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Recent Tasting Notes
This is one of my favorites. Custom designed by the Austin Browncoats (Go Browncoats!), I got a nice sample of this and Captain Hammer at Sherwood Forest Faire.
There’s a hint of caramelly sweetness that comes out amidst the black tea, and along with the nuts, gives it this beautiful complexity. (Fits the character, too!)
I did let the water get to boiling this time (2 min, 40 sec), and probably let it steep too long. It had a very bitter flavor I don’t usually get (I usually only heat the water in the microwave for 2 minutes. I can’t wait until I have something to heat my tea up to a specific temperature rather than jut in the microwave!). I’ve found that I often get better results by heating the water to a lower temperature and allowing it to steep for however long, rather than controlling the steeping time (which is often a bit harder for me to do).
Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Tea
OMG So Tired!!!! I got up far too early for my liking to go house hunting and such with Ben and Fish today, the house hunting was hit and miss…but the ‘such’ was really quite awesome. So we went for lunch at a Chinese restaurant where the waiter picked the dishes for us based on a feeling and a very general description of what we liked, and mine was delicious so congrats waiter dude. After lunch we went to the movies, but no friends, no just any movies, we saw Mad Max FURY ROAD (yes it must be shouted) I went in with high hopes (because I loved Mad Max as a kid and still do now) and they were beyond met, seriously, I think it might be my new favorite movie. I honestly cannot recommend it enough…now I need a bunch of cars and minis to make into an epic Mad Max diorama.
So today’s tea is a relaxing ramble, since yours truly is exhausted, good old White Peony by Adagio Teas. Also known as Bai Mu Dan, White Peony is a fluffy leafed white tea from Fujian. I see it often listed as a good beginners white tea, since it is thought to have more flavor than some of its counterparts, not sure I agree with that opinion on flavor, but I do agree that it is a good intro tea. The aroma of the fluffy leaves is pretty mild, you really need to sniff hard to detect much of an aroma, but when you do there are notes of cucumbers, melons, and a hint of paper and sage.
Into my yixing it goes, this one is seasoned for white tea (specifically the more robust ones like Shou Mei) and I decided to go for a long steep, a whopping three minutes. The aroma of the now soggy leaves has more going on than it did when it was dry with cucumber, bitter melon, honeydew, and a tiny touch of okra at the finish. It is still mild, but less so than previous. The liquid is very sweet and surprisingly floral, with notes of wildflower, honey, melon, and a touch of cucumber at the finish.
The taste is, well, you know, it is ok. Nothing to jump up and down about, it starts off with mild notes of cucumber and celery, moves along to hay and wildflowers in the middle, and finishes with melon (honeydew in specific) and lettuce. It is super mild, I would like to think my palate is somewhat refined, but I had to really work to find much here. I did enjoy my cup of it, it was mild and relaxing, though it is certainly far from my favorite Bai Mu Dan.
This tea isn’t doing much for me. Kind of a generic white-ish tea. Someone else mentioned it was vegetal to them – not a description I would have come up with on my own, but I can get it now that it’s been pointed out.
I got pulled away from my desk shortly after I steeped the tea, so it might be better at its steeping temperature (rather than ~120ish). When I try it again, if I like it more, I’ll upgrade the rating.
Not a Fan TTB. It’s been a hard day for me. I need a bit of a pick me up. And those fruit snacks did nicely. Not quite sure of what to think about this tea though. It has chocolate flavor to it; and the smell is actually quite good. But it’s somewhat artificial. The flavor that is.
The leaves themselves are interesting. I don’t find them particularly visually pleasing (which is odd, considering purple and green are my favorite colors). Felt a bit contrived. But, as you can see here, there’s a lot going on. We’ve got rooibos and white tea with a little black tea mixed in, plus lemongrass, chamomile, and purple cornflowers. There’s one little orange peel in the middle there, and the yellow splotch in the top left hand corner is a bit of grapefruit.
The smell is interesting, but not really in a good way (in my opinion). The smell is very abstract, perhaps a bit medicinal. I saw other reviews that said it was fruity (unbearably so, even), but I barely got a sense of fruit. Perhaps it was the mix of fruit plus chamomile plus lemongrass creating something more than just the sum of its parts.
It’s quite a bit darker than I expected it to be. There might be more white tea by volume, but I forgot that rooibos is a fairly dense tea, and it definitely took over here.
The smell was again fairly abstract. A little medicinal, a hair fruity. The taste was pretty much what you’d expect from a tea that smelled that way, though the chamomile stuck out here. It was naturally fairly sweet. I wouldn’t want to add cream or sugar too it. Overall, I was fairly underwhelmed. I should have loved it – I like white tea, I like rooibos, and orange peel almost always works well in tea. But this one just combined in a weird way for me.
A copy of this review plus pictures can be found on my blog: http://lizkuba.com/tea-review-pisces-by-adagio/
This tea and I started off on the wrong foot. The leaves in my sampler pouch look nothing like the official image. Mine is about 5% white fuzzy leaves, 10% green flat leaves, and 85% brown leaves. And a good chunk of it was stems. (I’m sure there’s legit names for each of these things, but I don’t know them.)
The smell is fairly delicate. It’s a light organic kind of smell, but it would be hard to pinpoint any one thing in particular. The flavor matches the smell, but it’s a bit heavier on the floral aspect. It’s a calm, gentle tea that would definitely be overwhelmed by any amount of cream or sugar.
It’s not a bad tea, and I’m not going to have a problem finishing the sampler pouch. But it definitely falls in the “I’d Rather Spend My Money Elsewhere” category.
This tea was a bit of a puzzle. The first time I made it, I didn’t have the ingredients list or the description in front of me, so I was going in a bit blind. I’m fairly new to tea, so it looked/smelled to me like a white/green mix with a mild fruity sweetness going on. I don’t think I would have come up with “peach” as the main flavor though. I mean, it’s not like it didn’t smell/taste like peaches. But it’s blended well with the other flavors to create a new feeling of its own.
I really liked this tea. I’m a fan of light teas in general, so this was completely up my alley. A light tea with a little peach and a hint of sweetness. Perfect.
Some pictures can be found on my blog: http://lizkuba.com/tea-review-taurus-by-adagio/
Flavors: Fruity, Sweet
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Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Lavender
Not a fan TTB. I’m not sensing quite as much almond as I thought I would in this one. There is a bit of nutty flavor but just not enough. The base is very woodsy, slight bit of earthy. A good compliment for nutty teas generally. I think if they added real almonds instead of just flavoring it would make it better for me.
The leaves are rather boring looking: it looks just like a plain black tea with some cornflowers thrown in. But the smell is divine. It’s wonderfully hazelnut with just a little something extra thrown in – vanilla and chocolate. It’s not complicated, but it’s not completely one-note, either.
The smell of the tea itself is pretty similar to the leaves, albeit a bit more dilute. The flavor completely fails to deliver, though. I don’t get anything other than plain black tea in the flavor. How disappointing. I guess if you’re a fan of Adagio’s base Ceylon you’d enjoy this, but don’t expect anything more than the plain Ceylon flavor to be present.
For a copy of this review plus some pictures, check out my blog: http://lizkuba.com/tea-review-aquarius-by-adagio/
This was a bit of a humbling experience for me.
I’m very admittedly new to the whole tea scene, and I do not have a refined palate. So the way I’ve been teaching myself about differentiating teas is by trying them all plain, no cream or sugar. Besides, I prefer my drinks to not have calories (and I rather hate the way artificial sweeteners taste).
I’ve been doing that pretty militantly, so I wasn’t thinking too hard when I tried this tea. Naturally, it was kind of horrible (to me, at least). It was like…bitter and spicy but not in a good way. Couldn’t even finish the cup.
Welllllll it was recently brought to my attention that the honest-to-goodness way to make Chai is to use milk and sugar (or similar). So I swallowed my pride and tried it again, being liberal with the milk (okay, I only have non-dairy powdered creamer at my disposal right now) and sugar. And I have to say, it’s pretty tasty. It’s Chai, but it’s not super intense Chai (thanks to it being mixed with black tea).
I don’t know how I feel about some teas absolutely requiring milk and sugar; that’s not why I drink tea. And it’s hard for me to separate the nuances of tea from the milk and sugar. But next time I have a sweet tooth, this will be what I reach for.
[Quick summary: black tea with masala spices, and it tastes about how you imagine it would taste.]
Pictures are available on my blog (as well as my original review before I tried it the proper way): http://lizkuba.com/tea-review-aries-by-adagio/
The imagery for Capricorn is weird. Goat-fish? Oookay. So the artwork for the Capricorn tea is surprisingly graceful, given what the artist has to go off of. We have an androgynous person with white hair (hood?) and goat horns, and they’re holding (?) a brown fish tail. They’re on an earthy brown-auburn background with flowers and leaves.
The leaves are very aesthetically pleasing. It’s a lovely mix of greens, browns, and yellows (which is impressive, considering that the base teas are black and white) in the right proportions to give a very earthy, organic feel. In my review of Libra, I lamented that the rose petals were dry and yellow, but here I like the yellow color a lot better.
I find the smell of this absolutely fascinating. I was expecting something autumnal, based on the packaging. Instead, the dominant smell is coconut. But it’s not remotely tropical smelling. It’s coconut in an extremely earthy way. I’ve never really smelled coconut in this context before, it’s really quite lovely. I’m thinking that the vanilla is what really smooths this out.
The smell isn’t nearly as BAM! Coconut as the unsteeped leaves are. Don’t get me wrong, the dominant smell is coconut. But it’s quite a bit more muted, letting some of the natural smell of the tea leaves come out. The vanilla seems to be missing now.
The tea itself isn’t as complex as its constituents. The dominant flavor is just the black tea. It seems to be tempered somewhat by the white tea, but it’s more in a less-black way than a half-black-half-white way. The aftertaste is a lot smoother than the initial black-tea flavor.
Several other reviews I’ve read of this tea suggest it’s a milk-and-sugar kind of tea, and I can definitely see that working. Unfortunately, I don’t regularly stock milk or cream, but the next time I buy some, I’ll definitely give this tea a try again.
A copy of this review is available on my blog, along with a couple of pictures: http://lizkuba.com/tea-review-capricorn-by-adagio/
I thought I had reviewed this AGES ago…seeing as it’s almost gone. I love this one as a morning latte. The lavender isn’t overpowering, but it does add a little something extra to the earl grey and that something is awesome. All the flavors mix so nicely together. Hmm, maybe I’ll go make myself a latte right now…
Flavors: Bergamot, Fruity, Lavender
I’m not a huge green tea fan, but Genmai Cha is one that I really enjoy. This particular one has a lot of flavor and smell to it. The grassy-ness competes with the toasty-ness for dominant flavor. While the tea is still hot, the grassy flavor/smell wins out, but as it cools, the toasty flavor/smell starts to dominate. I can easily drink this without any sugar or milk or anything, there’s plenty of good flavor already. There’s no bitterness.
Flavors: Grass, Toasty
Refreshing, primarily tea taste with a hint of mango. I think the mango flavor could have been stronger, but it was so refreshing I drank my whole sample packed (which I had prepared iced) in one day which is uncommon.
This is why I always return to Adagio for teas I intend for iced tea. They are just so inexpensive, the quality really isn’t terrible most of the time (cold brewing the blacks is the way to go), and I go through iced tea SO darn quickly I really need to be economical. Their points system trumps the rest, too, if you can remember to “share” a cup you are drinking daily for 2 points. I normally spend well over my points with them each year, but I would say the rewards points alone fund 70% of what I receive.