96 Tasting Notes
Oh my gosh this is good. I’m only on my first steep (1/2 tsp, ~6 oz water) and I need to go out and run some errands, but I got all excited drinking it and had to write a little note. Smells like roasted nuts while brewing, then wonderful swirls of creamy/toasty/fruity flavor that made me slurp down my cup a little too fast. Yesssss. This is a good find. I bought it from Rachel of iHeartTeas in a stash sale she did last summer – not sure why she got rid of it, but I’m really glad I was able to pick it up!
This is my first time trying a Da Hong Pao. When I first sipped it I thought “wood”, but on second thought it’s more like roasted grains. I’ve steeped this three times now, each infusion much like the one before and a bit one-note (NB: I bought this tea nearly 10 months ago, so age might be catching up with it). I do like the fact that it tastes toasty rather than charred, unlike many other roasted oolongs I’ve had. Not amazing, but very smooth & drinkable.
Backlog: I made a pot of this a week or two ago from a sample I pilfered from the first round of the European Traveling Tea Box. The dry leaf smelled amazing, but my expectations weren’t all that high based on what I’ve heard about & tried from Adagio.
I had taken more from the box than the brewing instructions recommended for a cup, so I used what looked like proportionately more water (didn’t bother measuring, though) and followed the parameters on Adagio’s website. The first infusion was rather heavy, resinous, and almost piney – interesting, but not really what I was hoping for. Probably too hot & long a steep.
From the second infusion on, I decided to just go with what I thought was the right amount of water/temperature/time. That’s when rainbows appeared and birds started singing. Gorgeous perfect jasmine flavor! As if that weren’t enough, these lovely little leaves gave me another five delicious steeps. SEVEN steeps from a white tea brewed western style! Super impressive. I’m definitely grabbing some more of this next time I place an Adagio order. Thanks for sharing, KittyLovesTea!
This has been my breakfast tea for the last month or so, and it’s probably my favorite in recent memory. It’s strong but not harsh; full of flavor, and takes milk & sugar like a champ. I still can’t tease out individual flavors in these blended teas I drink with milk, so I’ll just say it’s pretty close to my ideal of what a breakfast blend should taste like. Yum!
I’ve been awful at drinking my non-blended blacks. I’m a creature of habit – black tea is for CTC in bags with milk & sugar, and I keep thinking that the good stuff that you’re supposed to drink plain is going to be an assault on my tastebuds. I am aware that this is a terrible way to go through life (especially if you own as many of these nicer black teas as I do), so I made a conscious decision to try one of them today.
The dry leaf smells lightly forest-like, and the liquor chocolaty and earthy, with a rich brown color. It tastes less strong but more tart than I was expecting, with some bitterness and little astringency. The earthy and bark-like flavors become sweeter and a bit smoky in the aftertaste. It’s a lot more drinkable than I thought it would be, but I’m not sure it’s my thing. I bought it from a stash sale last summer (from Rachel of iHeartTeas, I believe) so it’s probably gone a bit stale. I might pick some up next time I’m in North America to see if I like it any better when it’s fresh. If anyone’s interested in the rest of the packet, let me know.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Wood
I was in one of those moods today where I didn’t really want to try anything new and risk the possibility of an unpleasant brew. At first I wanted a straight tea, but couldn’t think of anything that appealed to me more than this lovely blend. Such a perfect melding of flavors and a wonderful creamy-juicy mouthfeel. I think I’m going to have to keep it permanently stocked for days like this.
Flavors: Cream, Melon
I seem to be coming down with a cold again, so today I’m reaching for my comforting teas to soothe my scratchy throat. This is so damn nice brewed strong (2 bags for a mug) with milk and sugar/agave. It’s like a hug or a fluffy blanket for the soul. I feel so much better now than before I started the cup. Upping the rating!
Not sure what I did differently this time, but it tastes quite a bit different from how I described it in my last note. The dry leaf still has the lovely chestnutty aroma, but the liquor is more astringent, more beany, and less umami than I remember. It resteeped better than last time, though. I added some salt toward the end of the second cup, thinking it might bring out that brothy quality I noted before, but oddly enough it seemed to only bring out the bitter notes.
Dropping the rating a bit, even though I doubt it’s the tea’s fault. It’s probably past its peak, and my tap water is HARRRRRD. Might be time to start using the Brita pitcher again, or at least descale the kettle.
Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans
Ugh, this RAIN. I normally don’t mind it too much, but this has been one of the wettest winters on record, and the drizzly greyness is totally sapping my will to do any of the things I need to accomplish. So I’ve been rummaging through my stash looking for something to boost my mood.
I go for a sachet of this, in part because it means I don’t have to wash any of my dirty teaware. The scent is unimpressive, even after steeping for 5 minutes, and the liquor is quite weak (“gentle”, if you prefer). The flavor is mostly orange peel with hints of peach and oolong, turning tart at the end of the sip. Aftertaste is quite nice. Next time I’ll try steeping it longer, or may even use 2 sachets.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Peach
Finally, my first Verdant experience! I’d been holding off on trying them because I wanted to get some more brewing practice under my belt, but the other day I just said “screw it” and snipped open my sample packet of the 2012 harvest.
It’s intensely vegetal & beany every which way (dry & wet leaf, liquor aroma, and flavor), probably more so than any other tea I’ve tried. There’s a taste of char that gives it a somewhat aggressive edge. I searched for the pumpkin but couldn’t find it, which is unfortunate because the tasting notes of pie and biscuits played a big part in drawing me in.
I can tell it’s a very high-quality tea, but I’m not sure how much I personally liked it. I’ll definitely try it again and use bottled mineral water (and get around to reviewing it less than two days after the fact).