101 Tasting Notes

95

A friend hooked me on fine loose-leaf tea when she gifted me with a variety of teas, mostly black, a few months ago. Among the teas was a White Tea Sampler pack from Adagio. To me the Jasmine Silver Needle tasted like perfume, and the plain Silver Needle and Snowbud tasted like nothing much at all. But I very much liked White Symphony which had a “buttery” complex taste, crisp but lovely and full bodied, sweeter and less delicate and more flavorful than Silver Needle. So I kept back one serving for comparison and then ordered White Peony from TeaSource. I found they were very, very close in taste—almost indistinguishable, and I really loved this tea. I think the Adagio has a slight edge, and I think they’re so close I wouldn’t want to keep both on hand. I’m going to try TeaSource’s Silver Peony when I run out of this one in my search for my “go to” white tea. I suspect it might be the equivalent of Adagio’s White Symphony. Meanwhile drinking this one is certainly no hardship. Very, very enjoyable.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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99

A friend turned me on to fine loose-leaf teas a few months ago by gifting me with a variety of them. Since I’ve tried twenty-two varieties of tea, and so far Darjeelings are my favorites. And of the two Darjeelings I’ve tried, Sungma Summer from Adagio and this Selim Hill from TeaSource, the TeaSource one has a slight edge. Both are lovely teas whether with milk or alone. (I prefer without—this is too delicious to mask with milk, but this is a tea that can stand up to milk and mix well with it.) Second and third steeping still render a delicious tea and this makes a great ice tea as well. Darjeelings are described as having a fruity “muscatel” flavor and that’s true of this one. It’s sweet and smooth, with a great mouth feel. Only leaving some room at the end of the rating because with time and more experience I may find I love a tea even more than this one. But it won’t be easy.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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79

My first Assam (from Adagio) was given to me in by a friend hoping to addict me to loose-leaf tea—and this tea was part of what hooked me. I didn’t know what to make of it on first sip. It grew on me as I drank more, seemed to have a complexity other teas lacked. I also found this is one tea that really tastes its best with milk—dairy or soy. Other teas might stand up to milk, this one I think is enhanced with it. And I usually prefer my teas without. Later my friend sent me this Assam (Gingia Estate) from TeaSource. And though I’ve found since I usually prefer TeaSource’s teas to those from Adagio, in this case I think Adagio’s Assam Melody has an edge. A very slight edge. This is one of my favorite teas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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83

I really love this tea, which was gifted to me by the friend who hooked me on find loose-leaf teas a few months ago—and this was one of the ones she committed the dirty deed with. It’s mellow, smooth without the earthiness or smokiness that my friend feels often mars Chinese Black Teas. She only likes her teas with milk, so she needs a tea that stands up to milk. I prefer almost all my teas without (Assam, which I think is really enhanced with milk, is the exception.) My aunt, who I often share these teas with liked it, but not as much as the Darjeeling or Assam. She felt that in comparison this didn’t have as much character.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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44

A few years ago someone gave my Aunt a gift of a Chinese loose-leaf tea. We had no idea what to do with it, and it stayed in our cupboard for a year or two. Then a few months ago a friend of mine trying to convert me to loose-leaf teas gifted me with a variety of them, an infuser and instructions—and I was up and running. I tried the “mystery” tea and quite liked it, but had no idea what it could be since the writing in the wrappings was Chinese.

Then when I decided to order some teas for myself, I decided to try a couple of Oolongs and the mystery was solved. My mystery tea was Iron Goddess of Mercy. I liked that tea, and I liked the one from TeaSource, yet I doubt I’ll order it again. It’s simply that when there are teas I find I love, absolutely love, that I can steep two or three pots worth in one day and drink it with relish, this just doesn’t quite make it to the top. It’s an enjoyable tea, a bit astringent, metallic in flavor and mellow compared to blacks and thankfully not grassy like most Greens I’ve tried. But not destined to be the favorite Big Red Robe turned out to be.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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75

I’m fairly new to loose-leaf tea, having gotten hooked a few months ago when a friend gifted me with a variety of teas, mostly blacks. She threw in a sample of this from Adagio as well as a Gunpowder Tea and a Pomegranate Green from TeaSource. Both my aunt, who I’ve been sharing the teas with, and I loved the Adagio Hojicha. My aunt called it “magnificent.” When we ran out, we ordered another Hojicha, this time from TeaSource as well as their Dragonwell and Sencha. We both disliked the Dragonwell and Sencha as too vegetal, but we both very much still like the Hojicha. Reading the reviews, particularly the negative ones of this tea I think we like it precisely for the reasons they didn’t. This isn’t typical for a Green Tea. It’s roasted, and doesn’t really taste grassy or vegetal. I’d agree with the reviewer who called it “toasty” and “nutty.” I wouldn’t describe it as “smoky” or earthy like other reviewers. Smoky makes me think of Gunpowder Tea, which I didn’t like. I do think this is earthier and maltier than the Adagio version of Hojicha. I thought I preferred the Adagio version. But I’m currently drinking the second steeping of the second time we’ve tried this tea, and it’s only growing on me. So far at least, this is my favorite Green Tea. Not the favorite the Oolongs and Blacks I’ve tried are, but up there.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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7

I’m new to loose-leaf teas. A few months ago a friend gifted me with a variety of teas and hooked me. She is mostly a Black Tea person so couldn’t advise me what to try in Green Teas. So I chose Sencha and Dragonwell to order after reading both were popular, well-known Green Teas, the most popular teas in Japan and China respectively. Unfortunately I found both teas so undrinkable I’m considering either throwing them in the trash or mailing it to a tea-loving friend in Canada. I don’t think it’s my source at fault. I have TeaSource teas I absolutely adore—a Darjeeling, an Assam, their Hong Mao Feng and White Peony and Big Red Robe. But so far I find the only unflavored Green Tea I like is Hojicha, which is untypical in being roasted. For my tastes, the Dragonwell and especially the Sencha are far too vegetal. Drinking a tea that tastes like spinach was boiled in it doesn’t make me go “yummy.” I’m told some love vegetal teas. If you do, this might be one you really like. Not for me.

Also, my aunt who often shares the teas with me complained she found it too weak. The second time I made a pot I put more tea into the infuser and steeped it for over three minutes, and it was stronger—but neither my aunt nor I liked it more.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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10

I find this tea so undrinkable I’m considering either throwing it in the trash or mailing it to a tea-loving friend in Canada. I don’t think it’s my source at fault. I have TeaSource teas I absolutely adore—a Darjeeling, an Assam, their Hong Mao Feng and White Peony and Big Red Robe. But I’m new to fine loose-leaf teas, and so far I find the only unflavored Green Tea I like is Hojicha, which is untypical in being roasted. For my tastes, the Dragonwell is far too vegetal. Drinking a tea that tastes like spinach was boiled in it doesn’t make me go “yummy.” I’m told some love vegetal teas. If you do, this might be one you really like. Not for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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42

As best that I can remember, the clerk told me the base tea is Gunpowder Green Tea, and the mint is spearmint. Very minty, even if not overwhelmingly so. I liked it a lot without quite loving it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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93

I liked this tea quite a bit. I’ve only been drinking fine loose-leaf teas for less than four months, after a friend gifted me with some varieties and hooked me. This was in a sample pack she gave me. I had tried a Jasmine Silver Needles from Adagio and I found it undrinkable—to me it tasted like perfume, so I was concerned when I noted this had roses. But really, the tea was quite lovely. I liked it so much, I ordered Sencha from TeaSource, which is the base for this, and was surprised to find I didn’t like it. Too vegetal in taste. But the pomegranate and roses seem to ameliorate that. If I don’t rate this higher, it’s because I don’t know that I can see this, unlike say Darjeeling, as a tea I could enjoy having just about every day. But this one is sweet and lovely.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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