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42 Tasting Notes

79

A very good Lapsang, not too heavy on the palate and good for eating with sweet or creamy foods. Requires slightly more attention to the steeping time than some blends, as it is liable to turn woody and bitter if left to steep for more than five minutes. Nonetheless, is still a cut above the more common commercial blends.

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79

This tea smells far more floral before steeping, so much so that it might be mistaken for a purely herb-and-fruit-based tea. There’s just enough maple to give it a sweetly woodsy scent (more sugar bush than sugar), and the black and green teas keep the blackberry from overpowering the taste. A nice interesting blend that’s a bit out of the ordinary.

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13
drank China Oolong by Twinings
42 tasting notes

A bagged oolong that attempts to pick up the light smokey notes common to its looseleaf cousins, but only succeeds in producing a tea that smells and tastes faintly of an emptied ashtray. Difficult to tell whether extended steeping time would improve it; not recommended for drinking without food.

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52

The fruit-floral scent that this tea produces is remarkably strong at the outset, and the lingering, oddly perfume-y aftertaste will probably not be to everyone’s liking. However, this tea brews a peppy cup that still lets the white Assam and green tea taste peep through from beneath the rose-and-plum melange on top, so it comes across as more fresh and assertive than its self-consciously dreamy name might imply.

(Note: This is not the version of Ambrosia Plum that contains stevia, so if you are like me and run away from low-carb sweeteners then I would suggest this one over Zhena’s Ambrosia White Plum.)

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80

‘Full-bodied’ certainly describes this sencha, almost to the point where ‘heavy’ might be the more accurate adjective for it. The finish lingers well beyond the point where most types of sencha fade, and this may be off-putting to those who prefer a brighter, sharper note to their Japanese green teas. However, it stands up well as a wintertime tea, strong enough to hold its own against even the sweetest cake or bun.

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74
drank Gyokuro by Adagio Teas
42 tasting notes

Gyokuro bills itself as one of the more high-end green teas on the market, and so perhaps I expected too much of Adagio’s gyokuro offering. It is a fine green tea nonetheless, light and smooth with a bright, clean finish, but it simply did not have the subtle richness that I was hoping for. A pity, for I certainly would have rated this higher if I could.

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70

Adagio’s version of English Breakfast does its best to distinguish itself from this workhorse of black tea blends. Touches of smoke and pepper come through with the steady malt flavour. A good choice for a casual drinker who wants branch out into more adventurous tea tasting but isn’t quite ready to leave the comfort of the familiar breakfast-style teas.

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57
drank Qingxiang by Teaism
42 tasting notes

Teaism describes this tea as a ‘subtler expression’ of their standard oolong, and there’s no doubt that it is. Even 6 minutes of steeping produced only a pale greyish-green tea, with light oolong notes and a very brief finish. It may benefit from additional infusions, and would certainly work as a tea to have not too far from bedtime, but those who are looking for a more assertive oolong flavour are likely to be disappointed. All the same, the tea itself is a worthy find, and a change from the standard routine.

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74

A very fresh and refreshing shincha. I prefer to let mine steep slightly longer than recommended to bring out the full flavours of sweet hay and the very slight floral notes at the back.

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53

A slightly smoother variant on the supermarket chain’s standard bagged Earl Grey tea. Respectable and perfectly drinkable, but not entirely worth the premium price for the organic label.

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Academic. Historian. Writer. Fan. Tea drinker. Bibliophile (though that’s putting it mildly), amongst other things. But as to what those other things are, I’m afraid you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

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