drank Jasmine Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
300 tasting notes

I might as well come out and say it: I’m one of them. I bat for the fragrant other team, I really do. I love jasmine.

And one of my tea goals (Yes, I really set some – and let this also be a reminder, sweet friend T, that we are not under any circumstances to buy any more tea in January, okay? Okay.) for 2014 is to find the perfect, 90+ rated jasmine tea that can always live in my cupboard.

So this was a perfect start – another one from the EU swap box, chosen solely because it smelled so delicious. I have very little experience with Adagio teas in general. When I’m in Chicago, I like to go into the store and try a few samples, but I’ve never really found anything that really resonates with me – mostly because I’m coming straight from a state where there is a Lupicia branch, or a country with stores full of Anna-sized Mariage Frères tins stacked floor to ceiling. Those tea experiences just make everything else sort of underwhelming to me. Unfairly, I’m sure, because this is a lovely jasmine.

The dry tea smells… so good. It’s a perfectly balanced jasmine – not too floral, not too perfumey, just right. In the cup, incomprehensibly, it smells even better. I’ve been sitting for a long time making a dome for the cup with my hand, just inhaling. There’s this added quality to the scent of the brewed tea – a flow of sorts. Usually, a tea’s scent has a staccato-like character; there’s something first, and then something else and then those scent strands switch places and fight for space and it gets pretty rowdy. With this tea, though, there’s just smoothness, and it goes on forever. The perfect scent loop; the perfect tea.gif if there ever was one.

Flavour wise, there’s an echo of something else, though. Something vaguely vegetal that turns up not in every sip, but maybe every third, or so. But all in all, this is a very well-executed jasmine tea – I finally have something I know I want to buy next time I visit the Adagio store.

In terms of the 2014 jasmine project, this will be a tricky act to follow – it’s only January, after all.

Thanks, KittyLovesTea!

[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I’m going to try all the teas.

Then I will choose a lucky few perfect specimens, and we will live happily together in my tea cupboard.


  • * *


This year, all bets are off. I am going to drink both peppermint and chamomile and possibly suffer a little. But it’s okay – it’s for science.

I’m doing Project Jasmine, Project Peach and Project Unflavoured Green.

In terms of flavoured teas, Lupicia and Mariage Frères have become my massive favourites, and I have learned that Dammann Frères/Fauchon/Hédiard and Butiki aren’t really for me.

The O Dor, Adagio and Comptoir des thés et des épices are all on this year’s I’d like to get to know you better list.


Getting back into tea drinking last fall, I was all about rooibos. This past spring has been all green tea, all the time, with some white additions over the summer. Currently attempting a slow, autumnal graduation to black teas. Oolongs are always appropriate.

The constant for me, flavour wise, is the strong presence of fruity and floral notes. Vanilla is lush, as long as it’s not artificial. Peach, berries, mango. Cornflower, rose, lavender.

No peppermint.

No chamomile.

No cinnamon.


  • * *

My ratings don’t reflect the ‘What does this tea do for me?’ standard, but rather my own ‘What would I do for this tea?’ scale.

My absolute favourites. Teas I would travel for – or, in any case, pay exuberant postage for, because they simply have to be in my cupboard. Generally multi-faceted teas with complex scents and flavours. Teas with personality. Tricky teas.

Teas I wouldn’t hesitate to buy again if and when I came across them. Tea purchases I would surreptitiously weave into a travel itinerary (Oh! A Lupicia store! Here?! My word!).

Teas I enjoyed, but don’t necessarily need to make any kind of effort to buy again.

Varying degrees of disinterest and contempt.


Rome, Italy

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