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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Direct Link for this Blend that I create today is located here
Or you can use 60% Raspberry Flavored Black, 40% Chocolate Flavored Black, and 10% Herbal Peppermint.
Upon first sniff you can smell the chocolate and peppermint in the blend more than the raspberry.
It’s a BOLD taste. And the Raspberry and Chocolate come together nicely with the peppermint as the extra lil kick.
The peppermint also seems to linger for that minty fresh aftertaste.
Pretty Good…might only need 5% peppermint tho.
I would certainly try it again.
I’m not sure why they call the scent of this tea ‘delicate’, because it’s a big and bold aroma that is only slightly diminished by a 7 minute steeping. There’s a bit of a medicinal taste to it, but in a good way. It also has a great color, and a strong jasmine flavor that’s not too sweet, but pleasantly soothing.
Here’s an Oolong Blend I added to the Blends Section of the Adagio Site. The direct link is http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/blend.html?blend=9297&SID=c8e6b56fbe338faf44d4543152596502
Smells like vanilla-nut Oolong. Coloring is quite dark for an oolong. The taste is certainly the vanilla oolong with more almond than I thought would be noticeable. The Grapefruit is barely there but does give it a hint of zing that makes you wonder.
This isn’t too bad if you are looking for something different and like oolongs.
Inspired by the “where is everyone” discussion post, I made a glass of this iced. It’s really good that way! I sweetened it, southern style, so it reminded me a bit of strawberry candy. I also had never really thought of making iced tea by the glass (we do it by the pitcher in my house), so I’m glad the post made me consider that. Now I’ll try a bunch of iced teas in the near future!!