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Recent Tasting Notes
Chai day: Blend 3 of 6:
I chose this blend because it was the next least favorite smelling one. Though I enjoy coconut, this one had a very strong citrus scent, perhaps lemongrass? I can’t stand citrus.
The citrus smell is subdued in the brew, but still present. It is accompanied by a sort of creamy scent that reminds of me of Thai tea. Thai chai and Thai tea—coincidence? I’m mostly getting the lemongrass and coconut in the scent, and I’m wondering how spicy this is going to be.
The base is nice after the monstrosity that was the vanilla chai. It’s smooth with no astringency, no bitterness, and very little of the tannic flavor. It doesn’t, however, make a bold statement below the other flavors.
This is my first experience with lemongrass in a tea, and I have to say that I don’t like it. It makes for a citrusy, aromatic, woody kind of flavor that I don’t care for. It kind of reminds me of a furniture store for reasons I cannot explain. Or maybe a kind of bathing product. The coconut flavor sits below the lemongrass, which makes it a bit harder to detect and makes me a bit sadder.
As far as the chai part goes, I am getting a little of the cinnamon, maybe cardamom? It’s difficult to penetrate below the lemongrass flavor.
It’s not Adagio’s fault, but this tea is not for me.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Coconut, Lemongrass
There’s something dangerous about tea people on the weekends. They have more time to think of weird things to do. My project for today is sipping through my chai collection—all six of them.
I decided to try Adagio’s Masala chai first because the scent was the least enticing. It smelled too spicy, too clovey.
Once brewed, it’s not surprising that this come through in the liquid. It’s extremely spicy, like a very strong pumpkin pie spice. It’s extremely clovey and gingery. It’s actually making me sneeze and making my nose run. That may be the cinnamon. It may be a good choice for when I’m sick.
The base is pretty hidden beneath the spice. There’s some bitterness, astringency, and tannic flavor, but that’s pretty much all I can detect of the base.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Pepper, Tannic
Another sample from the faboo mtchyg!
I had a parade lined up for this tea. There were twirlers, fire-breathers, unicyclists, mimes, a marching band, and floats that looked like dinosaurs. (I love dinosaurs.)
The tea has all the things I like: mate, chocolate, nuts.
Alas, I had to send everybody home. The mimes are flying back to Paris as I type.
This is a really good tea. I’ll enjoy the sample I have.
But it’s not a great tea. It’s a bit flat and one-note.
It’s an orchestra with only bassoons. And I just can’t take that down the streets.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts
White tea is always tricky for me. I didn’t even attempt to approach it until after I had gotten a temperature-control kettle to more easily try different temps/steep times. At its best, silver needle is one of my favorite teas of all time. But again, it’s tricky. Finding and brewing silver needle “at its best” has been a confusing and frustrating journey.
I’ve had some pretty bad looking silver needle in the past that could occasionally be coaxed into some really great cups o’ tea, even if most of my attempts resulted in bitter astringent abominations. I’ve had really great looking silver needle that seemingly could only result in either bland water or a cup of sour vegetables.
So when I saw a major sale on Adagio’s “Master’s Collection” Silver Needle, I jumped on it. Sure, it’s still the most delicate tea in my rapidly-growing collection and I have ended up with some lackluster cups here and there (mostly while figuring out the best approach). But regardless of my missteps, this is a superb white tea. Every time I feel fancy enough to make a cup, I remember why I’ve gone through so much trouble to find a truly great silver needle.
First off, the tea is beautiful (as long as you look close enough, explained in a sec). Unbroken jade green buds covered in fine white hairs. When I first opened the tin, I actually thought that it was a bit too pale and maybe stale – then I looked a little closer and realized that it was so completely covered by the white hairs that I wasn’t even seeing the true color of the leaf buds! There were a handful of little green/brown leaf pieces throughout the tin, which is really my one complaint since this is supposed to be super premium AAA+++ grade and all that.
The dry tea itself smells incredibly fresh and herbal – like dumping your whole spice cabinet onto a freshly cut lawn. This is probably the best smelling tea I’ve encountered.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve found that 160-165F seems to be the sweet spot for this tea. Even getting up to 167-170 or so has brought out some astringency for me. I start with 2.5 minutes and add 30 seconds for each subsequent steeping. Usually this gives me 3-4 great cups before getting bland. Occasionally subsequent steepings get way overdone just from that additional 30 seconds. Occasionally the re-steeping barely works and I have to put the leaves back in for some additional flavor. But this has given me the best results on average, which is all I can hope. I’m starting to suspect that white tea all has a mind of its own.
Now what about the drink!? I’ve been rambling on for a while, but this is the important part. Aside from the occasional (seemingly random) bad steeping, this is exactly what I look for in a white tea.
The brewed tea, like the dry material, is beautiful when you take the time to look. At first glance, it looks almost like nothing steeped at all. But once you take more than a glance, there’s a very slight yellow-gray tint to this “plain water”, maybe even a pink hue. Light seems to reflect more readily off of the surface. Upon even closer inspection, you suddenly realize that there is an army of little glistening flecks of light dancing throughout the brew – the same shimmering white hairs that made the buds so beautiful!
The tea is so smooth it’s almost like sipping very silky air. Occasionally I’ll get an edge of astringency, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Again, it wouldn’t be a white tea if it wasn’t nearly impossible to “get it right” all the time.
The flavor is always a slightly different mix of the same tastes – sweet vegetables, rosemary, grass – like sipping a cup of springtime where the whether changes from day to day. It’s sweeter than any white tea I’ve had yet, but it’s a very understated sweetness that doesn’t at all get in the way of that herbal fresh white tea flavor. It’s incredibly refreshing and worth slurping to experience all of these tastes float in and out of focus.
This tea perfectly captures that unique essence that only white tea can provide. It can play tricks, it has its off days, but it is hands down the best silver needle I’ve ever tasted. If you have the patience for it, I strongly recommend.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Sweet, Vegetal
I’m someone who generally prefers oolongs, and this “Masters Collection” Ti Kuan Yin is my favorite yet.
The tea looks fantastic – hand rolled leaves that range from forest green to a deep emerald. It smells fresh, like an earthy green tea with a very very slight hint of spice. Most of the leaves remained in tact, and there are only a few little broken pieces that I wouldn’t have even noticed if this weren’t one of the “masters” teas. Honestly, those small broken bits could easily be from the shipping process.
The brew looks rich and syrup-y, with a deep yellow/gold color and a glistening sheen on top. The floral smell is instantly apparent, with some earthy undertones.
This tea has a very smooth mouthfeel, and though it’s on the greener side, it’s very forgiving. I have yet to encounter any bitterness with this tea, even when accidentally over-steeping for 10+ minutes – though some astringency is present sometimes if I use too much of the leaf.
The main flavor from this tea is a floral taste that stays prominent through repeated steepings – even at 195-200F, I can get 4 steepings out of this. Sweetness is present throughout as well, but diminishes slightly after the first couple steepings. After the first steeping, more a more buttery flavor and feel emerges.
There’s also a savory umami aspect that seems to come and go at random, adding some more depth and making it a substantial treat. I can’t find any pattern to when this occurs! Sometimes it’s right off the bat, sometimes it will show up on the 4th steeping, sometimes it alternates on and off… very sneaky!
Overall, for lovers of greener milky/buttery oolongs, I can’t recommend this enough. I haven’t gotten Adagio’s standard Ti Kuan Yin to compare, but this tea really does seem to deserve its spot in the “Masters Collection”.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Milk, Orchid, Sweet, Umami
Today’s work cold brew. This one is pretty good cold, as all the Adagio Tree House blends have been. I’m actually finding that the chocolate seems more prominent than the fruit when brewed this way, which is the complete opposite of the hot version. I am getting some fruit – primarily cherry, maybe a touch of blueberry, but it’s definitely second fiddle to the chocolate which is milky, smooth, and delicious.
I’m really enjoying this one, and I’m pleased with how well these teas have come out both cold and hot. Usually Adagio isn’t my thing, but these are pretty good summery blends. For reference, I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, into the fridge for around 10 hours.
The last of the Tree House blends. I think this one waited until last because I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the flavour. The other two blends – Tea Rex and Rocket Fuel – are reasonably clear in terms of flavour profile. This one has all the ingredients – orange, cherry, coconut, chocolate, apricot…
To taste, it actually turns out to be all of those things and none. The overall flavour is a kind of fruity nothingness – anything distinctive gets lots in the cacophony of flavours, but I suppose with a name like “Monster Brew” that’s maybe to be expected! Cherry was the strongest flavour, but only by a fine margin, and only if I really concentrated on what I was drinking. It’s not the kind of tea that you’d sip and instantly say “cherry!” I didn’t really get much chocolate, except in the background, and the orange was almost totally MIA. There was some creaminess from the coconut, a woodsiness that wasn’t unpleasant from the rooibos, and a “juicy” kind of flavour that put me in mind of the blended fruit juice drinks I had as a child.
It wasn’t a bad cup by any means, but the two blends I’d tried before were definitely better defined. It’s a pleasant-tasting caffeine-free option, though, and the generically fruity taste is nice if nothing else. I’m going to try this cold brewed next, because I think (as with the others) that it might come alive a little more that way.
I actually had two strawberry black teas today, this one from Adagio and one from Margaret’s.
Adagio’s base makes itself more well-known with that tannic, malty flavor, so much so that the strawberry tends to take a back seat in the overall experience.
The strawberry flavor, while more realistic than Margaret’s, is slightly sour and weak. I have to say that I prefer Margaret’s. Adagio’s strawberry might benefit from some sugar. Maybe a little milk for some strawberries and cream action.
Flavors: Malt, Sour, Strawberry, Tannin
It was interesting to glance through the reviews of this one. They are all over the place. My personal take is the flavor of the strawberry is more subtle than the dry scent would suggest. Then again so is the Ceylon base. Several of the reviews commented (complained?) that the base is too harsh. Being a tea barbarian who expects an inexpensive flavored tea to grab you by the throat, I found this one to be very gentle. I did not get any bitterness or strong astringency. There was only a mild bite at the end of the sip. Personally I plan to go beyond the recommended 3 minute steep next time and see if I can’t Viking this tea up a little. As is this is a comforting cup that will take sweetening if you want but doesn’t require it and it is a frugal one at that at about $0.10/cup
I’ve made this as a hot tea and a cold brew. Definitely more of a cold brew but still nothing exciting.
There was something of a woody medicinal taste like you sometimes get in a rooibos but this didn’t mention rooibos in the ingredients so it may be just me.
I was looking for more of a regular orange-y flavor but this seems to have an excess of hibiscus which is not a favorite of mine.
Flavors: Blood orange, Hibiscus, Medicinal, Wood
Giant white tea ballz! This white tea clocks in 4 to 5 grams each, rolled giant bai mu dans. I did gongfu, 200f. Early steepings are sweet, creamy, coconut, linen, hay, honeydew rind. Later steepings get musty, medicinal and tart. 11 steepings total.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/white-pearls-adagio-tea-review/
Trying to find this tea in the steepster database and I found they have a 4 to 5gram green tea version!
Well, I officially have a cold. Just in time for my interview on Thursday, when I’ll doubtless be unattractively snotty and hopelessly croaky. Is it self-sabotage? Sometimes I wonder. I’m not drinking much tea, anyway, simply because I can’t taste it. I made up another cold-brew for my parents, though, and I sneaked a glass after lunch just to see whether my taste buds really are on holiday or not.
I can taste this, and I actually think the blueberry comes out more cold than it does hot. That’s always a bonus in my book, because I love blueberry. The orange is there, but it’s not as tangy as I remember from my hot cup, and it’s a lot more muted – more of a background flavour than anything.
I’m back at work next week (I’m always ill when I’m on leave, just in case anyone hadn’t noticed before now), so I’ll probably make up some more of this and take it with me.
I also bought more tea, because I’m bad, and also because I just had a shock (that really shouldn’t have been a shock, if I was being honest with myself). It made me feel better for a bit, and then I went back to worrying about my interview again. While unrelated to the shock, it’s equally unpleasant to dwell on.
Ever had one of those weeks you wish would just end?
This was last night’s pre-bedtime cup. I was impressed enough with Tea Rex to want to try the rest of the sampler pretty much straight away, but I was trying to get back under 200, and then I went on holiday, and it just basically never happened. Now that I’m back, it was first on my list to try!
I never expect all that much from Adagio, but these honeybush/rooibos blends are actually really good. I didn’t get much in the way of blueberry from this one, but I did get a nice tangy orange, a little sharp and a little sweet – just perfect really! I was also pretty impressed with the green rooibos in the base. I haven’t liked it all that much previously, but it actually worked really well here, adding a slight “pithiness” that helped to enhance the orange. Impressed! I’ll definitely be trying this one cold-brewed when I’m back at work.
In other news, I gave up on my no-buy, and on staying under 200, and bought more tea. The teas I bought on holiday pushed my count back up anyway, and I basically sat down this morning and thought “in for a penny, in for a pound.” So I have orders with Liquid Proust and August Uncommon , and I’m considering a Bluebird order because I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I need new Timolinos and it would be wrong not to get some tea at the same time, obviously. I also think I might be getting a cold (in July?) because my throat is awfully scratchy, and I have a big job interview this week that I’ve managed to totally stress myself out over. I needed tea therapy, and I got it. I’ll deal with the repercussions for my cupboard…later :)
I have been sooooooo good for about the last year and have actually drunk allllllll of my tea! I haven’t been posting since I was drinking the same teas over and over and over. (Which I have enjoyed a lot.) I haven’t bought any new teas in like a million years. I really had a lot of my favorites as well as a lot of sample sizes. I wanted to use them before they went stale. I have set aside time tomorrow to go tea shopping. Whoopie!
The pu erh hazelberry which I fixed as a cold brew is the last thing I have. I used some vanilla stevia drops as a sweetener. I re-steeped this tea and it kept the flavor. It was a lovely drink with lots of " hazelberry" (what is hazelberry? I figure just a combo of hazel and berry).
Flavors: Cocoa, Hazelnut, Strawberry
Old sample from Tea Sipper. Thank You!
Earthy +Grassy+Slightly Bitter+Caffeine = Not my favorite herb. I’m willing to try anything once, even an herb I generally don’t like by a different company or in a different blend (unless it makes me feel ill like stevia or lavender), just on the off chance that it surprises me, but this one did not.
This is actually surprisingly good. Usually I’m a devotee of traditional black earl greys, but this one has the same bergamot flavor I love with a much lighter base. The green tea isn’t overly flavorful, but it’s also very hard to burn. I know I mention this in a lot my reviews, but resilient teas always get extra points from me. Do I have an automatic tea maker to baby my teas with? Yes. Am I frequently forgetful and clumsy when I make tea on my own? Also yes. I’m also generally not a fan of teas with orange peel (they always taste bitter to me), but this one is not overwhelming. The tea is not overly acidic, either. This is definitely not the best flavored green I’ve had, but it’s a great way to try out an EG with a different base.
Very earthy aroma, with a hint of seaweed. While steeping it is very aromatic, smells strongly of honey and flowers with a slight whiff of dried grass/hay. At the end of steeping, the remaining leaves smell even more like dried grass/hay and honey (in a very pleasant way).
First steep was 3:00 at 180F. Very mellow and sweet taste in first steep. Flavor lingers on the tongue slightly longer than other teas. It is very floral. I’m having a hard time describing the taste, however it is very good.
Second steep was for 3:30. The flavor was the same, just slightly less intense. Still very good for the second steep. I really enjoy this tea and look forward to trying more Silver Needle.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Earth, Flowers, Hay, Honey
It was supposed to be mid 90’s today with a heat index of 113 F. That is too hot even in the A/C to drink hot tea. Woke up to thunder. This afternoon it is 80 feels like 85 F. To celebrate that I can actually breathe today (hot, humid, and oxygen are not good friends), I made a much needed cup of Green Earl Grey. I used extra leaf and over steeped on purpose. I love my GEG to stand up and fight for itself. Fixed per Adagio parameters it is a quiet pleasant cup of citrus. My way is far more brutal. Much love for my barbarian mug this day.
My very first Adagio tea – ever courtesy of Adagio. Of course it had to be Earl Grey green. I always think Earl Grey black when EG is mentioned, but in truth I probably prefer green just a wee bit more. It is clean and crisp and seems a tiny bit more exotic or something to me.
Back in my early tea bag days I drank Bigelow EG black in quantities that made my stomach burn in pain. I then discovered Twinings EG green but it was discontinued. Then came my Ahmad obsession. During this time I discovered loose leaf. I also discovered loose versions of EG green are few and far between.
All that background clutter was free. On to this tea. It smells pretty fantastical of bergamot. The leaf has blue cornflower just because it is pretty. The tea leaf is long, straight, and flat. I under leafed unintentionally. Used 180 F water and a 3 minute steep.
Despite not using enough leaf this is still pretty good. The bergamot is stronger than many of you like it but not over the top by my standard. It is sweet and almost creamy.
The second cup at 4 minutes and 190 F, is the same bright yellow cup. The taste is more a mingling of the green tea and bergamot. Sweet and ends with a strong citrus. If it wasn’t so hot outside this would be awesome for porch sitting if sweetened and iced.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with my first Adagio tea. Immediately steeping a second cup pretty well tells the story.
Backlog. I was surprised at how much I liked this dragonwell. Out of all the long jings I’ve tried, this one is the most robust.
This tea has the aroma of cooked vegetables, and is slightly smokey. Dry leaf is fragrant though I noticed quite a bit of broken leaf. The first sip was delicious. Sweet vegetal and smooth. The body is thicker than the Teavivre dragon wells I’ve tried. As the tea continued to steep however, it developed a deep stewed vegetal flavor that reminded me of gunpowder green tea. Eventually it went bitter and left behind a smokey, broccoli like aftertaste.
I steeped this one grandpa style and though I only tried a small sample, I suspect it works better with short steeps. Longer steeps bring out more of the undesirable characteristics of the tea such as bitterness.
Flavors: Bitter, Broccoli, Chestnut, Smoke, Vegetal