Adagio Teas

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75
drank Jasmine #5 by Adagio Teas
11 tasting notes

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75
drank Honeybush Hazelnut by Adagio Teas
113 tasting notes

This is quite the interesting experience. There’s an awesomely powerful nose on the loose leaf itself, dominating any other possible notes, and on the brewed tea as well. Both reek (in a good way) of the sweet and nutty hazelnut flavor.

The loose leaf is pretty small, lots of little pieces with great brownish and red colors. It yields a light golden liquor that is quite nice. I’ve never actually had honeybush before, just it’s cousin rooibos, but this had none of the bitterness or crushing earthiness of the rooibos. I’m not sure if it’s because of the honeybush or if the hazelnut is masking those tastes.

When it comes down to it, the flavor of the tea is so-so. I’d place it generously on the bland, flavorless side. However, that doesn’t fully dampen my feelings as I still enjoy the punch offered by the aroma. Since I’m not a fan of coffee but have always enjoyed the idea, the smell kinda reminds me of the fancy coffee treats they serve at Starbucks. So I feel all mature like I’m drinking a coffee drink. Is that a legit reason to enjoy a tea?

Auggy

This is the only honeybush tea I’ve enjoyed and that coffee smell/feel is exactly why I like it!

Jason

I’m glad I’m not alone with the whole coffee smell thing. For some reason it makes me feel like less of an adult because I don’t like coffee, so it’s nice to fake it every once in a while :)

takgoti

As someone who lived on coffee for a solid five or so years, and thus shakes and eye twitches and horrible headaches from the caffeine withdrawal when you go without it, you’re not missing out on much. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but even when I was drinking it black I never liked it to the extent that I like tea. [And just as a side note, Starbucks specializes in crazy crap in their coffee because they often burn the beans. Not that I’m saying it doesn’t make it taste good, because I’ll still drink an espresso truffle or a pumpkin spice latte from time to time, but their coffee is piss.] Coffee does have an air of maturity about it, but tea makes me feel fancy and zen.

End diatribe.

So uh…tea drinkers rule and coffee drinkers drool! [Don’t tell my friends I said that.] But a coffee-scented tea might be something I need to take a look at.

Jason

Zen I can do, I’d like to think of myself as rather zen-like. But maybe I’ll take “sophisticated” instead “fancy”.

Auggy

I’m one of those former twitchy coffee-withdrawal people. I was so addicted, when I finally got off of it, I avoided it for 6 years – not just coffee but all caffeine. I’d maybe have a can of coke a year and that’s it. But then I discovered tea… enough caffeine to get me buzzed, but not enough to make me hurt if I miss a day. Perfect! Haha!

Jillian

My only sources of caffeine have always been tea and chocolate, there’s nothing better in my opinion. :D

Jason

I’ve always wondered just how much the caffeine actually affects people. I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve never noticed a difference in my energy caused by caffeine from soda or tea or anything else really. I always find it interesting that so many people who have caffeine/coffee related problems have switched to tea (that’s why Jack, one of the other Steepster guys, switched to tea too).

takgoti

The thing about caffeine for me, is that there are only two things that make my energy levels spike: coffee and energy drinks. [When I was working retail and it was a matter of survival, we’d down energy drinks like it was part of our job. It makes me shake a little involuntarily just thinking about it.] Otherwise, the difference it has in my energy levels isn’t really NOTICEABLE.

With either one of those, I’d get hyper as well. With tea, it’s just like that feeling of wanting to go to sleep, but you can’t because you’re awake. I don’t feel ENERGIZED and I don’t feel like I want to go do something RIGHT NOW, I just feel…awake.

So, tea caffeine = not ready to go to bed. Coffee caffeine = LET’S DRIVE TO PARIS AND GET BERETS AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING AND HEY! WHAT’S THAT? HEY! WHY IS MY ARM MOVING? I mean, it’s not like that all the time, but it’s easier to get there than it should be. Especially if you’re not used to it. [“Regular” coffee, by the way, has a MUCH higher caffeine content than the more complicated drinks most places offer now.] And you can probably imagine what the crash is like. [Pretty devastating.]

Anyhow, it’s not healthy. And to reiterate, the caffeine headaches are malicious little buggers. They don’t take too long to show up and they’re not very forgiving. I mean, technically, you’re going through withdrawal. The headaches are number one reason why I decided it was time to kick coffee to the curb.

Auggy

I’m pretty much with takgoti. If I have a cup of coffee (even just 8oz), my hands start to shake now. I usually have to have 12 – 16oz of a stout tea to get a hint of that reaction. Though I have done it to myself once or twice on sencha when I’m not really pausing between steeps and used a heavy hand with the leaf.

Coffee makes me chatty, bouncy and shaky. Tea usually makes me awake and aware. Soda, when I have it, tends to get me somewhere in between. Hyper, but not shaky.

I have never had an energy drink. They scare me.

@takgoti: I’m so with you. Caffeine withdrawal headaches: Worse. Headaches. Ever.

Jason

Based on the length of your tasting notes and comments, should I assume you’re always jacked-up on some form of a caffeine packed beverage? You guys are crazy…and I love it!

takgoti

Oh, Jason, Jason, Jason. You have not seen me hyper, so I guess I can’t blame you for not knowing what my tea log would look like if I wrote in it whilst on a true caffeine high [incomprehensible]. The stuff I write on here is simply a result of my lack of a self-edit button [or, ironically, the time to actually sit and edit].

But I am glad that you are enjoying our insanity. It’s quite cathartic on my end.

Auggy

Any insanity is takgoti’s fault. She’s a bad influence on me.

:D

Jillian

Yes, it’s aaaallll Takgoti’s fault! ;p

takgoti

Yeah, it’s true. I’m pretty awesome.

Rena Sherwood

This discussion is heavily caffinated. I think I’m actually waking up now.

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

I really do enjoy this tea. The nutty flavor gives it a good deep green taste with a bit of sweetness (just a hint). Very dark and rich for a green. Not a fresh, summery green but a heavier winter green. Which is good because it’s, you know, winter.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

A little after dinner tea to finish off the evening (well, finish it off before the dessert course starts. Both of my parents said this smelled like roasted seaweed to them. But to me it smells sweet and almost honeyed. Taste-wise, there is a little nut-like tartness at the end, but the front taste matches the smell of sweetness, with perhaps a little nectar or fruit or light honey, transitioning to a little vegetal as it cools.. Not an overly thin tea, it gives both a light/high taste and a darker, more substantial taste at the same time. This actually gives a nice finish to my meal.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Suzi

You make it sound so yummy :)

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

Drinking some steeps (don’t know which ones but maybe 3 – 5?) from last night iced. Pretty mild until it warms up a bit. Tastes sort of like walnuts dipped in honey with a strong, sour nut taste at the end. Sour sounds so negative though. It’s more like a dark, very strong nut flavor that I remember getting from some of the nuts that I’d eat when my parents would always have a bowl of them out. Honestly, I didn’t like the nuts so much as I liked cracking the shells, but the rule quickly developed that if I cracked the shell, I had to eat the nut.

More interesting hot.

LENA

the good ole holiday nut bowl. memories…

:)

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

Sweet and nutty and a little salty. I’m really enjoying this tea. It’s got a lot of depth to the flavor. Lots of things going on in a sip, but not so much that I feel bludgeoned with contrasting tastes. It goes from an initial sweet grass/seaweed taste into a sweet/tart nutty then into a slight salty for the finish.

Last time DH only smelled the tea. This time, I made him his own cup. He gives it 4 out of 5 stars, which is pretty good for him… he usually gives everything a 3.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

3g/6oz – This one really hits the spot tonight for some reason.

The husband said the smell reminded him of scotch… after discussion we determined maybe that was the chestnut notes Adagio describes? Honestly, I have no clue what a chestnut tastes like. Pecan, yes. Peanut, yes. Walnut, sorta. Anything other nut? Not so much.

Anyway, slightly sweet with a fairly heavy/dark flavor (for a green) and with a slight undertone of seaweed (a bit like the dehydrated wakame I use when making miso soup), a tiny bit of the briny taste I seem to always taste in Chinese greens (but not much) and a hint of dryness after a sip.

I’m going to have to try a chestnut to see if that’s the dark flavor that dominates this tea or if it is something else.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

Roasted chestnuts have a sort of sweet and burned taste to me. And the texture of a potato. So you’re right that might have been the notes you were picking up.

Auggy

Hmm, I can see that. Because it was sweet and the darkness of the taste (can’t think of a better way to put that) could be the burned taste to you. If that’s true, then this tea is very chestnut-y!

kat

I think u described this green to the T! I like it!

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70
drank Xue Ya Ballad by Adagio Teas
911 tasting notes

Thanks to Lena for the ‘krab’ tea!

3g/6oz/175/2:30 – Smelling this and thinking of sea food, I can totally see the crab comparison. Or maybe lobster tank – that sort of salt + crustacean smell? Something like that. The initial taste has that same flavor, too, but while I can see it, it’s probably not my first thought. My first thought is “oh, Chinese green”.

My description for a lot of the Chinese greens I’ve tried includes briny. This one gets it a tiny bit but as it cools but what really surprises me about this is that as it cools, instead of the brine taste getting stronger, there’s a delicate sweetness to it, especially in the tail, that shows up more. And that pretty much makes me love it because I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a Chinese green. So woo hoo!

And thanks Lena!!!

LENA

You’re welcome!!! I’m glad you are enjoying it! Thanks for the swap.

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85
drank Dongshan Dolce by Adagio Teas
224 tasting notes

I really like this one. It has a sweet, buttery, floral scent. The taste is a very light buttery, nutty, with a very slight vegetal. It reminds me more of a white tea than a green tea in its light taste. The color is a pale, cornsilk yellow that is very appealing. I may steep it for a little longer than 3 minutes next time to see what it does.

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83
drank Ali Shan by Adagio Teas
27 tasting notes

It’s about a 823 out of 1000 I suppose. I wish I had a little bit hotter water to brew it. Seems like whatever temp the insta-boil device on the alhambra thing is just slightly under what it needs to be (probly 190) for this tea. I’ll try it again for a full review another day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Jillian

I heard somewhere that you shouldn’t always use boiling water for oolongs, especially the ‘greener’ ones.

chemakil

That is usually true and I tend to use around 190-200 for oolongs, but this tea is telling me to use a little bit hotter. I did try it with just under boiling water today and my theory was correct. It only needs about a 25 second steep for a smoother flavor with less tannins.

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48

Surprisingly mellow flavor for how dark the color is and how strong the aroma is.

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100

Ah, it’s a morning that demands balls. Either that or sliding back under the covers and sleeping in. As always the dragon balls are lovely and strong with a strong cocoa undertone. I ordered ten ounces from Adagio and I am in awe of the giant can they are in. I’m glad I did. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite teas.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

A headache is pressing in on my brain after a night spent up with a server on-call issue. Dragon balls are just the thing! Their strong, full-bodied sassiness is willing to hold my head with gentle soothing motions while the caffeine kicks butt, drives out the pain and gives me energy to spare.

The tea brews up into a copper brown liquor that smells sweet. The balls release themselves from the tight black pearls and expand into full chocolate brown leaves, a process that never fails to amuse. There are notes of cocoa, caramel, and a touch of earthiness in the taste.

The only bad thing? I’m now out of dragon balls. I guess you could say that I have no balls.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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100

When I need something strong to get me through a difficult morning, I call for balls. (God I love saying that!)

LENA

HA! Yay balls!

Auggy

Ah, Carolyn’s Black Balls of Death! Yay!

Jillian

Balls make everything better!
XDDD

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100

So what does one say to one’s tea collection after certain members of it have given one a splitting headache? Balls! Balls! Bring them on!

It really is a great tea. Sharp like good chocolate without being bitter and with a full ration of caffeine to chase away the most troublesome headache. Bring on the Balls!

takgoti

Actually, I like to say “Balls! Balls!” as a general rule in varying social situations and almost always in public.

But I will give you that the onset of a headache gives the saying more of an emotional drive.

Carolyn

It is deeply amusing to me to be able to say Balls! and mean tea.

LENA

I actually use the word “balls” in my daily swearing. “Holy BALLS!” or during my drive time…“Dude!!! pause BALLS, man!”

Good times.

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100

These are really big pearls. In fact, they are much too big to be called pearls. Let’s just go with takgoti and call them balls. It’s a good name for these. They expand into beautiful brown leaves and brew up into a red-black liquor.

The fragrance is slightly fruity with a slight smoky note. It’s a strong tea with a slight astringency and a very slight bitter chocolate taste (I may have oversteeped it slightly). The smoky notes exist within the taste as well. It’s a good strong tea and better than I expected. Not as good as my favorite blacks but I wouldn’t toss these balls out of the room. They have a lot to offer.

Angrboda

Dragon balls… snicker

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75

I love this blend! I never expected such an odd combination to be so delicious. The mango and chocolate go perfect together and the bled of black and rooibos is brilliant. A yummy dessert tea, but great any time.

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63

When I opened my sample tin, there were a lot of big chunks of stuff on top, and the rooibos had filtered to the bottom of the tin. I stirred the tea up to distribute the ingredients better before brewing. I made this with frothed milk and honey.
Rich, strong and soothing, with a nice balance of spice. This was great after coming home from a late choir rehearsal.

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75
drank Green Anji by Adagio Teas
162 tasting notes

Simple green tea. Not a strong green taste but is still distinctly vegetal.

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82
drank Wuyi Ensemble by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

Steeped a minute longer today, and got a really strong flavor that was still smooth with just a hint of bite at the end. The aroma is strong, with a mix of toasted rice and a hint of earthy, and a taste to match. Still a great cup!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 15 sec

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82
drank Wuyi Ensemble by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

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82
drank Wuyi Ensemble by Adagio Teas
104 tasting notes

Aroma reminds me of toasted rice. Nice, golden color and a smooth taste. This one’s a winner.

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71

So I brought the water temp down and lengthened the steep time a bit and all I can say is WOW! It’s like a whole new tea. With just those few small changes, this has gone from ho-hum tea to the apple tea that I would create if I had the skill to.

The apple flavor is crisp but not overwhelming, with just a touch of sourness to bite your tongue. It also has a pleasant sweetness that’s not too sugary, and a spicy aroma that’s inviting and invigorating.

In short: When made correctly, this tea is a winner!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec
Meghann M

I may have to try this your way, I hope it improves. Such disappointment when brewed according to instructions.

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71

Steeped this one for a couple extra minutes today, and it definitely made for a much stronger taste. I still get much more spice than apple (especially strong when smelling the tea leaves, which have a strong, spicy smell to them) and the aroma is pleasant, but the flavor has a bit of a bite to it on the finish.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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