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Recent Tasting Notes
Right. I think I’ve been entirely spoiled by the phenomenal nature of Dream About Tea’s Dragonwell Spring, but this tastes like sewage now. I mean, not that pungent, but…sewage light? Essence of sewage?
I’m taking liberties a bit here, but it really is not pleasant. I subsequently had to give the rating a hearty knock down. For whatever reason, maybe because I just wanted to rid the sample from my collection, I spent a good portion of a studying day steeping this at different times and temperatures, to no avail. I became so consumed, actually, that physics had to sit on the back burner whilst I traveled a range of temperatures from 130 to 190. At each new temperature I took fresh batch of leaves and let them sit. Took the leaves out around 3:00 minutes, tried to drink it, then resteeped them once just to be sure. All I got nothing more than a variety of different intensities of the taste of dirty water. Almost soapy. It reminds me of when I was at camp and we jumped in the lake and I accidentally swallowed some water. It’s just less…silty. Actually, it really reminds me of the taste of lukewarm pool water.
If you’re wondering what’s up with the anal methodology here, it’s because I feel like I’m getting to the point where I’m going on autopilot with Adagio in terms of the quality of their tea on my internal scale and I wanted to be sure I was giving them a fair shake. I went to the point of sipping out the cup while the leaves were in the infuser to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on some some magical steep time on the way to 3 minutes. Unfortunately, all the happened was that the salty, soapy taste got stronger.
What’s frustrating is that the smell of the wet leaves, and even the tea itself steaming in the cup, was making me think I could have hit it right at some points, but it was misses all over the place. A good cup of this was the dartboard and I had put several hundred holes in the wall.
I think that this is a suitable place to add that I made a rather horrifying [and yet…comforting?] discovery while I was away from Steepster. Part of my 52 teas order included a Taylor thermometer [about that time, eh chaps?] and upon the first few uses, I discovered that Adagio’s UtiliTEA is wildly inaccurate. I mean, to the tune of 20 degrees variance on the same dial setting. Could be that mine’s defective, but needless to say I won’t be recommending it to anyone anymore. Things that I noticed were that the cooler temperatures occurred when the water level was higher [made sense] but that the temperature inaccuracies occurred more often at the higher temperature settings [didn’t really make sense]. A number of times, when it was set to boil, it would give me water at 180 degrees, and that’s just ridiculous.
This is comforting to me only because it means that my oscillating opinion of black teas is likely directly correlated with the faulty kettle. For reasons I cannot determine, when put into the green range it only seems to vary around 10-15 degrees, and more often than not medians around an acceptable temperature. I don’t get it either, but what I can say is that I only really use the utiliTEA anymore when I need a lower water temperature and I know I can heat it above the desired temperature and cool it if necessary. To be safe, I tested the thermometer on water off the stove and any error in reading it may be experiencing appears to be negligible. It’s definitely the kettle.
So, I guess that’s a partial danger of discovering a new relative high on the spectrum of your awareness of anything. Things that sufficed can be demoted to the status of “only if desperate” and things that were mediocre at best can plummet to the depths of the red yucky face. I am not going to list a steep time or a water temperature because there were so many. And I’m going to leave this at one entry because I don’t want to spam you guys with the nuances of dishwater that I got from the varying trials. Dirty dishwater will suffice enough, I think. After using up almost the entirety of my sample, I had to toss the rest. I couldn’t willingly subject someone else to it, nor justify the cost of shipping to send it anywhere else other than the trash can.
There is really only one other tea that I can claim to vehemently dislike this much, and I hope that this one is the last. In any case, I can say without hesitation that I do not like this tea.
Sorry Adagio, not impressed.
I haven’t been drinking a lot of Adagio lately for whatever reason, When I read @Cynthia Carter’s log yesterday I thought to myself, “Self, this might be a good time to try this one.”
I also have a UtiliTEA and Adagio recommends 180 degrees, so I set the dial near the top of the green region and brewed a cup. The first couple of sips were overwhelmingly salty. Then it was like what @CC said – bath water. And then I wasn’t getting enough flavor, so about halfway through the cup I tossed it and moved the dial back.
The second try was a bit more mellow, though more flavorful. However, it still isn’t doing anything for me. The taste becomes a little bit more obvious as it cools, but…
Okay, here’s the thing. There are moments when I think that this could be a tea that I would really like. The scent has this nice roasted quality to it, and the finish is enjoyable, but getting to that point is not at all fun for me. The beginning part of this for me has a hint of bitterness [which I’ve gotten accustomed to from some of the greens] but it’s accompanied by this distinct blechy taste that’s almost sour. It reminded me of this time when I drank water out of a glass I hadn’t rinsed very well and still had some dishwashing liquid on it. So I resteeped the leaves in a new cup, just to be safe. Still there.
The tricky thing is that the aftertaste on this makes me think that I drank something good. It’s got that nice grassy sweetness that is in many of the greens I enjoy, especially when I breathe air in over my tongue. So I keep picking it up and sipping it. Even as I’m writing about how I’m not a huge fan of it. And there’s the dishwashing liquid.
I think I’m going to have to shelve this and try it again sometime when this experience has faded and I’m feeling up to it again. [If anyone has any suggestions I was at 1 tsp leaves, 8 oz. water at 170-175 degrees. Ish.]
Ironically, though, this has my curiosity piqued, so I think I’m going to try Tavalon’s dragonwell and see what happens.
Yep, I was right. This is good with a big glob of honey. I steeped it a little longer since the description practically encourages it. Seven minutes instead of five. It got stronger, yeah, but not bitter. This might taste a little bit too much like wood for me, though. I’m still curious to try Yunnan Gold and Yunnan Noir despite this.
Finished off this tin today, so I wanted to log my parting thoughts:
I really like this tea. It brews a deep, dark brown color, and has a rich and smokey aroma/flavor that demands your attention. That said, it’s not bitter or sharp, so you can really sip it and enjoy it without adding anything to it. (The way I prefer my teas.)
Plus, it’s fun to watch the tea unfold and unravel, and you get some odd looks when you’re prepping a pot of tea that just includes a few marble sized balls of leaves.
All in all, a winner in my book.
Half the fun of this tea is just watching the pearls unfurl as the tea steeps. The unsteeped pearls have a very strong earthy/smoky/gun powder smell, but sadly that doesn’t all transfer into the final cup, as the tea itself is on the bland side. It does make a nice, dark tea, but I could go for a stronger, earthier taste. That said, it’s not a bad tea, I just wish it had a stronger flavor to match the appearance.
This is a tea I blended on Adagio’s Site and it can be found – with more info and to purchase – here http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=9351&SID=f9c12fbbf9284f52191b901d8bb407e7
I was craving Strawberry Rhubarb but also wanted both black and green teas.
You can smell a medley of strawberry, rhubarb, chocolate, and mint after steeping. The coloring is between a dark oolong and a light black tea coloring.
It’s a fun tea! I am really liking it!
You can taste the black tea, strawberry, mint, and green tea flavors more than the rhubarb but it all blends pretty good and I feel this is a nice – creative blend!
This is the first unflavored white tea I’ve ever tried, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I like it!. The first sip was a little grassy tasting, but I am surprised by the intensity and fragrance of this cup. It seemed delicate at first sip, then intensified, as though my palate adjusted to it. I read Cofftea’s notes, and I agree, there is something like butter or toffee in the flavor.
The weather is overcast, humid and rainy for the second week in a row and I’m getting grouchy about it. So grouchy, in fact, that I am too grumpy to really make tea. My tea consumption had been drastically reduced because of this and I’ve felt the lack. I’m still grumpy and grouchy and sulking about the weather but decide that I needed tea, even if I didn’t really want to make it. So I put some water into my 10oz cup, dropped a dragon ball in, meandered into the living room and flipped on History Channel and answered some emails.
The first few sips were like hot water sprinkled with a bit of cocoa powder but I had only let the ball soak for a maybe couple of minutes, not nearly long enough. The water was too hot still anyway, so I let it cool a bit more. By the time it was easy sipping temperature, I ended up with a lovely cup of tea. The last two or three sips (I emptied the cup because I was too lazy to refill) were perhaps a bit on the tannic side but still quite pleasant.
I’m not a big one for imprecise brewing methods but this tea makes it so easy and rewarding that I’m probably going to be doing it more while the weather is so icky.
Oddly enough when I searched from “Dragon Balls”, this tea did not come up. Boo. Anyway…
As the song Cup of Brown Joy says, “If you’re tired of tea then you’re tired of life.” Well, I’m not so much tired of life, but it has been feeling somewhat blah lately. And so I’ve been somewhat blah about tea as well. So yeah, I’m still drinking it but I’m just not that excited. Which is stupid because I have some teas to try that I’ve wanted to try for a while and now I have the chance! But I feel that they deserve more than blah me so I’m holding on for enthusiastic me to come back. (If the freakin’ wind would stop trying to blow my house down and the sun would stay out, enthusiastic me would probably show up quicker.)
With my lackadaisical attitude about, well, everything lately, I took a different approach to this tea today. I tossed a couple of balls :snicker: in my cup, boiled some water, brought the kettle to my desk, filled up my cup and just kept topping my cup off as I sipped. So there’s no real steeping time, no real water temp. I really wish I had some oolong at work to try this with but maybe tomorrow.
So how did the experiment work? Okay, so I ended up with a slightly strong first cup since I needed to let the water cool so I could drink it and it kept get stronger as I got about half way down into the cup. But it didn’t get bitter, just strong and I learned to top off my cup frequently-ish and that took care of the too-strong issue. And I might have had to put a leaf bit or two back in the cup at the beginning. But a bit of leaf floating into my mouth isn’t near as bad as a gnat or something and once things got going the leaves stayed firmly in the bottom of the cup (which was kind of neat). The tea tasted good even though there was fair amount of variety depending on how much water was in the cup and how long it had been since I last added more. In fact, towards the end it ended up being pretty sweet which is something I don’t think I’ve hit on with this tea before.
All in all it worked out pretty great and the brewing style fit in well with my current meh-ness. It seemed like I got a lot more tea out of the leaf than I would have otherwise (close to about 26oz I’d guess) and it was pretty tasty once I got the hang of when to top off and by how much. So I’m gonna count this as a win and make note to do it again. Even if the leaves in my cup did make it look like I was drinking a cup of swamp water.
3 balls for 8oz… I pretty much can’t smell it today because my nose is so stuffy. Then I brilliantly decided to have a cup of Odwalla’s Strawberry C Monster, which I love but is by NO means flavorless. So sipping on a more delicate tea afterward (because almost any beverage has a more delicate flavor than Strawberry C Monster) made me think, “Wait, is this water?”
Thankfully, I’ve washed the Monster out of my mouth and can actually taste again. Mmm, this tea is good. Makes me think of baking cocoa, the stuff that any chocolate lover has tried eating straight just once, thinking that it will actually taste like chocolate.
This doesn’t taste exactly like that. There is so spitting or face-making involved when I drink this. But this isn’t chocolaty either because it isn’t sweet enough. I kind of feel like I’m having a grown up version of hot chocolate. So glad I got a tin of this with my last Adagio order!
Thanks to Lena for sharing this with me!
First off, the dry leaves (balls) smell like someone sprinkled cocoa on them… not my cat but rather the baking powder. Really surprising. I had a little trouble getting the right amount for my cup because I weigh my tea. I had to shuffle around a combination of 5 different balls (ahem) to get my 2.3g for 6oz that I wanted. The large and irregular ball size could be a problem for me. Or else I need to relax. (Probably that last one).
Once I got them in the pot, I was good to go. I was also way too entertained by watching the balls open. How do they get the leaves to stick like that? Anyone? Way too easily entertained.
The smell of the tea post-brewing is much earthier than the smell of the dry leaves. And I don’t get the strong cocoa flavor/smell anymore except as a bit of the aftertaste. It does have a little bitterness to it that reminds me of cocoa, though. Not a bad bitterness, just an unsweetened chocolate bitterness. But without the chocolate.
All in all, I like it. It’s smooth and has a good, complex flavor. Not really knock my socks off with flavor or anything but I think this is probably something I’d get to have every so often as part of a black tea rotation. Not a have to have on hand at all times kind of thing but something to bring in occasionally, use up, then move on to a couple more before ordering it again.
And if I haven’t babbled enough – my next door neighbor is trying to start the motor on his sail boat. Yes, it has been raining all day, but it isn’t that bad yet.