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Recent Tasting Notes

61

Time for Clarence, a slightly bigger teapot, because it’s tea for two. Interesting mix of brown and black colours with a fair bit of really small stuff.
The liquor is reddish brown, the aroma quite Assamese.
I think it works better in my bertter half’s cup (white with two) than mine (black with oneish)
But pleasant. And my late Grandmother, who grew up in the Great Depression, would ne mighty impressed with the effort of recycling the last few grams of three teas to get more tea.
Basic tea, well made if I do say so myself!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 45 sec
mermaidcatch

I am not a fan of Irish Breakfast Tea. Nevertheless, I hope it was your “cup of tea.” :)

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96
drank Smooth Chai by Custom
159 tasting notes

Just attacked the espresso machine again to make this.
Made 100ml strong tea. As an experiment, I left the infiuser in the jug while I heated the milk and sugar to 70 deg C.
mmmmm, it’s smooth. I love the way the spices line up in order on your pallet. Sugar / Cinnamon/ Cardamon/ tea/ milk / aniseed and cloves. Then sip again

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Robert Godden

Might have to up the black pepper quantity.

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88
drank Lapsang Souchong by Custom
159 tasting notes

After a crack at Taylors bagged version yesterday, decided I’d better redress the balance and have a real one.
And the difference is indeed mighty. My kitchen already smells like an open campfire. Don’t want to steep too long…
Hmmm, it’s a lovely round taste that circles your mouth. Strong enough to chew, but fades in a surprisingly dainty manner.
A great tea to take just before I head into the city for some work. Of course, my first stop is actually a tea shop.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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74
drank China Jasmine by Custom
159 tasting notes

IT has become my habit to start my day with a green or white, or two, or five, and then move through into blacks during the day. That seems to be the opposite for most people, probably because of the wildly inaccurate belief that greens have less caffeine than whites.
So, the sun is coming up, I’m working on a press release and sipping some Jasmine.
The colour today is kind of mystical, I am peering into the tea bowl and trying to see the future.
The warm tones and perky bouquet of this tea are helping me to see that said future will contain much tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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83

I am still feeling quite crappy after a bad night, and 4 cups of Pai Mu Tan, so here goes:
teaspoon of Superior Vanilla with pods in an ibrik (turkish coffee pot)
Steep in a little water for 2 minutes
Add a dash of honey, a shake or two of dried ginger and two split green cardamom pods (hang the expense)
Added some low fat milk and on the stove to slowly heat up.
The taste is wonderful. I’ll comment later on whether it worked

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 min, 15 sec
Robert Godden

It worked a treat!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Congrats on a well done blending experience.

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97

More a review of the triniTEA than this particular tea blend…

The bitterness from the last brew totally covered up the taste of PLASTIC! Yuck! I wrote to Adagio to see what they would say, but it’s totally undrinkable (IMO).

Angrboda

Yuck, that’s always the problem with plastic.

denisend

Must be the type of plastic used because we didn’t have a problem with the Zarafina, and it’s plastic, too. sigh

S

Just wondering, is there a reason you switched from the Zarafina to the triniTEA? I was considering doing that, until I realized that it only has two temperature settings (whereas the Zarafina has multiple, I think…)

denisend

Shanti, we wanted a second tea maker and so we picked up the triniTEA for things like this SSB that we make in quantity. Also, so when my husband and I BOTH want tea we don’t have to wait for the other one, or dump out the other one’s leaves (which might still be okay for resteeping). So, we’re still using the Zarafina!

denisend

Er, that should be SST, for Southern Sweet Tea. sigh

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92
drank Irish Breakfast by Custom
159 tasting notes

Just made this in Cyril (my glass teapot) and it’s obvious from the colour that my palate was not lying about the Yunnan I suggested last time. It’s a great base, and then there’s some interesting tannin flavours over the top. There’s a peachy aftertaste (in both senses, if you like) that I think is the combination of the slightly brackish tannins with the naughty brown sugar I threw in!
Second cup I think, with breakfast inspired by 52teas

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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87

A lovely cup of a tea that remains a favourite despite it’s inadvertent creation.
I had to get up very early, and I’m not ready for anything heavy, but I wanted to move on from my cup or two of Jasmine an hour ago.
A mint tea can be a dessert, and I used it to follow some toast. The aroma has filled my office, and it keeps drawing me back fro another sip, and the inevitable second cup.
The green tea teases the palate; the mint smashes it to smithereens a millisecond later.
It’s the most exciting think happening in Adelaide at 5:59am, I am sure

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec
Veri-Tea

LOL I’m sure you’re right ;)

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74
drank China Jasmine by Custom
159 tasting notes

Up at 4am for a webinar from the US!
I’ve put together a large pot of this delicate tea to keep me going.
And it’s great.
Flowery, sparkly on a dry tongue and sweet!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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96
drank Smooth Chai by Custom
159 tasting notes

Even better, second one of the day

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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96
drank Smooth Chai by Custom
159 tasting notes

Fine brew today with honey and via my usual method. I will be filming this method this weekend for the vBlog, along with my layered cherry rooibos latte.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 30 sec

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97

So… we bought Adagio’s triniTEA (automatic tea brewer) to supplement the Zarafina. It was getting crazy with waiting for the other person’s tea to finish brewing and for resteeps, what do you do with the leaves, and so on. We thought that the increased capacity of the triniTEA would be nice for making large pitchers of iced tea, as well.

The first batch didn’t go so well. We’ll ignore the machine’s faults and just talk about the tea… Nathaniel followed the instructions that came with the machine and not the instructions that came with the tea, so he put the timing knob on 5 minutes (Teavana says to brew the English Breakfast for 2-3 minutes and the Lemon Youkou for 5-6 minutes, but we usually just brew it as a black tea). The result was BITTER and had no lemon taste. UGH. It was totally overbrewed.

Not the tea’s fault, or the machine, really. We have to do another run with a shorter time.
(I’m leaving the rating where it is because when brewed right this tea is really good)

LENA

i received a zarafina for christmas and i love it (mostly). just wish it held more than 2 cups. do you like the triniTEA better?

denisend

We’ve only used it the once so far (and that was a bust because of the wrong brew time). There are advantages and disadvantages to both machines, so I think having both is okay.

There are only 2 temperature settings on the triniTEA, but I believe there are more on the Zarafina. The Zarafina is kinda black box, though (I don’t know what the various setting correspond to in time and temperature). The greater capacity of the triniTEA is nice if the hubby and I want to drink the same thing (not often), or we’re making a pitcher to stick in the fridge (often).

They both limit the volume that the leaves can expand into (unlike the gravity pots), and that’s annoying.

Also, somehow my husband put too much water into the triniTEA and it overfilled the brew basket, making a big mess. I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s not foolproof.

He also complained that the carafe doesn’t pour easily and spills.

I think it’ll be worth it once we get used to its quirks (especially since having only one teamaker was getting ANNOYING!).

LENA

There are 5 different setting with the Zarafina…which is pretty cool. I wish I knew the minutes that mild, medium, and strong correlated to. Also, no warmer with the Z. We also have an electric kettle, so I make my husband use that a lot of the time for his basic Earl Gray and such. :)

denisend

Well, there are 5 different tea type settings, but I’m not sure if they correspond to temperatures… there may only be 2 or 3 temperatures and then a few brew times. That’s what I mean about it being black box… there’s no real explaination about what the settings correspond to!

Also, I’ve always thought that you should vary the strength by changing the amount of leaves, not the brew time, so the “mild, medium, and strong” settings totally baffle me. I leave it on medium all of the time, but Nathaniel switches it to strong for his sweet tea. IDK.

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96
drank Smooth Chai by Custom
159 tasting notes

Hand crafted chai – blended two weeks ago for the flavour to mingle.
So, I place a double serve (4g) in an infuser with a quarter cup od boiled water, and let steep for 6 minutes.
Then I add half a cup of cold milk and two sugars.
Then, it goes on the steam wand of the esspresso machine. I end up with a hot and foamy cup, which I sprinkle with a blend of cinnamon, cardamon and sugar all ground to a fine powder together
The result is a sweet, mingled flavour that holds you attention for about 15 minutes after you have finished. The aniseed flavour of star anise and the warm black pepper give you the foretaste, cinnamon and tea tend to linger.
Also chills well.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 min, 0 sec
Cofftea

Share your recipe?;)

Robert Godden

Happy to oblige!
50% Darjeeling (Gidephar), 30% Ceylon Lover’s leap, 20% Australian Daintree Bulk.
Take 400g of that and mix with roughly ground spices (5 whole star anise, 3 cinnamon sticks, 15 peppercorns, 5 pimento, 8 cloves, 6 green cardamon pods, 2 brown cardamon pods). Give it two weeks to develop it’s flavour!
For the sprinkle, 100g granulated sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 5 cardamon pods, put in a little spice grinder and ground till it grinds no more – should be a fine powder.
Alos, I use a 5% fat Jersey Milk for Chai. It’s a wonderful idea. Never use ‘supermarket’ milk!

Cofftea

Whoa! OK totally was not expecting a blend of 3 teas for the base:) Pimento… that’s a new one:) I’ve never heard of a chai w/ ground spice- all the ones I’ve had were whole, unless of course it was chai latte mix.

Robert Godden

The spices are chopped to about 4-6 mm at biggest. The flavour disperses better, and the bits fit in the infuser!
The daintee in the base is sensational. Not sue if people outside of Australia know of it. It has a spicy, earthy undercurrent. I always follow a steak with a Daintree!

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92
drank Irish Breakfast by Custom
159 tasting notes

Irish Breakfast is rather a catch-all name. This one has a strong Ceylon presence, with the characteristic aftertaste. It also has a rounded Yunnan flavour, which means that the first taste, the body and the aftertaste are all pleasant. I drink it black and slightly sweetened.
Generally, I’m more of a single origin tea drinker. but this a real gem.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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74
drank China Jasmine by Custom
159 tasting notes

Most people think of a jasmine tea in a delicate cup, taken neat. But that’s not the way I have it. I like it to be slightly sweetened, and for that me, regrettably that means a sweetener.
In order to reduce the impact of the sweetener, I use half a sweetener in a 450ml super mug with my CJ tea.
The result enhances the natural sweetness without overpowering, or even competing with the tea.
It remains delicate up front on the palate, with the main green tea flavours following the initial jasmine hit. The tea has a dryish backtaste that instantly suggests another sip.
A very lovely tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Rosemary Tea by Custom
197 tasting notes

You won’t find the comapny which sells this, as it is exclusive to Me. I am experimenting with adding rosemary to me tea, since I love it. It tastes just like…Rosemary. I have to use less, as it is VERY dominant.

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64
drank Raspberry Chocolate by Custom
1260 tasting notes

Home again! At last! Visiting family is nice and all, but nothing really beats coming home and sitting down in your own furniture with your own door closed behind you and just… breathe… out.

And now I just needed some good honest solid invigorating proper tea. And then I make this mix of Adagio’s Chocolate and Adagio’s Raspberry in more or less equal measure. Yeah, I can’t really see any logic in the choice either, but there you are.

I could have sworn I had tried this mix before, but I couldn’t seem to find it in my logs. I must have been confusing it with something else.

It smells mostly of chocolate. Milk chocolate actually. I think the raspberry is sort of smoothing it out and adding sweetness, although it doesn’t actually smell like actual raspberries the way the dry leaves do.

While the smell is awesome, the taste is kind of watery. With that sort of smell I was expecting something more viscous like milk, so the first mouthful actually seemed kind of watery. It tastes quite nice but just not of chocolate. Or of raspberry, really. It’s like it’s sort of cancelling itself out.

I really can’t understand if I haven’t done this before, though!

takgoti

My mom is obsessed with these chocolate raspberry cremes from Sees and so whenever people come back from out west, they bring her some. We got a box for Christmas this year, and you’ve inspired me to go nom on one.

Also, you can’t underestimate the power of having a space all your own. Especially after a lot of family time!

Hyrulehippie

I always feel like that after a family visit. It’s nice to see them, but it’s seriously draining.

Angrboda

Takgoti, oooooh nummy! Fruity chocolate is so awesome. I’ve been eyeing a blueberry chocolate that I’ve seen when grocery shopping. I haven’t allowed myself one yet, because of and attempt to try and save money, but soon!

And both, as for family time, I totally agree. It’s not relaxing in the same way that being at home by yourself is at all. Even when you find a moment to do something quitely by yourself, you still have one ear out to jump to whenever someone says. Besides, there are other factors (health problems and the like) that make spending extended time with family a little extra stressful, although it wasn’t really that bad this year. I accidentally offended my mother a bit once when I wanted to leave a day earlier than they had expected, and I heard myself saying something about also wanting some ‘time off’ before going back to work. Stupid thing to say, really.

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21
drank Grapefruit Peel by Custom
45 tasting notes

Tried brewing this with a bit of green tea and did not enjoy it but I think I really went overboard with the peel. Will try putting only a few shavings in next time.

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91
drank Vanilla Caramel by Custom
1260 tasting notes

And another gone and another gone, another one bites the dust. This time Adagio’s vanilla that got the last act of mercy. I didn’t even have a full teaspoon left of this. Nearly but not quite, so I decided to mix it with the caramel from Luka, my local shop, which is a mix I know to be awesome. Since I usually do it half and half and couldn’t do that this time, I tried adding little vanilla sugar to the mix. I tell you, it feels utterly weird to stand there and stir a teapot!

I have no clue how that last additive will influence the flavour. I figure the worst that can happen is it’s a little sweeter than usual. I need to try the vanilla tea from my local shop and see if it’s better than Adagio’s. I liked Adagio’s to begin with but have found myself using it primarily to mix into other stuff.

Probably shouldn’t have added the vanilla sugar. It’s quite vanilla heavy now and the caramel is a bit overpowered. Now whether this is because I used too much vanilla sugar or if it was because adding just doesn’t work, I can’t really know.

It’s still delicious, though.

For those of you who own Adagio’s vanilla and find it a bit lacking in the vanilla department, perhaps a little bit of vanilla sugar can bring it out a bit more?

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67
drank Pine Tea by Custom
865 tasting notes

OK… this has me curious so since we have a real tree this yr. I’m gonna try it.

30 needles (didn’t chop them)/6oz boiling water.

Hmmm… virtually no liquor, and the liquor that it does have formed almost immediately after the needles were added to the water so I’m thinking it might have been from the stains on my filter. VERY light sent, a lil sweet maybe? There is a very light taste, but it’s a lil sweet so I’m thinking this may also be left over from my prior usage of my ingenuiTEA. Good theory though, if I can get it down I’m making pine matcha. How’s THAT for a holiday drink?;)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

100 points to you for experimentation (unless this is like Whose Line Is It Anyway? where the points don’t matter).

Cofftea

2nd infusion. Steeped 10 min. Chopped the leaves in 3rds. Absolutely no liquor. DEFINITELY smells like pine. Nailed the steeping. Could go more but I wouldn’t suggest less than 10 min. Totally making pine flavored matcha. Does anyone else have a problem w/ liquorless flavored hot water?

Cofftea

3rd infusion 25 min. Strong pine flavor but not overly done or bitter. A bit of sweetness even? This would be a good 1st infusion steep time.

Calochortus

This sounds interesting! I want to try it now!

Heyes

I have always wanted to try this, so more points to you on this! Do you know what kind of pine tree the needles came from? Have a picture? I ask because that obsessive compulsive nature in me thinks there’s some pleasure to be had in cataloging varieties.

Cofftea

No, not sure what kind- whatever my Christmas tree is.

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Hats off to your adventurous spirit! I would have never thought of making tea out of the Christmas tree. Great TN, totally unique idea.

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97

backlogging from the weekend…

I’m thinking that perhaps I need to ask the hubby to cut back on the sugar a touch (gasp!). I know we’re from South Carolina, but it was just Too Sweet. I think I’ve been living in Maryland too long.

Still loving this blend, though. It’s awesome.

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68
drank Pine Tea by Custom
13 tasting notes

Delightful! The tea tastes pretty much how it smells. Go up to a pine tree and inhale through your mouth… that’s pretty much it. However, mixed with a good spoon of honey and it makes for an excellent and nutritious winter tea.

Cofftea

How much do you use for a 6oz cup of tea?

Nate Walsh

I don’t go with anything precise. I just throw in a bunch 1-2 inch stem tips and let it steep until I feel like I have attained the proper taste. Considering how common it is to just go outside and get it, measuring quantity, I have found, is not that big of a problem.

Cofftea

Not because of commonality, but to get a cup that is neither too weak or strong it is.

Nate Walsh

Personally, I’m generous when it comes to it. I guess it depends on the type of tree you use. Blue spruce has densely packed needles, so for my 10 oz cup I’ve used 4 tips. I understand chopping the needles helps, but I am still experimenting! Tell me how yours goes so I can get a better understanding! :)

Cofftea

Sorry Nate… Just not that brave… LOL

Mitch Donaberger

Cofftea – to answer your question, I’ve found that about 20 or 30 needles (1 or 2 inches – try to get new growth) makes a mild flavor that really works. To get the most robust flavor, try baking them real quick in a toaster oven or boiling them.

Remember, pine is an evergreen plant, and as such, the cell walls in the leaves are especially hardy. Gotta break those down to get the good stuff.

Cofftea

Thanks Mitch! What water temp and steeping time do you suggest?

Mitch Donaberger

Well, this tea is flavored by pine sap / oil, so you’ll want to steep at boiling for as long as possible to really get that out.

My best cup came from boiling water @ 4 minutes. Of course, as Nate said, with a nice spoonful of honey to help keep it tasting nice.

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97

We’ve been drinking this particular blend a lot, so I thought I would just add it as a custom blend.

Preparation Details:
Zarafina Tea Maker: Black, Loose, Strong, 2 cups water, 2 scoop English Breakfast, 1 scoop Lemon Youkou (Teavana)
Sweetened with 1/2 cup sugar, then iced and water added to make 1qt tea.

I love it. It’s a perfect blend of black tea with just a hint of lemon/fruitiness.

rabbysmom

This sounds very good. Thanks for sharing!

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91
drank Vanilla Caramel by Custom
1260 tasting notes

Because this was such a success the other day, I’ve tried to reconstruct it today. I needs it. I need something that is so good that it can take away the sneaking girl-stomach issues and the general pouting that the fact that my presence has been requested at work on wednesday, which because I work part-time is normally my day off, has brought on. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I hate, abhor and just generally dislike meetings. Especially those I can’t get out of.

So something sweet and distracting, yes please.

When I tried this the other day, it was the second steep of the caramel, and this is the first steep all round, so it’s intersting to see if it’ll turn out the same success or if I’m in for a bit of a disappointment.

Nope. Still good. Still sweet. What girl-stomach? What meeting?

Carolyn

I bring teas into meetings and fiddle with my strainer. It keeps me from saying things I will regret.

Angrboda

I don’t really have that opportunity. Luckily our meetings aren’t usually that long, just boring. Boring boring boring.

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