liquor today is redder than it looked in sunlight yesterday, closer to the way I described the liquor of the Double Bergamot. I think there must have been a steeping fluke on my first tasting that resulted in a lighter, yellower liquor.
In any case, though my Earl Grey pantheon is full, I will enjoy this while it lasts.
Sipdown no. 46 for the year 2014, with a caveat. This is the only teabag I have of this. It’s from my work stash. But I may have some Maeda-en Sencha in loose form at home.
This is a solid sencha. It’s everything I have come to expect from sencha plus a little more. The flavor isn’t bitter, except for a bit of grassiness that seems to be a characteristic of sencha. On the contrary, I find it to have a bit of sweetness. There is some roastiness as others have said, but to my tastebuds it’s only enough to make the suggestion and not nearly as prevalent as in the genmaicha or the houijicha. It gives this a unique character. I find it quite tasty.
Sipdown no. 45 for the year 2014. Another teabag from the work stash. Despite the temperature given on the slider, I really can’t say that’s the steeping temperature because yet again I forgot the thermometer.
The teabag has a gentle minty fragrance, and the steeped tea has a hint of mint to it as well. There’s something sweet and green tea buttery underneath the mint. Tea liquor is the color of melted butter with a slight green tinge.
The mint is clearly present but not overpowering in the flavor and is a nice blend that reminds me of why I like the blend of spearmint and peppermint in Tazo Refresh. The spearmint mellows the peppermint to keep it from being too much like an Altoid. It does have something reminiscent of a Double Mint gum, which may be because there’s no mediating influence of tarragon as in the Refresh. The green tea’s flavor is not something I can easily separate out, but I do get a buttery, soft flavor to the overall tea that I attribute to the green tea.
It’s tasty enough, but for a green mint, my heart belongs to Samovar’s Moorish Mint.
I brought this with me on the drive down to work today. It’s pretty much the same as my assessment in my initial note, with the exception of the description of the liquor. I described that as dark amber. It’s really darker than that, more like a medium maple syrup color. I’m looking at it through glass as I was in the original note but under different light, and I think it is in fact a somewhat different color than the double and single versions, which looked darker to me.
This smells like warm gingerbread after steeping, with no woodiness or cedar chippiness from the rooibos base. The flavor gives the impression of being cinnamony but I’m not sure it really is. The cardomom, ginger, and cloves keep the cinnamon from running away with the flavor and the vanilla adds a sweetness and a mellowness. I can’t taste the rooibos, at least not very much, which makes this a successful blend in my book.
I’m torn on how to rate this because it’s very good, but I’m not sure I’d stock it. It’s a little on the spicy side for a night time cup; if I’m going to be drinking something at night I’m looking for calming rather than invigorating and I really only drink decaf options at night.
I’m going to go ahead and rate it to reflect my opinion that it is a successful blend, with the caveat that I usually would put something with a rating this high on the shopping list and I am not yet sure I plan to do that here.
Sipping this while watching the kids’ kung fu lessons. It’s a little weirder this time than last. With these chunky mixes I think a lot depends on what actually gets into your filter to steep. The spices are a little stronger at the expense of the tea flavor this time, but not enough for me to mark this down.
I may try the rooibos vanilla version tonight. I’m pushing it as it is drinking caffeine this late.
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.
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!)
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.
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.