1119 Tasting Notes
Next in the Adagio flavored white sampler. Steeped according to package directions for initial foray.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I think the tea base is exactly the same as the one used for all the other Adagio flavored whites, which appears to be white peony with maybe a silver needle or three thrown in.
To say this tea seems to have elicited strong reactions from some Steepsterites is something of an understatement. ;-)
The more I try the other flavored whites, the deeper into the negative point abyss White Tropics slips. The White Pear doesn’t have a cloyingly sweet smell, artificial or otherwise, to the dry leaf. The only hint I get of pear at all in the dry leaf is an undercurrent of freshness, like a fresh water smell. It’s very faint, though. Mostly I smell white tea.
The liquor is the same clear golden yellow as the other flavored white samples. There’s a very faint smell of something other than tea to the steep. I have to really stretch my olfactory sense to get to pear, though.
The flavor suffers from the same issue as the white tangerine. There’s not enough beyond the tea to really merit the name flavored white. It’s not bad, just not what I’d hope for out of pear.
There’s more of a sweetish pear-like flavor as the tea cools. But I have to wonder how much of this is power of suggestion. I doubt if this was presented to me without my knowing it was supposed to be pear, I’d identify it as pear. It’s probably mostly placebo effect.
It makes me want to run a double blind study: take a plain black tea and call it, oh say, pomegranate and see how many people taste pomegranate. ;-)
A really good pear tea would be awesome, though.
Look what else I found in my work stash! I thought it was gone because it hasn’t been part of my home stash for a while. Turns out I have a few bags left.
I concluded a while back that while they were neck and neck for a while, I prefer the Berryblossom White to this. I find the flavoring of that one a bit more subtle, and the vanilla in this one somewhat more pronounced and the apricot somewhat less pronounced than they should be. Still, it’s pleasant enough for an afternoon at the office.
I found this teabag in my stash at work. (I’m back in the office for the first time today but I’m not sure I’m going to last the whole day. Still coughing and sore throat-y.)
Steeping at work is always imperfect because the water is kind of take it or leave it, and it comes out of the spigot quite hot. So I try to limit myself to teas that can take really hot water.
I should mention that I’m not a huge sweet potato fan. I really like the fries they do at The Counter, and I will eat a baked sweet potato during the appropriate season, but I’ve never been much for the mashed potato with pineapple thing my BF likes to make for Thanksgiving. I can’t now recall whether I’ve had sweet potato pie. I must have, but I probably thought it was pumpkin.
The little mesh bag had little white dots in it that I assume are the marshmallows, and fine grains of tea managed to escape onto my fingers as I held it to my nose. Wow, what a strange smell to the dry leaf. Definitely potato, but it seemed to me to waffle between sweet potato and white potato. There was also some weird strong scent that I see Auggy has identified as whisky. Yeah, that could be it.
The tea was a really lovely clear reddish brown but the aroma of the steeped tea was bakey bakey bakey and not in a way that appealed to me. The flavor, though, was surprisingly quite good. On the front of the sip, there’s a mild tea flavor, but there’s something sweet and lightly spiced that’s pie-like evident toward the end of the sip and in the aftertaste. The little marshmallows also add sparks of sweetness that pop every now and then in the mouth.
I think this is quite well done. It’s not something I would buy, but mainly because sweet potato flavor is not in my top ten or probably even 20 list. I could see how it would appeal to fans, though.
Next in the Adagio flavored white sampler. Steeped according to package directions for the initial foray.
The tea base looks very similar to the one for White Tropics, like a mix of white peony with some silver needle perhaps as well. The smell in the tin is very different. No sweetness, making the White Tropics smell cloying by comparison. It smells a little like dirt, frankly. There’s a note of what must be the tangerine flavoring that gives it a hint of generic fruitiness.
In the cup, it’s a pretty yellow, leaning toward an apricot color. I can’t smell the tangerine in the cup, just the subtlety of white tea.
Now to the taste. The BF, who tasted White Tropics with me this morning, says this doesn’t have much taste compared to that. I agree, but I think we mean different things. By comparison to the White Tropics, this is a much more pleasant cup to my mind. Just as the leaves in the tin, the taste here makes me look back on White Tropics as cloying to the point of stomach unsettling by comparison.
On the other hand, I’m getting only the tiniest hint of citrusy high note here, and I wouldn’t say it would be identifiable as tangerine if I didn’t know that was what it was. It’s most apparent in the aftertaste. Much more enjoyable than White Tropics, but kind of a miss on the tangerine front.
ETA: After it cools some, the tangerine flavor comes to the fore. It’s still very subtle but discernibly tangerine-y. Also, though I didn’t notice anything distinctive about the mouth feel while the tea was hot, when it becomes cooler, a soft mouth feel becomes noticeable.
I was going to march right ahead into the next white tea sample, but this afternoon I really really wanted an oolong.
Oolongs were one of my first loose leaf experiences and I have a soft spot for a really nice oolong. I like them light and floral and buttery, I like them dark and stone-fruity and round.
This hit the spot. The leaves in the sample tin are dark green, tightly curled, and have that Formosa fragrance, almost winy like a darjeeling but just a tad short. I made this in my gaiwan and I am, alas, not very skilled, but OMG the leaves ballooned from a third of the cup to almost overflowing after several steeps. They’re beautiful when unwound, to the point where I almost ate one just because it looked so appealing!
I did remember to “awaken” the leaves. I went with short steeps and I’m on my fourth now. The one thing I dislike about the gaiwan method is that mine is so small, I barely get a few swallows out of each steep. Next time I will try this in a pot.
I tried to pay enough attention to write a decent note about the taste, but honestly I was just so happy to be drinking this I let myself off the hook. Next time.
Moving on in sample land from honeybush to some of the whites.
It was hard not to notice the unfavorable reviews when I searched for this tea in the database. I am trying to keep an open mind.
There’s a strong coconut aroma to the sample tin, and I smell pineapple as well. I’m not smelling suntan lotion (thankfully) except to the extent that coconut is always a little reminiscent of suntan lotion.
I’m not sure what tea is used in the base. I can’t find any info on the Adagio site other than white tea. I whipped out the unflavored white samples for a comparison and I think it’s a mix. I see a few leaves that look like silver needle, and some that look like the White Symphony sample which are white peony. A lot of them are broken. There are bits of color among the leaves like in the picture, though I’m not sure what they are and my guess is they add atmosphere rather than flavor.
The infused tea has a golden, brown tinged liquor and a very light nose. I agree with the note that identified a sweet, bread-like fragrance which I think is how the coconut and pineapple aromas smooth out. I didn’t find them to be differentiated or pronounced after steeping.
And frankly, I don’t taste them much in the tea. There’s more coconut than pineapple, but really it’s more like a generic sweet flavor than anything else to my tastebuds (which are, admittedly, suffering from some flu-like virus at the moment). I didn’t have the aversion to it that so many others have had, but it’s kind of meh. I think one could achieve the same result by adding a drop of sweetness to a plain white tea, if so inclined. I’d rather drink plain white, though.
ETA: The taste becomes sweeter as the tea cools, so that it is more like a boatload of sweetness than a drop. I must remember to drink while hot. The coconut shows up in the aftertaste, and it’s not overly sweet. I sort of wish I could skip the drinking part and get right to the aftertaste.
I’m giving this a little ratings bump because I remember it rather fondly, and having some tonight I like it better than I thought.
Here’s the thing. I think toward the end of the time I was really active on Steepster for a long time, I became unnecessarily snobbish. Certain company names elicited a sort of knee jerk response. Tazo. Teavana. Anything one can find in a grocery store. I looked down my nose on them all for no really good reason.
I spent a lot of time trying to find a lemon infusion I liked better than Bigelow’s I Love Lemon. I spent a lot of time trying to replicate Tazo’s Refresh by mixing my own mints and tarragon. But why? Why not just admit to liking what I like and call it a day? Sheesh.
I like this. It’s quiet, fresh-tasting, gentle. It doesn’t taste washed out though it’s a decaf. I haven’t tasted anything else that reminds me of it, but I don’t feel compelled to find something that does and that isn’t Tazo.
How liberating. :-)
Really surprised that I haven’t written a note on this before. Finishing it up tonight with the fam, and with it the entire Adagio honeybush sampler. Yay for the sipdown.
As the flavored honeybushes went, this one was pretty good. The apricot flavor masked any woodiness, and worked really well with the natural honey to add some sweetness to the taste. The apricot is subtle, but present, which is nice. If it wasn’t subtle it would risk heading toward artificial. But what I like best about it is the mouthfeel. It’s very soft to the mouth, balmy almost, and really soothing to the sore place I’ve developed as a result of this virus.
I’m having a lot of fun introducing my sons, 7 and 9, to the decaffeinated infusions, and the older one professes to love this one. The younger one fell asleep before he could give it a try. ;-)
I’m not sure who coined the term “sip down” but it’s kinda cute. ;-) Go missing from Steepster for a while and a whole new language gets invented. Wow.
I’m on a bit of a sip down quest myself, having found a number of rather old open samples, boxes, tins, bags, etc. and this is among those. I steeped this in the Breville for 1 minute at 180, which is what was recommended on the sample packet.
For a hoary sample, this has retained a really nice, light, slightly vegetal taste, though looking at my notes from the original tasting it’s clear that this is one best drunk fresh. I can’t discern the complexity that was present when the sample was young.
On another note, I wanted to ask those of you who like Japanese greens whether you have any concerns following the nuclear meltdown. I’m one of those people who hasn’t eaten sushi (much) ever since, and I’ve been taking comfort in the fact that though my Japanese greens are well past their best by dates, they were all harvested pre melt down.